Will the TransPacific Partnership Agreement Go into the Deep Freeze?

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Yves here. It’s been discouraging to see a significant portion of members of the commentariat take a “These awful trade deals are inevitable, lie back and think of England” attitude as far as fighting the trade deals are concerned, and are unwilling to make even the small investment of time required to call their Senators and Representative to put their opposition on record.

The battle is going far better than the opposition expected. Obama had planned to have Fast Track authority sail through the Senate so as to prove to the House, where he faces a real fight, that the bill has bipartisan support, Majority Leader John Boehner has made clear that he is not going to pass a bill without having meaningful Democratic party air cover, and he hasn’t seen enough evidence of that in whip counts. The fact that Obama got a visible black eye in the Senate and has lost time in moving the bill forward has strengthened the position of opponents and called more public attention to the process. It also has underminded Obama’s plan to make approval of Fast Track authority seem uncontroversial and inevitable.

This post explains why merely delaying Obama so that he does not get the bill passed in May throws a likely fatal wrench into the entire deal. The Administration is already about as late as it can be in getting the deal done, given the moving parts overseas and the President moving into lame duck territory. One thing the author gets wrong is when Congress goes out of session. The last day for business this month for the House is this Thursday, the 21st, and for the Senate, Friday the 22nd.

So your calls are critical to stiffening the spine of the rebels and letting the traitors know that voters will take their vengeance for a sellout in the next election. As reader Kokuanani pointed out:

As I’ve posted elsewhere with regard to contacting your Senators and Rep., NUMBERS COUNT. The staff members reading e-mails and answering the phones are only reporting the volume of incoming communication and which “side” it supports. Your fabulous essay on the evils of the TPP and Fast Track will never reach the voting member. So don’t waste your time writing it.

Pick one or two arguments [e.g., “secrecy”] and make them. Briefly. Like a sentence or two. Spend the rest of your time getting friends and family to contact Senate offices. The e-mail forms [links provided by Yves] make this ridiculously easy. All you need is a zip code showing you’re in the state. You can walk your pals through the process.

I don’t know how effective contacting the DNC would be, but it can’t hurt, and can alert them that they can’t rely on you for fund-raising or votes.

So please keep the pressure on next week, and get the word to friends, family, and other allies. Here are the Senate contact details and cthose for your Representative.

By Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre, Geneva. Cross-posted from The Star.

Is the TransPacific Partnership Agreement about to be concluded, or will it be put into deep freeze instead?

The answer may be known in the next few days or weeks as the controversial TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations face another crunch time.

Last week, U.S. top negotiator Michael Froman was in Kuala Lumpur for a series of meetings.

He told the public that Malaysia’s concerns, especially on bumiputra policy, would be taken into account and that by joining the TPP, Malaysia’s economy and exports would grow significantly.

Froman also said there was no rush to conclude the TPPA.

In fact, there is an urgency for the talks to conclude within a few weeks because of the US political calendar.

Chief negotiators are scheduled to meet in Guam later this week to iron out outstanding issues so that a meeting of trade ministers of the 12 countries can conclude the deal in the Philippines at the end of this month, following the Apec Summit.

Why the hurry? The final TPPA has to be approved by the U.S. Congress latest by December to avoid preoccupation with next year’s U.S. presidential elections.

An agreement has to be reached by the ministers by May or June, or else the deadline may be missed and the TPPA may have to await a new president and Congress.

Other countries won’t negotiate their “bottom line” (or final positions) until the U.S. obtains “fast track authority” from Congress, meaning Congress can only vote yes or no to the whole TPPA, but can’t amend the agreement.

The current sitting of Congress ends on May 18, and it has to fast-track the bills by then, or else the negotiators and ministers are unlikely to achieve a breakthrough in their meetings this month.

This is one of the many hurdles to cross if the TPPA talks are to succeed.

Firstly, Obama’s trade policy is unpopular both with the public and the Democrats. There are doubts whether the fast-track bills (known as Trade Promotion Authority) can be passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

If even one of these does not accept the bill, then the TPPA talks will be in trouble, as partners of the United States will have no confidence that what their negotiators agree to will be approved by Congress, which has power over trade deals.

Second are the contentious issues in the negotiations which are difficult to resolve.

