TPP Trade Deal Puts U.S. Workers’ Rights and Jobs at Risk



A dangerous deal for labor, the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, gained a key endorsement from the NYTimes on the eve of VP Biden’s trip to China. Ed Schultz and Leo Gerard discuss the effect.

"A US-led trade deal is currently being negotiated that could increase the price of prescription drugs, weaken financial regulations and even allow partner countries to challenge American laws. But few know its substance."

Enroll in Obamacare at Local Drugstores

Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 07:09 AM PST

I bet you didn’t know this : Most Americans will get Obamacare at their drugstore.

by Pluto

cvsMonths ago, the major drugstore chains of the US announced that they were joining with the Federal Government to help their customers around the nation to get signed up for “ObamaScare.” Computer shopping isn’t ubiquitous — and it is merely ONE approach to retail sales. That’s why the Federal Government set up bricks-and-mortar PPACA stores in every neighborhood in America.

I hopped into Walgreens last night and noticed a sign outside offering to get me ACA health insurance. And why wouldn’t they? After all, they receive a commission for doing so, which costs the customer nothing whatsoever. Sounds like a a win-win to me.

riteaidWalgreens offers customers a chance to speak to licensed insurance advisors to discuss health insurance plans sold through the state HIXs. They also have their own private online health insurance portal contracted by GoHealth. According their website, tax credits and subsidies are issued there, as well.

Rite Aid announced that it will initially station independent, licensed insurance agents in nearly 2,000 of its 4,600 stores to help uninsured customers sign up for a health insurance plan for the entire six-month enrollment period. The agents will work one-on-one with customers to help them make insurance choices.

Like Rite Aid and Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy is offering Affordable Care Act information in its 7,500 stores and 650 MinuteClinics; it has launched an informational web site, as well. CVS also plans to have health insurance experts answer customer questions in various stores nationwide during the enrollment period. In a recent press release, CVS notes:

walgreensOur survey results, based on a sample of over 1,000 respondents, found general awareness of the ACA has increased to 74 percent, up from 57 percent as seen in a similar 2011 CVS Caremark survey. But the new survey found that 36 percent of respondents who are likely to enroll in health exchanges need more information and help in evaluating the insurance exchange process. What’s more, perceptions about cost remain the biggest barrier to the likelihood of enrolling and lack of knowledge could prove costly: Only 48 percent of those who are eligible for a subsidy believe that they are.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to help Americans understand the new health care law and how it affects them so consumers receive the coverage that best fits their families,” said Helena Foulkes, Executive Vice President and Chief Health Care Strategy and Marketing Officer of CVS Caremark.

Continue reading Enroll in Obamacare at Local Drugstores

PA Environmental Defense Fund Sues Gov. Corbett

PA Environmental Defense Fund (PEDF) Sues Governor Corbett in Commonwealth Court of PA

Read TEXT of Lawsuit

by Randy Shannon

385650The PEDF has sued the Governor to reverse numerous acts that have gutted the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. These acts have turned the DCNR into an agency that sells our natural resources to fund other government programs and has practically eliminated the DCNR’s role to protect our natural resources. These acts of the Governor violate the Pennsylvania Constitution. The lawsuit contains eight counts of violation of the constitution and other laws designed to protect the state’s natural resources and seeks relief through a declaratory judgement of the court.

The Commonwealth Court has accepted the suit. On August 20, 2013 the Court denied a request from the Republican Caucuses to intervene in the suit. The Republican Caucuses contended that when gas resources are present all the laws protecting the Commonwealth’s air, water, and land are inoperable. The lawsuit is now in the discovery process.

The gas industry projects that by 2030 there will be 60,000 wells in PA. Presently there are around 3,000 permits. If these projections are accurate, 200,000 acres of land will be cleared for well pads. More land will be cleared for roads, pipelines, and communication systems.

Pennsylvania water resources will lose 240 billion gallons of fresh water forever, as this water will be chemically poisoned and injected over one mile into the Marcellus shale stratum. Approximately 10 billion gallons of radioactive water will be produced at the surface for disposal.

The PEDF is asking for donations from the public to help fund the lawsuit. Go here to make a tax deductible contribution.

In July three newspapers in eastern PA carried news items discussing the case. Below is the item from the Philadelphia Inquirer. No news organization in western PA has covered this story.

Continue reading PA Environmental Defense Fund Sues Gov. Corbett

$61,142 Reward for Text of Secret Trade Agreement


Negotiating Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

$61142 Reward

WikiLeaks: We’ve got a job for you

At this very moment, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP)–a trade agreement that could affect the health and welfare of billions of people worldwide–is being negotiated behind closed doors. While 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the text, the press, the public, and even members of the US Congress are being kept in the dark.

But we don’t have to stand meekly by as corporate cronies decide our futures. Concerned citizens from around the world are pooling together their resources as a reward to WikiLeaks if it makes the negotiating text of the TPP public. Our pledge, as individuals, is to donate this money to WikiLeaks should it leak the document we seek.

As WikiLeaks likes to say, information wants to be free. The negotiating text for the TPP wants to be free. Someone just needs to release it.


1. What is the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a multilateral “free trade” agreement for the Asia-Pacific region which some have taken to referring to as “NAFTA on steroids.” The agreement was originally between just three nations–Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore–with a fourth, Brunei, joining shortly after. Today, seven additional countries are in negotiations to join the agreement: Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Eventually, every Pacific-rim nation could be included, making it possible for this trade agreement to affect the lives of billions of people.

2. What’s so bad about the TPP?

The TPP negotiations have taken place under an unprecedented shrowd of secrecy, denying all but a very few any input into the terms of the agreement. The chapters that have been leaked are quite disturbing, revealing plans that would threaten public health, the environment, internet freedom, and the general well-being of perhaps billions of people. Here’s a little taste of what the agreement would include: foreign investor protections that would help corporations offshore jobs, powers that allow multinational corporations to challenge domestic regulations before international tribunals, a strengthening of patent and intellectual property rules which would, among other things, raise the price of life-saving medicines in third world countries, and the ability for Wall Street to roll back safeguards meant to restore financial stability worldwide.

Continue reading $61,142 Reward for Text of Secret Trade Agreement