OP ED - for ALL USA to SUBMIT to YOUR LOCAL PAPERS *full permission given
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OP ED - #1
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
A Corporate Coup D’Etat Against American
Democracy and the Public Interest
By Jonathan M. Ruga and Rocky Anderson
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement being negotiated in secret between twelve nations, including the United States. The Obama Administration, with the support of many members of both parties, claims the TPP will permit U.S. companies to compete more effectively in the global marketplace by lowering trade barriers. The reality, though, is far different.
Only about a third of the agreement addresses typical trade matters. The balance is a secretive ploy to further enrich and empower multinational corporations to the detriment of the health, safety, and quality of life of millions of men, women, and children in the United States and other participating nations.
Among the most egregious problems of the TPP are: (1) the forfeiture of U.S. sovereignty; (2) the secretive negotiating process; (3) provisions that will lead to untold suffering and devastation; and (4) the dangerous “Fast Track” approval process.
In our constitutional republic, the people are to be the source of governmental power. Our democracy depends on a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The TPP repudiates all of that, providing that its terms – even as to matters vital to the health, safety, and welfare of the people –will be the last word, regardless of what our elected representatives, and even our courts, decide. The TPP, with its own supreme tribunal, will be the ultimate arbiter, the public interest, including civil and human rights, be damned.
The U.S. has been negotiating the TPP for four years, yet the public and the media have been left in the dark (except for the recent Wikileaks disclosure of the TPP chapter on intellectual property). Although the public and even most members of Congress have been denied access to the TPP, approximately 600 “cleared advisers” – mostly representatives of multinational corporations (including Walmart, Chevron, Haliburton, and Monsanto) – have access to the TPP and are providing their self-serving input.
Approval of the TPP will be the culmination of the democracy-destroying oligarchic trend toward a government bought and paid for by behemoth companies in the banking, defense, fossil fuel, health insurance, and pharmaceutical industries – and by the Walmarts of the world that care little about decent wages, working conditions, or the availability of U.S. jobs.
The TPP prohibits U.S. laws that impose regulatory constraints on Wall Street’s activities, setting the scene for another major economic disaster – one that will once again enrich the too-big-to-fail banks and their executives, at the expense of millions of ordinary Americans.
The TPP makes it easier for multinationals to shift jobs to countries with the lowest wages and fewest worker protections. Consequently, as with NAFTA, millions of U.S.jobs will be lost. The TPP will dangerously affect our food supply by imposing restrictions on a country’s ability to limit pesticides, preservatives, and genetically-modified organisms, and will extend drug patents denying affordable life-saving drugs for millions of people.
Making all of this even worse is the demand of the Obama Administration to “fast track” the approval process, eliminating the ability of Congress to make any amendments to the agreement. To ramrod the TPP through Congress without any opportunity by the public, public-interest organizations, or true public servants in Congress to analyze and expose the many provisions inimical to the public interest would be the opposite of the President’s promise of transparency in government.
If we the people are to be truly sovereign, we must act like it. Citizen awareness and engagement are at the core of our democracy. We must all take a stand for our democracy – and against corporate control of our health, safety, and welfare – by letting our senators and congresspersons know they will pay a heavy political price if they betray our interests by selling out to the multinational corporations behind the unprecedented power-grab of the TPP.
Jonathan M. Ruga is a local businessman, lawyer, and community activist. Rocky Anderson is the former mayor of Salt Lake City, a civil rights lawyer, and a community activist.
* Full permission is given to alter this, to make it your own. Try to find LOCAL WELL-KNOWN people with some clout in your community to put their names to this as did this two prominent men in Salt Lake City, Utah community. It is more likely to get published with several well-know community members or leaders of important community organizations.
"After several rounds of intense editing, we have reduced its size to just over 600 words, which is the maximum length permitted by most newspapers for their Op Ed sections.
Please feel free to submit it to as many newspapers and websites as possible. I am submitting it this morning to the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News." - J. Rugga
BE SURE TO POST IN THE COMMENTS BELOW WHICH PAPERS YOU SUBMIT TO... & WHEN IT GETS PUBLISHED. Thanks! :)
OP ED - #2
As you may know, a new trade agreement spanning 12 countries is being discussed in Congress. Today January 10th 2014, Senator Max Baucus and Representative David Camp introduced a bill to “fast track” these trade negotiations, essentially cutting out debate of critical issues, and giving the President the authority to negotiate the agreements without input.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive new international trade pact being negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Just among those countries, it would be the largest Free Trade Agreement in U.S. history, covering approximately 40% of the global economy, but the TPP is also specifically intended as a “docking agreement” that other Pacific Rim countries would join over time, with Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea and others already expressing some interest.
We are concerned about many issues that the proposed agreement would affect, including food safety, access to affordable medications, toy safety, invasion of data privacy, and more. We are also very concerned about the potential loss of “buy local” markets, which would result in a loss of income for many Montana local businesses and farmers who could not compete with transnational companies without these great programs.
Attached you will find a fact sheet that explains key concerns of the new proposed trade agreement. They include:
· Opening local, state, and federal policies up to
attack by foreign corporations (such as rolling back
renewable energy policies and more);
· Rollback of financial reforms;
· Weakening food safety standards;
· Opposition of alternative energy;
· Weakening of regulation of pharmaceuticals;
· Invasion of data privacy;
· Loss of “buy local” campaigns;
· Unlabeled GMO food;
· Weakened pesticide standards; and
· Lower consumer product safety standards for toxic chemicals in products, including toys.
Given the scope and importance of the issues addressed under the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (also referred to as TAFTA), it is critical that each of these issues get the attention they deserve in the public debate. If fast track legislation is passed, this will never happen.
Therefore, we are circulating a sign-on letter to the Montana Representative Steve Daines and Senator Jon Tester, asking them to OPPOSE the fast track legislation, which we expect will be introduced as early as January 8th. The letter is attached for your review.
Can we count on your organization to join us in demanding a full public debate about this massive trade deal by signing on today? We need to get them as many signatures as possible, as soon as possible! Our deadline is January 20th.
To sign on, please email Erin Switalski <firstname.lastname@example.org> with your name, organizational name and title, and contact information.
Montanans Against the TPP
(Rita Jankowska-Bradley, Erin Switalski, Liz Stoeckel, Ruth Crystal, Cliff Bradley, Alexandria Smith, Erin Barb)
Op-ed in the Seattle Times, Dec 29, 2013