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Whose Forum Is It Anyway?


Business  (tags: abuse, americans, corruption, cover-up, dishonesty, economy, ethics, government, media, lies, propaganda, politics, usa, abuse, business, consumers, corporate, corruption, dishonesty, economy, farming, finance, investing, investments, investors, law, lies )

JL
- 583 days ago - fixtheuschamber.org
You didn't get the invitation? That may be because this so-called "Public Meeting" is actually hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.



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JL A. (275)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 7:38 pm

Whose Forum is it Anyway?
Posted by Erin Kesler on March 08, 2013

Have you been to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yet? If not, get moving! Hop on a plane, bus, train or carpool your way down to Washington, D.C. for your chance to finally meet the secretive members of the nation's largest private lobbying group. The U.S. Chamber influences policy impacting your health, safety, welfare, and small business on behalf of their multi-national, corporate members.

This past Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced a Public Meeting to discuss their call for comments on "Promoting US EC Regulatory Compatibility” otherwise known as TAFTA or the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement. These proposed trade revisions touted in the President's State of the Union would roll back food safety, chemical, financial, and more stringent climate change regulations in Europe, taking the wind out of efforts by consumer advocacy groups and activists here in the U.S. to replicate and push for similar protections. You didn't get the invitation? That may be because this so-called "Public Meeting" is actually hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The convening is not taking place in Any-town, USA by your local town (or even city) Chamber. Not in the U.S. Department of Commerce or a similar government agency. It will be just a short jaunt from the White House on April 10th and 11th, no-doubt in a comfortably large and well-apportioned conference space. Any person wishing to give an oral statement with regard to the proposed trade rules can sign up here by simply emailing - international-OIRA@omb.eop.gov. Oh but wait, actually those who responded to the Agency's original September notice will be given "preference" especially given the "limited amount of time available for the meeting, and to take advantage of the work already done by members of the public." So see if they can fit you in.

Interestingly, OMB's notice (in conjunction with the European Commission) describes the meeting as another convening of the U.S.-EU High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum (the “Forum”). In fact, it states that "As with previous Forum meetings, the public sessions will be hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." So if this is not new, how long has the Chamber been hosting "Public Meetings" on our behalf? And just what exactly is the Forum? According to the White House's website, the Forum, "provides a setting for senior officials from all areas of government to come together to discuss regulatory policies of mutual interest." That sounds like something within the public sphere, accountable to taxpayers and voters. And yet the Forum is also described as contributing to, "to achieving the objectives of high-level political bodies such as the Transatlantic Economic Council and the Energy Council."

The Transatlantic Economic Council is a new entity, founded just this year on January 1, 2013. It was created by merging the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) and European-American Business Council (EABC). Some of its members include such good corporate citizens as AIG, Deutsche Bank, and Phillip Morris Intl. The phrase "regulatory capture" strains under the weight of huge multinational corporations operating as an extended arm of the U.S. government, with citizens included as an afterthought.

That's why we need to fight back. Public Citizen calls on activists to demand that OMB and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative cancel the scheduled forum and replace it with a real public meeting. The health of our communities, natural resources, financial system, and small businesses are affected by these trade negotiations. It is completely inappropriate for the U.S. Chamber to continue to host these meetings and for the U.S. government to give "the Forum" a special seat at the bargaining table.
 

Angelika R. (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:08 pm
PETITION

The National Chamber Foundation appears to have accepted millions in charitable funds from the AIG-affiliated Starr Foundation, and transferred these tax-free funds to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is wrong and likely illegal. We don't believe that the face of American business should be a corrupt one. The IRS should investigate immediately into these troubling allegations.

Signed, ... I have signed, thx JL (2nd petition you did not mention) ;)
 

Angelika R. (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:12 pm
oops wrong text- should be:
Show your support for a prompt and thorough investigation of these apparently illegal activities. Sign the petition below to add your name to the chorus of voices demanding accountability from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliates.

PETITION
 

Angelika R. (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:13 pm
http://www.fixtheuschamber.org/news/news/us-chamber-watch-demands-irs-investigation-possible-tax-fraud
 

Angelika R. (143)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:18 pm
I do hope that TAFTA gets drowned in the pond- it will not just bring disadvantages to the US people but also to us!
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:23 pm
Thanks for posting the petition Angelika! You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last day.
 

John B. (175)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:54 pm
Thanks J.L. for the post. TAFTA is the worst thing put forth by any US administration in quite a number of years and needs to be opposed with all the vigor we can muster. I get emails from PublicCitizen.org. Thanks Angelika for providing the link to the petition. Signed. Posting read and noted
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:56 pm
You are welcome John. I agree. You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last day.
 

Terry V. (30)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 10:02 pm
S&N THANKS!!!
 

Dorothy N. (63)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 11:47 pm
Thanks so much for posting this.

I'd just like to say AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

And that I'll go get my knitting while you guys set up the tumbril and guillotine.
 

Giana Peranio-Paz (388)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:29 am
Noted. Thanks J.L.
 

Carol D. (109)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:39 am
Noted thanks
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:42 am
You are welcome Terry, Dorothy, Giana and Carol.
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day.
 

Joanne Dixon (40)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:20 pm
I signed of course. Good luck with getting an IRS investigation, though. The IRS is so understaffed, especially as to enforcement, it is pathetic. We might almost have better luck with the Justice Department, as understaffed as they are too. It all comes back to the budget, doesn't it?
 

Gene Jacobson (255)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:20 pm
"The convening is not taking place in Any-town, USA by your local town (or even city) Chamber. Not in the U.S. Department of Commerce or a similar government agency. It will be just a short jaunt from the White House on April 10th and 11th, no-doubt in a comfortably large and well-apportioned conference space. Any person wishing to give an oral statement with regard to the proposed trade rules can sign up here by simply emailing - international-OIRA@omb.eop.gov. Oh but wait, actually those who responded to the Agency's original September notice will be given "preference" especially given the "limited amount of time available for the meeting, and to take advantage of the work already done by members of the public." So see if they can fit you in."

As with so many things like this, using the word forum is completely inappropriate because that implies a public event and most of these are nothing of the kind. We need transparency in government and that doesn't happen behind closed doors. My feeling has always been that if you cannot conduct the public's business IN public then you are probably doing something you should not be and that the public would not agree with. That hearkens back to the days of Kissinger/Nixon for me as I was coming of age then. And they were so good at secret meetings and agreements that they claimed were beneficial but which actually supported right wing dictatorships, like the Shah of Iran, that came back later to bite us in the posterior. A good rule and one which should be made law, only partially tongue in cheek, is that if you would be ashamed if your mother knew you were doing this, you should NOT do it. Granted, we have plenty of sociopaths in government who have no conscience and therefore no shame, but if this were general practice, transparency, they'd be outed soon enough by people who DO care about right and wrong.
 

Lois Jordan (56)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:20 pm
Noted. Thank you, JL.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 2:26 pm
You are welcome Lois.
You cannot currently send a star to Joanne because you have done so within the last day.
You cannot currently send a star to Gene because you have done so within the last day.
 

Birgit W. (147)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 4:44 pm
Thanks
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:53 pm
You are welcome Birgit
 
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