Missed any opportunities to express your opposition to the Trans-Pacific "Partnership" "free" trade agreement? Well, Public Citizen provides another one. In his latest email missive, Public Citizen President Robert Weismann tells us that big corporations long ago embraced the "free" trade agreement, negotiated with little or no public oversight and (until 2007) fast-tracked through Congress, "to get what they could not achieve openly and democratically: weaker food and medicine safety standards, corporate-friendly energy and environmental policies, limits on Internet free speech, new privileges to raise medicine prices and offshore jobs, and more." The TPP will give the big corporations all of that -- which we know only from leaks, since the negotiators have never released so much as a draft of the pact -- largely by subjugating our laws, for which good Americans have fought and died, to "investor-state tribunals" who may overrule the laws of a nation so some corporation can be more gluttonous. They always come up with new ways to hurt us. That's why we fight.
Meanwhile, the nefarious H.R. 2728, the so-called Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, passed the House last week, and now moves on to the Senate, which might vote on the bill (or its Orrin Hatch-sponsored doppelganger) shortly. The bill would prevent our government from enforcing fracking regulations on federal lands if states have issued different regulations covering the same land. Problem is, we're talking federal land here -- if we say it's a state "right" to regulate federal lands, then words like "federal," "state" and "right" have no meaning. Why would the House pass such a bill? Because states have issued fairly weak regulations on fracking, and weaker regulations mean gas drilling corporations spend less money making sure they don't set our drinking water on fire -- which means more money for gas drilling corporation CEOs. The League of Conservation Voters helps you tell your Senators to oppose a bill that would hamstring our government from enforcing clean water regulations on public lands.
Speaking of fracking, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D?) wants to privatize the publicly-owned Philadelphia Gas Works, which means (among other things) that the good people of Philadelphia will have less say (via their City Council) over whether gas drilling corporations can pollute their air and water, or make Philadelphia a hub for transporting fracked gas, replete with pipelines, refineries, and suchlike. Maybe making Philly the gas hub sounds like a good idea to a lot of people -- but at what cost? At the cost of polluted air and water elsewhere? At the cost of increased cancer and asthma elsewhere? And while I'm sure nearly every Philly resident has their own PGW-sucks story, that doesn't mean some private corporation will be better to you -- actually, they'll have less incentive to be better to you, since they're only accountable (in theory!) to their shareholders. Do we own democracy, or must we buy into it? I know the choice I'd make. So Food and Water Watch helps you tell Philadelphia City Council to reject the Mayor's PGW privatization plan.
Finally, and I really do wish this kind of stuff would just go away, the USDA plans to approve a genetically-modified apple called the GMO Arctic Apple. Genetically-modified to do what, you ask? Genetically-modified to not turn brown when it's cut and left out in contact with the open air. Really? Are we so weak a nation now that we can't eat apples that have gone a little brown? Apples that won't actually look spoiled when they are spoiled, I should add? And is this now the benchmark for proving what a great scientist you are, that you can make an apple that doesn't turn brown? I thought science was supposed to make our lives better, not make certain food-processing corporations a tiny bit richer -- richer from selling apples to people who will not know they're buying GMO apples, because they won't be labeled! And at the risk of piling on, the USDA hasn't actually vetted GMO apple claims through independent scientific inquiry, like, you know, any sane person would. So Friends of the Earth helps you tell the USDA to reject genetically-modified apples.