Obama Lame Duck Watch: House Democrats Stymieing Trade Deal “Fast Track;” Silicon Valley Surveillance Payoff Language Published

As we discussed earlier, even though there’s abundant evidence that the Administration’s plans to push through its trade deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transstlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, are in trouble, the official messaging has been to keep pretending that the pacts are still moving forward smartly. Up to a point, that’s normal dealmaking; you try to create an impression of momentum and inevitability. But when the noisemaking is so at odds with facts on the ground, the degree of delusion starts to look embarrassing.

We aren’t there yet on these misnamed trade deals, but we are getting mighty close (as we’ve recounted at length in previous posts, as well as on Bill Moyers with Dean Baker, these pacts have perilous little to do with trade, they are really about enriching Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Big Pharma, financial services firms, and multinationals, while crippling the ability to impose regulations of all sorts, including wage protections). For instance, last year, after a secret negotiating session in Bali in the fall, State Department officials kept insisting to visibly incredulous members of the press that the deal would be wrapped up by year end. Based on the known opposition of some potential signatories to important provisions (for instance, Malaysia and Chile opposed restrictions on capital controls), there was no way agreement could be reached in the remaining sessions. After this chat with the press, a Wikikeaks release of a markup of an important chapter, that on intellectual property, showed how virtually all of the substantive provisions were contested by many, in some cases almost all, of the US’s supposed “partners” in this agreement.

Just as the the foreign negotiators are digging in their heels over the Administration’s overreaching and bullying, quite a few Congressmen fail to see why they should throw their constituents under the bus to help Obama get funding for his presidential library. This is an election year, and it was apparently not lost on members of the House that so-called Blue Dog Democrats (a neoliberal voting bloc that fell in with Obama’s policies) were almost entirely turfed out by voters in 2010.

Huffington Post tells us that the Administration’s efforts to get so-called fast track authority, which the negotiators claim is critical to getting a deal done, looks to be going pear-shaped in the House. While we’ve written previously about significant opposition (both Democrats and Republicans had circulated letters against the bills and gotten an impressive amount of support, but not enough to give the opponents a clear majority), it is looking as if the nays might carry the day:

House Democrats balked Thursday at a bill designed to clear congressional hurdles for President Barack Obama’s controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. By refusing to put forward a co-sponsor for the legislation, House Democrats have significantly hampered the prospects for the bill’s passage…

Nevertheless, Boehner said at a Thursday press conference that he cannot pass the bill without Democratic help.

“I’ve made clear to the president that this can’t pass unless there is bipartisan support for it,” Boehner said. “And this goes back months, and yet we’ve seen scant attention to this issue by the administration in terms of encouraging Democrat leaders and Democrat members to stand up and vote for it.”

The Obama administration did attempt to drum up Democratic support, according to sources familiar with the effort, particularly with an aggressive effort to win over Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.). Kind is co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a group traditionally sympathetic to corporate interests, but he also is frequently mentioned as a potential gubernatorial or senatorial candidate in his home state of Wisconsin, where labor unions wield significant political clout. Neither Kind nor any other House Democrat agreed to co-sponsor the Fast Track bill, which was introduced by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the Senate…

“The president has failed to find someone who is willing to introduce the bill. He’s got over 200 members to cultivate from, some of whom would like to have his support in the next election. But Democratic members are extremely skeptical of this,” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) told HuffPost.

So Boehner has said he can’t deliver the votes himself, yet the Administration can’t even get a sponsor or much (any?) shift in Democratic votes even after whipping.

It probably didn’t help that close readers found payoff-to-Silicon-Valley language on page 18 of the recently-abandoned Senate fast track language (Glenn Greenwald was one; I was alerted separately by a DC insider):

C) to ensure that governments refrain from implementing trade related measures that impede digital trade in goods and services, re-strict cross-border data flows, or require local storage or processing of data;

So this, for instance, this provision would prohibit the imposition of a data tax proposed by France as a way to deal with “base erosion,” which is bureaucrat-speak for the tricks tech firms like Google, Apple, and Twitter play to avoid paying European taxes. European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has voiced strong support for the idea.

