The "Largest Corporate Power Grab You've Never Heard Of."
Many Americans oppose NAFTA and other trade deals, but they haven't even heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison describes the TPP as the “largest corporate power grab you've never heard of.” Despite 19 rounds of negotiations that started all the way back in 2005, many of the details of the TPP still remain secret, even to members of Congress.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a massive trade agreement among 12 nations, including the US. And it's being negotiated by government trade officials and corporate lobbyists. Representative Alan Grayson said that the TPP is “a punch in the face to the middle class of America,” and added, “but I'm not even allowed to tell you why.” The deal would give multinational corporations the right to challenge our laws and regulations if firms believe those laws limit their “expected future profits.”
Not only would this trade agreement threaten American jobs, but it could seriously harm our national sovereignty. Regulations that protect workers, set environmental standards, or limit risk for consumers could be challenged if corporate greed isn't allowed to reign supreme. Despite all of these dangerous possibilities, Americans are being kept in the dark about the TPP, and trade negotiators don't even want Congress weighing in. They're demanding so-called “fast track” authority, which would block any changes to the law, and only allow our elected leaders an “up or down” vote.
Unions, consumer protection groups, environmental activists, and even members of Congress are calling for changes to the law, or a flat-out rejection of the entire deal. For the sake of our nation, these groups are working to inform more Americans, and fighting to stop the TPP while we still have a chance.
AIW -- I await your details. Nice (at least in my imagination) to have details when calling one's congress people.
Talk is cheap, their actions speak for them.
Now that everything is automated they don't need working people anymore so they'll either eradicate us like so many cockroaches or let us die of slow mass starvation where they can take advantage of mass unemployment and desparate poverty for whatever labor needs they still may have.
The TPP is the final nail in the coffin of Democracy. We must stand up to this threat the same way we did to defend Syria. This time like our very lives depend on it.
Actually, they do.
We need another Seattle, otherwise the mainstream media will black it out.
It's like was theorized on Thom's show. The super rich don't need us anymore, in fact, they got too many of us. They want to cull the herd.
I just hope the public wakes up befor it's to late
One of my biggest concerns is the fact that media marketed to liberals, such as MSNBC, have been trying to sell Hillary Clinton, in spite of her long record of support for such free trade agreeements (NAFTA). Remember, too, that H. Clinton was one of the people who formulated super-cheap workfare replacement labor, keeping people in poverty while helping to phase out the middle class. (So whom do you think workfare labor replaces, albeit at a fraction of the wages?) When Democrats support policies that push more and more people into poverty, whether it's workfare, NAFTA or the TPP, we need to point them out.
"Government is NOT the problem. Corporate influence in government is the problem" ~~~~Me
Not surprisingly, it appears that the agreement will promote the interests of giant, multinational corporations over the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, or other stakeholders in democracy, AND FURTHER CONCENTRATE OWNERSHIP OF THE NON-HUMAN PRODUCTIVE CAPITAL MEANS OF PRODUCTION!
The REAL STORY is a story about the collusion among a globally wealthy ownership class to further concentrate private sector ownership in ALL FUTURE wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital asset creation on a global scale. A sorta FREE TRADE ON STEROIDS!
This is a battle between two property system choices: economies such as China in which the productive capital assets are primarily state-owned or state-sponsored communism or socialism and economies such as the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, etc in which the productive capital assets are primarily privately owned, although also largely concentrated among less than 10 percent of the population so as to require massive earnings redistribution, and thus welfare support open and disguised.
But there is another alternative, a balanced Just Third Way (http://www.cesj.org/thirdway/thirdway-intro.htm), based on an understanding of binary economics, by which over time the economy's productive capital assets will become almost entirely individually owned by 100 percent of the citizens. Such an economy would produce efficiencies of production fully using ever-advancing technologies of production that will fuel a greater growth of the world economies by eliminating the problematic condition of the exponential disassociation of production and consumption through ordinary citizens gaining access to FUTURE productive capital ownership to improve their economic well-being, without taking anything away from those who already own.
It is critical that private property ownership in productive capital be extended to ALL people because of the increasing power of productive capital to produce more and more of the wealth or products and services needed and wanted by society. Because productive capital––the non-human factor of production––is an independent productive power separate from human labor power, and represents an increasing role in creating wealth, the question to be addressed is: Who has the right to acquire ownership of productive capital?
While people have private property rights in their own labor, due to tectonic shifts in the technologies of production it is not enough for individual survival if people cannot get jobs, or if jobs, in reality are no longer doing a substantial part of the wealth creation. As exponential technology shifts destroy jobs and devalue the worth of labor, people need not only private property rights in their own labor, but also private property rights in the productive capital assets that are doing ever more of the work.
