Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TPP and All That

I've been avoiding writing anything about current acronym infested Trans-Pacific Partnership issues (TPPA abbreviated to TPP; TPA; TAA; ISDS...) until now. I've had a rough idea what it's all about, and that it's not, in general, or in specifics, "A Good Thing".

The House of Representatives, last Friday, narrowly voted for the most controversial element of the package of trade deals, that part of the package which allows President Obama to submit deals like the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership to Congress for a vote without amendments. That initial success is somewhat negated by House procedural rules that said a separate bill that included Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) - help for workers who lose jobs due to trade shifts - also had to pass. TAA was voted down, 302-126. House Republican leaders called for re-votes by today. Twisting of arms ensued, no doubt!

Public Citizen website has a straightforward piece about TPP in general.

This video (less than 3 mins. long) runs through important factors quickly and easily:


We have to be careful about who we read on this topic. I trust Elizabeth Warren:



Eric Zuesse at The Smirking Chimp website has written a set of very detailed pieces on this topic over the past few days. Read 'em and weep! Sunday's piece ended thus:
The fact that these ‘trade’ deals are being pushed right now, means that the people who are in power have concluded that, already, ‘the free world’ is so dictatorial, that the chances that their plan can now be imposed globally are about as good as is likely ever to be the case again. The time is ripe for them to establish a global corporate dictatorship. The political money this year will be flowing like never before.
His Monday piece is very long - I haven't read it all myself yet, but it promises to be ve-eery interesting:
The Origin and Broader Context of Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals.

Any thoughts?

22 comments:

James Higham said...

You're quite right saying: "We have to be careful about who we read on this topic."

Elizabeth Warren of course can't be trusted an inch after her red indian stunt, similar to the one in the last few days saying she's black. One can't trust any Democrat, naturally, nor House GOP, nor "Progressive". That leaves few to trust, maybe rank and file Tea Party.

mike said...

Any thoughts? Yes, TPP is rotten to the core and is an abomination. I've been following this proposed agreement for six months. I wrote and sent emails to my congressional representatives four months ago asking for their vote against this trade policy. Elizabeth Warren is one of the few with cajones to speak against this surreptitious Trojan horse.

Read the "Long-Term Thoughts" by Raymond Merriman:
http://www.mmacycles.com/weekly-preview/mma-comments-for-the-week/mma-comments-for-the-week-of-may-15,-2015/

mike (again) said...

P.S. - And we owe it to Wikileaks for exposing TPP November 13, 2013. Ironic that Americans discover our government's true course and actions via the underground, black-market intelligence of freedom fighters.

https://wikileaks.org/tpp/

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ Well...you would say that wouldn't you James! While I'm open to receiving opposing views, when those views are just the same old right-wing tommy-rot we can read on any Republican blog or website, I remain unimpressed.

By the way the term "red indian" is not acceptable on this blog, and especially not acceptable here in Oklahoma where there are still many families with either full or partial Native American ties. Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma by the way.

When in supermarket car parks here it's not unusual, in fact it's very likely to find Native American tribal car tag on the car next to ours....Choctaw, Chickasaw, Comanche, Kickapoo and others all have families and extended families here. My own husband's second wife was full-blood Choctaw, for instance.

I do not know whether Elizabeth Warren has Native American blood in her background - she might have no solid proof of it, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have it. It's not relevant to her views on TPP in any case.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh good - we agree! I sent a second e-mail to our Rep, Tom Cole yesterday, and have signed petitions during past months too.

Thanks for the link to Merriman's article....interesting!

Wikileaks came up trumps yet again! Thanks for the link.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP.

World Corporate Government coming up shortly then - if We The People are unable to stop, or at least impede, the plan's progress.

Twilight said...

From what I've just read it appears that House Republican leaders are creating a ruse to extend the “Motion to Reconsider” for the revote on TAA to July 30. It looks as though today at 12:30 PM (ET) debate will start, with a vote expected at 1:30 on the rules for H.R. 2596 – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. Within these rules is the extension of the Motion to Reconsider the TAA vote.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/06/call-your-representative-to-oppose-administration-ruse-to-keep-taafast-track-alive.html

So they are dragging it out, no doubt allowing more arm-twisting, and rides on Airforce One time. :-(

Bob said...

President Obama's strong backing of this, and his acceptance of the secrecy in which it was drawn up, is a major blow to my backing of him. Work done under cover of darkness is usually the discipline of criminals.

anyjazz~Your posts are always interesting and informative. I am amazed at your vast musical experience. Thank you for sharing.

anyjazz said...

Thanks Bob. I have spent a lifetime listening to music and studying the people who make it.

Twilight said...

Bob ~ So true, Bob. Trade deals are one thing, and might not always be totally bad things, depending on conditions and small print; trade deals deliberately kept secret are another. Even Congress members who have seen part of the text of TPPA in a secret basement room in the Capitol have not seen it complete. If Congress can't be allowed to know everything...well!! No wonder alarm bells are ringing.

Twilight said...

GROAN!

"House GOP Eyes Clean Fast-Track Trade Bill Without TAA Funding"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/gop-trade-bill_n_7598488.html

mike (again) said...

"It is incomprehensible to me that the leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP while, at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge as to what is in it." Bernie Sanders

"The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. [...] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement."
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

"Robert Reich takes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership" Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O_Sbbeqfdw

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Dang - it's almost unbelievable - you couldn't make it up!
Good video - thank you!

Twilight said...

AND THE GOOD NEW IS.....
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gained support in New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary polls and is now within 10 percentage points of front-runner Hillary Clinton.

