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The TPP “Lame Duck” Push Insults Democracy


The TPP “Lame Duck” Push Insults Democracy

Dave Johnson

In the United States “We the People” are supposed to have a say in how we are governed, right? So shouldn’t we have a say in how we are governed?


“They know that candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose it. This means that the next president will stop TPP from coming to a vote.”

And who is exactly buying into that one? Hillary worked too hard while Secretary of State to bring it about. Her ‘road to Damascus’ campaign conversion is less than convincing and all too reminiscent of candidate Bill Clinton’s double speak on the topic of NAFTA in the 1992 presidential race.
Who’s betting that Hillary won’t have TPP/TTIP/TISA all signed once securely ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.?


Hillary stated that “TPP is no longer the gold standard trade deal”, not that she actually opposes it. An inconsequential tweak to TPP on January 21, 2017 will magically push it back over the gold standard threshold and TPP will go down in history as her first action as POTUS.

Regressive legislation during a lame duck period is nothing new. There have been examples during the past eight years including Obama signing legislation that included defunding social security (for the following two years) during his annual Christmas Hawaii vacation in 2010 after the lame duck Congress pushed it through.

Bill Clinton’s Commodities Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) was pushed through during the lame duck period 2000 just as the Clintons were packing up to move from DC to NYC to be closer to their money. The 2008 meltdown could never have been as severe without CFMA, and there would be no Big Short book or movie without CFMA.


Not me. As a president, it’s about as likely that Clinton will say no to trade deals as it is likely that Clinton, the candidate, will release her transcripts of her Wall Street speeches. She’ll be the good Obama democrat and keep the money flowing into the party.


So much fluff and a distraction as it turned out, mere lip-service never meant to actually do much of anything. Thus, we arrive at the tragic saga of Brooksley Born:


edit: relevant text from WP Post link added
“The discordant notes crescendoed in April 1998 during a tension-filled meeting of the President’s Working Group, a gathering of top financial regulators that periodically met behind closed doors at the Treasury Department. At that meeting, Greenspan and Rubin forcefully opposed Born’s plans, Waldman said.
“Greenspan was saying we shouldn’t do it,” Waldman recalled. “Rubin was saying we couldn’t do it.”
The next month, Born released her concept paper anyway.
Within weeks, she was under attack. Lauch Faircloth, then a Republican senator from North Carolina, took to the Senate floor to call her “a rogue regulator.” A Boston Herald column accused her of a “power grab. . . . She reached for that brass ring and in doing so cast a pall of legal uncertainty.” Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt jointly urged Congress to pass a moratorium on the CFTC regulating over-the-counter derivatives.”

Edit: additional points to add:
Language in the CFMA included the following:
“…the Commission may not propose or issue any rule or regulation, or issue any interpretation or policy statement, that restricts or regulates activity in a qualifying hybrid instrument or swap agreement”

Not long after passage of CFMA, Brooksley Born resigned her office in protest.


Its win/win for Congresscritters.

If they promote/support/vote for TPP and they get re-elected life is good.

If they promote/support/vote for TPP and lose the primary or general election LIFE IS GREAT as their support for TPP qualifies them for a K Street lobbying job that pays a minimum annual salary of one million dollars for one termers and up to two million dollars or more for multi-termers who made a lot of connections in DC. Beats the hell out of a Congresscritter’s $174.000 annual salary.


The Democratic Convention could pass a resolution asking President Obama to not ask Congress to vote on the deal during the lame duck session, since his party’s platform and candidate is opposed to it. That is what the platform will say, right? And HIllary is against it, right?


Of course she will. That’s why we should never vote for her. At least Trump says he’s against it. Maybe we need a bit more protectionist moves in this country.


I fully agree. Just what I was thinking. She will announce some tweak and pass it anyway. Regressive is the right word for the Clinton’s then and now and we have to stop giving Obama a pass on everything. He has done everything they wanted him to do, just because he talks good things people are confused about how right wing he has actually been. It reminds me of when Bill was in office and killing this country but he said the right things so everyone still thought he was a friend of the people. Obama is the same.


The push insults; the TPP injures.


Obama took the unprecedented action of declaring the TPP a matter of “national security” to provide the rationale for conducting the drafting of the TPP in utmost secrecy. The TPP was drafted mostly by corporate lobbyists, with little or no input by representatives of labor, environmentalists, or protectors of the common people and of democracy itself.

