June 17, 2013 Green Shadow Cabinet
The Green Shadow Cabinet stands united in opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and is committed to defeating this Obama administration effort to enrich and empower global corporations at the expense of people and planet.
For three years, the Obama administration has engaged in 16 rounds of secret negotiations to develop the TPP. Those negotiations have included hundreds of representatives of global corporations. The TPP negotiations have excluded representatives of the vast majority of the American people. It is a fact that the TPP is global economic policy for the 1%, at the expense of the 99%.
Today, all five branches and 81 members of the Green Shadow Cabinet begin to act in concert to not only defeat the TPP, but to show America that another government with another global economic agenda is possible. There is an alternative to the corrupt political establishment that produces economic terrors like the TPP. Our Cabinet is proof of that alternative.
Daily this week, the Green Shadow Cabinet will release over a dozen statements in opposition to the TPP; these statements describe the threats posed by the TPP, and offer better alternatives. This month, our Cabinet members will begin participating in the broader movement against the TPP through actions and events across the United States and urge all Americans to join this effort. We are bringing our networks and communities into this critical struggle.
THE TPP THREATENS ALL OF US
If you oppose the industrial farming practices of Monsanto, Cargill and other giant food and agribusiness corporations, with their intense use of toxic herbicides and other harmful chemicals, production of untested genetically modified food, efforts to control the seed supply and patent life, their pollution of the water, air, soil and food supply, then you must oppose the TPP.
If you oppose the actions of the big banks and financial institutions that led to the world economic crash, exploding wealth inequality, risky investments that endanger the economic future, and their ability to dominate national economies, then you must oppose the TPP.
If you are committed to protecting the rights of working people to a living wage, the right to organize, and to safe working conditions, then you must oppose the TPP.
If you favor a free and open Internet where free speech is protected and creativity and communication flourish, then you must oppose the TPP.
If you understand that healthcare is a human right and that the inflated prices of pharmaceutical drugs should not be protected by law, then you must oppose the TPP.
If you want to see the air, waters and lands protected from toxic chemicals and pollution, and know that the ecological crisis of species extinction and environmental breakdown must be reversed, then you must oppose the TPP.
If you would live in a world where local, state, and national governments are allowed to take urgent action to deal with the global climate crisis, and to implement a Green New Deal, then you must oppose the TPP.
We look forward to working with you in the coming months to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to prevent its sister trade agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, from following the same path. The first step is to stop enactment of Trade Promotion Authority legislation, also known as “Fast Track,” that would prevent Congress from holding hearings on the TPP or amending the TPP. There must be no end-run around the Constitution, or the right of the American people to petition the government for redress.
DEFENDING THE NEW WORLD
We know that another world is possible. We are building that world every day through local governments, cooperatives, community organizations, and publicly owned financial institutions.
Those who defend corporate capitalism also understand that another world is possible, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is their attempt to foreclose our new world. The TPP gives major corporations legal personhood to sue in transnational courts dominated by judges who themselves are lawyers for major corporations. Under the TPP, corporations would be able to claim that environmental, labor, financial, health and other laws cost them profits, and to extract damages from our governments - and from us as taxpayers - if they enforce those laws.
The current administration in Washington D.C. is committed to passing the TPP and to defeating America’s grassroots movement for economic democracy. The Green Shadow Cabinet is committed to defeating the TPP, and to strengthening the U.S. democracy movement. We and our allies are the many, they are the few. Let us defend our communities and our future and stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Statement of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States of America:
- Jill Stein, President
- Cheri Honkala, Vice President
- Patch Adams, Assistant Secretary of Health for Holistic Health
- Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Government Transparency and Accountability, Director
- Kali Akuno, Secretary of Racial Justice
- Kris Alman, Assistant Secretary of Health for Data Privacy
- Gar Alperovitz, New Economy Advisor to the President
- Marc Armstrong, Secretary of Commerce
- Ajamu Baraka, Public Intervenor for Human Rights
- Bill Barry, Workers Rights Administration, Administrator
- Roshan Bliss, Assistant Secretary of Education for Higher Education
- Leah Bolger, Secretary of Defense
- Steve Breyman, Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator
- Mary Bricker-Jenkins, Aid to Families and Youth, Director
- Ellen Brown, Secretary of the Treasury
