TPP: Will Voters Re-elect Laughing Stocks to the Senate?

Yves here. Please call your Senators, particularly Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) for the reasons described below. The vote is now scheduled for Tuesday AM (I believe 11:00), so call today and if you can, do so again first thing Tuesday. This is a numbers game. Be sure to enlist family, friends. and colleagues. You can find Senate phone numbers here.

By Joe Firestone, Ph.D., Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program. He taught political science as the graduate and undergraduate level and blogs regularly at Corrente, Firedoglake and New Economic Perspectives. Originally published at New Economic PerspectivesJoe

Let’s review the devious process for passing the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill devised by the Republicans I outlined in my last post. It has the following steps:

– Step one: the House passes a TPA bill without passing Trade Adjustments Assistance (TAA); then

– Step two: the Republicans in the Senate give assurances to Senate Democrats that TAA will be passed by the Senate and later the House;

– Step three: the Senate then passes the House’s TPA bill, and then sends it to the President; then

– Step four: the Senate passes an amendment to another piece of legislation (not clear yet whether the plan will use the Trade Preferences bill, or the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and incorporate TAA in one of those); then

– Step five: the House passes TAA with the help of Democrats, because once TPA is passed Democrats will have no incentive to vote against TAA.

Step one’s done now. A TPA bill without Trade Adjustment Assistance passed the House 218 – 208 on Thursday, sending the bill on to the Senate. In order to complete steps two – three, Mitch McConnell is promising the 14 Democratic Senators who voted for cloture on the TPA bill in May, that he will pass a bill re-authorizing the Ex – Im Bank, a measure empowering the Commerce Department to take retaliatory action against nations that violate trade rules, and also will immediately pass a TAA amendment to a trade preferences bill, so the Democratic Senators can say that they passed protections for workers who lose their votes as an eventual consequence of the TPA whose passage they are supporting.

Of course, even if McConnell follows through with the promise of passage of the TAA (step four) that he probably has the means to fulfill, his and the President’s assurances that the Republicans in the House will fulfill their part of bargain, enabling Democrats to complete step five, passing TAA in the House, depend both on Speaker John Boehner’s cooperation and his ability to deliver 30 – 40 Republican votes for TAA, a program Republicans view as “welfare.”

A TAA package did get 86 Republican votes in the House in the failed roll call vote that was tied to the first TPA package in the House. But that total for TAA was delivered under pressure from the leadership to pass the TPA package. Sadly for the 14 defecting Democrats, neither McConnell, nor both together, can guarantee the delivery of that many Republican House votes for TAA, or even the necessary 30 – 40, once the TPA is passed.

After all, what would be the remaining Republican incentive to provide those votes? To protect the honor of McConnell, Boehner, and the President? To ensure that the 14 Senate Democrats don’t turn on the trade deals and vote “no” on the up or down votes on “free trade” left to them after the TPA is passed?

Even more to the point, where do the incentives of the two Republican leaders lie, once they have the TPA in hand for their neoliberal President, who they pretend to disagree so vehemently with? From my point of view, they lie in maximizing the chances for a Republican Senate victory in 2016.

One of the primary barriers in the way of such a victory, however, is the electoral map in the Senate elections of 2016. Current expectations are that 24 Republican and 10 Democratic seats will be up for election, a map heavily weighted against Republicans. The odds of the Republicans retaining control of the Senate and Mitch McConnell continuing as the Senate Majority Leader, undoubtedly one his very fondest wishes, would be increased if, through his actions he could enable the defeat of the three Democratic Senators among the 14 trade defectors who are running for re-election in 2016.

These Senators are Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Bennet is the shakiest of the three in re-election prospects. But all three would have their re-election chances hurt if Republicans broke faith with them and did not pass the TAA bill, after they supported it by voting for cloture, and then just trusted the Republicans to pass the TAA, rather than requiring its simultaneous passage as a necessary part of any TAA package.

Such a turn of events would make them look like naive fools. They would be viewed as laughing stocks by many of their constituents in 2016.

Will voters re-elect Senators who have become laughing stocks? That will be the question faced by Murray, Bennet, and Wyden if they vote for the TPA without TAA in the same bill.

If the Republicans do break faith with the defecting Democrats, these three will have about 16 months to live down their reputations as laughing stocks. Is 16 months enough time? I guess they’ll find out if they decide to trust Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, the guys who vowed to ruin Barack Obama’s presidency, and are now helping him finish the job by so vigorously supporting his efforts to pass his disastrous trade deals.

