Friday, November 29, 2013
Commentary by Dave Felice
Coloradans who get their news from local media won’t know much about the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a so-called international trade agreement. Only Denver Direct is carrying news and comment about the TPP.
Daily newspapers ignore or dismiss news coverage. The story is too profound for broadcast media. Community newspapers have not yet realized how a treaty with Pacific nations can devastate local government and the local economy.
For example, most Coloradans don’t know that members of the state’s Congressional delegation declined to join 194 House members, Democrats and Republicans, in signing joint letters against the treaty.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette made a weak statement about opposing the “Fast Track” approval process. Rep. Ed Perlmutter said the bipartisan letters had “too many adjectives,” and composed a tepid letter on his own. Congressman Jared Polis issued an unpublished statement about “transparency and balance” in the negotiations. The Republicans from Colorado stayed silent.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership could destroy a just-launched state program to boost Colorado exports, especially agricultural products.
In another instance, Colorado residents who care about how and where food is produced would be shocked to learn that TPP promotes importation of products from Vietnam, a totalitarian nation with substandard health requirements and no limits on child labor. TPP also eliminates “country of origin” labeling.
Because the Fourth Estate has betrayed the public by ignoring the story, I have set up two online petitions: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/denver-post-dont-ignore
These petitions are similar. One is a “short” version and the other is slightly longer. Anyone can sign both petitions. Both petitions demand better news and commentary about TPP.
Sign one or both petitions. It’s one way to make your voice heard in opposition to the unbalanced secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Some 600 corporate “advisers” have online access to the TPP text, while members of Congress must sit in a locked room somewhere in the Capitol building to read it, with a
guard stationed outside. And because the text is classified “secret,” it is kept completely from the American people. The public is considered a “trade barrier” by the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Michael Froman. Media that once scrupulously guarded the public trust by publishing The Pentagon Papers and reporting almost non-stop about Watergate are not only negligent, but complicit in keeping the story away from the public. Some newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, add insult to injury by giving valuable space to commentary from Secretary of State John Kerry, whose “insights” about trade amount to nothing more than love letters to the TPP. At the same time, the paper slices well-crafted rebuttals from TPP opponents, such as Sierra Club’s Michael Brune, down to a few paltry lines. The daily publication in Denver, however, can’t even manage to do that much. The Denver Post has rejected independent commentary which included links to substantiating data. Daily newspapers all over the country and other mainstream media – with few exceptions – have done a terrible job of covering this story. The public has a right and a need to know that TPP has very little to do with trade. It’s simply a convenient end-run around pesky regulations – “barriers to trade” in corporate parlance – that keep multi-national corporations in check. TPP would encourage sending more “middle class” American jobs overseas and undermine nearly every regulation protecting workers, consumers, public health, and the environment. TPP would further deregulate banks on a global level, help drug companies extend patents indefinitely, and turn our Internet service providers into the thought police. In short, it’s a terrible deal for everyone except a few heads of state and the collection of multinational corporations who stand to profit, and handsomely, if it passes. And sadly, the whole nasty scheme is supported by President Barack Obama, a Democrat elected as a champion of populism.
Join the campaign to demand that news media do their job and cover the TPP story. Sign the petitions now.
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