But the Senate language thus doesn’t just help preserve the profits of major US technology players and data brokers; just as important, it allows the NSA to continue to use them as vehicles for spying. This provision would also task the Administration to use the trade deal to bar a proposed EU proposal to fine firms that violate privacy laws by giving information to the NSA and the GHCQ. From the Telegraph last October:

Britain will clash with France on Thursday over European Union data protection laws that will cost British businesses £360m every year as Europe tries to wrest control of the internet away from America.

Following revelations of American spying, France is backing EU proposals to hit Google, or any other company, sharing information with the American intelligence services with massive fines of up to 5pc of global revenue.

Thus the inclusion of this language is a strong bit of evidence (as if we needed it) supporting the idea that the ire of Silicon Valley firms over the Snowden revelations is all kabuki. If they were really against surveillance, as they piously claim to be, you’d see them lobbying against this language so they could argue that the possibility of crippling fines from the EU (or the huge costs, financially and strategically, of having to abandon that market), meant they had no choice but to refuse to help the surveillance state. This gambit is hardly unheard of; the Japanese regularly used “gaiatsu” or foreign pressure, as the justification for doing things that would otherwise be difficult politically. So we’ve finally got evidence of where the big tech firms’ loyalties lie, and rest assured, they are not to you.

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  1. Ulysses

    Thanks so much for all of your careful attention to this issue! I’m still apprehensive that a bit of window-dressing, that provides cover for Congresscritters to grant fast-track authority while appearing not to, may be attempted. If we start hearing about a “compromise” agreed to in secret White House meetings it will be a bad sign. Especially if said compromise involves setting up commissions with a few token “representatives of labor and environmental interests” (quislings) to study any “unintended adverse consequences to ordinary Americans” of this secretly crafted power grab by 600 corporate lawyers.

    1. jrs

      So I was wondering if we knew the names of the 600 companies, so we could try to have as little to do with them as possible.

      This spreadsheet claims to be a list

      Although very broad trade repesentatives so harder to boycott, I mean what am I supposed to do boycott paper to punish the paper products reps? :) But some are well known corporations.

      1. Fiver

        Walmart’s second on the print-screen you linked – they’d do nicely as a first up for a new dispensation.

      2. John

        Lookie here Fred Krupp is on the list. He has ALWAYS been in bed with the corporations.
        Fred Krupp Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Advisory Committee for Trade Policy & Negotiations

    2. 1 KIngs

      Public service announcement: Can we please refrain from the ‘congresscritter’ reference and replace with ‘congresscriminal’?

  2. TedWa

    I’ve been writing my Congress people and calling almost daily about the misnamed TPP and the TATIP. It appears they want to fast track it soon? That’s what’s I’m getting from the e-mails. These deals are nothing less than selling out the American people and peoples around the world to corporate interests. I mean, a secret tribunal/court will decide how much our nation and our states owe corporations taxpayers monies for lost profits because we have an EPA??!! This reeks of a global FISA court. And that’s not even the worst of it.
    Why can’t we impeach Obama for being a sociopath? He’s certainly done more than enough to get dragged before a court.

    1. PopeRatzo

      I’ve been writing my Congress people and calling almost daily about the misnamed TPP and the TATIP

      Bless your heart. I was wondering if other people were doing this.

      If you’re not hollering about these horrible international treaties, don’t complain when things get worse for most of us. Go sign a petition, call a congressfool, call somebody and tell them that you will oppose anyone who supports these terrible agreements.

      1. jrs

        Yes of course this has to be addressed politically, I wrote my rep, I’ll try to call. But I also suggest boycotts because we must fight this on many fronts. We can also let the companies know they will pay for trying to reduce us to uh serfdom?

  3. bea

    I don’t think the inclusion of the Silicon Valley paragraph in the Senate draft means that the Silicon Valley firms support the NSA snooping. The obvious tax savings could be the administration’s carrot to the tech companies in an attempt to get them to throw their support behind the bill, despite its clear value to the NSA. Most of the Congresspeople who represent the Silicon Valley are Democrats whose help Obama needs. The key is to find out what those companies are saying publicly and behind closed doors.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is not how the Congressional staffers who have spoken to me about this read it. You seem to have missed that the tech companies are patrons. Tom Ferguson has examined 2012 election donations, and Silicon Valley gave heavily to Obama.