Even Senators and Congresspersons were denied access for a long time (as I recall) – and then they had to read the TPP drafts in a secured room, under supervision. They could not have copies of the TPP drafts, they could not take any notes on the TPP – and they could not discuss any TPP details with their constituents, the U.S. people.

Then Obama pushed Congress to vote for this secret TPP to receive “Fast Track” status, which prevents lengthy debate of the TPP by Congress and forbids any amendments to the TPP by Congress. And now, Obama is pushing hard for Congress to hold its vote on the TPP after the elections and during the “lame duck” session that includes members who have been voted out of office and does not include members who have been voted into office.

All or most of Obama’s actions to get the TPP passed into law are more authoritarian and anti-democratic than democratic in spirit and nature – which is in keeping with the TPP’s authoritarian and anti-democratic, outrageous and aggressive usurping of national sovereignty and democracy in every nation affected by the TPP.


The TPP, if passed into law by Congress and Obama, would change the U.S. in extremely radical, fundamental, and harmful ways – yet Obama is trying to establish these anti-democratic changes through anti-democratic methods: secrecy, silenced elected representatives (for a long time), little debate by Congress, little awareness and input by the U.S. people, no allowing of amendments by Congress, and the misuse of the “lame duck” session of Congress to pass the TPP – which will harm U.S. sovereignty and democracy severely and give even more power to corporations and the plutocracy!

Yet Obama refused to use the “lame duck” session to get Congress to pass into law more beneficial and less fundamental changes like: 1) Single Payer health care 2) the Public Option and 3) Elizabeth Warren to be director of the Consumer Protection Bureau.

How can Obama speak so “eloquently” about “democracy” – yet act so undemocratically to harm U.S. “democracy”?

Could Obama be representing the 1% not the 99% of the U.S. people and majority?

Could Obama be seeking to become worth $250 million in the next 15 years, like the Clintons did?

Hmmmm, I wonder what he’s really about – despite his “reassuring, persuading rhetoric.”


Thanks, Dede, for making this very important point:

Obama and the Clintons (and other political and business mis-leaders) misuse language to deceive and manipulate.

They talk like liberals, but act like neo-liberals and neo-conservatives. They call themselves progressives, yet they often act in regressive, even reactionary, ways. (The Patriot Act, the NDAA, the persecution of whistleblowers, NSA mass surveillance in violation of the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the use of torture, rendition, drone-bombings, killing without due process, the militarization of local police, the TPP, etc. – are reactionary actions.)

They speak eloquently about democracy, but act in undemocratic ways (see the above). They speak eloquently about fighting global warming and saving all life on Earth – but they do many things that worsen global warming, they fail to do significant things to fight global warming, and they increase and prolong immoral wars that kill much life on Earth. Their war-making causes grievous injuries, traumas, and sufferings – and cause millions of desperate, frightened refugees to flee their nations into other nations, who do not want huge numbers of refugees “pouring” (poor-ing) into their nations.

They say fake-empathic/sympathetic “lines” like: “I feel your pain” – then turn around and do things that inflict pain on helpless people. (Like Bill Clinton’s destruction of welfare, his attempt to diminish Social Security, and his mass incarceration of poor African Americans, often for minor drug-law offenses. Plus his ending Glass-Steagall, failing to regulate derivatives, allowing media monopolies, etc. that led to major losses and sufferings for hundreds of millions of innocent people!)

The U.S. people (all of us) urgently need to increase our awareness of this dirty trick by politicians of saying what will deceive and manipulate the common people – but then doing the opposite (to serve the 1% – and themselves).

We need to be extra cautious (even skeptical) around politicians who USE smooth-talking, seductive rhetoric.


I agree that this could be challenged. Do you know of any group laying the ground for the legal work for this to happen? I hope so!


I would think this is the plan. I think the time for it to be voted on is up-there was some waiting period.So lets have the vote now!-----Of course both of the expected nominee’s are against-and Sanders is the real one against. So this should go down with ease right???----No they will wait until after the election—making more clear that we are slaves.

Wonder how the slaves of Britain will be voting in a few hours—say yes to the bankers and corporate overlords???


Thank you, all very true. We have to learn to watch more and listen to their rhetoric less. That will require that we search for the truth rather than just accept what they say. Yes, that means more work but if the citizens of this country do not research these things we cannot make good choices when we do vote. We have to actively be involved in our own country. Not doing these things has gotten us here.