Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Press ? for keyboard shortcuts. Close Ad Mail Contacts Calendar Notepad Messenger News Feed Press the Enter key to select an item Compose Add another mailbox Inbox (9999+) Drafts (199) Sent Archive Spam (213) Trash Smart Views Folders Recent Move Delete Not Spam More Jim Gray for Kentucky Keep Opposing It: Why The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Is So Bad, For Those Who Are Asking The Pen
Jun 28 at 1:39 PM
Dear Friends and Activists,
There are surely people on our distribution list more informed about
the corrupt Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) than even ourselves. But
at the same time a number of people have asked for more information.
As long as we have been fighting it, the corporate interests pushing
it have never relented either, and only need one moment of
inattentiveness or complacency on our part to do their dirty work.
Most troubling is the fact that the Democratic party platform has now
given a green light blessing for its members of Congress to go rogue
in defiance of the clear will of the people.
It is nothing short of despicable.
Please continue to speak out and share the action page in every
What Part Of No TPP Don't You Get? Action Page:
OK . . . let's dig in. And if you go to the action page now, we have
added three ref links for more information about everything that is
wrong with it.
In the first place, the TPP is for the most part not a trade
agreement at all. Instead, it is a grand manifesto of corporate
rights as being superior to any national interest or the people of
any nation, a further escalation of the installation of business
corporations as the unchallenged sovereign over the planet.
This is reflected most odiously in the extensive chapter on so-called
Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). The title itself has evil
baked into it, presuming a priori that business corporations even
HAVE sovereignty standing on a par with a nation state, such that
there should even BE a dispute about whether they are bound to follow
that nation's laws.
So for example, let's say a Canadian pipeline company doesn't like
the fact that their proposal for a certain to leak pipeline, carrying
the most foul and toxic petroleum sludge ever through pristine
natural aquifers, has been rejected by our duly elected
representatives. This is not some far-fetched hypothetical. They have
already FILED such a suit under existing, but weaker, ISDS type
provisions in previous bad "trade" agreements.
Under the TPP, the "dispute" would go to a kangaroo court tribunal of
corporate lawyers with no accountability to any national judicial
authority, and granted the power to override our own courts.
So Trans-Canada gets to stick their smelly pipeline up our butts
whether we like it our not. And what corporate attorney wouldn't love
the unilateral prerogative to do that?
But that's just the rotten core. Other provisions that have nothing
to do per se with trade expand monopoly rights of pharmaceutical
companies, gut food safety and environmental laws, demolish
international financial regulation, further accelerate job export to
the lowest common denominator wage base. You name it, if there is
anything any greedy corporation has ever done to try to wreck our
safety, security or prosperity, and seize all power unto themselves
it's in there.
The more you know, the more you will be outraged that this is still
even being considered. How dare the Democratic party platform take
the non-position that there is a "diversity of views" over the TPP?
This is nothing but license for the worst corporate toadies in the
Democratic party to gang up with Republicans to sneak this through in
the lame duck session.
That's the most despicable part of it. Those miserable duplicitous
cowards don't dare bring it up now. They'd all get booted out on
their ears in the coming election and they perfectly well know it.
No, they're going lie to us, and lull us, and stick it to us after
the election is over.
We will never have more leverage over candidate Clinton that we have
right now, leading up to the convention. Do we really have to twist
her arm now to adopt her OWN stated position in her OWN platform?
Apparently we do.
And we need every person who has ever spoken out on this to not only
do so again, but to also recruit 10 more people to do so.
Here are the social media sharing links again. Submit EACH of them
EVERY day, customize to taste, and keep it up.
#noTPP on Twitter: https://www.utalk.us/no_TPP.php?s=twitter
#noTPP on Facebook: https://www.utalk.us/no_TPP.php?s=facebook
#noTPP on Google Plus: https://www.utalk.us/no_TPP.php?s=google
And after you submit the action page, feel free to request one of our
"Expressway To Trade Hell TPP" bumper stickers.
