First Order Of The 2015 Right-Wing Majority Is The TPP. Beware!

sultan omar

Like a snake in a woodpile, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) lies dangerously in wait to be fast-tracked to International Big Boy land where giant foreign and domestic money interests will control every aspect of U.S. trade dealings with the 11 other member countries of TPP.

In addition to the United States, in alphabetical order, the remaining membership is made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chili, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Area superpower, China is absent from the TPP roster of nations.

Brunei is an interesting little territory. Admit it, you know nothing about Brunei. “TPP Capitols for $100, Alex!” Jeopardy host, Trebek flips through his index cards. “OK, what is the capital of Brunei?” You immediately shed 140 points off your 150 IQ. Months later, you’re still standing there with a blank expression on your face, thumb frozen over the buzzer. For the record, it’s Bandar Seri Begawan. The cities centerpiece, nestled in a lagoon, is the breathtaking Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Masjid (the Arabic term for Mosque) with a dome covered in pure gold.

You remember how Republicans hate Muslims, right? They want to blow them off the face of the earth. Not a day goes by, but one of their right-wing warmongers doesn’t rip into Obama for not sending every last hunk of our military iron and troops over to the middle east and taking care of those terrorists once and for all.

Brunei is 80% Muslim. Its government is the Malay Islamic Monarchy. According to the CIA World Fact Book, their legal system is a mix of English Common Law and Islamic law. The first sharia-based penal codes were applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims earlier this year. Oh, and there are no elections. But we love this country chock-full of Muslims with the same fervor as a fellow Rotarian, all that Muslim stuff notwithstanding. That’s because Brunei is loaded. Oil and gas abound, as does money.

Another TPP member, Malaysia, features a Muslim population of 61% with nary a Christian of any stripe to be found anywhere. But Malaysian Muslims are OK as potential TPP money machines as well (see above.). And let’s not forget trading partner and home to some of the biggest U.S. companies, Vietnam. About 40-50 years ago, The Viet Cong to the South and the Northern Vietnamese Army were busy blasting 57,000 young Americans into oblivion, but there’s nothing like the almighty dollar to forgive and forget. But absent a similar inter-country deal from our nations “Yankees”, Southerners still harbor undisguised resentment dating back to a conflict that’s 150 years old.

Make no mistake, the newfound love for Muslims, notwithstanding, the real player besides the U.S. in TPP is Japan. The Americans need an economically powerful Asian counter-balance to at least equalize Chinese efforts to emerge as the top trading dog in the near future. But here is where it gets puzzling. China, on the heels of a recent summit, attended by both Obama and Putin, is continuing to work up a trade pact called the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). This agreement has the same purpose as TPP; warding off an economic enemy, but, in this case, the U.S. would be a member of both TPP AND APEC. So the world’s top two economic powers are at cross purposes at the same time they sit across from each other, about to make a handful of individuals rich beyond comprehension. Russia is also an APEC player, and, get this, every member of TPP, including Japan also claims membership. There are 21 APEC nations. How fast APEC progresses is anybody’s guess. It’s been around since 1989 as a forum and moves are currently being made to declare its official status as a trade agreement a ‘fait accompli’ in the very near future.

China also recently inked a trade agreement with South Korea, as with China prominent in its absence from TPP, another country oddly missing from TPP.

For all the Congressional harangue about not knowing the contents of TPP, the right people in both parties know the agreement verbatim. No leadership of either the Republican or Democratic Party is going to push for fast-tracking a secret pig in the poke trade deal. Come the new session, this thing will pass legislative muster with the speed of a bullet train, given that Utah Republican, Orrin Hatch will most likely ascend to the Chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee and Orrin adores TPP.

Republicans will follow his lead. Ironic, given all the power over U.S. intellectual property, copyright issues and digital that TPP could possibly control. Ironic, given Republican knee-jerk opposition to any and all UN initiatives that could affect America’s internal affairs even to the slightest degree of control. Ironic, that during the Congressional run-up to the last election, I don’t recall TPP being even in the top five of candidate’s major issue concerns.

