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(Note: Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce her blog post in its entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.)

Secret “Free Trade” Negotiations Will Gut Regulations, Further Enrich Multinationals and Big Financial Firms
Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism
Wednesday, May 1, 2013   2:41AM

It’s a sign of the times that a reputable economist, Dean Baker, can use the word “corruption” in the headline of an article describing two major trade deals under negotiation and no one bats an eye.

By way of background, the Administration is taking the unusual step of trying to negotiate two major trade deals in the same timeframe. Apparently Obama wants to make sure his corporate masters get as many goodies as possible before he leaves office. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-European Union “Free Trade” Agreement are both inaccurately depicted as being helpful to ordinary Americans by virtue of liberalizing trade. Instead, the have perilous little to do with trade. They are both intended to make the world more lucrative for major corporations by weakening regulations and by strengthening intellectual property laws. The TPP has an additional wrinkle of being an “everybody but China” deal, intended to strengthen ties among nations who will then be presumed allies of America in its efforts to contain China. As we indicated via a link to an Asia Times article over the weekend, that’s proving to be a bit fraught as Japan is flexing its muscles militarily and thus less inclined to follow US directives tamely.

One of the most disturbing aspects of both negotiations is that they are being held in secret….secret, that is, if you are anybody other that a big US multinational who has a stake in the outcome.

Baker describes in scathing terms why these types of deals are bad policy:

(continued below the fold)

…these deals are about securing regulatory gains for major corporate interests. In some cases, such as increased patent and copyright protection, these deals are 180 degrees at odds with free trade. They are about increasing protectionist barriers.

All the arguments that trade economists make against tariffs and quotas apply to patent and copyright protection. The main difference is the order of magnitude. Tariffs and quotas might raise the price of various items by 20 or 30 percent. By contrast, patent and copyright protection is likely to raise the price of protected items 2,000 percent or even 20,000 percent above the free market price. Drugs that would sell for a few dollars per prescription in a free market would sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars when the government gives a drug company a patent monopoly…

The idea is that once a deal is completed there will be enormous political pressure for Congress to approve it no matter what it contains….news outlets like the Washington Post will use both their news and opinion sections to bash members of Congress who oppose a deal. They will be endlessly portrayed as ignorant Neanderthals who do not understand economics.

The reality of course is that it is the “free traders” who either do not understand economics or deliberately choose to ignore it. Many of the provisions that we are likely to see in these deals, like stronger patent protections, will slow growth and cost jobs.

These deals will also lead to more upward redistribution of income. The more money that people in the developing world pay to Pfizer for drugs and Microsoft for software, the less money they will pay for the products that we export, as opposed to “intellectual property rights”….

This is yet another case where the government is working for a tiny elite against the interests of the bulk of the population.

If that isn’t bad enough, there’s another side of these planned pacts that is often simply ignored. These “trade” deals are Trojan horses to erode or eliminate national regulations. Baker anticipates that these deals will include sections that would limit government regulation (including at the state and local level) on fracking and could revive much of the internet surveillance that reared its ugly head in the failed SOPA.

And this sort of erosion of the right to regulate will most assuredly extend to financial services. Dodd Frank? The Brown-Vitter bill that some see as a great new hope for tougher financial regulation? They are already unworkable under existing trade agreements. As Public Citizen noted:

One of the most controversial WTO agreements is the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)…One of the most controversial service sectors covered by the GATS is finance….

Taken as a whole, the WTO’s limits on financial service sector regulation are expansive. These rules not only guarantee foreign financial firms and their products access to U.S. markets, but also include numerous additional rules that limit how our domestic governments may regulate foreign firms operating here:

No new regulation: The United States agreed to a “standstill provision” which requires that we not create new regulations (or reverse liberalization) for the list of financial services bound to comply with WTO rules. Translated out of GATSese, this means that the United States has bound itself not to do what Congress, regulators and scholars deem necessary – create new financial service regulations.

Certain forms of regulation banned outright: The United States agreed that it would not set limits on the size of financial firms, the types of financial service one entity may provide or the types of legal entities through which a financial service may be provided in the broad array of financial services signed up to the WTO. These WTO rules conflict with countries’ efforts to put size limitations on banks (so that they do not become “too big too fail”) and to “firewall” different financial services (a policy tool used to limit the spread of risk across sectors).

Treating foreign and domestic firms alike is not sufficient: The GATS Market Access limits on U.S. domestic regulation apply in absolute terms. In other words, even if a policy applies to domestic and foreign firms alike, if it goes beyond what WTO rules permit, it is forbidden. And, forms of regulation not outright banned by these rules must not inadvertently “modify the conditions of competition in favor of services or service suppliers” of the United States, even if they apply identically to foreign and domestic firms. Might aspects of the Wall Street bailout eventually “change the conditions of competition” in favor of U.S. firms? Other WTO members have begun reviewing just this question.

No bans on new financial service “products”: The United States is also required to allow all foreign financial firms operating here “to offer in its territory any new financial service,” a conflict with proposals to limit various risky investment instruments, such as types of derivatives.

Other non-discriminatory domestic regulations also subject to review: GATS subjects policies of general application that may affect service sector firms to review, with WTO tribunals empowered to determine if they are “reasonable”, whether they “could not reasonably have been expected” and whether licensing and qualification requirements and technical standards limit foreign firms’ access.

And the TPP would tilt the table even further in favor of financial firms. Public Citizen again:
The draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a NAFTA-style FTA under negotiation between the United States and 10 Pacific Rim countries, contains the same limits on financial regulation as the WTO, and more. In addition, these rules would be privately enforceable by foreign financial firms that could “sue” the U.S. government in foreign tribunals, which would be empowered to order payment of unlimted sums of U.S. taxpayer money if they saw our laws as undermining such firms’ “expected profits.” Also, even as the International Monetary Fund has officially shifted from opposition to qualified endorsement of capital controls, which are used to avoid destabilizing floods of speculative money into and out of countries, the TPP would ban the use of these important regulatory tools. Despite years of pressure from former House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Barney Frank to permit capital controls, the Obama administration is the strongest promoter of this ban in the TPP.
When we have to look to Barney Frank as a lonely defender of the public’s interest, you know you’ve gone past an event horizon. The very fact that trade negotiations, which are normally so sophorific that they remain out of the public’s mind, are being held in secret says that what is afoot is most decidedly not in the average person’s best interest. At a minimum, voters and the press need to demand that these talks be conducted in the open to prevent Congress from being presented with a fait accompli.

The one good bit of news is Obama is looking more and more like a lame duck every day and his overplaying his hand on these bills could well backfire. But the stakes are sufficiently high that relying on nature to take its course is risky, particularly since corporate lobbying dollars will buy a lot of Congressional complacency. So make noise early and often about this outrage, particularly with local media outlets.

Update: A couple of people have tried taking issue with the notion that the drafting of the TPP is taking place in secret. This isn’t an exaggeration, but some clarification is in order.

Congressional staffers have confirmed that the text of the TPP draft is classified. That means that only people with security clearances, which for practical matters means Congressmen and certain staffers on key committees (House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee) in theory have access. That is already a monster impediment. Congressmen almost never have the time (even where they have the ability) to read long agreements in full and parse how key sections work (which often mean going back to definitions and in some cases, existing law). So keeping most staffers and third parties with expertise away assures that (until the last minute) the discussion and “clarifications” of the provisions under negotiation will come only from parties that are already in the tank.

But practice is even worse than theory. The full draft text is being withheld. And as anyone who has been involved in legal-related drafting knows, the actual language is critical. General terms and concepts that sound innocuous can serve as Trojan horses for all sorts of clever “gotcha” provisions.

From Truthout (hat tip SN):

Under federal law, members of the House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committees are designated official advisers to the USTR. In addition to every Representative and Senator, those panels’ staffers – being on “committees of jurisdiction” – are made privy to the American delegation’s proposals.

Not a single person in Congress, however – or in any legislature of any country party to the deal – is allowed to even once-over the latest version of the actual draft agreement. In an email to Truthout, USTR spokesperson Carol Guthrie confirmed that senators and Congresspeople on committees of jurisdiction, along with their staffers, are only allowed to see the USTR proposals – not the working agreement. She added that “others at the discretion of the committees’ chair and ranking member” are given access to USTR proposals.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (161+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, divineorder, Azazello, bruddaone, lostinamerica, Publius2008, Softlanded, arendt, Eric Blair, millwood, also mom of 5, David Futurama, Cassiodorus, joanneleon, 2laneIA, aliasalias, ctsteve, magnetics, poligirl, FogCityJohn, WheninRome, Nada Lemming, camlbacker, BigAlinWashSt, YucatanMan, Jim P, James Hepburn, WisePiper, basquebob, priceman, Wolf10, RLMiller, deepeco, DRo, truong son traveler, RageKage, Egalitare, Oaktown Girl, vahana, blueoasis, northsylvania, akze29, grollen, gerrilea, Williston Barrett, splashoil, run around, banjolele, 3rdOption, Sunspots, I Lurked For Years, Habitat Vic, gulfgal98, most peculiar mama, Sandino, Brian B, rogeopa, cama2008, Don midwest, rapala, dharmafarmer, Floande, Randtntx, gooderservice, emmasnacker, LamontCranston, maryabein, jm214, triv33, PhilK, koNko, grimjc, Cory Bantic, Kristina40, fugwb, Trixie2006, Kevskos, ChemBob, cal2010, One Pissed Off Liberal, RJDixon74135, 3goldens, cruz, petulans, cslewis, Mike RinRI, Mentatmark, Deward Hastings, CarolinW, sc kitty, claude, MKinTN, Rachael7, cloudbustingkid, marleycat, Dallasdoc, sceptical observer, psnyder, orlbucfan, Desolations Angel, TracieLynn, m16eib, madgranny, greenbastard, buckstop, Leftcandid, Tool, joe shikspack, J M F, Liberal Thinking, copymark, Cassandra77, RFK Lives, stagemom, eightlivesleft, asym, Eddie L, NearlyNormal, Words In Action, 420 forever, CA Nana, zerelda, GeorgeXVIII, Panacea Paola, allie123, WuChier, Jarrayy, opinionated, Mac in Maine, ratzo, Pescadero Bill, angel d, KJG52, turn blue, wonkydonkey, No one gets out alive, tacet, Sun Tzu, AoT, semiot, joedemocrat, Skennet Boch, theunreasonableHUman, cardboardurinal, Capt Crunch, Joieau, brentbent, yoduuuh do or do not, Norm in Chicago, jbob, old wobbly, lunachickie, Involuntary Exile, gypsytoo, Danno11, MrJayTee, chuckvw, ColoTim, terabytes, Kombema, deepsouthdoug

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:51:23 PM PDT

    •  Yes...I discussed the intense secrecy of these... (56+ / 0-)

      ...trade negotiations in my post from March 12th; and, here’s A LINK to a recent comment I made a few times within other posts within the community. (Highly recommend you at least checkout the comment link; perhaps even play the short musical video embedded in it, too.)