Of you can get one directly from this page for a contribution of any
Trade Hell bumper stickers: http://www.utalk.us/?g=1:SE
And if you want us to send you one for FREE, just email back with
your mailing address, and we'll get it right out.
Of course if you can make a donation, this is what makes it possible
for us to send free stickers to anyone who cannot make a
contributions right now.
Donations page: https://www.utalk.us/?p=donate
You may forward this message to any friends who would find it
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Friday, June 24, 2016
Referendum of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union Last updated Jun 24 at 2:11 AM Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? 100.0% Reporting Votes Remain a member of the European Union 48.1% 16,141,241 Leave the European Unioncheck 51.9% 17,410,742 Feedback
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Referendum of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union Last updated Jun 23 at 10:22 PM Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? 36.7% Reporting Votes Remain a member of the European Union 49.3% 4,955,129 Leave the European Union 50.7% 5,105,590
Referendum of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union Last updated Jun 23 at 8:58 PM Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? 5.2% Reporting Votes Remain a member of the European Union 48.9% 661,694 Leave the European Union 51.1% 691,415
Referendum of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union Last updated Jun 23 at 8:20 PM Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? 2.6% Reporting Votes Remain a member of the European Union 48.4% 280,820 Leave the European Union 51.6% 299,598
Friday, June 17, 2016
Howard Stern Explodes Gun Control Logic Share this Tweet this Google + Email this June 17, 2016 9:38 am Second Amendment ‘You get a f—ing nutty commander in chief, and you’d better be armed’ (WND) - Famous shock jock Howard Stern just blew gun-control arguments out of the water with a masterful analogy about American sheep under attack by vicious terrorist wolves. Imagine you’re a defenseless sheep in a pasture filled with hundreds of other sheep, all like sitting ducks when a bloodthirsty wolf appears in the dead of night. URGENT: We need you to drop what you’re doing, click here, and send your Congressional Demand to Stop Disarming America Fax Blast to ALL 535 Members of Congress right now! And you hope the shepherds and sheep dogs will protect you and your family from the ruthless beasts – which are slaughtering and eating all your neighbors. But there’s a big problem. The shepherds and sheep dogs are nowhere in sight. They’re protecting other defenseless sheep on the other side of the pasture. What do you do? You whip out your pistol or AR-15 and blast the savage wolves into oblivion – because that’s the only way innocent lives will be saved. Stern ripped into gun-control advocates who would deprive the American people – the innocent, unsuspecting sheep – of their ability to protect themselves from terrorist wolves, especially after Muslim shooter Omar Mateen massacred 49 people at a gun-free nightclub and injured 53 more on June 12: “I’m so upset about Orlando and what went down,” he said. “But I can’t believe these people who come out afterward, and their answer to Orlando is to take away guns from the public. It’s f—ing mindblowing to me. … “The military – and they don’t mean it as a derogatory statement – but they look at the public as sheep. And think about it. We are sheep. Most of us sit around all day. We don’t know how to defend ourselves. We are in a flock. And we basically think everything’s OK. Except the wolves, the bad guys – whether they be ISIS or terrorists, homegrown or otherwise, ISIL, Daesh, the common thug, whatever. They’re wolves. They look at them as wolves. “The military and police look at themselves as sheep dogs. They’re warriors, but they’re on the good side. You know, they’re protecting us. … “It’s such a perfect analogy. And people go, ‘Well, if we take away [the guns].’ Now think about this, in France, they have the tightest gun-control laws on the planet. The terrorists all had AR-15s. They have Glocks. They have every kind of pistol. They’ve got missile launchers. “Now let’s use the analogy of sheep. Now we’re all here. We’re sheep. We’re sitting here, ‘La, da, da, da, da. I’m gonna work hard. I love my family. Baaah!’ “Now let’s say I walked up to a sheep herd. And they know at night, every night the wolves pick off a couple of them. What if I went up to the sheep and said, ‘You want to have a shot at the wolves? I’m gonna give you a pistol. You can actually even the playing field with these wolves whose fangs are out – you could shoot them and save your family.’ ‘Well, Baaah, we’re not gonna do that! We don’t want to fight ba-a-a-a-a-ck. He didn’t hurt us. He only hurt the family down the street. And the shepherds will protect us. The sheep dogs are out there. They’ll protect us.’ “Well, the sheep dogs are protecting you, but some of them can’t be with you. There’s not a sheep dog for every citizen, and a wolf is still eating one of you every night. ‘Baaah, I know what. Let’s remove all the guns from the sheep.’ What? There’s an idea! Let’s take back all the guns from the people who might be willing to shoot the wolves. “So then you go, wait a second. What if we had a completely gun-free zone? “Now, I’m gonna tell you about the most gun-free zone on the planet. It happened during 9/11. It was on a plane. You know you can’t get a gun on a plane. It’s completely gun free. So what did the wolves do? They said, ‘This is great! We’ll just kill the sheep with box cutters. They went on the plane with box cutters, and all the sheep went, ‘Baaah!’ “Now if there had been an Air Marshal on that plane, a whole f—ing other thing would have gone down. There wouldn’t have been no 9/11. “See, the wolves are always plotting. They’ll use box cutters. They’ll use an airplane and fly it right into a building. They don’t need AR-15s. “Nazi Germany – which, by the way, didn’t happen 1,000 years ago – it happened within my dad’s lifetime. It’s not that long ago. Can you imagine if the Jews, at least when the Nazis were banging on the door, if they had a couple of pistols and AR-15s to fight the Nazis? If Anne Frank’s father had a f—ing gun? Maybe at least he could have taken a few Nazis out. “Now why would the sheep say, ‘Oh, we’ve got an answer to all of the terrorism, all these bad wolves that are coming after us. We’ll just hand in all our guns. We’re gonna hand them in. Baaah. You know who will protect us? The government, or the police’? “That’s a bad f—ing idea! “Now I don’t like violence. I don’t like any of this stuff, but I consider myself a sheep. And I want the police to protect me. I support the police. I want the government to protect me. “But guess what? Most of your politicians all have private security. … So they’re OK. Those are sheep that are very well protected. You, on the other hand, you’re a sitting duck. If you’re a sitting duck, do you want a fighting chance or not? I don’t understand it. “I’ll tell you the truth. I’m not real good at protecting [myself]. You can give me 5,000 guns. I wouldn’t be good at protecting myself. I’m just a sheep. I’ll admit it. But I’m not for taking away people’s rights. “I think the answer doesn’t lie in taking any kind of ability of the sheep to protect themselves from the wolves. I really don’t. I wish it were that simple. In France, they’ve done it very effectively. The population is not armed, but unfortunately the wolves are. … Listen, the kids at the Boston Marathon, they just made a bomb.” Later in the show, Stern said Americans had better not just assume they can rely on their military. “The military takes orders from their commander in chief,” he said. “You get a f—ing nutty commander in chief, and you’d better be armed. Because what the f— is gonna happen then?” Noting that the “nutty” president could turn on Americans, Stern added: “That’s what happened when Hitler came to power.” http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/howard-stern-explodes-gun-control-logic/ Correction Please! According to the 911 Commission book summary that I listened to on audiodisc, there were never any box cutters associated with 911, the terrorists took knives on board the victims' planes. "Trust me, I'm from the government" said someone.
