Gaius Publius: Ron Wyden, Progressives and the TPP

Yves here. I’m a bit less concerned with doctrinal correctness than siding with someone who happens to be on the right side of an issue. For instance, Elizabeth Warren is doing a fine job of going after big Finance, but that is no reason to give her a free pass for her willingness to go along with the American empire project. Similarly, the fact that Ron Wyden often votes on the left side does not mean voters should go soft on him on the TPP.

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, Americablog, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook.A version of this piece first appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.

Are progressives willing to attack Ron Wyden on TPP? The question isn’t mine — it’s from the National Journal (my emphasis throughout):

Are Progressives Willing to Attack One of Their Own on Free Trade?

Ron Wyden is seen as a strong progressive on many social and security issues, but his views on the Trans-Pacific Partnership may go too far for Oregonian progressives.

In recent months, progressives have been voicing their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And they might try and make an example out of Sen. Ron Wyden over it, even though he’s been a reliable ally for years.

The free trade agreement, which would involve 12 Asia-Pacific countries—including the U.S. along with countries like Mexico, Japan and Canada—could account for 40 percent of global GDP and one-third of all world trade. Progressive groups say that the deal is no good: it could ship more jobs overseas, undercut environmental and labor standards, and increase Internet censorship. The deal’s future may rest with Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and his support for the partnership has some progressives thinking about going after one of their own in their fight against the deal.

Wyden’s support for the partnership has led the Oregon wing of the Working Families Party, a minor political party that supports progressive candidates and causes, to challenge Wyden in his next Senate race in 2016, the party’s state director Karly Edwards told National Journal on Wednesday. The group takes issue with Wyden’s support for trade promotion authority, also known as “fast track,” which would allow the Obama administration to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership with other nations without having Congress amend or filibuster. It’s also not a fan of Wyden’s previous support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Wyden has a track record of supporting job-killing trade deals,” Edwards said, adding that the party also opposed Wyden in 2010. “We have smart, savvy voters. They will take account the entire picture.”

Wyden may be an “ally” on some progressive issues, but he’s an enemy on others:

[Paul] Ryan, [Ron] Wyden back a new Medicare option

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on Thursday plan to introduce a new Medicare reform plan that would allow seniors to choose between traditional Medicare and new private insurance programs.

The plan has some key differences from the Ryan blueprint that Republicans had rallied around earlier this year — and which Democrats had been united in pummelling in Congress and on the campaign trail as the beginning of the end of Medicare.

The biggest difference is that seniors would have a choice between staying in traditional Medicare, or opting into new private plan alternatives, the two lawmakers said in an interview with POLITICO. Wyden is the first Democrat on Capitol Hill to so strongly embrace a variant of Ryan’s approach. And Ryan has accepted more flexibility than the Medicare approach in the House budget.

These are anti-progressive proposals, both of them. Allowing “private” alternatives to Medicare allows “one foot in the door” for the infamous Ryan Budget, and it’s all on Ron Wyden for doing it. Supporting TPP enables job-killing “NAFTA on steroids” — TPP is “the largest accord since NAFTA,” as you’ll read shortly — and it may all come down to … “progressive” Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.

Stopping TPP Means Dealing With Ron Wyden

Here’s the New York Times on Ron Wyden’s pivotal role:

Fate of Obama’s Trade Agenda May Rest on Oregon Senator

When he’s not legislating, Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, is a wheat, barley and alfalfa farmer in Big Sandy, Mont. That makes him a good bet to support President Obama’s trade agenda, which is generally backed by agriculture interests.

But before he signs on to anything, Mr. Tester said Tuesday, he wants to see what Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, can come up with in arduous negotiations with Republicans.

“Oh, he’s important,” Mr. Tester, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said of Mr. Wyden. “He is the most important person in the caucus on this issue.”


Mr. Obama’s ambitious trade agenda … appears to rest on the narrow, somewhat wobbly shoulders of Mr. Wyden, a position acknowledged by both parties and the White House with some trepidation.

“[A]s the ranking Democrat, what I’ve tried to do is work closely with all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put in place what I call ‘trade done right,’” [Wyden said].

