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What stunning misdirection in this thread by anigbrowl. In a way it reflects the NY Times opinion piece, which tries to simply characterise the TPP as a 'trade deal'.

Any reasonable, honest observer would halt the discussion immediately at the point they realise the TPP is being negotiated in secret (with the public and even political representatives kept in the dark over TPP contents over the many years it has been negotiated).

That corporate interests have unfettered access to the text and negotiations and democratic citizens do not is evidence enough of exactly whose interests are being negotiated.

That the text and all associated material must remain secret for four years after the negotiations have ended (whether successful or not) shows the level of trust negotiators have in engaging with an informed democracy.

It gets to the heart of the sickness of secrecy that has infected whole swaths of our democratic institutions. Trying to guide discussion towards whether people are 'pro or anti trade' is risable misdirection or wilful ignorance at best.

The TPP is a full-frontal assault on democracy and national sovereignty from what we have learnt through leaked draft texts, and its contents are highly likely to represent a backdoor check-mate across internet censorship, DRM, copyright, and many other issues this community cares about.




That the text and all associated material must remain secret for four years after the negotiations have ended (whether successful or not) shows the level of trust negotiators have in engaging with an informed democracy.

^ not actually true. The final text would most certainly be public; you're probably referring to an agreement to keep negotiating documents secret for a 4 year period as described here (by an organization opposed to that approach): http://www.citizen.org/documents/us-transparency-letter-2011...

I'm actually in favor of this approach. WTO negotiations involves full transparency, as mentioned in the letter above; it's also true that the WTO has been unable to reach agreement on what's known as the 'Doha round' for almost 13 years now. There are multiple reasons why that might or might not have happened, but the upshot is that trade liberalization has been stalled for over a decade. If negotiations out of the spotlight increase the parties' willingness to conclude a more limited and offer that for ratification, I'm willing to put up with it. Most of you here seem to be assuming that this is the result of corporate secrecy; it seems as likely, if not more, so, to be at the request of the various countries involved in the negotiations.

Trying to guide discussion towards whether people are 'pro or anti trade' is risable misdirection or wilful ignorance at best.

It's interesting that you complain about this when I made no effort whatsoever to guide discussion in that direction. I called out the EFF article for being factually incorrect on its face and I stand by that. I mentioned elsewhere that I was personally pro-trade but uncertain about the TPP pending futher details.


> not actually true. The final text would most certainly be public; you're probably referring to...

Yes, the final text, if it becomes law, will be public. The leaked texts show how dedicated the negotiators are to weakening sovereignty and empowering vested interests.

This is the issue. Lobbying groups have worked out how to hack sovereignty (with those pesky democratic processes and a desire to consider the public interest) by negotiating 'trade agreements' which are a bulk insert of desired laws around patent, copyright, and DRM into the legislative frameworks of multiple countries at the same time, without consultation or input by the citizens of each negotiating country.

These efforts are serious attacks on fundamental ideas we hold around self-determination, consent of the governed, transparent democratic processes.

So when you continue to try to focus the discussion on trade agreements, historical negotiations, 'trade liberalisation' you're plainly engaging in continued artful misdirection.


That's your take on the issue. I see IP as just another market with a variety of interested parties, not of all whose interests coincide. From my perspective, a lot of people want to build consumer services without having to pay for content, just as many content holders are engaged in rent-seeking. I don't like the copyright lobby, but nor do I subscribe to the proposition that because the marginal cost of production in some industries is terribly low, no ownership interest should entail. And in case you're wondering, I do not lobby for or even own shares in any media or IP portfolio companies.

So when you continue to try to focus the discussion on trade agreements, historical negotiations, 'trade liberalisation' you're plainly engaging in continued artful misdirection.

Sorry, those happen to be my actual opinions. copyright, patent, and DRM issues are not the whole story of economics. I'm also interested in things like environmental and labor standards, public health policy, food security and poverty reduction, and I'm not going to apologize for having an interest in broader economic issues or willingness to compromise; it's my firm opinion that half a loaf is better than no bread, especially so in matters of economics.

That's why I'm broadly in support of a TPP and ardently in support of TTIP, not withstanding the numerous likely imperfections.


You do realize that many of the people who object to IP laws don't object because they want to build consumer services without having to pay for content, but because they want to produce hardware and software without having to cripple them, right?

