By James Corbett
Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and every now and then even the occasional Congress critter comes down on the right side of an issue…as long as it affords them some political leverage, that is.
Such is the case in the current fight over “Trade Promotion Authority,” an obscure piece of legislation that is now at the heart of the debate over Washington’s ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Trade Promotion Authority, or “fast track negotiating authority” is an authority granted by Congress that allows the President to present trade agreements to Congress for approval or rejection, and stops the treaty from being filibustered or amended. This authority is needed because Congress is in fact given all authority to regulate “commerce with foreign nations” and “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises.” The idea (supposedly) is to give the President “added leverage to negotiate trade agreements by effectively assuring U.S. trade partners that final agreements will be given timely and unamended consideration.”
What this “trade promotion authority” (TPA) means in reality, though, is that potentially disastrous trade deals like the TPP can be negotiated in almost complete secrecy and then presented to Congress as a done deal and ramrodded through the House before the public even knows what’s happening. And what the carefully whitewashed Congressional Research Service reports on the subject won’t tell you is that the TPA has been championed by none other than…(wait for it…)
David Rockefeller! That’s right, as proudly admitted on page 438 of his unimaginatively titled Memoirs, Rockefeller’s own “Council of the Americas” (founder and honorary chairman: David Rockefeller) was instrumental in lobbying for Bush’s TPA push in 2001. So it should be no surprise that they are cheerleading this push for TPA, too.
Globalists of all stripes love the idea of TPA because it makes the creation of unaccountable, multilateral trade deals like NAFTA, the WTO and the TPP so much easier. And it should be no surprise that Obama–who has done nothing but demonstrate himself as a serviceable puppet for the globalists during his time in “power”–should now be fighting with many of his former allies (including the trade unions, environmental groups, progressives and even members of his own party) in order to pass it.
Of course, this fight isn’t really about fast track authority itself so much as it is about the TPP. So what is the TPP, exactly? We’ve talked about the TPP on The Corbett Report on many occasions, but a brief primer for those who are new to the subject would include:
- Unprecedented secrecy around the negotiation of the treaty that even requires members of Congress to view the text in a locked basement room of the Capitol Visitor Center, one section at a time, without the option of taking notes.
- Changes to intellectual property laws that will expand copyright laws, put further restrictions on fair use, and make it harder for people to exchange information online.
- Provisions that will end access to affordable medicine for wide swathes of the Asia-Pacific and interfere with medical research.
- Provide further opportunities for corporations to sue governments for things they don’t like (like anti-smoking legislation or rejecting hormone-ridden meat)
- The destruction of even more jobs from a US economy that has seen massive outsourcing since the implementation of NAFTA.
But of all of the flack that Obama is receiving for pushing for the TPA (and, by extension, the TPP), perhaps none is so cutting as that dished out by Elizabeth Warren and Rosa DeLauro–a Democratic Senator and Congresswoman respectively. Earlier this week they penned a scathing op-ed in the Boston Globe this week that includes the observation that “modern ‘trade’ agreements are often less about trade and more about giant multinational corporations finding new ways to rig the economic system to benefit themselves.”
This is a self-evident truth to those who watched Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” come to pass after the passage of NAFTA and have watched with horror the unfolding of the WTO nightmare over the past two decades. But the scope and scale of the TPP agreement (or what little we know of it), combined with the unprecedented level of corporate input into its drafting that is taking place behind the scenes make the TPP even more of a potential disaster.
As Warren and DeLauro note:
The president argues that the TPP is about who will ‘write the rules’ for 40 percent of the world’s economy — the United States or China. But who is writing the TPP? The text has been classified and the public isn’t permitted to see it, but 28 trade advisory committees have been intimately involved in the negotiations. Of the 566 committee members, 480, or 85 percent, are senior corporate executives or representatives from industry lobbying groups. Many of the advisory committees are made up entirely of industry representatives.
These are important points…but it should be no surprise that these criticisms are just more political wrangling. This is not the issue of protecting the people from a predatory globalist bankster jetset that have been constructing the framework for global government behind the scenes for decades. This is essentially the first round of the 2016 campaign for Elizabeth “Look At Me I’m Not Hillary!” Warren.
Still, politics make strange bedfellows and dissent is dissent. If it does derail the passage of the fast track authorization and ultimately scuttle the TPP, who are we to look that gift horse in the mouth?