"I'm America's CEO."
In the post-election euphoria, we’ve been led to believe that President Obama’s trip to Asia is about spreading goodwill, creating new friendships, renewing old alliances, and making the world safe for democracy.
It’s a charm offensive that’s much longer on “offensive” than “charm”.
What this trip is actually about is selling TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership __ “selling” here being the equivalent of jamming a building the size of the New York Federal Reserve between the spread cheeks of the leaders of the countries in this part of the world.
TPP is not exactly popular even in the U.S. In fact, the more people learn about it, the more they realize that it’s a Trojan Horse, another so-called trade agreement, which in point of fact mitigates the effectiveness of many environmental and worker-protection laws, compromises the sovereignty of nations, and puts in place yet another powerful mechanism for the already bloated and rich transnational corporations to amass more socially unproductive profits. Encouragingly, more and more people are outraged and speaking out against it. This is predictably being countered by a public relations campaign using our public officials as spokespersons for the transnational corporate elite who are promoting this onerous, ill-conceived weapon of economic destruction.
Don’t be fooled by this self-serving and bogus propaganda.
Yesterday, for example, I read an article called Canada Sued under NAFTA for Banning Fracking which tells about an American corporation initiating a lawsuit for damages of $250,000,000. You see, if a business entity feels that the laws of a participating country interfere with their now inalienable rights to exploit that country, NAFTA sanctions “investor-to-state” litigation. In this case, Lone Pine Resources Inc. spent large sums of money securing mining permits, but Quebec Province, where the mining was to take place, later determined that exercising those rights would cause grave environmental damage. NAFTA allows U.S. and Mexican companies to sue the Canadian government if they feel they have been wronged by a government policy or action. This is saying that Lone Pine Resources had no responsibility in determining in advance the environmental impacts of its plans. It can throw money down, then if local authorities discover that their proposed mining will pollute the water, dump toxins in the soil, subject people to carcinogens and other life-threatening chemicals, Lone Pine Resources has to be compensated for their own shortsightedness and stupidity.
As the article goes on to say: “Amazingly, instead of looking for ways to scale back and eliminate the rules in our trade agreements that threaten public interest policies in favor of corporate profits, eleven countries, including the United States and Canada, are currently in the middle of negotiations to expand the NAFTA investment rules in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.”
This is madness!!
TPP is NAFTA on steroids. Yes. Anyone who has looked at this “trade agreement”, as its being misrepresented, can see it’s nothing but another monstrous assault weapon being handed to transnational corporations to bulk up their bottom line at the expense of just about everything having to do with quality of life __ safety, human rights, worker rights, sustainability, environmental protection. Please! Just read this and this and this, then do your own research. This is not a shades of gray issue. It’s black and white, folks.
Let me give a brief example from my own experience.
Japan Post is the postal service here. It is truly amazing in every respect. It’s essentially a privatized, public service institution that with scrupulous government oversight, conjoins several organizations to provide a variety of services. At Japan Post, not only can you mail letters, cards, and packages locally and internationally, but you can pay your bills with a fully-functioning cash transfer system, do banking with an ATM machine, secure an entire range of insurance (home, life, auto, accident), purchase gifts, make travel plans and purchase tickets. When I look at the shell of an institution the U.S. Postal Service has become under the relentless assault of private corporations there, it’s no contest. It’s like comparing a scrub game of neighborhood football to the Superbowl.
The Japanese are furious about TPP. Under TPP, corporations in the U.S. through legal challenges would tear Japan Post apart. They’d claim the panoply of services and the incredibly competent and efficient delivery of those services are “unfair competition”.
It’s competition alright. It actually works! It provides useful services making the lives of Japanese citizens better and more hassle-free.
This is just one small example. I’m not going to do all of the work for you. Just extrapolate from this, read the recommended articles and imagine what will happen if these countries are “persuaded” __ read that as “coerced” or “bullied” __ into this agreement. America’s military and economic power often makes such negotiations a sham. America is good at making less powerful nations an offer they can’t refuse.
For those of you who might not have heard, America is a very unpopular country in most of the world. Despite the whitewashed image which is promoted by corporate media in the U.S., anti-Americanism is exponentially on the rise. I have experienced this first hand.
People defensively suggest that I don’t love my country. This is both silly and ignorant.
I’ve always loved and always will love what America represents. I love the energy, the optimism, the whole idea of government of the people, by the people, for the people.
But TPP is not America. Corporation X and Corporation Y just because they’re registered in Delaware aren’t America. The tiny powerful coterie of wealthy elite investors and Wall Street bankers who are turning our government into a puppet show aren’t America.
You and I are America __ the people referred to in “of the people, by the people, for the people.” We are America.
And no proud, sane, decent American would get behind TPP and the expanding corporate juggernaut that’s being done in the name of proud, sane, decent Americans. Proud, sane, decent Americans believe in opportunity, justice, fairness, the “general welfare”. Proud, sane, decent Americans truly love their country, and would never put corporate profits ahead of how America is supposed to serve its citizens. Proud, sane, decent Americans don’t compromise the integrity of communities and schools to improve the bottom line. Proud, sane, decent Americans understand the hope America represents to the world. Proud, sane, decent American respect human rights and human life.
No, I don’t hate America. But a lot of people in the world do. And if TPP and similar such agreements are put in place, the worst is yet to come.
We won’t have time to spread the love.
We’ll be too busy defending ourselves from all the hate.