Friday, June 10, 2016
Criticism In February 2016, UN's human rights expert Alfred de Zayas said that the TPP was fundamentally flawed and was based on an outdated model of trade pacts, and that governments should not sign or ratify the TPP. According to de Zayas, the international human rights regime imposes, on countries, binding legal obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and trade must be done under the human rights regime. Under the ISDS in the TPP, investors can sue a government, while a government cannot sue investors. De Zayas argued that this asymmetry made the system unfair. He added that international law, including accountability and transparency, must prevail over trade pacts. Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, reported, "... I'll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away", and said that "... there isn't a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view." Krugman also noted the absence of "anything like a political consensus in favor, abroad or at home." Secrecy of negotiations In 2012, critics such as Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, a consumer advocacy group, called for more open negotiations in regard to the agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk responded that he believes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) conducted "the most engaged and transparent process as we possibly could", but that "some measure of discretion and confidentiality" are needed "to preserve negotiating strength and to encourage our partners to be willing to put issues on the table they may not otherwise." He dismissed the "tension" as natural and noted that when the Free Trade Area of the Americas drafts were released, negotiators were subsequently unable to reach a final agreement. On 23 May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3225, which would have required the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress. If it had passed, Wyden said that S3225 would clarify the intent of 2002 legislation. That legislation was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity; however, according to Wyden, the bill is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as a justification to excessively limit such access. Wyden said: The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. […] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement. In 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) were among a group of congressional lawmakers who criticized the Obama administration's secrecy policies on the Trans-Pacific Pact. Warren reiterated her opposition in a speech and press release, just days before a scheduled vote. A 2015 round of negotiations was scheduled for Vancouver, Canada, but two weeks before the commencement date, Ottawa, was selected as the new meeting venue and inquiries from public interest groups about attending this round were ignored. In December 2014 Senator (I-VT) Bernie Sanders denounced the TPP: Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a "free trade" agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret. Michael R. Wessel, former commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission said in May 2015 that "cleared advisors" like himself were "prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches". He said that only portions of the text had been provided, "to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official", that access on secure government-run website did not contain the most-up-to-date information, and that for cleared advisors to get that information, he had "to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials" and "even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement." In June 2015, Senator (R-KY) Rand Paul opposed fast-tracking the TPP bill on the basis of secrecy. Paul explained that fast-tracking the secret trade partnership would "give the permission to do something you haven’t seen", which he likened to "[putting] the cart before the horse." Intellectual property Further information: Trans-Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions Wikisource has original text related to this article: What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)? As of December 2011 some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in the US proposal for the agreement had been criticised as being excessively restrictive, beyond those in the Korea–US trade agreement and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The Electronic Frontier Foundation was highly critical of the leaked draft chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, and patents. In the US, they believed this was likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. Standardization of copyright provisions by other signatories would also require significant changes to other countries' copyright laws. These, according to EFF, include obligations for countries to expand copyright terms, restrict fair use, adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation (ex. file sharing of copyrighted digital media), place greater liability on internet intermediaries, escalate protections for digital locks and create new threats for journalists and whistleblowers. Both the copyright term expansion and the non-complaint provision (i.e., competent authorities may initiate legal action without the need for a formal complaint) previously failed to pass in Japan because they were so controversial. In early 2015 "A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists ... in Japan [asked] their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this secretive agreement, to expand their copyright terms to match the United States' already excessive length of copyright." (The alleged "excessive length," life of the author plus 70 years in most cases, is in the final agreement.) Ken Akamatsu, creator of Japanese manga series Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima!, expressed concern the agreement could decimate the derivative dōjinshi (self-published) works prevalent in Japan. Akamatsu