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Amyot/My Turn: Our Orwellian moment

On Dec., 5, Paul Ferris of SumOfUs.org wrote:

“Tobacco giant, Philip Morris is suing Australia for billions of dollars in lost profits — just because the government took action to reduce teenage smoking. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly is suing Canada for $500 million — just because Canada has laws to keep essential drugs affordable. Worst of all, these cases are happening in secret, in international tribunals to which only corporations have access. Now, more of these corporate lawsuits against governments could be coming to the US, thanks to the Obama administration.

“For months, world leaders have been negotiating a trade deal — called the TPP — that would massively expand these secret tribunals. It’s NAFTA on steroids, and international. The text of the deal is still completely secret and the public can’t look — but over 600 corporate lobbyists who are helping write the treaty can.

“Now President Obama is trying to ram this deal through by seeking “fast-track” authority, which would prevent Congress from making any changes to the deal and stifle any debate.

“Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have spoken out against the fast track authority, and if we can get more Democrats to join them, we’ll have a real chance to stop this corporate power grab.

“House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is key. She is on our side but needs our support to speak out … Our government is negotiating right now to lock a deal ...

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is called a trade deal, but it’s really a corporate wish list aimed at attacking everything from environmental protections to affordable medicines to Internet freedoms. There’s lots wrong with the TPP, but the unaccountable system it would set up to allow corporations to sue governments is one of the worst…”

Mr. Ferris’ call is not the first I have heard for this TPP power grab but it certainly lends urgency to the need to get involved!

Corporations today have unbelievable power, thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling called “Citizens United.” That decision declared that corporations have all the rights that individuals have. They can speak on any issue and say anything they want. They can spend money freely on campaigns of any kind, be they elections to public office or efforts by citizens to protect their rights.

We saw this very recently when citizens in Washington state tried to pass a law calling for foods to be labeled regarding their GMO (genetically modified organisms) content. Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others spent many millions of dollars fighting this (what ARE they afraid of?), claiming that this law would increase the cost of groceries, a charge that has been proven to be false. (How could a mere label do that?) And so, in spite of much popular support, the bill failed by a tiny margin because, as we all know, if you repeat a lie often enough and loud enough, people eventually start to believe it. They did the same thing in California about a year earlier, too.

So, it appears to be imperative that, if we value our rights as citizens of a democracy, the FIRST known democracy on the planet, we will have to wake up, to lose our complacency toward government, to stop believing that, as long as we are warm and fed, we have nothing to worry about.

It is becoming increasingly clear that, on the contrary, there is much about which we need to worry! If we remain silent, the corporations will financially cripple our governments and take over all of our government’s powers and more.

For anyone who ever read George Orwell’s “1984,” the moment is now. With food crop seeds the property of, and under the control of, Monsanto and company, with drones under the control of their policing thugs, the TPP could seal and deliver us to the total control of the large corporations. If this sounds like a bad movie plot, understand that it could well be the reality of our future.

I find the thought of such control too terrifying to contemplate. History has known a few benign dictatorships but corporations are NOT persons. They don’t suffer pain or bleed or know compassion! They don’t have children for whom they care. They only know profits and control.

Please call your congressional representatives right away and also the White House. We MUST do all we can to stop the TPP! And we must remain forever alert to all corporate power grab attempts in the future.

Otherwise, those horrible movies that show individuals fighting all-powerful controls with their monster machines might turn out be very prophetic indeed!

Louise Amyot is a resident of Greenfield, a retired dietitian and a very concerned citizen.

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