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TPP Opponents Mobilize as Powerful Forces Seek to Ram Through 'Fast Track' Trade Authority


#1

TPP Opponents Mobilize as Powerful Forces Seek to Ram Through 'Fast Track' Trade Authority

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

With Congress "dangerously close" to ramming through trade promotion authority, or Fast Track, by mid-April—in turn smoothing the way for passage of corporate-friendly trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—lawmakers and activists are scrambling to sway key figures in the debate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly said last week that he wants the Senate Finance Committee to approve a Fast Track bill "very quickly after we come back" from the Easter recess on April 13.


#2

While not having the textbook definitions of treason and sedition at hand, it seems to me that the provisions of the TPP that have been leaked (and not revealed, in the spirit of democratic disclosure) run perilously close to one, the other or both acts.


#3

i live in oregon. i've sent wyden emails describing anyone who agrees to fast tracking TPP, or just signing it into law, is a traitor and will be judged and sentenced for that treason. i know it has little impact but it is a display of how angry his base is.


#4

here's wyden's response:

Dear Mr. darkmark: (had to make that change)

Thank you for contacting me about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you may know, the Obama Administration is in the process of negotiating what might prove to be the most far-reaching economic agreement since the World Trade Organization was established nearly twenty years ago. The goal of TPP is to economically bind together the economies of the Asia Pacific. If successful, the agreement will set norms for the trade of goods and services and include disciplines related to intellectual property, access to medicines, Internet governance, investment, government procurement, worker rights and environmental standards. If agreed to, the TPP will set the tone for our nation’s international economic future for years to come, impacting the way Congress intervenes and acts on behalf of the American people it represents.

It is important to the economy of the Pacific Northwest, and especially Oregon, to open foreign markets up to our goods and services. Oregon exports, like computer chips, pears, and wine, are pillars of our economy and work to promote and sustain the jobs our communities need. But opening foreign markets to our exports, as TPP would do, must be done carefully so that these trade agreements don’t undermine values important to Oregon, like promoting environmental sustainability, worker rights, and unfettered access to the Internet.

I am concerned that the TPP negotiations are being conducted in a far too secretive fashion, and that the American public does not know what U.S. trade negotiators are seeking in TPP. The public is in the dark about whether TPP may impinge upon their rights or limit lawmakers’ ability to shape domestic laws to meet the needs and challenges of who they represent.

I have raised these concerns with the Obama administration and will continue to press for more transparency around the TPP negotiations. My belief is that by shining some daylight onto these important talks, we can be sure that a final negotiation will be good for the interests of Oregon.

Thank you for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you. If I may be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

                    Sincerely, 
                         
                    Ron Wyden

#5

that response was in oct, 2013


#6

Yes, this is the crown jewel of the "New Democrat Party," as Bill Clinton proudly labelled them. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA, and the TPP is the next step, essentially giving corporations power over government, itself. Hillary Clinton hopes to enact the TPP. What is so disturbing to me is that much of the media marketed to libs claims to oppose the TPP, yet has "disappeared" Joe Biden in an effort to sell Hillary Clinton as the Dem candidate in 2016. H. Clinton had worked hard promoting the TPP before assuming the role of candidate-maybe. (In spite of the best marketing that money can buy, she won't be able to defeat Joe Biden -- his campaign will be launched in late summer). This, at the least, calls into question the integrity of certain popular media such as MSNBC.

That said, if the middle class opposes this, they need to recognize that they have the money and means to organize, protest, and make their opposition clear.


#7

Yep, his "stance" has changed markedly since then, it seems-- from what I've been reading, it sounds like he's ready to jump on the bandwagon now, and fast-track it. At least you got a response from him, which I've never had. Merkeley always sends wishy-washy, fence-straddling responses meant not to offend anyone, but I've never heard diddly from Wyden.


#8

Yes, fence-straddling describes the email response I recieved from Sen. Schumer of NY.


#9

and I believe that in the end Senator Schumer will vote YES to FastTrack the TPP.

His email response to me seem designed to APPEASE me with wishy-washy NO POSITION details.

I believe he already knows his position but does NOT want to tell the public. Otherwise why the wishy washy and why the fence straddling?


#10

In my view, the disinclination of the American people to consider the notion of sedition for more than 30 seconds - whether it is the TPP, or the letter sent to the Iranian gov't by the 47 Repug senators, or GWB's invasion of Iraq on false pretenses - is akin to inviting the asteroid to our country.


#11

The US and Japan have the highest debt to GDP ratio of all countries as of 2014. Why isn't this part of the conversation?

Japan - 227% debt to GDP
US - 121.70%
GB is I believe on a trajectory to be right up there with em
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/government-debt-to-gdp

scroll down to see chart of nations


#13

As much as people might not like this, this is actually an area where liberals/progressives need to team-up with Tea Partiers. TPP is a clear assault on "states rights", and the Tea Partiers who are not GOP corporatists in Tea Party clothing already recognize this. In fact all (small r) "republicans" should be against TPP on the basis it is a clear assault on state's rights. But of course that means sorting the (small r) "republicans" in the GOP out from those who are actually corporatists/plutocrats. The key is only to not get into an argument over why anyone doesn't want TPP to supersede states' rights. Liberals and "r"epublican conservatives will likely disagree on their reasons for not wanting TPP to supersede states' rights, but they need to band together on their commonality of not wanting states' rights overthrown.