And, by the way, 9 of the remaining 11 in the group of 14, with the exception of Mark Warner (D-VA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will have to find out whether even 40 months is enough time, if they too, go ahead with voting for the TPA bill without TAA being part of it.

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  1. TG

    Of course, if Fast-Track/TPP/Obamatrade etc. passes, it won’t really matter who the senators are anymore, because congress will have given up much of it’s power to the executive and multinational corporations. And if it doesn’t matter who the senators are, future senators will find that big business will be less forthcoming with campaign contributions and promises of future employment opportunities etc. I mean, the present turncoats will get rewarded, no doubt, but future congresscritters may find themselves declared irrelevant by the people who count….

    1. tgs

      Of course, if Fast-Track/TPP/Obamatrade etc. passes, it won’t really matter who the senators are anymore, because congress will have given up much of it’s power to the executive and multinational corporations

      Exactly. Corporate law becomes natural law – like gravity. What a relief for our elected officials. One cannot argue with the laws of nature.

    2. pdxjoan

      Please forgive me if lines from the movie “Network” appear regularly in the comment section. But, topics like this always remind me of the many relevant and prescient lines written by Paddy Chayefsky about the nature of multinational corporations and the media.

      Arthur Jensen to Howard Beale: “There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.”

      For those of you too young to remember, this movie was released in 1976.

    3. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Good point. Once they get what they want, then what do the Congresscritters have left to sell?

      1. TG

        What if someday a US senator offered to sell out the national interest for money, and they didn’t get any takers?

        What a tragedy that would be.

  2. Praedor

    I contacted Senator Joe Donelly (“D” Indiana) to express my lack of spprt for TPA as well as TPP, TTIP, and TISA. In reply he sent a perfunctory letter about how he supports “free trade” and the jobs it brings to Indiana, blah blah. He will not be receiving my support or vote when next he’s up for reelection and I let him know. He’s a lost cause and is NOT a Democrat.

    1. chris

      It pains me to say it, but his vote for “free trade”, (and all the other pablum), just tells me that he is a typical Democrat. Chomsky was right – Democrats and Republicans are just two wings of the same pro business party that really owns America. I’ve long ago given up thinking that either of these (supposed) parties gives a rat’s behind about normal people. Voting for either party is just an exercise in team sports.

    2. Vatch

      It astonishes me that so many people in Congress repeat the litany about “free trade” providing jobs. The so called “free trade” agreements (WTO, NAFTA, KFTA, etc.) always cost American jobs. There’s also the elephant in the living room: the unconstitutional sovereignty shedding ISDS. But the “free traders” never seem to acknowledge that at all.

      1. djrichard

        If it was free trade, there would be a balance of trade, i.e. there would be no accumulation of US bonds by the US’s trading partners.

        But that’s not the idea. The idea is to outsource the corporate supply chains in the US to other countries. That only works if the currency of other countries doesn’t get stronger compared to the US dollar; otherwise the cost of the supply chains becomes non-competitive. The only way to keep the currencies in other countries competitive is for the supply chains in those countries to sell the US dollars they receive for their goods to their central banks in exchange for the local currency. The central banks print the local currency as needed, hence keeping the local currency cheaper compared to the US dollar, in effect pegging their currencies. Of course those central banks don’t want to be hoarding US dollars, so they buy US bonds/assets instead. That’s the tell this is happening. To see the amount of US wages lost to this so called “free trade”, just tabulate the amount of US debt held by foreign countries.

        That’s why it’s imperative to the “free traders” that prescriptions against currency manipulation is not a part of the deal. Otherwise the currencies would float too freely and the whole idea of outsourcing part of the supply chain falls apart.

        1. djrichard

          P.S. maybe US labor can petition these trade court systems that are being set up to seek redress for lost wages, equivalent to the amount of US bonds and assets held by the central banks and sovereign wealth funds of the US trading partners. LoL, as if …

          1. JTMcPhee

            Nice thought, but under the procedures and rules and all that, the only entities with “Standing” are those “investors.”

        2. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

          All that’s true, but it wouldn’t be correct to attribute the loss of jobs and the decrease in wages solely to the trade deals. Those things are also due to our government not compensating for the loss in demand to foreign imports with government deficit spending directly on job creation. The trick is that the trade deficit and the demand leakage to private savings here has to be more than matched by the government budget deficit. Until it does we won’t end unemployment.