This is not "just another market with a a wide variety of interested parties." This is people telling me what I am legally allowed to do in my own home. This is passing laws saying that you can't produce an innovative new device because someone, somewhere may use it to subvert someone else's IP interests.

And the issue with the treaty process is that a treaty can be used to bypass the democratic process within a country. A proposal that would be shot down due to public outcry can instead be done in a secret treaty, only revealed once it's fait accompli, with everyone involved being able to disclaim that "I didn't want that, but that's what we had to do to get the treaty passed" and thus dodge the political ramifications.


I've been hearing this since the late 80s and the sky still hasn't fallen. If you don't like it by all means call your senator, donate to opponents of the trade deal, fight against it/ I'm not trying to get you to support the TPP (not least because I don't know what's in it either, so far); my reason for jumping into this thread is to point out that the EFF is making flat-out false arguments, which strikes me as an absolutely stupid way to gin up opposition about it.

If they had written an article saying 'TPP negotiations should be public' I wouldn't object in the least - that's a perfectly reasonable view, even though I am not very exercised about it. Indeed, I linked to a letter from a group articulating exactly that position up thread. But saying 'NYT endorsed secret trade treaty' is simply a falsehood.


> If you don't like it by all means call your senator, donate to opponents of the trade deal, fight against it

Well, I would LIKE to do that. I would LIKE to contact my president and the administration officials who are negotiating the treaty and provide them with my feedback and comments on the proposed wording. I would even like to spend some of my hard-earned money paying world-renowned experts (such as those who work with the EFF) to review it and provide even more insightful feedback.

Unfortunately, the text of the treaty is secret so I cannot do these things. I complain that I am being prevented from participating in democracy and you write that if I don't like it I should participate in democracy. Perhaps you don't understand the complaint that is being raised.


You'll be able to read it when it's presented to the Senate for ratification. There seems to be some notion that the Senate is going to vote on it in secret, but I don't find any evidence of this being the case.


When it is presented to the Senate for ratification is too late to have any influence on the text -- at that point the agreement can only be accepted or rejected.


The issue is the TPP process. You largely continue to avoid this, addressing it upthread in an 'it will help speed things up, I'm okay with it' way. An unsatisfactory, superficial response to some very deep issues.

The commendable 'issues resume' you present at the end of your response, up hard against your ringing endorsement of TPP is very incongruous. Seeing as the TPP works against all of those noble causes.

Oh mysterious duplicity!


As I explained earlier, I haven't decided whether I support the TPP yet because I don't know what's in it, so I don't know where you're getting the idea of a'ringing endorsement.' What I'm defending is the idea that it can get negotiated and then offered for an up or down vote. I actually think this is a better approach for judging the proposal as a whole. Yes, it's less democratic, which is not an altogether bad thing in my view; it's faster; it forces an assessment of priorities, and makes it easier for multiple countries with different cultures and political systems to negotiate.

Oh mysterious duplicity!

I have a different and probably more cynical worldview than you do. Apparently you find this so impossible to imagine that you think I must be lying about something. I don't really care whether you find my views unsatisfactory or not, any more than you care for my approval.


The problem with waiting until the text is final is that the final text, which might be thousands of pages, is presented on Monday morning and voted on Monday afternoon. It may have taken them 4 years to negotiate the details, because of extreme complexity, but you can bet they won't allow the public to mull it over and give feedback for an equal amount of time.

The new "democratic" process in the US is for corporations to write law and Congress to rubber stamp it. They don't even read the shit they pass.


Lobbying groups have worked out how to hack sovereignty (with those pesky democratic processes and a desire to consider the public interest)

We just saw this with the repeal of glass stegal. Could not be fixed because why? Idiots put it in the WTO via the FSA. Now we are stuck with it. Of course nobody ever mentions this until some working paper is leaked by people trying to spike the nomination of larry summers for the Fed Chair. [Regardless of your position of summers or derivatives regulation, its the <technique> that is cringeworthy]

______

“As we enter the end-game of the WTO financial services negotiations, I believe it would be a good idea for you to touch base with the CEOs…”

...

...Until the bankers’ re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders. The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to ... {too big to fail universal banks}.

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/larry-summers-and-the-secret-...




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