Crony Capitalism: Big Companies Sponsor Fancy Dinner For TPP Negotiators

from the not-cool dept

We've talked about the ridiculous Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations, which are being held with incredible levels of secrecy, and which appear to include a wishlist of every copyright reform change that Hollywood wants, with little to no public scrutiny. The USTR, who's in charge of negotiating the agreement for the US claims that there's unprecedented transparency -- and that may be true if you're talking about the unprecedented lack of transparency in the negotiations. And where it gets really ridiculous is that while the public has no access to the information, the big company lobbyists have pretty much full access. We already spoke about the recent meetings in Hollywood, where TPP negotiators got to party with the Hollywood elite -- but civil society/public interest groups who tried to hold an open meeting in the hotel (and reserved space and everything) were kicked out of the hotel.

The latest is the news that tonight (as we post this), a bunch of big companies who employ some of the key lobbyists supporting the extreme nature of TPP... are hosting a fancy, expensive dinner in Washington DC. The dinner is sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce, Philip Morris, Chevron, PhRMA, Microsoft, Pfizer, Amgen, Dow Chemical, among others... and the ambassadors from the TPP countries will all be in attendance (though we've heard, but don't have confirmation, that Australia just pulled out after realizing how bad this looked).

The next round of TPP negotiations take place next week in Australia, so it's nice that the corporate interests pushing an extreme version of the agreement get to wine and dine all of the key negotiators at an expensive and closed off dinner in DC, huh? Public interest groups? They just found out about the dinner today and (as you might expect) really aren't welcome.

What's amazing to me is how incredibly tone deaf the USTR and the US government is to how this appears. The USTR is negotiating a massive agreement that will change IP laws in pretty significant ways which clearly could favor some of these large companies. And just days before they're set to negotiate... they're letting some of the biggest special interests supporting an extreme vision for TPP buy them a fancy dinner? Even if you can believe that they're not actually influenced by this, do they not realize just how bad this looks?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Beavis/GREAT HOLLWOOD, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 5:52pm

    TPP Negotiators???

    I AM THE GREAT HOLLYWOOD, I NEED TPP FOR MY OUTDATED BUSINESS MODEL.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 6:33pm

    The guts these government have to openly flaunt their corruption for everyone to see. They must really not be afraid of a public uprising. No I am convinced it doesn't just look bad, it really is corruption.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 6:34pm

    "...do they not realize just how bad this looks?"

    Fortunately, with great power comes great stupidity.

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Just what would the nasty plebs have that would be of any value to this critical treaty. How could we possibly understand the nuanced issues being faced by the likes of Philip Morris, Chevron, PhRMA, Microsoft, Pfizer, Amgen, Dow Chemical and so many others.

    I mean, I had no I idea Philip Morris was facing piracy of downloaded cigarettes! This is totally and completely out of control! How will those Chinese know if it's a downloaded, pirated Marlboro Man or the real thing!????

    That and you'd have thought they'd have learned from the shaky ground ACTA seems to be on in Europe these days that perhaps, just perhaps, negotiating in secret with special interests to change global laws and trading patterns isn't the way to go.

    But no. There are more important things to do that be "transparent" or "in public" with this like go to well funded parties. Complete, no doubt, with all the distractions a well meaning trade negotiator could ever want. It is a Hollywood style party after all.

    Bob Dylan once asked "When will they ever learn?" and all these years later the same question hasn't been answered except in the negative.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:47pm

    Next time we will get dinner paid for by the bum in the alley way.

    It's amazing the things you dig up, trying to paint everything as cronyism.

     

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    Paul, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:53pm

    How is this sort of sh&* legal? Can you imagine a Federal judge being wined and dinned by a plaintiff or defendant in the lead up to a trial?

     

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    Pixelation, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:54pm

    Leaks

    All I can say is, please, please, please let there be leaks. Wikileaks we need you more than ever!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 9:37pm

    Political Deafness

    What is the matter with the pollies? Why do they not know that TPP is political poison that will get their political careers ended? By this late stage in the game, any mention of TPP should be getting all prudent pollies to run away screaming. How can they be so dumb?

     

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    MAC, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 10:42pm

    Fools you do not know...

    Fools you do not know; silence like a cancer grows...

    Forget your paranoia over copyrights. These people are talking about dismantling the United States of America.

    WAKE UP! Before it's too late...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    MAC, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 10:53pm

    Let's take a vote...

    Ok, let's take a vote
    All in favor of living in the U.S.A. say aye.

    Aye!

    Really, the TPP has a vested interest in the demise of the good ole US of A. That's right, I said it, the are either willingly supporting this or; supporting it by default.

    I don't know about you but I've had a pretty good life in the U.S.A. and I don't want to see it end either for me or my kids or my grandkids, Wife, cousins or anybody else that I care about anytime soon.

    So, why are we tolerating a situation that will lead to the demise of the United States of America?

    One reason. We are fat, dumb and lazy. Hard to take isnít it? But it's the truth. Unlike hitler's germany which was looking for a messiah; we will simply go to slaughter like the sheep that we are.

    Fat, dumb and lazy.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:50am

      Re: Let's take a vote...