          1. jrs

            Instead of outsourcing the jobs and having the government need to compensate for it, doesn’t it make more sense not to outsource the jobs in the first place? I don’t think every job is worth doing, but when all ways of producing for what is needed locally have been outsourced it’s a problem.

            1. backwardsevolution

              jrs – “Instead of outsourcing the jobs and having the government need to compensate for it, doesn’t it make more sense not to outsource the jobs in the first place?”

              Thank you for that fine bit of common sense. Of course it makes sense not to outsource the jobs in the first place! How is it possible to have a “country” when the very things that people need are manufactured somewhere else? It’s not.

          2. djrichard

            Yes, but compare to TAA (or whatever that unbundled piece of legislation is being called now … the one that’s a sop to workers who are impacted by TPP). Whatever the TAA is budgeting for, it will pale in comparison to the cumulative trade deficit. The Dem caucus should be voting against TAA simply on principle alone – it’s grossly inadequate. Who knows, maybe that would get the Senate to be queasy in voting for the TPP.

      2. Jerry Denim

        Yup, I’ve noticed that too, especially in the media coverage.

        I believe it’s a very clearly articulated strategy coming down from the highest levels. The TPP piece that ran in USA Today weekend edition was a prime example. Simply read by someone unfamiliar with the nefarious details of the treaty the piece would have seemed mildly critical, but the author attempted to frame the controversy around the TPP as revolving around free trade, as in “do you believe free trade is good or bad”. It’s a simple red herring. If opponents of the TPP get bogged down in swamp of ideas and data surrounding free trade the battle is lost. National Sovereignty and the ISDS clause must be the battle cry and main argument for stopping the TPP. Most Americans distrust free trade but they aren’t outraged by it.

        1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

          God, I’ve been blogging that for so long now. Thanks for letting me know that at least someone else is picking up on that theme. Jobs are an important issue. So is slavery, So is the environment. So is the climate. So is regulation. But the most important issue is the agreements constraining legislation at the Federal, State, and local levels to legislation that doesn’t appear to impact corporate profits. That is a Declaration of Dependence on multinational corporations.

          1. tegnost

            Re: Declaration of Dependence -absolutely an extra-national global rights system for multinational corporations

      3. ds

        It’s ideological only at this point. Combine the free market with anti-Leftism and American pie (mostly it makes the elite wealthier, so that’s the main proponent), and that’s all that matters. these Mandarins are so isolated, many don’t know what goes on five blocks from the Capitol building.

    3. two beers

      “He’s a lost cause and is NOT a Democrat.”


      Blue Dog Donelly exemplifies today’s Democrat(ic) Party. Today’s Democrat(ic) Party doesn’t represent your political concerns. Perhaps you are the one who is not a Democrat.

    4. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Send a note that you know that these deals are not about “free trade” but about corporate control of our governments at every level, and that in supporting TPA he is violating his oath of office by taking an action that is disloyal to the United States and then see what he says.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    “…so the Democratic Senators can say that they passed protections for workers who lose their votes…”

    I think you probably meant ‘jobs’? Or is the TPP even worse than I thought? ;)

    And RE: Will voters re-elect Senators who have become laughing stocks?

    David Vitter anyone?

    1. jrs

      No, no they’ll still have the vote, it will just be meaningless.

      Will voters re-elect Senators who have become laughing stocks? What’s the approval rating of Congress? And I heard laughing-stocks were trading up today. But I would hope not.

    2. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      I had that thought myself, actually, but thought that the Vitter example was perhaps due to his being a Senator from an undeveloped country, namely, the great State of Louisiana!

  4. ReaderOfTeaLeaves

    So McConnell is squeezing Patty Murray via Ex-Import?
    Boeing has traditionally been its biggest customer, and although Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago, there are still plenty of Boeing-related jobs in Puget Sound.

    (Boeing has already moved a lot of manufacturing to non-Union states like S Carolina. But Boeing still sits atTheRightHandOfGod for plenty of Washingtonians.)

    I’ll make a call later today.

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Don’t forget Cantwell. She was one of the trade traitors too. Boeing does a large percentage of its business through the Ex-Im bank. That’s why they’re defecting.

