Wikileaks Exposes Trans-Pacific Partnership as Bad Trade Deal Again

Enslaved through trade,  That seems to be the agenda with trade agreements these days.  Over and over again national law, the common good is overwritten through bad trade deals.  Wikileaks has exposed yet another horror from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement being negotiated.  It seems freedom loving, Democratic United States is leading the charge to ensure life saving drugs are not affordable for most people.

The latest leaked version of the draft text shows the United States pushing for measures that would significantly constrain affordable access to vital generic drugs, such as cancer drugs and treatments for communicable diseases such as Ebola.

Just two weeks ago, 60 Minutes did an expose on how cancer drugs cost over $100,000 per year.  You might survive cancer but only if you can come up with the cash.  Already trade watchdog groups are weighing in on this latest outrage.

The leak shows our government demanding rules that would lead to preventable suffering and death in Pacific Rim countries, while eliminating opportunities to ease financial hardship on American families and our health programs at home,

Below is the Public Citizen synopsis on the leaked TPP intellectual property draft.  Yes, you read that right, corporations are out to patent plants.  The hits just keep on coming and many national laws, like net neutrality for example, are defeated through trade deals by circumventing sovereign states' law as a barrier to trade.  In other words, corporations and their bought and paid for government representatives negotiate, in secret, ways to get around national law and stuff those ways in trade agreements, which corrupt government officials then pass.

  • A measure that could expand online service provider surveillance of Internet users’ activity, including in the United States;
  • A rule to require the patenting of plant-related inventions, such as the genes inserted into genetically modified plants, putting farmers in developing countries at the mercy of the agriculture industry, including seed manufacturers such as Monsanto, and threatening food security in these countries more broadly;
  • Proposals for mitigating the pact’s harms to access to medicines in developing countries, none of which will suffice;
  • The elimination of proposals for patents on surgical methods;
  • A reduction in scope of other proposed monopoly protections for the pharmaceutical industry; and
  • The expected failure of a thinly veiled U.S. attack on an India-style pro-competition patent law, which facilitates access to medicines.

Even Forbes noticed TPP has even harsher copyright rules.

The US has all along wished to introduce features of the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), such as compelling ISPs to alert customers who are accused of illegal downloads and, possibly, take the infringing material down. If they failed to do so, they would themselves be liable for any copyright infringement by their customers.

But the latest draft goes even further: the US wants to see these rules covering not just ISPs, but anyone providing internet services. And, as Alberto Cerda of Georgetown University Law Center points out to TorrentFreak, this means that coffee shops could potentially be held liable for copyright infringement by their customers.

Meanwhile, the copyright itself could be enforced for longer. While the previously-leaked draft showed that some countries were proposing flexibility on copyright terms, it seems that all are now agreed that there should be a universal minimum term, whether life-plus-50-years, life-plus-70 or life-plus-100.

The Guardian also amplified some of the circumenting of whistle blowers law by expanding the scope of trade secrets:

The US is pushing for criminal procedures and penalties for the disclosure of trade secrets in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Such provisions could impact upon not only corporate espionage, but the work of journalists, media organisations, information technology activists, and whistleblowers.

Be warned, the Financial Times is already implying this bad trade deal would be smooth sailing if Republicans take the Senate.

The reality is that both deals need a trade-friendly Congress to go ahead and the hope is a Republican majority in the Senate may just give them that.

Mr Obama’s push in January for the congressional “fast-track” authority he technically needs to negotiate trade agreements ran headlong into the Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid, and has been stalled all year.

Since then, senior Democrats have made warmer noises about the prospects of granting the president what is formally called “trade promotion authority” in the event they hang on to the Senate. But the uncomfortable truth, even Democratic insiders concede quietly, is that Mr Obama’s trade agenda may be in safer hands if Republicans end up controlling the Senate.

Few in Washington expect any action on trade in the so-called “lame-duck” sessions of Congress immediately after the election. But, behind closed doors, Republicans on Capitol Hill say a new Senate that they control would likely grant Mr Obama trade promotion authority as soon as the first quarter of next year.

This site summed it up.  TPP is about enabling corporations to sue sovereign states for profits.

In the TPP, corporations are called “investor states” with their own set of rules. “Investor-state” provisions allow corporations to sue governments over local laws that might hinder their profits.

Passing bad trade deals written by and for multinational corporations has been going on since NAFTA.  No amount of public outcry has managed to stop these deals.  That does not mean people should give up, but more evidence of what societies are up against and how corporations run the globe.

