The Starting Line – Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiators to Face a Week of Protests

June 26, 2012 – A diverse coalition of groups has announced plans for ongoing protests aimed at trade negotiators meeting in San Diego next week for the 13th round of talks aimed at the creation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade zone that would include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, with  a “docking agreement” that other countries can join over time.  Canada, Japan and Mexico are currently pressing to do so..  Describing the proposals being discussed at the confab as “NAFTA on steroids”, the Citizens Trade Campaign is seeking to draw attention to the fact that approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the TPP negotiating texts, while the public has been barred from reviewing what trade negotiators have been proposing.

A leaked TPP document demonstrates that the group is considering a dispute resolution process that would grant transnational corporations special authority to challenge countries’ laws, regulations and court decisions in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems. Of further concern is the impact of the agreement on jobs, wages, agriculture, migration, the environment, consumer safety, financial regulations, Internet protocols, government procurement and more. Negotiations on the proposed pact will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel from July 2 – 10.

The week long protests will kick off with a labor endorsed rally at noon on Monday, July 2nd  at the park adjacent to Hilton Bayfront and Convention Center.  Six days of round-table discussions on related topics will follow, and the week will end with a raucous “Pots and Pans March!” starting at Freedom Plaza (the Civic Center) at 11 am on Saturday, July 7th and marching down to the Bayfront Hotel. For more information on these events, go here.

Waiting for the Supremes’ decision on health care… Word out of the nation’s capital is that the Supreme Court will announce its ruling(s) on the Affordable Care Act this Thursday. Most observers are expecting a mixed bag of decisions, so in the meantime it seems appropriate to offer some pointers on the potential impact(s) that could occur.

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones reflects (pessimistically, I think) that the last time the court completely struck down a piece of legislation as big as ACA goes back more than 75 years, to the decision to overturn the National Recovery Act in 1935. Adam B over at Daily Kos gives a very clear accounting of the specific issues that are before the court with regard to this issue.  Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo explores six possible ways the court could rule and gives us an idea of what each choice would mean.  Igor Volsky penned a post over at Think Progressentitled “Ten Things That You Miss About Obamacare” that’s self-explanatory. Then there’s this report by Families USA that reminds us about why the state of health care in this country remains an important issue. Did you know that, in 2010 alone, about 3,164 Californians between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely for lack of health insurance? One last comment -and I wish I could remember where I saw it- that says it all:“Want bipartisanship in DC? Just watch the finger-pointing after the SCOTUS decision.”

It’s that Pride time of year, and on the heels of huge marches in New YorkChicagoSan Francisco and Seattle, San Diego’s LGBT community is busy putting the final touches on events for the third weekend in July. “Glee” cast member Alex Newell, who plays “Unique/Wade,” a transgender character, on the hit TV show has been added to the line up which already includes Sandra Bernhard (Grand Marshall of the Parade), R&B/dance-pop singer/songwriter Wynter Gordon,  singer/songwriter Justin Utley, and dance club favorite performersinger/songwriter Neon Hitch will be headlining the ever popular Pride of Hillcrest Dance PartyMore info at  For information everything that’s happening that weekend go here.

 Free Pride Passes! San Diego LGBT Community Center and San Diego Pride are teaming up to register as many Equality Voters as possible during the setup for the Pride Parade on Saturday, July 21. Everyone who volunteers and works the brief shift will receive complimentary passes to the festival for BOTH Saturday and Sunday! For more information, email today!

The times, they are a changin’…. This past weekend Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali, a San Diego native, and Will Behrens became one of the very first same-sex couples to unite in a civil union on a military base, according to the Associated Press. Navy chaplain Kay Reeb performed the ceremony. Reeb and Umali both serve at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

Citizens Review Board under fire…A protest is being planned at the next open meeting of San Diego’s Citizens Review Board on Police Practices. A grand jury investigation uncovered major corruption at the Board. (Here is an article on the Grand Jury report.) Some of the violations included police presence during closed sessions, police harassment, intimidation and bullying of board members who disagreed with police findings. When: Tues. June 26, Where: 4895 La Cuenta Dr. — Tierrasanta Library, Time: 6:30 PM

On This Day:  In 1945 the U.N. Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco. In    2000 the Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics Corp. jointly announced that they had created a working draft of the human genome.  In 1977 Elvis Presley’s final concert took place at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis.

 Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido  (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa  (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District  OPENING TODAY! (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach  (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm.

“We’re not perfect, but they’re nuts!” — Barney Frank

I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org 


Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatarAndy Cohen says

    RE: NAFTA: The idea behind NAFTA is a sound one. I studied it in college back in the early 90’s when Bush I and then Clinton were negotiating it, just before it got implemented. The premise was sound. The problem was that Mexico was so far behind the US and Canada developmentally that they couldn’t compete. Thus, there were provisions written into the pact that gave Mexico a chance to catch up economically, educationally, develop better infrastructure, and bolster their workforce and middle class. There was a 15 year “grace period” of sorts that created a whole host of exceptions for Mexico until they were able to get their act together, so to speak.

    The problem is that Mexico never held up its end of the bargain. They never made the investments in education and infrastructure that was a part of the agreement. Thus, they’ve reaped the benefits of the pact without having to do the work. Yes, they are far more advanced than they were at the beginning of NAFTA, but they are still nowhere near where they need to be to make it work the way it was envisioned to.

    Had the Mexican government’s feet been held to the fire, the problems and controversies created by NAFTA would likely not exist today, and the Mexican economy would be much closer to the US and Canada.