Most of the countries are opposed to the U.S. demands on intellectual property. These will hike the price of medicine, causing them to be even more out of reach of the ordinary people; make it difficult for generic producers to operate; affect access to information and educational materials; and impact on farmers’ rights to save and exchange seeds.

Another issue is the TPPA’s investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS), which gives power to foreign companies to challenge government policies in a foreign tribunal and to obtain compensation (up to billions of dollars) for loss of future profits.

In April, a group of renowned legal experts, including Obama’s old Harvard University law mentor Laurence Tribe, sent a letter to congressional leaders pronouncing that the ISDS is contrary to America’s legal traditions and principles and undermines its democratic norms.

Malaysia and some other countries find serious difficulty in the proposed TPPA rules to curb the operations of state-owned enterprises or even private companies in which the government has a stake.

This may affect big companies such as Petronas and the many enterprises under Khazanah and possibly PNB and EPF. Negotiations on whether companies can be exempted are under way. Future enterprises will certainly be affected.

Government procurement will be opened to foreign goods and companies, above a certain project threshold value.

The bumiputra preferences, a cornerstone of the Malaysian political economy, will be affected (though the extent and nature of the effects are still being negotiated).

This is within the larger issue of loss of preferences and advantages for local companies and goods (bumiputra and non-bumiputra) via the chapters on investment, procurement, competition and services.

Third is the question of benefits. Malaysia’s exports can be expected to increase due to better market access to the other TPPA countries. However, imports will also increase as Malaysia’s tariffs are eliminated.

Since our tariffs are generally higher than those of the United States, the most important partner, Malaysia would have to make more concessions and it can be expected that the trade balance would be negatively affected.

Fourth are the additional conditions that the United States may impose on other TPP countries, as it has done in previous FTAs with Peru, Guatemala and Australia.

Congress members also demand that TPPA countries that are “currency manipulators” (Malaysia has been mentioned as a candidate country) be punished, and that countries involved in human trafficking (Malaysia has been mentioned) be excluded from agreements that enjoy the fast-track treatment.

All these issues are already being hotly debated. If the TPPA negotiations conclude, the texts will at some stage be made public, and the debate can be expected to intensify.

But there are many hurdles to cross before that happens, and whether the political deadline can be met is still a big question. This will be answered in the next few weeks.

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  1. anonymous123

    Yves, I really appreciate that in recent months you’ve encouraged readers to take action and have given them the tools to do so. This was something I had felt was missing from NC for many years, so I’m excited for what the collective readership can help accomplish with a little prodding. Don’t get discouraged by the downers! There are plenty of us who are ready to call and email our senators and representatives, to stand up for what we believe is right.

    1. jgordon

      I think Obama is doing a fantastic job and I’ll definitely be contacting my representatives in support of fastrack and TTP. All we need is one or two more of Obama’s signature deals to get through and the American empire is as good as sunk.

      1. Nathanael

        Sinking empires can cause a lot of trouble. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire led to the freaking DARK AGES. For a more recent example, the sudden dismantling of the Portuguese overseas empire led to decades of civil war in Angola and Mozambique, and a military invasion in East Timor, among other disasters.

        You really, really want the empire to be dismantled the correct way, not the wrong way.

    2. susan the other

      ditto. Rob Bishop, my rep; and the less-than-honorable Orrin Hatch, my senator for life.

    3. mark


      If you have a local current affairs radio call in show, call them, about TPP, mention the local effect.

      Many people listen to these programs.

    4. jonboinAR

      I called all 3 of my Congresscritters last week and expressed my opposition. I took the advice of the commenter you quoted who posted about a week ago that you might as well keep it brief. I basically said that Fast Track was both unrepresentational and undemocratic, and that the TPP itself, from the little a person can gleam from all the secrecy surrounding it, appears to significantly violate US sovereignty. All my my Cc’s are Repubs, so I don’t know if I did any good or not. Maybe I should call the Congressman again and promise him my vote if he’ll oppose it in the House!

    5. Liah

      I did contact my Brilliant Senator – Warren. I do believe she already knows about this issue. I guess the MA Reps are next and some support to Mr. Sanders is appropriate. Anyone who is taking the banksters to task and outing the TPP has my support, regardless.

      Thank you for all you do, Yves.