      1. Jerry Denim

        Boeing is probably the largest beneficiary of the Ex-Im bank as the massively subsidized and rapidly growing Gulf-State airlines receive below market rate financing from Ex-Im on the Boeing wide body jets they are gobbling up. Boeing wins but US Airlines and their employees who do not receive the same courtesy are being hurt by this activity. The Air Line Pilots Association (Union ‘ALPA’) which is AFL-CIO are big Democrat donors and they (ALPA) absolutely despise the Ex-Im bank. Killing Ex-Im is one of ALPA’s top legislative priorities.

      2. tegnost

        I thought Cantwell took the lead on ex-im but Murray has provided the votes but not sound bites, i think she’s up for election sooner, so… I did see a commercial featuring a boeing bigshot when in seattle a while back right around the time nike was saying 10,000 jobs would be created, and it sort of soft pedalled the we’re all in this together line so i’m sure boeing really wants the trade agreement, and they screw workers as company policy., while pondering this i googed their pay scale and wondered how the 15 minimum would impact them. I watched their ship go through lopez pass once it was gigundo and blue

    2. neo-realist

      Unfortunately in WA state, a lot of people do believe that what is good for Boeing, and other corporations with a strong presence in the state (Amazon, and Microsoft) is good for WA, so many will accept the support for TPP on the part of Murray and Cantwell as a minor blip as long as the software engineers and the aerospace workers are still gainfully employed.

      The only opposition I can see them getting on the electoral front would be hard right republicans, which is the usual establishment democratic opposition around here, who would probably also support TPP.

      1. different clue

        Well then, they richly deserve the China coal-burning mercury which Free Trade brings them. Let them eat more Pacific tuna.

  5. C

    I think that this is bigger than the 16 in the Senate. However this turns out the simple fact is that the full machinery of the Democratic party has been behind TPA. TAA and the ExIm are just the price of passage. Even though my D rep voted against it he was clearly on the hook to be the bad guy and was finally released. I cannot in good conscience reward him for doing it because he still enables Pelosi, Obama, and Feinstein. The same is true for Warren as well as she still supports the party machinery.

    Ultimately I’m afraid that I will be following Labor’s lead and punishing all of them because otherwise this will continue.

    1. different clue

      That logic seems sound to me too. If the Democratic Party AS a Party cannot exterminate Obamatrade, then those individual Democratic officeholders who are against it serve no genuine purpose. They merely provide cover for the Pelosis and the Steny HoYos among them to conspire with the Corporate Global Plantation Class.

      At that point, the only reason to vote for genuinely well-intended Democrats like Kaptur and Grayson and etc. would be if they all defect en masse from the Democratic Party and set up an economic patriotism party of their own, with no Clintonite Obamacrats for Free Trade Agreements allowed to join it.

  6. Mr.Mr.

    I spoke to my two R senators (Tillis and Burr). For the first the aide was polite, and deaf. He kept arguing the same talking point that this will “set the rules for trade” and “deal with China” even as he conceded that it does not control China. He also said that TPA will “put congress in the Driver’s seat” even as he conceded that the deals have already been negotiated and that the TPA covers more deals than the TPP but only sets rules for it.

    Most disturbingly he argued that the 6 year grant of authority was a “bonus” because it would help future republican presidents. I forgot to ask how it would help President Hillary.

    He did say that he would vote against TAA and would likely vote against the ExIM bank absent “serious reforms.” The aide didn’t specify what those were but noted that all current proposals fall short.

    Senator Burr’s aide did not know how he would vote. Burr voted against in the Finance committee then for on the floor the last time. His aide seemed uninformed at best. He also said that he did not know about TAA or ExIM although he noted that he was opposed to TAA now that it was separate from TPA and that he had supported ExIm previously.

  7. Carla

    We say we won’t vote for traitors anymore, yet somehow they are re-elected time after time after time after time…

    Ya think we gotta change the system?

    It’s frustrating how much time is spent on this site, of all places, on things like vowing not to vote for traitorous Congress critters and the big national joke coming up in 2016.

    1. backwardsevolution

      nick – Your post re the “15 Ways Bill Clinton’s Whitehouse Failed America: was:

      “This list of criticisms is pretty tame. Clinton oversaw the largest and most prolonged era of prosperity and technological development in American history. It gives me hope of the coming Hillary White House.”