- Richard Bruno, Assistant Secretary of Health for Medical Education and Training
- Shahid Buttar, Civil Rights Enforcement, Director
- Lee Camp, Commissioner for the Comedic Arts
- Olveen Carrasquillo, Assistant Secretary of Health for Health Equity
- Claudia Chaufan, Assistant Secretary of Health for System Design
- Steven Chrismer, Secretary of Transportation
- David Cobb, Commission on Corporations and Democracy, Chair
- Khalilah Collins, Public Intervenor for Social Justice
- Christopher Cox, Political Ecology Advisor to the President
- Michael Crenshaw, People's Culture Bureau, Work Progress Administration
- Maureen Cruise, Assistant Secretary of Health for Community Wellbeing
- Ronnie Cummins, Administrator, Food and Drug Administration
- Tim DeChristopher, Emergency Climate Action Coordinator
- King Downing, President's Commission on Corrections Reform, Chair
- Mark Dunlea, White House Office of Climate and Agriculture, Director
- Steve Early, Workers Power Administration, Administrator
- Robert Fitrakis, Federal Elections Commission, Chair
- Margaret Flowers, Secretary of Health
- George Friday, Commission on Community Power, Chair
- Bruce Gagnon, Secretary of Space
- Jack Gerson, Assistant Secretary of Education for K-12
- Jim Goodman, Secretary of Agriculture
- Philip Harvey, Full Employment Council, Chair
- Howie Hawkins, Full Employment Council, Vice Chair
- Kimberly King, Secretary of Education
- Charles Komanoff, Assistant Secretary for Sustainable Urban Transportation
- Bruce Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health for Clinical Mental Health
- Vance "Head-Roc" Levy, Poet Laureate
- Ethel Long-Scott, Commission on Women's Power, Co-Chair
- Sarah Manski, Small Business Administration, Administrator
- Ben Manski, White House Chief of Staff
- George Paz Martin, Peace Ambassador
- Gloria Mattera, Assistant Secretary of Health for Public Health Education
- Richard McIntyre, U.S. Trade Representative
- David McReynolds, Peace Advisor to the President
- Gloria Meneses Sandoval, Secretary of Immigration
- Richard Monje, Secretary of Labor
- Suren Moodliar, Global Democracy Programs, Director
- Jim Moran, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Administrator
- Carol Paris, Assistant Secretary of Health for Mental Health Systems
- Sandy Perry, Secretary of Housing
- Todd Price, Assistant Secretary of Education for Education Technology
- Jesselyn Radack, National Security and Human Rights Advisor to the President
- Jack Rasmus, Federal Reserve System, Chairman
- Michael Ratner, Division of Civil, Social & Economic Rights, Director
- Ray Rogers, International Labor Rights, Advisor
- Anna Rondon, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs
- Lewis Rosenbaum, Public Media Administration, Administrator
- Daniel Shea, Veteran's Affairs: Chemical Exposure
- Diljeet Singh, Assistant Secretary of Health for Women's Health and Cancer
- Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Bureau of Water Preservation, Director
- Robert Stone, Assistant Secretary of Health for Emergency and Palliative Care
- David Swanson, Secretary of Peace
- Sean Sweeney, Climate Change Advisor to the President
- Clifford Thornton, Drug Policy Agency, Administrator
- Brian Tokar, Director of the Office of Technology Assessment
- Bruce Trigg, Assistant Secretary of Health for Drug Policy
- Walter Tsou, Surgeon General
- Kabzuag Vaj, Commission on Women's Power, Co-Chair
- Harvey Wasserman, Secretary of Energy
- Rich Whitney, Office of Management and Budget, Director
- Richard D. Wolff, Council of Economic Advisors, Chair
- Ann Wright, Secretary of State
- Bruce Wright, Commission on Ending Homelessness, Chair
- Stephen Zarlenga, Monetary Authority Board, Chair
- Kevin Zeese, Attorney General
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Vancouver Protests Demand "End to Silence" on TPP Resist! Corporatism, TPP
By Kristen Beifus and Stuart Trew, www.popularresistance.org
June 17th, 2013
North American fair trade activists put the spotlight on secretive international trade negotiations in Vancouver this weekend Vancouver, June 16, 2013 – Negotiators from 11 Pacific Rim countries met quietly in Vancouver this weekend to set new investment rules within the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). No announcement of this “intersessional” on investment was made to the public or the media.
People in Canada first learned about this TPP ‘mini’ negotiation from an article in the Peruvian media Friday. It was later confirmed by iPolitics.ca with no other details and has since been acknowledged by the federal government in a brief statement concluding the intersessional talks.
“It’s long past time to end the silence on the TPP,” says Kristen Beifus of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. “It’s outrageous that this investor rights treaty is being developed behind closed doors. What they are negotiating will impact all of us, just as NAFTA has for 20 years, and we deserve to know what is being negotiated in our name.”
Activists from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, under the banner of the TPPxBorder network, gathered in Vancouver this weekend to challenge the TPP investment talks. They held an emergency teach-in at Greenpeace Vancouver offices on Saturday night and projected messages about the unacceptable secrecy in the TPP negotiations on downtown buildings (see photo).
On Sunday, the same groups protested the TPP outside the offices of Pacific Rim — a Canadian mining company that is suing El Salvador for $300 million under international investment rules that say corporate profits should be protected from community opposition to mining.