argued that the TPP "would destroy derivative dōjinshi. And as a result, the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish." In May 2015, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman expressed concern that the TPP would tighten the patent laws and allow corporations such as big pharmaceutical companies and Hollywood to gain advantages, in terms of increasing rewards, at the cost of consumers, and that people in developing countries would not be able to access the medicines under the TPP regime. He also pointed out that the TPP would allow multinational corporations to sue national governments, and have cases where group of people who are privately elected can judge. ISDS In April 2015 the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, Lori Wallach, said "We consider it inappropriate to elevate an individual investor or company to equal status with a nation state to privately enforce a public treaty between two sovereign countries", … "[ISDS] gives extraordinary new privileges and powers and rights to just one interest. Foreign investors are privileged vis-a-vis domestic companies, vis-a-vis the government of a country, [and] vis-a-vis other private sector interests", "... the basic reality of ISDS: it provides foreign investors alone access to non-U.S. courts to pursue claims against the U.S. government on the basis of broader substantive rights than U.S. firms are afforded under U.S. law". On 5 October 2015 economists Joseph Stiglitz and Adam S. Hersh questioned the ISDS provisions of the TPP. "To be sure", they wrote, "investors—wherever they call home—deserve protection from expropriation or discriminatory regulations. But ISDS goes much further: The obligation to compensate investors for losses of expected profits can and has been applied even where rules are nondiscriminatory and profits are made from causing public harm. ... Imagine what would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed, under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit twice—first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.". Stiglitz also claimed that the TPP would give oil companies the right to sue governments for loss of profits due to efforts to reduce carbon emissions and global warming. In November 2015, Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs expressed concern that the ISDS-type system which the TPP proposes grants huge power to investors, and that the TPP damages the judicial systems of all the member countries, noting that ISDS has been already used by corporations to upset governments so as to weaken the regulations that have negative effects on their profits. Pointing out what he believes are problems with the unnecessarily strong copyright protections and intellectual properties, the deficiencies in the standards of worker protections, the lack of social and environmental commitments in the TPP, he concluded that the US Congress must oppose the TPP. In February 2016, Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute said that the ISDS provision in the TPP was an expanded version of the ISDS in NAFTA, pointing out that more than 10 percent of foreign investors in the US could access ISDS under the TPP regime. Under the ISDS mechanism, foreign corporations can sue a national government in international arbitration over a government's actions if the measures have a negative effect on their profits and economic interests. Various measures, including those for public health, national security, environment, food and drug, responses to economic crises, could be challenged by foreign corporations, regardless of whether the measures are for the public interest. According to Lori Wallach's interpretation of leaked documents in 2012, countries would be required to conform their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP Agreement, which includes provisions on government spending in certain areas She argues that investor-state dispute settlement mechanism can be used to "attack domestic public interest laws". On 12 April 2016, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller argued that TPP's ISDS would allow foreign corporations to sue the Canadian government over environmental regulations that the government imposed, and if the corporations won their cases the government would be forced to pay compensations to the corporations from public coffers. Pointing out that Canada was sued multiple times under NAFTA's ISDS and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, Miller explained that paying such compensation was like a hidden tax imposed on Canadians by multinational corporations. Green Party of Canada argues that Canadians should not be taxed by corporations for regulations that protect Canadians and Canada's environment. Miller, who is the Green Party of Canada's Infrastructure & Community Development Critic, concluded that TPP should not be ratified. Cost of medicine A June 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine summarized concerns about the TPP's impact on healthcare in both developed and less developed countries, including potentially increased prices of medical drugs due to patent extensions, which it claimed, could threaten millions of lives. Extending "data exclusivity" provisions would "prevent drug regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration from registering a generic version of a drug for a certain number of years." International tribunals that have been a part of the proposed agreement could theoretically require corporations be paid compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation's regulations. That, in turn, might interfere with domestic health policy. A number of United States Congressional members, including Senator Bernard Sanders and Representatives Sander M. Levin, John Conyers, Jim McDermott and the now-retired Henry Waxman, as well as  John Lewis, Charles B. Rangel, Earl Blumenauer, Lloyd Doggett and then-congressman Pete Stark, expressed concerns about access to medicine. By protecting intellectual property in the form of the TPP mandating