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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/20/14

Part 1: What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, And Why Don't I Care?

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-- democracy

-- human rights

-- manageable immigration and immigrant rights

-- institutional resistance to human trafficking

More details on these provocative claims can be found within the links above--or if you like, you can scan other online resources like Public Citizen and Expose the TPP. In the interests of balance you can also read an article in Forbes criticizing Obama for not being a sufficiently enthusiastic booster of fast-tracking the TPP, and an article by New York Times economist Paul Krugman pondering what the big deal is 1 .

It is important to understand why some (though clearly not all) people are alarmed by the prospect of a classified 12-nation TPP trade-deal-that's-not-a-trade-deal affecting 40% of the world's GDP. This alarm make more sense when reviewing some of the standout outrages of other existing "trade deals." These include the story of how Philip Morris sued Australia under an "investment treaty" with Hong Kong for being too solicitous of its citizens' health. There's also the story of how Infinito Gold sued Costa Rica for one billion dollars--one BILLION dollars--under its "trade agreements" with Canada for being too solicitous of its fresh water sources. Since Costa Rica's annual GDP is only 45 billion , this is not chump change. And last but not least there's the story of how the 1992 NAFTA "trade deal"--the one Americans are most familiar with--is responsible for a number of corporate attacks on the living standards, cultural fabric and national sovereignty of Mexicans, Americans and Canadians over the last 20 years. Clicking the links of this paragraph will allow you to familiarize yourself with these stories. They're just the tip of a very large iceberg.

How to act if you're ready to act

If you have checked out some of the info in the links, are now brimming with passion and want to take action immediately before reading the rest of this long series of articles, call 877-852-4710. You will be connected to your representative based on the zip code you give them. You can tell your rep that you are opposed to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 which will fast-track the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership.

There are also a number of anti-TPP petitions online, but one of the more efficient and innovative petition sites is Peace Team's . It allows you to send faxes (which carry more weight) to your representatives and also a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Then grab your calendar and free up January 31, because that's the Inter-Continental Day of Action against the TPP. Public Citizen and Expose the TPP each have a page devoted to activist options also. Or look in a search engine for "Trans Pacific Partnership" and "petition", for "Trans Pacific Partnership" and "protest", and for "Trans Pacific Partnership" and "action." Search through facebook and twitter also.

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Ian Hansen is an Associate Professor of psychology and the 2017 president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility.

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