Don’t Give a Damn About the TPP? You’re Going to Wish It Gave a Damn About You.

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Try this at home. Dress up corporate. Stand on a corner with a clipboard. Hover a drone with a video camera nearby. Ask passersby:

1. Who’s in the Super Bowl?

2. Who should be president next year?

3. What was just signed in New Zealand that, if ratified, will let corporations overturn U.S. laws, speed up the destruction of the environment, outsource jobs, encourage slavery, eliminate food safety standards, make medicine cost even more, censor and restrict the internet, impede reform of Wall Street, and make those 20 people who own as much as half the country even richer at your expense?

This is a clear-cut case where Meatloaf is just wrong. Two out of three really is bad.

TPPA c2331

Former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and others who had seen all or part of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, used to say that just making it public would stop it dead. But that depends on a number of factors, I think. The TPP has now been made public. Twelve nations have just gone ahead and signed it. And their hope is to see their governments ratify it during the next two years.

The destruction wreaked by NAFTA can be seen in thousands of hollowed out towns across the United States, if you trust the bridges to get you there and are willing to risk drinking the water. But public discussion of NAFTA’s impact is not a popular topic in the corporate media, consolidated post-NAFTA and worsened ever since.

The 1993 corporate media debate over whether or not to create NAFTA looks bizarre to us today. You can go back and watch Vice President Al Gore (pro-NAFTA) debate wealthy crank Ross Perot (anti-NAFTA) on television. That such a thing existed is crazy enough to contemplate in this anti-democratic day and age. But then watch Perot make the debate about the damage NAFTA was going to do to the people of Mexico. You know as well as I do what the universal response to that line of reasoning would be today across the political spectrum of media-approved voices. Say it aloud with me: Who the hell cares what happens to Mexicans!

In fact, the TPP is almost entirely ignored and avoided. When it’s mentioned it’s as something our authoritarian government knows better how to handle than we do. Its defenders, including President Barack Obama, present it as a way to jab a finger in China’s eye. Its opponents argue that it attacks U.S. sovereignty and benefits foreign nations. What, if anything, it does to Vietnamese workers, for example, is just not registering, and the idea of a U.S. billionaire in 2016 bringing that to public attention as a moral concern would get you mocked as a dreamer faster than Hillary Clinton changes positions when a check book is opened.

The Free Trade Area of the Americas and other post-NAFTA corporate deals have been stopped by public pressure, and the TPP can be as well. What is it up against?

First, the text of the thing reads like a stack of phone books filled with this sort of gripping drama:

“Article 14.1: Definitions — For the purposes of this Chapter: computing facilities means computer servers and storage devices for processing or storing information for commercial use; covered person 1 means: (a) a covered investment as defined in Article 9.1 … ”

I know you can’t wait to find out what happens next, but I suspect there’s a section somewhere criminalizing quoting too much of the document. The problem is not just dryness, but also vacuity. We sometimes imagine that politicians save their vague platitudes for speeches and then pack concise substantive and enforceable policies into actual legislation. Not true. The TPP is a pile of substantive policies scattered into an enormous pile of meaningless blather, with no color coding to tell you which is which.

There are people with expertise who will decode it for you, but there is not room for them in corporate news reporting, given the possibility that Ben Carson might say something stupid soon. Even the massive , nonviolent resistance in New Zealand in the face of preemptive arrests and intimidation, and demonstrations all over the United States, doesn’t seem to make good news copy when a lineup of monsters want to announce their support for torturing people.

How dare I call them monsters? Well, exactly. Election distraction doesn’t just distract. It also divides and conquers. Donald Trump actually opposes the TPP, but his fans will consider me evil for objecting to his racism. Bernie Sanders credibly opposes the TPP, unlike Hillary Clinton, but to mention that is to bring down thunder on your head from both Clinton and Jill Stein backers.

Margaret Flowers explained some TPP facts recently on the aptly named Real News Network. The entire document fails to mention climate change, she said. “This is a binding agreement,” she points out, “whereas the agreement that was made in Paris, the climate treaty, is a voluntary agreement. So this actually supersedes that voluntary agreement.” Corporations, she said, “under TPP, can sue governments if our laws interfere with their expected profits. So if we pass a law that basically provides protection of the environment in some way, maybe we ban fracking. That would be great. Or stop offshore drilling. A foreign company can then sue our government and say that that law interfered with their profits and sue us for loss of expected profits. Now, what this typically does and has done in the past is that it actually changes the country’s law, because rather than facing billions of dollars in fines, countries would just rather repeal those laws and not have to deal with that.”

Flowers had this advice on what to do: “People will be particularly focused on their members of Congress during the break, February 14-21. So we really encourage people to get involved, to learn more about this. We need to stop this. And they can do that at FlushTheTPP.org.”

We should notice that she said to pressure Congress. Here are the senators who voted for Fast Track, which means no debate or amendments on the TPP, and the House members who voted for Fast Track, as well as the four horses’ asses of the TPP apocalypse.

Other good targets are President Obama and media executives. The wrong targets are presidential candidates. Organizations that have steadfastly resisted putting any resistance up to Obama for seven years have been heavily involved in pressuring people like Hillary Clinton who hold no public office and whose every campaign promise should be carefully ignored as not worth the breath that articulates it. Hillary Clinton’s State Department helped create the TPP, and she consistently praised it, calling it the “gold standard,” right up until she began claiming to “oppose” it without committing to stop it.

Some of us recall eight years ago when Clinton and Obama and all the Democratic primary candidates promised to fix NAFTA, except for Congressman Dennis Kucinich who promised to undo it entirely on his first day as president. Obama never lifted a finger to fulfill that promise, and neither has Clinton had a word to say about it. Bernie Sanders, like Dennis Kucinich, is actually credible, so electing him might actually make a difference on this issue. But spending the next 12 months as spectators to an election will be fatal.

