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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Reply with quote

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Oct 13, 2013 | The Council of Canadians


'The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is 12-nation (and counting) free trade and corporate rights deal that is being led by the United States but also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand, The Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining the talks, which would eclipse the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the ways democracy would be constrained in the interests of multinational corporations.

Of the 26 chapters currently being negotiated in the TPP, only two have to do with trade. The other 24 deal with issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.

The TPP is also considered a geopolitical weapon of the U.S. government, which is trying to isolate China in the Asia-Pacific region, and to block alternative, and more successful, forms of development than the “free trade” model has to offer. But the TPP is being resisted by people across all participating countries because of how it will lock-in a myopic type of corporate globalization that is the main cause of runaway climate change and which has done little to create good, sustainable jobs or reduce poverty worldwide. People working across borders fought and defeated the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Our goal is to make sure the TPP suffers the same fate.
...'

***

We lose with the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Noushin Khushrushahi | Oct 11, 2013 | Vancouver Observer


'For the first time, Presidents and Prime Ministers of several countries met with industry lobbyists to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia. Although U.S. President Obama suddenly announced he would not be joining these discussions, industry lobbyists are hoping to push through TPP talks to finalize the agreement.

What exactly is the TPP? It’s been called one of the most significant international trade agreements since the creation of the World Trade Organization - but you’d be forgiven for not knowing about it. Discussions about this monumental agreement have been so secret that the little we know about the text is from leaked documents - documents that show we have grave reason to be concerned.

One of its most troubling chapters includes an extreme Internet censorship plan that could break your digital future. Here are the top five ways the TPP censors the Internet and why it should concern you:

5. The TPP could criminalize small-scale copyright infringement

4. The TPP could prohibit blind and deaf users from breaking digital locks to access their content

3. The TPP could lead to excessive copyright terms

2. The TPP may regulate temporary copies at the cost of innovation and freedom

1. The TPP could kick you off the Internet
...'

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TPP: The Most Sinister Corporate Power Grab Yet
Diane Petryk-Bloom | October 1, 2013 | Disinformation


Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)
    :: Read full press release here
    :: Download the full secret TPP treaty IP chapter as a PDF here

Quote:

Imagine. While some of us are working to curtail fracking, assure GMO labeling, promote various green and buy-local initiatives, protect Internet freedom, bolster labor rights, enforce banking regulations, behind our backs our president, Barack Obama, is working to make all those efforts moot.

I am not making this up, even if you haven’t heard of it yet.

It is the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact, only the TPP isn’t just a trade agreement. It slays safety regulations and labor protections, curtails communication freedoms, and re-writes domestic laws of the participating countries. It’s been called a mass assault on democracy and the biggest, most sinister corporate power grab yet.

The reason you haven’t heard of it is two-fold. All the negotiations, since 2008, have been going on behind thick closed doors and the major media outlets have apparently found it too hard to get a whiff and a sniff. Or, they’re in on it.

Why the secrecy? At least one Congressman, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who did manage to get a peek at a draft, as long as he promised not to reveal its contents, said it must be kept secret or the people would never stand for it.

But representatives of 600 major corporations, who are in on the negotiations, love it. That’s because, according to Kevin Reese, co-director of popularresistance.org, it gives major corporations unprecedented power.

Now, according to our U.S. Constitution, Congress has the authority to regulate trade, so why worry? Because, there’s a way to get around that and Obama is trying to use it. Just this month (Sept.), the President pressured Congress to grant him extra-constitutional authority, known as “Fast Track,” to complete the TPP without congressional scrutiny.

“Fast Track” would have Congress voting up or down on the massive document without any power to discuss or amend any of it. This is an arcane procedure devised by Richard Nixon, according to Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach, “but that was when trade negotiations covered only real trade stuff.”

