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"A Corporate Trojan Horse": Critics Decry Secretive TPP Trade Deal as a Threat to Democracy

Business  (tags: TPP, Fast Track, SECRET, trade deals, THREATS, Anti-Democracy, opposition, corporate power grab, extrajudicial tribunals, Wikileaks, labor, indigenous rights, activists, agriculture, OGMs, Food Water Watch, FoodDemocracy, petitions, outcry )

- 1436 days ago -
BREAKING: The bill to Fast Track TPP & other secret trade deals officially introduced in Congress 2 days ago: Time to INTENSIFY ACTION- Get ALL PETITIONS here! Listen to Public CitizenâEUR(TM)s Global Trade Watch director & Rep Alan Grayson with Amy Goodman


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Animae C (507)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 5:29 am
T.Y. Lucy Kaleido

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 5:56 am
Democracy Now!, Thursday, April 16, 2015, "A Corporate Trojan Horse": Critics Decry Secretive TPP Trade Deal as a Threat to Democracy

Short Excerpt of the program - (to be watched onsite, so you can actually see the clip of Bernie speaking!):

"On Wednesday, more than a thousand labor union members rallied outside the U.S. Capitol to call on Democrats to oppose fast-track authority. [ I wonder why this didn't rally more !? TPP deserved a MASSIVE demonstration of opposition!! What happened??]

"They were joined by several members of Congress. This is Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont:
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: What this is about is not just trade. It is about whether this United States Congress begins to work for the middle class and working families of this country or whether it is totally owned by billionaires and their lobbyists."
.../... skip .../...

"For more on the brewing battle in Congress over the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fast-track authority in Congress, we’re joined by two guests: Lori Wallach is with us, director of PUBLIC CITIZEN’s Global Trade Watch. And Congressmember Alan Grayson ..."
.../... skip .../...
REP. ALAN GRAYSON: Well, I agree with everything that Lori just said, but I think there’s also a bigger picture to consider. Our free trade, our so-called free trade, policies have been a disaster for the United States since NAFTA was enacted. Before NAFTA was enacted and went into effect 20 years ago, we never had any year in our history when we had a trade deficit of $135 billion or more. Every single year since then, for 20 years in a row, our trade deficit has been over $135 billion. Our last 14 trade deficits have been the 14 largest trade deficits not only in our history, but in the history of the entire world. And the result of that is that we’ve gone from $2 trillion in surplus with our trade to $11 trillion in debt. And we’ve lost five million manufacturing jobs and roughly 15 million other jobs in the last 20 years. So we’ve lost twice: We’ve lost the jobs, and we’ve also gone deeper and deeper into debt. So what’s happening is not that we’re buying goods and services from foreigners and they’re buying an equal amount of goods and services from us—that’s the way free trade is supposed to work. What’s actually happening is that we’re buying our goods and services from foreigners, and they are taking the money that we give to them for that and buying our assets.

That has all sorts of consequences for our economy. .../... /.../... " - There's more to watch (or read, there's a tapescript, though watching is better) and this is VITAL info we should ALL know about!

Thursday, April 16, 2015 Common Dreams - Fast Track to Hell: "Trade Bill Officially Introduced in Congress" - 'Congress shouldn’t throw Americans under the bus by giving up its authority over this unprecedented giveaway to multinational corporations.' - just the beginning:

"The fight over Fast Track just got real.

"U.S. House and Senate leaders announced Thursday afternoon that they have reached a deal on legislation aimed at jamming the Trans Pacific Partnership through Congress. ("The fast-track legislation, formally known as trade promotion authority, ... was announced on Thursday afternoon by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking member on the Finance Committee who has been negotiating closely with Hatch.")

"The so-called Fast Track bill (The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, TPA-2015), which would make it easier for President Barack Obama's administration to negotiate trade deals by preventing Congress from amending them, includes compromise provisions added in order to "win over" Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

"According to the New York Times: "Senator Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, had to agree to stringent requirements for the trade deal to win over Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the finance panel. Those requirements included a human-rights negotiating objective that has never existed in trade agreements, according to lawmakers involved in the talks.

"The legislation would also make any final trade agreement public for 60 days before the president signs it, and up to four months before Congress votes. If the agreement, negotiated by the United States Trade Representative, fails to meet the objectives laid out by Congress — on labor, environmental and human rights standards — a 60-vote majority in the Senate could shut off “fast track” trade rules and open the deal to amendments." .../...

