Bill Black: Obama’s Vain Search for a TPP “Legacy”

Yves here. This post confirms what readers know all to well, that Obama will use every opportunity to sell out the middle class to corporate interests.

One thing to bear in mind is that opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and its ugly sister, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, do not split on simply party lines. This fall, when Obama was unable to get enough votes to get “fast track” approval, which the Executive Branch uses to force an up-down vote on a final trade deal, denying Congress the opportunity to influence its contents, whip counts showed that nearly 40 Republicans in the House were prepared to join Democrats in opposing it. How the numbers would break now is an open question, but that means it is worth your time and effort to call your Congressman and let them know you are firmly opposed to these toxic trade deals.

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives

The banksters have given Obama an important political opportunity – which he has spurned. The very first thing the new Republican majorities sought to do with their power was to use the Omnibus bill to extort the first of many cuts designed to destroy the Volcker rule. Naturally, Obama agreed and wouldn’t join the Democratic wing of the Party when they could have easily stopped the giveaway if they had received even mild help from the administration. Instead, the administration lobbied hard for the Omnibus bills’ Christmas gift to banksters.

Next, the Republicans sought to slip another big delay in the effective date of provisions of the Volcker bill through Congress. Progressive Democrats killed that attempt. The Obama administration couldn’t even bring itself to feign rage at the effort to gut the Volcker rule.

These Republican efforts were (a) substantively awful, (b) designed to eviscerate the key Dodd-Frank provision purportedly supported by Obama as a vital reform, and (c) would have been incredibly unpopular with the public and the Tea Party – if Obama had stirred himself to mount a public campaign opposing them ala Elizabeth Warren. But Obama never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to side with the American people against the banksters.

The Travesty Known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The third strike is that Obama has decided to ally with the Chamber of Commerce, the perennial ally of the Koch Brothers – the people that have demonized Obama and Democrats for seven years – to get “fast track” authority approved so he can pass one of the plutocrats’ great dreams – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama has also allied himself with the Business Roundtable, the CEOs of the 100 largest U.S. corporations. The Business Roundtable is also a bitter opponent of Democrats and Obama’s health policies. Obama has shaken off his torpor to energetically lobby the business lobbyists to pressure Democratic members of Congress to support TPP.

The obvious conclusion is that Obama’s paramount goal is to remain BFFs with the banksters. As those who listened to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s famous denunciation of the effort to use the Omnibus bill to begin to gut the Volcker rule will recall, Obama has brought the bankers inside the tent to rig the system against the workers. As she explained, Obama is notorious for placing wealthy Citigroup officials inside the government where they set key government economic policies. One of those wealthy and powerful Citigroup officials is Michael B. Froman, who is also a Robert Rubin protégé. It just gets better and better. Froman is Obama’s top trade negotiator, which helps explain why TPP is such a substantive disgrace that Froman is desperate to prevent the American people from knowing what is about to be done to them.

Froman has deliberately made it impossible for members of Congress to understand TPP’s provisions by not allowing them and their staff to have copies of the documents, which are very long, complex, and full of arcane legalese. The drafts also cannot be fully understood without knowing which corporate lawyers secretly drafted them with the intent of aiding their corporate clients by disadvantaging competitors and workers.

At this juncture, if you’re not already familiar with TPP you should be asking yourself, “if the draft agreement is so secret that members of Congress are not permitted to have copies of it, how did the corporations and their attorneys not only get copies of the drafts, but actually craft the drafts for the private benefit of their clients?” You also should be appalled. Obama and Froman’s TPP is being designed and handled in a fashion that reads like the playbook was designed by someone who was trying to take all the worst aspects of crony capitalism and use them to loot the public for the benefit of the world’s most rapacious and politically powerful plutocrats. Obama and Froman aren’t dumb, they know that their natural allies on TPP are the Chamber of Commerce, big pharma, and the Business Roundtable who are salivating at the prospects of what their lawyers secretly drafted becoming law.

To compound the disaster, Obama and Froman are demanding that Congress adopt TPP under “fast track” procedures in which no amendments to delete or rectify even the worst abuses emerging from the plutocrats’ plundering of America via the secret (from the public) drafting process are permitted. The members of Congress would be allowed only a single up or down vote on the entire package with minimal time for consideration and debate. When Warren aptly describes the system as being rigged against ordinary Americans she is talking about scandals like the TPP.