      And now all you can say to the TPP post is, “Looks like Obama’s got this one in the bag”?

      How much are you paid for writing this crap?

  8. Blue Meme

    How sad that Senator Feinstein is so obviously a corporatist shill that you hold out no hope of persuading her. (I think it is hopeless, too.)

    The oligarchy is safe in her gnarly hands.

  9. James Levy

    Basically, you are trapped, because the chance you will have a Republican opponent to these creeps who would NOT have voted for this crap is almost nil. So this comes down to revenge, which is OK so far as it goes but doesn’t really move the ball very far forward.

    1. Mr.Mr.

      Well yes but if the net upshot is that the Scary R. delivers one set of policies and the not so scary D’s capitulate to produce the same ends or only soften the blow with some “grand bargain” who cares? I realize of course that the R’s will pony up someone who believes that I should be shot for any one of a number of reasons. But it seems like the D leadership is content to let me be in the crosshairs but scared all the same.

      Sadly on issues like this one I find that the scary R Tea partiers and I are actually on the same side.

    2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      The fuckers wouldn’t pull this shit if they feared any revenge. That’s the problem.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Unless you have a Green Party alternative. I can promise you that in Oregon, but in some states it will take some work. Sorry, I’m not up on our standing in states like Washington. The California party is pretty strong and should be running people against the Trade Traitors.

      And we need all the help we can get.

    4. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Primary challenges are the answer to that, and, very rarely, third parties. So, when someone makes an unacceptable vote then begin organizing a primary challenge immediately.

  10. Tom Hammett

    Most elections are votes for the lesser of two evils. I was hoodwinked by bait & switch Obama in 2008 and did vote for someone I thought was a good candidate. I learn my lesson.

    My latest correspondence to my Wall Street Democrat Senator who is not up for election until 2018. Have no idea who will be 2016 Senate candidates will be since Senator Marco Rubio cannot run for both Senate and President in Florida.

    Dear Senator Bill Nelson:

    The Republican House of Representatives with 28 Wall Street Democrats passed, with the minimum of 218 votes, last week attaching the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA/Fast Tract) without the Trade Assistance Adjustment (TAA), that threw seniors and Medicare under the bus, as an amendment to HR 2146, Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act.

    From the latest leak of information of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) it would appear that the way the TPP negotiations are panning out, the U.S. would gain significant intellectual property and copyright protections for its pharmaceutical, technology and television/film entertainment sectors.

    I recall that lobbyist and former Senator Chris Dodd, who was Chairman of the Banking Committee, is now president of Motion Picture Association of America and worth every penny that they pay him.

    This is not ignoring the problems of using National Security secrecy to protect our politicians from the voters. Or that TPP gives away U.S. and other nations’ sovereignty to a kangaroo court dominated by lawyers for Wall Street and the large multi-national corporations.

    In a set of recent decisions related to NAFTA, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the United States on country-of-origin labels on meat, dolphin-safe labels on tuna, and the ban on sweet-flavored cigarettes designed to combat youth smoking. These were the policies we rely on to allow us to protect children’s health and make informed decisions as consumers.

    My understanding is that the TPP is NAFTA on steroids.

    Are you going to vote for the American workers, without throwing the seniors and Medicare under the bus again, or are you going to vote for Wall Street and the large multi-national corporations including Chris Dodd’s Motion Picture Association of America? The choice is yours!


    Tom Hammett

    1. JTMcPhee

      Nelson also brags up his opposition to oil drilling off our sacred shores, and I recall was unhappy that fracking might be coming to an Everglades near you. Fascinating that an Astronaut, having had the taxpayer-funded opportunity to “Behold the blue planet, steeped in its dreams,” and how it’s all one big interdependent vulnerable little island in a space that is pretty hostile to our form of life, now finds it A-OK that “we the people” will have to pay BP and other supra-national corporations, not the other way around, for “expected future profits” that might result from any daring effort to ban or deter or even regulate still more ripping of more carbon out of the earth and turning it into greenhouse gas and pesticides and such.

      The hypocrisy, it is deep and so very painful, like a bleeding internal hemorrhoid… And he is one of these older guys who first, may not run again because his nest has been adequately feathered, and second, is close enough to a very comfortable personal physical decline and death that like so many other “deciders on our behalf,” he doesn’t have to give a sh+t, since he won’t bear any of the consequences and is almost entirely immune to retribution let alone restitution…

  11. NOTaREALmerican

    RE: Will Voters Re-elect Laughing Stocks to the Senate?