.../....../... "


=> Public Citizen - Email Your Members of Congress and Urge Them to Vote “No” on Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) / Sign their petition - Urge Your Representative and Senators to Oppose Fast Track (You must have a US postal code so that the proper Senators/Reps receive the letter you'll sign. One post code for NYC is 10463-4247. )

=> Citizens Trade Campaign - Tell Congress: No Fast Track Now! No Fast Track Ever!

=> Petition Linked to in AlterNet article, "5 Reasons the TransPacific Partnership Fast Track Must Be Stopped": "Over 50 GROUPS, ranging from Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club to the AFL/CIO and the Teamsters, have joined together to launch an ORGANIZED EFFORT to stop this corporate power grab of epic, appalling proportions: Congress: Don't Betray Democracy! No "Fast Track" for the TPP! (Click 'Send an email!' to get the petition, since the first proposal for action is a telephone call)

=> European Citizens' Initiative / Global Justice Now! Stop the corporate power grab - Stop TTIP and CETA - 1,689,511 people so far ---------> goal of 2,000,000

"We call on the institutions of the European Union and its member states to stop the negotiations with the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada."
"Our public services, environment and democracy are under threat from the biggest corporate power grab in a decade.
Behind closed doors, the EU is drawing up a dangerous new trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). For the first time on a grand scale, corporations would be able to sue governments if they make public policy decisions which could harm their future profits. Regulation which currently protects people, public services and the environment could be removed." (Also from Global Justice Now! - 10 reasons why you should be worried about TTIP)

=> OpenMedia - Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late:
----------------------->>> 3,159,877 against fast tracking the secretive TPP

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 5:59 am

----------------------->>> 3,159,877 against fast tracking the secretive TPP

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 6:08 am
Petitions Cut Off:

Center for Food Safety, 17 avril 2015 -- Tell Congress to Oppose “Fast Track” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

Food & Water Watch / Food Democracy Now!, 17 avril 2015 : "Tell Congress it's time to Stop the TPP Fast Track! - Tell Congress to Vote NO on the Fast Track approval for the TPP! - End the secret trade deal once and for all" - "It’s time to stand up for democracy, not corporate profits! Don't let Congress Corrupt our Democracy and our Food Supply! Tell Congress to Say NO to Monsanto and the TPP!" Every voice counts!

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:15 am

This petition to the White House -- Release the Complete Text of the TPP -- is doing very badly, despite the great idea of the title, that I'd have thought we'd ALL rally around : Total signatures on this petition - 707 / Signatures needed by April 25, 2015 to reach goal of 100,000: 99,293

About Open Media International - I already posted their petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," at the end of my first comment, with the whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:31 am

About Open Media International - whose petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," I've already posted (at the end of my first comment) -- along with their whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:49 am
About Open Media International - whose petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," I've already posted (at the end of my first comment) -- along with their whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:51 am
There's a glitch -- my comment is getting cut off repeatedly!

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:54 am
About Open Media International - whose petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," I've already posted (at the end of my first comment) -- along with their whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:56 am
I'll have to come back later in the hopes the glitch will go away!

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 9:31 am
About Open Media International - whose petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," I've already posted (at the end of my first comment) -- along with their whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 9:31 am
Too soon for the glitch to go away!

Patrick Donovan (344)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 9:53 am
Thank you for the links and stories, I hadn't seen a few of them.

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 10:48 am
Open media 3,159,877 signed - so it isn't showing new ones??? :>(

fly bird (26)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 10:56 am
Petitions signed. Thanks for all the links and for posting, Lucy. Will return to read in depth.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 10:58 am
The Food & Water Watch / the Food Democracy Now! petition is new, as is the Center for Food Safety : I received them both via e-mail as I wrote, on 17 April 2015

Possible INTERPRETATION MISTAKE: When I wrote "Petitions Cut Off'" I meant they had been cut off FROM THE preceding COMMENT. They should have shown up in the first comment I left.



Sheryl G (359)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 12:17 pm
Thanks for all the links I'll check them over, I believe I've signed them all as I've been on this for at least two years but am always delighted when I see others who are becoming aware of it. I've done my best on C2 offering many various articles and videos on the talking to people offline as well.

Lona G (66)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 12:19 pm
Excellent work, Lucy. I'm so glad you've included the TTIP and CETA in this too. Each and every nation on this planet should be alert, because the only ones to benefit from these trade deals are the international corporations. All the arguments brought forward against the TPP for America hold just as strong for the TTIP and Europe.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 12:50 pm
Lona took the wods right out of my mouth! (as often ;) ) and particuarly OUR govt is so hellbent to approve TTIP as are most of the Brussels traitors. ://
Thx so much Lucy, yep, great job indeed you mastered here! Have also signed them ALL, mostly earlier and the newer ones from email.
Disappearing comments posts isn't only happening at your end-don't we just LOVE that...