patent extensions, access by patients to affordable medicine in the developing world could be hindered, particularly in Vietnam. Additionally, they worried that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries. Opponents of the TPP in New Zealand said U.S. corporations were hoping to weaken the ability of its domestic agency Pharmac to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing it to otherwise pay considerably higher prices for brand name drugs. Physicians and organizations, including Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, also expressed concern. The New Zealand Government denied the claims, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser saying opponents of the deal are "trying to wreck this agreement". When a deal was reached in early October 2015, the U.S. and Australia had negotiated a compromise on the length of the monopoly period on next-generation biotech drugs down from twelve years requested by the U.S. to "a minimum period of 5 years and up to a minimum of 8 years." In Australia, critics of the investment protection regime argued that traditional investment treaty standards are incompatible with some public health regulations, meaning that the TPP will be used to force states to adopt lower standards, e.g., with respect to patented pharmaceuticals. The Australian Public Health Association (PHAA) published a media release on 17 February 2014 that discussed the potential impact of the TPP on the health of Australia's population. A policy brief formulated through a collaboration between academics and non-government organizations (NGOs) was the basis of the media release, with the partnership continuing its Health Impact Assessment of the trade agreement at the time of the PHAA's statement. Michael Moore, the PHAA's CEO, said, "The brief highlights the ways in which some of the expected economic gains from the TPPA may be undermined by poor health outcomes, and the economic costs associated with these poor health outcomes." In February 2015, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich stated he opposed the TPP because it would delay cheaper generic versions of drugs and because of its provisions for international tribunals that can require corporations be paid "compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation's regulations." When the full-text of the TPP was officially released on 5 November 2015, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, expressed that they were "extremely concerned about the inclusion of dangerous provisions that would dismantle public health safeguards enshrined in international law and restrict access to price-lowering generic medicines for millions of people." MSF's advisor, Judit Rius Sanjuan, cautioned that, "MSF remains gravely concerned about the effects that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will have on access to affordable medicines for millions of people, if it is enacted. Today’s official release of the agreed TPP text confirms that the deal will further delay price-lowering generic competition by extending and strengthening monopoly market protections for pharmaceutical companies." — Doctors Without Borders November 5, 2015 India's laws concerning drug patents allow it to develop generic drugs. Despite India not being a signatory to the TPP, the provisions in the TPP concerning generic drugs seem to be directly targeting India's pharmaceutical industry, according to Amy Kapczynski, faculty director of the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University. Income inequality In 2013, Nobel Memorial prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that based on leaked drafts of the TPP, it presented "grave risks" and "serves the interests of the wealthiest." Organised labour in the U.S. argued that the trade deal would largely benefit corporations at the expense of workers in the manufacturing and service industries. The Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research argued that the TPP could result in further job losses and declining wages. In 2014, Noam Chomsky warned that the TPP is "designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximise profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity." Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who opposes fast track, stated that trade agreements like the TPP "have ended up devastating working families and enriching large corporations." Economist Robert Reich contends that the TPP is a "Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits." After the announcement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September 2015 and the finalisation of the TPP a week later, critics have discussed the interactions between the SDGs and the TPP. While one critic sees the TPP as providing a mixed bag of benefits and drawbacks to the SDGs, another regards the TPP as being incompatible with the SDGs, highlighting that if the development provisions clash with any other aspect of the TPP, the other aspect takes priority. The Friends of the Earth have spoken out against the TPP. Economists Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer challenge the view that TPP will primarily benefit the wealthy. Their analysis finds that "the gains from TPP appear to be fairly distributed—labour will gain relative to capital, and cost reductions will favour low-income households. Some workers will need to change jobs, but they constitute a small fraction of normal job churn in any given year, and the national benefits argue for generous compensation for their adjustment costs. The agreement will also benefit workers in TPP’s poorest member countries." Research by Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence finds that the "percentage gains for labor income from the TPP will be slightly greater than the gains to capital income. Households in all quintiles will benefit by similar percentages, but once differences in spending shares are taken into account, the percentage gains to poor and middle-class households will be slightly larger than the gains to households