    2. Fiver


      Go back a few stories on Naked Capitalism and there’s an article posted by Lambert Strether. The story featured a speaker expert in all the ways NSA (or someone else) can spy on the public. You will never want to use an electronic device again. The companies have to have been all-in pretty early on given the NSA planning for “going digital” pre-dated 9/11. In any case, at bare minimum, not just every tech firm, but any individual in government or out somehow presented with the information that such a grotesque abuse of Executive power was even contemplated had a positive duty to challenge the legality of NSA’s actions. The US public found out officially about all this in 2013. Tech firms had all this century to act, and did not.

      And here are 2 links that provide some essential facts and context.



  4. TarheelDem

    I took the opportunity yesterday to let my member of Congress and Senators know once again why I oppose the “trade” agreements and the stripping of national sovereignty that they imply.

    As more details come out, it seems that the economic interests served are concentrated in some of the same areas of the country as concentrations of progressives. That means that in a mid-term election year that putting contituent pressure on Congress might have some effect and if it doesn’t the next question when you call a member of Congress is how many zeroes have to be on the check in order for the member of Congress to listen to you. (It used to be four zeroes, but it might have become inflated with more lobbying money around.)

    Nonetheless, this is a wonderful season to have some fun calling Congressional staff about fast-track authority, the TPP and the Trans-Atlantic whatever-the-heck-they-are-calling-it-today.

      1. Carla

        I called my Congressional Representative today and left a detailed message with one of her aides asking her to deny President Obama fast tract authority for the TPP. In response, I received via email, the following reply, which I’m still trying to decipher:

        “Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is an honor to serve as your Representative, and I assure you that I will continue to be a staunch advocate for the American worker and domestic manufacturing in Congress.

        Having grown up and made my life in what is now the Eleventh District, I understand that trade agreements, while they may be the source of expanded markets for producers and greater choice for consumers, can have serious ramifications and unintended consequences. Thus, I am extremely cautious when considering such agreements and particularly value the thoughtful opinion of constituents like you in such matters.

        At the moment, twelve countries, including the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Canada, and Mexico, are involved in TPP negotiations. And the TPP countries collectively represent the United States’ largest trading partner, accounting for 40% of total U.S. goods trade. And not only does the TPP have the potential to be the largest U.S. trade agreement, but it also may be the most comprehensive, with negotiators aiming to liberalize nearly all goods and services trade between member countries. Moreover, some envision the TPP as a template for future trade pacts. Therefore, there is no doubt that the TPP represents one of the most consequential issues that may come before Congress in the near future.

        The United States has been involved in TPP discussions since 2008 and a broad outline of an agreement that would eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment among the parties was announced in 2011. The present negotiations are not being conducted under the auspices of a formal trade promotion authority (TPA), or “fast-track,” but the Obama Administration is following similar procedures. Most experts believe that if the TPP is to be passed, it must be done under a TPA, which allows Congress to define negotiating objectives and, within such a framework, gives the President authority to enter into trade agreements.

        This matter of grave importance to both the nation and the district and I have been active in making sure that the interests of my constituents are represented. I have signed onto a letter that implores the Administration to make sure that it does not neglect the interests of domestic textile producers in TPP discussions. More recently, I joined over 130 of my House colleagues in a letter led by Representatives Rosa DeLauro and George Miller which urges United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk to consult Congress and make the TPP negotiations more open and transparent.

        Your thoughts and concerns are important to me and I thank you for taking an active role in the legislative process. Democracy works best when we stay in touch, so I invite you to sign-up for email updates at fudge.congressnewsletter.net. You can also get late-breaking news at facebook.com/RepMarciaLFudge and twitter.com/RepMarciaFudge.

        I am honored to serve you, so please feel free to contact me at http://www.fudge.house.gov or call my D.C. office (202-225-7032) for any further information.

        Marcia L. Fudge
        Member of Congress”

    1. Lambert Strether

      TarheelDem: Key insight.

      As more details come out, it seems that the economic interests served are concentrated in some of the same areas of the country as concentrations of progressives.

      Would like more detail on that, and it would be interesting to know where Elizabeth Warren stands on it. She’s called for transparency, but that’s not the same as opposing it.

  5. free

    The USA is now a police state. There will be a massive protest in Washington, DC starting May 16, 2014.

    We are past the point of no return and must move forward with an effort to save our nation, as there is no other choice. We are asking, pleading with you, and any others that have resources, national voices, email lists, blogs, FB, Twitter, to call for a non-violent American Spring May 16, 2014 in Washington D.C. We must appeal to ten million and more American patriots to come and stay in Washington, D.C. to stop the White House and Congress from total destruction of the United States. It’s now or never. God help us.