The trade deal sought by the Obama administration, the Trans Pacific Partnership, would be the largest accord since the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] went into force in 1994. It would bind 12 nations along the Pacific Rim to a new economic regime with lower trade barriers; fortified protections for workers [note framing from corp-friendly NYT], the environment and corporate secrets; and new rules to govern the integration of state-owned companies into the global economy.

While some of the opposition to Fast Track comes from Republicans who don’t want to cede Congressional power to “the Kenyan” (they’re calling it “Obamatrade“), the main opposition to TPP itself comes from Democrats, especially progressive ones:

But even before it is completed, the deal is being challenged, largely by the president’s own party.

Mr. Wyden, whose interest in trade stems from his own export-focused state [note framing by NYT], has found himself trying to thread a maddeningly narrow needle with proposals that would placate Democrats who worry that any such deal will hasten the loss of United States manufacturing jobs while assuring Republicans that he is not undermining the free flow of global commerce.

That last sentence means this: Wyden (according to the Times) wants to reassure Republicans that he is not “undermining the free flow of global commerce.” This suggests two questions: First, how does the Times know this? Via someone in Wyden’s office, or Ron Wyden himself perhaps, speaking “on background”? That seems a more likely source than the writer taking the word of a Republican speaking “on background,” or offering his own unsourced guess. But your call on that.

Second, who else, do you think, wants that “reassurance”? How about the billionaires who want “free flow of global commerce” — i.e., “commerce” unrestricted by government anywhere in the world — in order to … you have to say it, further enrich their CEOs.

This is the world of billionaires; this is their big “want” — TPP — and Wyden is trying to find a way to give it to them.

More on Wyden’s pivotal role, again via the Times:

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says he cannot go forward with such “fast track” authority until the Senate can produce a bipartisan version. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Republican chairman of the Finance Committee, says he cannot produce one without the support of his committee’s ranking Democrat, Mr. Wyden.

Mr. Wyden is no stranger to controversy. He has long seen himself as a bridge between the parties. He teamed up with Mr. Ryan on an overhaul of Medicare ahead of the 2012 elections, enraging fellow Democrats. He tried to forge bipartisan comity with an approach to universal health care that broke with the Democratic leadership but also with most Republicans. He drafted, then redrafted, tax reform plans with successive Republican partners.

Wyden is positioning himself as using his key position to advocate for “progressive” changes:

“Right now it’s kind of stuck because I think some of the Democrats want things that we just can’t give them,” Mr. Hatch said on Tuesday.

The Obama administration and Republican negotiators say they have bent over backward to win Mr. Wyden’s support.

But they’re both, Wyden and Hatch, looking for what’s usually called “a path to yes.”

Will Wyden Give Republicans a Path to Yes on TPP and Fast Track?

They’re close to a deal. From a recent (subscription only) edition of Inside U.S. Trade, an industry publication. (“TPA” is industry-speak for “trade promotion authority” — Fast Track.)

Hatch, Wyden Closer to TPA [Fast Track]

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said yesterday he may be just days away from agreement with ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (Ore) on a bipartisan bill giving President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (WTD, 3/19/15).

If the two senators can come to a meeting of minds on TPA before Congress leaves town at the end of this month [March 2015], Sen. Hatch said he will move the bill through his committee in April. With an agreement in place with Sen. Wyden, the Finance Committee Chairman is confident of having the votes to get TPA out of his committee. The two senators have been at odds over how easy it should be for Congress to remove “fast track” legislative protections from a trade agreement.

President Obama, who needs TPA in order to complete ongoing negotiations on the TransPacific Partnership, earlier this week called Sen. Hatch urging him to reach a deal with Sen. Wyden. The Finance chairman said he believes Sen. Wyden wants a deal as well. And in fact, Sen. Wyden has asked Sen. Hatch to move a little bit more in his direction so they can finish the bill. While he has already “given him a lot,” Sen. Hatch told reporters he will “do my best to find something that will bring him on board without ruining the bill.”

Does that sound like Wyden is looking for “a path to yes”? It does to me.

TPP, Increasing Billionaires’ Wealth and Obama’s Clintonian “Legacy”

The Inside U.S. Trade piece goes on to say how important TPP is for Obama and his “legacy”:

In remarks to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the Finance chairman [Sen. Orrin Hatch] said President Obama desperately needs a “legacy” issue. The two trade deals that the Administration is negotiating – the TPP and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – could be that legacy.