  2. Linus Huber

    I would like to second anonymous123 statement and to express my great respect for Yves. I am not an American citizen and can therefore not support the effort in the USA but do so in my own country as I have already written to some members of parliament. It disturbs me enormously how democratic means of self-determination of countries and their population would seriously be impaired and undermined and we as people would find ourselves more and more in some kind of matrix where we are simply subjected to the whims and fancy of the increasingly influential lobbying efforts by corporate interests. I wish you all success in this fight that may determine an important aspect of the political development of the 21st century.

  3. Steve H.

    Called both Senators & left messages at D.C. offices. One did, one didn’t. The one who voted For FastTrack sent a roboletter that made me want to huck a hairball.

  4. Kokuanani

    Thanks, Yves, for the hat tip. I used to work in a Congressional office, answering mail, so I know how this works. There’s a whole staff of people reading incoming communications and composing those meaningless robo-responses.

    Items that look like they were sent by a breathing, thinking constituent receive more weight than form postcards some organization asks you to fill out, or some petition it asks you to click.

    The Big Boys may have the money, but they don’t vote. Remind the Congressional clowns that you [and your friends family] do.

  5. Kokuanani

    As I noted in a comment elsewhere, one of my Senators, Cardin [D-MD] voted “for” Fast Track in committee, but voted against closure on the floor. I’d like to fantasize that an outpouring of howls from constituents had some effect on that.

    Perhaps he was assured by Democratic Senate leadership that his vote on the floor wasn’t required, but in any case, he didn’t want that “yes” vote to remain on his record.

  6. Ian

    As a Canadian am spreading through my FB account, not much of an account but I’ve managed to earn the ear of a couple of widespread contributors that seem to have a very good network. Currently fighting Bill C-51, I find it is interesting that Harper would choose to bring up the Volcker issue within a day of the FTA vote. Makes me really curious about what is going on in the various factions, as that is the last issue that you want publicized as it validates Elizabeth’ concerns to a very plausible degree. As Harper is a wholly owned subsisdiary of corporate interests, would love to know the rational behind move.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t Harper Canada’s Dubya White House in one man? Stupidity and greed aren’t exactly strangers. Also, it’s an election year.

      1. Ian

        He is Canada’s Dubya White House. Harper has his roughly 30% base that will vote for him even if he was found sacrificing then defiling domesticated animals (apologies for the imagery, but they appear to be that dumb). Outside of that he has given up any pretensions of being anything other then a POS and pretty much lost everyone else. Sadly that puts him on par with the NDP and the Libs for a 3 way race. The Libs lost a lot of support with their endorsement of Bill C-51 and that caused a surge with the NDP and am hoping that they are able to improve upon it. They are pushing for transparency with the Treaty Agreements and seem to have good ethics. The Libs pretty much Corporate whores.

        1. Ian

          Libs seem to be a strongly Corporate influenced party though not likely to pass anything too obnoxious, but will likely keep most of what Harper has done in place and will pass the the trade deals. (decided I didn’t like describing them as Corporate whores, a little unfair, not a lot unfair but a little.)

        2. Nathanael

          Harper’s base would vote for him if he ate live human babies on television. However, they aren’t really enough to win a majority (thank goodness). Unfortunately, Canada has first-past-the-post elections and gerrymandering. And the Liberals are a mess, but in most provinces the left wing haven’t been willing to unify behind the NDP since Jack Layton died. This and other shenanigans have kept Harper afloat for a long time and I’m not sure when his structural advantages can be overcome.

  7. Demeter

    While this interim report gives me hope, I would rather hear that the whole idea had been consigned to a bonfire, and a Constitutional Amendment to ban such propositions was in the works.

    It should in fact be written into the Constitution that such end-runs cannot be contemplated.

  8. Barry Fay

    The Senate stumble was just that and has been overcome already. My opinion is that it was all just part of the Kabuki theatre – a kind of “oh look, the Dems are watching out for us” – and that fast track is an inevitability. Why would anyone who has documented the complete takeover of our political system by giant corporations think that a Trade Deal written by just those people will somehow not pass? I´m giving odds of 10 to 1 if anyone is interested.

    1. sleepy

      I’m not as sure as you are that it will pass, at least in its current form.