  12. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    TAA is just a goddamned fig leaf.

    Hard to believe, but I think Obama has been a more effective sellout for the plutocracy than even Bill Clinton.

  13. Meeps

    I have been in the fight to flush the TPP for almost 3 years, during which time I communicated my concerns on several occasions to House Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). The chicanery taking place over the TPA/TAA vote, however, has me asking, “What is a win for the people?” From what I’ve read, TAA compensates for job loss at a rate of ~$450.00 per person (in job training) and will be paid for via a $700 million dollar Medicare spending cut. I’m supposed to call my Senator today and ask him not to vote for TPA without TAA? Am I wrong, or have the Republicans turned a game of death by a million cuts to their advantage? I’m a proponent of improving Medicare and expanding it to all. I can’t find a way to argue for TAA under these circumstances.

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Don’t argue that just state your opposition to TPP on sovereignty grounds!

  14. JTMcPhee

    Mr. Firestone, I understand that the Troikas will have some latitude in looking for standards, comparables and rules of decision. I wonder if the Tea Party types are aware that one very possible outcome (see Malaysia) is that #########SHARIA LAW########### may be applied in a ruling by a Troika on a matter that leads to compulsory payment by Tea Party taxpayers (if they still do pay, that is) of claims for “expected profits” that were based on ***************SHARIA LAW****************!!!!!!!!!

    Do you suppose the Tea Party folks are aware of this particular fly in the ointment?

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Well, Jeff Sessions is constantly lobbying against TPA. So, maybe some are.

  15. David

    With the TPP in place there is very little need for the house or the senate. The rules, regulations and laws in place will be swept aside over the next ten years along with countless rights that have been taken for granted. SS and Medicare is next – probably 2018.

    Corporations are people my friends with all the rights of citizens in front of the Tribunals. Humans are no longer citizens before the Tribunals since they cannot demonstrate lost profits which are the only criteria for decisions – Humans have labor status – no more no less – they have been permanently disenfranchised.

    1. jrs

      There’s no loyalty among thieves, no solidarity among congress critters. They’ll happily sell out future congress critters (never even mind the people) to get theirs today.

      1. mn

        I mentioned to my congressperson that there would be no need for her position once this bill passed, Corporate courts blah, blah. From her letter she expressed she wouldn’t sign it in it’s present form unless more “jobs” were created for her constituents. Like Hillary, clearly she wants to sell out. Now off to the senate it goes. We are doomed.

  16. kevinearick

    Drive by Religion

    Drive-by christianity has run its course, and is now on par with orthodox christianity, catholicism, islam, and all the other bait and swap religions that majorities have chosen to employ, to imprison themselves in the past. Maintaining the status quo is the majority’s focus, so you may as well set your own priorities, and learn for yourself.

    Albert Einstein identified a small part in a very large circuit, and didn’t understand the connections. Archimedes identified many pieces and connections, far more than anyone else, in History, and yet there are far more pieces being made, to be identified yet. On this planet, humanity will never catch up to the intelligence of the planet, and the universe is a far bigger place.

    From the perspective of the universe, humanity is artificial intelligence, coding AI to implement automation, making itself ever more redundant. If you listen, the corporate politicians simply employ language created by others, as an echo chamber, trying out words and repeating the ones that resonate, with the crowd, which wants to talk, do nothing, and be paid for the privilege, and to pretend to work, to assuage what passes for a conscience.

    American ideology is bankrupt, like all other nation/states, and Donald has the most experience with bankruptcy, beating the banks at their own game, which says a lot about the US Constitution and nothing about labor. Capital and the middle class employ bankruptcy in an artificial war to draw you in, and arbitrarily assign debt to your children. The middle class says it is aiming at capital, its aspiration, and shoots you.

    When your children come home to complain about their spouses, send them back. If your parents complain about your spouse, send them packing. Like the man said, “never marry an American,” the most ignorant collection of petty tyrannical landlords ever assembled. Consumption is 75% of the economy, so subsidize it some more, on the backs of aborted children, with accrual accounting and revolving immigration, brilliant.