We need principled, issue-based activism. You can start by signing this petition, and finish by shaming out of TPP support any office holder who doesn’t want to be voted out of office.

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  • Jay

    The inability to discuss how trickle down voodoo economics, deregulation, and neoliberal trade policy have devastated the American people for the past forty years constitutes the real “political correctness.”

  • Don Robertson

    I am pretty sure David Swanson and the rest of the alternative media have all blown their wad on TPP. Articles like this do little or nothing to add awareness, even were the voting public capable of fathoming the importance of the choices being made for them. David says, “I know you can’t wait to find out what happens next, but I suspect there’s a section somewhere criminalizing quoting too much of the document.” Making such a completely fallacious argument makes it almost seem like David Swanson is being paid to dizzy the befuddled masses about TPP.

    Barack Obama has said he thinks dope should be legal, I can only imagine, because it would make his job as confuser/persuader-in-chief, easier.

    David’s laughable picture though, of the typically mindlessly led losers with their signs sitting aimlessly on a stoop waiting for the cops to come along and tell them to, “Move along,” is painfully pitiful.

    The spiritless vitriol of David Swanson portrays perfectly his disinterest in the real questions surrounding TPP and other like-minded NWO initiatives. “How dare I call them monsters? Well, exactly. […]” This sort of epithet motivates a mind-numbingly perplexed, collective, “Huh?”

    The root question behind TPP, and as I already said, other like-minded supposedly somehow hope-and-change progressive initiatives, is the quality of the efficacy as it is measured against the viability of the future that will precipitate quite unanticipated out of all the popular confusion and Caligula-like pretense of the interests behind the marketplace-bombing-run of the TPP.

    Without cogently addressing the underlying moral issues within some defensible categorical framework, the alternative media adds to the credibility of what’s being shoved down everyone’s throats. These players in the alternative media are fame-seekers. Their interests are fake. They are showmen, first and foremost. It’s almost like Vaudeville here. The complete unwillingness of anyone in the alternative media to do the necessary categorical reasoning belies their mindless contribution to the path being laid out before humanity by all involved, all the famous and the fame-seekers alike.

    This is a moral question about the viability of globalization. Does it detract from the lives that will be possible for those who are coming into this world in the future?

    And that moral question devolves logically very quickly into the question of just how categorically logical is the net result that arises from the prevailing foundation of faux-morality underlying the competing showmen on the world’s stage. Fucking clowns, one and all.

    I think we would all be better off, were we to legalize murder and allow the vicious to get rid of anyone who displays such a phony pretense of the liars that claim to know what can be built that will better humanity’s lot.

    Has any of these futuristic plans ever worked out in the past? Name one! Just one, David Swanson.

    • NormVan

      I don’t have a clue what your on about but thanks for sharing that with us. Cognitive dissonance can be a frightening thing.

      • Don Robertson

        Yes, well cognitive dissonance in a time such as this, is just about the only honest view left.

        I’m in Maine. We’ve a governor who’s bravely come out and advised the residents of this relatively free state, that we’re a concealed carry state, and that shooting drug dealers is just about the last line of viable defense against drug dealers that come here from out of state to entice Maine kids to use dope. Maine is in the grip of a massive heroin epidemic, kids are dying all over the state, just like much of the country, thanks especially to Barack Obama, who want dope legalized, and thanks to Big Pharma too. They’re all for dope legalization as a means to get more citizen hooked on their pharmaceuticals.

        The best slaves are unaware they are being made slaves, junkies.

        Whether it’s a shooting war, an economic war, a war against the war on drugs, or a war against terrorism. people are dying in massively elevated numbers right now.

        My point is, I don’t endorse any of it, unless those waging war do it un-duped, personally and they back up their reasoning behind their butchery with some very concrete, a priori, categorical moral reasoning. And I’m not talking about some laughable war on terrorism. That excuse for butchery has run its course.

        Take Fukushima though. If there ever were a moral reason to commit murderous mayhem, it’s Fukushima.

        But I don’t mean to limit the moral reasoning of anyone. There are those who have murdered because of abortion. I think the reasoning is slightly strained, and I do mean slightly, given that the medical industry is involved, but I find it nothing I get excited about personally.

        The pragmatic progressives have been destroying the viability of human life on the planet for several hundred years. If, as the progressives claim they want to do, someone really wants to ensure a better world, as it logically turns out, probably the very best war yet to be declared is an all out war against the progressives who are wantonly destroying the viability of human life scientifically.

        These today are your Ayn Rand progressive types. Science can know what’s best. Yeah? I call that pure bullshit. Science is just witchcraft on steroids.

        Progressives are right now claiming they will save the world with genetic engineering, phony global warming hype, nuclear fusion, robotics, nanotechnology, supercomputers, and democracy over the Internet.

        Unfortunately, history shows us, every technology is a Pandora’s box of good and evil. The better it is, the worse it is too. And we’ve had about all the worsening we can take at this point.

        Take a look around. Anyone who tells you science has the answer, is full of shit.

        the Internet is a perfect example. The Internet provides an excuse for every abhorrent behavior known to man, and it helps facilitate the same.

        • Silverado

          “the Internet is a perfect example. The Internet provides an excuse for every abhorrent behavior known to man, and it helps facilitate the same.”

          Oh you mean just like in real life? You’re right….(and minus the excuse) the internet is a lot like…real life. Is there something wrong with that??

  • Silverado

    It’s the treasonous enemy within. The same enemies of freedom & liberty that signed off on crimes like this also want your guns, your privacy and anything else they think you shouldn’t have. Anyway, soon as we as a society get serious and deal with this criminal element by forcibly stamping it out like some…unwanted disease, financially and morally the world and especially our country will be much better off.