The TPP Can be Stopped

Larry Summers is not the Chairman of the Federal Reserve because progressives stopped Obama’s effort to please the banksters. Progressives blocked TPP last year. The New York Times reported on January 8, 2015 that progressives are gearing up to do the same the same to the TPP, and this is an issue on which most Americans oppose the TPP and Obama’s latest secret giveaway to the plutocrats.

WASHINGTON — President Obama is facing new opposition from fellow Democrats to one of his top priorities: winning the power to negotiate international trade agreements and speed them through Congress.

As Mr. Obama works to secure the so-called trade promotion authority, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers and activists from organized labor, environmental, religious and civil rights groups is stepping up efforts to stop him.

“This is one of the broadest advocacy coalitions that we’ve had,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who is leading the opposition. “There is no reason why we should exacerbate the loss of jobs or lower wages in the United States.

They argue that the president is asking for carte blanche to hammer out trade deals that would cost American jobs, weaken food safety and financial regulations, and undermine environmental and labor standards.

The same article demonstrated that the Obama administration is so blind to the interests of the American people that it doesn’t yet understand how to try to defend TPP without exposing its folly. This is the administration’s incredible response to criticisms of the TPP.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said the concerns were misplaced, given Mr. Obama’s determination to agree only to deals that were beneficial to American companies.

Thanks Josh, it reaffirms my faith in America’s corporate lawyers to hear you confirm that letting them have access to secret trade documents so that they could secretly draft those trade documents to benefit their corporate clients results in documents that will be “beneficial to [the] American companies” (or more precisely their CEOs) that those lawyers represent. Thank heavens the corporations won’t have to bring malpractice suits against their lawyers. After all, if you can’t benefit the CEO when you get to secretly draft the deal to favor the CEO then you must be an immensely incompetent lawyer. As a law professor, married to law professor, I am pleased to hear that our graduates can succeed in making their plutocrat clients even wealthier when they are engaged in the legal drafting equivalent of shooting fish in a very small barrel with a double-barreled shotgun.

I hope you are sitting down when you read this Josh, because it will obviously come as a shock to you, but the problem is that what is “beneficial to” the corporate CEOs will often be harmful to American consumers, workers, and investors. When you are trying to defend the TPP you need to resist these tendencies towards honesty. You’re not supposed to admit that you know that the TPP is designed to enrich the Nation’s largest corporations and wealthiest CEOs. Josh, though I have never had a job as a shill, I consider it likely that your boss thinks that your job is to make it appear that the administration drafted the TPP to help the American people. Indeed, while I recognize that Obama has said that he is “at heart” a “blue-dog Democrat,” I am fairly sure that a president of the Democratic Party is supposed to make it appear that the TPP was drafted to help American workers. I know, that’s a lot of hypocrisy to spout, but I’m inclined to believe that your job is claim that a trade deal that will be (net) terrible for American workers is a fabulous deal for American workers
Alternatively, given that the big automobile companies (two-thirds of which were bailed out by the Treasury) were the second biggest spenders on lobbying to pervert the TPP into a means to further enrich their CEOs, you could simply channel your inner Charlie Wilson and declare that you have always thought that what was “good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

Here are the two basic problems with channeling Charlie Wilson. First, when you are negotiating a deal to help the American people and workers, rather than the corporation and CEO, you have no reason to conceal the terms from Congress and the public. You do the opposite, you solicit the views of Congress and the public and ensure that they have complete access to the drafts. We have known for thousands of years that “All those that doeth evil hateth the light.” Justice Brandeis was correct that “sunlight is … the best of disinfectants.” TPP cannot survive sunlight, which is why Froman and Obama settled on a strategy of hiding the TPP’s terms in the deepest of shadows.

Second, you would never allow corporate lobbyists and lawyers to secretly craft a trade deal. If you do let them craft the deal they will, 100 percent of the time, favor the interests of the CEOs at the expense of the public, consumers, and investors.

