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Obama’s Trade Agreements are a Gift to Corporations


#1

Obama’s Trade Agreements are a Gift to Corporations

Robert Kuttner

On Thursday, legislation moved forward that would give President Obama authority to negotiate two contentious trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But for the most part, these aren’t trade agreements at all. They’re a gift to corporations, here and in partner countries, that claim to be restrained by domestic regulations.


#2

Obama himself is a gift that US corporations gave to themselves.

Way to be on top of things there, Bob.

mcp


#3

Good thing "you progressives" are holding his feet to the fire Bob!


#5

Sometimes its easier to get an overview of a set of circumstances by looking at a similar situation somewhere else. Looking at the UK financial situation - Keiser Report
http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/250677-episode-max-keiser/


#7

at a time when Hillary Clinton sounds more populist

I like this phrasing because of the use of 'sounds' and 'more.'

Yes, she 'sounds' like this, just like Jim Carrey can uncannily sound like Matthew McConaughey, but he isn't Matthew McConaughey, he's still Jim Carrey. So Hillary Clinton may sound this way, but she's still Hillary Clinton.

Then I'm glad that the phrase says only 'more' populist. She doesn't really sound like a populist, just only a little 'more' populist than her normal centrist corporatism.

Hillary may sound more populist lately, but she's vehemently avoided discussing TPP. Is there any doubt where she really is on this?

What's the use of her sounding off on being for higher minimum wage when TPP may allow corporations to get all such labor laws made moot?


#8

A focus on what Obama might gain personally by pushing the TPP misses the larger, far more important point.


#10

"But the real intriguing question is why Obama invests so much political capital in promoting agreements like these. "

Gee, I don't know... could it have anything to do with:

  1. Continuing the bailout to banksters without the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall?
  2. Continuing wars (and make war "statecraft") as begun by the Bush junta?
  3. Pushing a forced mandate (and virtual new tax) that profits Insurance Corps. over public health?
  4. Pushing a control state that seriously punishes journalists, reporters, and whistle-blowers who challenge Official Narratives?
  5. Recycling the same "experts" used by both prior administrations in major roles in National Security, Treasury, and other major departments
  6. Continuing the Prison-industrial complex even with the evident racist protocols that ensure a high jail/prison population

As if this Trojan Horse is anything but a Corporately Made Man.


#11

Sioux, I appreciate your taking up Mr Kuttner's challenge question. And I like your answers. Fore every uplifting speech Obama makes, there is a big downer of a concrete action. Your list succinctly describes his administration. TPP will add yet more grease to the machinery of the corporatocracy and ensure its contributions to the Democrat coffers.


#13

Well, liberals approve of it. They celebrate Bill ("Kill the New Deal") Clinton, who gave us NAFTA. and the media marketed to libs have gone all-out to sell Hillary ("Free Trade") Clinton. Prior to launching her pre-campaign speaking blitz, H. Clinton was busy promoting the TPP. This indicates that liberals want the TPP.

Think about it: The overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1 when Reagan first took office, launching the long campaign against our poor. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s, creating a poverty crisis. By the time Obama was elected, the ovrerall quality of life in the US had already plunged to #43. Bill Clinton brought the war on the poor to fruition, and liberals raised the Middle Class Only banner. During similar eras in the past, when the richest few took control of govt., to the great harm of the country, the "masses" -- the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless -- ultimately united to push back, to everyone's benefit. That can't happen this time. Adjust.


#14

Actually, the Dem Party has been deeply divided again, due to the dominance of the anti-FDR wing.


#15

Maybe he assumes this is what America wants. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA, and hey, who doesn't love Big Bill? Liberals have gone all-out to disappear Joe Biden, selling Hillary Clinton in his place. Before her pre-campaign talking tours, H. Clinton was busy promoting the TPP. We can only conclude that liberals want the TPP. Right?


#16

We've only seen the continuation of the Clinton neoliberal agenda, and clearly, this is what middle class libs want. Incidentally, it has been tremendously helpful to corporate powers that liberals have dumped poverty and the poor -- the consequences of our gravely damaged socioeconomic system.


