Fast Track, TransPacific Partnership and Secrecy

Herb Dempsey

I guess I am inherently suspicious of secrecy.  I like to think I can handle an open discussion based on facts.  I enjoy seeing both sides of an argument in reaching an independent conclusion based on the facts and their intersection with my own attitudes. A great deal of the information currently available on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been kept secret. Government official after government official has pleaded with the public to understand what they then argue we could not understand, as the Corporation's lobbyists have met in secret to develop the language that has become the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it faces the vote in Washington. That vote will be based on information that is not open to the public.  That vote will be made in a climate that constantly pleads of the need for transparency while those professional voters in DC legislate against anyone's right to know. What I do know about the TPP disturbs me.

I know that the courts will no longer do the job currently assigned to the judiciary branch of government as differences will be adjudicated by panels of attorneys working in secret chambers.  I know only because a few of the 'insiders' within the federal government have leaked that information.  The trade unions, while not at the table, have developed their own model of the job destroying elements of TPP. I do know the effect of NAFTA, North American Free Trade Act, hasn't been what we were promised when the same closeted and secretive approach was used in that act.

Now the President of United States is pleading for fast tracking authority to be granted to the TPP process. Under fast tracking the Congress would simply vote "yes" or "no" and would not have any authority to modify the terms presented by the corporations and their lobbyists who developed the TPP proposal over the last few years.  This is not open government.  This is government by the few who aren't even the ones we elected to do government for the many. What I don’t know disturbs me even more.

I suggest watching this little video for some more background. Or reading this analysis in Think Progress. And, if you want to dig deeper, then you can research in OpenSecrets.org who lobbies trade bills in general and this bill in particular. Let us know what you find.

Here are local politicians U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6) and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland in a TPP photo op in an article presenting union and business views. And Kilmer is going to vote for the TransPacific Partnership.

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