Obama is Manipulated Again by Big Business’ Siren Song of a “Legacy”

Obama sought, for years, to negotiate a “Grand Bargain” with the Republicans to attack the safety net and inflict austerity on the United States. This was economically illiterate, a betrayal of his campaign promises, vicious to those in need, and politically suicidal. (In short, it was just like the TPP.) As I explained in several prior articles, Obama’s efforts to commit what was really the “Grand Betrayal” would have made him a one-term President. The siren song that Timothy Geithner and Bill Daley used to convince Obama to commit this betrayal was the promise that by betraying his supporters he would establish a “legacy” as a “statesman.” Even though it should be obvious to Obama by now that Geither and Daley were conning him by appealing to his vanity, the sad truth is that the same tactics have proven successful with Obama on the TPP. Consider this gem from the Washington Post:

[The TPP] will test [Obama’s] willingness to buck his own party in pursuit of a legacy-burnishing achievement.

The search for a “legacy” near the end of a term of office is a well-known Washington disease that Ecclesiastes 2 warned against – vanity. Lobbyists sing the siren song of “legacy” to induce behavior in lame duck leaders that is otherwise inexplicable. Note that the Washington Post, in a purported news story, treats it as if it were fact that betraying his promises and giving business lobbyists and lawyers the ability to secretly draft deals that will make corporate CEOs wealthy at the expense of the American people would be “a legacy-burnishing achievement” for Obama. I still hope we live in a Nation in which Presidents who betray their word and the people of our Nation in the vain pursuit of creating a “legacy” actually produce a legacy of shame. It will help the reader to know that the paper’s leadership pushes relentlessly in favor of the TPP.

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  1. steviefinn

    I remember the day that Obama got elected – I was on a stand at the worst giftware show anyone could remember in Dublin. I also remember there was for the most part a feeling from those present that ” The great black hope ” would be a force for positive change. I now imagine his legacy could end up as being remembered for being the very opposite – assuming enough people get the facts that is.

    1. diptherio

      There was a spontaneous parade in my little town when the 2008 results came in. Bunch of college students and Dems all cheering and delirious. I just watched the commotion from my apartment window and thought, “suckers.”

      Obama’s presidency has been the major force for disenchantment for my generation. Most people in their ealy-mid 30s (at least in my circle) thought Clinton was mostly alright and actually believed that electing a “black community organizer” was going to turn this country around. As an anarchosyndaclist type, I almost have to thank the man for driving so many of my cohort to increased radicalism. If Obama had actually prosecuted a few banksters, Occupy would probably never have happened, or at least not spread so far and fast.

      The neo-libs/cons are over-playing their hand, methinks, and are making eventual blowback by the population at large increasingly likely.

      1. Jason Ipswitch

        The elites think they can handle the blowback when it eventually happens. Thats what the domestic surveillance, “terrorism”, and militarized police are all about. But it appears to me that crushing domestic dissent is a backup. I suspect their primary plan is to start a war as a distraction.

      2. different clue

        Will the eyes that the Clintonite Obamacrats have opened be enough to make up for the poverty, penury, and paupery that the Clintonite Obamacrats have engineered for the next few decades?

  2. flora

    The WaPo ought to use the correct description. It’s not “legacy-burnishing”, it’s “resume-burnishing” for Obama’s post-presidential corporate positions.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Oh please. Show a little imagination. Do you think Obama will ever spend a dime again? A popular President can slap his name on ghost written fictions and make a fortune. He’ll, look at Al Gore. Obama has moved on to monuments and his place in history. Right now, his library is thin which is why he is desperate for a fp accomplishment because those aren’t often questioned.

      Michelle’s cook book =$$$
      Bland memoir=$$$
      Speech circuit=$$$ Obama wants to beat Clinton on this, and without anything to talk about, he won’t be the draw Bill is.

      This way Obama can still be a celebrity.

      1. different clue

        I believe the Al Gore family was modestly rich before he ever attained office. Am I wrong? I believe Al Gore has harvested a lot less money than Clinton has or than Obama expects to . . . . though more than Carter has, I suppose.

        1. ogee

          Al Gore is the son of Al Gore the senator from tennesee. His family is in the political class since at least the creation of the TVA days. But they weren’t “rich”. Now they’re Rich. With the marriage of his daughter to a Schiff. Who are blood kin and business trustee’s with the Rothschilds in Banking. His daughter kareninna, is a real contender for office some day, but her new hubby’s money may just keep her on the socialite circuit. A similar thing is true of Chelsea Clinton, But her beau’s family fortune doesn’t run so deep. As far as I know.

    2. jrs

      Yes exactly it’s not about “what history will say” or future biographers. I’s about the $$$$$$$$.