He’s right. As I’ve written many times, Obama had four “legacy wants” coming into office, at least on the economic side:

1. Health care “reform” — a privatized alternative to Medicare expansion (i.e., no possibility of Medicare for those under 65).

2. A “grand bargain” in which social insurance benefits are rolled back.

3. Plentiful oil and gas, along with passage of the Keystone Pipeline (KXL).

4. Passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

He has two — #1 and #3 — in spectacular fashion (KXL has been mooted by the many mini-Keystones and by oil trains). Obama may yet get #2 (let’s watch those budgets and Pelosi-supported Medicare cuts in the “doc fix” bill). And Ron Wyden holds the key to #4, TPP, which comes just as Obama is close to leaving office.

What did Bill Clinton do as his own “legacy” before leaving office?

On December 21, 2000 [his last full month in office], President Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. This law ensured that derivatives could not be regulated, setting the stage for the financial crisis.  Just two months later, on February 5, 2001, Clinton received  $125,000 from Morgan Stanley, in the form of a payment for a speech Clinton gave for the company in New York City.  A few weeks later, Credit Suisse also hired Clinton for a speech, at a $125,000 speaking fee, also in New York. It turns out, Bill Clinton could make a lot of money, for not very much work.

Whether he intends it or not, Obama could guarantee himself and his family a Clintonian post-presidency with passage of the global billionaires’ highest priority, TPP. Sometimes you only need to fool people some of the time, if it’s the right people at the right time. One can always apologize “on reflection” — as Bill Clinton did about “free trade” and Haiti — after it’s too late to roll back the damage or uncash the paychecks. (The question of whether these men are fooling themselves along with the rest of us is beyond the scope of this discussion; but it offers much food for thought.)

Will Progressives Punish Ron Wyden for Enabling TPP?

This is where the progressive rubber meets the Democratic Party road. There’s no question in any real progressive mind that TPP is not just evil but spectacularly evil. It will do what NAFTA did — but in 20 countries, not just three. And it will pave the way for a deal with Europe that will double that damage and then some. (My own writing on NAFTA, TPP and “free trade” is collected here.)

Progressives, however, often have a blind spot for the Democratic Party, and especially for their “allies” within it. So let me put this plainly. This is about power, and winning, on the most important wealth distribution issue of the day. Progressives can punish Ron Wyden for even considering this deal — can tarnish his own “legacy” now — in order to back him away from “a path to yes.” Or they can get played, again, by one of “their (supposed) own.” Which will it be — victory, or another unfortunate (but self-imposed) defeat? Do we go soft on Wyden or not?

NAFTA Was Signed in 1994; Its Damage Is With Us Today

The second red splash you see in the chart below is the U.S. trade deficit since NAFTA. It’s huge and ongoing.

NAFTA and the damage done; click to enlarge (source)

TPP (and TPIP, the trans-Atlantic version), if signed, will do like damage when your infant daughter is an adult with children of her own. Only the billionaires who want this badly — and their enablers — will benefit.

WFP of Oregon is taking Wyden on. Will the larger groups do the same? And if they do, will they kiss his feet before asking him nicely to stop? Or will they be forceful enough to make him stop?

These aren’t rhetorical questions. Our children’s economic future is literally in Ron Wyden’s hands. Will progressives be effective enough to stop him? Or play too nice to win when it counts?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. allan

    In 2006-08, it was “Joe’s with us on everything but the war.”
    We know how that turned out.
    And now it’s “Ron’s with us on everything but the trade. And Social Security/Medicare.”
    Unless and until progressives are willing to primary Democratic incumbents, in quantity,
    we will continue to be treated as doormats.

    1. Carla

      The question is, why do you continue to be “Democrats”? What will it take for the party to discredit itself in your eyes?

      1. sharonsj

        Because as rotten as some DEMS are, at least they are not crazy and anti-science, anti-women, and anti-gay.

