Protesters scaled the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Monday and dropped banners calling for greater transparency and an end to "corporatocracy" over the ongoing and secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement currently in the works between the United States and several Pacific nations.
Those negotiations, which have been brokered entirely behind closed doors, are certain to put corporate profits ahead of both human rights and environmental concerns, opponents of the pact have argued.
Today's banner drop comes as part of a series of actions that started with a rally on Fridayoutside of the trade office and will continue throughout the next several days.
Groups involved in the ongoing protests include FlushTheTPP.org, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Earth First!, Communications Workers of America, Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
“Regulating Wall Street is what we need. It’s time to flush the TPP," Melinda St. Louis, international campaigns director for Public Citizen, said to the crowd on Friday as she stood in front of a large cardboard-constructed roll of toilet paper labeled the TPP Death Star.
"Protecting workers is what we need,” she said.
"Americans cannot afford another back-room deal that offshores manufacturing and service jobs, reduces tax revenues and pushes down wages and benefits in the jobs that remain," Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign said Friday. "Unless exposed to the light of day and real public participation, the TPP is poised to enrich corporate interests at the expense of the economy, the environment and public health at home and abroad."
While the U.S. public and the press have been locked out of TPP meetings, corporate "trade advisers" have participated and been given copies of the agreement.
President Barack Obama announced Thursday he will push fast-track legislation, otherwise known as Trade Promotion Authority, which will allow him to push through trade agreements while taking away congressional powers to amend.
"This is the grand-daddy of trade deals, a very destructive project, and it is happening completely under the radar," Chris Townsend, political director for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), told Common Dreams on Friday.
Watch below for an interview with Public Citizen's Melinda St. Louis at the protest on Friday.
Link to original article from Common Dreams
Once again, Koch brothers cash will face off against a people-powered campaign in Wisconsin this November. The race is for a House seat in the first Congressional District, a seat now held by Paul Ryan. His challenger – the first serious challenge he's faced in 14 years in Congress – is Rob Zerban, a restaurateur and County Commissioner.
Everywhere I go during my campaign — parades, farmers markets, even the local deli — I keep hearing the same thing from Wisconsin voters. “We need real representation,” they tell me, “representation that’s focused on the people and what we need.”
"The message is clear: Paul Ryan must be held accountable for his 14 years of failed decisions"
"He had a minor in economics," Rob Zerban says of his opponent. "What experience does he have to say that he's the great budget oracle?" "The people of the First District can see where that budget impacts their lives. Their bridges start to crumble. We've got 16 bridges on federal highways alone in the district that have been declared structurally deficientm and that doesn't include county and local municipal bridges.
Typically during an election cycle, it often comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils. You choose the one who supports the issues most meaningful to you – or at least doesn’t outright defy them. It can be difficult to encounter a candidate who personifies the conviction and integrity you would imagine only in a perfect political world.
Today, Rob Zerban, Democratic Congressional challenger to Congressman Paul Ryan, released the following statement in response to the introduction of Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty” budget.
“In yet another misguided handout to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, Congressman Paul Ryan today introduced his latest budget plan, designed to place the blame for his 14 years of poor decisions squarely on the backs of our hardworking families.
When I began this campaign, I made a commitment to serve as a voice of the people- not of corporations.
I have been putting that into action. In the last few weeks, I have been working overtime to kickoff my campaign with rallies across the district.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and the Save the Internet campaign have made it clear that the Stop Online Piracy Act poses a genuine threat to human rights advocacy and whistleblowing on the Web.