      Nothing to talk about is better than “I put the final nail in the coffin of the middle class and sold out local and national sovereignty” to talk about you would think.

      1. jrs

        Or perhaps he’s looking for a legacy like this:

        [Obama] Vulgar.
        1) curse word. Example. When I stubbed my toe I let out a: “fu<#in s()it O#bam#!'.
        2) used as a synonym for depravity
        3). something burned in effigy to protest corrupt government practices. Burning the likeness of former president Barrack Obama is a widespread means of protesting government corruption
        4) often said after one spits, similar to saying "excuse me" after sneezing. [hurls a wad of spit] "Obama!". Not considered vulgar when used this way.

        1. scraping_by

          Remember that a ‘legacy’ can also translate to cold, hard cash. It’s not just the Taj Mahal presidential library and the university institutes. It’s million dollar speaking fees and six figure seats on a board of directors. It’s a consultant job lobbying the government (think Carlyle Group). And these days, it’s lots of lovely, lovely checks; the Clinton Foundation was north of $250 million a year after it was established.

          It can work the other way, too. President Truman busted unions, laid the groundwork for the MIC, and resurrected the Republican Party with the Cold War. But the day after he left office, it was “Harry who?”

          Don’t think of Obama’s legacy as vanity. Think of it as future earnings.

  3. TedWa

    This is a coup of the American government and democracy and Obama and ilk should be prosecuted for conspiracy. These trade deals are no less than traitorous.

  4. Mike K.

    With this in mind, would everyone please also actively shame Bill Clinton for NAFTA and all the damage Summers did while he was in that administration?

  5. buffalo cyclist

    Fast track is just a method to force TPP through without any public debate or discussion. It only gives Congress thirty days to vote on the proposal once Obama has submitted it to Congress and identified what US laws would have to change to comply with the TPP. This is insufficient time for the public to know what’s in TPP, which, of course, is a feature not a bug of fast track. There are a lot of corporate giveaways in TPP that could not pass as stand alone pieces of legislation. Once passed, TPP cannot be repealed or amended without causing a huge diplomatic uproar, meaning that TPP, if passed, is unrepealable.

    The rhetoric coming from the administration about how they need “fast track” to pass TPP is disingenuous as the Constitution (which Obama continues to ignore) clearly states that treaties must pass the Senate with a two-thirds vote. If TPP is so important, it should be submitted to the Senate as a treaty.

  6. RUKidding

    I’m rather doubtful that Obama gives a crap anything as nebulous as legacy. Yes, he’s an egotistical sociopath, but nearly anyone (especially these days) who is POTUS is that. At any rate, Obama achieved his legacy on the day he was elected in 11/2008, and it can never be taken away from him: first AA POTUS.

    Beyond that, what does Mr. Hopey-Changey Peace Prize care about, except money & lots of it. Frankly, that is Obama’s real legacy, and I have no doubt he’s been totally promised gargantuan amounts of the ready once he races madly through there revolving door. I’m sure he can’t wait.

    Who’s cares about trifling piffles like TPP? For Obama, anyway, he’ll dance to the tunes that his corporate fascist masters tell him to, but at the end of the day? Show me the money! If Keystone or TPP or whatever doesn’t go through?? Too bad, so sad, look at all of my money money money…. then he can go work on his golf game, which seems eminently more important to him anyway. Murdering people in the ME? Hey, Jordan: what’s my handicap again?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama is a narcissistic clown. Legacy is his obsession. He just isn’t a visionary.

    2. different clue

      I strongly suspect that the size of Obama’s payoff later will depend on the size of Obama’s achievements while in office. He will be paid for securing Obamacare. He will be paid more for achieving TPP and TTIP then he will be paid for trying and failing. He will be paid more for cutting Social Security than he will be payed for failing to cut Social Security. etc. So yes, Obama cares very badly about whether TTP/TTIP passes or not. The size of his payoff depends on whether they pass or not.

  7. Susan the other

    I’ll stick with my new favorite question for Mr. Obama and his handlers: Why is the new free trade agreement pushed by the neoliberal cartel an all-or-nothing proposition? Why must it exclude all other trade arrangements as well as national laws protecting the environment and specific industries important to a nation’s economy. Why is neoliberal free trade so fragile that even a little dent in it’s legalese is a disaster which could bring down the whole festering mess? And along those same lines, why doesn’t the anti TPP faction in congress write their own trade laws to counteract this obvious usurpation of our government by a global financial elite? That is practically treason.

