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This is part two of our series, “Let’s Talk Issues.” Today we’ll discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that Senator Elizabeth Warren has strongly spoken out against and that MoveOn members have actively opposed.
If I were to ask you to lay out the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, would you be able to? If you’re thinking to yourself, “probably not,” you’re not alone—that’s part of the problem! The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be the LARGEST U.S. “free trade” agreement ever! And yet, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it. You see, that’s exactly how the folks behind this controversial trade deal want it.
Who are these folks, you ask?
While there are plenty of people at the table—Wall Street billionaires, corporations, foreign governments (Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam)—there’s one group intentionally left out of these negotiations: the American people. In fact, much of what we know about this egregious trade deal has come from leaked documents made public by the group WikiLeaks.
Simply put, the TPP is a HUGE free-trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and 10 countries within the Asia-Pacific region. The deal would make it easier for these countries to trade with each other and would work to help eliminate China’s dominant presence in world trade. But this agreement has far bigger implications.
Senator Elizabeth Warren put it very well,
“I have heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative’s policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant.” Warren explained, “In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”
I could spend all day writing (and you could spend all day reading) about the negative ways that the TPP could affect your life. Instead, I thought I would give you three strong reasons why you should oppose the agreement.
1. The TPP would cost us American jobs and hurts our workers.
The TPP would make it easier for U.S. corporations to ship American jobs overseas to low-wage countries where they can exploit workers for little pay. The Economic Policy Institute predicts that, if the TPP is agreed to, the U.S. will lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone.
Under NAFTA, the U.S. lost more than 700,000 jobs. Since China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, the U.S. lost over 3.2 million jobs to the growing trade deficit with China. Under the Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. has lost 70,000 jobs. The TPP would be more of the same, providing special benefits to firms that offshore jobs and reducing the risks associated with operating in low-wage countries.
When the minimum wage in Vietnam averages just $0.59 per hour, American workers will just not be able to compete.
2. The TPP threatens government sovereignty.
Government sovereignty is the power that we have over our own laws and government, and the TPP threatens to throw that out the window. You see, the agreement would actually permit foreign corporations to sue our government over any law that they see as harmful to their profits. What’s worse that the suits would be conducted in extrajudicial trials held before a board of private corporate attorneys with the power to order our government to make massive payments to corporations—from our tax dollars. There is no known limit on the laws that the corporations can attack or the amount of money our government can be ordered to pay.
3. The TPP would make it hard to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicaid and Medicare.
Americans pay far more for health care than people in any other developed country, even though U.S. life expectancy falls below the average for developed countries. The TPP threatens to roll back existing policies that help to rein in exorbitant medicine prices. It would constrain the ability of the U.S. government to reduce medicine prices, helping pharmaceutical companies make millions more in profits, while driving up the bill for U.S. taxpayers and those who need medicine most. Pharmaceutical companies have lobbied Congress for the TPP more than any other industry.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was not written by or for people, but by and for powerful corporate interests that could challenge any law that could affect their profits. Their lawsuits would be heard in international tribunals, bypassing domestic courts. But here’s the thing: our laws’ primary goals are not to protect corporate profits; they’re meant to protect people.
For more on why you should oppose the TPP, check out some information from our friends at Public Citizen.
What’s this “fast track” stuff?
You might have heard the term “fast track” and wondered what it meant. Here’s the breakdown: the Obama Administration is pushing for fast track authority for the TPP, which would prevent Congress from changing any provision in the agreement and force them to vote the entire agreement up or down after a shortened debate period.
This is yet another way that the folks behind the TPP are attempting to keep this terrible “free trade agreement” a secret. This begs a simple question: what do they have to hide?
If we can stop fast track we can stop the TPP.
A dynamic and versatile performer, Brittany O’Grady is emerging as one of the industry’s brightest talents. She is perhaps best known as “Paula” in the first season of Mike White’s Emmy Award-winning HBO series THE WHITE LOTUS.
She can currently be seen starring in Amazon’s stylish new thriller series THE CONSULTANT opposite Christoph Waltz and Nat Wolff. In film she most recently appeared opposite Daisy Ridley in SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT DYING, which premiered at Sundance this year to rave reviews.
Other work includes starring in JJ Abrams and Sara Bareilles’s Apple series LITTLE VOICE, Lee Daniels’ Fox series STAR and Sophia Takal’s film BLACK CHRISTMAS for Blumhouse.
Jaime King began her career as a fashion model landing covers of top international magazines and landing major advertising campaigns. King seamlessly transitioned from modeling into acting with a wide range of roles in film and television.
With roles in big studio films, independent film and passion projects King has been able to showcase her versatility with dramatic and comedic roles. King made her debut in Daniel Waters’ Happy Campers, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival. Following her debut acting role, Jaime starred opposite Johnny Depp in Ted Demme’s film BLOW, followed by Michael Bay’s PEARL HARBOR starring opposite Ben Affleck, Keenan Ivory Wayans’ WHITE CHICKS, Robert Rodriguez’s SIN CITY starring opposite Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, DJ Caruso’s TWO FOR THE MONEY starring opposite Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, Frank Millers’ THE SPIRIT starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR starring opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt and Josh Brolin to name a few. Additionally, Jaime was a series regular on the show HART OF DIXIE for four seasons starring opposite Rachel Bilson for the CW. Other credits include, the Sundance Film Festival premiering BITCH written and directed by Mariana Palka and starring opposite Jason Ritter, ESCAPE PLAN 2 and ESCAPE PLAN 3 starring opposite Sylvester Stallone and an amazing cameo in OCEAN’S 8 directed by Gary Ross for Warner Brothers. Jaime can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed and number one series BLACK SUMMER on Netflix for season one and season two, OUT OF DEATH starring opposite Bruce Willis which is currently streaming on Hulu, CODE NAME BANSHEE starring opposite Antonio Banderas which is also streaming on Hulu, THE RESURRECTION OF CHARLES MANSON starring opposite Frank Grillo and HOAX: THE KIDNAPPING OF SHERRI PAPINI for Lifetime. Jaime recently wrapped shooting the feature film, LIGHTS OUT starring opposite Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney and Scott Adkins.
