Negotiators fail to close deal amid revelations of internal discord over US corporate bullying. The Obama administration's pro-corporate Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agenda appears to have missed a deadline.
Ministers and delegates representing 12 nations announced Tuesday they have failed to meet the end-of-year goal of clinching the TPP trade deal after four days of negotiations in Singapore ended without an agreement.
The statement immediately follows a Wikileaks release, previously reported by Common Dreams, exposing near zero support for a drastic pro-corporate agenda pushed in the TPP by the Obama administration, including demands for NAFTA-style secret corporate tribunals, limits to bank regulation, and conditions that would increase the cost of life-saving medicines.
“At this meeting, the negotiators’ political imperative to ‘make a deal’ — any deal — resulted in a raft of dangerous decisions that would severely threaten consumers’ access to affordable medicines, undermine Internet freedom and empower corporations to attack our domestic laws,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “[A]s more details emerge weekly about the damage TPP could do to workers, consumers and the environment, grassroots and lawmaker opposition in many countries is growing.”
No new timeline has been drafted for what is poised to be the largest U.S. trade deal in history, establishing a "free trade" zone between Australia, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore—countries that comprise nearly 40 percent of the world's GDP.
Despite the breadth of this potential deal, the contents of its negotiations have been hidden from the public and U.S. lawmakers, with much of what is known publicly about them exposed by leaks.
“We identified potential landing zones for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text,”stated U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, reading a joint statement from negotiators on Tuesday. “We intend to meet again next month," he said, indicating that market access issues remain unresolved.
Wikileaks released an internal memo (pdf) and spreadsheet (pdf) from an unidentified government official on Monday that reveal resistance to U.S. demands for inclusion of corporate giveaways, including conditions that would allow corporations to bypass national law and sue governments in secret courts—boosting their power to steamroll environmental, labor, and public health protections. This also includes a push for intellectual property conditions that would reduce access to more affordable generic medicines and reduce the power of governments to negotiate lower medicine prices. The U.S., in addition, is demanding a limit to the ability of governments to regulate banks in times of crisis, according to Zach Carter at the Huffington Post.
The leaked memo reads, "Inadequate progress. The positions are still paralyzed. United States shows zero flexibility," regarding financial services negotiations.
In a statement emailed to Common Dreams, Public Citizen warned, "However, many countries have caved to relentless U.S. demands that they alter their domestic patent and medicine pricing laws to meet the desires of large pharmaceutical firms."
This latest leak follows the November 13 Wikileaks exposure of the Obama administration's TPP push to erode internet freedoms and cut access to medicines in what analysts say are the most damaging and dangerous proposals in the history of U.S. "free trade" deals.
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.