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Obama's Nike speech: He should really stop lying about TPP secrecy and his surrender of sovereignty under ISDS

Here's Obama at Nike, which employs one million contract workers in Vietnam and elsewhere (yes, they're still striking), and says they'll hire 10,000 Americans if TPP passes; if you believe that, by all means vote for it.[1] From the White House transcript:

Number three -- you’ve got some critics saying that any deal would be rushed through; it’s a secret deal, people don’t know what’s in it. This is not true. Any agreement that we finalize with the other 11 countries will have to be posted online for at least 60 days before I even sign it. Then it would go to Congress -- and you know they’re not going to do anything fast. (Laughter.) So there will be months of review. Every T crossed, every I dotted. Everybody is going to be able to see exactly what’s in it.

There’s nothing fast-track about this. This is a very deliberate track -- (laughter) -- which will be fully subject to scrutiny. And I’m confident when people read the agreement for themselves, they’ll see that this is the most progressive trade deal in history.[2]

That's a crock, in fact two crocks, and surely Obama knows it. Crock the first, on the "secret deal." If Congress votes for Fast Track, the deal is as good as done; that's what Fast Track is for. So what matters is secrecy now, before Fast Track is passed:

[Rep. Tim Ryan:] “Right now you have to go into the same room that we get classified briefings in, that’s how secretive this whole process has been,” said Ryan who headlined a labor rally in Akron Tuesday against TPP.

The members enter the room alone, with no staff who can help break down the language in the deal. You can take notes, Ryan said, but they must be left behind.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “I sit on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, since 9/11 we’ve had a ton of classified briefings and that’s common procedure. You can take notes, but you got to leave them and to have that same thing happen for a trade agreement where our jobs are at stake, our communities are at stake, investment is at stake. It’s kind of mind-boggling.”

If you've ever-looked at the [heavily [bracketed]] and jargon-filled text, you know that sending a Congressman in without a staffer and without the ability to take notes is like sending them in to read the New Testament in the original Greek with no translator. This is a farce, and an insulting farce. Functionally and operationally, in every way that matters, the bill is secret. (It's also a complete secret from the American people, if that matters at this point).

Crock the second, on "So there will be months of review. Every T crossed, every I dotted." Here's a description of the Fast Track terms under which the TPP bill will come up for a vote, as negotiated with Orrin Hatch by that traitor, Ron Wyden. Labor Press:

Wyden said the bill creates “unprecedented transparency in trade negotiations, and ensures future trade deals break new ground to promote human rights, improve labor conditions, and safeguard the environment.”

But a line-by-line analysis shows Wyden’s statement to be false. Wyden’s bill is almost identical to a fast track bill from the year before. The only differences are that the Wyden bill:

  • Adds the word “accountability” to the name of the act;
  • Establishes the position of “chief transparency officer” to advise about “transparency;”
  • Gives Congressional staff “with the proper security clearances,” the right to see (but not take pictures of) negotiating texts;
  • Requires the president to publish the agreement[3] online 60 days before formally signing it; and
  • Creates a narrow escape hatch to revoke fast track consideration: Agreements won’t be subject to the fast track rules if the House or Senate vote to declare that the president has failed to notify or consult Congress on trade negotiations—but they can only do that if the House Ways and Means Committee, or the Senate Finance Committee first do so.

In other respects, the Wyden bill is the same as previous fast track bills—Congress has to finish voting on a trade agreement 90 days after the president sends it to them, and can’t amend it in any way.

Congress can't amend the bill. In what conceivable way is that "Every T crossed, every I dotted"?

And then there's the ISDS. Obama's lying again:

Number four -- critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation -- food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. (Applause.) This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws. This agreement would make sure our companies aren’t discriminated against in other countries.

Come on. Philip Morris takes the U.S. government to the (rigged, corporate) ISDS so-called court on some cancer stick marketing issue, and the ISDS rules for them because markets, ad fines the U.S. government a billion dollars in lost profits. Does Obama really believe we wouldn't change a law to avoid a billion dollar fine? And if not the US, how about one of the States?

Look, they even hate the TPP at Obot Central. Armando:

It's possible, even likely, that the President will gather enough Dem votes to join a solid bloc of GOP votes and get approval for fast tracking TPP. But I don't see how he can truly persuade anyone on the substance of TPP without, you know, letting us see the substance.

If I had a vote, it would have to be No on TPP - because I don't know what is in it.

Because Obama!


[1] The suckitude of this carrot is amply demonstrated by the fact that I misremembered the 10,000 as 100,000.

[2] Obama's lying and arrogance has been florid for some time now. "This is the most progressive trade deal in history". Yeah, just like the administration was the "most transparent in history" *** warrentless surveillance *** cough *** drones *** cough *** "kill list" *** cough ***.

[3] Exclusive of any side deals we don't know about.

No votes yet


V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

Fat chance! There are many reasons U.S. companies use third world countries for manufacturing; cheap labor, un-enforced worker rights, un-enforced environmental laws, un-enforced safety regulations regarding dangerous machinery (guards/kill switches/ventilation, etc.) just to name a few.
I know this first hand; the reason I'm in Thailand is that I was hired by an American toy company to do CAD design engineering and production.
I quit because of the abuses I couldn't control; pregnant woman working the glue line with highly toxic instant glue; women working with solvents in areas with no ventilation; people working in highly toxic dust with no ventilation.
When I went to the Thai labor department they showed me a 2" thick file on the abuses complaints against "my" company. When my wife picked it up, the official quickly grabbed the file and told her it was confidential.
Phil Night is a scumbag along with most CEO's of companies operating in Asia and Obama is a feckless asshole.
TPP? What do you think?
It's already totally a fucked up world; what's a little more TPP?

Submitted by lambert on

... to make the fucked-up-ness a little more mild, something I'm, er, attached to.

Adding, kudos on bagging the toy factory. When I see how hard the Thai people work, I want to lie down and howl (or, conversely, support or at least recognize them in some way they can accept from me).

Submitted by jawbone on

fast track and the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Abomination). The senator has not yet "made up his mind" on whether to vote for fast track and/or the Abomination.


I said that I was a Democratic voter trying to find people to vote for, pols who gave a damn about the lower economic quintiles, sovereignty, the right to pass laws on pollution which Big Corporations couldn't run around, etc., and that I would never ever vote for anyone supporting this treaty or for granting fast track to the administration.

Submitted by lambert on

Last I recall, you were taking care of your friend and then you dropped off the face of the earth.... So I hope all is well.

* * *

Cory Booker is a piece of work. "Making up his mind." His story, more likely.