The Pardu

TPP Outrage? Koch’d?

In Koch, President Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, The Blue Route, The Trans Pacific Partnership, Thomas Friedman, TPP on May 18, 2015 at 3:44 PM


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Re Post from The Blue Route……And Kudos to Maeby Gever for allowing the Re Post.

Koch Control Over The TPP Outrage

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Koch Control TPP Outrage


The Trans Pacific Partnership is a pending international trade agreement that the Obama Administration has been working on since 2010. Now, the TPP has become a lightening rod being used to call out President Obama as some sort of enemy of the working people of America while also being hung like a noose around the neck of the leading 2016 Democratic candidate for President, Secretary Hillary Clinton. Is the TPP the death knell for American working people or is it a pragmatic, smart and better alternative to allowing China to set the future course of international trade? Or is this really a case of Koch control over the TPP outrage?

The present TPP controversy has been pitting Democrats against Democrats, with well-respected and knowledgable experts on both sides of the issue. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, has suggested that Senator Elizabeth Warren should run for President in 2016. Secretary Reich served in the Ford and the Carter Administrations, and has been a professor on the faculty at the University of California Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. Secretary Reich has said that: “The TPP would be a disaster

On the other side and in favor of the TPP is Liberal New York Times columnist on foreign affairs, globalization, and technology, Thomas Friedman, who believes that President Obama is right to push forward this deal. Friedman agrees with the President’s view that if we do not get this deal done, we will regret it in the not too distant future.

The liberal economist, Paul Krugman, has been suspicious of the TPP, not because he opposes trade deals or because of what is contained in the agreement, but because of the identity of who is advocating for the deal, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, which calls into question what Mightbe included in the deal. Krugman is clearly speculating as to the negative effects the TPP might have, refusing to say that the deal would be as bad for labor as Secretary Reich has suggested, while also pointing out the intended benefits for American intellectual property, and asking why the President would spend so much political capital on a deal that Progressives and Labor clearly does not want.

Much has been made about the open feud between the well-respected populist champion of the left, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and the President. Senator Warren has objected to the negotiations being kept secret from Congress. The negotiations and the text of the proposed TPP agreement have been classified by the administration. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote a letter to the President dated April 25, 2015, urging him to declassify the text of the proposed TPP agreement.

President Obama has pushed back hard against the secrecy argument, pointing out that Congress has received over 1,700 briefings on the subject. And when pressed by Rachel Maddow in an April 22, 2015 interview, Senator Warren said;


It is true that the actual text of the TPP is secret and cannot be view by the public at this time. But summaries of the goals of the TPP can be viewed online by the public.

Perhaps the President answered Paul Krugman in his most recent radio address. Speaking about the TPP, the President said:

“If I didn’t think this was the right thing to do for working families, I wouldn’t be fighting for it.”

In essence, the President is asking us to trust him to have the knowledge, foresight, and commitment to we, the real American people, to make a deal which over time will operate to our benefit. Time and patience might eventually prove him to have been right. Of course, the 20 plus year track record of previous trade deals, such as NAFTA, have been characterized by the labor movement as disastrous for American workers, while economists have a different view. It has been argued that NAFTA actually saved the loss of millions of American jobs and as to the American manufacturing job losses since NAFTA:

“Economists attribute most of those losses to new technologies and Asian competition, not NAFTA”.

The argument from the President, that we should basically trust him and that he would not be doing this if he did not think that it was good for American workers, admittedly is weak. The fact is that the proposed agreement is not secret, as members of Congress who have the proper security clearance,can view the draft text anytime they want.

The full Senate will now be able to consider Fast Track Authority, as the Finance Committee has approved the Fast Track Authority bill by a 20 to 6 margin, with seven Democrats, including noted Liberals Ron Wyden of Oregon and Michael Bennett of Colorado, voting yes. If Fast Track Authority passes, the President would be able to finalize a TPP deal with Congress allowed an up or down vote on the deal, as is, without being able to filibuster or to introduce amendments. The final agreement would have to be made public 60 days before being sent to Congress. Like it or not, this is the legislative process at work.

Julian Assange is the founder and editor in chief of WikiLeaks. The organization specializes in the unauthorized release of secret government and corporate information considered by many to be illegal hacking, if not criminal espionage. Mr. Assange considers himself a Libertarian, and he has referred to Ron and Rand Paul as:

The strongest supporters of the fight against the U.S. attack on WikiLeaks and on me.”

In an August 2013 interview with the conservative campusreform.com, Assange said that: “The libertarian aspect of the Republican Party is presently the only useful political voice really in the U.S. Congress. It will be the driver that shifts the United States around.”

Many opponents of the TPP rely on documents released by Wikileaks claiming to be the text of the entire agreement, as well as other releases claiming to be selected portions of the agreement. These releases began on November 13, 2013, and they have continued through March 25, 2015. Wikileaks has previously been accused of forging documents, and Wikileaks has previously admitted to publishing false information as a hoax, so as to bring attention to an issue of concern.

Forming an opinion of the TPP based on secret information, that might not be accurate, released by an organization that has no authority to do so, and which has a political agenda that promotes the policies and positions of Senator Rand Paul, the Libertarian ideologue seeking the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, does not seem wise. We will only know if the leaked Wikileaks documents have any basis in reality when and if the final agreement is made public.