We as a nation, and other nations, can no longer limit people to personal rights while restricting ownership acquisition rights in wealth-creating, income-producing productive capital assets to those already well-capitalized. To be a just society, all individuals MUST have effective property rights not only in their labor and personal use possessions but also in FUTURE productive capital asset creation. Because of this imbalance, the result has been that the consumer populous is not able to get the money to buy the products and services produced increasingly by the non-human factor––physical productive capital––as a result of substituting machines for people. And yet you can’t have mass production without mass human consumption.
Broadened, private sector individual ownership of FUTURE productive capital assets as a societal objective is the ONLY individual private property-rights approach that will provide solutions to income inequality, unemployment, underemployment and anemic GDP growth––all of which is rooted in the tectonic shift in the technologies of production and its concentrated ownership. This reality, as a practical matter, is destroying jobs and devaluing the worth of labor, widening the income gap between the rich and poor and struggling (each resentful and suspicious of the other), and resulting in our inability to achieve double-digit GDP growth in the United States and other countries.
I've been warning people about this since March, and I've written several articles posted on this blog. Search my archives and you'll see them. All articles have links to other articles and videos that I've taken at rallies, including one Kafkaesque one with Congressman Alan Grayson who has been leading the charge against the TPP. It's called You have Been Granted a Rare Privilege.
Tonight at 10:00 Eastern Time I'll be a guest on Gary Alan's Express on the internet ay www.tmvcafe to talk about how damaging NAFTA still is and how much more dangerous the TPP will be.
These two "free trade" deals are aimed at violating the states' rights of all the countries involved...countries being designated as States as much as Texas or Ohio. Monsanto might sue foreign states for not allowing GMOs, or for requiring GMO labeling. Shell and BP might sue, under "free trade" grounds, to overturn a country's environmental laws. And so on. The countries that have such laws thereby have their rights to self determination violated.
Isn't it the case that legislators in the USA who most champion "States' Rights" here (i.e, about "right" to ban abortion or interfere with voting, or to slaughter endangered species, etc etc) are ones promoting the N. Atlantic, and Pacific, trade Agreements? Has that hypocrisy been pointed out anywhere effectively in public?
It's important to point out the "states' rights" supporters who don't actually care about States' Rights when they conflict with someone's idea of Corporate Rights.
I love your cartoons!
All right guys, I promised I'd get back to you with the ugly details of the Trans Pacific Partnership. You'd better brew yourselves a strong pot of coffee, 'cuz this post will be a whopper. I apologize for taking up so much space here; I don't intend to make a habit of writing marathon entries on Thom's blog. But I'm afraid the urgency of this issue trumps blog etiquette. I'm grateful to Thom for bringing up the TPP on this forum, because nothing else poses a greater threat to life as we know it... or even to life itself.
"Trueblue" is spot-on in post #10 where he states: "Government is NOT the problem. Corporate influence in government is the problem." And that's no joke. If the TPP gets rammed through Congress via so-called "Fast Track", we can kiss our local & national sovereignty good-bye. If you think I'm being an alarmist drama queen, you'd better think again.
It's not even so much about trade! Of the 29 chapters comprising this document, only five have anything to do with actual trade policies. Most of the TPP's provisions are nothing but corporate protectionism on steroids; corporate fascism du jour, freeing corporations from any accountability to our governments or to us. What's at stake are things like food safety standards, environmental protections, workers' rights, internet freedom, banking regulations (what little remains of that) and all the public services we depend upon just to live and function day-to-day.
TPP rules will nullify the government's ability to regulate public services like transportation, education and utilities, while eliminating policies designed to guarantee universal access to these necessities. Member countries will be forced to open their service sectors to private competitors, allowing corporations to eliminate public access to these essentials. Look what they've already done to create our "uniquely American" pay-or-die system of healthcare delivery! While it could be argued that much of the damage has already been done to things like education and transportation, it will get a whole lot worse.
The TPP will make it much easier for U.S. corporations to outsource jobs via special foreign-investor protections, laying out the red carpet for them relocating to low-income member countries like Mexico and Vietnam. Corporations will have the right to sidestep the laws of whatever countries they operate in. Any government policy, such as a minimum wage for example, that a corporation determines to be a threat to "future profits" can simply be swept aside through so-called "international tribunals".
Fracking around this country will go ballistic, no longer restricted by those pesky Dept. of Energyregulations. The destruction to our health and our environment will be catastrophic. And y'all can forget about legal protections of any kind. The environmental & economic impact this shall have on our local communities will be horrendous. The gas that gets extracted will not be used by us; it will be shipped to foreign countries, raising consumer prices while simultaneously, sabotaging any potential for manufacturing growth here in America.