  6. Mel

    I miss Alberto Gonzalez and his candor. When you examined the astonishing things he said, you found they were true. Similarly here: “… fast track authority, which the negotiators claim is critical to getting a deal done …”. Of course. Who would ratify this thing if they got a look at it? The surrender of national sovereignty ought to be a deal-killer for everybody in the room. Nothing could be sufficient recompense for agreeing to never make a decision ever again.

  7. MikeW_CA

    When was the last time a trade pact benefited ordinary working people in any country?
    They absolutely have to fast-track it, because they simply have no arguments in favor to make to the public.

    I called two senators and a congressman about this today.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Little has been written about the countries being made to submit under the bootheel of TPP Corporo-fascisti-Amerika. I’m an expat gladly living in Australia, where we have real minimum wages, excellent available and affordable healthcare, including reasonably-priced pharma, excellent worker protections, and excellent retirement investment programs. These would go away in a keystroke, without anyone in Australia even knowing what hit them. The previous PM (for all his faults) understood and managed the subtleties of the new multi-polar world, but the new Neanderthal model PM Tony Abbott would sell Australia’s sovereignty without even having a clue what he’s just done.
      And the worst TPP provision I’ve read (thank you Wikileaks) is the one that lets doctors patent new procedures. Sure, let’s make advancements in medicine for mankind subordinate to a small group’s desire to make some (more) money. Special place in hell reserved for the people pushing this monstrosity.

  8. Punkyclown

    What? Sorry, but I can not make sense not only of what is in the Trade agreements, but I can not understand what Yves is saying. What wrong with laying it out like this is what the agreement says,
    This what congress thinks, this is what other contries are saying. Instead of all this convoluted language that just goes round and round and makes no sense. I’m sorry but if you are trying to explain and important message you are doing a really poor job. ex. “So this, for instance, this provision would prohibit the imposition of a data tax proposed by France as a way to deal with “base erosion,” which is bureaucrat-speak for the tricks tech firms like Google, Apple, and Twitter play to avoid paying European taxes. European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has voiced strong support for the idea.” What idea?? ex. 2 “But the Senate language thus doesn’t just help preserve the profits of major US technology players and data brokers; just as important, it allows the NSA to continue to use them as vehicles for spying. This provision would also task the Administration to use the trade deal to bar a proposed EU proposal to fine firms that violate privacy laws by giving information to the NSA and the GHCQ”. Huh?? What are you saying, Senseless. ex 3
    “This gambit is hardly unheard of; the Japanese regularly used “gaiatsu” or foreign pressure, as the justification for doing things that would otherwise be difficult politically. So we’ve finally got evidence of where the big tech firms’ loyalties lie” What evidence where? Completely not understandable. And why is this babel necessary, there has got to be a massively better way to explain it than this, PLEASE…
    Brad Hansen

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you can’t understand what I write, please read another blog. As you can see, other readers had no problem with understanding this piece. That means it’s your issue. I’m not writing at a 6th grade level for you.

      1. evodevo

        Unfortunately, it will probably be Glen Beck’s blog or something. One of the problems with TeaBaggers and the working right today, is that no one except Fox Noise will dumb it down for them, and we all know how that ends. The unions used to do this for their members, but they are so toothless and decimated today that that option is no longer feasible. Someone, somewhere needs to start up a blog/broadcast show that will do this, and tailor the content to working people. Ed Schultz tries, but none of the working people I know tune in to MSNBC. I make the attempt to educate where I work, but it’s a drop in the bucket (just call me Sisyphus). We need a billionaire to deficit-finance a workers talk radio network that will penetrate all the major markets that winger talk radio covers today. The people I work with listen to talk radio ALL day, and then go home and watch Fixed News. . Winger propaganda pours into their ears 24/7.
        Until you have the votes at the grassroots level, nothing will change. Meanwhile, the Dems evidently abandon grassroots organizing/education in between Presidential election years.