Many progressives are pointing to the Koch created Libertarian “think tank,” the Cato Institute, which they say supports the TPP, as reason to oppose the deal. Yes, one must always be leery when a known Koch supporting organization takes a position on any matter, but the claim that the Cato Institute supports the TPP may or may not be true. The Cato Institute has been publishing position papers authored by various writers, since the President announced his intentions to negotiate a trade deal in March 2010, through March, 2015. The Cato Institute position papers seem to be in favor of the principle of free trade, which to them means the removal of regulations and taxes, while decreasing wages and increasing corporate profits. The Cato Institute writings also have the common thread of being critical of President Obama, Democrats and Republicans in Congress for being incapable of obtaining a worthy agreement.

Voices such as the Cato Institute make the false claim that both parties are the same, and only by breaking away from the traditional Democratic and Republican Parties can America be saved. This is not true as the parties are not the same. Yes, both parties are beholden to big money interests, but one party, the Republican Party, has been completely taken over by the billionaires pursuing an agenda that benefits the 1%, and leaves the rest of us out in the cold. While the Cato Institute seeks to offer the Libertarian ideology as a savior, the Libertarians are the Koch Brothers, and they have taken the Republican Party far to the right and there is no sign that they will stop.

Progressives point to the almost gleeful support that the TPP has received from other voices of the conservative world, as reason to be against the deal. The National Review, a virtual conservative bible, is on board with the TPP calling it: “Obama’s best idea”.

On the other side and in favor of the TPP is liberal New York Times columnist on foreign affairs, globalization and technology, Thomas Friedman, who believes that President Obama is right to push forward this deal. Friedman agrees with the President’s view that if we do not get this deal done, we will regret it in the not too distant future.

The mere fact that a traditionally conservative voice such as the National Review supports the TPP, is as insufficient a reason to oppose it as is the mere fact that the traditionally Progressive labor movement has come out against it. Reasonable people should require hard evidence as to this particular matter, and all of the evidence is not yet available. And consider this: is it possible that this time, as far as the TPP is concerned, that both some conservatives, the President, and some liberals might just be right on the value of the TPP?

Yes, the specific draft terms of the TPP which have not yet been finalized, have been classified and cannot yet be released to the public, but the question is why would the President want to do so prior to the passage of Fast Track Authority? If the terms of the deal were to go public before a final deal is made, the partisans on both sides would be able to cherry pick sections that they do not like thus assuring that no deal would be passed in Congress. Further, those unpopular sections would be used to attack any potential 2016 candidate for office who might indicate support for the TPP.

If the President believes in the deal, good deal or not, would he agree to the demand to make it public? No, he should not. And if the President were to make the deal public before getting Fast Track Authority, Congress would then be able to demand changes and to introduce amendments, all of which would be under the control of the Republicans who control both the Senate and the House. This would lead to an agreement that would be even more unacceptable to the people who are already against the deal. The President cannot agree to make the deal public before Fast Track Authority is given, so as to prevent this eventuality.

Then there is this to consider. Perhaps President Obama is trying to protect Secretary Clinton. It is true that when Clinton was Secretary of State, and naturally, as part of the administration, she was very supportive referring to the TPP as something that would become the: “Gold standard in trade agreements.”

Then there is the praise that Secretary Clinton heaped upon the TPP in her 2014 book, “Hard Choices,” saying, among other things, that the TPP was,

Important for American workers, who would benefit from competing on a more level playing field.”

Now that Secretary Clinton is not a member of the Administration and not in Congress, she can say she will withhold judgment on the deal until the final text is made public. Once the deal goes public, if it is essentially the same as the deal Clinton was aware of while she was Secretary of State, she would be hard pressed to walk away from her previous endorsement of the TPP. So the President just might be giving cover to Secretary Clinton. We all know that the opponents of Hillary Clinton are attempting to put the noose of a bad TPP deal around the neck of the President, and at the same time the neck of candidate Clinton.

This deal is not yet done. We only assume to know what is in it. Even if it is a done deal, Congress will get to vote it up or down before it becomes effective. Before the deal gets to Congress, there will be at least 60 days for the public to read the actual deal, not the WikiLeaks version of selected portions of the deal. And if members of the public who have read and understand the deal have strong feelings one way or another, by all means they should let their Congressional representatives know where they stand and how they would want them to vote.

If the eventual deal that gets to Congress is voted up, the complaints from the opponents of the actual deal, which are speculative projections of gloom and doom that many will legitimately have, will come. But the objection here seems to be that some people don’t want this President negotiating while others simply do not want any international trade deal at all because of the view that such deals never do work out to benefit American workers.

So for all of you who think that the Libertarian voices and Conservative writers are helping to stop a bad deal for American workers, perhaps it is more likely that these Libertarians and Conservatives are more interested in fomenting fake populist outrage against any deal. Having no deal maintains the status quo on international trade continuing to benefit billionaires while American workers struggle to find decent jobs. Perhaps there is an agenda designed to harm this President, while also impeding the chances of Secretary Hillary Clinton becoming the next President of the United States, by using fake populist TPP Outrage to once again push the Koch agenda further down the throats of Americans. Perhaps the goal is to increase the chances of America being saddled with a President such as Rand Paul come 2017.

Maeby In Space Blue Route
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