          1. Cugel

            The Green Party is the endless pipe dream of left-independents. It has zero chance of ever being a serious let alone majority national party because the system is designed to allow two and only two parties in our Presidential, not parliamentary system. That preference is baked into the laws in all 50 states and third parties are severely penalized at every level. If the Green Party were to grow it would only enable solid Republican control, which leverage they would use to end formal democracy once and for all – they are close to doing this via Citizens United and voting rights restrictions right now. By the time the Greens could totally displace the Democrats as the other major party, if that is even possible at all which is doubtful, it would take decades and we don’t have that much time before global warming becomes fatal to human civilization. The only possible path forward is to do exactly what the Tea-baggers did to the Republican party – capture it. Primary everybody who isn’t “pure” and give them “the fear” that if they infuriate and alienate the base they will disappear. No matter how crazy, the right wing is able to discipline their caucus. The left needs to be able to do that. And it does NOT mean starting Quixotic third party fever dreams, but simply conducting primary campaigns against corporatist Democrats. We can start with Rahm Emanuel. If he goes down that will give them all “the fear.”

            1. Vatch

              I don’t expect the Greens to displace the Democrats; I hope that the Greens will frighten the Wyden/Clinton/Obama/Emanuel Democrats into being less like Republicans. I have no objection to supporting good Democrats in the primaries, but when they lose, I won’t vote for the bad corporatist Democrats in the general election. The Republicans already have a majority in both houses of Congress, and the President is a Republican wannabe, so the solid Republican control that you fear is now a reality.

              I guess we’ll know more two weeks from now after the Chicago election.

              1. Vince in MN

                And the corporations control the whole shebang no matter which wing of the Corporate Party is in office. You could say this is baked into the system.

              2. different clue

                I still remember the Greens running McGaw against Wellstone in Minnesota with the express purpose of getting Wellstone defeated. I also remember what utter filth some Greenoids I dealt with in person were. I doubt the Green Party will ever smell anything other than repellent to me.

                Maybe the “left” will find some other channel to work through than the Green Party.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Hiow very conservative of you – at least, in the fundamental sense of defending the status quo. This is also a counsel of despair. It’s utterly clear from the record of the last (at least) 30 years that the Democrats are a lost cause, utterly sold out and irretrievable. All the many attempts by progressives and liberals to “bring them back” have only driven the party farther to the Right – certainly that’s the ONLY way the DP has moved since McGovern. At this point, it’s a deeply right-wing, wholly owned party. Voting for it or working for it is deeply immoral.

              It’s true that the system is rigged against new parties. This is an old discussion. However, those barriers only hold until people get really mad. At that point, there are new possibilities. One feature of plurality voting, the key barrier, is that multiple candidates lower the bar for a plurality. If there are 3 fairly even candidates, someone can win with 34%; if 4, with 26%; and so on. Still tough, but possible. Not a good system, but there’s a silver lining.

              And frankly, the policy (as opposed to style) difference between the legacy parties is now so small – in some ways, it’s reversed; Obama is worse than Bush – that we can freely use the “spoiler” effect to punish right-wing Dems.

              The REAL barrier to a new politics isn’t legal; it’s habit, complacency, and despair. It’s the kind of propaganda you just posted.

              1. cassiodorus

                Vote for the Whigs y’know, because the Democratic Party is always worse and those are the two parties we’ll always have.

                1. hunkerdown

                  The Whigs *are* the Democrats, as far as constructivism goes. So you might be more on-point than you think.

              2. jonf

                Funny whenever I hear how utterly rotten Obama and the democrats are and how really fantastic the Greens are in the same mouthful, I have this feeling of someone blowing something up my rear. If you spent this much time fixing the party, you prolly wouldn’t need a Green Party. And so I think you are simply trolling me. Better to take a look at what the Tea Party did. But that is hard work. Seems every few years the Greens pop up and promise all manner of sweet candy, never delivered and never will.

                I think you should read again what Cugel said above. He/she makes a lot of sense. The fact is on local levels in many, maybe most states a democrat is fast becoming an endangered species. He is right about our form of government and Citizens United. Together they have a hammer lock on politics. And this lesser of two evils stuff turns out to be real. How would you like your next Tea Party government to pass out vouchers for Medicaid, Medicare and SS on the way to repeal and a full court of conservative justices. What kind of dystopia are you willing to take in exchange for getting those nasty democrats out of there. Yeah, I’m a yellow dog democrat. That doesn’t mean I like what is going on. I don’t but I have no alternative, least of all a bullshit party with a vanishingly small chance of anything and even then may behave just like the other bums. Stop bellyaching and do something about it.