  9. savedbyirony

    After reading this piece and other articles in the past about the TPP, i was left wondering why anyone would want to volunteer him/herself as a sponsor for the fast tracking bill. (Basically what politically is in it for them; and it will be the same question when Obama finds his Dem. sponsor in the House -which i hope he doesn’t, but it’s hard not to be cynical about this.) Hatch doesn’t surprise me and I see Baucus was nominated by Obama in Dec. to be the next ambassador to China so he won’t have to worry about next election time fallout or what the people back in his home state may telling his office right now about the TPP and fast tracking it. As people here are often very insightful, does anyone have an idea why the probable future ambassador to China (who at present, I’ve read, is being criticized for some close ties to a few Chinese owned business here in the U.S.) would want to be the public co-sponsor of a bill to fast track an agreement that seems to be intended in part as an “everyone but China” deal, as Yves has observed in the past? Why would the administration want their next ambassador to China to do it? Or is the ambassadorship just a payoff Obama had to strike to get him to co-sponsor the fast track bill? Just looking for some ideas.

    As for contacting reps, yup been doing that too. What unfortunately didn’t surprise me over the holidays is how many people i came in contact with at events and get-togethers who had never heard of the TPP. Young, older, blue, pink, white collar -people who follow the news and fancy themselves sufficiently well informed, but probably consider a journalist such as Bill Moyers a little too liberal. People who overwhelming as far as i could poll hate NAFTA. In any event i tried to engage people as best i could under the circumstances and send them in the direction of good information on the TPP deal, but the administration and media has done a first class job of keeping these two deals under-wraps from most people. I’d like to say that it’s primarily because they hadn’t been informed by the news outlets they naively trust. And in part there is much truth to that. But people also seem so worn down. They just don’t want to know about yet another government sell-out.

    1. LucyLulu

      Baucus had already announced he wasn’t running for re-election in 2014 and the race for Senate majority is expected to be closely contested. If Baucus leaves his seat early to head for China, the Dem. governor of Montana will name a temporary successor, allegedly MT’s lt. governor. This appointee would then have an advantage in the Nov. election, running as an incumbent, thus helping to tip the scales in favor of Democrats retaining control of the Senate.

    2. Fiver

      Good point re Baucus. He’s in a position to negotiate with the Chinese, or on behalf of his corporate base’s business with the Chinese, while able to shape the Bill concurrently. As he already knows Obama plays “see-me-not” when it comes to defending the public interest, I’m sure it’s more than worth it for Baucus if he gets a shot.

  10. Fiver

    While I’m certain that an enacted TPP as advertised would be a disaster for the public’s interest in every nation involved, and am hopeful the optimism expressed here proves prescient.

    But forgive me if I say it seems almost too easy, even given the changed atmosphere following the Snowden revelations, the step back from the brink re Syria and the opening of talks with Iran. Nor am I in any way knocking the efforts of all who’ve fought this monstrosity so hard.

    But we know how completely corrupt both the Congress and Admin are. I find it impossible to believe Obama cannot find anyone to co-sponsor, not one old fart or young forgettable who’d take a bag of money to risk co-sponsoring. If he wants one, he’ll find one. It just could be that Obama’s corporate sponsors and Obama agreed that rather than have a big, visible fight over corporate power excess to punting to the next Admin for re-branding, a piecemeal rendering, or even an entirely different mechanism – I am reminded of a fight many years ago to prevent the WTO Multilateral Agreement on Investment. When the public “won” in 1998, alternate avenues were created/utilized – with neoliberalism’s triumph globally, you’d have no idea it was a “win”.

    Some ideas are like zombies and need to be killed over, and over, and over again.

  11. cnchal

    A few days ago, there was this post and a chart with the names of fifteen arbitrators that handle 55% of the ISDR (Investor-State Dispute Resolution) tribunals. These “folks” work all three sides of the street, as judges, and lawyers for both the state and investor.

    One name made me choke. Marc Lalonde! Trudeau’s left hand henchman? I thought he was dead, instead he has masterfully milked the system for the last half century, the last three decades in obscurity.

    One of the aspects of the TPP that needs much more exposure is the idea that investors ( investor = businesses) can sue the state (state = us), and NAFTA provides a guide for how it’s done.

    One of the other Canadian names on that list of arbitrators, Henri C Alvarez wrote an article back in 2001, titled “Arbitration Between States and Investors”.

    In Henri’s words, here is the first paragraph of that article.

