Diary

Obama Seeks More Power with TPP Fast Track Bill; GOP Leaders Want to Give It to Him—Again

Congress has more than ample evidence that President Obama and his people are pathological liars, contemptuous of the constitutional powers of Congress. Obamacare, about which Obama repeatedly promised: “If you like your insurance, you can keep it,” forced cancellation of over 5 million policies people liked.
Then, Obama serially violated the Constitution and spat on Congress by legalizing illegal aliens: first in 2012, when he unilaterally changed the law to allow children of illegal immigrants to remain here—resulting in 702,000 unauthorized immigrants, as of December (Pew Research); then, last November, he created a legal excuse for thousands of immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to have their children in their home countries join them in the U.S. as refugees (We now fly them in); four days later he announced he would take [illegal] action to shield from deportation some 5 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., if they are parents of U.S. citizen- or legal–permanent resident children; recently, his DHS ruled that single mothers from those same three nations have refugee status in the U.S. if they say they experienced or even witnessed gang violence.He’s also shown a strong inclination to negotiate important treaties under secrecy and without advice and consent from Congress. These are all actions of a president ravenous for more and more power.As a response to all this, Congress proposes to give the president even more power, under [mc_name name=’Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’H000338′ ]’s (R-UT) “Fast Track” trade authority bill, which would expedite consummation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.That’s the same Orrin Hatch who stubbornly supported Loretta Lynch’s confirmation, even after she expressed agreement with the president’s unconstitutional amnesties.

The Hatch Bill, introduced April 16th, would do this for America, according to Public Citizen:

  • Empower the executive branch to unilaterally select partner countries for a trade pact, determine an agreement’s contents through the negotiating process, and then sign and enter into an agreement –
  • all before Congress voted to approve a trade pact’s contents, regardless of whether a pact met Congress’ negotiating objectives;
  • Authorize the executive branch to write legislation containing any terms the White House decides are “necessary or appropriate” to implement the pact. Such legislation would not be subject to normal congressional committee review and markup, meaning this and future administrations could include in a Fast Tracked trade bill whatever terms it desired;
  • Require votes in both the House and Senate within 90 days, forbidding any amendments and limiting debate to 20 hours,whether or not Congress’ negotiating objectives were met.

 

“In short…the president could sign a pact before Congress approves it and obtain a yes or no vote in 90 days.”

“The bill would delegate away Congress’ constitutional trade authority, even after the Obama administration dismissed bipartisan and bicameral demands that the TPP include enforceable currency manipulation disciplines,” said Public Citizen; and it “would expand [the]  same broken trade model that has led to [a] $912 Billion Trade Deficit [and the] loss of millions of manufacturing jobs.

As for the TPP itself, it is patently a bad deal for America. And in the immortal words of Joe Biden, this is a Big F—–g Deal: the partnership would involve almost 40 percent of global GDP.

And what’s worse, the contents of the treaty are being kept secret, according to an op-ed by Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch, in the NY Times, because “Mr. Obama wants the agreement to be given fast-track treatment on Capitol Hill.”

Isn’t this reminiscent of [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ]’s inane, but evil statement that “We have to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it?”

Ron Kirk, once Mr. Obama’s top trade official, gave a candid reason for why he “opposed making the text public: doing so, he suggested to Reuters, would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.”—NY Times op-ed

Also from the op-ed: TPP “is more than just a trade deal. Only 5 of its 29 chapters cover traditional trade matters, like tariffs or quotas. The others impose parameters on nontrade policies.” A series of leaks revealed:

  1. The possible re-animation of  the “Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would have imposed harsh penalties for even the most minor and inadvertent infraction of a company’s copyright
  2. It “would also take aim at policies to control the cost of medicine. Under the agreement, [Pharmaceutical] companies could challenge such measures by claiming that they undermined their new rights granted by the deal.
  3. “The deal would include even more expansive incentives to relocate domestic manufacturing offshore than were included in Nafta — a deal that drained millions of manufacturing jobs from the American economy.
  4. Among other things, it would practically forbid bans on risky financial products, including the toxic derivatives that helped cause the [2008 financial] crisis in the first place.

According to Lori Wallach, opining this time in HuffPo, on a leaked portion of text, from the agreement:

“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of TPP negotiations. Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will infuriate left and right alike have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do.” The rest of her analysis can be found here. More excerpts on what TPP would do:

• “Limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms.

• Extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries.

• Establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and

• Demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges.

• Allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms.”

What all this amounts to is surrendering our sovereignty to an alliance with countries like Brunei, Malaysia and Communist Vietnam. The average big-city annual wage in Malaysia is equivalent to 2386.13 US Dollars, and in Vietnam 197 USD. This gives credence to another criticism: that joining in this treaty will be a “race to the bottom.”

Put another way: Does anyone really believe they will buy American goods, or we will buy theirs?

Right: the U.S. market is the true prize.

This Race to the Bottom is inevitable, even though advanced countries like Singapore and Australia would be in the partnership. It’d wind up like the Euro—Germany et al. supporting the weak sisters like Greece and Spain.

In addition, we will be supporting and competing with at least one country practicing slave labor, Vietnam. From laborrights.org:

“Drug center detainees are forced to work under harsh conditions for little or no pay doing a range of repetitive tasks, like sewing t-shirts or mosquito bed nets, painting stone trinkets, and processing cashews, often for private companies.  As punishment for refusing to work, violating center rules, or simply not filling a daily quota, detainees report being beaten with wooden truncheons, shocked with electrical batons, or placed in solitary confinement.

“Goods made by detainees’ forced labor have made their way into global supply chains: in 2011, Columbia Sportswear acknowledged that one of its Vietnamese contractors had subcontracted the production of jacket liners to a detention center near Ho Chi Minh City.  Vietnam is the top supplier of cashew nuts to the United States and there is little doubt that some portion of the cashews sold to U.S. consumers are processed by forced labor in the detention centers.”

The bottom line, aptly described in this video, is that Fast Track would enable our trusted leader to sign such an agreement, then get it quickly passed in Congress.

The true battle is in the U.S. House of Representatives, where barely 13 Democrats would vote for this travesty. Fifty Republican votes are needed to pass Fast Track—giving Obama the same kind of treaty power as some in Congress objected to with regard to the Iran Nuclear Treaty.

Speaker Boehner reportedly has desperately asked Obama to press more Democrats to get onboard. But primarily, he will need 50 Republican votes, by Memorial Day. So he is whipping his own party to come up with more votes.

Typically, rather than fight an overreaching president, GOP leaders act to give away their constitutional treaty rights with both hands.

Even though GOP leaders seem challenged, the entire question is not at all complex; it is simply this: Do you trust your president?

If you do not, let House Republicans know. This is a link to the Twitter accounts of every GOP representative. Move the slide repeatedly down until the whole list is there. And start Tweeting. Just click on the little gear, on the right, of each member. Keep it stern but polite. “We reject Fast Track and TPP,” or the like.

To attract supporting tweets, do not forget to include the top conservative hashtags: #WakeUpAmerica #ccot #tcot #tlot #lnyhbt #redstaterising #WAAR.

Comprehensive info on TPP here.