Last spring and summer we saw an unprecedented social outrage over the fast-tracking of Trans Pacific Partnership legislation. Activists from all sectors converged and spoke with a loud voice against this dangerous "trade" deal. This is important to Americans on both sides of the political aisle as well as anyone concerned with job security, the environment, social justice, or public health. Now the public has an opportunity to weigh-in before it is voted on. The public comment period for TPP is open until January 13, 2016. If you are not already aware of why this is important to you, then just keep reading.
This morning I received a message from Elizabeth Mueller, activist/blogger and independent journalist asking if I would write a piece for Huffington Post. She is the host of the ongoing Facebook Event: "TPP Threatens Our Human Rights". I joined the Facebook Group last spring and found it very informative along with practical steps for concerned citizens to get involved. I asked her for a succinct list of information and she forwarded me a synopsis. I felt as though it is significantly thorough as is so am posting it below.
What is TPP?
600 corporations (see complete list here) secretly lobbied Congress for several years to propose that transnational CEOs should have the ability to openly subvert the sovereignty of citizens from 12+ nations.
These companies have used bribery and criminal activity, which violates our U.S. Constitutional rights and U.S. Supreme Courts, to pressure politicians into selling out their respective constituents into a system that dissolves sovereignty and allows 12+ countries to be ruled by private, offshore ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) courts. See Senator Elizabeth Warren explain this in more detail here.
Basically, any offshore company can seek to change our laws by waging a lawsuit in offshore courts, where corporations are "judge and jury." In TPP's ISDS courts, citizens have no representation--and random unelected CEOs act like a "nation state" to sue nations into changing local or national laws--or forcibly demand compensation (extortion money), in the form of rigged lawsuit settlements.
Any law that stands in the way of a company's profits such as, health safety laws, workers rights, women's rights, food safety, gay rights, animal rights, min. wages, unions, civil rights, nuclear power plant regulations, etc. can be "challenged" in this non-democratically elected international court.
Corporations probably will "win" their cases because they control all aspects of ISDS courts. If a company "wins" its case against a country then local or national laws must be changed. Even if it means drinking water can now be poisoned with toxic substances, food safety goes unregulated, minimum wages are slashed or terminated, unions are busted, women are deemed second class citizens, etc. the corporations will decide. If a random offshore CEO (particularly a CEO from a country where women have few rights or workers are expected to accept sweatshop wages) wants to change one of our laws--that CEO can go to the offshore ISDS court and have his way. (Learn more here
If for some odd reason this request is denied the CEO who is complaining to his buddies wins a "settlement." This settlement is simply an arbitrary amount of money that the person fantasizes is owed to him for "projected lost future profits" and this number can be in the millions to billions.
From there a country is forced to take on this debt and pass it onto citizens, via taxes and severe austerity. In fact, entire countries can be forced to liquidate all their assets to pay these manufactured debts that can potentially bankrupt a country if enough large lawsuits pile up against a nation.
They are behaving like a mafia, where citizens must pay them for keeping what citizens should have always had for free... their Constitutional rights. Americans, you are about to be taxed for your own laws and sovereign rights if we don't stop TPP.
Many people are calling TPP a "global coup" and there is a good reason for that. TPP is a "docking agreement." What that means is that for as long as dirty politicians accept bribes, they can sell off their countries and citizens into TPP. Eventually, the CEOs will solicit the politicians of all countries to turing their backs on their own citizens and selling them into the ISDS courts, which function like global dictatorships on paper.
WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS.
The propaganda surrounding TPP is thick. Even the fact TPP is called a "trade" deal is misleading. TPP may as well be called "an elephant in a pink tutu"...because this "deal" has about as much to do with an elephant as it does with "trade."
In other words, the term "trade deal" is a misnomer. Trade implies a somewhat equal exchange of goods and services, between parties. Unfortunately, TPP is not a deal between countries, exchanging goods. It is a deal between rich, offshore businessmen using our rights, safety, health, labor, and sovereignty as bargaining chips in their closed, private, risky gambling game.
Obama says "TPP will create jobs"...really? How? Where? What will these jobs look like?
TPP plans to do away with tariffs, which give products and services generated by sweatshop labor the market advantage. So if new jobs are created, they will be in countries where union leaders are not existent or even violently threatened but definitely not here in the U.S. There may be a few middle-management, "slave-driver" jobs to crack the whip over third world factories and workers. U.S. jobs will go under, because they can't compete with a new global norm to market products made from slave labor by workers with no benefits or rights in countries with no environmental regulations. People will lose jobs or suffer in permanent poverty globally to benefit a few corporations.
ISDS courts mean CEOs like Phil Knight will dictate our new work conditions and salaries. Do we really want people like this to veto our worker's rights or charge us to protect ourselves with the laws that should always be rightfully ours,in the first place?
TPP's ISDS COURTS ARE A RACKET!
Congress may vote on TPP, in early 2016. Congress first voted on "fast track," last Spring, to amend the voting process for fake trade deals, so that they could take their bribes and quietly sell us into slavery.
Under "fast track" legislation, TPP only needs a simple majority to pass (instead of the usual voting process that demands 2/3 of the House and Senate vote to pass it.) With fewer people required for TPP to pass, there are fewer people for the TPP Insiders to bribe to sell us out. This is extremely dangerous! Under "fast track," TPP will be an "up or down" vote with little to no discussion on the Congressional floor, no amendments are permitted, and no filibustering. Once it passes, we are pretty much stuck with it.
It is up to the people who are educated about TPP to stop this fake trade deal and save our country and global community. Few people know what TPP is, because the TPP Insiders have added (previously-failed legislation) SOPA to the 5,500+ pages of text.
Read about SOPA here. it gives media companies the ability to turn our free internet, into a pay-per-view internet. The corporate media have been cut in on the TPP scam...this is why there has been little and/or misleading reporting about TPP on mainstream media.
Television networks and major newpapers stand to make a huge financial killing if TPP passes. as they are indirect investors. So we can't rely on major media companies to inform the public or expect the public to have the skill set of the ACLU and Wikileaks to sift through 5,500+ pages of TPP text and understand its implications and consequences.
Also, for years the TPP text was deemed secret. Even Congress was ordered to go to a basement to read it, they could not take notes or bring in legal counsel to comprehend its legal writings. If Congress members took notes, they were confiscated by armed guards. It is through years of grassroots organizing that activists and lawyers exposed this bizarre, undemocratic practice and compelled the text to be released. Even so it may have parts redacted by our President for years if not forever.
There is no way the general public can begin to understand this complicated very serious threat to our economic and physical safety unless we educate ourselves and each other. The time to act is now!
Please gather as many people as you can go to your colleges, local unions, activists, veterans, military, small businesses, churches, main streets and post flyers all around town. Take the time to explain TPP and what it proposes to friends, and also on your social networks, Twitter and Facebook.
This is not a "conservative" or "liberal" issue this is a sovereignty issue.
This is not about "the threat of China". China plans to join TPP and stands to gain from the increased shift toward sweatshop labor that is written into the TPP text.
TPP is not about "creating jobs", it will encourage sweatshop labor jobs abroad.
TPP is not about "trade"--it is about fooling a public into thinking it is about trade while our legal rights are sold off by our government to new unelected, offshore leaders.
This is not speculative. We know these things because it is written into the recently released TPP text, despite what is redacted.
Democracy is a gift to all of us. It was fought for by countless individuals for many many years. It only works if we participate. If you are upset about what is being proposed behind closed doors and how it threatens our cherished republic, this is your time to act. Please call your representatives at (202) 224-3121, and make a comment during the public comment period through this link. Thank you!