      The House tea-party repubs don’t always vote corporate friendly. Look at the budget/government shutdowns of the last few years. I don’t think business liked that way of doing things. As for the dems, I don’t believe many House dems have much affection for Obama anymore, given his disinterest and neglect of local dem party affairs.

      What might happen is that Obama’s TPP dies and the next prez proposes virtually the same thing, with certain empty “reforms” which will be pitched as solving all the problems with the original TPP but which of course do nothing. Although most of the current crop of candidates will do, that sounds like a job for Hillary with her particular knack for peddling that sort of BS.

    2. Nathanael

      There’s no constituency for TPP. The only people it benefits are a very small group of very nasty CEOs who have already made a lot of enemies.

      This is why this is a winnable fight. They’ve overplayed their hand.

  9. alex morfesis

    and when you call your congresskritter….send them fifty bux…
    they can be bought you know…

    oh and remind them that the group dianna ross used to sing with…what was their name again…

    hmmm…oyez oyez oyez


    see…there has to be a qui tom case in here somewhere..(or maybe a pony)…all this wasted money
    on secret toilet paper corporate treaties…ISDS…bah humbug…
    this was ruled on in 1957…why are we taking up time acting like it would stand up…
    (not you yves..I mean the neutertainment industry)

    treaties DO NOT supercede the US constitution and there is nothing congress can do to change that reality…

    but getting back to bribing congress…each congressional district holds about 250 thousand households

    at 50 bux per household, we could buy back congress…

    I can see the late nite ads now…

    won’t you help little timmy break away from the evil antics of the local corporate oligarchs…

    just one dollar a week will help timmy break free and remember that he represents the
    people of the united states of america, and not some trust in a po box from the cayman

    won’t you help us make a better life for little timmy…just one dollar a week will free him…

    call 1800 free-tim
    “operators are standing by…”

    yup…one dollar a week adds up to 12.5 million bux…

    last I checked, that was more than every congressional race, except for one…

    why give the bums the money…for the same reason the corporations do…

    not because you love them…

    “to remind them”
    you can take your money elsewhere…

    and maybe have that song in the background playing when you call
    you remember it…from diannas old band…

    “you bring back memories…”

    sing it mary…

  10. Jill


    I have the same bad feeling as you do about the outcome. It’s a similar situation to the 2008 bailout. There at least, it actually required threats from Bush and Obama to change hearts and minds in the Congress. I don’t think they need too many threats any longer.

    Still, I believe it’s worth trying for people call their Congress member and talking to our fellow citizens about the TPP. We could be wrong in our assessment and discouraging others from fighting back in every possible way isn’t going to make things better. So while I agree with you, I’m still going to oppose every facet of the TPP. I consider it my job as a citizen. We can’t just do things because we are guaranteed a win. We have to do this opposition because it’s the right thing to do. Also, I take some hope in the fact that other nations are involved in the process. It’s not over until it’s over!

    1. Uahsenaa

      The bailout was a different beast, due in no small part to only needing to convince congress. Yves is right to point out the several working parts in foreign constituencies, since the Japanese were already wary of the whole thing to begin with. Obama can’t just squeak by with the vote on fast track, he has to appear to be firmly in control, so even a loud expression of public rancor can result in ultimate victory, if the whole thing ends up passing. Obama may win the vote at some point, but our discontent will clearly signal to parties closely observing things that the nemawashi has been particularly inept.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The election outcome was set except maybe for Minnesota in 2008. Given the results of the Virginia Senate race, many will be given pause. If the popular Warner can come close to being defeated by a weenie with no money for a Republican, anyone is at risk. If I’m being cynical, I almost believe the establishment support for Hillary isn’t about winning but holding enough female votes to protect incumbents in preparation for 2020 when there won’t be a Clinton or a celebrity on the ballot and winning the nomination is more plausible for a sitting member of Congress. A loser is done.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Agreed, Jill. We have to persist and resist no matter how certain the outcome, without succumbing to wishful thinking and illusions. Unrealistic optimism, hopium-induced complacency is clearly more disempowering and self-defeating. We are more effective in perceiving the web they weave.

      This is what I wrote my rep, Kirsten Sinema, D-AZ, who has nothing even noted about TPA or TPP trade anywhere on her site, not a good sign.

