“Ambassador Froman was asked on I think it was four different areas, and each time he said it was absolutely non-negotiable from a U.S. standpoint,” [Rep. Mark] Pocan told The Huffington Post. “So then at the end, I listed those four areas to make sure I had the U.S. position right. And he said again it was non-negotiable. And then right after that, Lloyd Doggett got up and said, ‘So does that mean that if we give you fast track, you won’t send us a deal that doesn’t have that stuff in it?’ And right off the bat, the answer was, ‘I didn’t say that.’ And to me, non-negotiable is, you know, non-negotiable.”
The report, “No Fracking Way,” states that the Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause would enable corporations to claim damages in secret courts or arbitration panels if they believe their profits are adversely affected by changes in a regulation or policy. Those companies could seek compensation through private international tribunals. U.S. firms or those with a subsidiary in the U.S. that invest in Europe could also use those rights to seek compensation for future bans or other regulation on fracking. The arbitrators are mainly set up for investment cases and not part of the normal judicial system, according to the report.
Cheri Honkala of the Poor Peoples Economic Campaign and Vice President of the Green Shadow Cabinet joins the host Dennis Trainor, Jr. and the Resistance Report panel (Nicole Carty (The Other 98%), Julianna Forlano (Absurdity Today) and Joel Northam (Acronym TV Contributor) – to discuss the jobs crisis in the United States, the perpetually underemployed, and the impact of a raise in the minimum wage versus a policy that guaranteed an income for all.
In 2011, when occupy encampments exploded across the United States putting the issue of the unfair economy and corruption of Wall Street on the political agenda, there was also an explosion of activist art. Beginning with the iconic image of the ballerina on top of the Wall Street Bull, art has been central to occupy and was an important reason for its powerful impact. The explosion of arts activism involves a wide variety of artistic forms: puppets, balloons, music, meme’s, posters, banners, plays, street theater, poetry, animation and light displays among others. Art has added vitality and energy to advocacy; and it reaches people at deeper emotional levels and in their hearts conveying what cannot be said with mere facts.
New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser said the ministers had made progress on outstanding issues, including market access and proposed copyright and patent rules. But he said market access for goods such as dairy products, beef and sugar remain a sticking point. “In trade negotiations there’s no such thing as a make or break meeting. What we’re going is slowly chipping away at a vast stone to get down to the kernel of a very good quality trade agreement and we’ve made very good progress, but we’re not there yet.” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said market access for agriculture in Japan remained a “significant” issue, but played down the idea that TPP talks might proceed without Japan, the second-biggest economy in the bloc, Reuters reports. The talks ended with no precise time frame to clinch the agreements and Mr Groser does not expect the ministers to meet again until at least late April.
Last week, more than 120 members of Congress sent a clear message to the United States Trade Representative: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact must have a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter that addresses the core conservation challenges of the region. The letter comes just days before officials from the 12 governments involved in the TPP began a meeting in Singapore to try to make progress on an agreement that is facing increasingly steep opposition from the American public and members of Congress. In the letter, members of Congress recognized that while they don’t all agree on the trade pact in general, they do all agree on the need for a strong environment chapter that builds on the so-called “May 10th Agreement,” a political agreement struck on May 10, 2007, between then-President George Bush and Congress. The May 10th Agreement set minimum standards for all environment chapters of U.S. trade pacts.
As long as U.S. trade negotiators give favorable treatment to corporations, they’ll continue to neglect the public interest groups’ input on trade policy. That conflict is especially ironic given that our positions on the TPP provisions are directly concerned with innovation, investment, and job creation. This is nowhere clearer than in our criticism against the U.S. proposals on ISP liability, DRM, and its proposal to expand the standard of copyright term lengths even farther. Trade deals that uphold corporate interests above all other concerns are not going to be improved by a slight tweak in the current process. This new Public Interest TAC is far from enough to address the gross lack of transparency in this process—and worse, will likely be used as a fig leaf to justify the U.S. Trade Rep’s ongoing cozy relationships with industry groups in the other existing TACs. EFF will not legitimize this back-room lobbying process only to be ignored by the U.S. Trade Rep, or be limited by a Non-Disclosure Agreement. As members of civil society, it is our job to report and explain what is going on in secret proceedings to the public so we can work to stop bad law altogether.