Ya think drug prices here in the good ole USA are bad enough already?! They'll be getting much, much worse. Big Pharma will have even more time to monopolize medicine prices thanks to extended patents blocking your access to cheaper generics. In effect, a death sentence for those with not-so-deep pockets, suffering from chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, TB and other treatable conditions. Government-run healthcare services would lose what little ability they already have to negotiate drug prices through bulk purchases.
We can forget about food safety. The regulation of pesticide levels, bacterial & fecal contamination, toxic additives, non-nutritious "fillers", GMOs, etc. would be deemed "illegal trade barriers". Governments of member nations would be forced to comply with weaker global standards. Imported meats that violate our safety standards (not so great to begin with!) could still get through, long as the exporting country claims its inspection system is "equivalent" to ours... without burden of proof! Meanwhile food labeling would also be condemned as a "trade barrier". Bon appetite!
TPP prohibits transaction taxes for Wall Street and its equivalent in other countries. Speculators- those nasty little toadies responsible for stratospheric gas prices, who have repeatedly caused financial crises & crashes throughout the world- could then have a field day at our expense, no longer having to worry about the proposed "Robin Hood Tax" that would shut them down. Nope! Speculators could continue ripping us off with impunity. The TPP also prohibits so-called "firewall" reforms, designed to protect us from the consequences of casino-style investment banking practices. And we can forget about Glass-Steagall ever getting reinstated. "Too-big-to-fail" banks could get even bigger! The TPP would empower banks to force governments into repealing reforms established to protect our assets, while compensating themselves for "losses" they claim they've suffered from such reforms... with our tax dollars! Ain't that special. Takes taxation without representation to a whole new level, doesn't it!
And while we're at it, folks, we can also kiss internet freedom good-bye. SOPA's worst provisions are hidden in TPP's corporate protectionist content. Copyright monopoly control would be extended to 120 years. Internet service providers would morph into a Big Brother police force whose sole function would be to protect private interests at our expense, monitoring our online activities, controlling our content; even cutting off our access to the internet if they don't happen to like what we have to say. (Just imagine what that could do to Thom's blog!! Bye-bye, dear comrades...) We would be subject to mandatory fines, imposed on us for non-commercial copying; as Jim Hightower describes it, "like sending your mom a recipe you got off a paid site".
Think all this sounds horrific? Just try imagining what provisions still hide behind their wall of secrecy, that our representatives in Congress aren't allowed to disclose!
Forget about self-governing, folks. If this thing passes, we've been had. We'll have been reduced to a nation of no-count serfs, at the complete mercy of unelected corporate rulers. And none of these toxic provisions can be changed unless TPP-member nations ALL agree. Their "Investor-State Dispute Resolution" system would replace our court system with a privately run labyrinth of policies enabling corporations to sue TPP-member governments over all regulations designed to protect our health & autonomy, our privacy, our money and the environment, judged by the Almighty Corporate Rulers to be obstructions to their "rights" or to "expected future profits".
Private for-profit entities would gain the legal status of sovereign nations. All policies governing us would be created by corporate hacks with no regard for anything but their bottom line. Elections (if they still are allowed to exist) would be an even bigger joke than they already are. And this, my friends, is what corporate fascism looks like.
Meanwhile our president the "constitutional scholar" has not lifted a finger in opposition to this mind-numbing tyranny, threatening to devour us all like cheap protein.
So there it is, my friends! I'm sure there's lots more to it than Jim Hightower or I have disclosed. But this is enough to have me very, very scared. - Aliceinwonderland
"We need another Seattle", says Mark Saulys, "otherwise mainstream media will black it out." How about a hundred Seattles; or a thousand, worldwide? It's time to set aside our differences and rise up, against an enemy shared in common by us all.
SHFabian, I can't stand Hillary Clinton. Wouldn't trust her any further than I could throw her. We still are paying the consequences of policies initiated, promoted and supported by her and her husband. Enough already! - Aliceinwonderland
Wow! AIW, that was some scary stuff you laid out there. Maybe each one of us should incorporate...people can be corporations too! Some people have been doing that for quite some time...I think maybe in order to protect their personal assets. But then, it takes a certain amount of money to incorporate and lots of people may not have the money to do it. Not that I seriously think that would be a solution to the problem you've shown us about TPP. You know, I used to listen to Jim Hightower all the time. I got so busy doing other things that I let that slide. I'll have to start again I guess.
I heard that Elizabeth Warren may be running for President in 2016. I hope so...I'll certainly vote for her. And I agree with you about Hillarious Clinton...she's too much of a hawk and a sell-out to capitalist oinkers.