Wallach describes Fast Track as a “legislative luge run.” There have been trade agreements that underwent and survived congressional scrutiny, she said. “You only need Fast Track to shove something through Congress, something that is bad for the country.” She suggests all of us contact our Congressmen and Senators and urge them not to abrogate their authority over trade. So does the Green Shadow Cabinet.

People must do their own research on this because the major media outlets aren’t taking it on. There are sporadic articles, but where’s that New York Times or Washington Post thoroughness gone? TPP is a profoundly important matter, but those who want it — think any old sweat shop proprietor up to an including Monsanto — have succeeded in keeping it quiet. A Google alert on the topic for the past three or four months has shown most reports are coming from the foreign press and obscure websites, with some exceptions. Last week TPP protestors dropped a banner from the Trade Building in Washington to protest the pact and its secret negotiations. The Post covered that – but didn’t really get into the issues.

So here’s a bit of what they’re neglecting to say:

ANYTHING THAT INTERFERES WITH PROFITS WILL BE FORBIDDEN

TPP will vaporize any law that interferes with making money. You might want to label the country of origin of a food item, for instance. Some Canadian beef got mad cow? No matter. They won’t label it Canadian. That would cut into the exporter’s profits. GMO? That would be discrimination. You prefer not to have your medicine from a Chinese factory. You won’t be able to know. Food and medicine that would formerly be blocked for not meeting our standards will have a red carpet.

Obama originally wanted to exempt tobacco regulations. Keep the warning labels. That has mostly gone by the wayside. Nations can now argue about tobacco regulations that hamper sales.

Doctors Without Borders has heard of TPP. Its members are doing the best they can to protest the plan. It promises to keep patents on medicines longer, which would make it harder to provide affordable drugs for impoverished countries and peoples.

One Michigan Congressman is working for a “Buy Local” law. It won’t be enforceable. That would be discrimination against the far off producer under the TPP. Who knows? Farmers Markets themselves might become illegal. Zeese says the TPP is not about free trade, “it’s rigged trade.” As he explains in this video, TPP is designed to allow major corporations to dominate business, which will hurt smaller countries most. And, he said, countries with laudable health care plans, like Japan, Australia and New Zealand, will be hard pressed to protect those plans. The TPP will ensure health care as a commodity.

Some labor leaders have heard of it. They say TPP will devastate an already devastated job market in the U.S. Wallach pointed out that, in the latest round of negotiations, pressure is mounting for easy visas for workers to come to the U.S. This will further deflate wages for American workers. Jobs won’t have to be sent abroad for cheap labor – the cheap labor will come to the jobs. Zeese cites studies that show the TPP will deliver merely a 0.13 increase in GDP, while furthering the race to the bottom in wages.

I am sitting in Michigan where many of the flagship businesses and single proprietor stores I used to know are all boarded up. Shopping centers are ghost towns. Most of the middle class is gone. People struggle on ever lower wages and part time status, sans benefits. A foreign employer could come in and make it even worse and under the TPP we would be helpless to protest.

Grayson said,

“I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it:

1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.

2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].

I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got. And I know you’ll be there every step of the way. For now, I’ve set up an e-mail address where you can ask me questions on this topic or other topics: askalan@graysonforcongress.com

It is hard to believe any thinking citizen without major corporate stock could see merit to the TPP. We must have effective environmental laws, health and food safety laws, fight tobacco pushers, and the rest. And, oh, I didn’t yet explain what TPP would do to Internet freedom, which is, after all, part and parcel of our essential Freedom of Speech. In the US and Canada, elsewhere, too, probably, laws would have to change about copyright infringement. Currently we have laws that differentiate between private and for-profit use. These would have to go.