    In case you didn’t know, the majority of cheap labor is plowing in through visas, for free money, to drive the university complex on the margin, not from Mexico. Even the least skilled can find better places to go. Putin can take one step into Ukraine and incapacitate Europe, again, because America wants what every other nation/state wants, something for nothing, and that lasts only so long as slaves are multiplying to increase rent/wage at the abutment, always on a bridge to nowhere, in a city, always under construction.

    Funny, the critters skip right by Genesis, and head straight to Revelations, where they go no further, missing God all together, always wanting to know the end before beginning, seeking external security for internal insecurity, which is why labor works for its children, rather than the moneychangers, and why the majority seeks them out, for extortion. Prepare your children by encouraging them to be themselves, at the required distance, to employ the gravity.

  17. frosty zoom

    [in response to jtmcphee’s sharia comments]

    who wouldathunk the revolution would be started by america’s pork farmers!

    “and on december 12th, 2017, pork farmers raymond gristle and everett b. hock relit the flames of liberty in what has become known as the battle of smithfield hill. and that is why we are here today to honor these two true beacons of freedom with our statue unveiling and pork rind cookoff. let freedom sizzle!”

  18. kevinearick

    Arguing with a reflection in a mirror, created for the purpose, is a waste of time. Life is about how you educate yourself, not how well you know the empire. Having lived next door to hedge fund managers, they are the least of my concerns. Anyone can take advantage of stupid with a few lines of code. You have two feet for a purpose. Pivot.

    Expect the majority to attack your marriage, because that is all they know – spiritual, intellectual and physical poverty, a false choice chasing its own tail. Wannabe landlords complaining about landlords, passive investment, is not an economy. Money, an accounting token, doesn’t work; only you can do that. That steering wheel at the Fed is just for show, to give capital something to do, manage busy work.

    Let the majority think that you are an island, until it finds out otherwise for itself, when it’s far too late. Most of global trade is a waste of time, along with the infrastructure supporting it, a game all politicians play, manufacturing and distributing shoddy merchandise, with a premium for advertizing content, brand control, a game in which the one with the most toys wins, what they don’t know.

    From the perspective of labor, there is no difference between any of the religions; capitalism, socialism or communism; feminism or chauvinism. They are all a means to an end, something for nothing, which doesn’t work, except as a counterweight. Politics and religion, representing themselves as science, scaring the ignorant, made ignorant for the purpose, is the cause of climate variability, and why finance is running the country, into the ground. You don’t need a degree from Wharton to bypass a bridge to nowhere.

    Only the followers of American leadership are unaware of the magnitude of its incompetence, and they have no intention of waking up. Churchill had it wrong, and Churchill had it right. It is not American leadership, which is only incrementally more efficient at language than its replicas, that is restraining Putin. It is not America that will do the right thing, after America has tried everything else. Some gangs are legal and some aren’t, but in no case is their intention to work.

    The critters mimic nature, with the intention of shorting it out, so they don’t have to think or do for themselves, calling the result intelligence, and sit around complaining about discomfort because walking is beneath their dignity, but they consider themselves an authority on how your children must be educated, the United States, a force for good, versus evil, like every other dictator, but with more scapegoats in more levels.

    What more do you need to see?

  19. another anon

    Contacted my two senators about
    TPP and told them that
    “National Sovereignty can not be outsourced”
    That sounds like a good soundbite

  20. rd

    Cantwell and Murray are minimally paid Boeing lobbyists – willing to jump all over labor if Boeing management wants.

  21. TG

    Sadly, I think in answer to the question posed by this article, the answer must be yes.

    Tomorrow morning the US Senate is going to be taking a vote that may well herald the beginning of the end of our (sorta-kinda) republican form of government. There may never have been such a vital vote in the history of the Senate. Reports are that Obama is taking out all the stops to get this turkey passed.

    But: have you checked out google news, or the New York Times? Silence. In the NYT something Taylor Swift said got top billing even in the business section (!) with no mention of TPP et al.

    So how can American voters punish their traitorous representatives, when they don’t even know that they have been sold out?

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      I wonder. Perhaps no more than 5% in my experience are even aware of the trade deals that will take away what’s left of their freedom.

  22. Curtis

    What is the alternative after TTP passes? A few shepherds in the mountains may be the ones left to find out how it all breaks down, and they might not recognize what happened if they don’t have their copies of 1984 and The Brave New World.