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:16:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama the liar.... (59+ / 0-)

        The sunshine president classifies trade negotiations.

        I actually came here to see if anyone had posted about Obama picking a telco lobbyist for FCC chair. Remember when Obama pledged that lobbyists wouldn't work in his administration etc etc.

        Then there was Obama's whole bullshit line about re-negotiating NAFTA and making trade fair. It was all a lie.

        Obama is a complete fraud, and he's destroying what's left of the Democratic party. I have no doubt about this now. Everything I once thought about this guy was wrong.

          •  Politicians are only as good as we make them be (48+ / 0-)

            We didn't get the New Deal because we had "real Democrats" in office back then.

            We got the New Deal because the people demanded it, and, were willing to cost FDR the White House if he didn't deliver.

            And, just like now, there were people then who kept telling everyone, "but, but but, the Republicans might win..."

            Fortunately, progressives of that era ignored these morons. Fortunately, they understood that if you're not willing to fight and carry the big stick, then you don't get to play the game.

            Huey Long and his 20 million supporters made it clear, if FDR (who OPPOSED social security) weren't willing to make serious reforms and choose sides with the American people over Wall Street, they would split the ticket and cost FDR the presidency for his 1936 re-election.

            Would it have been bad if Alf Landon had won? You bet. But not nearly as bad if the political establishment knew that they could ignore the will of the people and get away with it.

            That's where we are now. The political establishment, starting with Obama and his rightwing henchmen, all the way down to the lowliest congressman, sees the progressive movement, the Democratic base, and the general public at large,  as a joke. They don't even feel compelled to pretend they're on our side. They literally mock us, daily.

            Why? Because they can. They know that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how many promises they break, betrayals they commit, that come election year, the morons will take over, and tell us how defeating the evil Republicans is more important that allowing the political establishment to completely and utterly ignore the will of the people.

            So enjoy all the speaking out against the corporatist Democrats. Because no matter what happens on trade, social security cuts, or any other massive betrayal our "leaders" have planned over the next year, come 2004, once again, it will be "the most important election ever", and you absolutely have to vote for these guys who just sold you out a year before because the only thing that matters is that the Republicans lose.

            And thus the cycle of powerlessness and corruption and destruction of everything our party once stood for will continue, unimpeded.

            •  Except for your "2004" typo, you summed things up (12+ / 0-)

              quite well.  Unless and until the party mandarins fear us, we'll continue to sit at the kiddie table and be fed the few scraps that remain after the grown-ups finish eating.  Only once (CT-Sen '06) have we mounted a successful Senate primary challenge, and JoeMentum ended up getting re-elected as an indie, anyhow.

              Either we get serious about selected House and Senate primary challenges, or we STFU.

              Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

              by RFK Lives on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:28:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They will fear us when we put them out of business (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Don midwest

                Losing elections is meaningless to them...see the 1000%, 1400 % increase over their puny salaries AND expense accounts AFTER losing due to a consolation prize of lobbying gigs.  We need not to explain, but to demonstrate effective means of taking them down, and keeping them down.

                Politics is the art of the possible managed effectively to get changes, not argue correct or incorrect explanations that do nothing to effect changes.  It is doing, not explaining.

            •  You can't blame the progressive base for failing (8+ / 0-)

              in light of the amount of propaganda being projected by corporate media for the express purpose of fooling the majority of voters.

              They are working very hard to avoid the conditions of the 1930's that enabled the formation of a true left-wing counter movement. That is, they've learned their lesson in that all they have to do is keep just enough people employed and pay them just enough to avoid an uprising.

              It appears the formula of TV, $28,000 a year, and "freedom" is just enough to keep a majority of Americans pacified.

              Our corporate masters have learned their lessons well indeed. The progressive base is up against a more deeply rooted, coordinated, and sinister foe than it ever has been.

              Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.
              (Facts brought to you by the Party of the Future - the GOP)

              by Pescadero Bill on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:27:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Bernie, I believe will never (14+ / 0-)

            cave. If he hasn't by now he never will. I'm still rooting for Elizabeth. She still has a soul.....

            And you are right bruddaone.

            both parties have plundered this country for their corporate masters...
            They're not even shy about it anymore. They're fucking us on top of the covers and with the lights on........

            Oh, and thanks Bob for these diaries. And as I said in a post a while back, I'm going to go bury my head in the sand, tap me on the ass when the revolution starts....

            "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

            by fugwb on Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:57:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And Sherrod Brown, one of the good guys. nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema
        •  He is not only destroying (27+ / 0-)

          The Democratic party, but also everything else that the US oncecstood for.
          Unions, factories, decent wages, ect.
          Yes, from him 1st going back on his promise to filibuster FISA, the PO sham, mandatory health insurance, NAFTA and a whole slew of broken promises, how people can still believe anything he says is beyond me.
          From his murdering of thousands of kids in over 8 countries we are not at war with to putting SS on the table.
          You are correct. He is a liar and a fraud.
          I too was looking to see if anyonecsaid anything about the telco pick.
          He has put almost everyone in his cabinet some one who came from either lobbying or the head of a company.
          Monsanto for the FDA?  Really?  
          How about Lew?  And the others?  
          I never thought I could despise someone more then I did Bush.
          Anyone read how pot store owners face up to 40 yrs in jail?  
          Salon had that story.
          Now this TPP SHIT.
          Good zgod, what a disaster he is.
          I did not buy his bullshit campaign promises this time.
          If hevwent back on all his 08 ones how could anyone believebhe would deliver on his new ones?  
          Great diary, Bob.
          THIS should be on the rec list as much as his SS BULLSHIT.

          Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names? I despise Obama.

          by snoopydawg on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:07:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your signiture is unfortunate (8+ / 0-)

            I certainly don't despise Obama. There is a big difference between being opposed to someone, their policies, philosophy, belief system, etc, and hating them.

            I don't do hate. You shouldn't either.

            •  I hate the squandering of the opportunity we had (17+ / 0-)

              4 years ago.  I hate how this party is, if anything, even more in the thrall of FIRE now than it was then.  I hate how badly I was deceived in the '08 primaries.

              Yes, when push comes to shove, this president isn't very different from the last 2 Dem presidents.  Yes, his overall approach is well w/in the bell curve of the Senate Dem caucus from which he came.  Yes, there were warning signs in '08:

              While campaigning in Ohio, Mr. Obama has harshly criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement, which many Ohioans blame for an exodus of jobs. He agreed last week at a debate with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that the United States should consider leaving the pact if it could not be renegotiated.

              On Monday, a memorandum surfaced, obtained by The Associated Press, showing that Austan D. Goolsbee, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago who is Mr. Obama’s senior economic policy adviser, met officials last month at the Canadian consulate in Chicago.

              According to the writer of the memorandum, Joseph De Mora, a political and economic affairs consular officer, Professor Goolsbee assured them that Mr. Obama’s protectionist stand on the trail was “more reflective of political maneuvering than policy.”

              Even w/ those qualifiers, however, there's ample reason to be angry.  While "hate" may be too strong of a word, disappointment, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction are not.  We were had back then, and a once in a generation opportunity was lost as a result.

              Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

              by RFK Lives on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:24:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Remember the rantings that the Goolsbee memo (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, RFK Lives, chuckvw, lostinamerica

                simply wasn't true, and of course Obama meant to reassess NAFTA? A scenario -- actual stance leaked; reported; defenders going nuts about "just a rumor" we'll see later.

                And every time, we have, indeed, "seen later" that the "rumor" was true.


                Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

                by Jim P on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:20:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I do (0+ / 0-)

              I despise him for all of the things I listed above.
              And for all the things he is doing that we don't even know about.
              And if you still support him and his policies and do not despise them too, I have no words.
              Just what does he have to do for people to quit supporting him and see that he represents the 1% and not the rest of us.
              Look at his 2 new appointments.

              Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names?

              by snoopydawg on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:19:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey, you pulled the ole switcharoo there (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lostinamerica
                you still support him and his policies and do not despise them too, I have no words.
                I do despise his policies. I even despise his entire presidency. I just don't despise the man. I actually feel quite sorry for him.

                Regardless, there's another angle and that is it is politically destructive to put that in your signature. All it does is give people the excuse to ignore you as a hater instead of considering what you're actually saying.

          •  I voted for him twice. twice! Lesser of two evils (9+ / 0-)

            Ha! Simply better packaging and didn't insult my intelligence immediately.  That came later, or off the record.
            He is totally enmeshed in the clutches of the biggest players, willingly so. He stands to retire a wealthy and well respected politician, getting teaching gigs, foundation leadershiip posts, etc. Maybe even corporate boards, he could certainly do a dozen at one time, the multitasker that he is.

            Much more below.

          •  And still, he holds back the worst of the GOP (0+ / 0-)

            things would be SO MUCH WORSE WTIH A GOP PRESIDENT

          •  Yes, he's the worst thing in the world. (0+ / 0-)

            Not.

            Your rant does not agree with what I've seen.  I'm not going to get into a back and forth because there's no point - I'm not going to change your mind, but I happen to think that it's good we're not at war right now with Iran, Syria, North Korea and probably Uruguay, and at least a portion of that would have been highly probable with McCain/Palin in office.

            Do I have issues with several of his actions?  Yes, but I am not going to accuse him of murdering thousands of kids as if he's standing on a pile of bodies laughing maniacally while his ever-full clip of bullets spews from the end of his machine gun (that's what your statement sounds like to me).

            I had strong hope that the country was going to shift left after 2008's election, not just steer less right, but at least this country didn't go over the f'in cliff like Republicans tried to do to it.  I wanted accountability for torture, for warrantless wiretaps, for Gitmo and renditions, for bankster fraud, for vast giveaways to corporations, and no, I don't like where we stand with many issues, but I don't think he's the enthusiastic cheerleader of Republican ideas that you describe.  I happen to think there is no way he (or anyone) could change around decades of economic impoverishment that have been occurring since at least Reagan's time in office, even if they wanted to and ceaselessly worked night and day on it.  President Obama chooses his battles and while he's chosen to fight far fewer than I would like, he has accomplished some things that I believe deserve praise, like a health care initiative (which will save some lives), getting us out of Iraq and probably Afghanistan with fewer lives lost than the Republicans would have achieved, a better image of America in the world than Bush left us with and an economy, while not recovered, at least not in freefall.  Yes, he's the better choice; show me a progressive and I'll vote for them, until they're no longer on the ballot and I have to choose between a Republican and a centrist.  

