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The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank is a “hit and miss” columnist who who frequently comes off as the worst kind of D.C. insider, but his latest column on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the plan to “fast track” approval, which is featured in the morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer, is on the money. The column rightfully blasts the Obama administration for plowing ahead with the agreement despite the myriad potential disasters it holds for American workers and consumers.

“[Elizabeth] Warren is right: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an abomination – not because of the deal itself, and not because free trade in general is a bad idea. The TPP is an abomination because Obama had a chance to protect American workers from the harm that would inevitably come from such a pact, and he didn’t take it, or at least he hasn’t.”

And for an even more comprehensive and damning take on the whole plan, check out the following two  posts from the good people at the Global Trade Watch section of the national nonprofit advocacy group, Public Citizen:

1. A detailed explanation of why “Fast Track” is a terrible way to approach this momentous agreement, and
2. “50 reasons we cannot afford the TPP” (which leads off by highlighting the situation in North Carolina):

North Carolina: North Carolina has lost more than 369,000 manufacturing jobs – nearly half – since NAFTA and NAFTA expansion pacts have taken effect.  More than 212,000 specific North Carolina jobs have been certified under just one narrow Department of Labor program as lost to offshoring or imports since NAFTA.

The bottom line: Free trade can be a good thing, but it needs to be fair trade too. Rushing into the TPP could be a real disaster — especially for states like North Carolina that have already lost so much.

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Trans-Pacific PartnershipOne of the things notably and happily absent from President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week was any push for the pro-corporate/globalization agenda found in the move to revive “Fast Track” and approve the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). About which, all a caring and thinking person can say is “thank goodness.”

As explained in this commentary from last October (“NAFTA on Steroids?”), the TPP is a potentially grave threat to the well-being of American workers and consumers and our national security itself. By ceding democratic powers to corporations and international tribunals, the TPP threatens to subject American labor, environmental and consumer protections to being overruled and dismantled as unlawful restraints on trade. Meanwhile “Fast Track” is an already discredited idea that would bestow powers on the President to unilaterally negotiate and control trade agreements that has been appended on to TPP legislation in Congress.

The President’s failure to promote the proposal is being hailed by opponents as an extremely positive sign — especially given the public opposition of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. According to the good folks at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch program: Read More

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Lori WallachWorried about North Carolina’s economic future and the divide between haves and have nots? If so, you owe it to yourself to hear global trade expert Lori Wallach discuss the next worrisome chapter in her field: the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Wallach is the Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division. A Harvard-trained lawyer, Wallach has promoted the public interest regarding globalization and international commercial agreements in every forum: Congress and foreign parliaments, the courts, government agencies and the media.

She’s also been described as “Ralph Nader with a sense of humor” by the Wall Street Journal, “the trade debate’s guerrilla warrior” in the National Journal and “Madame Defarge of Seattle” by the Institute for International Economics.

When: Thursday, September 26, at 12:00 p.m. — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Cost: $10—includes a box lunch.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

 

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Lori WallachDon’t miss out on next Thursday’s very important NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation lunch: Worse than NAFTA? Lori Wallach discusses the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Featuring Lori Wallach, Director of the Global Trade Watch Division at the national advocacy group Public Citizen.
Co-sponsored by AFL-CIO of North CarolinaWitness for Peace and Balance & Advocacy in Journalism.

Click here to register.

Few American states have experienced the devastating impact of global “free” trade more directly and painfully than North Carolina. Our shuttered manufacturing plants and record unemployment rates both serve as powerful daily reminders of the lasting impact of NAFTA, CAFTA and other alphabet soup trade deals negotiated by far-off politicians and corporate giants.

Now, amazingly enough, yet another such trade agreement is being negotiated in secret, and it could be the worst one yet. As you read this, trade officials from the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations are negotiating something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership in hopes of reaching agreement this fall.

Lori Wallach thinks this is a big mistake. Read More

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Lori WallachSeats still remain for next Thursday’s Crucial Conversation luncheon:

Worse than NAFTA? Why North Carolinians should be very, very worried about the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Click here to register

Featuring Lori Wallach, Director of the Global Trade Watch Division at the national advocacy group Public Citizen.

Co-sponsored by AFL-CIO of North CarolinaWitness for Peace and Balance & Advocacy in Journalism.

Few American states have experienced the devastating impact of global “free” trade more directly and painfully than North Carolina. Our shuttered manufacturing plants and record unemployment rates both serve as powerful daily reminders of the lasting impact of NAFTA, CAFTA and other alphabet soup trade deals negotiated by far-off politicians and corporate giants.

Now, amazingly enough, yet another such trade agreement is being negotiated in secret, and it could be the worst one yet. Read More