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The North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement has, indeed, caused a "great sucking sound" of jobs being outsourced as Ross Perot predicted some years ago.  Of course, since then, legislation and tax loopholes have also made it attractive for manufactures to move our good paying jobs overseas, leaving us with a "service economy" (read burger flipping and minimal wage).

It has now become fashionable among our leaders, both corporate and governmental, to proliferate these trade agreements with a dizzying array of acronyms: TTP, TAFTA, CAFTA, and FTAs for Korea, Columba, and Panama.  The ideas fostering these offspring are deregulation and globalization of trade--two of the most ignored reasons for our economic decline since the 1990s.  But how much are you willing to give up for those cheap clothes, flowers, foodstuffs, and other products produced overseas?

Here are some of the nasty secrets leaking out of the carefully guarded talks according to Public Citizen:  the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership involves
-- some 600 multinational corporations taking part with no representation from the global citizenry
--international tribunals being proposed to allow corporations to sue governments which stray from their agreed obligations
--enabling "easier" trade by subordinating sovereign laws affecting labor, the environment, worker safety, wages, health, etc. (Have you heard of the "race to the bottom" where multinationals look to place their factories in countries with the least restrictions on them?)
--giving up a great deal of our democratically won rights to make our own laws and giving the process over to the corporate leaders.

The TTP and the TAFTA (Trans-Atlantic FTA) are scheduled to go before Congress soon and President Obama, who has adopted this ideology, is likely to request "fast-track" authority to push them through before the public is aware of what is happening. In doing so he will continue the recent trend of presidents to usurp Congressional power to write laws and set policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Kinda vague (0+ / 0-)

    So is there any difference between the last three of your list of "nasty secrets" , or are you stating the same thing three different ways?

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:25:42 PM PDT

  •  Terrorists will win if they find out what's in TPP (11+ / 0-)

    If the TPP is such a great idea, then why must the details be kept in secret?

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:55:58 PM PDT

    •  . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      magnetics, marina, terabytes

      the truth is kept secret, the lies are only what we will hear.

      "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:19:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They won't be secret by 2014 election time. (13+ / 0-)

      I think the point is to do as much damage to the Democratic Party brand as possible, seeing as how the Republicans are all running full-on toward the cliff. Sort of give the voters a level playing field come 2014.

      Of course, giving corporations more control over us while taking more of our wealth is always an enriching experience for our political elite.

      Seriously, there's a provision whereby, let's say your town/city/state passes an ordinance which forbids some horrible chemical to be added to some product used in the area. But a foreign company makes that product with that chemical.

      So now that locale will be guilty of causing the Corporation projected <yeah, check that out, projected> losses from that ordinance. iirc, they don't even bring a court case against the locale: they go to the Feds and work it out.

      And the Feds can order the law invalid, and then pay something (maybe all of the projected loss) to the complaining Corporation.

      In fucking America! The voters gonna loooove that shit. But then, it's fucking America. Who gives a crap about what the voters want? See any JOBS program being pushed as hard as TPP anywhere?

      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:52:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Probably in a couple hundred years... (7+ / 0-)

    ...when the survivors figure out you can't really profit from most economic activity, they will read histories of our political discourse and wonder how we valued spreadsheet wealth over everything else for so long.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:17:51 PM PDT

  •  Just one minute, sport (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    NAFTA = North ATLANTIC Free Trade Agreement?

    If memory serves, Ross Perot was talking about the North AMERICAN Free Trade agreement during the 1992 presidential campaign.

    Are you a bit confused by the alphabet soup of subsequent free trade agreements?  (As opposed to and not to be confused with FAIR trade agreements, but that's another story).

    •  Correct.... (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, it is called the North American Free Trade Agreement, not North Atlantic.

      The bulk of it was negotiated by the George H.W. Bush Administration, but finalized and passed by Bill Clinton and the Congressional Democrats.