If TPP does pass, there is a very strong question as to what portions of it would actually be constitutional and which might not. Of particular question is whether the federal government has the right to enter into a treaty that includes provisions that under other circumstances would exceed the authority of the federal government.

Of specific suspicion would be any provisions in TPP that impact INTRA-state commerce or the operation of state governments. If under the Constitution the federal government cannot pass laws that regulate INTRA-state commerce, then presumably the federal government cannot enter into a treaty that imposes regulations on INTRA-state commerce. Likewise the Constitution limits what influence the federal government can have over the operation of state governments, so presumably it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to enter into a treaty that exceeds those limits.

So for example the provision in TPP that local and state governments must open up bidding for contracts to all businesses, including foreign businesses within the treaty region, appears to be blatantly unconstitutional under certain conditions. The federal government has no authority to force state governments to open up their bidding to even INTER-state businesses. IFF a state voluntarily opens up its bidding to INTER-state businesses, then the federal government has some potential say over that transaction. In that instance, it could be argued TPP would be constitutional. However the federal government has no authority to require a state to open bidding to businesses outside the state. If the state limited bidding to only INTRA-state businesses, then any effort to impose TPP regulations would be unconstitutional since the federal government has no authority to regulate INTRA-state commerce.

Once again, the question boils down to whether the federal government can enter into a treaty that imposes regulations that exceed the constitutional authority of the federal government outside the treaty authority. Any rational person would conclude the federal government lacks the authority because it would imply a "back door" mechanism by which the federal government could readily expand its authority beyond what the Constitution outlines.

Indeed, this has been previously recognized as the reason corporatists are trying to use treaties to supersede the limitations of the Constitution without having to engage in an constitutional amendments process. The wording of the Constitution is such that any treaty entered into by the federal government has the same relative effect as amending the Constitution. This was deemed a necessity by the Founders so other governments negotiating with the US federal government did not have to be concerned about whether the US federal government actually had the authority to enforce the agreement. If the US federal government lacked the authority to enforce the agreement then there would be no reasonable way for the US as a single country to negotiate with other countries.


#14

It is only racist to oppose President Obama when racism is used in the opposition. The right wing extremists like to employ "dog whistle" racism and then try to pretend they're all innocent. Depicting President Obama as an African witch doctor is racist even though right wing extremist will try to claim it isn't. It is easily proven because nobody would have thought to depict President Clinton as an African witch doctor. Likewise calling President Obama "Robin of the Hood" is racist because the term would simply not resonate politically if applied to President Clinton.


#15

What is up with Wyden?

Still waiting for Obama to say something good about TPP!


#16

With the exception The Senator's reservations about secrecy Senator Wyden's reply was much like the one I received from Senator Cantwell. Is ALEC drafting these replies? I would imagine our senators are getting a great deal of pressure from the maritime industries although the junk is going to be sent through west coast ports no matter what.


#17

Wyden- what a weasel! "...by shining some daylight...we can be sure that a final negotiation will be good ..." As if all it takes is SOME (small?) amount of light, and then NAFTAs-on-steroids will be OK? Yeah right!
How about: if someone (Obama, and corporate politicians of BOTH parties) is trying to hurry something past you IN SECRET! - You should ask "What the hell are you trying to pull?" And DEMAND: "Just STOP IT! I oppose ANYTHING that is rammed through in secret!"
And if Wyden were a real liberal (much less than a socialist), he would be WARNING US about these schemes, like some of the activist groups are doing.
People here and around the world need to know that these "free market"-
(Think Ayn Rand.) schemes can usher in a new age of the Global Corporate
Empire, where the rules of COMMERCE trump national and international law,
wiping out any hard won gains of the movements for labor rights, the environment... so we can live in capitalism's hell while we wait, pray(?) for extinction.
So much for liberalism. Wyden would never point out that the choice is really between socialism and barbarism, as Rosa Luxemburg stated.
And Loretta Sanchez, and any other Democrat who says some good things-if they're for real, they should be smart enough to recognize that the Democratic party is a CORPORATE party,- part of the problem, and if they are not socialist, they should join the Green Party. (And the Greens should watch for phonies joining for the purpose of sabotage.)


#18

Debt compared to GDP is near meaningless.

Debt to income is meaningful. Consider your own banking. Do you get to claim everything you have spent in the year as income? Then why let the bipartisan thugs get away with that fuzzy math?


#19

This is really all about BRIC. Brazil Russia, India, and China don't need us anymore. We are economically and militarily irrelevant. They have many more people and weapons. Our fascist oligarchs did this to us for short term profit. Get the guillotines and then rebuild the country without them.


#20

Well I am 69 years old and the US still has more weapons and manufactures more weapons to sell them than most all the nations on the planet.

And we have not won a war in my life. I was in two parts of the SEA wars we lost.

That is the bipartisan Pose-WWII legacy.


#21

TPP = Traitors Protecting Profit.

Anyone associated with it should be "Fast Tracked" straight to court for a speedy trial then tied to a post and then speedily executed. The scum pushing it have show their true colors... Yellow bellied traitors.