Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.


"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership

There is a great deal of misinformation being passed about concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Here is the official united States government's TPP site:

http://www.ustr.gov/tpp

Facts---

First: At this time there is no agreement. 

Second: Less than 1,000 people in the entire world know the details concerning what has been negotiated during the 19 rounds of negotiations. 

Third: The only "public" that has been made privy to what is going on in these negotiations are about 600 corporate lobbyists.

Fourth: Congress intends to create "Fast Track" legislation which would allow the President to approve the deal. (see below about Fast Track)

Conclusion:

Because the government refuses to keep citizens informed with the same information supplied to corporate lobbyists this is the only reason to oppose the TPP not speculation as to what might be included in the TPP. Movements can't be built on speculation. Movements can be built around the democratic right of the people to be kept fully informed and the ONE KNOWN FACT at this time: The people have no access to the facts and we have no chance or opportunity to participate in the negotiating process.

Ask your U.S. Senator and member of Congress to provide you with the details agreed to in each of the 19 rounds of TPP negotiations. If they won't provide you with the same information these corporate lobbyists have been provided with you should use this as the reason you expect the Senators and member of Congress to do two things:

1. Oppose "Fast Track Legislation."

2. Call on Obama to pull out of TPP negotiations. 

Insist on being provided a letter from your Senators and member of Congress stating their views on:

1. Fast Track Legislation.

2. If they are for or against remaining in the TPP negotiating process.

3. The reason why they won't/can't provide you with the minutes of each of the 19 Rounds of TPP negotiations.


What is "Fast Track Legislation?"

Fast Track” is the process that gives the executive branch the authority to negotiate and write trade agreements and delegates away Congress’ constitutional power to set the terms of U.S. trade policy. Fast Track creates special rules for considering trade agreements by allowing the executive branch to sign an agreement before Congress votes on it and only gives Congress 90 days to vote on the trade deal.

Under Fast Track, the president is authorized to negotiate trade agreements with foreign countries without consulting Congress or state legislators. After the executive branch locks down the terms of the deal and writes the implementing legislation, Congress is only permitted a yes or no vote, while states are virtually left out of the process. Thus, state and congressional officials elected to represent the public interest have no role in the process but to approve or disapprove the whole package.

Fast Track renewal was slipped through Congress at midnight in 2002 by only two votes. On June 30, 2007, the current grant of Fast Track, now called “Trade Promotion Authority” by its supporters, expired. Fast Track is not needed to approve trade agreements, a fact proven by the dozens of trade agreements that have been passed without its use (such as the Jordan FTA, China PNTR, etc.). Fast Track unnecessarily creates a situation where negotiators cannot be held accountable by the public, and legislators are denied their constitutional authority to set the terms of trade agreements.

In recent years, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has used Fast Track to push dozens of controversial pacts through Congress including: the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and dozens of trade agreements with countries such as Chile, Singapore, Morocco, Australia, Bahrain and Oman. Trade negotiations have been accelerated to an alarming speed, denying legislators and the public the appropriate time to consider the serious ramifications of these agreements.

The TPP and NATO...
Simultaneously when TPP talks began it was announced by Obama and the U.S. Secretary of Defense that NATO would be expanding operations into the Pacific region. Will NATO be used to police and enforce the TPP?

The TPP and expanded NATO activities are part and parcel of Wall Street's imperialist agenda.

Write, don't call, your United States Senators and member of Congress. With telephone calls there is no accountability. Insist on being answered in a timely manner in writing.
A Constitutional Question
Does Congress have the Constitutional right to turn over its sole authority to the President with Fast Track Legislation?

A comment:

The United States Constitution enables only Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations; international trade agreements can be negotiated by the executive branch only with Congressional oversight, and are generally considered "congressional-executive agreements" (CEAs), which must be approved by a simple majority in both chambers of Congress. Other international agreements, such as treaties not relating to tariffs and trade quotas, can be negotiated solely by the executive branch, but such treaties must be ratified by a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate in order to take effect. Once approved, policy changes required by either type of agreement can then be made immediately, but if any legislation is required to implement the agreement, then normal legislative procedures must be followed, including Congressional authorship, amendment, and debate, a process which can be lengthy and during which the legislation may "die".


Question: 

Has there been "Congressional oversight" at any time during the 19 Rounds of TPP Negotiations?

Comment: If any members of Congress have been involved in oversight someone is telling us great big lies because every single member of Congress will tell you they know nothing about the specifics of the TPP.


Conclusion:

The only sure thing we can say about the TPP at this point is that the way it is being negotiated is undemocratic; and, more importantly, the way the United States government is participating in these negotiations is blatantly unconstitutional.

-- 
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
 
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541

Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net