      I am deeply concerned about new rigged-trade schemes a Dem president is attempting to force thru Congress. These trade deals are blatantly unconstitutional and anti-democratic, putting supranational corporate arbitrators in control of trade, labor, environment, health, safety and welfare. It is not hyperbole to say this will end democracy as we know it and put an unaccountable corporatocracy in control of the US government and all other nations involved.

      The president has already strong-armed TPA thru the Senate in a head-spinning vote reversal, and he is about to attempt the same in the House.

      I believe this will be the most pivotal in US history and the most critical vote of your career. Do not concede/abdicate your constitutional responsibility. Do not betray our democracy. Please do the right thing, and vote NO on Trade Promotion Authority.

      Doug Terpstra

    4. Lambert Strether

      Remember also that before the bailouts, we hadn’t experienced the bailouts, if you see what I mean. It’s one thing to predict the bad effects, but it’s another thing to see the banksters take the bailout money and then pay themselves bonuses with it.

      If TPP is seen as part and parcel of “the bailout system,” as it were, then it’s toast. And the ISDS fight goes a long way toward that.

    5. ian

      What can you threaten representatives with? We aren’t close enough to an election – the calculation will be that there is more than enough time for people to cool off and forget about it. Ultimately, I think it comes down to which side contributes more $$$ – those who want TPP, or those who don’t.
      As much as I would like to see this POS defeated, I don’t hold out high hopes.

      1. Lambert Strether

        More than enough time, possibly, if this were not an election year. The absurdly long election season helps us, here. And there are some things people don’t forget. The bailouts, for example. Or NAFTA.

  11. Deloss Brown

    I do call them, thank you, Yves. I have a file of phone numbers, so I never have to look far. Gillibrand is solid. Schumer was solid, and he heard from me again when he proposed a “compromise.” Charlie Rangel I sometimes call, but sometimes not, because I never have to worry about his vote–he’s always on the side of the angels. I’ve called the WH 3x.

    I gave $5 to Paul Broun when he was running for the GOP Senate nomination in Georgia, because I figured he was so obviously crazy that any Dem could beat him. So now I’m on all sorts of Republican mailing lists, and I get emails telling me “Super-Fast Way to Chop Herbs” (GOPUSA) but also “Stop Obama’s Trade Deal,” sponsored by the Tea Party. You can see their petition at
    So even crazy people can be useful (though I’m not signing their petition).

    1. buffalo cyclist

      I would contact Rangel if I were you. He is considered a swing vote on this issue and has backed past trade deals.

      1. Carla

        Obviously, the members of the Black Congressional Caucus are going to be under very intense pressure. I’m worried about my own rep, Marcia Fudge (OH).

  12. Chauncey Gardiner

    Excellent letter, Doug. Thanks!

    I do agree with Yves and others here that it is important to enlist other citizens in this effort. I have phoned my state’s two senators and legislative district congressional representative several times on this matter over past months. I was told during this last call by one of the representative’s staffers that they have previously recorded my opposition. I think it is important to show them that opposition to fast track and these agreements is very broad and deep. Certainly that is so among people I have spoken with about it, some of whom saw their jobs and even entire industries transferred to other countries.

    The secrecy with which these agreements are being shrouded and their blatant unconstitutionality are also issues that have come up in conversation. It seems to me that trust has been further damaged and perhaps even lost by this latest effort at force feeding.

  13. wbgonne

    Received an email yesterday from my Representative, Michael Capuano, that he will oppose both Fast Track and TPP. I think Obama has lost the entire MA delegation. This is good news and not entirely expected since some, like Capuano himself, are quasi-neoliberal. Might be the Elizabeth Warren effect. Anyway, I called Capuano’s office to say thanks.

  14. susan the other

    I only wrote my rep and senator but I was tempted to email Lindsey Graham too. Because the engine driving these trade agreements isn’t trade. Trade is just the smokescreen. It’s what it always is: military power. Or control if you prefer. We are busy using the unease China is causing all her neighbors as an excuse to exclude China’s basic model of economics. State owned enterprises. Can’t have that. Even tho’ we have such corporation cronyism here that our hypocrisy is laughable. Obama fear-mongers his brains out; says if we don’t jump in now with our own trade conditions, the Pacific countries will go with China’s model. And at the same time we are pushing China into a state of military paranoia. So even China, which is very patiently ignoring most of our tricks, is getting territorial about South China Sea oil. They even told us to butt out. And etc. We need to change our Cold War mindset.