We are already in a state of absence of democracy. They are doing what they want completely indifferrent to our consent.
If we have to get ourselves beaten up and killed by the police for even the possibility of stopping them the people are not the boss.
PLEASE - WRITE THE PRESIDENT!!
Dear President Obama, how can you run for office on a platform emphasizing the importance of protecting the middle class in this country, then turn around and consider giving the green light to something like the TPP? It is hard to imagine anything more contradictory to the interests of the middle class than a so-called trade agreement that would kill workers' rights and minimum wage, and hijack social services in this country (i.e. the commons). How could you even consider signing onto something that would rob us of any national or local legislative autonomy, while giving corporations the legal status of autonomous nations? Why would you want to nullify policies protecting things like food safety, internet freedom, the environment, the economy (via banking regulations), privacy and public health? How could you justify any of this as a constitutional scholar? What kind of legacy do you want your presidency to leave behind; a legacy that stood for democracy, or for corporate fascism? When it comes to issues like the TPP, there's no middle ground. If you sign onto this dangerous international "trade" agreement, you will be putting us all at serious risk for social & financial ruin, imposing a death sentence on many of us while condemning multitudes more to unimaginable suffering. You would be exposing all but the wealthiest Americans to a world of hurt. How could you even consider such a thing? Whose side are you on, anyway? Sincerely...
Let's flood the White House with letters, folks! - Aliceinwonderland
Gary -- What fault do you find with the economic models of the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's? We have been adapting to automation since the industrial revolution. A strong labor movement helped decrease the number of hours worked. I say all we need is the passing of card check. After the creation of a stronger labor movement, it will create a force to raise tariffs, pass laws to stop granting waivers to the Buy American Act of 1936, and most importantly kill the TPP.
TAKE ACTION AND GET THE WORD OUT NOW. Sign petitions,write letters, write emails,make phone calls, demonstrate,etc.
Aliceinwonderland ~ Thanks for that eloquently horrifying synopsis. I took the liberty of sharing it at work today. Talk about shooting the messenger. No one knew what I was talking about; and, these are some rather intelligent and well informed people in California no less. I fear for the future of our Nation as a result of this legislation with this terribly uninformed electorate we have. There is little pressure being applied by the public and these lawmakers are being inundated by corporate lawyers and lobbyists. No mention of this debacle is being made in the mainstream media. It's a complete black out. How long have you known about the TPP? From what I understand this legislation has been around since 2005; yet, I just heard about it a month ago, and Thom just started talking about it recently after several of us demanded it. The Corporations are trying to rush this stuff through by the end of the year. That is a recipe for disaster. I certainly hope we can wake people up before it is too late. Do you really think there are enough members of Congress who would pass this without any public feedback? It's hard to believe that even the Tea Party members would agree to such a nefarious scheme. Of course, it's hard for me to speculate as to what goes through those peoples minds. Nevertheless, thanks again for everything you have done. Post #15 was a generous dose of what we all really need to know. Now if people will just listen and ask questions...
Spread the word people!!
Marc, it's pretty startling to hear how clueless your colleagues are about the TPP. What angers me is that the media isn't giving it any coverage. So it's not entirely the fault of your co-workers, being in the dark on an issue of this magnitude. It really highlights the importance of an informed electorate to any genuine democracy, something sorely lacking here in America. It was Jim Hightower's monthly publication, the Hightower Lowdown, that first opened my eyes to this threat. That was only a couple of months ago. All the facts shared in my marathon post were extracted from the Lowdown. So we can all be grateful to Jim Hightower for waking us up.
One of your opening comments was about "shooting the messenger". Is that how your colleagues responded to your efforts at enlightening them?! I sure hope not. - Aliceinwonderland
Aliceinwonderland ~ No, it wasn't that bad. Just a figure of speech. It is what anyone can expect when they tell people what they don't want to hear. People have enough to worry about already than to have to deal with this nonsense. It is human nature. Nevertheless it is something we should expect and be ready for. I I have a reputation for that kind of thing--as you probably already know. I take it with a grain of salt. However, today I've learned it helps if you have your resources and facts ready to back you up when you "share" the news. I keep forgetting how poorly informed the public is by design. We here on Thom's blog have an advantage most don't. Not only what Thom shares with us but what we share with each other. I remember hearing about the TPP the first time from a fellow poster here--not from Thom. After I researched what he was talking about is when I, and many others, repeatedly demanded Thom talk about it on his show. That took at least a couple of weeks of whining. I suppose he had to research it too. If that is the case, you can imagine how in the dark the majority of the public must be. We need to reach out to as many people as we can every chance we get. From what I understand these Corporate influences plan to have this thing passed into law by January 1st of 2014. We have to make sure that doesn't happen. That starts with educating each other. No informed electorate would ever allow this to happen.