Philanthropy and activism have always been key pillars of King’s career and she has used her platform to advocate for many important causes and is unafraid to question the status quo. This activism has also formed her creative endeavors in fashion and beauty. She collaborated with AKID to launch a children’s shoe line, inspired by her kids, comprised of seven unisex styles. King also previously launched a gender-fluid, gender-neutral line with Gardner and the Gang called “Gardner and the Gang X Jaime King.” The collection is designed for children to wear the beautiful story of friendship as an emblem of style, and share it with others as an empowering movement towards creating a generation without judgment. In 2016, King launched a cruelty-free, vegan makeup line with ColourPop cosmetics “Alchemy by Jaime King x ColourPop” which sold out within hours of its launch. Jaime tested the various colors of each product on a variety of skin types (all ethnicities/skin colors, etc.) as she wanted each color to work for everyone.
King currently resides in Los Angeles with her two children.
“In 2013, Bex Taylor-Klaus was introduced as one of the first and most well received transgender roles on cable TV on the critically acclaimed “THE KILLING”. They have been a catalyst and inspired more ideas for transgender, trans nonbinary, and non-conforming representation in Hollywood over the last decade. In the last couple years Bex has been in leading roles such as CBS Films’ HELLFEST along with the Netflix hit, DUMPLIN’ where they played a supporting role opposite Jennifer Aniston. They can also be seen in Millennium’s BLACKBIRD opposite Kate Winslet & Susan Sarandon. Last year, they had wrapped on the indie film, I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, written and directed by Tommy Dorfman. They are currently shooting Adam Saunder’s independent feature film, RE-ELECTION.”
ALOK (they/them) is an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021) and the creator of #DeGenderFashion: an initiative to degender fashion and beauty industries. In recognition of their work, they have been honored as the inaugural LGBTQ Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and awarded a GLAAD Media Award and Stonewall Foundation Visionary Award. Over the past decade, they have toured in more than 40 countries, most recently selling out their runs at the Soho Theatre in London, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Kennedy Performing Arts Center. Their show has been described as “provocative and powerful” (CHORTLE), a “potent combination of comedy and poetry” (THE SCOTSMAN), and a “Jaw-dropping celestial event” (TO DO LIST LONDON). On screen, they will make their feature film debut in Absolute Dominion opposite Patton Oswalt and next can be seen in Emmie Lichtenberg’s film Complicated Order opposite Midori Francis. On television, they have appeared on Hulu’s Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne, ABC’s PRIDE: To Be Seen – A Soul of A Nation, Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness and The Trans List.
Emmy-nominated actress, Adina Porter was born and raised in The South Bronx, to immigrant parents. She always felt a deep desire to entertain. As a child, her parents enrolled her in dance and acting classes while gently steering her toward more conventional occupations. Undeterred, she attended the famed High School for the Performing Arts. Upon graduation from S.U.N.Y. Purchase, Porter embarked on a professional career rooted in the theatre. She built an impressive and extensive stage resume in NYC and in prestigious, regional theater companies, including an Obie Award-winning performance in Venus. Myriad TV guest appearances soon followed. In 2001, Porter made her Broadway debut in The Women.
In 2008, she landed the role of “Lettie Mae Thornton” in HBO’s True Blood. The role was originally conceived as a 4-episode Guest Star. However, the creative team was delighted by the character; Porter spent the following seven seasons on the show. Thanks to wigs, elaborate makeup and contact lenses, “Lettie Mae” looked very different from Adina Porter. This engendered a realization within Porter: she was a chameleon. She went on to work in over 60 television series and 20 feature films, many with altered physical appearances, various accents and distinctly unique roles.
Her breakout performance was arguably “Beverly Hope” in American Horror Story: Cult for which she garnered an Emmy® nomination. Porter has worked in five of the anthology seasons. In addition to FX’s AHS franchise, Porter is known to audiences as “Indra,” from CW’s post-apocalyptic, The 100, “Prioress” in Amazon’s Paper Girls, “Sheriff Peterkin” in the Netflix hit Outer Banks, “The Voice” in The Power, and pivotal roles in Apple TV’s The Morning Show, Aaron Sorkin’s, The Newsroom, HBO’s The Leftovers, Showtime’s Ray Donovan and Sony’s Underground.
Next, Porter will star opposite LaKeith Stanfield in Apple TV’s The Changeling and will appear with Nicole Kidman in The Perfect Couple.
On the big screen, Porter recently appeared alongside Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia. Additional film credits include: multi award-winning The Social Network, The Last Word, Gia, Wig Shop, The Peacemaker, About Sunny, among others. She will also be seen this year in the Amazon Studios feature Sitting in Bars with Cake.
Porter and her two kids split time between Los Angeles and New York City. She proudly serves as a CARE ambassador and devotes time to Goodwill, Feeding America and the World Central Kitchen. She enjoys swimming and yoga to stay in shape. Porter is a self-proclaimed “news junkie.”