    1. jrs

      Possibly the best place to brave out the new world order of the TPP etc. is in any country that is really opposed to the U.S.. China, Russia, parts of Latin America. Of course the biggies are entirely corrupt in their own right. However, they won’t be signing the TPP, TPIP, so living conditions might be better (though I admit it’s a long shot to say living conditions will be better in China – but it’s just they won’t be compelled to destroy their own country by international bodies).

  23. Joe Firestone

    Predictions are that most, if not all the Democrats who voted fo fast-track will risk becoming laughing stocks by doing so again. Ben Cardin seems very shaky, and a bit less so, are Murray, Cantwell, and Heitkamp. Cruz is changing his vote to no. So, anti-TPP forces need the shaky ones.

    Sherrod Brown is now speaking urging Democrats not to give up their leverage. This is the last stand oF anti-TPA forces.

    Don’t know whether Warren will be speaking.

    1. different clue

      Should we really think that Boehner/McConnell will put R-Party gamesmanship ahead of Global Overclass Free Trade Agreements? I almost betcha that quiet emissaries from the Global Lords are quietly telling the R leaders that they had better vote for all aspects of Obamatrade and reminding them that the Kennedy Killers are still out there, if necessary.

  24. John Yard

    In 2014 I was at the yearly banquet of a environmental organization . I spoke there at length with the field representative of a very liberal LA House Democrat . I talked about how many people were upset with the revelations concerning NSA and violations of people’s privacy rights.
    His reactions was very interesting : he felt there would be a big flap, but that afterwards NSA supporters would be re-elected by record margins in their primaries , in short a great amount of noise , but no real world effect.
    Until there are real world consequences – TPP supporters , Dem and Republican – losing primaries, TPP and the next instantiation will continue to roll on, despite its unpopularity with voters of both parties.
    Ano so the aftermath of the TPP vote is almost as important as the vote itself.

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      I agree. If we don’t punish those who voted for this, all of our protests will just be noise. The right will be targeting their Senators and Reps who voted for this. Anti-corporate economic and social justice populists have to do the same.

      1. different clue

        We need to discuss whether it is time to speak of punishing a political party which conspires to achieve Obamatrade while pretending otherwise, or whether talk of exterminating the Democratic Party from existence by working to defeat every bearer of the Dparty lable is premature.

        Is it possible to disinfect and fumigate and cauterize and purify the DLC ClintoBamacrats from out of the Dparty without exterminating the party itself from existence? And if so, could such a decontaminated and bio-remediated Dparty be turned into a weapon for undermining Obamatrade at every level and jurisdiction on the way to electing the overwhelming majorities needed to vote Obamatrade back out of existence?

  25. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

    TPA passed by 60-37.

    Now, when the trade deals come up for votes, the Republicans alone can pass them without any Democratic votes.

    After passage Brown and Sanders made statements criticizing the outcome of the vote, while McConell and Cornyn praised it and the bipartisan agreement. So, now it is hard for Democrats to run against TPA, TPP and the others in 2016, since both parties are to blame for passage.

    it also emerged that 3 Senators were inadvertently detained. Since two were presumed no votes and one was a yes vote, the inference is that the final a vote would have been 61 – 39.

    They called the roll but it was difficult for me to pick out who shifted except for Cruz and Cardin. The other 13 Democrats who may become laughing stocks all seemed to stick with their corporate overlords and their neoliberals leader in the White House.

  26. TG

    I don’t know for certain, of course, but I suspect that Cruz’s about-face was fake.

    For months Cruz has been flacking for Obamatrade, making outrageous statements about its opponents, claiming that it wasn’t secret, etc. This really hurt him in the polls, because love them or hate them grass-roots conservatives pay attention to how their representatives vote and they have long memories (all you ‘liberals’ out there, take notes).

    Suddenly on the morning of the key vote Cruz says he’s changed his mind, coming up with an utterly ludicrous excuse about being misled about the import-export bank (Can you imagine! The leadership making misleading statements! I was shocked!) and he votes against it but it passes anyhow. I suspect (only suspect) that the leadership knew they had it in the bag and he was allowed to vote no.

    Now if Cruz votes against TPP etc. and they don’t pass, I may change my mind. But if he continues to make useless votes against these agreements and they pass anyhow, well, I’m tired of politicians voting for something when it matters and voting against it when they know it’s going to pass…

    But at least, as a resident of the great state of Alabama, I can be proud that I live in a state that is more progressive than California or Washington! :)

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