Who is Zach Carter? And why is he perpetrating journalism at HuffPo of all places? In a rather thorough (and lengthy) piece at the normally tabloidesque website, Mr. Carter reports on a leaked memo purportedly from the Obama Administration that proposes some scary rules regarding international law:
WASHINGTON — A critical document from President Barack Obama’s free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.
You can read the details at the article (and I hope you do, because this has O-V-E-R-R-E-A-C-H written all over it), but what stood out to me were a couple of items. The first is just who is opposed to these changes:
“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch in a written statement.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has been so incensed by the lack of access as to introduce legislation requiring further disclosure. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has gone so far as to leak a separate document from the talks on his website. Other Senators are considering writing a letter to Ron Kirk, the top trade negotiator under Obama, demanding more disclosure.
The World Health Organization and dozens of nonprofit public health groups have objected to the standards sought by the Obama administration. Two United Nations groups recently urged global governments not to agree to trade terms currently being advocated by the Obama administration, on the grounds that such rules would hurt public health.
Speaking to the environmental concerns raised by the leaked document, Margrete Strand Rangnes, Labor and Trade Director for the Sierra Club, an environmental group said, “Our worst fears about the investment chapter have been confirmed by this leaked text … This investment chapter would severely undermine attempts to strengthen environmental law and policy.”
Bolding mine. Pretty much everyone is opposed to this. But for my money, the most telling comment came from Judit Rius, regarding access to life-saving medication rules:
“Bush was better than Obama on this,” said Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules. “It’s pathetic, but it is what it is. The world’s upside-down.”
Close. I’ve always said that Bush turn the world upside down, and Obama turned it inside out. But then of course, there is this bit:
The deal is strongly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the top lobbying group for American corporations. Obama’s Republican opponent in the 2012 presidential elections, Mitt Romney, has urged the U.S. to finalize the deal as soon as possible.
Just in case you were thinking there was a whole a lot of difference between them. Mind those eggs, now.