Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four yearsor five years, respectively, after the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated?
The TPP, TiSA and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP, which covers Europe) will collectively encompass three-fourths of the world’s GDP; and they ultimately seek to encompass nearly 90 percent of GDP. Despite this enormous global impact, fast-track authority would allow the President to sign the deals before their terms have been made public, and send implementing legislation to Congress that cannot be amended or filibustered and is not subject to the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds treaty vote.
While the deals are being negotiated, lawmakers can see their terms only under the strictest secrecy, and they can be subjected to criminal prosecution for revealing those terms. What we know of them comes only through WikiLeaks. The agreements are being treated as if they were a matter of grave national security, yet they are not about troop movements or military strategy. Something else is obviously going on.
The bizarre, unconstitutional, blatantly illegal nature of this enforced secrecy was highlighted in a May 15th article by Jon Rappoport, titled “What Law Says the Text of the TPP Must Remain Secret?” He wrote:
It seems like a case of mass hypnosis. . . .
Members of Congress are scuttling around like weasels, claiming they can’t disclose what’s in this far-reaching, 12-nation trade treaty.
They can go into a sealed room and read a draft, but they can’t copy pages, and they can’t tell the public what they just read.
If there is a US law forbidding disclosure, name the law.
Can you recall anything in the Constitution that establishes secret treaties?
Is there a prior treaty that states the text of all treaties can be hidden from the people?
To Congressmen who say they cannot reveal what is in a treaty that will adversely affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, Rappoport says:
Wrong. You’re lying. You can reveal secret text. In fact, it’s your duty. Otherwise, you’re guilty of cooperating in a RICO criminal conspiracy.
A Corporate Coup d’Ãtat
What is going on was predicted by David Korten in his 1995 blockbuster, When Corporations Rule The World. Catherine Austin Fitts calls it a “corporate coup d’etat.”
This corporate coup includes the privatization and offshoring of the judicial function delegated to the US court system in the Constitution, through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that strengthen existing ISDS procedures. …
Unable to pass the Fast Track bill that just barely squeaked through the Senate in May, the House resorted to sending back a different version of the legislation on Thursday, June 19.
The overall trade package sent back by the House is considerably worse than the already-bad package previously approved by the Senate. We obviously want the Senate to reject this new package.
As short-sighted and inappropriate as the original Ryan-Hatch Fast Track bill was, the House package would also weaken human trafficking measures; eliminate simple currency measures and other enforcement provisions; and even prohibit the consideration of climate solutions in future trade negotiations.
For those Senators concerned about job retraining programs for displaced workers or the future of the Export-Import Bank, this package also relies on Democrats to simply trust the goodwill of House Republicans to pass those later, even though they are openly hostile to both.
The fact that the House could not find the votes to pass the Senate-approved Fast Track bill is a testament to the strong public opposition to the legislation. The current merry-go-round of bills signals just how unpopular job-killing trade policy is across the country, with Congress members desperate to cover themselves from the constituent fury they’ll face back home if Fast Track ever passes for real.
The Senate is expected to hold a “cloture” vote on Fast Track as soon as Tuesday, June 23 — which would require the support of 60 Senators for the bill to proceed. Please urge your Senators to vote NO on cloture for Fast Track.
Here’s an initial list of actions taking place prior to the vote…
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Job Loss, Lower Wages and Higher Drug Prices
Have you heard? The TPP is a massive, controversial “free trade” agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The TPP would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “trade” pact model that has spurred massive U.S. trade deficits and job loss, downward pressure on wages, unprecedented levels of inequality and new floods of agricultural imports. The TPP not only replicates, but expands NAFTA’s special protections for firms that offshore U.S. jobs. And U.S. TPP negotiators literally used the 2011 Korea FTA – under which exports have fallen and trade deficits have surged – as the template for the TPP.
In one fell swoop, this secretive deal could:
Although it is called a “free trade” agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP’s 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.
The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the “expected future profits” they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies.We only know about the TPP’s threats thanks to leaks – the public is not allowed to see the draft TPP text. Even members of Congress, after being denied the text for years, are now only provided limited access. Meanwhile, more than 500 official corporate “trade advisors” have special access. The TPP has been under negotiation for six years, and the Obama administration wants to sign the deal this year. Opposition to the TPP is growing at home and in many of the other countries involved.
Flush the TPP!
Cross border network against the Trans Pacific Partnership