        1. Jill


          Supporting the TPP is “crazy, anti-science, anti-women, and anti-gay”. Why? Because it will finish off the environment. Politicians who believe that human beings can live on and keep polluting an already poisoned planet are not being scientific. They are not in touch with reality. They are ignoring evidence and might as well open their very own creation museum featuring dinosaurs and people living side by side! People effected by this unscientific action on the part of Democratic politicians include women and members of the LBGT community.

          1. hunkerdown

            But, as an American, one’s identity in mainstream society is nothing more than a list of endorsements and charms one has purchased. And Western society has banned adulthood for practical intents and purposes, so the petulant 17-year-old establishing her pecking order is pretty much the norm for human relationships in that world.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Ron Wyden is one of my Senators, I’ve gone to more than a few of his town halls, and I object strenuously to the way Gaius Publius describes him. He is certainly not a progressive, and he’s an extremely UNreliable ally.

      Yes, he’s made some useful noise on the abuses of the NSA – but his actions were gutless; he could have released the documents on the floor of the Senate, without being exiled to Moscow or thrown in the Marine brig. I called him on that in a town hall; he claimed the price was too high (to be fair, he at least answered the question).

      But he was terrible on health care, an active opponent of single-payer, and now he’s betraying us on the TPP and Fast Track. In the end, he’s JUST A DEMOCRAT, and he goes along when the party wants him to.

      He’ll face a Green Party opponent next year. We’ll be looking for someone formidable, but I’ll do it myself if i have to (I don’t consider myself a good candidate – but we get 2% if we run, statewide.)

        1. Oregoncharles

          Thanks for replying. Are you in Oregon? If so, are you in touch with the Pacific Green Party? (It’s possible we know each other.) You can contact the party through the website, My name isn’t on there any more, but if you ask for Charles, it’ll get forwarded. (Sorry if if I’m teaching you to suck eggs.) I appreciate your writing, it would be good to be in touch.

      1. different clue

        If Wyden is all you say, and his support for TPP and some other things as detailed in the Post heading this Thread makes it seem that he is, then the Green Party of Oregon can have a constructive effect just by getting him defeated. There is a place for revenge in politics. And for decontamination. So in this special case, I hope you succeed in Nadering candidate Wyden. ( If Wellstone had lived, I suspect Wellstone would be against TPP and TTIP.)

        1. bh2

          The chances of a green party of any hue bringing down Wyden is about as likely as Farage being the next PM of Britain. Wyden sticks pretty much to the center and is well respected by many people of different political persuasions in Oregon. That’s how he gets re-elected — and how he’ll stay in office.

          1. different clue

            Well, if I were in Oregon I would work my hardest for the Green Party to attract enough
            “Fair Trade” voters away from Wyden to get him defeated. Even if it wouldn’t work. I would still try.

            If it did work, Wyden’s severed head could be the inspiration to make a whole pile of traitor-officeholders’ severed heads over Free Trade. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

  2. cassiodorus

    Say, isn’t the point of the TPP and the TTIP and other such agreements to lock in future expected corporate profits by allowing the corporations to “take governments to court” for legislation against their interests in unaccountable, international tribunals stacked with corporate representatives?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Even our own courts are already “stacked with corporate representatives.” One case in point (as if Citizens United didn’t make the point clearly enough): Florida Rock Industries, Inc. v. US, 18 F.3d 1560 (Fed. Cir. 1994): ‘We bought that wetland at a really cheap price since the people who sold it didn’t know its market value, bought it specifically in order to strip-mine it and destroy the wetland, for a handy profit, and you stinkin’ government types can’t use some new-fangled public purpose-police powers laws we haven’t had time to lobby out of effect yet to deny us the profit we are entitled to thanks to our diligence and superior knowledge and unaccountability for public losses of silly ephemeral stuff like wetlands that provide groundwater recharge, habitat for ephemeral birds and frogs and stuff, and flood mitigation.’ Others would state the case differently, of course. Result: “the government” pays for lost anticipatory value of the “common law property right” (protected, these hypocritical barstids say, by the 5th and 14th amendments’ “takings clauses,” raised as a claim by people who deny the effects of any other piece of the Constitution that doesn’t also protect their Sacred Property Rights and the power to abuse their ever-growing power to keep the rest of us getting poorer and sicker as they fatten) to mine the heck out of a passel of land, and the accounting process to figure out what “the government” has “partially taken” is drawn and bounded in such a way as to value public interest and rights at zero, so not even an offset in any judgment. Which judgment was encompassed in the federal Court of Claims, opinion at