            I don't believe we're done, yet, either.  I have hopes for Warren, Sanders, and some other progressives to keep us from foundering and if the Democrats are able to make gains in office in 2014 and keep the Presidency in 2016, there will continue to be improvements on a few fronts.  If not, I do believe the anti-Obama and anti-Clinton crazies will destroy this country, paid for by the corporatists and cuckoos.

        •  Your opinion is ridiculous ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, duhban

          ... but loud, so you've got that going for you. If people would just note what should or should not be in any particular trade agreement, you might not be seen by the vast majority as ridiculously loud.

          For example, perhaps someone should write back to Yves to explain that constructive suggestions would be helpful, but to show blind fear based on utter speculation when you write somthing like this is, again, ridiculous:

          Apparently Obama wants to make sure his corporate masters get as many goodies as possible before he leaves office. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-European Union “Free Trade” Agreement are both inaccurately depicted as being helpful to ordinary Americans by virtue of liberalizing trade. Instead, the have perilous little to do with trade. They are both intended to make the world more lucrative for major corporations by weakening regulations and by strengthening intellectual property laws.
          I say "blind fear" because these are secret negotiations, and so all the speculative bullshit is just that, speculative bullshit. Perhaps President Obama has learned a few things from President Clinton's NAFTA?  

          I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

          by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:09:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In short... (10+ / 2-)

            Or something along those lines.

            "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

            by Cassiodorus on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:19:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well, maybe if the negotiations were... (19+ / 0-)

            transparent like this administration promised, people wouldn't be speculating.  Maybe if this president had followed progressive economic advice when he had solid majorities in both the house and the senate, he would get the benefit of the doubt now.  Maybe if he had allowed single payer insurance advocates a seat at the table when negotiating health care laws, we wouldn't have a conservative plan and people would believe in his ability to negotiate.

            Maybe if the president demonstrated (not just spoke about) his loyalty to the American middle class by fighting for the people losing their homes, fought for our senior citizen's earned benefits, fought for the civil rights of the protestors using their right to assemble... Maybe we would trust him to negotiate huge trade agreements in secret that could feasibly either improve our economy or completely destroy any bargaining ability of any U.S. worker ever again.  Maybe the American people deserve to be included in a decision that big.

            At least candidate Obama said we should be included.  He promised the most transparent government in history.  He promised a cabinate and staff devoid of lobbyists and he promised to renegotiate the existing free trade agreements to make them fair trade agreements.  Even if you feel like he has fulfilled all of those promises, you should not feel comfortable the a trade agreement(s) this big is done in secret.  It is too important and has the potential to be too devestating.  

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:14:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  he certainly learned from Clinton how to get (4+ / 3-)

            deals passed, how to use the inside players, and promise anything to get the essence of a bill enacted.  Nafta was terrible for America, Mexico, the environment, etc.

            17 years later, where are the "side agreements" to fix the glaring problems? did Gitmo prisoners get transferred to a SuperMax in Illinois, saving hundreds of millions off dollars and ending the indefinite detention, torture regime he inherited? No and no.  He even signs off on targeted assassinations, something that dates back to the Reagan Central America diddling and fiddling years if not earlier.

                   It is an unbroken string of complicity, venality and deceit.  It all has to go, whatever the cost. Or you are fooling yourself "reform" is possible. Not in the past generation, not in our lifetime. We either change this at the root, dump the entire mess, or die trying. Or live like 21st century slaves.

            A couple of days ago, I called this President. "Oreo Cookie."
            What is obvious to me now is I had it backwards. He is as white as any of the financial titans, elite of the Wall Street, billionaire global player crowd. Oo99% so. Only a tiny bit, the 1% is of color, a distinguishing beauty mark to charm and capture the imagination of a weary hopeful population yearning to be free, to have hope and change. He is truly on the surface the exact opposite of my description, yet masquerading as transcending race, economics, Third way instead of partisan, and all of it utter BS. Very successful in catapulting the propaganda, a Bush charm without the frat boy trappings.

            Secret negotiations. Regulatory capture, appointing the foxes the guard the henhouse?   Just like all the rest. We got a lot of work to do if we want to see this nation changed fundamentally for the better.

                       Obama was created by the meritocracy, educational opportunity that at its peak delivers the brightest and the best as tools of Wall Street, warmakers, profiteers and the rapists and despoilers of our planet. Be they D or R or other.

                     Unless we smash that paradigm and go work  selflessly rather than relying on ego, tribalism dynamics we inherited: unless we do other than agree to occupy  steps on a ladder in such a career as a Democratic wardheeler and capo we can do nothing.

            •  We can always make it better later... (3+ / 0-)

              Don't you remember the second stimulus?

              Incrementalism. The gift that delivers 1/16 every fourth year in exchange for 1/4 every year.

              The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

              by Words In Action on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:53:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's disgusting, johnxbrown, but ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnxbrown

              ... I don't have the magical power to hydrate. Lucky you. And your up-raters. While you're "smashing paradigms," I'm glad that President Obama is dealing with what is really happening in the real world of real things.

              Pushing for regulations of business (international and domestic), protecting American jobs and American workers are Democratic values.  

              I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

              by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "Oreo cookie" = instant HR (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobswern

              I agree almost completely with your political assessment, but the racial language is 100% unacceptable.

              I refuse to let the leftist critique be sullied by this racial bullshit.

              I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

              by MrJayTee on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:00:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Have a donut. (0+ / 0-)
              A couple of days ago, I called this President. "Oreo Cookie."
              What is obvious to me now is I had it backwards. He is as white as any of the financial titans, elite of the Wall Street, billionaire global player crowd. Oo99% so. Only a tiny bit, the 1% is of color, a distinguishing beauty mark to charm and capture the imagination of a weary hopeful population yearning to be free, to have hope and change. He is truly on the surface the exact opposite of my description, yet masquerading as transcending race, economics, Third way instead of partisan, and all of it utter BS. Very successful in catapulting the propaganda, a Bush charm without the frat boy trappings.
              If you know it's wrong then doing it repetitively is simply trolling.
          •  But Not Wrong (14+ / 0-)

            What is it about this quote from Yves Smith you think is wrong?

            The entire premise of "free trade" is that it lowers wages in the U.S. by forcing American workers to compete against people with no minimum wage working in squalid conditions with no regulation. It's purely a way of undermining our laws. And it has the side benefit for them that it weakens unions in the U.S.

            It is, based on results, exactly what Smith says.

            What about our national security requires these to be classified?

            The American people should be telling the Administration and Congress what they want. And what they actually need is a uniform tariff and an international minimum wage. Unless the Obama Administration is writing those into these agreements, they are to be feared because they will cause harm. Bringing them to light is the best thing we can do, and Bobswern should be commended for doing it.

            •  In a perfect world of ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... perfectly perfect laws, we would have an international minimum wage and uniform tariffs and a completely level playing field. I agree. Currently, most countries have an advantage in paying lower wages, and my question for you is this: Do you realistically think they (their corporate class) would give that up? What would they want in return? Kentucky and Florida?

              You have to make the best deal at the time to protect as many American jobs and as many American workers as you can. Otherwise, it'll be a much quicker bleed-out.

              I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

              by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:59:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why do you think this is going to protect any (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chuckvw, Liberal Thinking

                American jobs? Just because you know Obama is good and perfect and would never make a decision that would hurt the American worker? Your naivete is stunning. This seems to be your only argument, that we need to trust Obama. Or am I mistaken?

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:14:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm sorry that I didn't get ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... back to you sooner, but the flu has put me on a strange schedule. My reasons for believing that President Obama is protecting American jobs include: (1) He has said he wants to protect American jobs, (2) He has done his best with Free Trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia, (3) He has been reasonable with all of his other decisions, and (4) any theory that he is doing his corpartist masters bidding is wacky, as he'll be set for life no matter what happens. (As a side note, there's also the language of the Obama Administration's previous treaties that attempt to protect American jobs.)

                  I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

                  by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:24:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is what frustrates me so much about these (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Liberal Thinking

                    Conversations. You are basically saying you think the president will do the right thing because you think he's done the right thing before. The only counter argument to that involves talking about the president and not the policy. But, if I do that then I'm merely attacking the president and not discussing the policy. As illustrated by number four on your list there.

                    What you leave out is first any evidence that his previous trade treaties have been successful in protecting jobs and workers in the us. Looking at unemployment and the incredibly low rate of participation in the work force leads me to the conclusion that at best these treaties have slightly slowed the economic slide we're in. At worst they're part of the reason we aren't having a recovery.

                    On the other hand if the are actually good for companies and not people then we would see a rise in the stock market and financial markets along side the decline rate of participation in the labor market. That is exactly what we are seeing.

                    I hope you get over the flu soon, I hate that.

                    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                    by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:45:24 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT

                      The evidence is all on our side. There's no evidence lowering trade barriers has led to a single new American job. All it does is ship wealth-producing jobs overseas and thereby impoverish the country.

                      Obama is really irrelevant to the discussion, as far as I'm concerned. This is purely about dollars and cents. He's just in the way if good policy, that's all.

                  •  Sorry About Your Flu (0+ / 0-)

                    Ugh!

              •  And that's exactly what the President and Congress (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, Liberal Thinking

                Are giving us.

                A slower bleed out.

                No wonder the President has so many admirers and the Democratic party so many loyal voters: their hard work and commitment to the Good of the People gets us a slower bleed out.  

                What a great, shining prize.  What a worthy goal.  What a great party, and what a great nation.  

                I'm not a Socialist because I want what's yours. I'm a Socialist because I want what's mine, and because I want other working people to have what's theirs.

                by MrJayTee on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:07:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry for getting back to you so late, but ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... the flu had knocked me out! By bleeding out, I meant that other countries right now have a competitive advantage with their pay scales. With the way off-shoring and out-sourcing has rewarded taking jobs overseas, it has been a huge bleed out. If we get a Democratic Congress in 2014, I believe we stem that tide. Also, I think that the President's commitment to alternative energy will eventually provide another industry for Americans to lead and take huge market share. On top of that, there's even a greater probability that another industry that we don't know will explode will explode in the next two or three decades, providing more opportunities for Americans. '

                  We do have the greatest concentration of research universities in the world.