  8. cnchal

    Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said the concerns were misplaced, given Mr. Obama’s determination to agree only to deals that were beneficial to American companies.

    Sometimes Bill can really give himself a swirly.

    I know, that’s a lot of hypocrisy to spout, but I’m inclined to believe that your job is claim that a trade deal that will be (net) terrible for American workers is a fabulous deal for American workers

    Is Bill insisting that it is Josh’s job to lie to the American People to get the TPP passed?

    I commend Josh for his honesty. The President cares about corporations so much that he will let them write laws in secret.

    As I explained in several prior articles, Obama’s efforts to commit what was really the “Grand Betrayal” would have made him a one-term President. The siren song that Timothy Geithner and Bill Daley used to convince Obama to commit this betrayal was the promise that by betraying his supporters he would establish a “legacy” as a “statesman.”

    A narcissist, well played.

  9. flora

    per Prof. Black: ” Obama and Froman’s TPP is being designed and handled in a fashion that reads like the playbook was designed by someone who was trying to take all the worst aspects of crony capitalism and use them to loot the public for the benefit of the world’s most rapacious and politically powerful plutocrats. ”

    The play has already worked once.
    see: Affordable Care Act, ACA, and Jonathan Gruber’s remarks concerning passage of same.

    1. kimsarah

      The trick is to generate an emergency or disaster of some sort — economic crash, terrorist attack, war — then have to rush these agreements through Congress, with no time for questions — just like the bailouts. Hell, they’re probably emboldened enough to just rush it through anyway, without even bothering to create an emergency.

  10. different clue

    Professor Black is being entirely too kind to Obama with regard to ascription of motive. Obama was never “lured” by Daly and such into seeking a “legacy”. Obama is consciously working hard to increase the size of the payoff he expects to recieve from his OverClass owner-sponsors after he leaves office. He himself said he didn’t mind being a “good” one-term President. By “good”, Obama meant good enough to his super-rich patrons that they would pay him hundreds of millions of dollars over his private-citizen lifetime in return for the hundreds of billions of dollars they expect him to steal for them from Social Security, etc. Obama’s eyes were always clear and open on that score.
    His “legacy” is big money and the rich reward to come. That’s all the “legacy” he cared about or ever will care about.

  11. Erik the Red

    Could someone point me in the direction of a cogent analysis of all that the TPP is and is not? I’m a bit late to the party here. Great site.

  12. KenG

    Since the election, Obama has now announced five major policy initiatives:

    1) Net neutrality
    2) Immigration reform in the face of the Republicans refusal to act (they can do something if they want)
    3) Climate agreement with China
    4) Establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba
    5) Suggesting free community college for all Americans

    I’m hoping he has been supporting TPP with the expectation that Republicans will oppose anything he is in favor of.

    1. Splashoil

      Yes just more eleventh chess. Was your list of aspirations mistakenly posted here instead of Daily Kos?

        1. Splashoil

          Well if that is all you got take all five years worth of his aspirations to the bank and cash them out. Come back and tell us how much you got. Most of us know the value of those aspirations by now. President Zero.

          1. KenG

            That wasn’t 5 years (it’s actually six now, but who’s not counting?), it was just the past two months. He did waste a lot of time trying to compromise, but any Republican willing to compromise was threatened with a primary challenge.

    2. Eduardo Quince

      KenG, your handle is ironically apt for an Obama apologist in light of the following Cornell West quote:

      “He [Obama] posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit,” said West. “It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.”

      1. KenG

        I’ll quote Obama here: “Don’t make perfect the enemy of good. ”

        I can criticize him all day long, but he isn’t all bad, and still better than what our system has given us in the finals for decades. He has obviously favored centrist/corporatist policies, but we would have gotten that and much more with every other candidiate who has ever broken the 20% approval barrier.

        If Obama was the president West wanted, Mitt Romney would be president today. If West and others don’t care, then let me remind you that Nader said there would be no difference between Bush and Gore.

        When negotiating (or even pleading), you don’t start with what you hate, as your negotiations will end there. You start with what you like and go from there. I like (well, love) the five things I just listed, and hope he does stuff like that every couple weeks for the next two years, even if they never happen, just to put the other side on record as being opposed to it.