      Looks like a fairly straight Libertarian analysis. I’d forgotten how much there was in that Fed.Cir opinion, and in the frustrated dissent, and all the footnotes. Clerks often write these opinions — one wonders what the politics and jesuitical craftinesses were of any that were involved in this one. And whether any of their names appear in the lists of “silk stocking” corporate legal reps who will be using the TTP-TTIP to further beat the crap out of whatever is left of the Commons…

    2. Vatch

      “future expected corporate profits”

      That seems awfully similar to Philip K. Dick’s concept of Precrime, except we probably won’t be able to imprison the corporate executives who claim the expected future profits.

      1. cassiodorus

        It’s actually “pre-benefit.” One of the main distinctions made (by the historians of capitalism) between capitalist and pre-capitalist Europe is that in pre-capitalist Europe the elite’s claims to the surplus produced by the peasantry were “political” claims, and not “economic” claims. So-called “free trade agreements” appear in this regard to be a reversion to “political” domination of the surplus.

    3. jrs

      It’s hard to say what the point is. The point (ultimate goal) may literally just be to contain China (maintain dominance over China). The side effects on the other hand and corporate pork thrown in = the end of sovereignty, the end of democracy (such as exists), the end of any type of local control, and the establishment of complete corporate rule.

      1. different clue

        “Contain China” is just a patriotic-sounding misdirectional excuse given to fool the rubes. The point is to further contain democratic self government and finish the job of shrinking it to where it can be drowned in the bathtub.

  3. rjs

    after all is said & done, Obama will get fast track, TPP and TTIP will be passed undebated, & we’ll be looking at a corporation dominated future that will leave citizen’s united as a minor footnote…

    1. Vatch

      Well, I’ve contacted my elected representatives about this, and I’ve also asked friends and relatives to do the same, so my conscience is clear. Spread the word, and let people know what we’re being threatened with. We can’t expect John Oliver to save us every time; sometimes we have to do our own advocacy.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Obama has been trying for 18 months to get fast track approved. The latest was that Mitch McConnell said he wasn’t going to pass the bill based on Republican support alone, Obama needed to get enough Dem votes. Hence the importance of Wyden. A barrage of phone calls from Oregon voters telling him “hell no” would give him pause. Boehner, BTW, said pretty much the same thing last year. The Republicans don’t want to own this.

      Moreover, what is not well reported is Republican opposition is rising, probably in part due to Obama’s inability to get Democrats behind the bill.

      If you are in Washington, you can join a protest outside Wyden’s fundraiser tonight. Details:

      WHAT: Protest outside Senator Ron Wyden’s fundraising dinner. Protesters will be outside the restaurant, but clearly visible to the Senator and his donors. Visuals include large light-up signs, protesters chanting and picketing.

      WHERE: Outside Bistro Bis, 16 E St Nw, Washington, DC

      WHEN: Today, Tuesday, March 24. Activists will gather at 5:00pm

      WHY: Activists are calling for Senator Wyden to oppose Fast Track legislation, which could ram through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a secretive trade pact that contains extreme copyright provisions that could lead to global Internet censorship

      WHO: The protest is organized by Fight for the Future and Popular Resistance, two groups that played an instrumental role in the recent victory for net neutrality.

      If you have friends or family in DC who might be able to go, please alert them!

      1. jrs

        Well I signed the Wyden petition even though I felt pretty silly signing an Oregon petition when I’m in California (they don’t even like Californians up there).