                  You can't stand by and let the patient completely bleed out. You do what you can and then when you have the opportunity, put in the big fixes.

                  I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

                  by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:31:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Not Without a Fight (0+ / 0-)

                So, let's give them a fight. What is the downside of standing up to them?

                My negotiating position is that we should completely end free trade. We should set a goal of 10% uniform tariffs on anything made over there and sold over here. We should demand an international minimum wage of at least $2.50/hr rising by 2% in real terms each year until it reaches parity with our domestic minimum wage.

                Okay, what are you willing to put on the table to solve the problem? U.S workers have lost about 8% of their earnings since 1980, but worker productivity is up over 80%. How do you propose we restore our earnings?

                Nothing should be sold in the U.S. unless it is made to our workplace and environmental standards. The only question is how we restore our first-world status. What do you suggest?

          •  Answer me this question... (6+ / 0-)

            Who is at the table?  Trade unions?  Consumer organizations?  Anybody who doesn't stand to make a shit load of money over the deal?  No?  I just love how the response is always 'wait and see before making a judgement'.  We've played that game to a loss over and over again.

            'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

            by RichM on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:02:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So we should just trust (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim P, chuckvw

            that this is going to end fine, because you say so.

            Perhaps President Obama has learned a few things from President Clinton's NAFTA?
            And after it gets signed you, or someone else, will be out here telling everyone what's done is done. It's all so predictable these days. You really just can't imagine that Obama might be completely wrong on this issue. If anything he learned from Clinton that he had to be more secret about these things. But go go neoliberalism!

            TPP is an end run around the failure of the Doha round and despite your protestation it will be bad for workers and will siphon more jobs out of the US.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:58:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  As someone wrote about him here recently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw

          He doesn't appear to have a moral core, and absolutely nothing appears to truly mean anything to him in any moral sense. It's all transactional to him, not consequential (except to him and his friends of course). This doesn't make him a bad person, per se, but it does make possible, if not probable, bad actions with bad outcomes, which invariably happens in a morality-free context.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:54:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Shout it from the rooftops! (7+ / 0-)

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:54:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's about time... (16+ / 0-)

    that folks start calling it like they see it, maybe somehow, someway...this inevitable path to destruction can be reeled in...get the trains back on the track.

  •  bend over and grab your bootstraps! (26+ / 0-)
    ...These “trade” deals are Trojan horses to erode or eliminate national regulations....
    we are all in store for very rough times ahead.........wtf

    ''A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.'' FDR

    by lostinamerica on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:27:09 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Bob (19+ / 0-)

    This is a massive but under-reported issue and this pile of buzzard manure is brought to you by Barack Obama and his corporate controllers.

    I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

    by Eric Blair on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:03:30 PM PDT

    •  Hmmm. Where were you to ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Keninoakland

      ... complain about the last trade agreement reached by the Obama Administration. You know, the one:

      This morning, President Obama signed legislation implementing three job-supporting trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. These trade agreements will help put Americans back to work and grow America’s economy.

      At the same time, the President signed legislation renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that helps workers who have been hurt by increased global competition. He also signed legislation to renew trade preference programs that sustain the United States’ commitment to trade and economic development that lifts up some of the world’s poorest people.

      It is all fun and games forecasting doom when talking about super secret negotiations, but we actually have history regarding this President and trade deals to fall back on. I see that everyone here chooses to ignore that, but it is there. It exists, and it is real.

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:20:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, Tort, it's so apparent how "workers who have (14+ / 0-)

        been hurt by increased global competition" have been "helped" by that legislation. The ones who still have declining-wage jobs, or the ones who are no longer workers because their work has gone overseas? And that "trade preference program:" That factory collapse in Bangladesh -- would that be the kind of help for the world's poorest people you are quoting about? And is this where you got your quote, a White House press release? http://www.whitehouse.gov/... Is that why you did not include a link?

        I hope people can see where you are coming from, and don't let their inherent kindness let them give any serious weight to your apologetics and efforts to paper over what is not some kind of "CT" matter but one that really does point toward a permanent kleptocracy, which will reward people who take your line no doubt, and a permanent underclass, as long as there's a habitable surface to the planet. And it will all be "legal," on the specious ground that "we the people" delegated the function to the US Trade Representative...

        Speaking of which, maybe most folks do not know the elements of a case for the tort of fraud:

        The elements of a cause of action for fraud are: (1) that a material representation was made; (2) the representation was false; (3) when the representation was made, the speaker knew it was false or made it recklessly without any knowledge of the truth and as a positive assertion; (4) the speaker made the representation with the intent that the other party should act upon it; (5) the party acted in reliance on the representation; and (6) the party thereby suffered injury.
        http://www.houston-opinions.com/...

        And you're proud to be a Tortmaster...

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:51:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm all for regulating the hell ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... out of corporations, and then enforcing those regulations here and abroad. Right now, we only have bilateral investment and double taxation treaties with the People's Republic of Bangaladesh. Do you suggest a more comprehensive free trade agreement with Bangaladesh? I would agree with you, and it should have in it specific requirements dealing with labor conditions and wages.

          But that's why we need constructive suggestions and not specious speculation about a secret negotiation process.

          I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

          by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:14:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One "feature" of TPP is gutting of regulatory (8+ / 0-)

            power. Wow, so cool you are for "regulating the hell out of" corporations that are not only trans-national but on the way to being both "post-national " and "supra-national." And so seemingly rational, in inviting "constructive suggestions" and what, disinterested dry debate over stuff that is mostly hidden behind that curtain. And of course people who speak as you do know pretty well that "constructive suggestions" get the same treatment that White House petitions do, and at best distract people from getting mad enough to actually DO something about what's being done to them.

            You don't agree with me on ANYthing as far as I can see, and implying that I thus agree with you on any point is just more of your fraudulent schtick.

            Anybody not clear on the likely shape of the future ought to read a 6-part "vision statement" of the "libertarian future," here's the starting point and it ought to evoke some shivers in most of us who are increasingly subject to the power of "government-like organizations:"

            http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/...

            And follow that with a viewing of "Soylent Green."  http://www.imdb.com/...

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:44:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Wonderful - finding comment on White House web (5+ / 0-)

          those who support the admin can't even make up their own words

          plagiarizer

          one sometimes wonders who they work for

          Church Committee in 70's exposed 500 CIA related journalists in the US

          wonder how many today?

          that is another secret

          will not find that on the White House web site

          •  Interesting that there is ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lying eyes

            ... another side to the story, isn't it? Wouldn't know that from the diary or most of the commentary.

            As for your implied allegation about me, I won't accuse you of being a GOP troll instigating dissatisfaction, an anarchist computer program that has gained consciousness or a Chinese spy attempting to derail the trade agreement because that would be the cheapest kind of attack based on speculation and paranoia. I'm just an attorney who gets annoyed at speculative bullshit that has no value except for people to target a President when their misplaced anger should be directed at corporations and the one percent.

            And, I think, there's nothing quite as speculative as guessing about secret negotiations.  

            I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

            by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:02:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are TONS of documents to support... (10+ / 0-)

              ...EVERYTHING stated in this post. My first comment in this post (the one after the tip jar), provides links to FIRSTHAND reviewers of the most recent drafts of the agreeement. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that Yves Smith actually DOWNPLAYS much of the damage that the passing of the Trans-Pacific Agreement will deliver to our society. I'd suggest you do more reading (stay away from the GOPer and Koch crowd sites...likely chance of that, I know....since you're doing little more than parrotting the ad hom reaction to the greater realities of this story, ALREADY).

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:16:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  wow! you really know me (3+ / 0-)

              a GOP troll?

              I made a comment that Obama sneaks in and out of Afghanistan in the dark and got 22 HR's. That comment was directed to the security state that has spent a decade and $3 to 6 trillion dollars without obtaining "security" in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

              an anarchist computer programmer? and that phrase contains more about me

              misplaced anger about the president?

              i agree with the anger, but not that it is misplaced.

              Here is a comment I wrote today about all the bad stuff that is going on that is being supported by a government that for the most part works for the 1%

              I do agree with you about the corporate take over. My difference is that I think that Obama is part of it.

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              •  my comment is directed to Tortmaster (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassandra77, Words In Action, jm214

                you said

                As for your implied allegation about me, I won't accuse you of being a GOP troll instigating dissatisfaction, an anarchist computer program that has gained consciousness or a Chinese spy attempting to derail the trade agreement because that would be the cheapest kind of attack based on speculation and paranoia.
            •  The GOP trolls are those who support GOP policies, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jm214

              not those attacking them even though a "Democratic" President is pursuing them.

              Is that too nuanced?

              The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

              by Words In Action on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:32:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So, protecting American jobs ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... and American workers is a GOP policy? I forgot that you were in charge of GOP policies, please forgive me.

                Did you know that Senators Warner, Webb, Schumer, Murray, Kerry and Wyden were some of the Democratic Senators who voted for the Panama treaty?

                And we haven't even started on the Colombian Trade Agreement. Hardly Democratic values there ...

                •The International Trade Commission (ITC) has estimated that the tariff reductions in the Agreement will expand exports of U.S. goods alone by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs. The ITC also projected that the Agreement will increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion.
                ... unless you want Democrats to have jobs, that is.

                I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

                by Tortmaster on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:46:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  TM, there's "another side" to the "global warming" (3+ / 0-)

              story too, isn't there?

              "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

              by jm214 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:46:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  That's not a trade agreement, it's a law (0+ / 0-)

        that mitigates some of the worst effects of previous trade agreements. But if you want to try again you are welcome to.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:21:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see (34+ / 0-)

    how this can be Constitutional when it violates sovereignty.

    And seriously, are we just gutting anti-trust laws?

    The United States agreed that it would not set limits on the size of financial firms
    Plus, there is no way that this is going to hold, IMHO. Some countries are going to violate the rules, especially if they are in bad times.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:16:38 PM PDT

    •  They will no doubt go with the rule: (22+ / 0-)

      "If the Supreme Court says it's OK, it's OK."  And if anything bad happens, blame Ralph Nader, like in 2000.

      "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

      by Cassiodorus on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm missing the "Law, Justice, and Reason" (12+ / 0-)

      connection with these agreements.

      In the perfect state you make so many rules and laws you get to pick and choose as you wish. Violate them, but if you're big enough, who restrains or punishes you?