at the top." An opinion piece by Ed Gerwin in the Wall Street Journal argues that the TPP agreement benefits small businesses in the US. Economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon H. Hanson, who have extensively studied US labor markets adjustments to trade competition shocks caused by China, support TPP. They argue that TPP "would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which U.S. companies exert a strong comparative advantage", note that "killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back to America" and argue that it would pressure China to raise regulatory rules and standards to those of TPP members. Environment In 2013, Sierra Club's director of responsible trade, Ilana Solomon, argued that the TPP "could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land." Upon the publication of a complete draft of the Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs' Report by Wikileaks in January 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wide Fund for Nature joined with the Sierra Club in criticizing the TPP. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange described the Environment Chapter as "a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism." In January 2014, The Washington Post's editorial board opined that congressional sponsors of legislation to expedite approval of the TPP in the U.S. already included provisions to ensure that all TPP countries meet international labour and environmental standards, and that the U.S. "has been made more productive by broader international competition and more secure by broader international prosperity". The Venezuelan-backed TeleSUR reported that, when a deal was struck on 5 October 2015, various environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace, 350.org, and Food & Water Watch raised warnings against the deal. However, the White House has a website with supportive statements from the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Humane Society, and other environmental groups in favor of the TPP. Labour standards In January 2016, Human Rights Watch said that the TPP side agreements with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei "are a unique and significant step in efforts to protect labor rights in trade agreements" but noted that enforcement of these rules remains to be seen: "gauging compliance will require subjective assessments by the US that may take years to carry out and face obstacles arising from foreign policy objectives, commercial interests, and other political considerations." In May 2015, U.S. politician Sander Levin said that Vietnam has not enforced compliance with basic international labour standards: for example if a worker tries to form an independent union in Vietnam, the worker can be jailed. He said that, even if countries change their laws, it is difficult to enforce trade deals. He added that there is no evidence that the Southeast Asian country is going to meet the international labour standards. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren strongly opposes the TPP, issuing a staff report on the agreement. The report says that there is a huge gap between the promises that past US free trade agreements contained and the actual enforcement of their labour provisions. Non-compete clause Dean Baker argued that Article 18.78, under which countries should ensure that they protect trade secrets and impose criminal procedures for violators, could be used to enforce non-compete agreements, and that big tech companies were happy if they could prevent workers from joining their rivals or starting their own company. Pointing out that California's success was attributed to the fact that the state did not allow for the enforcement of non-compete agrrments (and that in California it was easy for tech workers to quit their jobs and start to work for another company), and that Michigan enforced non-compete agreements, Baker wrote that the connection between Silicon Valley and Detroit came in Article 18.78. Protests A protest in Wellington, New Zealand in November 2014 "Stop Fast Track" rally in Washington D.C., April 2015 Protesters of the 4 February signing at SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. A number of global health professionals, internet freedom activists, environmentalists, trade unions, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticized and protested against the treaty, in large part because of the secrecy of negotiations, the agreement's expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public. On 5 March 2012, a group of TPP protesters disrupted an outside broadcast of 7News Melbourne's 6 pm bulletin at Melbourne, Australia's Federation Square venue. In New Zealand, the "It's Our Future" protest group was formed with the aim of raising public awareness prior to the Auckland round of negotiations, which was held from 3 to 12 December 2012. During the Auckland negotiations, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside the conference venue and lit a fire in the streets. A poll conducted in December 2012 showed 64 percent of New Zealanders thought trade agreements, such as the TPP, which allow corporations to sue governments, should be rejected. In March 2013, four thousand Japanese farmers held a protest in Tokyo over the potential for cheap imports to severely damage the local agricultural industry. On 21 February 2014, Malaysian protesters dressed as zombies outside a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur to protest the impact of the TPP on the price of medicines, including treatment drugs for HIV. The protest group consisted of students, members of the Malaysian AIDS Council and HIV-positive patients—one patient explained that, in Malaysian ringgit, he spent between RM500 and RM600 each month on treatment drugs, but this cost would increase to around RM3,000. On 29 March 2014, 15 anti-TPP protests occurred across New Zealand, including a demonstration in Auckland attended by several thousand people. The New Zealand Nurses Association was particularly concerned