Monday, February 9, 2015

Sultan of Brunei would whip lesbians, stone gay men. Do we really want a trade deal with him?

Singer John Legend boycotted his OWN Beverly Hills Hotel party on Thursday because its owner -- the Sultan of Brunei -- enacted laws that stone people for extramarital sex or sex between men.

Should the Obama administration really be talking to the Sultan of Brunei about a trade deal?

But that's exactly what's happening now, because Brunei is one of the 12 nations negotiating the job-killing, wage-lowering, corporation-empowering Trans-Pacific Partnership. Worse, Sen. Orin Hatch has said he will file Fast Track legislation as soon as Feb. 23 to let Congress rubber stamp the TPP.

Legend isn't the only celebrity to boycott the Sultan of Brunei's hotel. Others, including Jay Leno, have joined protests against the TPP.

At least celebrities are trying to bring attention to the dangers that lie in the deal. If it is ratified, the TPP would be a historic treaty that will have an impact on 40 percent of the world's economy. But the mainstream news media is ignoring it.

Media Matters for America recently reported network evening news completely ignored the TPP.
A Media Matters transcript search of the CBS Evening News, ABC's World News Tonight, and NBC's Nightly News from August 1, 2013, through January 31, 2015, found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. By contrast, PBS NewsHour mentioned the TPP on during eight broadcasts, most of which were substantive discussions of the trade agreement. 
Only The Ed Show Devoted Significant Coverage To The TPP. During the same 18-month period, CNN and Fox News each mentioned the TPP during two broadcasts. MSNBC's The Ed Show discussed the trade agreement on 71 broadcasts, but the TPP was mentioned on the network's other evening programming only twice (once by host Ed Schultz during coverage of the president's State of the Union speech and a passing mention by All In host Chris Hayes).
If there are lies of omission as well as commission, then Brian Williams should be fired for ignoring the TPP rather than lying about his experience in Iraq.

The reason for the news blackout about the TPP is that Congress would never pass it if most Americans knew about what was in it. The corporate-owned media is eager for the deal to take effect, so it's in their interest to keep mum about it.

The Feminist Majority is circulating a petition against the TPP and Fast Track. You can sign it here. Watch this space to find out what you can do to #StopFastTrack and stop the #TPP. And buy some John Legend music while you're at it.