      Nobody important is interested in rules anymore, just in ruling for their interest.


      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:29:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How does it violate sovereignty? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Sovereign nations make international agreements all the time, and in the case of the US, such agreements require ratification before they become US law (as is typically the case in most nations).

      So I'm curious about your reasoning on this.

      {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

      by koNko on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because corporations are given essentially (5+ / 0-)

        equal standing to nations in the courts, to, among other things, seek damages from taxpayers for damages from policies that the corporations claim hurt their businesses...

        Such as policies to support renewable energy that would impact fossil fuel companies...

        A modest imagination can see how this would hamstring nations from pursuing the general welfare in deference to profit-making at every turn, as if the current pressure from the overlords is not already influential enough.

        The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

        by Words In Action on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:36:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is usually the case. (0+ / 0-)

          Let's not pretend trade negotiations are ever otherwise.

          My point is simply that treaties are agreements between sovereign states that once ratified become law, which is no commentary on fairness.

          {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

          by koNko on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:44:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm interested (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, Words In Action, lostinamerica

            in hearing about your views on the TPP.  What do you think of it?


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:22:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think it's foolish (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joanneleon, AoT

              In so many ways I don't have time to elaborate now (going out the door to work) but basically, it's an attempt to counter the (inevitable) economic influence of China in East Asia by dangling carrots the US cannot afford, while failing to address the mutual problems the US and China share they should be working harder to resolve.

              And it's driven by a Cold War mentality that has infected US relations with China that will not do either any good.

              {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

              by koNko on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:25:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You did a good job (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lostinamerica

                in summing up the motivations, and the idea that we're dangling carrots that we can't afford is an interesting one.  It's a good point, a critical point.  If the ultimate goal is to preserve our economy, why do things that are ultimately going to kill it?  Well it might go back to the goal, as in, who exactly are we trying to preserve?  If it's the corps and the 1%, well they might achieve that. But the people and quality of life are being sacrificed, and the corps and 1% can move somewhere else.  Most of the people can't.


                "Justice is a commodity"

                by joanneleon on Fri May 03, 2013 at 04:24:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  By the way (0+ / 0-)
          Such as policies to support renewable energy that would impact fossil fuel companies...
          Trade actions have also been used as anti-competitive tools to harm renewable energy companies, such as the (historical) 30-200% import duties imposed by the US.

          {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

          by koNko on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:47:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Since I am not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lostinamerica

        expert in trade agreements, maybe you are right.  It looks like I am going to learn a lot more about them in the near future though.  

        From what I know of it now, there are trade agreements, and then there are TRADE AGREEMENTS.  My understanding is that signatories will have less ability to protect their own environments or rely on their own court systems, for starters, and it gives organizations like the World Bank unprecedented power.  From what I've read, I wonder how much power our own Congress and regulatory agencies will have over our financial institutions, etc.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:03:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lostinamerica

        after reading your comment a second time, it does not make as much sense to me.  

        Sovereign nations make international agreements all the time, and in the case of the US, such agreements require ratification before they become US law (as is typically the case in most nations).
        Yes, but that is a bit simplistic.  There are varying degrees and an infinite number of terms that could be included in such agreements.  But when organizations at a higher level of those sovereign nations are named and given power over the signatories, sovereignty can be surrendered, no?  And such agreements can be difficult to get out of once entered into, right?  I mean, just look at the EU and the Eurozone.  This was accomplished through a series of treaties, no?

        And how sovereign do you think that countries like Greece and Cyprus feel right about now?


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:09:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One last thing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern, lostinamerica

          If this is so benign, why is it so top secret that even a US Senator is not allowed to know anything about it unless someone leaks it to him?  

          This trade agreement will be a "fast-track" agreement too. It will require a majority vote in the House and Senate, but it will take the express route to the floor, skip the committees that have expertise in the subject matter, and it will allow no amendments and limited debate.

          The other objection is that this really is not a trade agreement. It's more like blurring the boundaries of countries, advancing the globalization ideology further than anything we have seen before, and this ideology benefits the corporations, not the people.

          Since our Congress no longer represents us and neither does the executive branch, it almost looks like fascism at a global level to those who have gotten information about it and object to it.

          Anti-globalization advocates accuse the TPP of going far beyond the realm of tariff reduction and trade promotion, granting unprecedented power to corporations and infringing upon consumer, labour, and environmental interests.[56][57]

          One widely republished article claims the TPP is "a wish list of the 1%" and that "of the 26 chapters under negotiation, only a few have to do directly with trade. The other chapters enshrine new rights and privileges for major corporations while weakening the power of nation states to oppose them."[57]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          And that's just the high level objection to it.

          Are you cool with all of that?  


          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:21:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This "trade agreement" is quite different... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joanneleon, lostinamerica

            ...from any trade agreement the U.S. has ever signed. It's a document which is MUCH more about corporate law and enabling it to fully trump (transcend, whatever) sovereign law. The adjudication/"judicial" process will be comprised of a panel of three corporate lawyers (inherently VERY compromised, by definition), and their decisions will be final and will override the laws of virtually all the states that are signatories (I'm talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership which, as I understand it, is at least a bit more overwhelming when it comes to these types of matters than the agreement that is being negotiated with European states). Really Joanne, the last paragraph in your blockquote, to which I'm responding now, pretty much lays out the Cliff Notes, so to speak.

            Again, most/much of the TPP cannot really be compared to trade agreements of the past. Folks that put forth that concept--and this isn't the first I've seen this in this community--are commenting without acknowledging this greater truth (so I'm told).

            Unfortunately, we simply cannot wait to learn the details of this (we must rely on secondhand information from those that are privy to the latest negotiated versions of it), and that's a byproduct of the process that was chosen to ratify it; i.e--FastTrack.

            For activists--and the public in general--to get a real handle on this issue, we have to stop the FastTrack initiative first. So, really, all/most of our focus should be on that for the near-term. Otherwise, the TPP (and the European agreement) will pretty much be shoved down the throats of this country's citizens.

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:58:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Bobswern (23+ / 0-)

    More and better Democrats y'know, or at least talk nice about them.  Never mind that our economy is becoming a corporate scam while our future is one of global warming frying us to a crisp -- that's not a priority here.

    "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

    by Cassiodorus on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:18:46 PM PDT

  •  This started under GWB (52+ / 0-)

    and Obama has taken it even further. I've been writing about TPP for over a year.

    This is from June 12, 2012:

    What We Need To Know: Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Back in February of this year when we were battling ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA to protect the internet, I wrote about the Trans Pacific Partnership which would have impose even stricter provisions on copyright law and the internet than ACTA. Well, TPP hasn't gne away and the secret negotiations by the Obama administration has raised serious questions from both sides of the Congressional aisle. The trade document (pdf), which has been a more closely guarded secret than Dick Cheney's location, was leaked by Public Citizen a long-time critic of the administration's trade objectives. Their analysis of the stealth policy that is being advocated by the super corporations and the Obama administration is, in a word, frightening.
    A leak today of one of the most controversial chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reveals that extreme provisions have been agreed to by U.S. officials, providing a stark warning about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring under conditions of extreme secrecy without press, public or policymaker oversight, Public Citizen said.

     “The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of TPP negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will infuriate left and right alike have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do.”  [..]

    The TPP may well be the last trade agreement that the U.S. negotiates. This is because TPP, if completed, would have a new feature relative to past U.S. trade pacts: It would remain open for any other country to join later. Last month, USTR Kirk said that he "would love nothing more" than to have China join TPP.

    In one move without congressional ratification, the agreement could:
    • offshore millions of American jobs,
    • free the banksters from oversight,
    • ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy,
    • decrease access to medicine,
    • flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,
    • and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.
    Zach Carter of Huffington Post reveals that the agreement confers on multinational corporations the ability to circumvent US laws and regulation:
    Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings. [..]

    While the current trade deal could pose a challenge to American sovereignty, large corporations headquartered in the U.S. could potentially benefit from it by using the same terms to oppose the laws of foreign governments. If one of the eight Pacific nations involved in the talks passes a new rule to which an American firm objects, that U.S. company could take the country to court directly in international tribunals.

    Public Citizen challenged the independence of these international tribunals, noting that "The tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers that rotate between acting as 'judges' and as advocates for the investors suing the governments," according to the text of the agreement.

    Some of the other parts of the agreement would raise the cost of medications, while it would make life saving drugs inaccessible, it might as well have if they're too expensive. Some of the other provisions would also:
    • Expand pharmaceutical patenting and create new drug monopolies, by lowering patentability standards and requiring patentability of minor variations of older, known medicines.
    • Lengthen drug monopolies by requiring countries to extend patent terms.
    • Eliminate safeguards against patent abuse, including among others the right of third parties to challenge patent applications (pre-grant opposition).
    • Risk facilitating patent abuse by requiring countries to condition marketing approval on patent status (patent linkage). Under patent linkage, even spurious patents may function as barriers to generic drug registration.
    • Expand exclusive control over clinical trial data including through an extra three years of data exclusivity for new uses of known products (in addition to five years exclusivity for first uses) and a new provision on biotech medicines.

    Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules said, "Bush was better than Obama on this. It's pathetic, but it is what it is. The world's upside-down."

    On the impact on US environmental laws, Margrete Strand Rangnes, Labor and Trade Director for the Sierra Club, an environmental group said, "Our worst fears about the investment chapter have been confirmed by this leaked text ... This investment chapter would severely undermine attempts to strengthen environmental law and policy."

    These negotiations have been going on since Obama took office. They are backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and by the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who urged the US to finalize the deal.

    Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced legislation for more transparency and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) leaked a document from the talks on his website. (Hmm. Will Issa investigate himself?)

    So much for this promise from Obama and the DNC (pdf):

    We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications


    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:35:14 PM PDT

  •  Extremely Important Diary. (30+ / 0-)

    That this TPP mess is so completely under the public's radar is yet another fine example that the equilibrium/inertia in Washington, D.C. is merely an illusion; there's just an incredible amount of stuff going on that the public has almost no clue about.

    David Brodwin has an article in U.S. News (April 19, 2013) that's worth reading- Obama's Pacific Trade Deal Is No Deal At All  

    "After the (job losses) and (austerity) they won't be the same human beings you remember. Slaves?. . let's just say, they'll be satisfied with less" -Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, as explained by Ming the Merciless.

    by Softlanded on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:46:15 PM PDT

  •  This is a mess. (9+ / 0-)

    What sovereignty?

    Why aren't the wingnuts screeching? They hate this stuff too.