According to a Suffolk University poll released Tuesday, Sanders' support was at 31 percent, compared with Clinton's 41 percent.

A Morning Consult poll published Sunday also showed a leap in support for Sanders in the Granite State. While Clinton maintained the lead with 44 percent of likely New Hampshire voters, Sanders had 32 percent. .....


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/bernie-sanders-new-hampshire-primary-poll_n_7598408.html

Sabina said...

Relative to the history of secret and unconstitutional treaty-making in your country, I recently read an 'enlightening' book about which its author is interviewed here -

http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/121083

And, considering that China is not one of the proposed signatories to the TPP, I think you may find the geopolitical realpolitik discussed below points to a quite different possible future than that envisioned by the western corporatocracies.

http://www.juancole.com/2015/06/washington-eurasian-strategy.html

James Higham said...

And Warren is to be believed? The Kool Aid is tasty, Twilight? :)

James Higham said...

To be more specific though, Warren is a real estate flipper who took advantage of foreclosures, yet she decries people who take advantage of the financial misfortunes of others.

She overstated the financial difficulties of her parents when she was growing up, and makes bizarre boasts about being the first nursing mother to take the New Jersey Bar exam.

Warren stresses how she has overcome huge odds, but she ignores that her career owes much to her landing a job at U. Penn. law school because the law school wanted to hire her husband. (Funny how that revelation has not received much attention yet.)

She started creating a persona of being Native American while at Penn and then parlayed that “woman of color” and “minority” status — as well as her gender – into a job at Harvard Law which was under enormous pressure at the time to diversity its faculty; only a complete naif would believe it played no role.

And last for now but not least, the woman who is the champion of the little people and transparency worked with Democratic Party bosses to prevent the little people from voting to decide who would become the nominee of the Democratic Party to go up against Scott Brown.

It's not for nothing that one should not trust her as far as one can kick her. This has nothing to do with rightwing or any wing - it is about the person and her trustworthiness.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ I've skimmed the two long articles in the links - thank you for these - I shall go back and read them again later.

Different historians and authors have their own interpretations of history - with benefit of hindsight, and flavoured with their own pet theories. There's so much history to play with from the past two or three centuries that it'd be possible to prove almost any point of view. That's why I'm always wary of revisionist-type history.

Regarding the second link though - yes - China! Also, though, there's that other big double "C" : climate change. All theories and plans of all nations and would-be empires or world governors could come to nought if no attempt is made to slow its progress.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ LOL! Warren and Sanders are beginning to get under the conservative skin aren't they? Good!

We shall gird our loins and expect mainstream media to begin their onslaught soon, along the same lines you've parroted above, James. It's proof that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren's voices are at last awakening the people! It's time! It's past time actually!

Regarding Warren's statements about her 1/32 Native American background, she has said that it comes from family stories told to her and her brothers by her parents. I suspect this kind of thing goes on a lot here in the USA, and not only with regard to Native American connection. I guess the urge to establish one's roots is stronger here because of the diversity of origins of the country's inhabitants, and over the decades these have mixed and matched, both in and out of marriage. People seem proud of their Scottish, Irish, English, German, Italian, French etc roots as well as of Native American links in their family history. Sometimes family stories are all the proof there is of the links - maybe due to births out of wedlock - that's one possibility.

Twilight said...

COMMENT from JD (received among e-mails):
It's a secret you know! The real and (very secret) problem with all these trade agreements is ISDS, Investor State Dispute Settlement. These clauses are inserted into such agreements and give corporations the right to challenge government legislation if such legislation could have a negative effect on profits. Phillip Morris (Marlboro cigarettes) legal disputes with Australia and Uruguay are examples of this.
Here is an explanation of what is happening now -
http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21623756-governments-are-souring-treaties-protect-foreign-investors-arbitration

It will get worse. Once the agreements are in place the Corporate takeover of politics will be complete.

"Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
- David Rockefeller

Twilight said...

JD ~ Retrieved your comment - thank you for it. Yes, ISDS is the fly in the already stinkingly putrid ointment.

I think that all we, and people in Europe regarding your Trade deal, will be able to do will be to stall things, slow them down, make it as difficult as possible for the Powers that Be to progress their dastardly plans.

R J Adams said...

One almighty step backwards for mankind, one giant leap towards corporate control of the planet. Any hope for action on climate change is gone; working people are being inexorably drawn back into slavery. And where's the protest? According to the BBC: "A small group protested against trade deals outside Senate offices on Tuesday."
French taxi drivers have brought Paris to a halt today because illegal Ubercab drivers are stealing their livelihoods. They've forced the government to clamp down on these Uber drivers, giving police the authority to confiscate vehicles used for the purpose. The French know how to effectively protest.
Where are the protests in America over this damned TPP? Nowhere. "A small group protesting..." I counted fourteen!
Two weeks ago the Senate was opposed to the Trade Promotion Authority (fast-track), now they've passed it. Are they all corrupt, or just 90% of them?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33244863
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/business/trade-pact-senate-vote-obama.html?_r=0

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ I agree. Even the British do a better job protesting stuff than people in the USA. As I probably mentioned in a comment already - the problem is likely related to the size of this country, and its diversity, as compared to the UK, France, etc. Although we are called "United", there's not the same communal feeling as happens in smaller nations (in my opinion). Also, enough people here are still not feeling the pinch - or if they are, then not stringently enough.

When TPP begins to be felt, maybe then there'll be protests, and it'll be too late.
Maybe it was going to happen whether there were protests or not though - hard to say. The People have lost their hold on what power they once had - and it was never that much anyway...but it should be.