The Trans Pacific Partnership, Yet another Opportunity to Chop-Shop America


A chop shop is a place where
you take something whole and useful and bust it into pieces, each of which can
be sold at a profit. Chop shops are highly profitable and used to be illegal (and
still are for automobiles) until the United States Congress made them legal
entities for Wall Street and large corporations.
The Trans Pacific Partnership
(TPP), if it is allowed to become law, will be our fifteenth venture into this
area of so-called free trade since 1985 and sixteen more are in various stages
of development. Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore started this particular
TTP ball rolling in 2006 and here we are almost exactly six years later, about
to enter the 13th round of negotiations (July 2-10) in San Diego.
How fitting; America’s 236th birthday.
All that’s heard in Washington
these days is the deficit and the partisan fight over which services to the
poorest of Americans must be cut. The true deficit is a trade deficit and its
brief (and continuing) history of free-trade agreements is killing us.
Prior to 1985 we had a relative
balance of exports and imports, a healthy economy, industry and job base. Since
then, imports have swamped exports, jobs disappeared and American on-shore
industry took a beating. The answer is not to bring deficit spending under
control by removing what few social safety-nets remain, but to reclaim the jobs
and industries lost to ‘free-trade’ agreements. They are not ‘free,’ they come
at the expense of a drained and overworked, underpaid middle class. They come
at the expense of architects now driving cabs, line-workers flipping hamburgers
and entire industries closing down.
For an
impartial view, one has only to look at who supports and who opposes TPP.
Supporters
include
       Halliburton,
a company so controversial that it moved its headquarters to Dubai and has
major international offices in 42 countries (including Iran).
      
Chevron,
found to have evaded $3.25 billion in federal and state taxes from 1970 to 2000.
       PHRMA, an
umbrella group of pharmaceutical companies “broad patient access to safe
and effective medicines through a free market, without price controls and strong
intellectual property incentives.”
       Comcast,
the largest cable network and subject of criticism for its stance on net
neutrality.
       The Motion
Picture Association of America, whose purported goals of ‘preserving copyright’
are a mere straw man for maintaining total control over member media pricing.
The latter
three organizations are boldly using TPP to redeem the loss in Congress of SOPA
(Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Senate version full title, Preventing Real
Online Threats to Economic Creativity). The House and Senate got such a deluge
of voter resistance that they tabled the legislation.
Opposition includes
       Advocates of Internet freedom
       Agricultural and Trade Unions
       American Express Company, AOL, craigslist, Discover,
eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, PayPal, Reddit, Twitter and Wikipedia
       A growing number of Congressmen and Senators,
primarily led by Senator Ron Wyden
In a not unrelated development, many of the weaknesses in
trade agreements have been exposed by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Assange
created a sort of pants-around-the-ankles embarrassment to governments
worldwide. Even so, as yet there seems to be no evidence of anything that would
approach the charges of ‘treason’ and/or ‘terrorism’ that the U.S. Government
supposedly has awaiting his expected extradition from Sweden. Assange stands to
be executed or disappeared into prison for life, should that extradition take
place. The purpose of course is to chill dissent and protect the power
structure, which is always the international purpose of closing down rather
than opening transparency. 
But by our own government? Surely not. Still, the late president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav
Havel, South African Nelson Mandella and Burmese dissident Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
(a Nobel Peace laureate) would all have understood the current threat to
Assange and its origins. So there’s much at stake in San Diego and my guess is
that Mr. Obama will have his way. 
Whether that will hurt or help his reelection, who can tell?
Whether it will hurt or help the already super-wealthy at the expense of the
already underemployed is pretty much a certainty.


2 thoughts on “The Trans Pacific Partnership, Yet another Opportunity to Chop-Shop America

  1. Hello Jim –

    An interesting piece indeed and kudos for being ahead of so many people in seeing TPP for what it is. Had the word on this treaty gotten out sooner, Obama would have been dancing to a different tune prior to November 2012.

    Today – the President isn't standing for election, but democrats in both houses of Congress are. So THEY are the people who need to feel the heat and come clean on whether or not they are in the Chop Shop business.

  2. Hello Jim –

    An interesting piece indeed and kudos for being ahead of so many people in seeing TPP for what it is. Had the word on this treaty gotten out sooner, Obama would have been dancing to a different tune prior to November 2012.

    Today – the President isn't standing for election, but democrats in both houses of Congress are. So THEY are the people who need to feel the heat and come clean on whether or not they are in the Chop Shop business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.