    All I can say is keep Colombia close because I like chocolate and coffee.........

  •  Thanks for the heads-up. Now I'll form a (13+ / 0-)

    corporation of Muggers and Burglars, someplace offshore where they'll allow it for a modest percentage. Then when TPP becomes Law I'll sue the US because their police enforce laws against my business.

    I'll have lost my "expected revenues."

    And what sort of revenues do I expect? I'll post my graphs and bar-charts later, but I'm thinking it's about... well, how much money do you have exactly?


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:42:38 PM PDT

  •  OF TOP IMPORTANCE: The Fast Track Bill (23+ / 0-)

    has to die in its crib, if it's not already snuck by us.

    "Fast Track" was the old name of the Law which granted a President the authority to negotiate international agreements that the Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster.

    Congress cannot amend or filibuster. Debate was limited to 20 hours in each chamber. 20 hours.

    It established a committee system, comprising 700 industry representatives appointed by the president, to serve as advisors to the negotiations. Throughout trade talks, these individuals had access to confidential negotiating documents. Most members of Congress and the public had no such access, and there were no committees for consumer, health, environmental or other public interests.
    That Law expired in 2007.

    Orrin Hatch, our Republican enemy who has no interest in common with the Democrats, none, says he will offer a Trade Promotion Authority amendment to the budget. (aka "Fast Track")

    Hatch, who has been pressing the White House to move forward with fast-track authority, intends to offer an amendment that calls for implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is expected to be completed this year, along with a U.S.-European Union trade deal, which is set to begin talks in June, and any other potential free-trade agreements to be done under trade promotion authority (TPA).

    There are a couple of other amendments calling for trade promotion authority, including one by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a former U.S. Trade represenative.

    With that TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) that means the bill will be open to debate and amendment. I'm confident that if this thing can't get by in the middle of the night, you'd see full-political-spectrum outrage over this like we haven't seen in a long time.

    Once again, bipartisanship looks to trample triumph over the lesser sort of person, the not-Big-Money guys.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:06:41 PM PDT

  •  Just bloody hang any Democrat who might (20+ / 0-)

    get elected to Congress, and be done as a Party instead of doing this crazy political suicide gesture in secret conclaves! This makes putting Social Security on the table look like a mere cry for help; it's going to take Trade Agreements to turn us into the modern example of the Whigs or Greenback Parties.

    Seriously, if this gets around before it's law, the entire nation is going to go through the roof.

    Think of it: here we are, "struggling with deficits" and we're going to give every foreign nation in the world with unjust, anti-environmental, anti-labor laws a right to first dibs on our budget. A leg up against US business operating in the US.

    Words fail.

    Also, we've all been using "globalization" as an accepted background that we've ignored what the thing really exists to do: reduce the cost of labor world-wide. Even now there are companies planning to move from those overpaid Chinese to Vietnam and back to Mexico.

    Global trade has gone on since the Bronze Age without these trades agreements.

    Time to drop "globalization" and replace it with World Wide Piracy or something which better fits the effect.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:46:19 PM PDT

  •  key is NAFTA... everyone should watch/read this (19+ / 0-)

    I've been writing about this since I started blogging in 2006 and just as one could see the economic collapse on the horizon, one could see the attack on sovereignty through such trade agreements.

    let me say it again: these agreements are an ATTACK on sovereignty of people in their own country...

    NAFTA and Chapter 11

    it's very clear. Thank you President Clinton... one in a line of lousy presidents.

    we need a break.

  •  But, wait......I thought nothing could be (5+ / 0-)

    accomplished because Republicans were being mean to Obama.....

    Interesting.

  •  20% of US now owned by foreigners (11+ / 0-)

    the only empire in history that got there by giving away its markets

    and the plunder continues

    the two political factions are in agreement on how to further the interests of the 1%

    One small part of the plunder is the public transportation system. Recent column by Chris Hedges.

    This process of destroying our public transportation system is largely complete. Our bus and rail system, compared to Europe’s or Japan’s, is a joke. But an even more insidious process has begun. Multinational corporations, many of them foreign, are slowly consolidating transportation systems into a few private hands. Of the top three multinationals that control transport in the U.S. only one, MV Transportation, is based here. FirstGroup, a multibillion-dollar corporation headquartered in the United Kingdom and a product of Margaret Thatcher’s privatization of British mass transit, now owns First Student, which operates 54,000 school buses in 38 states and nine Canadian provinces and has 6 million student riders. FirstGroup also has a controlling stake in Greyhound. Veolia Transportation, a subsidiary of Transdev, a conglomerate headquartered in France, has 150 contracts to run mass transit systems in the United States. It was Veolia, after Hurricane Katrina, that took over the New Orleans bus system. And Veolia did what it has done elsewhere. It stripped bus workers of their pensions. New York’s Nassau County bus service, once part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was turned over to Veolia after the French corporation hired former three-term Sen. Al D’Amato of New York as its lobbyist. Veolia—which when it takes over a U.S. property, as in New Orleans or Nassau County, refuses to give workers a defined-benefit plan—is partly owned by a pension fund that covers one-third of French citizens. U.S. workers are losing their benefit plans to a company created to provide benefit plans for the French. Veolia is currently lobbying Rhode Island and Atlanta to privatize their bus services.
    I added the bold.

    The first part of the article describes the attack on unions for bus drivers. It is hard to negotiate with a multi national.

    Thus the effects of trade, along with foreign ownership, continue the plunder in our country.

    The link to Hedges article Sweatshop on Wheels

    http://www.truthdig.com/...

  •  Are the Democrats in Congress trying to stop this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cslewis, No one gets out alive

    What we have here is another fine example of the failure of representative government.

    Maybe someday companies will have dangerous factories here in the U.S. that collapse and crush hundreds of workers to death!

    •  But--- Always low prices!!! (0+ / 0-)

      And if your clothes cost a few people their lives - So what???

      It's not like you knew them or anything....

      Right???

      We are SO full of win - I can't stand it!


      The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

      by No one gets out alive on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:54:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congress and Obama can get a complex, broad (11+ / 0-)

    reaching bill like this through but they can't break up the banks?

    •  They cannot get a jobs bill to fix a broken bridge (9+ / 0-)

      They cannot appoint a frickin judge to a position that has been open for years, they cannot appoint a leader to the ATF when we have bombs going off in our streets and people shooting up kindergarteners by the score.

      Incompetence and ignorance is simply cover for corruption and complicity.  Democrats and Republicans are one and the same working for the same people.  It is kayfabe.  We are handed two puppets to choose from but each have the same hand up their backside.

      The first step in healing is recognizing there is a problem.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:35:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Figuring out what the next step is and taking it (4+ / 0-)

        are the big problems.

        •  The next step is for us to learn... (5+ / 0-)

          better marketing strategies.

          Frank Luntz repeatedly kicks our collective butts in this area.  Sure he has multiple politicians and media resources aiding him in this endeavor but we have to do better.

          Every word from liberal to Democrat to entitlements has been demonized and words like greed and conservative and "job creators" has been lionized.  We are losing this war and it is not an impossible fight to win.

          We have to reinvigorate our brand by standing firm on our principles and broadening our base by appealing to Republicans and Libertarians with common interest.  The best way to do this is to find common ground and champion anyone who advocates that position.  Work together with the rightwing when they are correct.  I advocated OWS working with the Tea Party from the start.  We need to advocate policy rather than the (D) in front of someone's name and ask them to do the same.

          This is not the same as President Obama working with the Republicans when they are in the wrong.  When a Republican fights against corrupt bankers then we should sing his or her praises (Like the Brown-Vitter TBTF legislation) and when a Democrat backs bad legislation (like the chained CPI), we should eviscerate them.

          I think you will find that we share a lot of the same issues regarding economics with many rightwing proponents once you dig beneath the talking points.  If we want more and better Democrats, we need to force them to adhere to progressive economic principles instead of just running as a Democrat (DINO) and they need to be held accountable.  

          No more "kinda progressive" is better than nothing attitude.  

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:45:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You should note (5+ / 0-)

    That the "last minute" inclusion of Japan has, in fact, delayed progress of negotiations, and since engaging, the antics of Abe you note are now beginning to cast some doubt whether the original time line can be kept while including Japan.

    It should also be noted that the negotiations were fast-tracked in an attempt to conclude them with minimum oversight and political opposition.

    {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

    by koNko on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:11:26 AM PDT

  •  and this is why I stopped reading (4+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, shrike, Lying eyes, Eric K
    Hidden by:
    Vespertine, lunachickie

    naked captialism

    Absolutely no evidence offered, precious little logic or objective analysis but plenty of rah rah 'Obama is the new Satan' and 'he's a triple fake out facist-hippie punching manchurian candidate'

    I am curious what you Bob or the people at Naked Captialism would suggest, no trade deals? That strikes me as remarkably short sighted and foolish.

    If Naked Captialism would actually provide actual journalism (like you know a comparison of the other trade deals Obama has done and what might come out of these ones) this would be far and away more compelling as it is this could just be a couple sentences about how evil Obama is and how he's going to screw us all over.

    In the time that I have been given,
    I am what I am

    by duhban on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:22:34 AM PDT

    •  You really make these comments based upon... (12+ / 0-)

      ...a tremendous lack of subject knowledge. You trolled my earlier post, and now you're trolling this. When I suggested you to click upon the links of my first post, tonight, to gain some knowledge about the subject before engaging your ad-hominem-spewing comments (and otherwise basic bullshit), your response was you didn't have the time to review a short video before doing so. Here, in this post, it's just bullshit, too. You do this on a regular basis in my posts and those of many others. I see a vacation in BOJOVILLE in your future if you continue along this path. Have a great day!

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:44:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Classic bobswern. Anyone who questions the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, Sky Net

        pablum NC douses out is subject to BOJOVILLE.

        "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

        by shrike on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:57:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  shrike - please provide a link to the error (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie, chuckvw, lostinamerica

          is there something wrong with what is written?

          please quote that and provide links that support your argument

          on a related subject, Meteor Blades had an overnight post on a related subject. In particular, if your goal is to persuade, here are some suggestions.

          There's no single way to achieve persuasiveness. No single style meets all needs. Mockery and wonkery and ferocity and sardonicity all have their proper places. The most compelling persuasion comes not by means of the cleverest turn-of-phrase but from meeting the views of one's opponents head on, factually and without apology. To be sure, some people—oh, all right, a godawfully large number of people—are persuaded by intellectual manure. But the honest, the open-minded and the skeptical recognize what's phony and what's not. A good opinion writer, an advocate, ought always to be thinking of what it takes to persuade those individuals in their audience, not the numskulls.
          link to the post

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          •  The quoted article condemns the effort in (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            duhban
            strengthening intellectual property laws
            The US loses billions in IP piracy every month.  If a trade agreement strengthens our producers of IP at the expense of thieves elsewhere I fully support it.