Right on, Marc! Nobody can convince me these blogs are simply platforms for whining, or a social outlet for lonely, idle people with nothing better to do, or simply a waste of time. I've learned a lot from Thom, as well as from you and others on this blog. We help each other keep informed and up to snuff on the most important issues (like the TPP!).
It freaks me out how aggressively the plutocrats are pushing the TPP. I'm sending my letter to Obama this week without fail. Maybe I should modify it to send my congressional representatives as well. This is such a huge threat to our wellbeing and happiness, let alone our survival! I have nothing but contempt for politicians who endorse it; I think of them as snake oil salesmen, peddling toxic snake oil. It's getting harder & harder for me not to think of most politicians as "The Enemy"; know what I mean? It horrifies me that President Obama would give the TPP any consideration. I really feel betrayed by Obama.
Palindromedary said Elizabeth Warren might run for prez in 2016. That would be awesome. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat, with more enthusiasm & confidence than I ever had for Obama. - Aliceinwonderland
Aliceinwonderland ~ Yes! I've heard the Elizabeth Warren bell rung all over the square. Randi Rhodes speculated on a race between Warren and Chris Christie. Now that would be fantastic. Even if Warren lost we would still stand to have a part human in the White House. However, I seriously doubt she would lose. That vote would be a no brainer.
DAM -- Did you hear Thom's rant on Chris Christie as being the re-incarnation of Reagan?
I thought I remembered that Thom has been talking about the TPP for a long while. I searched this blog and found a discussion of it on June 25, 2012.
chuckle8 ~ As far as Chris Christie is concerned I wouldn't put it past Thom to compare him with Ronald Wilson (666) Reagan. I don't trust the man either. I don't mean to endorse him in anyway when I say he is "part human." That compliment is relative to the Republican party only. All I mean is that he is a far better of a choice than any other Republicans I've seen running lately. (By the way, when I say "lately" I mean in the past 57 years. Lets make no mistake, when I say part human I realize that the other part is not human. I still prefer my President to be 100% human as a basic requirement.)
June, 2012 was a day I didn't participate here. However, I did peruse the blog on that day. It was about SCOTUS and Citizens United. I skimmed the posts twice and saw no mention of the TPP. I might have missed it. Which posters are you referring to?
Marc, I don't know about you, but I quake at the thought of Chris Christie in the White House. I don't trust that guy any more than anyone else in his party. If Warren lost to him I think I'd be suicidal. (Half kidding...) - AIW
Quote Aliceinwonderland:Marc, I don't know about you, but I quake at the thought of Chris Christie in the White House.
Aliceinwonderland ~ That's a coincidence. I believe I heard that the White House also quakes at the thought of Chris Christie in the White House. Budumpum!
I apologize for that joke to anyone who it may have offended. I just couldn't help myself.
Bottom line is I agree wholeheartedly.
DAM -- Thom himself talked about the TPP on June 13, 2012 blog. The title include the words Free Trade Kool Aid.
chuckle8 ~ Got it! Thanks! I stand corrected. That was just before I joined the blog. It certainly seems odd that Thom would wait so long to bring up this topic again. From the blog intro it certainly seems like he was well aware of the dangers of the TPP back a year ago. Of course to be fair, that intro was written by Louise. Perhaps it slipped his mind due to the lack of media coverage? Nevertheless, thanks again for the heads up.
Oh boy, here it comes... the next level of corporate fascism rearing its ugly head! This sure sounds ominous. The more secret, the more ominous. BIG RED FLAG. These fascists know all too well that if Congress - let alone the rest of us - were aware of what this "deal" actually entails, there'd be a public shitstorm against it. They don't want the muss and fuss of dealing with mass opposition. And this highlights what really bothers me about our president, who up 'til now, has put up no resistence; not even much scrutiny. Not that I've seen or heard anyway. Secretary of State John Kerry's cheerleading endorsement of this kleptomaniac's dream shows us who he is (oink!).
Think times are hard now, folks? Well you ain't seen nothin' yet. We're about to get raped on a massive scale. This shall be the 21st Century version of slavery. Corporate profit is the new Golden Calf, and it will eat more than your lunch.
If time allowed, I would go into much more depth here. One of the last issues of Hightower Lowdown gave the most thorough description of the Trans Pacific Partnership that I've seen so far. Soon as I can, I'll provide more details. It will give you nightmares. Stay tuned... - Aliceinfascistland