            1. Ian

              Exactly, and the scumbag in office is salivating at the prospect of further selling out and destroying Canada.

    3. different clue

      It hasn’t happened until/unless it happens. And the stakes are so huge it is worth time and energy trying to prevent it. Just as with the threatened privatization of Social Security and/or Medicaid and/or Medicare.

  4. Lambert Strether

    Here is Wyden’s contact information:

    Washington D.C.
    221 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
    Washington, D.C., 20510
    tel (202) 224-5244
    fax (202) 228-2717

    and his email form. In general, a letter is better than a phone call, and a phone call is better than email. In this case, if time is short, perhaps a fax would substitute for a letter.

    When you call your own Congress critter, consider pointing out any local initiatives that TPP would destroy. For example, in Maine, vegetables from China could end up nuking our own painfully nurtured local and organic farmers (so useful post-collapse). Your pitch would vary by circumstances.

    * * *

    How the heck does a guy who wants to gut Medicare and wants to hand away our sovereignty with TPP get to be considered a “progressive,” anyhow?

    UPDATE Via Eyes on Trade, here’s a talking point:

    Three years after implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), government data reveal that the administration’s promises that the pact would expand U.S. exports and create American jobs proved to be the opposite of the pact’s actual outcomes. The post-Korea FTA decline in U.S. exports to Korea and a new flood of imports from Korea have resulted in a major surge in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea that equates to nearly 85,000 lost U.S. jobs. The abysmal FTA record deals a fresh blow to the administration’s controversial bid to Fast Track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), for which the Korea FTA served as the U.S. template.

    They lied shamelessly about that FTA, and they’re lying shamelessly about this one, exactly as they did with NAFTA.

    1. Matt

      There are reports that letters to Congress may be subject to delay for safety processing to prevent poisons by the post office.

  5. Ben Johannson

    Progressive, definition: A conservative unwilling to share a party with racists, rednecks or rural voters, progressives hold the distinction of being too unprincipled even for Republicans. Often well-educated but remarkably unlearned, progressives specialize in using their credentials to obtain positions in government from which to facilitate transfer of public wealth to themselves and persons within their network of influence. Progressives are generally classified as a parasitic organism capable of mimicking the concerns of their constituents while draining their “hosts” of the resources necessary to the hosts’ survival. Incapable of accepting responsibility for their actions, progressives are characterized by a total lack of compassion, empathy and guilt. Sociopathic thinking and behaviors strongly correlated. Calls for progressive unity should be considered an attempt to undermine efforts toward justice, liberty or conscience.

    Synonyms include: weasel, liar, con artiste, flim-flammer, confidence man, dick face, douche, asshole.

    Classic examples of progressive archetype: Barak Obama, Jonathan Gruber, Rahm Emanuel.

  6. Steven Greenberg

    When I lived in Oregon, I was a fan and supporter of Ron Wyden most of the time. However, there were too many occasions where he took anti-progressive stances where you would least expect him to. I never could figure him out. I would have been glad to be rid of him had a reasonable challenger come along.

    1. tim s

      I’d say he’s pretty easily identified by these facts as a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and should be treated as the wolf he is.

  7. TedWa

    As a poster here pointed out, if these trade agreements pass, we will no longer need a Congress to pass laws to protect citizens since that will all be decided in international courts. Does Wyden realize he could destroy 1 of the 3 branches of government by fast tracking these abominations?

  8. bobswern

    Oh, the irony! (And, the hypocrisy.)

    Senator Wyden’s at the forefront of the effort to unmask the true extent of our surveillance state. (Perhaps the only person on Capitol Hill, with any significant seniority, engaged in doing that.) Yet, when it comes to fast-tracking draconian foreign trade agreements, he’s the one who’s going to tip the status quo’s scales in their favor, and in support of secrecy; ultimately, shoving the most egregious, corporatocratic deal, EVER, down this country’s throat.

    What’s wrong with this picture? There’s pragmatic politics, with its usual horse-trading. And, then there’s selling one’s soul in the name of “bipartisanship.” The “Road to Yes” is, in fact, the “Road to Hell.”