“The Pacific Rim case epitomizes everything that is wrong with investment treaties and investment chapters in corporate rights deals like the TPP — and why it was important to protest the intersessional TPP meeting in Vancouver,” says Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “The investor-state lawsuits are not decided by the courts but by unaccountable commercial arbitrators. Canada’s had enough of that through NAFTA. The last thing we need is to expand this across the Pacific to countries that can’t afford it.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership involves 12 countries around the Pacific (Canada, US, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan) and 600 international corporations which also participate in the talks. In addition to new investor rights rules, the TPP aims to extend patents for brand-name pharmaceuticals thereby driving up drug prices, put new restrictions on and even criminalize routine Internet activities such as file-sharing, and poses a threat to environmental and public health laws.
Kristen Beifus, Washington Fair Trade Coalition: 503-539-7471; email@example.com (in Vancouver)
Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians: 647-222-9782; firstname.lastname@example.org (in Toronto)
For more information on TPP: TPPxBorder.org, TPPxBorder on Facebook, @tppxborder on Twitter
Happening NOW in Brazil! Protesters have occupied the halls and the roof of congress! Hundred of thousands in the streets!
#Brazil #AnonymousBrasil #BrasilAcordou #OGiganteAcordou #protestobsb #changebrazil
Please watch and share:
To learn more about the Brazilian uprising please watch:
All Power to the People!
I thank Margaret for this assessment that is right on.....I only ask why as she says that progressive leaders did not start to out this in 2011 as she acknowledges the leak occurred. One can suspect that they did not want the 2012 elections hurt for the democrats but we all know that Third Way corporate democrats are working towards the same goals as republicans so we needed to get people on board with this fight years ago. As it is now, Third Way corporate democrats will try to push these deals through Congress just as they did sequester......a massive spark of intense closed door negotiations with a quick vote that approves all of these trade deal agreements with no public input. WE ALREADY KNOW THAT IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN AND THE CURRENT IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL IS ONE OF THESE EARLY TRADE DEAL ISSUES DISGUISED AS POLICY MEANT TO HELP EXISTING AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS.
As Margaret says here there is no way that global health systems will be anything but cutthroat and profit-driven and we know that the Affordable Care Act is simply moving that policy of global markets for market-based health care. Third Way corporate democrats and Obama are actually trying to force nations that have strong public health care to cut programs as these subsidies kill market competition. See why they are gutting and killing the Entitlements with massive fraud and defunding just like our pension system?
I am not sure of some of these social leaders like Margaret and Green Party Jill Stein because none of them place the massive corporate fraud and recovery of Treasury bound payroll taxes out in the open. I know that all of these issues are overwhelming but we need people to know that they are due tens of trillions of dollars and that we will get them back. They are providing a national voice to important issues
Trans-Pacific Partnership undermines health system
Medical corporations seek tools to protect their profits despite harmful effects on public health. Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 15:38 Margaret Flowers
Margaret Flowers, MD served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She is co-director of It's Our Economy and co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio Show.
RSS People in the US pay the most for health services as there is no rational system for setting prices [Reuters] The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a deal that is being secretly negotiated by the White House, with the help of more than 600 corporate advisers and Pacific Rim nations, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. While the TPP is being called a trade agreement, the US already has trade agreements covering 90 percent of the GDP of the countries involved in the talks. Instead, the TPP is a major power grab by large corporations.
The text of the TPP includes 29 chapters, only five of which are about trade. The remaining chapters are focused on changes that multinational corporations have not been able to pass in Congress such as restrictions on internet privacy, increased patent protections, greater access to litigation and further financial deregulation.
So far, all that is known about the contents of the TPP is from documents that have been leaked and reports from NGOs and industry meetings. Unlike other trade deals, the White House refuses to make the text available to the public. In fact, the negotiators refuse to publish the text until four years after it is signed into law. Why are they being so secretive? Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he opposed making the text public because doing so would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.
From the information available, one thing is clear about the impacts of the TPP on health care: the intention of the TPP is to enhance and protect the profits of medical and pharmaceutical corporations without considering the harmful effects their policies will have on human health.
We know that the TPP will extend pharmaceutical and medical device patents and provide other tools to keep the prices of these necessities high. This will make medications and treatments unaffordable for millions of people and raise the costs of national health programmes. At its worst, the TPP will provide a pathway to infect the world's health systems with the deadly parasite of for-profit health corporations that plague the US.
Patents keep prices high
Through the TPP, pharmaceutical and medical device corporations are seeking extensive patent protections using a process known as "Evergreening". The TPP gives 20 years of patent protection for pharmaceuticals and medical devices; however, patents can be renewed for another 20 years each time there is a change in an indication or delivery. For instance, if a drug is indicated for headaches, but then the pharmaceutical company finds that it is also helpful for stomach cramps or makes it a capsule instead of a tablet, a new patent may be issued. In reality, patents can be extended indefinitely under the TPP.
