The Starting Line – Reps Filner, Davis Call for Transparency in (TPP) Trade Negotiations; Big Tobacco in San Diego for the ‘Free Trade’ Confab

July 2, 2012—Two Members of San Diego’s Congressional delegation are among 130 Representatives who have signed a letter calling for an end to the secrecy surrounding negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement. Delegates from nine pacific rim nations are meeting in San Diego this week for the 13th round of negotiations on the pact. The letter cites “reports [that] indicate the agreement is likely to repeat, rather than improve upon, the existing trade template—including the weakening of Buy America provisions, providing extraordinary investor-state privileges, and restricting access to lifesaving medicines in developing nations, to name a few.” The trade pact meetings at San Diego’s Bayfront Hilton, which begin today, are expected to be the target of protests throughout the week,

Big Tobacco to join the negotiations… According to a report in the San Diego Readerlobbyists from Phillip Morris and other big tobacco firms will be in attendance at the (TPP) negotiations, hoping to encourage trade rules to circumvent or overturn public health measures designed to reduce smoking. Activists from the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health released a statement saying: “Big Tobacco is coming to San Diego, one of the most anti-smoking cities in the U.S., to push their ‘Merchants of Death’ agenda through the Trans Pacific Partnership.”

The really big news today on the front pages of the dead tree press is the apparent victory by Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico’s Presidential election. Early returns announced by election officials late Sunday night, showed Mr. Peña Nieto with 38 to 39 percent of the vote and a 7-point lead over Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the former Mexico City mayor who lost narrowly in 2006 and is a member of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution. The conservative candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former cabinet secretary who sought to become Mexico’s first woman president, was running third with 25 to 26 percent. Ms Mota has already conceded the election. Mr. Obrador told supporters late on Sunday that he would not concede, and would instead wait for complete results in the coming days. In 2006 he refused for 48 days to acknowledge defeat, and led street protests demanding a recount.

As Mexico went to the polls on Sunday, allegations were being made that candidates were offering money and swag, flouting campaign-spending limits in the process. Most allegations are aimed at the old guard PRI, which voters kicked out of the top office 12 years ago. The PRI held on to the presidency for 71 years, using vote-buying and other kinds of fraud when deemed necessary, until it was defeated in 2000 by the National Action Party, or PAN. The PRI claims to have changed, and political reforms instituted since 1988 have made overt vote stealing more difficult.

The UT-SD ran a front page story admitting to the possibility that fireworks displays may be causing pollution in local waters. The Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, led by attorney Marcos Gonzalez, has been pushing the city of San Diego for several years now to review fireworks shows under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The city has been fighting this move in court and Gonzalez has been regularly skewered on the editorial pages and in comments published at the daily fishwrap. Why the change? It has something to do with science, we hear.

Corporate propaganda campaigns that you ought to know about…  An article in the Washington Post makes the claim that over $41 million has already been spent in this election cycle for advertising relating to the agendas of big oil companies. Americans for Prosperity, one of the primary sponsors of the campaign (and a front for the Koch Brothers), has sponsored five of the television spots that use energy policy questions to attack President Obama, two of them focused on Solyndra and another critical of government spending on clean energy.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City is drawing an aggressive campaign from Coca Cola and other companies seeking to reframe the debate from the issues surrounding obesity to “protecting our freedom of choice”. Perhaps they can utilize an old song from now-deceased blues singer Root Boy Slim entitled “Dare to be Fat”.

On This DayIn 1937 American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared in the Central Pacific during an attempt to fly around the world at the equator. In 1964 President Johnson signed the “Civil Rights Act of 1964” into law. The act made it illegal in the U.S. to discriminate against others because of their race and marks the beginning the modern day conservative movement. In 1990 representatives of the Italian Catholic Church announced that they would attempt to halt Madonna’s concerts in Rome because of her alleged inappropriate use of crucifixes and sacred symbols. The concerts were sellouts.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Escondido (Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive) 3 – 7 pm

Comic Con: For those of you lucky enough to have passes for this year’s event, here are the schedules for Friday and Saturday

Fireworks for the Fourth! KPBS has published this handy schedule of July 4th fireworks displays throughout San Diego County. See ‘em while you can…

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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