Friday, November 15, 2013

Shroud of darkness: The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

I don’t claim to have a very deep understanding of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), but the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a pretty good post that explains the problems with this international trade agreement (here). Like me, most Americans know next to nothing about TPP because the negotiations between the 12 Pacific Rim countries (including the U.S.) have been kept secret. It has only been through the release of documents by Wikileaks that we have some slight understanding of how damaging this agreement is.

Why does it have to be drafted in secret and then fast-tracked through Congress so there will be little to no debate on it? The answer to that is pretty obvious. It contains provisions that will anger and upset a whole lot of people. This is an agreement crafted by multinational corporations to benefit multinational corporations, with the blessings of Obama (whose presidential campaigns they helped pay for). It is clearly not in the best interests of American citizens. How do I know that? By their very nature, politicians are front and center when they support a policy that is popular with Americans. They want you to know they had a hand in it. Conversely, when a policy reeks of political slight-of-hand and the influence of special interests, the less we the public know the better.

What I do understand about TPP is that the influence of international corporate behemoths over American governmental policy is frightening. Disney, GE, Halliburton, Monsanto, Eli Lily, Microsoft, Dow Chemical and others now tell Washington what to do, not the other way around, as it should be. With the help of Citizens United, we now live under a corporatocracy, where the military/industrial/media complex calls the shots.

Hopefully, once word spreads about TPP, voices will be raised in the same way they were in the lead up to the proposed Syrian bombings. Our collective voices stopped that, and we need to stop TPP, too.

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