      Any US citizen who is for TPP is a traitor and a Communist (in the Animal Farm sense, where it's actually crony capitalism in disguise).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:38am

    does anyone really think that those attending give a flying fuck about how bad it looks?

    money can buy just about anything and those with the money dont care whose interests are lessened, disrupted, diminished or eroded as long as it isn't theirs!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      Im patiently waiting for an "extreme" public response, en masse or individually..........and then saying after the fact, "well, i dont care too".......if they protest, then their fucking hypocrites to boot, and should be knocked the fuck out, but these cowards will no doubt use any and every law, whether right or wrong, to quiet anyone who threatens their way of life............maybe once there are consequencses, things might change, but until then, i certainly dont see things changing on their own


      "KNOW YOUR PLACE"
      This is the message im getting from these fucking twats

      "KEEP PUSHING, AND SEE"
      I hope im not the only one with this thought

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:28am

        Re: Re:

        This feeling you have is something that is growing around the world. It will start in the US as smaller events and have statistical clumps like the SOPA PIPA protests. It will end with politicians being elected, voted out, and recalled by single issue voters. There will of course be the occasional protests and riots.

        We are beginning to head down the right path as a nation. The amusing thing is, even when this is explained to people in power their arrogance prevents them from believing it will happen.

         

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    identicon
    Beech, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:55am

    "Headline: Meeting being held on the future of life on the planet. Dinosaurs invited, mammals, meteors denied access"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 3:34am

    ratification iminent

    Look for the TPP to be negotiated through the year, signed, and ratified by a lame-duck senate whose outgoing members have nothing to lose as they move to their new, cushy lobbying jobs.

    Don't say you weren't warned.

     

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      sabacat (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 8:38am

      Re: ratification iminent

      Who needs a lame-duck senate... Obama doesn't! He'll just twist it around, decide it's another "executive agreement" and make it a one-man decision, sign it, and be done with it... all a'la ACTA.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 11:48am

      Re: ratification iminent

      It is a good thing though that to be international it needs others international countries to sign it too or else it can only be national treaty.

       

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        sabacat (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re: ratification iminent

        Yeah, but will those other countries stand up to the US? I can't see it. I thought the whole reason they cut the EU out of this one is because the EU can be kind of ~quirky~ about things... kind of like what's going on with ACTA right now.

         

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    identicon
    bob, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    It's not just the TPP folks

    It's how business is done. Look at how Big Search snuggles up with their astroturfers:

    https://www.eff.org/event/eff-mixer-google

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/2010 0621/0327579886.shtml

    http://worldsfairuseday.org/

     

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      The eejit (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 7:08am

      Re: It's not just the TPP folks

      Oh hai Paywall Bob.

      You seem to ahve huge problems with your truthiness detector - here let me show you what the Truth is:

      1) Negotiators of a secret treaty that the public isn't allowed into;
      2) Said negotiators being courted by those whose sole existentence depends on such treaties to exist;
      3) the Public only being told THE DAY BEFORE that said party is happening;
      4) Your links being debunked on a regular basis, and you using the same three links over and over agin and again (I mean, seriously? THAT'S the best critici8sms you have?)
      5) You not being willing to listen to reasoned arguments from other here.

      Tell you what, why don't I confiscate that computer, as well as any other remotely technological belongings you have? I mean, no-one this stupid should be allowed to own any technology beyond a toothbrush. (I had to apply for a Computer Permit for mine, why didn't you?)

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re: It's not just the TPP folks

        eejit... you need to read the links:

        "In recognition of the many Googlers who have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Google employees and their guests are invited by EFF Board member and Googler Brad Templeton to a special informal EFF Mixer. You will have a chance to mingle with fellow EFF Supporters and meet the people behind the world's leading digital civil liberties organization."

        If you are going to tolerate Mike claiming all sorts of things, why not deal with the issue of Google using EFF as a mouth piece? It appears to be that Google has employees past and present inside EFF now.

        Bob has a point - why are you ignoring it?

         

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          DigitalDao (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: It's not just the TPP folks

          "Bob has a point - why are you ignoring it?"

          Because he doesn't have a point. The two events are not comparable at all.

           

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          The eejit (profile), Feb 26th, 2012 @ 2:09am

          Re: Re: Re: It's not just the TPP folks

          Because it';s tha same three links over and over again. Moreover, there's a considerable difference between "in honor of" and "reception of".

           

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      identicon
      big bob, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 7:20am

      Re: It's not just the TPP folks

      We can't have Big Content without Big Copyright everywhere you go! Big Media just wouldn't allow it! My Big Blindness won't let me see what's really out there, just the Big Myth that I want to see. So I come up with Big Bull to spew here 'cause I'm a sucker for Big Money and Big Government and anything else that's Big! It's gotta be Big, Big, Big! Reality? Who needs it when you've got Big Delusion? And who's best at providing Big Delusion? Big Hollywood, of course! My favorite Big Masters! I just can't get enough of the word Big! Big! Big! Big! Big! Nevermind that I don't have any evidence to support a thing I say. Big Deal! Nobody's Big enough to matter except those I shill for. Big! Big! Big! Big! Big!

      I'm posting everywhere bob does, yay! Let's see how you like being constantly exposed for what you really are, bobby boy!

       

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    identicon
    Teo, Feb 26th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    TPP will makeNAFTA look like a GREAT DEAL

    SEND YOUR CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN A EMAIL THAT YOU STRONGLY OPPOSE TPP. ASK YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME. If free trade was so good, why don't we have an agreement with the UK or Germany? Countries that their people can actually afford to buy goods made in the USA? Wall Street multinationals and Madison Avenue Big Box retailers, just want lower cost goods and to hell with the American Worker. THe USA gets screwed on every free trade agreement, and this one has Vietnam in it a state controlled industry. We can't out lobby them, but we can vote them out if they support.

     

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