that the TPP could prevent government decisions that could benefit public health. On 8 November 2014, further protests occurred in 17 New Zealand cities, with turnouts in the thousands. In January 2015, various petitions and public protests occurred in the U.S. from progressives. On 27 January 2015, protesters hijacked a US Senate hearing to speak out against the TPP and were promptly removed by capitol police officers. On 15 August 2015, protests were held across New Zealand in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, as well as several smaller cities. An activist claimed that over 25,000 people collectively protested against the TPP free trade deal throughout the country. The protests were peaceful; however, police were forced to protect the steps of the Parliament building in the capital of Wellington, after an estimated 2000 people marched to the entrance. On 15 September 2015, an estimated 50 protesters blocked a lane of Lambton Quay in the central business district of Wellington, New Zealand. It was reported that up to 30 people were arrested after forming a block on the road, and were taken away in police vans. The group was attempting to enter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade headquarters, in attempt to seize documents related to the TPPA. They criticized the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, chanting "democracy not secrecy". They were stopped by a police barricade, which later extended to a lock down of the road. On 23 January 2016, two protests against TPP occurred at Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man estimated the crowd to be about 25,000 people at Padang Merbok alone. However, Malaysiakini estimated the number for both Padang Merbok and Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur city centre at 5,000 maximum and called the protest a "dud". On 30 January 2016, in Wellington, thousands of people joined anti-TPP rallies, and about five hundred people presented a petition calling for a binding referendum on the TPP before New Zealand's government ratifies the TPP. On 4 February 2016, trade ministers from the twelve negotiating countries met at the SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. Between 2,000 and 15,000 protesters were estimated to have marched down Queen Street at midday, including additional rallies in Aotea Square and outside of SkyCity. Groups of protesters blocked central city intersections and motorway ramps during the day, including an incident where 100 protesters ran onto a section of the central city motorway. Protesters in Auckland were joined by the annual Waitangi Day hikoi, and an additional 250 people protested at the Wellington Cenotaph outside of parliament in Wellington. In early April 2016, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined an anti-TPP rally, and explained why he stood up and fought against the TPP. As de Blasio noted, NAFTA was a disastrous trade pact: under NAFTA, about one million US jobs and tens of thousands of New York jobs were lost, and the decent standard of living for the US middle class was eroded. He argued that the TPP would damage US as NAFTA did, suggesting that the TPP would worsen US's income inequality. In April 2016, more than twenty lawmakers in Washington agreed that the US Congress should oppose the TPP. The lawmakers expressed concern that the TPP would have negative impacts on various things: availability of life saving drugs, protections of the environment and natural resources, jobs, labor standards and human rights. They sent a letter to Washington State Members of Congress, urging them to reject the TPP. See also Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) Counterfeit Digital rights Foreign trade of the United States Free Trade Area Generic drug Office of the United States Trade Representative Protect IP Act (PIPA) Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Tariff Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Trade Promotional Authority Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement References
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Kenneth Stepp congratulates Clint Harris and Monica Rice-Smith, the two winners of the May 17, 2016 primary election for the 41st Circuit Primary Family Court Judgeship election. The two winners will meet in the General Election in November, 2016 for a runoff election to elect the newly elected Judge of the 41st Circuit Family Court.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Secretary Grimes Encourages Kentuckians to Honor Veterans with Votes on May 17 Friday, 13 May 2016 09:58 | PDF | Print | E-mail Share FRANKFORT, Ky. – Voters can recognize Kentucky veterans’ service by casting their ballots in their honor during Tuesday’s Primary, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced yesterday. She is reminding Kentuckians to participate in her office’s “Vote in Honor of a Veteran” program. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Our Commonwealth is the home of more than 300,000 veterans. We should take every opportunity to show our respect and gratitude for the sacrifices they have made to protect our rights – especially the right to vote,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official. Voters can request a “Vote in Honor of a Veteran” button from their county clerk or the Secretary of State’s office. The button can be personalized to include the name of a veteran the voter will honor by casting a ballot. Voters can also submit online tributes to the veterans they are honoring. To request a button or leave a tribute, visit sos.ky.gov. Grimes is passionate about supporting Kentucky’s active-duty and veteran military members and their families. As Secretary of State, Grimes has advocated on a range of military and veterans issues from voting to job and business opportunities. CCN NOTE: The U.S. Armed Forces are made up of five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy - Represented in left photo. Right photo is United States Navy Veteran, Attorney Kenneth Stepp of Clay County, KY.