Angelika R (143)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 12:55 pm
I heard today that the negotiators are working on that "secret courts" thing and supposedly have already at least knocked that out! This may apply ONLY to Europe or even just Germany, not sure.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 1:18 pm
About Open Media International - whose petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," I've already posted (at the end of my first comment) -- along with their whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 1:20 pm
I don't know what is going on here. Hours later, I still can't get my damn comment posted! Thanks everyone for comments & support. Please add any petitions I've missed.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 1:52 pm
Just in case some have NOT already seen the wikileaks releases,(and are interested in the details) here is some of the latest with the text for the INVESTMENT CHAPTER :

Bruce C D (89)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 4:21 pm
Demonstrated, reps called, petitions signed, noted. Thank-you, Lucy.

Interesting discussion in another submission on a related matter--Phillip Morris International of Switzerland is suing Uruguay and Norway for their health laws to reduce smoking. Judgment will be decided by a tribunal just like these in TPP.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 5:47 pm
As a matter of fact, I posted on Phillip Morris' lawsuit against Uruguay a few months ago, Great TruthOut piece - Uruguay Takes on London Bankers, Marlboro Mad Men and the TPP. You commented on it, too, so perhaps you're referring to a different post, since the discussion has been over on my post for a while.

The case is completely related to the issue of 'free trade' agreements, because they all contain clauses & provisions which allow corporations to sue sovereign nations via "an 'international-state dispute settlements' ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) mechanism that would be much more prevalent if TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) [& TPP] were passed," as reported on the blog of Global last October. They quote the Independent: “The tobacco behemoth is taking its legal action under the terms of a bilateral trade agreement between Switzerland – where it relatively recently moved from the US – and Uruguay. The trade deal has at its heart a provision allowing Swiss multinationals the right to sue the Uruguayan people if they bring in legislation that will damage their profits.”

The issue of ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) mechanisms seems to be one reason why these deals get shunted on the world's citizens, without the opportunity for discussion or amendment by representatives or parliaments: those aware of them could protest to have them removed from the text of trade agreements. Global Justice writes, "With actions like these, it's not surprising that there's such an enormous backlash against these mechanisms in both Europe and in countries like South Africa, Uruguay, Indonesia who have all said that they want to ditch ISDS in current and future treaties."

Also: "This disturbing trend of companies suing governments that try to protect their citizens, their public services or the environment is going to get much worse if ISDS is brought in through the EU-USA trade deal.

"Phillip Morris is suing Uruguay for using the sort of anti-smoking legislation that has been in place in the UK for quite some time - it would undoubtedly try similar legislation against the UK if it was able to under TTIP. Surely our governments would want to stand up to the possibility of corporate power being wielded like this against the public good?

"Sadly, it seems like the opposite is true. The incoming president of the European Commissioner Juncker had been making some promising noises about leaving the ISDS out of TTIP. Shortly afterwards on October 21, Juncker received a letter from the Trade Ministers of 14 member states including the UK, pressuring him not to ditch ISDS, saying that “The Council mandate is clear in its inclusion of investor protection mechanisms in the TTIP negotiations.” [Have you read that, Angelika? Does that answer your question?]

"In a world of trade conflicts characterised by that of Uruguayan lungs vs. Phillip Morris, it seems that our governments seem to be more interested in acting in the interests of Philip Morris, which is all the more reason why this dangerous, far-reaching trade deal needs to be nipped in the bud."

TruthOut author Michael Meurer, a US political consultant, tells us that "Uruguay has spent the last decade quietly defying the new transnational order of global banks, multinational corporations and supranational trade tribunals and is now in a fight for its survival as an independent nation. ... For the past 10 years, Uruguayans have been conducting a left-leaning experiment in economic and social democracy, turning themselves into a Latin American version of Switzerland in the process. ... Yet unlike Switzerland, with its highly developed financial services sector and, until recently, safe haven tax policies for global capital, Uruguay has become a prime target for the wrath of multinational corporations and the London bankers who fund them.
.../... skip .../...
"The neoliberal assault on export-dependent Uruguay is likely to intensify in the next few years, and not solely because of their deficit spending on popular social welfare programs that fly in the face of economic austerity recommended by London bankers and the IMF. .../... skip.../... The leftist economic experiment taking place at the opposite end of the globe in tiny Uruguay is more than the bankers in London can tolerate, never mind that Uruguay, with minimal military expenses, has annual deficits nearly 600 percent lower than the UK as a percent of GDP. From the bankers' perspective, Uruguay is setting a bad example by taking care of their people instead of catering to global financial speculators. .../...