    •  North AMERICAN FTA (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for setting me straight.  I said it is a dizzying array and there's the proof.  What's troubling is that there are so many of them either already signed or coming down the pike.  But they all have the same basic aim no matter what the letters stand for: increase the bottom line no matter what the damage!  Public Citizen has a whole section of research called the Global Trade Watch (GTW) to keep track of this crowd.   Now that our awareness is heightened, it's time to stop them in their tracks.  The reason for the diary is to raise awareness even further.  The average American knows little to nothing about this global onslaught on our lives.

  •  NAFTA,GATT etcetera. There is no such thing as (0+ / 0-)

    a 'neutral' trade deal or why would you bother.

    Here's Ross ..........

  •  "Free Trade" is a euphemism that stands for (7+ / 0-)

    exploitation. The traders aren't just into "buy low and sell high;" they're into free goods (stolen stuff) that they take to market for a profit. Basically, they capture a profit for themselves by moving things around. Always have. Think back to the Dutch merchants filling the holds of their boats with African captives to deliver to the New World as they went to collect what had been stolen from the natives there.

    Perhaps free looks particularly good to the traders because they themselves are people who can't create or make things. "One man's trash is another's treasure," suits them perfectly because usefulness is a foreign concept to them. Perhaps, like the crow ("if it sparkles, pick it up"), some people simply respond to prompts. They take without thinking.

    Ideas are sort of like vermin. We get rid of them in one context, they pop up somewhere else. In the 21st Century, it seems to be the notion that consent (informed or not), which used to justify the abuse of spouses until death called a halt, has been migrated not just to the medical arena, where the patient's consent to being tortured relieves the practitioner of responsibility for mistakes ahead of time, but to the commercial world, where being defrauded is now considered a matter of course and the intervention by agents of government is ruled out of bounds.
    It's a clever idea. Tort reform via the elimination of torts. Reminds of the practice of purchasing indulgences in the Catholic Church to get sins forgiven ahead of time.

    •  hannah (0+ / 0-)

      do you have any links to articles or books re the concept of traders taking things?

      "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

      by hoplite9 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:49:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You could start (4+ / 0-)

        by looking into the history of the Vikings.  But David Graeber's Debt: The First Five Thousand Years gives a good deal of history on the slave trade, where yes, they were most assuredly "taking" "THINGS" in the form of living people.  Dutch and English merchants were of course purchasing the slaves.  They were purchasing them from people who they knew very well were acquiring those "goods" by theft, fraud, and violence, and paying what was locally a price sufficient to strongly encourage such activities in order to supply them.

        You might also try Piers Brendon's The Decline and Fall for the British Empire 1781-1997 for some rather detailed and  lurid descriptions of the activities of the British East India company's "trading" activities in India, which most definitively consisted of looting at gunpoint.  Or look read up a little on the Opium Wars, in which "free trade" (the right to sell drugs in violation of local law) was used as an excuse to sack the Chinese Imperial palace and environs.

  •  So is there any difference (5+ / 0-)

    when you come down to it, between the corporations negotiating the shape of the world for themselves in these trade agreements, and the representatives owned outright by those same corporations negotiating it in Congress? Except that these international agreements of course are much larger.  But where do the People have anything to say at all?  By holding a sit-in on the steps of Congress until the Capitol Police come and haul them away?  Because voting doesn't do it, and writing letters doesn't do it, and damned well nothing influences our government except Big Money, so why should we be surprised that Big Money is now cutting out the appearance of democratic process and getting down to hacking out business rules on its own?

    We lost any substantial control of our government when we agreed to hand it over to Ronald Reagan and Paul Volker to do whatever they wanted if they would only stop gas prices from rising.  We abdicated responsibility again when we allowed Dick Cheney to start a war in Iraq, knowing that it was all about stealing oil, and just hoped that it would bring the gas prices down.  And we continue to abdicate as we refuse to hold Obama's nuts to the fire for reneging on three-quarters of his promises because "he's better than a Republican" or "he's the first black President of the US".  As long as the American people allow themselves to be bullied and manipulated by corporate interests, they WILL be bullied and manipulated by corporate interests, because corporations are psychopaths and bullies and aren't going to change their behavior unless somebody stands up to them.

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