If Barack Obama’s ambitious trade agenda falls apart, the US president could blame the likes of Richard Ochs, a 74-year-old retired welder from a Baltimore shipyard, and his three-quarter sized guitar. On January 31 Mr Ochs visited an office park in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to provide the music for one of 33 rallies across the country to quash Mr Obama’s push for trade deals with 11 Pacific nations and the EU. He strummed the chords of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, a classic American folk song, but with different lyrics. “Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership/flush the TPP,” he sang, drawing cheers from the crowd of environmentalists in yellow hard hats and Teamster labour union members in black bomber jackets. “This is very dangerous to democracy. It’s an international corporate coup and we have to fight it,” Mr Ochs said, accusing Mr Obama of pursuing trade deals that would undermine labour, environmental, health and safety standards – and internet freedom to boot.
We are in the midst of an era of media transition. The corporate media is facing tremendous financial, employee and audience challenges. At the root of their problem is credibility. In 2004, Gallup reported that “39% currently say they have ‘not very much’ confidence in the media’s accuracy and fairness, while 16% say they have ‘none at all.’” Gallup reported this was the lowest credibility rating in three decades. But, the decline continued and by 2012 Gallup reported that distrust of the media had risen by 5% to 60% having little or no trust in the media – a new record. A 2013 Gallup poll found only 1 in 4 Americans trust television or newspaper news. At the same time technology has given rise to a new people-powered media. People can now turn their telephones into a video outlet and their social networks into a newspaper. Repeatedly we have seen someone publish a video from their phone and make national news. Any individual can go onto social networking outlets and reach thousands, if not tens of thousands of people in this new democratized media. We now have the ability to educate each other and tell our narrative of what is occurring. The movement is not dependent on the corporate media.
In this week’s Resistance Report week in we review stories from the week of action in the movement for social and economic justce. The Resistance Report covers: The Day We Fight Back Against The NSA: this Tuesday a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA’s mass spying regime; Massive Resistance Building To Stop #KXL: over 200 events took place from coast to coast saying ‘No KXL’; Did We Defeat the TPP?: A growing movement of movements to organize, educate, and resist the fast track authority; and What Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Can Teach Us About Climate Change: Claiming the KXL will not have a negative impact on the environment is like Walter White saying heroin is as healthy as kale.
Developments on fast track trade promotion authority continue to slow progress on two controversial corporate trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its European cousin. The incoming chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (OR), has said he is not going to rush on fast track. The Baucus-Camp fast track bill seems to be dead and if there is going to be a fast track bill it will be something different from traditional fast track laws, most recently passed in 2002. Members of Congress realize that rigged global trade agreements are not popular with the American people who have learned the lesson of NAFTA — corporate trade only helps the transnational corporations it does not help workers in the United States or around the world, puts the environment at risk and creates economic disruption that harms economies. The economic harm to the United States is seen in massive trade deficits, losses of hundreds of thousands of jobs and lowered incomes since the modern era of free trade took root in the Clinton era.
Over The Past Six Months, Network Evening News Shows Have Completely Ignored The TPP. A Media Matters transcript search of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, andNBC Nightly News with Brian Williams from August 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014 found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. TPP received one mention on PBS’ Newshour, when Doug Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued that approving the TPP would improve relations with Asian nations. During the same six-month period, the three largest cable networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News — covered the ongoing negotiations 33 times during their evening programming. The overwhelming majority of these mentions (32) originated on MSNBC and aired during The Ed Show.
A diverse network of organizations opposing Fast Track legislation announced they are extending their 10 days of activism following massive and widespread public action. Since its inception on January 22nd, more than 100 new groups have joined the effort at StopFastTrack.com, including Coalition for a Prosperous America, Ben & Jerry’s, Free Software Foundation, SumOfUs, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Namecheap, and CREDO — adding to an already impressive, and unlikely, list of groups like reddit, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, MoveOn, LabelGMOs, and Fight for the Future. The social-media-fueled campaign has been embraced by more than 120 organizations and coincided with more than 50 rallies and teach-ins across the U.S., Canada and Mexico last week alone. Nearly 600,000 people have signed petitions or sent emails to lawmakers, and members of Congress have already received more than 40,000 phone calls from constituents who oppose Fast Track. A simultaneous social media push known as a Thunderclap reached 5.4 million users.
An interview with Kevin Zeese, organizer with Flush the TPP and Popular Resistance.
It has been 20 years since NAFTA, (North American free Trade agreement) went into effect with the promise of more equality, more jobs, and a better, more prosperous and peaceful world for all of us. Given that NAFTA has contributed to a world that is a negative image of what was sold to us, it is no surprise that the global elite and the Obama administration have been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in secret.