House sacrifices workers and citizens to gods of corporate power

TPP: Why so secret?

The House voted 218 to 208 for give the president Fast Trade trade power and a limit their control over our trade policy to a simple up or down vote.  The bill now goes to the Senate which had passed a more complex bill that provided limited compensation to workers displaced by trade.

From the documents that Wikileaks leaked on TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), we know that these treaties would:

  • governments would be prevented from using Free Software:
  • impose stronger DRM and “technological protection measure” regimes;
  • make ISPs liable for copyright infringement on their networks;
  • implement a “take it down first, argue later” DMCA-like process for notifying copyright infringements;
  • allow corporations to patent plants and animals;
  • potentially ban you from selling a product you bought abroad.

These trade agreements would put in place or expand Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) that allow corporations to challenge our laws if they at all hinder their present or potential profits. It has already happened in AustraliaCanada, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala.

Recently, Mexico and Canada used the NAFTA ISDS process to penalize the US for meat labeling laws. Laws the House of Representatives voted to scrap instead of fight for.  With TiSA, TPP and TTIP, these challenges will be more frequent and raise corporate power over our democracy to new levels.

While the entire Massachusetts delegation voted against Fast Track, there are many Senators who voted for it.  The Senate’s vote on the new House bill could occur anytime.  Now is the time to urge your friends in other states to call their senators and tell them to vote against Fast Track.  Thanks!

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