Here’s the analysis of Global Trade Watch:

“Under this proposal, Internet Service Providers could be required to “police” user activity (i.e.police YOU), take down Internet content, and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated content. Violations could be as simple as the creation of a YouTube video with clips from other videos, even if for personal or educational purposes. Mandatory fines could be imposed for individuals’ noncommercial copies of copyrighted material. So downloading some music could be treated the same as large scale for profit copyright violations. Innovation would be stifled as the creation and sharing of user generated content would face new barriers and as monopoly copyrights would be extended. The TPP proposes to impose copyright protections for a minimum of 20 years for corporate-created content. Breaking digital locks for legit purposes, such as using Linux, could subject users to mandatory fines. Blind and deaf people also would be harmed by the overreach, as digital locks can block access to audio supported content and closed captioning.”

Remember SOPA? How the public outcry stopped this legislation that would have done similar? Lets hope the same people are listening.

DISPUTES WILL EVADE LEGITIMATE COURTS

Disputes under this pact won’t go to court. TPP people have got that rigged, too. The TPP creates an international tribunal. Its judges will be the lawyers and CEOS who wrote the TPP. Everyone gets screwed– except the corporations and those people working for them. (And there will be disputes. Remember when, under NAFTA, the American firm Lone Pine Resources was set to sue Quebec for $250 million over the province’s fracking moratorium?) There’s more folks. If you want to look. But one thing sums it up: The TPP is an assault on democracy. If unelected trade reps and corporate bullies can re-write our laws and make new ones impossible, what’s next? World government by multi-national corporations? You might say we’re already there and we just don’t know it. I don’t think we should give up without a fight. “Never Surrender” as Winston Churchill once said. If we do, no longer will we have the right to insist what’s right trump what’s profitable.

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Fintan
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not So Fast-Track:
House Stalls Secret International Trade Deal
http://bit.ly/185f5FL

The article says the House opposition will undermine the
credibility of US negotiators - thus making a deal impossible.

Wish it was that simple.

You can bet that there was/is a game plan for handling
the inevitable resistance from US democratic bodies.

This is just the first salvo of the battle against the
TPP geo-corporations and their stealth takeover
.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms
Maira Sutton and Parker Higgins | November 13, 2013 | EFF


Quote:

After years of secret trade negotiations over the future of intellectual property rights (and limits on those rights), the public gets a chance to looks at the results. For those of us who care about free speech and a balanced intellectual property system that encourages innovation, creativity, and access to knowledge, it’s not a pretty picture.

Today Wikileaks published a complete draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement’s chapter on “intellectual property rights.” The leaked text, from August 2013, confirms long-standing suspicions about the harm the agreement could do to users’ rights and a free and open Internet. From locking in excessive copyright term limits to further entrenching failed policies that give legal teeth to Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools, the TPP text we’ve seen today reflects a terrible but unsurprising truth: an agreement negotiated in near-total secrecy, including corporations but excluding the public, comes out as an anti-user wish list of industry-friendly policies.

Despite the Obama administration’s top U.S. negotiators’ fast approaching their self-imposed 2013 deadline to complete the agreement, today’s leak is the public’s first look at the sprawling text since a February 2011 leak [pdf] of the same chapter and a July 2012 leak of an individual section. And even as the public has been completely shut out, the U.S. Trade Representative has lobbied for wider latitude to negotiate and for “fast-track authority” to bypass Congressional review.

The document Wikileaks has published contains nearly 100 pages of bracketed text—meaning it includes annotated sections that are proposed and opposed by the negotiating countries. The text is not final, but the story it tells so far is unmistakable: United States negotiators (with occasional help from others) repeatedly pushing for restrictive policies, and facing only limited opposition, coming from countries like Chile, Canada, New Zealand, and Malaysia.


Great book: The Ultimate Daily Show and Philosophy More Moments of Zen, More Indecision Theory

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"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some background to the shady deals and why they exist.