    Take it all one small step further: Once the TPP, TAFTA and TISA are in place, complete with their corporatocratic ISDS provisions that facilitate the trumping of sovereign laws, instead of relying upon our country’s four partners in its Five Eyes program and Israel to facilitate extra-constitutional, domestic spying here at home–which IS one of the key ways in which domestic surveillance is deployed now to circumvent U.S. law–all one would need to do is outsource this totalitarian surveillance travesty to private industry outside of our borders, and they’d be free to do as they please! (And, it’d all be “perfectly legal!”)

    (Maybe Senator Wyden should read this last paragraph?)

      1. bobswern

        Always great to see you, Cass!

        (I read NC, religiously, every day! Have been doing so almost since its inception.)

  9. JTMcPhee

    I have a relative who has lived in OR for decades and been very active, and knows a fair amount about Wyden, and thinks he is a very low form of life. Even the some of the DemBoosters at dailykos are having trouble with their “more and better Dems” program that ends up helping people like Wyden get re-re-re-re-elected: Another mostly empty threat, of course, because TINA, and hey, isn’t Hillary just GRAND?…

  10. Jill

    If you value the worth of people, the environment and the rule of law, then damn yes, you are going to go to the mat against anyone, and I do mean anyone, who supports TPP.

  11. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “Are Progressives Willing to Attack One of Their Own on Free Trade?”

    Meh. They’ll suck it up and grumble for awhile, then go back to cheering him on. As usual for Oregon’s Left..

    1. Oregoncharles

      You mean Oregon /Democrats. Not the Left.

      The Pacific Green Party is the Left – just wish it was bigger.

  12. susan the other

    I’m imagining the log jam in the new tribunal courts because every TPP partner is going to either cheat and get dragged to the tribunal, or their country will be impoverished and their government will be overturned. TPP not only does not work for the USA, it does not work for any nation anywhere. And how did the NYT know that there were stipulations in the fast track (TPA) regarding state owned enterprises participating in TPP trade? That was a telling detail. Clearly there are a lot of details out there for these “debates” to haggle over. It’s not take it or leave it really, because the debate over details is raging and Medicare and Social Security are the pawn in this game. If some holdout agrees to fast track against the interests of his own state it will be because he got his way on gutting social security and medicare. So that makes Wyden the worst of the worst. Vote him out.

  13. TG

    Kudos. Yes. It is about time. We need to stop supporting politicians who are stabbing us in the back because their image consultants have labelled them as Pepsi not Coke (or was that progressive not conservative? Same thing for all it’s worth today). We need to reward our friends and punish our enemies – and if the other side is currently nearly as bad, well, that’s because we have let them both get away with it for so long!

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. No politician will do every single thing you want. Demanding total perfection is a losing strategy. But so is voting for someone who is a determined enemy because the other guy is 2% worse (maybe). It’s OK to vote for FDR even though he was not the second coming of Christ. It’s not OK to vote for Vlad the Impaler because Dick Cheney is even worse (well at least in total body count). There is a point at which ‘lesser of two evils voting’ makes no sense. We are well past that point.

    1. hunkerdown

      “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” And the management-class dandies who insist that we must have “grown-up” politicians making “decisions” for us “children” at all are, frankly, the enemies of all but themselves, and ought to be shunned by the public or worse. Enough social infantilism already. Despite the cheerleading from the partisan football class, electing a corporate king doesn’t actually change anything good on the ground.

    2. JTMcPhee

      May I ask once again, “who, exactly, is ‘we’?” It takes a whole lot of iConsumers reborn as actual citizens standing up as a group with a common purpose to equal, let alone outvote, one Kochbuck…

  14. Matt

    Last week I heard that Wyden was “evasive” when asked about fast tracking here in Oregon. I also heard that the local corporate presences like Intel and Nike have had their “way” with House Dems. When looking at the process be aware of the verb “to primary” as in Obama’s DNC funding a primary opponent, which helped the left loose Kucinich in the Ohio 2012 redistricting.

  15. Leema

    I am a member of a Democratic Central Committee in OR. We are not happy with Wyden at all. I hope to get an open letter to Senator Wyden published…just as soon as I can write it and get it approved by the committee. So…yes some of his constituency just might be willing to attack him…particularly once they know what he is doing.

Comments are closed.