"Uruguay has also become a lightning rod for the global financial elite because they are challenging the legitimacy of international trade tribunals that lie at the heart of the proposed TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade agreements. .../...

"Contrary to advance PR by cheerleaders such as Cameron and US President Barack Obama, the TTIP and TPP are not designed to promote trade. The cumulative effect of TTIP and TPP would be the establishment of a transnational governing structure that supersedes the current order of sovereign nation-states that are, at least in theory and sometimes in practice, democratically accountable to their own people.

Proposed signatories to the TTIP and TPP all fall within the sphere of US-UK-EU economic influence, which explains why Russia, Africa, the Islamic nations and the leftist regimes of Latin America are excluded. This is the FABLED CAPITALIST "NEW WORLD ORDER" dreamed of by George H.W. Bush more than 20 years ago.

"Uruguay looms disproportionately large on the global stage at the moment because they have unwittingly vaulted into the vanguard of a global backlash against the TPP and TTIP due to a seemingly unrelated dispute with the international tobacco industry.
.../... skip .../...
"In the ultimate irony, Phillip Morris, which moved its global headquarters to Switzerland in 2002 for tax and liability avoidance, sued Uruguay in 2010 over the new labeling requirements under the terms of a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. The Phillip Morris suit, which seeks $25 million in damages and weakening of the Uruguayan labeling requirement, is being PROSECUTED through the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, DC. The ICSID is CHAIRED by the PRESIDENT of the WORLD BANK and FUNDED from the Bank's budget. It is a SUPRANATIONAL trade tribunal that specializes in international state dispute settlements (ISDS).

.../... skip .../...

"ISDS are at the core of both the TPP and TTIP, but on a truly global scale. If Uruguay were to prevail against Phillip Morris, the ramifications for TPP and TTIP enforcement, and the new global order the treaties represent would be far reaching."

What can you say? Sickening. Disgusting. Unethical. Down with corporate rights! Down with ISDS corporate trade tribunals and ISDS mechanisms - Tear them out of all future trade deals & tear up the deals, too, until they can be discussed & negotiated publicly !

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 5:48 pm
Looks like the coast is clear for posting comments, so let me try again:

It's about Open Media International - whose petition, "Stop the Secrecy Before it’s Too Late," I've already posted (at the end of my first comment) -- along with their whopping -->> 3,159,877

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 5:50 pm
Well, my glitch has restruck!

Roger G (148)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 6:20 pm
noted, thanks

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 6:49 pm

On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, WikiLeaks released (leaked) the "Investment Chapter" draft from the secret TPP negotiations, which confirmed everybody's worst fears. Common Dreams published this article the next day, TPP vs. Democracy: Leaked Draft of Secretive Trade Deal Spells Out Plan for Corporate Power Grab - WikiLeaks reveals negotiators planning to expand secret corporate tribunals. (I've linked to it here because Wikileaks TPP revelations are SO important, and, yet, they got so little C2 attention, just 1 post, w/out enough notes to make it to Front Page.) -

"Newly leaked classified documents show that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, if it goes through as written, will dramatically expand the power of corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge—and supersede—domestic laws, including environmental, labor, and public health, and other protections.

The tribunals, made infamous under NAFTA, were exposed in the "Investment Chapter" from the TPP negotiations, which was released to the public by WikiLeaks on Wednesday.

"The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states," said Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor. "This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." .../... " => Finish reading on site.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 7:00 pm

What I didn't know about Open Media International when I signed their petition was :

1) "The groups behind the petition include, Citizen Trade Campaign, CREDO, Communications Workers of America, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Flush the TPP, ONG Derechos Digitales,, It's our Future, Firedoglake, United Students for Fair Trade, Organic Consumers Association, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Sierra Club, Teamsters, AFL-CIO,, Corporate Accountability International, EFF. A range of other groups assisted in the campaign including social media platform reddit, popular VPN Tunnel Bear and the image hosting service imgur";

2) that this "international campaign took its message to the heart of Washington, D.C." last spring, with a very strong & dramatic action. On the evening of April 30, 2014, "a projection of (the then) 3.1 million signature petition count was BEAMED onto prominent buildings in Washington D.C., to speak out against TPP secrecy and fast track legislation." "Huge international campaign BEAMS 3.1 million signature petition count on prominent buildings in Washington, D.C." to 'welcome' Obama back from a week of crucial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

(High-resolution photos of the projection are available here)

I suppose in a dictatorship or a totalitarian regime, you'd get send to prison for projecting opposition information on public buildings. The difference between a dictatorship & our type of democracy is that we can project all the opposition images & info we want, but it doesn't change the course of events; it isn't taken the least bit into consideration.