The Business As Usual Behind The Slaughter
June 10th, 2012 | Lars Schall


“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.” Smedley D. Butler

Quote:

Business As Usual Behind The Slaughter
Juni 10th, 2012 Kommentare deaktiviert
Empfehlen / Bookmarken
In this exclusive interview for Asia Times Online, the economist Guido Preparata highlights the history of the first half of the 20th Century from a rather unusual perspective. He shows how the Anglo-American policy was designed right from the beginning to eliminate Germany as an obstacle to Western domination aspirations. The result: a division of Eurasia along a specific major fault line. Later on, Preparata also talks about critical aspects of the current state of affairs in global finance, economics, and politics. He says: “It is the quest for power that drives history, not economics.”

By Lars Schall

The following exclusive interview was published at ASIA TIMES ONLINE under this link:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/NF30Dj03.html

“Truth would quickly cease to become stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.” H.L. Mencken

Guido Giacomo Preparata was born 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in the United States, France, and Italy. He has obtained a B.S. in Economics at the Libera Università degli Studi Sociali (LUISS, Rome, Italy), an M-Phil in criminology at the University of Cambridge (UK), a Master’s degree in Economics, and a PhD in Political Economy & Public Policy, both from the University of Southern California (USC, Los Angeles, USA).

Preparata is the author of the books “Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America made the Third Reich” (Pluto Press, 2005) – see:

http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745321813&,

and “The Ideology of Tyranny: The Use of Neo-Gnostic Myth in American Politics” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) – see:

http://us.macmillan.com/theideologyoftyranny/GuidoGiacomoPreparata

From 2000 to 2008 Preparata was an Associate Professor of Political Economy at the University of Washington, USA. Moreover, he worked as a research associate at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI, Palo Alto, USA), and subsequently joined the research division of the Department of Supervision and Regulation at the Bank of Italy. In 2005, as a visiting professor of economics and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Jordan, in Amman, he has conducted research on Political Islam, terrorism and Islamic economics. At present he serves as a lecturer in criminology at Kwantlen Polythechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.

His own website can be found here: http://www.guidopreparata.com/.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not so fast TPP....
According to this article, Obama is facing an uphill battle in Congress to get the TPP passed, as it proves to be highly inpopular, not only in the US, but also some of its strongest "allies" like Japan, Canada and Australia; let's keep up the good fight!

Quote:
The TPP's Not Dead Yet (But It's Close)
A group in Congress is trying to revive interest in TPP, but it might be too little, too late.

By Shannon Tiezzi
December 07, 2013

As my colleague Zachary Keck reported several weeks ago, the ambitious economic agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership hit a major roadblock in mid-November when a large bipartisan group in Congress expressed concerns over the negotiating process. Now, a new Congressional caucus is trying to regain momentum on the agreement.

The Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Caucus, officially launched on Oct. 29, 2013, represents a counter-attack to the growing tide of anti-TPP sentiment. The four co-chairs of the caucus include two Democrats and two Republicans: Dave Reichert (R-WA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D., (R-LA), and Gregory Meeks (D-NY). In a statement on the release of the caucus, each of the co-chairs reaffirmed their commitment to TPP, and their belief that the agreement represents an opportunity both for the U.S. and for average Americans.

Two of the co-chairs, Boustany and Reichert, expanded on these ideas in an event held yesterday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Both expressed their belief that the TPP would be good for their constituents, and good for the U.S. in general. Boustany and Reichert also seemed optimistic about the chances of getting Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority, which would allow the Obama administration to negotiate TPP without worrying about Congress adding amendments.

Still, they acknowledged the challenges ahead for the agreement. With all the negative publicity surrounding TPP, “it’s going to require all hands on deck” to produce results, said Boustany. He meant that the administration would need to coordinate a pro-TPP push in all relevant departments, including the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office as well as the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Treasury. Meanwhile, Reichert said that Congressional support would be needed “to pull the administration along.” Put their statements together, and it becomes clear that TPP will need strong backing in both the executive and legislative branches to survive.

