Petition With 90,000 Signatures Of People Worried About TPP Hand Delivered To USTR Negotiators

from the will-it-matter dept

USTR negotiators have basically acted as if they represent the interests of big businesses in their negotiations on various trade proposals. That's why we get things like ACTA, TPP and various "free trade agreements" (FTAs) that all seem to focus on carving out protections for specific special interests who just happen to sit on the USTR's "advisory committees." What they often forget is that they're supposed to be representing the public. But, at times, they're so disconnected from the public that what's best for the actual country rarely seems to enter into the thought process. Of course, with the uprising against ACTA, perhaps some people at the USTR are beginning to wake up to the fact that their roles aren't just about making special interests happy. The recent admission that limitations and exceptions are important in copyright is a sign that this kind of thinking may be filtering through.

Last week, a group of public interests organizations also hand delivered an online petition that was signed by over 90,000 people raising concerns about TPP. I generally don't think much of online petitions like this, but in this situation, where's it's incredibly important for the USTR to recognize that the public and internet users are watching -- and are concerned -- something like this seems like it could be helpful in at least making the USTR negotiators recognize that the public matters.

Of course, for them to prove that they really understand that, they'd need to start being a hell of a lot more transparent, such as by releasing the US recommendations that are being negotiated. Until that happens, it's difficult to trust the USTR to really be looking out for the public's best interests.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    2 > 90,000

    I am sure the USTR can prove through a fancy, complicated mathematical formula that 2 (MPAA & RIAA) is greater than 90,000 (petition signers).

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Online petitions are sort of meaningless. Most of them do not have good duplicate checks, don't confirm signatures, and certainly don't seem worried if the person is actually subject to the thing being complained about.

    90,000 is a very low number for an online petition anyway, perhaps no sites like Techdirt got on the bandwagon to send them flock over to sign.

     

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  3.  
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    Tim K (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: 2 > 90,000

    Obviously it is, cause everyone knows that really those groups represent hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people...

     

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  4.  
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    Chris Brand (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    First two comments complement each other nicely

    The first says that there will be some sort of dismissal of 90000 signatures, and the second dismisses 90000 signatures - classic !

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Yes - thats it!

    I'm sure that this petition will change their minds about the essence of TPP. I mean they really weren't terribly sure about this thing anyway.

    These people are backed by pure evil. Only flying lead would have any real effect.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    'it's difficult to trust the USTR to really be looking out for the public's best interests.'

    and that's after USTR saying it recognises copyright exceptions and limitations as well. too many lies from these, especially Kirk, over TPP to let the guard down!

     

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  7.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    The key question is will this wake up the USTR to the extent that they take the US Congress, other legislatures like the Australian Parliament AND the public have a right to know what's going on. And then there's the joke that has Canada and Mexico as 5th rate participants in the TPP negotiations.

    What's so amusing to me about this is that I'll wager that the major non-participant, China, has cleaved the veil of "transparency" around TPP and knows every word, sentence, dot, comment and observation and who said or proposed it all.

    Not that I'm saying this as if China is doing something nasty here. If an agreement of this scope were being negotiated with the United States on the sideline I'd be sure they'd be doing exactly what China is doing now.

    The other reason for saying this is that between the petition and China's "national interest" is to let the USTR know that they're being watched. Closely. Being so opaque about this while claiming transparency just raises suspicions and cynicism about what's going on behind the veil.

     

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  8.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:31am

    Re: 2 > 90,000

    When you have people on staff that can make it look like "Star Wars" has never made a profit then making it look like 2 is greater than 90,000 is a walk in the park.

     

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  9.  
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    Keii (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Thank God, you've arrived just in time! This is exactly what we've needed for our discussions. Our private negotiation table was getting a bit wobbly.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Re: 2 > 90,000

    Easy, they'll use the same math formula they've always used:

    1 dollar = 1 vote.

    And for the metric version:

    1 euro = 1 vote

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Email?

    Can you email your concerns directly to the USTR? I suppose you could call, their number for IP is 202-395-4510.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Re: Yes - thats it!

    "These people are backed by pure evil. Only flying lead would have any real effect."

    Could we add some silver and fire to that, just to be safe?

     

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  13.  
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    BeaverJuicer (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:39am

    The bag of money delivered by the **AA was twice as big, and had 3 more digits.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re: Email?

    I tried to do this and it seems that the IP office is not setup to have a lot of phone calls. Left a polite message with them and also with a public relations person, Issac Faz, his number is 202-393-5663. "My name is" I'm a US citizen from "State" my phone number is "xxx-yyy-zzzz" and I'm concerned about how ACTA and TPP are negotiated in secret and NOT approved by the US Senate like all other trade treaties, thanks for listening. If others call perhaps we can change a few minds at USTR.

     

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  15.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: 2 > 90,000

    It's a shame votes are geographically locked or you could make a killing using the USD to EUR exchange rates.

     

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  16.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Yes - thats it!