All of the TPP negotiations, whether the ones Obama (& I assume other top Trade officials) has been conducting with the 11 nations party to the TPP or the hearings & negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee, ALL of these talks are being carried out DESPITE the millions of voices raised in opposition. It's really as though WE didn't exist - business as usual ! This is a sham of democracy of unbelievable proportions! And a tremendous slap in the face. It reminds me of Nixon making it known that he'd been watching a football or a baseball game, while millions of Americans, descended upon Washington from across the country, were demonstrating against the war in Vietnam.

I mean the projection of an over 3 million signature count is something that is NOTICED, no?? The projection, which was meant to "(send) a clear message to decision-makers and took place as the Senate Finance Committee (was) set to hold a crucial hearing (the next) morning about the TPP at which U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (would) testify," doesn't seem to have changed anything one iota!

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 7:04 pm
My comment with the links about Wikileaks release of the draft version of the Investment Chapter was ready & waiting in the wings, Angelika - I just couldn't get anything posted with the damn glitch that's been cutting my comments off after three lines!

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 8:48 pm
The REVOLVING DOOR - - The Intercept, Thursday, 04/16/2015 - Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists

"The Office of the United States Trade Representative, the agency responsible for negotiating two massive upcoming trade deals, is being led by former lobbyists for corporations that stand to benefit from the deals, according to disclosure forms obtained by The Intercept.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade accord between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a similar agreement between the U.S. and the E.U.

"The Obama administration is pushing hard to complete both deals, which it says will increase U.S. trade opportunities. Critics say the deals will provide corporate interests with sweeping powers to challenge banking and environmental regulations.

"Here is information on three major figures in the Trade Representative’s office, gleaned from their disclosure forms:

— Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, the assistant U.S. trade representative for agricultural affairs, recently lobbied for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade group for biotech companies. Lauritsen’s financial disclosure form shows she made $320,193 working to influence “state, federal and international governments” on biotech patent and intellectual property issues. She worked for BIO as an executive vice president through April of 2011, before joining the Trade Representative office.

— Christopher Wilson, the deputy chief of mission to the World Trade Organization, recently worked for C&M International, a trade consulting group, where he represented Chevron, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, British American Tobacco, General Electric, Apple and other corporate interests. Wilson’s financial disclosure shows he made $250,000 a year, in addition to an $80,000 bonus in 2013, before he joined the Obama administration. Wilson left C&M International in February of 2014 and later joined the Trade Representative’s office. C&M International reportedly lobbied Malaysia, urging it to oppose tobacco regulations in Australia.

— Robert Holleyman, the deputy United States trade representative, previously worked as the president of the Business Software Alliance, a lobbying group that represents IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and other technology companies seeking to strengthen copyright law. Holleyman earned $1,141,228 at BSA before his appointment. Holleyman was nominated for his current position in February of last year.

"These disclosures about the revolving door at the trade agency come after U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman received scrutiny over a special bonus paid to him in 2009 after he left Citigroup to join the Obama administration as deputy assistant to the president. Froman received more than $7.4 million from Citi in the year prior to joining the administration.

"Critics note that under the TPP, corporations will be empowered to file lawsuits against governments to block laws that could impair future profits. The lawsuits would fall under special tribunals set up by the World Bank.

"Many of the former clients of the trade officials now negotiating these agreements stand to gain immensely.

"Sharon Bomer Lauritsen and Christopher Wilson both represented biotech companies. As economist Joseph Stiglitz has argued, the TPP could restrict competition in the pharmaceutical industry by undermining government regulation of drug prices and by creating new rules to obstruct the introduction of generic drugs.

"Robert Holleyman represented software companies. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the TPP “contains DRM [Digital Rights Management] anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own.”

"The contents of the trade deals are secret and therefore still veiled from scrutiny by the public and even most members of Congress. Only trade officials and select corporate representatives (see 'the insider list' ) have been able to review them."