Any sort of free trade agreement is notoriously difficult to get through Congress. For example, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2007, but not actually approved by Congress until October 2011. In the meantime, the U.S. and South Korea had to continue negotiations on the deal to make it more palatable. As Boustany mentioned at the CSIS discussion, bilateral FTAs are tough to pass, but TPP is an enormous multilateral deal and will be proportionately more difficult.

Plus, TPP faces additional challenges beyond those normally faced by FTAs. While most FTAs face opposition from interest groups in vulnerable industries like textiles, agriculture, and manufacturing, TPP is threatened by public disapproval on a much wider level. The secretive process of TPP negotiations has many on edge, especially as recent spying scandals have eroded trust in the U.S. government. The draft texts of the treaty are not publicly available, and even many members of Congress don’t have access to the documents.

However, the drafts are shown to around 700 “cleared advisers” who largely represent business interests. As Susan Sell, a political science professor at George Washington University, wrote for the Washington Post, people with access to drafts “include representatives of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Entertainment Software Association, as well as firms such as Gilead Sciences, Johnson and Johnson, Verizon, Cisco Systems, and General Electric.” This has led to concerns that TPP is designed for corporate interests, and will not actually benefit average Americans (much less the rest of the world).

To take one example, according to the draft of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Rights Chapter posted on WikiLeaks, some of the provisions are similar to those found in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Both of these acts failed to pass in the U.S. due in part to intense public debate. Now many are concerned that the U.S. government is using the secretive TPP process to put in place regulations that the American public has already rejected. Julian Assange, the Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, accused the Obama administration of “aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.”

This perception is gaining hold. During the latest round of meetings in Salt Lake City in late November, activists held protests demanding more transparency in the process. And the protests aren’t just limited to the U.S. — there have also been protests in Japan, Canada, and Australia, all of which are considered some of the U.S.’ strongest allies in the TPP negotiations. In fact, according to an article in The Monkey Cage by Gabriel Michael, the U.S. is one of the most isolated countries in the TPP negotiations. His analysis, based on the draft released by WikiLeaks, shows that the U.S. has a tendency to oppose popular provisions and propose unpopular ones.

With support at home and abroad flagging, it will take a concentrated effort to push the TPP through both the final negotiating stage and then past Congress. At this point, it’s fair to wonder if Obama has the ability to push through a controversial trade agreement — and if so, if that’s actually where he wants to spend his remaining political capital. A bruising fight with Congress over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, coupled with a disastrous first month for Obama’s signature health care system, has led to record lows in the President’s approval ratings. As of December 5, Obama’s approval rating was in the low 40 or high 30 percent range, leaving Obama without much wiggle room when it comes to pushing forward on unpopular policies. Plus, the administration will need its energy for other concerns. The historic deal with Iran already faces trouble in Congress, where senators opposed to the deal are working on their own bill to add sanctions on Iran.

Obama will have to pick his battles in the remaining years of his presidency, and TPP might not make the cut. Without strong presidential backing, even the TPP’s friends in Congress recognize any effort to pass the agreement would be futile. And then it’s back to square one as to how the U.S. will organize its economic “rebalance to Asia.”


source; http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/the-tpps-not-dead-yet-but-its-close/

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Avaaz organization (OK, I don't agree either with all of their actions) has started an electronic (e-mail) campaign to stop TPP. Go to;

http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_champagne_for_monsanto_loc/?slideshow

and sign up. Let your voice be heard!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trans-Pacific Partnership: The Fast Track to Poverty
Leo Gerard | 15, 2014 | AlterNet


American workers need a new trade philosophy, one that protects them and puts people first, not corporations. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be a disaster.

Quote:

That giant sucking sound predicted by Ross Perot commenced 20 years ago last week. It is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) vacuuming up U.S. jobs and depositing them in Mexico.

Independent presidential candidate Perot was right. NAFTA swept U.S. industry south of the border. It made Wall Street happy. It made multi-national corporations obscenely profitable. But it destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of American workers.

