Sending A Message: It's Time To Stop Secret Trade Agreements That Undermine Democracy

from the speak-up dept

A bunch of organizations and companies have teamed up to demand that President Obama Stop the Secrecy around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. With over 2.8 million signatures already, the groups behind this project are projecting a "stop the secrecy" light on buildings around Washington DC to draw attention to the shady, underhanded nature of the way that these trade agreements are negotiated. The campaign kicked off by shining the message on the Canadian embassy:
The organizers note that as the campaign goes on and more people sign, they'll be shining the message bigger and brighter -- and on bigger targets.

While this may be a bit gimmicky, the message here is a serious one. It makes absolutely no sense at all that negotiations like the TPP are done in secret. All of the excuses the USTR gives about this wither under scrutiny. Plenty of other international agreements are negotiated with public texts being shared. The USTR could easily do the same if it chose to. The very fact that former USTR Ron Kirk admitted that they won't reveal the details of these agreements because the public might not like them explains exactly why this kind of secrecy is undemocratic.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 4:17pm

    The very fact that former USTR Ron Kirk admitted that they won't reveal the details of these agreements because the public might not like them explains exactly why this kind of secrecy is undemocratic.


    Why has that quote from Ron Kirk not been turned into a soundbite/rallying cry and spread around the entire Internet by now?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 4:23pm

    Who is paying for the light gimmick? Not a cheap endeavor.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    Re: light gimmick

    Yeah, the light gimmick must be costing hundreds of dollars. Grassroots, my eye.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:02pm

    Calling it now: Obama responds to this with several paragraphs about how his administration is totally the most transparent ever, and how all those trade agreements are 100% transparent because eventually some congressmen will probably get to glance at them before voting on them.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:04pm

    Re:

    Quick! somebody pass a law against shining lights on buildings...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:15pm

    Interesting that the majority of supporting organizations are associated with Democratic Party causes that range from left to way-way left. Might rattle a cage or two at the WH, but it will take mainstream organizations and companies to lend strong, vocal support for anything to change.

     

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  7.  
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    Kronomex, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    Anything that involves the corporations and their deals with the bought and paid for puppet government would have to be kept secret. Can't have the peasants, I mean citizens, know what's going on.

     

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  8.  
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    Charles (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: light gimmick

    I got my notice from demandprogress.org. It, like the other backers of this project, survive on donations. As far as I know it is a grassroots organization, though organized.

    I am tired of swallowing the koolaid, so I try to support similar groups in the way I can.

    You are entitled to your own opinion

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Already exists; permission is required to do what they're doing.

    Who's funding this?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: light gimmick

    Demand Progress is a Google front.

     

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  11.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You know, you could just click on the link in the story, go to the page, and see all the various backers, doesn't take much effort there.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:18pm

    Democracy?

    Democracy? What Democracy? You mean the oligarchy in the US? The USTR was perfectly open with everyone who mattered. That just doesn't include you or me.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: light gimmick

    Everyone and their granny is a Google front.

     

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    Violynne (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:38pm

    Personally, I don't see what the issue is. From what I've been reading, TPP isn't going anywhere because the countries brought to the table are disgusted with what they're reading and pulling out.

    The way things are going, the US will be the only country which signs on the dotted line.

    I'd rather they spend more time focusing on more pressing issues, like trying to keep the FCC from fucking up the internet as we know it.

     

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  15.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:32pm

    Re:

    Ah, but without pressure and attention to the matter like this, how many of them would have even bothered to look closely at what they were being asked to sign, rather than just taking their 'negotiators' at their word?

    Public attention like this also makes it more difficult to just slide things under the rug until it comes time to sign the thing, and when the problem is secrecy, the 'fix' is as much light as you can get.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 9:07pm

    In Mexico the trade itīs on table in negotiations

    In Mexico the trade itīs on table in negotiations

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 10:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: light gimmick

    No, everyone and their granny are Google Nazi Rockstar NSA Commie fronts.

    If you're going to be silly, then at least shoot for the moon.

     

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  18.  
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    cosmicrat, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:33pm

    what kind of luminaire is that

    Anyone know what kind of lighting fixture they're using? Seems brighter than an ordinary ellipsoidal/leko, also looks HMI-ish.

    I'm guessing something like a Mac 500 profile. Such fixtures can be rented for less than $150.00 a night if you have the right sources.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 1:12am

    the bigger problem is governments everywhere dont want democracy any more. they want countries to be ruled for and by big business. the people and there wants, needs and desires are at the bottom of the pile now. the frightening thing is that this whole way of thinking seems to have started in the one very country that supposedly put itself forward to the World as being the most democratic, the most caring there was. that country is the USA! instead of the picture it paints, the country has become less and less 'by the people, for the people, of the people' and so much like 'by big business, for big business profits, with the help of big governments and law enforcement and fuck the people'! as for the 'all men are created equal, try telling that to anyone in this administration and the security forces. that has gone, never to be resurrected!!

     

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  20.  
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    Andy, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 2:51am

    Re:

    Republicans would be accepting the cash payments just as much if not more, than the democrats, all politicians are the same republican and democrats, once you accept that you will live a much better life when they both fuck you wherever they can.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 5:21am

    Re:

    So, you mean, they want neo-feudalism, but without the obligations that feudalism imparted on the aristocracy?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    The 1976 Act was adopted because the US was worn down over the years since Berne on the issue of international harmonization and its reluctance to buy-in.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    This comment was meant to be deleted, but I pressed the wrong key. Kindly ignore.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 6:27am

    Why does everyone keep calling it government ,it's a corporation and has been for quite sometime , we are just consumers now, who are forced to pay for and shop at the USA corp.

     

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  25.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Aww, don't give the game away! I love it when the "who's funding this" question gets asked for things like this, where the answer is easy to find and the expense is not great to begin with. It's fun to watch the straw-grasping!

     

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  26.  
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    submandave, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 1:47pm

    Trust them, you'll like it.

    "they won't reveal the details of these agreements because the public might not like them"

    Didn't they tell you: they'll have to ratify the TPP to know what's in the TPP.

     

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  27.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Trust them, you'll like it.

    Nah, any scientist will tell you, it's much easier to study something when it's not moving, so it would be far more logical to kill the treaties and then study the bodies, rather than pass them and and try and study them.

     

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  28.  
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    PoohBah, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Stop Secrecy Dot Net

    Hey, Anonymous Coward - who needs a law?? Just an executive order will do just fine.....

     

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  29.  
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    OrganizedThoughtCrime (profile), Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:22am

    Re:

    As a general rule, any entity that goes to such lengths to proclaim how free, democratic, caring, etc. it is, almost always isn't (even close).

     

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

  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:24am

    Re:

    I would disagree, if it wasn't for the PP-ACA, or Insurance Industry Appreciation Act as I prefer to call it.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:25am

    Re: Trust them, you'll like it.

    EXACTLY.

     

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  32.  
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    Pragmatic, Apr 29th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    I suppose you could make a meme of it using a meme generator - a bit of fun with a political point.

     

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