The Nation, April 14, 2015 - Breaking: Leading House Democrat Will Oppose TPP Fast Track:
"Representative Chris Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, wrote in a letter to Representative Sandy Levin, the ranking member of the House Ways & Means Committee, that he would oppose fast-track authority, also known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA. The letter was obtained by The Nation and its authenticity was confirmed by an aide to Van Hollen.

"Van Hollen opposed a previous iteration of fast-track legislation last year, as did most other top Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But so far, many of those Democrats (including Van Hollen) had not yet announced a position on the new TPA legislation being hammered out by Senators Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch, and Representative Paul Ryan. (Levin opted out of those talks, and believes Congress should see at least the outline of a trade deal before taking up legislation to fast-track its approval.)

../.. skip .../...

"...Van Hollen said continuing public opposition from Republicans made it clear that the TPA legislation (fast-track authority) wouldn’t include additional currency, labor, and environmental provisions. Moreover, he wrote that since TPA was being unveiled so close to the conclusion of the overall trade talks, “it is clearly too late for TPA to have any meaningful impact on the shape of TPP negotiations.”

"Like virtually all Democrats, Van Hollen cited concerns that enforceable currency manipulation obligations would not be included in the trade deal.

"He also said he objects to further entrenching the investor-state dispute settlement process, which according to negotiating documents leaked last month by Wikileaks will be included in the TPP deal. Those provisions set up a process of international tribunals where foreign companies can challenge regulatory actions by sovereign governments, and seek financial damages for any lost profit as a result of regulation. Van Hollen wrote that “a TPP that allows for increased investor lawsuits could undermine a government’s right to regulate in the public interest and involve the US in costly and detrimental lawsuits covered by American taxpayers.”

"Van Hollen further cited concerns over labor standards in some of the signatory countries, particularly Vietnam, and said he insists on an agreement that includes “strong and enforceable labor protections as well as an action plan to ensure that countries are complying with internationally recognized labor rights.”

.../... skip .../... .../... skip .../... " end

Katie & Bill D (107)
Saturday April 18, 2015, 10:01 pm
Thank You

Roberto MARINI (88)
Sunday April 19, 2015, 1:26 am

Angelika R (143)
Sunday April 19, 2015, 8:42 am
Lucy, what I heard yesterday was just a patch from a local radio report, didn't catch ALL of it, though. Now after some online research, what it most likely was about is, that on Thursday two committees in the EC have voted AGAINST the ISDS, which is generally largely opposed within the EU commission. The leading EU Trade committee is due to vote on TTIP at the end of May, which then shall be the recommendation for the EU Commission.(EC) The last word on the agreement will rest with the European Parliament (EP) which would have to approve before coming into effect.

For all Europeans here this site offers a fairly good overview: (select language)
European Commission- TTIP

Angelika R (143)
Sunday April 19, 2015, 8:48 am
The nation-Europe-and worldwide protests are said to be over 600, close to 200 protest actions over the weekend alone in Germany. Some countries/towns are having their protests today and in coming days, here's a list of all actions:

Gobal actions list

Janet B (0)
Sunday April 19, 2015, 2:17 pm

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday April 19, 2015, 3:55 pm
Noted. Thanks so much for posting, well as the additional info, links & petitions. Have signed all petitions and sent multiple messages to my members of Congress. Signed the petition to the White House today. Seems most all the Republicans are supporting Obama's request to "fast-track." How come all of them constantly bad-mouth Obama and take dozens of votes to eliminate ACA......but they've got his back on this issue? I am mortified that Obama wants this in the first place; but to have the GOP line up behind him is nuts. This should be the biggest story in the media.

Roslyn McBride (28)
Monday April 20, 2015, 6:08 am
The secretive TPP deal IS a threat to democracy.

Angelika R (143)
Monday April 20, 2015, 10:09 am
Adding another new one: Global Trade watch/ PubllicCitizen

Breaking News: Fast Track Bill Introduced -Email Your Members of Congress and Urge Them to Vote “No” on Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Birgit W (160)
Monday April 20, 2015, 1:50 pm
Roslyn McBride says it all. Thanks.

Jonathan Harper (0)
Tuesday April 21, 2015, 12:40 am

LucyKaleido S (82)
Monday May 11, 2015, 8:17 am
Can you believe it! Just today found one I'd missed! Take Action with EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation - 'Defending Your Rights in the Digital World') Speak Out Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: E-Mail your Representatives

Janis K (129)
Thursday May 14, 2015, 9:14 am
Thanks for sharing.
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