NAFTA’s backers promised it would create American jobs, just as promoters of the Korean and Chinese trade arrangements said they would and advocates of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal contend it will. They were – and still are – brutally wrong. NAFTA, the Korean deal and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization killed American jobs. They lowered wages. They diminished what America cherishes: opportunity. They contributed to the very ill that President Obama is crusading against: income inequality. There is no evidence the TPP would be any different. American workers need a new trade philosophy, one that protects them and puts people first, not corporations.

After 20 years, Americans know in their guts the damage NAFTA did to them, the destruction it caused to American manufacturing. There’s also concrete proof. In a study titled “NAFTA at 20,” released this month, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch concludes:

“After two decades of NAFTA, the evidence is clear: the vaunted deal failed at its promises of job creation and better living standards while contributing to mass job losses, soaring income inequality, agricultural instability, corporate attacks on domestic health and environmental safeguards, and mass displacement and volatility in Mexico.”

It points out that the NAFTA snake-oil salesmen at the Peterson Institute promised it would create 170,000 jobs a year. A year! Instead, it cost America at least 845,000 jobs. That is the number of manufacturing workers who were able to jump through all of the red-taped hoops necessary to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) after corporations moved their jobs across the border. The study’s authors believe hundreds of thousands of additional workers lost their jobs because of NAFTA but did not qualify for the federal TAA aid.

The study also notes that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that two out of every three displaced manufacturing workers who secured new jobs in 2012 did so at slashed wages, the majority at a cut of more than 20 percent.

The result is rising income inequality. It happens like this: workers lose their good-paying factory jobs and take lower-paying positions. This increases competition for low-skill, low-pay jobs that can’t be offshored, such as hamburger flipping and shelf stocking. While a small number of corporate executives and wealthy shareholders profit from moving factories across borders, it forces increasing numbers of workers to vie for minimum-wage jobs. As a result, income inequality now matches the level it was during the robber baron days before the Great Depression.


Related: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Environment Chapter

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Global Fight Against Corporate Rule
Robin Broad and John Cavanagh | January 14, 2014 | The Nation


Activists are challenging rules that grant corporations the right to sue governments.



Quote:

Over the past several decades, multinational corporate Goliaths have helped to write and rewrite hundreds of rules skewing tax, trade, investment and other policies in their favor. The extraordinary damage these policies have caused has become increasingly apparent to the communities and governments most directly affected by them. This, in turn, has strengthened the potential of a movement that’s emerging to try to reverse the momentum. But just like David with his slingshot, the local, environmental and government leaders seeking to revise rules to favor communities and the planet must pick their battles carefully.

One of the most promising of these battles takes aim at an egregious set of agreements that allow corporations to sue national governments. Until three decades ago, governments could pass laws to protect consumers, workers, health, the environment and domestic firms with little threat of outside legal challenge from corporations. All that changed when corporations started acquiring the “right” to sue governments over actions—including public interest regulations—that reduce the value of their investments. These rights first appeared in little-known bilateral investment treaties. Twenty years ago, corporate lawyers embedded them in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Today, more than 3,000 trade and investment agreements and even some national investment laws grant foreign investors these powers.

The Obama administration is attempting to insert similar anti-democratic investor protections in new trade and investment agreements with countries that border the Pacific and with the European Union. Hoping to expedite the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), congressional leaders introduced fast-track trade promotion legislation on January 9 that would severely limit Congress’s ability to amend such agreements. The widely anticipated move set off a storm of protest from unions, environmentalists, liberal members of Congress and others, and will likely remain a high-profile fight in the coming weeks.

The forces aligned against these proposed agreements are not alone. Activists across the globe are developing creative and increasingly effective strategies to push back against investor assaults on their communities, environment and national sovereignty. An important front has opened up in El Salvador, where a multinational firm is using investor powers to sue the government over the “right” to mine gold. This case represents an extreme assault on democracy, as local communities, the majority of the Salvadoran public and the Salvadoran government all oppose the gold mining. But what’s happening in El Salvador is not an anomaly. There are crucial battles brewing in several other Latin American countries—including Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador—as well as in other parts of the developing world.