    1. Nathanael

      The interesting thing which most people in the power elite have not noticed is that the US basically has no military power whatsoever.

      It seems counterintuitive, with the US spending more money on the military than every other country in the world combined. But that mostly goes to fatten the pocketbooks of corrupt military contractors. It seems counterintuitive, with the US having bases around the world. But what good are fixed bases? They’re just targets.

      The US has lost nearly every military engagement it has been involved with since the Korean War. The exceptions I can count on the fingers of one hand: Grenada and Kosovo. Kosovo was masterminded by the brilliant Wesley Clark and involved practically no fighting. Grenada was… interesting. The US injected itself into a situation where the government had been overthrown practically the previous week, and the new government was intensely unpopular.

      The US is still capable of making a very big mess (such as Iraq). This is why other countries are still very cautious about the US. But the US seems to be totally incapable of *winning* a war, and it seems to be getting worse over time as the competent people like General Clark are forced out of the military. The power to make a mess is not military power as it is traditionally understood.

      This means that the correct international strategy is *containment*, to try to prevent the damage caused by the flailing of the failing US. I’m not sure how many countries have adopted containment; it’s not as if they’d publish the news of their diplomatic strategy.

      1. buffalo cyclist

        Another reason we have military bases all over the world is to provide a “more stable business environment” to corporations that outsource jobs to third world countries.

      2. TG

        Yes, well said!

        The US military is (probably) quite weak by conventional standards. I don’t know for sure, of course, but I suspect that in a conventional fight with Russia or China or India etc. it would get it’s tail whipped. I mean, the 1945 era US army could have conquered and pacified a place like Afghanistan in two months – but that was back when our officer corps was not corrupt, and we had not broken the logistical tail of the US military so that a gallon of gasoline now costs $500….

        What the US military excels at is breaking countries. It can tear down like no other nation in history. So even Serbia was probably too strong for our military to attack head on – but we started destroying their bridges, and power plants, and electrical generators, and water pumping stations, etc., and they had to capitulate. Any country that does not have either nukes or a lot of accurate long-range cruise missiles can be turned into a failed state no matter how many tanks or rifleman etc. they have.

    2. Winston Smith

      Well, maybe, just maybe if the WTO didn’t admit China into their little sandbox, and we didn’t sign any trade agreements, as did our so-called allies, Japan, United Kingdom and Taiwan. So all four nations didn’t move so much of their manufacturing or allow their business to move so much manufacturing and technology over there, then maybe, just maybe China wouldn’t be this alleged threat. It’s like, Hello, Hello is anyone home!

      Personally, sometimes I feel that China should come out on top and eventually obliterate all the greedy western (and Japanese & Taiwanese) multi-nationals.

      Personally, IMHO, China will eventually have so much internal conflict because of their own unbridled greed and corruption that they’ll have no time to deal with things on the outside.

  15. TG

    Yes we need to do what we can. As toxic as the TPP is, the big money really really wants it. The one-sided coverage in the mass corporate press is especially discouraging.

    However, I feel it is a serious mistake to think of Obama as a lame duck. Obama is just a hired hand. An especially well-paid and glib hired hand, but a hired hand nonetheless. The powers behind Obama will continue up to and beyond the end of Obama’s presidency, ditto their ability to make deals grant favors etc. Thus there is no reason to expect the traditional ‘lame duck’ phase in an Obama presidency. Indeed, Obama might actually become more aggressive towards the end, as he knows that his public appearance becomes less and less important – I would expect him to try and jam through a lot of big stuff in his last year. Even after Obama leaves office, the players behind him will still be powerful, thus as their proxy so will Obama.

  16. TedWa

    New Twist. The democrats are being downright despicable : But now the bill is moving forward as part of a rotten compromise package that would pay for Trade Adjustment Assistance for displaced workers with $700 million in cuts to Medicare funding. The proposal currently being considered to fund Trade Adjustment Assistance includes an extension of the sequester on Medicare payments into the second half of 2024, which amounts to a $700 million cut to Medicare funding.