            If that "enriches multinationals" it is a good thing.  Remember a multinational is anyone with a patent that markets overseas.

            The article is soaked in that kind of naivety.  

            "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

            by shrike on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:25:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Capitalism is, in short, good. (7+ / 0-)

              Never mind that the arbiters of capital, the investor class (or in Occupy lingo, the 1%), view both nature and society as a "free gift" to their megalomania, and are bringing the planet to ruin for the sake of their profit motives.  The worst thing, in their eyes, would be if we didn't pay them for "intellectual property" (which is at this point rapidly encroaching upon the global genepool: see e.g. genetically-modified organisms) and other such excuses to reinforce the regimes of money and property.

              "Do something pretty while you can" -- Stuart Murdoch

              by Cassiodorus on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:52:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  A little disclosure for the audience, shrikey? (5+ / 0-)

              Or, are you just going to troll around without letting the folks  knowing whereof you speak? (This Kossack has a significant bias and professional coflict, above and beyond  a quite lengthy and extremely well-documented history of deliberately trolling my posts, while spewing forth quite shameless statements.)

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:08:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  and here comes the predictable (0+ / 0-)

        of course you are going to claim that hell at this point your 'response' to any criticism or disagreement is just down right predictable Bob.

        When you realize that people can and will disagree with you and that that is not 'trolling' let's talk. But as it stands I am sick of your smears against me.

        In the time that I have been given,
        I am what I am

        by duhban on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:33:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Like we (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie, lostinamerica

      believe you were ever a supporter of Naked Capitalism...

      The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

      by Words In Action on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:57:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as usual words (0+ / 0-)

        you skip actually reading my post I see

        Perhaps you could point out where exactly I said I was ever a supporter of Naked Capitalism?

        Here's a hint you can't, never said it

        In the time that I have been given,
        I am what I am

        by duhban on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:36:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  very sad about local enviro regs or zoning... (4+ / 0-)

    think about texas-style fert plant zoning in your neighborhood!!!
    this is despicable.

    "A dollah makes me hollah"-- Stephen Colbert, pretending to be S. Palin

    by stagemom on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:22:53 AM PDT

  •  The TPP is more or less... (17+ / 0-)

    ...Corporate Dominion writ large. Unfortunately, if this doesn't get to the media, then we're in serious trouble.

    This so-called trade deal is nothing of the sort. It offers corporations free reign to run roughshod over any sovereign government. It's the neoliberal wet dream the DLC/Centrist-types have dreamed about for years.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:11:19 AM PDT

    •  That is precisely what it IS! n/t (6+ / 0-)

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:53:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Correct, but we have to understand something, NOW: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Jim P, chuckvw
      if this doesn't get to the media, then we're in serious trouble.

      The Media doesn't give a damn.
      Their journos might, but it is in Media Corporate interests to keep this thing under the radar. Journos can and do give a damn--they don't decide what gets airtime, though.

      We've been in serious trouble since a court decided that media owners could fire reporters for not editing bullshit and outright lies into their copy, if that's what the owner wants.

      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

      by lunachickie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:09:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The media cares a lot about getting this passed (0+ / 0-)

        They most certainly do give a damn as the IP sections of this will directly benefit them in numerous ways.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:19:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the context of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          the person I was responding to? No, they don't give a damn.

          The Corporations that own our media care very much about getting this passed--that's why they're keeping it quiet!! The poster assumes--as many of us still do--that If Only The Media Would Report It, We Could Get America Behind Us and Fix (the mess du jour).

          It doesn't work like that anymore.

          (methinks you misunderstood my post--I hope this explanation helps :))

          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

          by lunachickie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:22:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, unless you were snarking (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            then yeah, you got it ;)

            "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

            by lunachickie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:23:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's exactly what I meant (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chuckvw

            I was just pointing out that in addition to the parent companies benefiting the specific news outlets will also benefit, so they have a direct conflict of interest not just some dictate from the parent company. I'm just saying it's worse than you said. Not that you were wrong.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:30:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Free trade and world military dominance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, Words In Action, chuckvw

    have virtually unanimous bipartisan support in Washington. These core U.S. commitments are the long term legacy of the world war era in which multiple global military powers and tariff-driven economic nationalism nearly destroyed civilization. No serious American politician will now support the isolationism and protective tariffs that led to this country sitting on the sidelines while fascism advanced in Europe and Asia.

    It is no surprise that Obama supports the new agreement, just as McCain or Romney would have.  True, such policies have to be presented to American voters as essential to their safety and prosperity but the fact is that world military dominance and free trade come at a real cost to US living standards.  Americans are expected to bear this  for the greater good of global stability.

    I don't particularly fault Obama for supporting this new agreement nor do I see it as a betrayal - He is very much in the mainstream of U.S. politics. The larger question is why, after all these years, a better and more equitable system of world stability isn't even considered - no matter how much damage all this military spending and free trade does to American workers. Way back in 1944 and 1945, when the US took on this role, the United Nations was envisioned as central to the new world order, but now it is nearly forgotten in US plitical discussions, except as a punching bag for rightwing ideologues.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:17:48 AM PDT

    •  I DO fault "mainstream U.S. politics..." (5+ / 0-)

      ...and that includes all of the major players currently in it. As many far more well-credentialed than yours truly have stated of late: "Our politics are failing us; and, our government is broken." (That's just a general quote. Not attributable in its entirety to any single source; but a statement made in almost as many words and phrases by many.)

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:57:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not just the major players, but their supporters, (4+ / 0-)

        constantly selling the 99% out to their masters.

        The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

        by Words In Action on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:58:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and Centrism is the Holy Grail to the media. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, chuckvw
      •  Government is not broken (0+ / 0-)

        My point was that I do not think that our government is broken, but its priority is not the well-being of the American people. The priority is global stability.

        If you are the target of US military power, there is nothing broken or dysfunctional about it. Or if you are in the business of running a clothing factory in Bangla Desh, there is no problem with the US economy absorbing your products.  Militarism and global free trade are working just fine and are the main business of the US government in the present era.

        Madeline Albright expressed the consensus view most eloquently:

        If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.

        If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

        by Valatius on Fri May 03, 2013 at 04:39:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And the band played on (10+ / 0-)

    NAFTA, GATT, WTO, CAFTA, etc.

       It doesn't matter which party is in charge, they all have the same agenda when it comes to trade.

    “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

    by gjohnsit on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:18:08 AM PDT

    •  True...but this particular set of agreements... (8+ / 0-)

      ...could be particularly brutal...The Trans-Pacific Partnership (at least the most recent iterations of it, based upon secondhand reports from the few that have actually read it) makes the Citizens United SCOTUS decision look quite mild in comparison. Of the 26+/- sections of the TPP, only 3 or 4 sections actually deal with trade issues. Most of it is POLITICAL in nature...and in a very bad way.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:23:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like multinationals, (7+ / 0-)

    with plenty of help from their paid minions, are moving to consolidate the one-world theory that so many conspiracy theorists mistakenly attribute to the UN.

    Given politicians penchant for passing complex bills that they've neither read nor understand, the chances of this being killed look remote to me. And it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see any agreement contain provisions that no one will admit knowing about. It's happened to many times in the past.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:35:55 AM PDT

    •  Yeah...really incredible when a congresscritter... (6+ / 0-)

      ...makes a comment, after the fact, indicating they really didn't read the bill but they voted in favor of it, anyway. As if incompetence/negligence is a credible excuse...stunning! That's going to happen A LOT with this bill. Doubling-down on the fail, it's all being down in secret, with most in the House and the Senate not even having access to it until it's time to FAST-TRACK it! The irony here is just incredible. So, not only will they not know what's in it, but, whatever is IN it "must" be passed with great haste! Sounds like the Wall Street bailout agreements in September 2008, but 10 times worse. (Those weren't done in secret. They were just written so vaguely that it trumped the very content of the legislation. I guess that's just another way to skin the legislative cat. [Sorry pootie lovers...it's just a euphemism.])

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:48:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the do nothing congress meme is a joke on us (7+ / 0-)

    because this crap, the cravings of the 1% and corporations, that work is being done, and speedily.

    all this GOP vs Dems stuff is theater while the conartists rob us

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:47:42 AM PDT

  •  Another Drop in Wages? (6+ / 0-)

    Under "liberalized" trade policies, we've seen worker pay decline and workers' share of business income drop by several percentage points. Yet, all this extra trade has not resulted in any increase in jobs in exportable products.

    We need to be going in exactly the opposite direction. When will we see an international minimum wage? When are we going to see increased uniform tariffs?

    These trade agreements are the root cause of the federal deficit. Yet no one talks about them amid all this talk about cutting spending and saving money.

    And BTW, if we're going to have competitive trade then we need a competitive healthcare system. That means ending the for-profit health insurance industry and creating one, uniform, publicly-funded system.

    Not to mention that all this trade is subsidized by our military. We spend about $800 billion a year making sure that China and other countries can ship things here. Certainly 90% of the costs of the Navy are to secure the shipping lanes. When do we get that money back? At the very least we need to raise tariffs to pay for that.

    If all Democrats understood the degree to which this is impoverishing them they would rise up and revolt. Call up your representatives on Capitol Hill and read them the revolt act.

  •  Thanks for staying on this, bob. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, Don midwest, chuckvw

    I know we can count on you.

    T&R.

    The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

    by Words In Action on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:28:28 AM PDT

  •  bobswern, you must be mistaken. Obama has promised (5+ / 0-)

    the "most transparent administration" the world has ever seen. Please double check your facts.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:38:00 AM PDT

  •  Typical Obama... (4+ / 0-)

    Deals made in secret by CEOs and Wall Street titans.  And then he will try to get us to swallow it by claiming it is actually progressive.  Everyday I become more and more disillusioned.

    'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

    by RichM on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:55:04 AM PDT

  •  There are Dems and Repubs working to bring this (5+ / 0-)

    information out.  Sherrod Brown and Darrell Issa to name a few, see below link:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    I have been doing a lot of reading on this issue and it makes me sick.  

    I have not heard a single word mentioned on any MSM including MSNBC which is so disappointing.

    What are we to do?

