Updated: What they aren’t telling us about the TPP

Today, the Senate declined to take up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but this will not put an end to the issue. Bernie offered his senate colleagues additional counterpoints drawn from hindsight, for those with short memories who remain susceptible to the global corporate siren song.


BURLINGTON, Vt., May 8 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today after President Barack Obama promoted a job-killing trade agreement at Nike’s corporate headquarters:


“The president at Nike headquarters told us that every trade union in America is wrong, that progressives working for years for working families are wrong and that corporate America, the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street are right. I respectfully disagree.


“This trade agreement would continue the process by which we have been shipping good-paying American jobs to low-wage countries overseas and continue the race to the bottom for American workers.”

Bernie is right.

I heard the pitch on NPR this afternoon, about how Nike will bring jobs back to America if we sign this new trade agreement. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  

Nike, the poster child of bad corporate citizenship is trying to dictate terms for yet a further surrender of American economic independence; and they’re offering… what exactly?  Their scouts’ honor promise to bring jobs back home from where they relocated them years ago?  

The only way they will ever do that is if American workers accept sweatshop wages and working conditions so that Nike’s bottom line is unaffected by the move.  Is that somewhere in the fine print of the Trans-Pacific Partnership?  We really have no idea.

The TPP is, for all intents and purposes a ‘secret’ pact which the Obama administration is for some reason hell-bent on Fast-Tracking into effect without the benefit of public scrutiny.

One has to wonder into what closet of mysteries the President has peered to have his support won over for this bizarre surprise package.

It is important not to be distracted from the untrustworthy nature of this pitch by the instinct to assume the best intentions on the part of a Democratic president.

Have we forgotten NAFTA and the flight to far away sweatshops that was essentially led by Nike?  We have Bill Clinton to thank, at least in part, for that one.

New rule of thumb: whenever the majority of Republicans are on the same side as the Democratic President, and the majority of Democrats are not, there is a good chance that that the President is listening to some very bad advice from some very influential people.

Call it temporary insanity, if you will.

Writing for Huffington Post, David Pruett characterizes the agreement as a Trojan Horse concealing a sinister agenda to cede U.S. control of many important safeguards to international corporate interests.

At the heart of the matter…er the horse… is  something called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision, or ISDS.  This provision would give international corporations, such as Nike, the ability to lay hands on U.S. internal policy whenever it threatened to place them at a business disadvantage.


According to The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law … that [negatively impacts] corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing nuclear catastrophe.

…Or raising the minimum wage, perhaps?

That’s not something to which most working class Americans would assent if it were laid out in plain language for them, but as things now stand, it appears that we will not even be given a chance to peer into the TPP  horse until its already making mischief inside our gates.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

One thought on “Updated: What they aren’t telling us about the TPP

  1. Where there was a story about mine owners simply ignoring instruction and fines that are intended to improve safety in the workplace-one of the most dangerous workplaces around by most measures.

    So a law was to be considered that would allow our Federal inspectors to simply walk in and put a lock on the door if the owner were being noncompliant.  Same thing they can now do with a Truck engaged in interstate travel if the driver is out of compliance…..

    Now under the tribunal section of the TPP, if the mine or the truck is shut down, would the foreign owner be able to go to the corporate lawyers who will make up the body, and seek damages from the US Government for an action by said government in support of our laws that protect our workers/drivers/citizens??

    How absurd!!!

    But we don’t know the answer do we… and YET the Dems are passing this piece of crap up the ladder to passage..  


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