  17. TedWa

    New Twist : I’m thinking the democrats are being blackmailed by the NSA to support this. They really have no other excuse.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Democrats are essential glorified house negros to borrow from Malcom X. Oh sure, they know something is wrong, but they get to dress up and pretend they are important. They won’t risk losing their place. TPP and free trade let them promise future success for the rest of us without pointing out the masters are the real problem, and maybe one day, their master will pat them on the head. Free trade types use to promise it would end wars by joining the elites and making war unthinkable. It’s a ludicrous notion considering the sheer size of trade between pre-war powers. Commerce still moved after Germany and Russia started fighting in World War I.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      … Mister Softee, Amazon, the Mermaid and the Lazy B?… and those are just the “jobs creators” in your bailiwick. And who is now HQd in Obama and Rahm’s home town? Would be interesting to hear the legislators who flipped come clean about why they flipped for this lamest of lame ducks.

  18. Steve in Dallas

    Sent message to congress critters:

    I, and everyone I know, demand that you vote NO to both Congressional Fast Tracking (FT) and the Pacific(TPP) and Atlantic trade agreements. Most Americans know that FT and TPP are a criminal abdication of congress’ responsibility to legislate in the interest of the vast majority of American citizens. Most Americans now (or will very soon) recognize that passing FT and TPP (and the Atlantic trade agreement) would be acts of treason against the American people.

    Did not send… but was temped to send:

    Global supply and demand is already massively out of balance. Over-consolidation of the supply side, into the hands of the few massive trans-national corporations, has already destroyed the availability of jobs for the world’s working class. If congress does not stop acting solely in the interests of a small minority of vicious criminal global elites (who, over the past 30 years, have consistently demonstrated they care nothing for the working class… and, in fact, viciously hate the working class) and congress continues to completely (and criminally) ignore the needs of the large majority of working class people (who are in a rapid downward spiral worldwide due to job evisceration… due to the massive global consolidation of production… due to massive mergers and acquisition by criminal corporatists/financiers.. fueled with massive criminal money printing by criminal bankers) there is no doubt that the social upheaval we now see everywhere will exponentially grow and spiral out of control.

    WWII resulted in 70 million workers dead fighting against global fascism. If this new global fascism continues to grow unopposed… the coming wars will produce hundreds of millions of dead workers. Yes, perhaps this is what the designers of TPP would prefer (what else could their massive global increases in militarism and arms manufacturing/distribution be for?)… but in the end the workers will prevail… just as they did in WWII.

    FT and the Pacific/Atlantic trade agreements are clearly criminal enterprises designed by the global fascist elite to destroy the authority of the U.S. government and all sovereign governments worldwide. Like myself, global workers are only now beginning to realize that their governments (when acting in their interests) are the only source of economic and political power strong enough to oppose the global fascists’ greedy, violent, evil, and totally out of control interests. Today’s global elites have made crystal clear they will no longer tolerate sovereign governments telling them what they can and cannot do. Worker’s must now come together, recognize and agree that their only hope to have ANY share of wealth/power (e.g. a job, food, anything) is to take back their governments from the evil globalist elitist mafia criminals.

    I beg you, stop this class warfare against working people… it has already gone MUCH too far. Yes, the working class are ridiculously stupid morons… who don’t even know they’re being attacked. But please, stop this methodical destruction of working people… nothing good will come of it… please, vote NO to fast tracking and the Pacific/Atlantic trade agreements. The global elite have more than enough power and wealth… their looting has to stop now. Legislators worldwide need to get busy solving the extreme problems that now exist on the demand side of the global economies. Yes, there are too many workers (i.e. people)… and no, most workers cannot have Hollywood consumption levels (no matter how much they don’t work… mindlessly lusting at their tv/computer screens… or even how hard they do work). But by massively increasing and accelerating the transfer of all wealth from the moron middle/lower classes to the top 5% via these trade agreements is not a good idea… and, BTW, the associated massive production/distribution of arms to entice the moron workers to kill each other in the tens/hundreds of millions is also not a good idea.

    1. TedWa

      Send it! This is what I just sent : Are you out of your mind? Or are you being blackmailed? Why are you ready to approve fast track and a trade bill that a vast majority of Americans do not support? The press wants to read it, the American people want to read it, and your job in Congress is to debate it. DO YOUR JOB or someone else will come re-election time.
      Apparently they don’t read them and just count the opinions for and against, so, why not.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Implicit blackmail/extortion is very likely in some cases, given total, unaccountable NSA surveillance. J E Hoover applied it shamelessly, but had nothing like the digital panopticon under NSA/CIA/DHS control today. The powers behind this power grab will stop at nothing; blackmail and bribery are trivial to them.