    I say we take off and nuke em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    andrew me, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    laugh at them

    That is all you can do, they will ignore the public again because losing with 2 treaties is not much seeing they pass new treaties all the time, Only when they lose tpp and the next one after that will they start really getting worried that the public has actually caught onto the anti everyone but the industry farce they keep trying to push through for approval. Personally i doubt TPP will pass, is has similar ideals as the two they previously tried to pass so why would this be different,

     

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  18.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: 2 > 90,000

    I heard Barclay's is making those exchanges.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: 2 > 90,000

    "Obviously it is, cause everyone knows that really those groups represent hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people..."

    And how many of those signed on for reasons other then extreme copyright, or, hell, the abolishment of privacy.

    For those that did, well, i dont need their works in my life, after all, its only a "luxury item..../s"

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes - thats it!

    The Mighty Buzzard
    "I say we take off and nuke em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

    no, no, no, no, thats a bit extreme My good chap, its not like thEy would do somethinG equally extreme, you understAnd, we mUst treat them with the same gracious resPect they've so humbLy given us. tally hO AnD all that, what what

    Arrr matey - a pirate I am sez I

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Thank you

    That is "funny" that I appreciate, didn't see it until you pointed it out.

     

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  22.  
    icon
    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    *Pulls the explanation to every U.S problem out of my pocket*

    Corruption !

     

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  23.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Ron Kirk will just use this to show how transparent the process is. Why, just this week they obtained input from over 90,000 stakeholders!

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: 2 > 90,000

    Pfft, you think geographically locked DRM will stop people? =P

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    To witch they ignored and threw in the trash bin...



    Or, perhaps they used the petition to stop the table from wobbling, thus allowing them to say that the petition made a difference at the bargaining table!

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re:

    which* I need more coffee...

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    petitions are meaningless useless drivel

    you can get people to sign a petition to ban drinking water

     

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  28.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 2 > 90,000

    So that's 1 vote for every 3.15159 USD, or 1 vote for every 1GBP+LIBOR, so...2 GBP?

     

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  29.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    It's far better to get them to ban dihydrogen monoxide from being added to our water supplies.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    At least this officer accepted it with dignity, unlike what happened the last time with the "reward" for Ron Kirk :)

     

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  31.  
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    skinny poppy (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 4:03pm

    Apparently nobody at USTR has gotten the message that the European Parliament has driven a silver stake through ACTA. Do we need to send them heads of garlic and crucifixes?

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 4:03pm

    Re: 2 > 90,000

    And then they'll use all the signatures to start the grill for the big TPP Signing Jamboree.

     

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  33.  
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    skinny poppy (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 4:03pm

    Apparently nobody at USTR has gotten the message that the European Parliament has driven a silver stake through ACTA. Do we need to send them heads of garlic and crucifixes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Ophelia Millais (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Re:

    Given that the stakeholders represent industry, that's probably exactly their position; there's at least that many people in the music and movie business. When these industries feel threatened, they routinely trot out figures showing their industry consists of hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihood depends on some form of cart blanche or other.

    "What they often forget is that they're supposed to be representing the public."óMasnick

    I think that's a false assumption. The USTR is an appointed, Cabinet-level position, and the USTR office's mission is to promote trade, i.e. boost international business for American companies. The USTR simply isn't tasked with "representing the public" other than by taking steps to ensure that U.S. trade goals can be realized. That is, the American public has an interest in American companies doing well (as related to business conducted with other nations), but any other concerns the public might have aren't relevant. Not saying I agree with it.

    International trade agreements often involve making concessions that are certain to incense a sizable number of people across party lines, be it the public or companies and industries which benefit from the status quo. That's why these agreements get on the "Fast Track" and are negotiated, approved and implemented with as little public involvement and awareness as possible. Again, not saying I agree with it.

    Petitioning the USTR and its negotiators not to undermine the public interest can't hurt, and as a step toward raising public awareness it's rather a good thing. But arguing that the USTR is "supposed to be representing the public" is surely unpersuasive to those who actually work there, since the office's structure and mission, and the fact that it's in the Executive branch, have long meant it is by design wholly oblivious and unaccountable to the public.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 7:43pm

    Re:

    I think you just described pretty much any petition. I mean in a perfect world we would have a notary standing right there seal in one hand and a biometrics scanner in the other but this certainly isn't a perfect world

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes - thats it!

    California is an acceptable casualty

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 7:50pm

    Re:

    ya but if you start shooting at people all the sudden you have gone to far

     

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  38.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:03pm

    Re:

    nah. most of the time that's not the Cause. it's just the reason it's not been Fixed.

    (example: it's amazing how much of the economic issues of any country can be put down to a combination of using a national or super-national currency (rather than one per city-region) and insisting on treating the Nation as a (the) meaningful economic entity, (which it Isn't. economically, you've got the city-region (or a couple of types of equivalent entities which don't have a city in them) and then... the entire world. ) both of which result in false feedback on economic conditions and thus incorrect actions in response.)

    there are, of course, exceptions. (the whole IP and transparancy issue(s) is pretty much pure corruption.)

     

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  39.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jul 9th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

    Re:

    silver is werewolves. stakes are vampires. and silver is horrible material for stakes. it is soft, and will crumple rather than piercing.

     

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  40.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 10th, 2012 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    Just in timey for the wibbly going wimey.

     

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  41.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 10th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re:

    I'm pretty certain that the reason we in Britain use one currency in all regions is that it is much more efficient.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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