My guest today is progressive political activist and frequent OpEdNews contributor, The PEN. Welcome back to OpEdNews, PEN.
JB: What's on your mind today?
PEN: Great to be back with you again, Joan. We've been fighting to stop the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) for a long time, as it has been negotiated in complete and strict secrecy, excluding input from any but multi-national corporate special interests.
From leaked documents, we already knew they were planning a dramatic expansion of the rights of those same business interests to supersede our national sovereignty, and to enforce through collateral tribunals their profit "rights" over the people's national interests. They are calling this legal abomination "Investor State Dispute Settlement," as if money should have any prerogative over government at all. It just keeps getting sicker.
JB: What do you mean?
PEN: When we say an "expansion," it must be understood that they were already moving forcefully in this direction even before the TPP. Just this week, TransCanada sued the U.S Government for 15 billion dollars . . .
JB: 15 billion dollars? Yikes!
PEN: . . . under the EXISTING provisions of NAFTA, the predecessor bad trade deal, over President Obama's rejection of their dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. And TPP is like NAFTA on steroids.
There was so much political opposition to this project, because of the threat to pristine natural aquifers in the MidWest if there was ever a leak, which of course there inevitably will be many, as even TransCanada admits, that President Obama was finally forced to reject it for his part. How many monumental man-made environmental disasters do we have to suffer at the hands of reckless corporate interests before we the people have the right to put a stop to it?
JB: How many, indeed?
PEN: From the oil well blowout in the Gulf that came close to ending the ecosystem of our entire SouthEast coast to the gargantuan oil spills in AK and elsewhere, time and again we have seen that corporations, for all their claimed "personhood," have absolutely no social responsibility and will sacrifice and put at dire peril our safety, our health, our environment and our future for one extra dollar of profit by cutting corners every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.
TransCanada saw the hand-writing on the wall, and strategically "withdrew" their application to build their smelly, leak-prone pipeline, shortly before President Obama's announcement of his decision.
JB: A tad fishy, no?
PEN: Instead, they shifted to a deceptive PR campaign, flooding YouTube with videos of their thin-walled pipeline under construction with smiling workers. And the whole thing looks so flimsy, being put together with heat sealing, that it looks like if you accidently stumbled with a screwdriver you'd poke a hole right through it.