  19. Fool

    …unwilling to make even the small investment of time required to call their Senators and Representative to put their opposition on record.

    Yves, you may be begging the question slightly; “investment” denotes a return. How exactly does an average citizen solicit a representative’s effort in this regard? — especially since said representative can’t even see the agreement in question! Frankly, it’s hard to have any position on a pending trade agreement which is being negotiated in secret, and what is available is couched in extremely arcane details.

    My reason to be against the TPP is the shady manner in which the negotiations are being conducted and the dismissive and arrogant why that Obama has responded to critics. I’m also wary of any program that is defended on the grounds of “creating in jobs”, which, historically, has always been the shameful refuge of “supply-side” proponents. “Jobs”, after all, are not an end in themselves.

    1. Carla

      @Fool — don’t get snagged by semantics, i.e., “investment” of time.

      Instead, this is the way I think of it: I am quite privileged to be able to spend part of my time on really important things.

      And what in the world could be more important than fighting unconstitutional policies like Fast Track and disastrous “investment partnerships” like the TPP and the TTIP? When NAFTA was passed, I just did not have the time, the understanding, or the knowledge to fight it. In the intervening years, yours truly picked up a little education and some wrinkles.

      I am profoundly grateful not to be condemned to spending my time on trivialities. Many thanks to Yves, Lambert and the NC Commentariat for keeping me in daily touch with so many issues of vital importance to the human race and the natural world. Who knew I’d ever be reading a finance and economics blog???

      1. Fool

        Fair enough. But if you don’t mind me asking, how do you go about fighting the TPP?

        1. jonboinAR

          Write/call your congressman! Don’t be defeatist. No, it won’t have a big effect, just a tiny one, but an effect nonetheless. And it only costs a few minutes of your time, so you don’t have to worry very much about your investment.

  20. Lambert Strether

    I’m interested to see a cross-post from the Malaysian Star. The author’s warning that TPP could force changes to the bumiputera system would be instantly apparent to Malaysian readers, but not perhaps to readers in this part of the world:

    Certain but not all pro-bumiputra policies exist as affirmative action for bumiputras, for NEP is racial-based and not deprivation-based. For instance, all Bumiputra, regardless of their financial standing, are entitled 7 percent discount on houses or property, including luxurious units; whilst a low-income non-Bumiputra receives no such financial assistance. Other preferential policies include quotas for the following: admission to government educational institutions, qualification for public scholarships, positions in government, and ownership of businesses. Most of the policies were established in the Malaysian New Economic Policy (NEP) period. Many policies focus on trying to achieve a bumiputra share of corporate equity, comprising at least 30% of the total. Ismail Abdul Rahman proposed this target after the government was unable to agree on a suitable policy goal.[8]

    My understanding is that the bumiputra goes far beyond what we would think of as a preferences policy; in fact, it’s the organizing principle of Malaysian political economy; this is far, far more explosive an issue for Malaysia than rice or beef is for Japan.

    We should not underestimate potential opposition to TPP internationally, and I encourage readers, especially expats, to send us links.

  21. Elizabeth

    I also thank you Yves and Lambert for the great education/information you have given your readers regarding these trade monstrosities. I’ve called my senators (Boxer, Feinstein); however, Feinstein flipped her vote to YES the day after the first vote. I’ve also called Pelosi (had voicemail on) to register my disgust. I believe she is strongly a YES vote for these deals, so if any SF readers are able, her office needs to be flooded with how evil the TTP is. I’m trying to inform as many of my friends/family what the TTP is about, the secrecy aspect really shocks them. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet.

    1. Ulysses

      Pressuring politicians on the TPP is only part of a successful strategy to defeat it. Equally important is sharing what we know about this toxic regime from leaked texts. The more people know about it, the more abhorrent they find it!

      “In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution—transparency,” wrote Sarah Harrison, the British journalist who accompanied Snowden to Russia and who has also gone into self-imposed exile in Berlin. “If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it. Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back. If our governments will not give this information to us, then we must take it for ourselves.

      “When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged,” she went on. “When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it. Courage is contagious.”


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