Doctors Without Borders criticised this practice, stating that patent protections in previous trade agreements raised the price of life-saving medications and made them unavailable to people in poorer countries. Patents prevent the production of low cost generic forms of medications. Yet it was the availability of generic medicines to treat HIV and other infectious diseases that allowed advances to be made in decreasing their impact in developing countries.
Because of the negative impact on public health from patent protections in previous trade agreements, such as the Korea Free Trade Agreement, former President Bush rolled some of these practices back. Unfortunately, the TPP will move them forward again.
In fact, the TPP goes farther than previous agreements by also requiring that surgical techniques, medical tests and treatments be patented. This will restrict the availability of these treatments, especially in health systems that have limited resources.
India's top court dismisses drug patent case Doctors Without Borders also expressed concern that patent protections encourage innovation based on profit instead of the needs of people, particularly those in poor nations. Corporations do not see it as in their financial interest to address health conditions more prevalent in poor nations which do not have the financial resources to buy their products. But it is often in these situations treatments can have the greatest impact on quality of life.
Attacking public health systems
An area of great concern is language within the TPP concerning State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). These are institutions that are fully or partially owned by governments. SOEs are very common in countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
Corporate lobbyists are concerned that SOEs have "unfair advantages" over private industry. These advantages include government subsidies, preferred tax status, low finance rates and access to capital. According to a leaked chapter, corporate lobbyists believe that there is a conflict of interest because SOEs have political considerations such as functioning to provide basic goods and services for their population and believe that instead SOEs should operate strictly as commercial entities seeking profit.
The TPP requires SOEs to disclose any special advantages they receive and the government to give the same advantages to corporations. It also provides methods for corporations to sue governments if they believe that they are not being treated fairly. The text outlines punishments such as increased tariffs on exports from the country found in violation and suspension of any "tariff concessions" made to the country in violation on imports.
Text from a section of the TPP called "Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Healthcare Technologies" was leaked in June 2011. It reveals this conflict between medical industries that have strictly commercial interests and public health systems that are concerned about the health of the population. Medical industries are pushing on all fronts to keep their prices high while public health systems must negotiate to keep prices affordable and maximize what they can cover within their budgets.
To the medical industries, such price negotiation is one of the "unfair advantages" of public health systems. When a public health system negotiates a lower price, it is said to be exerting its market power. On the flip side, when a government extends patent protections to medical industries to keep prices high, this is not considered to be an unfair advantage granted by the government.
Medical industries are pushing for other concessions within the TPP to "level the playing field", also known as forcing public entities to operate as market-based entities, such as factoring the cost of not just research, development and production of drugs and medical devices, but also the cost of marketing them into what is considered to be a fair market price. And they only view prices negotiated without any government influence as fair. These provisions are significant because the TPP allows pharmaceutical corporations and others to challenge the legitimacy of any reimbursement decisions made by public health systems through the courts.
Patent and price protections for multinational pharmaceutical and medical device corporations based in the US will benefit their bottom line and their investor's pockets, but may bounce back and undermine public health systems in the US. The leaked text indicates that the above provisions only apply to health authorities under the jurisdiction of the federal government. However, the loopholes are large enough that all of the US public health systems, which include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and the Veterans Health Administration, can arguably be considered to be federal.
These systems already struggle within the market-based US health system that is most expensive in the world. The US health system wastes one third of health dollars on a bloated bureaucracy due to thousands of different health insurance plans, each with different rules. And people in the US pay the most for prescriptions and health services because there is no rational system for setting prices. High prices in the private health sector drive up prices in the public health sector too. For example, at present Medicare is prohibited from negotiating a bulk price for pharmaceuticals.
Over the past four years, there has been an increase in self-rationing in the US, patients avoiding or delaying necessary medical care and medications, due to health costs. At the same time, CEOs of health industries are the highest-paid in the nation. For the good of public health, we must reverse this trend towards greater privatization and lower the cost of care. But the TPP will protect the medical industries and give them greater power to use their wealth and the rigged trade tribunal court system to protect their profits.
This will undermine health systems in the US and abroad. High prices could bankrupt public health systems like those in Japan and Australia (ranked among the top in the world). Under the TPP, it is also possible that Japan's regulation of health insurance which includes controlling coverage, prices and profits would qualify it as an SOE that has unfair advantages. This could open the door for private multinational health insurance corporations to enter TPP signatory countries and demand access and that regulations are loosened.
As medical corporations gain greater wealth and power, we can expect to see further abuses to the detriment of human health. The TPP takes global health in the wrong direction. The losers in this negotiation will be the patients if the profits of corporations are permitted to come before the health of people.
Margaret Flowers, MD, served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She is co-director of It's Our Economy and co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio Show.