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Stop Fast Track: Radio AM950 broadcasts on trade agreements and the environment

Posted Jan. 6, 2014 / Posted by: Kate Colwell


On New Years Day, Ian Levitt, the host of The Daily Report on Minnesota radio station KTNF, devoted an hour of his program to the threat to the environment posed by pending Trans Atlantic and Trans Pacific trade agreements. These agreements could be approved on an expedited schedule and without amendment or proper consideration if Congress approves “Fast Track” legislation expected to be introduced this month by Senator Max Baucus and Representative Dave Camp.

Bill Waren, a trade policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, was Levitt’s guest for the program on AM950. Waren urged listeners to “write, call, and talk personally to Members of Congress and tell them that absolutely in no circumstances approve Fast Track legislation that would push these agreements through Congress without proper consideration.”

“We have two massive trade agreements right now: one covering the Pacific basin and the other a U.S. - Europe agreement,” Waren said. “The plan is the same: to foster deregulation, to push aside consumer, environmental, and climate regulations, and to impose laissez-faire constitution over the democratic legislative process and court processes.”

In particular, regarding the environmental threat of investment chapters of the Pacific and Atlantic trade deals, Waren explained, “the investment tribunals are able to trump courts and trump democratic decisions if they find the business expectations of multinational corporations and rich investors have been thwarted…the purpose of an investment chapter is to stop effective climate regulation in the future.”

Levitt noted that “Many of these members of Congress are getting their pockets lined by the very corporations that want to push this through.” Waren replied, “This is all about campaign finance – otherwise known as legal bribery.”

“It’s the good sense of the American people that this is not a good deal,” Waren continued. “It is a function of out-of-control campaign spending by big corporations and wealthy individuals that is driving this process rather than the will of the people…”

“This [Fast Track] model for subverting the democratic process was literally invented by a very crafty fellow by the name of Richard Nixon,” Waren said. “And, the Nixonian model for Fast Track is totally undemocratic…The United States Constitution provides that Congress, not the imperial presidency, should regulate international trade…and the Executive only implements the will of the people as expressed through Congress….Fast Track …turns the U.S. Constitution upside down, as it provides for Congress to delegate its authority to regulate international commerce to the U.S, Trade Representative.”

“We can win this fight,” Waren concluded. “It is a strong argument to Members of Congress that they should not give away their constitutional authority.”

To listen to the whole interview, click on the SoundCloud clip below.

Ian Levitt and Bill Waren will be talking about Fast Track and trade agreements on a weekly basis every Monday in the second hour of The Daily Report for the next several weeks. Tune into AM 950 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Central Time if you live in Minnesota or follow the program on podcasts that will be posted at this link.

The Daily Report with Ian Levitt

The Daily Report with Ian Levitt

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