    Experience in Arbitrations held under Chapter XI of NAFTA – Henri Alvarez

    Within three years of the entry into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement
    (“NAFTA” or the “Agreement”), we have seen a significant number of claims brought under the
    investor-state arbitration mechanism of that Agreement. Together with the growing number of
    arbitrations brought under bi-lateral investment treaties, the arbitrations conducted pursuant to
    Chapter XI of NAFTA have contributed to a significant increase in the number of arbitrations
    between private investors and States. While the use of arbitration in disputes between such
    parties is not new, the direct access to arbitration by an investor without a pre-existing
    contractual relationship or arbitration agreement is a relatively recent development. Based on the
    general principles underlying ICSID and modern bi-lateral investment treaties, NAFTA Chapter
    XI gives investors a direct right of access to a choice of arbitration rules which may be invoked against the state parties. Chapter XI?s broad investment protection regime and dispute resolution system, in fact, go beyond their predecessors. They create an innovative regime which combines substantive investment protection obligations with important procedural provisions which contain a blend of novel uniform provisions with more familiar aspects of international commercial arbitration.

    Read the rest, and you can sense the mental cash register ringing in Henri’s head.

    Public Citizen points out one aspect that really needs exposure. Equity funds are formed to finance strategic lawsuits against us. This is horrible.

    That the TPP negotiations are conducted in secrecy is no surprise when you think about what their objectives are. Once the paperwork is signed, the sanctity of contract will be shoved in everybody’s face, and we will be milked for the next half century by thousands of Marc Lalondes and their owners.

    The pen is mightier than the sword, but our problem is, those holding the pen also hold the sword.

  12. Lambert Strether

    “Equity funds are formed to finance strategic lawsuits against us” under NAFTA. Link? That really is truly horrific, if true.

    * * *

    And maybe, in our code-driven world, the pen is the sword, or a different kind of sword.

    1. cnchal

      From the link to Public Citizen in this post on slide 9 is this.

      This series of slides is titled TAFTA – Context of the Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

      Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) Tribunals–part 2
      • Tribunals operate behind closed doors – lack basic due process
      • Absolute tribunal discretion to set damages, compound interest, allocate costs
      • No limit to amount of money tribunals can order govts to pay corps/investors
      • Compound interest starting date if violation new norm ( compound interest ordered by
      tribunal doubles Occidental v. Ecuador $1.7B award to $3B plus
      • Rulings not bound by precedent. No outside appeal. Annulment for limited errors.
      • The number of ISDR cases has soared over last decade. Last year cumulative number of
      launched investor-state cases was nine times cumulative investor-state caseload in 2000,
      even though treaties with investor-state provisions have existed since the 1950s.
      • ISDR has birthed an entire industry of specialized lawyers and tribunalists (many serving
      both roles) and specialized equity funds that finance what is lucrative business of raiding
      government treasuries.
      • Nationality-shopping: Philip Morris International plain packaging cases eg.
      • PMI moved head office of Oz subsidiary to Hong Kong shortly before it ISDR attacked
      Oz under HK-Oz Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT); Claimed to be Swiss-based firm to
      launch ISDR attack against Uruguay under Uruguay-Swiss BIT; Described itself as a
      US firm in 2010 USTR submission pro-ISDR in the TPP.
      • Under U.S. FTAs/BITs, investors have already pocketed over $3B in taxpayer money via
      ISDR cases, while more than $15B remains in pending claims. More info: “Table of Foreign
      Investor-State Cases and Claims under NAFTA and Other U.S. Trade Deals,” Public Citizen
      memo, June 2012. Available at: http://www.citizen.org/documents/investor-state-chart.pdf

      NAFTA was originally between Canada and the US, and an election was fought in Canada in 1988 with this trade agreement as a central point of contention. We knew that Mexico was somehow involved, although that was in the distant future, but everybody paying attention realized that aspect was about accessing low cost labor. It was sold to Canadians at the time as a way to gain access to the vast US market, and it worked on both levels. The Conservatives won the election and Canada gained formal access to the US market.

      These trade agreements, NAFTA, CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement), TAFTA(Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement) are mere warmups for the TPP (The Plutocrat’s Plan) however.

      The TPP is being negotiated in secret with the following stakeholders. Big business and their lawyers on one side and a kept in the dark and deliberately misled public on the other. The public will lose, and there will be language in there that obliges us pay big business and their lawyers big money when we get sued by them. The ISDR (Investor-State Dispute Resolutions) tribunals are their password to the taxpayers bank account. The classical tapeworm parasite.

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