        People also mistake what he wantes to do with what he is able to do. Obviously, other than the policies he can implement by his executive powers, he’s not going to get much of what he wants (e.g, this Congress will never vote to make community college free for anyone but their kids).

        1. Lambert Strether

          Shorter: “The President is not a dictator.”

          Shorter: “Give him a chance. He’s only been President ___ ____s.”

          Strange to see these memes cropping up still. Oh, and the Nader card!

          1. KenG

            So what should he have done, say in 2010, when he proposed right of center tax plans, only to have the Republicans ignore them? Seriously, what do you think he could have gotten passed the house? The tea party would not compromise on anything, and Boehner would not bring legislation for a vote unless he had enough votes within his own party, which often would not happen.

            So, please enlighten me, and tell me what laws he could have gotten though Congress.

        2. optimader

          1.Once elected BHO could have done whatever the fk he wanted
          2. he did
          3.he was never really interested in working the job. instead “America needs to have a national conversation” –I’ll be golfing

          1. KenG

            He got a health care plan passed. Not anything close to what he wanted, but at least something (he couldn’t get what he wanted because the newly elected Democratic reps who rode his coattails into office abandoned him). Yeah, it only helped maybe 10 million people or so, so who cares?

            Once that passed, his presidency was doomed. This plan infuriated so many Republicans that they vowed not to pass anything else he wanted.

            To say that he didn’t care about his job is nonsense.

            1. Lambert Strether

              “Not anything close to what he wanted.” Assumes facts not in evidence, unless you’re referring to the presence of the mandate, which Obama decried during the 2008 campaign, a defalcation so gross even Krugman called him out on it.

    3. jrs

      On a post about a very real trade agreement agenda being pushed by Obama and the very real threat to democracy that it represents, you would rather change the subject to what you admit is legislation probably never likely to be passed. This seems inability to deal with reality to me.

      1. KenG

        I mentioned those initiatives (four of which do not require congressional approval) not to change the subject, only to imply where his true loyalty lies. I don’t understand why he would support TPP, and my comment was basically that I am hoping he really doesn’t want it to pass, and is only pushing it because the Republicans seem to vote against everything he does want.

          1. KenG

            That’s not what I was implying at all. But go ahead, translate my comments into cliches, if they test the limits of your comprehension.

            1. Lambert Strether

              The “shorter” formula, as you now know if you did not, omits needless words, replacing them by a short form restatement, without loss of meaning.

              That’s the service I rendered you. It’s not my problem that you think in cliches, without being able to write them concisely. You’re welcome.

    4. Lambert Strether

      So he wants to play “revolving hero,” now that the Democrats, based on their execrable track record, have managed to lose both the House and the Senate. I mean, seriously, I’m supposed to get excited because Obama “suggests” something? The time for action was 2009….

  13. kiers

    Is there still a middle class to betray anymore?
    after reagan sold manufacturing jobs to china, after wall street sold the rest of what was left to themselves, what can showbama sell?

    1. David

      you know John, that’s what I keep thinking – Fromer and whomever else works on this treaty or votes for it, by ceding sovereignty, is committing treason. But then I don’t know – that is a very serious charge and this is not my area of expertise. I am thinking I’ll ask my representatives to clarify it for me. I assume they’ll know, if they have been able to see drafts.

      1. Lambert Strether

        “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

        Hard to see, at least from the Civics 101 perspective, how TPP would fit here. OTOH, (1) what is a lost war but the ultimate expression of lack of sovereignty; (2) nobody said that “Enemies” had to be states; they could be corporations; and (3) the definition of “war” has been considerably expanded in the last decades, and it would be interesting to hoist the elite with their own petard.

        1. David

          Thank you for that – remedial, but that’s where I am with some – ok, most – of this stuff. And as far as OTOH, I’d wager one could find a lawyer who would issue a finding to suit.

  14. Globus Pallidus XI

    An intelligent commentary, but still, a little sad that after all this time we still hear about how Obama is being ‘misled’. It should be obvious to all that Obama is in no way being misled, he is what he appears to be: a stone-cold con artist, suckering the American people for money.

    Actually I think that the TPP really could give Obama a legacy. I’m thinking, conservatively, 50 million dollars (not counting all the hundreds of millions he will get for services already rendered). Not a trivial legacy at all. That is why he wanted to become president, after all.

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