    “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of the tyrant” Albert Camus

    by MsLillian on Thu May 02, 2013 at 07:55:29 AM PDT

  •  Do such treaties require a 2/3 majority vote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, AoT, chuckvw

    in congress, which would make them much, much harder to pass, or have they been structured in ways to require only a simply majority, which would make them shoo-ins to pass? And if it's the latter, is that constitutional?

    In any case, I just don't know why Obama's doing this. Does he really believe that this is good policy for all or most Americans? Has he convinced himself that it's good policy even if deep down he knows it isn't? Or does he not really care if it's good policy or not, so long as it makes his rich friends richer and assures a very, very nice post-presidency for him and his family?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:51:42 AM PDT

    •  This would require 2/3 majority of the Senate (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, Jim P, chuckvw

      but not the house. What's especially galling about this treaty is that once we've agreed to it any expansion will not need to be approved by anyone but the executive. So once this is in effect we're going to see a huge push for more globalization and an attack on all kinds of labor, health, and environmental protections.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:56:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Strikes me as unconstitutional (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobswern

        Hopefully will be seen and found to be as such.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:59:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what the Fast-Track agreement's all about.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, chuckvw

          Full article is LINKED HERE


          ...Circumventing the Checks and Balances of US Democracy

          President Nixon first developed the idea of "Fast Track" in 1973 as a way to secure Congressional approval of trade agreements, and it has been a key to passing many unpopular agreements such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA. As people have caught on to the offshoring of jobs and other detrimental consequences of these agreements, civil society now understands how important it is to not allow a president to circumvent the democratic role of Congress. Fast Track expired in 2007, so President Obama must have it re-instated in order to pass the TPP. His administration is moving to have Fast Track approved and hopes it will happen by this summer.

          Under Fast Track, the president was allowed to negotiate and sign trade agreements with whatever countries the executive branch selected - all before Congress voted on the agreement. Fast Track meant that the Congressional committee processes were circumvented and the executive branch was empowered to write lengthy implementing legislation for each trade pact without Congress. These executive-only authored bills required US law to conform to the trade agreement. For example, Glass-Steagall had to be repealed under President Clinton to conform to the WTO. And, Fast Track empowered the president to submit the executive-branch written bill for a mandatory vote within a set number of days, with all amendments forbidden, normal Senate rules waived, and debate limited in both chambers of Congress. Fast Track clearly undermined democracy.

          Indeed, Fast Track turned the US Constitution on its head. Under Article I Section 8, Congress has exclusive authority "to regulate commerce with foreign nations" and to "lay and collect taxes [and] duties." Under the Constitution, the president is empowered to negotiate treaties, but Congress must vote to approve them. Thus, Fast Track took constitutional power from Congress and prevented the checks and balances needed to prevent an imperial presidency.

          For most of the history of the United States, treaties and trade agreements went through the normal congressional process described in the Constitution. Fast Track is a relatively new concept that coincides with an era of increasing presidential power, which includes the power to declare war and to murder US citizens without warning or judicial oversight. If Congress had reviewed agreements such as the WTO and NAFTA beforehand and civil society had been able to participate in a democratic process, would the United States have made the mistake of passing these laws that have so injured our economy and others?

          Fast Track is very unpopular, so now President Obama and others who advocate for it do not use the term. Instead they call it by the euphemism "Trade Promotion Authority." But changing the name does not change what it is - a method of ceding the constitutional power of Congress and undermining the checks and balances built into the constitutional framework.

          Congress needs to consider what agreements such as the TPP will do to jobs, trade balances and the environment. Since Nixon, Fast Track has been used by presidents to go way beyond trade and tariffs. These agreements have been used to change US law by establishing "rules related to domestic environmental, health, safety and essential-service regulations, including deregulation of financial services; establishment of immigration policies; creation of limits on local development and land-use policy; extension of domestic patent terms; establishment of new rights and greater protections for foreign investors operating within the United States that extend beyond US law; and even limitation of how domestic procurement dollars may be spent." Thus, not only has the constitutional power of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations been undermined, but a whole host of domestic laws have been rewritten to satisfy international trade….

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:12:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fast track is completely constitutional (0+ / 0-)

            Sure, it isn't how things worked for a long time, but that doesn't mean it isn't constitutional. Not that I like it at all, but it's entirely within the framework of the constitution.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:27:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, according to our Supreme Court... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chuckvw

              ...and Wall Street, MANY quite outrageous realities are "entirely within the framework of the constitution."  Others, such as due process and the rule of law (per what's happening in the mortgage industry) are subjectively interpreted and downright twisted, so that the elites have their way with the rest of society. In other words, it's all about how the constitution's interpreted and tacitly and/or deliberately ignored (if not downright violated) these days, isn't it?

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:42:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's very much within the constitutional (0+ / 0-)

                framework. I don't especially like it, but it is. It's like if some state legislature decided they wanted to just have all their electors be for the democratic party and not have a presidential election. Fucked up, but completely constitutional.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:55:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's up to society to test whether or not... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...something is within or outside of the constitutional framework. That's why we have a legal system, in theory. However, when certain laws are put on the books (i.e.: Patriot Act, and/or a myriad of other acts of Congress, etc., etc.) then that entire process is undermined, now isn't it? On the other side of the coin, that undermining of the Constitution may occur due to the government making a tacit, secret or overt decision to allow violations to occur. (And, this may happen at any level of government, too: Fed'l, State, Municipal, etc.) And, then we must refer back to the first portion of this comment for guidance (as well).

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:40:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Technically within the framework, (0+ / 0-)

              but with the intention -- a genuine representative government, open and accessible in its processes and legislation (with restrictions on who gets represented) -- it stomps that entirely.


              Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

              by Jim P on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:00:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The separation of powers (0+ / 0-)

                is a technical framework, not an intentional one. You can look at the use of the commerce clause for an illustration of that.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:04:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Nope, treaties cannot be unconstitutional in the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern, chuckvw

          same way that other laws can be. They are considered "the supreme law of the land" by the constitution itself up to the amount of power that the congress itself wields. So as long as congress would have the power to do anything required by the treaty, and it appears that it would as congress has fairly broad powers, then the treaty will be considered constitutional. What exactly would you see a s unconstitutional in the treaty?

          At the same time, there's no legal reason a later congress can't make laws that are not allowed under the treaty thus abrogating it after it has been agreed upon. Ultimately, the treaty won't be directly enforced, it will require the US government to act in certain ways and pass certain laws to remain in the treaty. International law is a weird beast.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:15:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The U.S. Constitution (0+ / 0-)

          ...brought to you by your friends at Citizens United and viewers like you...

          Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit. --Edward R. Murrow

          by chuckvw on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:26:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The "contain China" policy is also a big part (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, kovie, chuckvw

      of this. The idea is to strengthen ties with those surrounding China so as to make it easier to keep them in line.

      As a Neoliberal Obama shares the Conservative axiom that "Business is Everything." Basically, Trickle Down. Businesses get rich, they spread their largess through creating jobs, the jobs lift everyone, eases and erases social barriers, etc.

      Hence, nothing Big Business wants is bad. Take care of them, and the lesser sorts will benefit down the road.

      People forget that one concern of the young rebellious Liberals of the 60s was that the US was, by far, the biggest holder of wealth, user of all resources, possessor of life's amenities -- like 40% of the world's wealth, half the use of oil, 75% of consumer goods... Not those %ages exactly, but on that order.

      And it was understood that inevitably that would have to even out if world conflict was to be minimized. Europe was recovering from WWII finally, and the other continents all needed to be lifted out of poverty.

      What happened, though, is that a faction which considered itself the most sophisticated decided that meant kow-towing to business was the only way to get there.

      In essence, it echoes the view of the late 18th-early 19thC that Trade was the way to avoid War.

      The theory has some serious lacks, however.


      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:57:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mean late 19th & early 20th (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, AoT, chuckvw

        A belief that economically interdependent and affluent trading partners (who just happened to have huge and competing empires that were the primary source of their wealth) could not possibly go to war against each other.

        Other than that minor WWI thingee.

        I think it's a bit simplistic to call Obama a neoliberal, which tends to be about mostly economic policy. Rather, I see him as a subscriber to that long since disproven belief that free trade plus government run by experts and elites according to "scientific" principles was the one and only path towards universal peace and prosperity, and if done right would inevitably lead to it. Also, that most people, rich and poor and in-between, are basically good and mean well, and if only they can be brought together, will find ways to benefit all.

        I.e. he's a fool. And conveniently so. Intentionally I believe. These discredited and silly beliefs are a subconscious cop-out mechanism to allow one to avoid the truly hard, messy and risky process of real reform, something he seems to instinctively recoil from, perhaps after having seen both his parents attempts it and fail, and after his brief experience as a community organizer. Like many, he has seen how the world really works and, preferring to avoid its complexities and difficulties, has tried to find magical ways around it. He will fail at it.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:52:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you describe there is a neoliberal (0+ / 0-)

          To the T. He's completely bought into the ideology. He considers himself a technocrat and surrounds himself with the same.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:32:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess I view neoliberalism (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            as mostly confined to technical economic ideology having to do with interest rates, tax policy and regulation, that dispenses with the 19th century moral underpinnings of the classical liberalism that neoliberalism is based on, whereas I see Obama's ideology as being closer to classical liberalism with all its ideas about moral and personal behavior.

            I.e. he's a moral scold in addition to an economic neoliberal, which I find all the more astounding given that he was basically a pothead slacker in his youth, hardly one to lecture others about sacrifice and self-indulgence. None more zealous than the recently converted, I guess.

            Obviously, we can't tell if he really believes in this crap (and it is crap--I'm much more of a libertarian than a liberal when it comes to personal morality, and I absolutely reject economic neoliberalism), or if it's just convenient cover for doing what's best and easiest for him and his friends. But I'm guessing it's the latter. He's not a sincere person, and everything is calculated with him.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 01:02:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The moral scold aspect is important to (0+ / 0-)

              neoliberalism as a justification for the treatment of the poor. Austerity is good because it forces people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, etc. It is really a conservative position more than a liberal one. It's essentially the belief that we should oppress everyone equally based only on economic class. He wasn't governing completely as a neoliberal at the beginning, but he's swung around now.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 01:28:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Like many I use the term neoliberalism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                loosely, to refer to a certain economic ideology, but I'm wondering if you could refer me to a more precise, commonly accepted interpretation of the word, especially its origins and sources. Who are its "founders"? Can it be traced to Schumpeter, Hayek and Friedman, or elsewhere?

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:06:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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