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From "The Problem of Riches"

"I am reminded of the unedifying sight of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson (2006) begging in the Financial Times for an extension of music copyright protection from 50 years to 70 years — an extreme form of government-sponsored rentierism — citing the need to pay ‘nursing home bills’. (Rock stars are supposed to be shameless, but surely not in this way). Apparently artists shouldn’t have to make provision for their pensions, unlike the rest of us. Lamenting ‘the loss of this huge cultural and financial asset to the exchequer and the copyright owners’ as copyrights expire, he failed to notice, as the rich so often do, that his loss was necessarily a gain to the public. Sadly for almost everyone, the European Commission and the British government took a similar view and duly extended these unnatural monopoly rights."

http://www.renewal.org.uk/articles/the-problem-of-riches

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Music copyright

Music copyrights and works of art are the least of my concern. Individuals obtaining royalties is fine. What is not fine is corporate profits of greed using international patent law to deny the world a public good, say cancer drugs which cure and say a vaccine for Ebola if it is invented and works. I feel governments should have a right to confiscate these things for the global and national interest, what is in the best interest of society, not corporate profits.

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Obamatrade

The internal GOP feud over what some conservative critics are calling ‘Obamatrade’ is just the latest in a series of skirmishes between the party's corporate-friendly leadership and its populist base. The office of Sen. Ted Cruz said that he generally supports free trade deals, but will have to see what's included in Obama's final TPP agreement.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/mitch-mcconnell-tpp-tea-party_n...

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Sneaky Obama (TPP)

Washington Post:

President Obama urged fellow Democrats to "keep your powder a little dry" as he begins working with Republicans on securing fast-track trade authority. He also called on them to "get informed by NOT reading the Huffington Post" as Congress prepares to debate giving him the authority to complete work on the broad Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama's knock against the liberal-leaning news organization came on the same day that the Web site published an op-ed by him defending his forthcoming budget proposal.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/01/30/obama-te...

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nothing like corruption at both ends

Making sure multinationals get theirs, he's busy.

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If Pinocchio Were Trying to Sell a Trade Deal

The proposed TPP trade agreement would NOT create 650,000 new jobs (as Obama claims one study shows). A Washington Post fact-checker says the correct number is zero (according to the same study!)

http://citizen.typepad.com/eyesontrade/2015/02/if-pinocchio-were-trying-...

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UPDATE on TPP and FAST TRACK

Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), a high ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, has reasonably asked to view an un-redacted copy of the proposed text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He also wants to bring in his chief of staff, who has a top security clearance, to take notes privately. He also wants to review documents that show the position of each country participating in the agreements, as well how the U.S. position has changed over the course of the negotiations.”

The Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is dodging his request.

Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wants Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) — a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and who once called for transparency and congressional participation in these trade negotiations — to co-sponsor Fast Track when Congress returns from next week’s recess.

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Koch Brothers, identity theft and net neutrality

Last week, media reports exposed the fact that thousands “anti-net neutrality” emails sent to lawmakers came from a shadowy Koch-funded group that’s now being accused of “identity theft” for sending emails from people who had never signed up to oppose net neutrality.
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/net-neutrality-email-american-comm...

This morning, the New York times revealed that Comcast has been calling in favors from the many politicians, think tanks, and organizations that they “generously” donate to. Basically they’re bribing politicians and groups to send letters to Congress and the FCC in favor of Comcast’s takeover of Time Warner Cable.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/business/media/comcast-recruits-its-be...

It even looks like Comcast straight up wrote Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s letter for him.
http://www.thenation.com/article/203169/did-comcast-ghostwrite-rahm-eman...

Cities and towns around the country are developing municipal broadband networks that are both faster and less expensive than the services offered by big cable and Internet companies. But local governments in 19 states don’t have that option due to anti-consumer state laws that ban or restrict municipal broadband. These state laws are a cynical attempt to preserve the profits of big cable companies.

Obama calls for cities to build government-run high-speed internet
http://www.vox.com/2015/1/14/7546865/obama-municipal-broadband-fcc

Booker, Markey, McCaskill Introduce Community Broadband Act
http://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=190

Census: Computer ownership, internet connection varies widely across U.S.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/19/census-computer-ownershi...

Obama calls for end to 19 state laws that harm community broadband
http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/01/obama-calls-for-end-to-19-state-...

Why the F.C.C.’s Municipal-Broadband Ruling Matters, Too
http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/fcc-municipal-broadband-rulin...

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