At the very least, these struggles should give the Obama administration pause as it considers the next round of trade agreements. But what makes them so strategic—and promising—is that powerful citizen groups are persuading governments to take up the challenge. As they do, they are building momentum in a broad global fight against investor rights.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Secret TPP Negotiations—And Public Protests—To Be Held in New York City
Maira Sutton | January 23, 2015 | EFF


Quote:
The next round of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations begins this Monday, January 26, and runs through the following week at the Sheraton New York Time Square Hotel in downtown Manhattan. As with many previous TPP meetings, the public will be shut out of talks as negotiators convene behind closed doors to decide binding rules that could impact how our lawmakers set digital policy in the decades to come. Big content industry interests have been given privileged access to negotiating texts and have driven the US Trade Representative's mandate when it comes to copyright—which is why the TPP carries extreme copyright measures that ignore users' rights.

Some claim that this could be the final official round of TPP negotiations. The White House and Congressional lawmakers are now hard at work to pass a law to fast track this agreement and other secretive deals through Congress to ratification. Fast Track, also known as trade promotion authority (TPA) would transfer Congress' power over trade policy to the President, by preventing them from debating or modifying the terms of trade deals after international negotiations are finalized. The countries negotiating TPP with the US are willing to give in and agree to bad copyright rules as long as they get the other gains they were promised—things like market access and lowered tariffs so they can sell their products to US consumers. But those other countries will not budge without a guarantee that the overwhelming public opposition to the agreement won't prevent its adoption in the United States. Fast Track offers that guarantee; that's one reason the White House is now desperate to pass it.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So business can help write all the rules considered - enough said! And you can be assured there is no bribe money being handed off here. Trust us! On all of these parameters? Regulatory Cooperation is bad news for consumers, workers and the environment. It means that corporations can co-write our regulation. As usual, citizens are left in the dark about what is being negotiated. The only thing that can fight corporate power is people power. Do we really want sociopathic Hillary Clinton types bargaining on our behalf? Of course the answer is NO!

A state should/must first look after its own citizens, provide healthcare, education etc...

One aspect of this high seas piracy act; investors come first. If a company/corporation does not like the situation is has been dealt, they can sue the government of the nation(s) involved. Arbitrated actually. Then the populace is on the hook for the lawsuit funds payment and judgements made by the arbitration board. All behind closed doors. This process/backdoor to your money will become so corrupt over a short period of time. This high seas piracy agreement will create a brand new, secretive legal system that parasites will flog to squeeze populations financially. Huge sums that should be spent on the respective societies.

Why do these scum bargain in the dark? Why all the travel? Why can't they just use technology and video conference? During these talks and other times they need to meet and discuss why not Skype? Because they do not want their sick and twisted little plans exposed by the likes of anonymous or anyone else with technological savvy. I can just imagine the work force that will be employed; with their little black sharpie markers, when the document (that probably already exists) is presented to the Public.

Where's Bono when ya need him? Angelina? Or Clooney? Useless pincushions.



Related: Oppose Fast Track for the TPP

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"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go to Prison for Sharing Files? That's What Hollywood Wants in the Secret TPP Deal
February 12, 2015 | By Maira Sutton | EFF


Quote:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States' excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains extreme DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP's Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.

Here, we'd like to explore yet another set of rules in TPP that will chill users' rights. Those are the criminal enforcement provisions, which based upon the latest leak from May 2014 is still a contested and unresolved issue. It's about whether users could be jailed or hit with debilitating fines over allegations of copyright infringement.

Key points:
    :: Dangerously Low Threshold of Criminality
    :: Penalties That Must be "Sufficiently High"
    :: Property Seizure and Asset Forfeiture
    :: Criminalization of Getting Around DRM (digital rights management)

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"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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