#17

Our local "liberals" are no different than sports fans and members of most organized religions, whereby they ignore evidence, living their lives based entirely on faith...faith in the Democratic Party, faith in the respective team, or faith in the respective organized religion...its all the same.

For liberals paying attention to facts or evidence, or connecting the dots (heaven forbid) is heresy.


#18

While NAFTA was a huge blow to organized labor, the environment and to domestic manufacturing, it was a God-send for Wall Street. America's largest multi-national corporations gobbled up any company that stood in their way in Canada and Mexico. Profits soared and wages crashed. The same will occur with the two latest trade deals. Yet so many Americans today still buy the MSM's version of past trade deals as a sort of Shangri-La gift to us all. Domestic political ignorance is at a historical high meaning that most people haven't even heard of the TTIP and the TPP. This is a tribute to the success that corporate America has had in manufacturing consent or just a general disinterest in all things political. Who needs politics when we have LeBron James, Kim Kardashian and Justin Beiber to keep us entertained? The result is maybe half of the population will even bother to vote and when they do they will keep their decisions limited to the two main parties to the delight of Wall Street. I don't think that real opposition to our corpocracy will occur until we have litterally found ourselves homeless, sick and living next to garbage dumps filled with obsolete Chinese junk.
To reverse this fast track to enslavement, we must all devote a lot of our time conving anyone who will listen why it is imperative to encourage peole to vote in the next election for anybody.... as long as they're not in the Democratic or Republican/Tea party.


#19

Disagree about "paying attention." Humans, regardless of ideology, tend to focus on certain areas to the exclusion of others. Complicating matters, our media are focused on delivering the information that their target audience (either middle class or rich) want to hear, to the exclusion of factors that are actually vital to understanding the mess we're in. Regarding your final point, everyone says the same thing about those with whom they disagree.


#20

Exactly. When Reagan was first elected, launching the long campaign against our poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. We had virtually eliminated extreme poverty in the US. By the time Obama was elected, the overall quality of life in the US had already plunged to #43, and we have brought back extreme poverty. We have a poverty crisis. In reality, not everyone can work (health, etc.) and there aren't jobs for all who urgently need one. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s. Each time we were in a similar mess in the past, the "masses" (poor and middle class, workers and the jobless) ultimately united to push back -- to everyone's benefit. That can't happen this time. Middle classers don't get things figured out until they've lost everything.


#21

This is evidently what today's liberals want, judging from the media marketed to libs. They've gone into overdrive to sell Hillary Clinton in place of VP Joe Biden. Pro-war, anti-poor, pro-corporate empowerment, anti-New Deal Clinton. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA. Prior to launching her speaking tour, Hillary Clinton was busy promoting the TPP.

Our situation today isn't that complicated. Right now, the rich are simply doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor -- often, interestingly enough, using the same "justifications."


#22

Fast Track, TPP and TTIP Should Be Scrapped! Thilo Bode in his new book
“The Free Trade Lie” (March 2015) calls the TTIP “Impudence”

How scandalous that communities and states could lose sovereignty to
corporations! In the TTIP, corporations can sue states for lost
profits. In the secret negotiations, only 600 corporate lobbyists have
access to the free trade agreements, not congresspersons or citizens!
Corporations are put on an equal level with states. The threat of a
lawsuit can have a chilling effect on labor and environmental protective
regulations.

A parallel private administrative system (ISDS) is created that
privileges foreign investors over labor and the environment. Philip
Morris, Violea, Vattenfall, Occidental Petroleum, Pacific Rim and
Metalclad are flagrant examples of profit worship. Public interest
legislation can be called a trade barrier or indirect expropriation.

An "Alternative Trade Mandate" from 50 NGOs is available on the Internet.

call Sen Wyden at 503-326-7525

cf. John Hilary’s 58 page booklet “TTIP: Deregulation, Attack on Jobs and Destruction of Democracy,” February 2014


#24

Don't forget the 1972 William Powell memo to the US Chamber of Commerce. This was an all out attack on Nader's Raiders at the time.


#25

Even with the recent downward revision of what "middle class" is, they make up a shrinking portion of the population. We are suffering because of the political/policies choices made by the middle class since the 1980s. The rich are now doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. Still, what remains of the middle class have the money and means to organize and make govt. listen -- if they feel like it.