There’s another agreement called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Revealed in last year’s State of the Union speech, this trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union might actually be beneficial for workers and, yes, even union members. The AFL-CIO has given TTIP its cautious imprimatur based on the relatively high economic standing of the participants, the fact that EU countries seem to care about the welfare of their people and the union-friendly environment of most EU member countries. There is also substantial worker input into the operation of their employer’s company. There are worker councils and generally, a worker seat on the Board of Directors. That seat is mandated in Germany if over 500 are employed. So the scoreboard reads: U.S. worker participation in the operation of their company; virtually zero; EU worker participation, substantial and meaningful. What’s not to like?

Let’s take a brief look at the trade agreement by which most U.S. trade pacts are judged; NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. No matter what the Clintons or Republicans told you in 1994, NAFTA was simply economic permission to crush U.S. tariffs, so huge companies could produce products overseas for embarrassingly low wages and then import the pieces back into the U.S. either whole or for assembly, without paying previously-imposed tariffs. Wages and environmental regulations were laughable, though many companies have now fled Mexico in favor of even lower wages and virtually no pollution standards in third-world countries.

The NAFTA trade deficit has exploded and the estimated U.S. job loss numbers are in the one million range. A $2.9 billion surplus with Mexico in ’93 turned into a combined (Mexico and Canada) trade deficit of $181 billion in 2012. In rare bipartisan agreement, polls show that Americans would like to either revisit NAFTA or trash the trade pact altogether. U.S. job creation from NAFTA is virtually nil.

And have you heard about China’s other pet trade project, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP)? Enough letters for one submission. We’ll save RECP for another day.

Trade pacts. Approach with extreme caution!

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22 Replies to “First Order Of The 2015 Right-Wing Majority Is The TPP. Beware!”

  1. The president is so high on TPP that he can hardly breath. This will go through Congress and the president so fast the paper will burn. And you will never see generic medicine again except for whats made now. Americans will be sucked clean of everything. And our brave president is all for it

    The next person that sings home of the brave and land of the free should be shot

  2. I just don’t get why Obama is pushing this. Can’t this country ever learn from its own history? I don’t think even Obama ass sniffers can explain this one away. But…but…but he got us the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act!

  3. I have decided that Obama doesn’t really understand what this is doing – he may have got bad information, big business lobbies have huge power in Washington, and it must be very difficult to learn real facts from all the opinions thrown at you. No-one really ever has all the facts, and I consider the President to be very middle-of-the-road, pro-business on most things, he really is not a lefty – he just isn’t!!
    So we should not be surprised that his actions tend to be those that big business wants. Same with the immigration issue – he will pass something, because he promised to, but also because big business would love to see 5 million more people with the right to work – wages will stagnate even further !
    On that note – I am an immigrant, but I really do not understand why people who came here illegally think they should be given citizenship because the country was too lazy to track them down and throw them out before this !

  4. You might have to wonder if this is another one of those things that President Obama has been warned to look at what happened to JFK. I read his books before he was elected in 2008 and thought this is a very intelligent guy with good ideas, he should be president. Got to wonder why his position changed on some things after being elected.

  5. Pew poll 55% of americans support the TPP.
    74% support it because they think increased trade with Japan is a good thing.

  6. EMO Talk shit but don’t do anything but whine because Obama didn’t bend down enough for glenn greenwald and the snowman

  7. And, WILL CHINA, the MUSLIM WORLD SUPPORT PUTIN (BRICS, et al); The WHITE KNIGHT?

    And, while President Putin’s potential support as “The WHITE KNIGHT” in the development of the CETAgreement, et al, litigation below can dramatically off-set the hundreds of billions of dollars due to the present & future sanctions leveled by American led, et al, corporations & financial institutions via their governments’ signing their global corporate economic treaties/”arrangements”,

    are the citizens (SHAREHOLDERS & NON shareholders) of Germany & JAPAN just being prudent in wanting to wait for the outcome of:
    1) the submission to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA & the highest court in Germany, et al, to make their findings regarding “The Submission”:
    “The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, et al
    v
    the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, et al”?

    and
    2) “The MERKEL (Chanc. Germ.) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued”?
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com )

  8. There’s loyalty, and then there’s “Blind loyalty.” You ought to look it up sometime. One last point: you don’t know me–you don’t know anything about me. So don’t profess to know where my loyalties lie.

  9. Hey you went there with the much un-needed ass sniffers comment so don’t whine now when you get some smackback.

  10. What is meant by “Obama ass sniffers” is not that all Obama supporters are ass sniffers, but that all supporters who show blind loyalty to Obama, regardless of what he does, are. Again, if you don’t understand what blind loyalty is, look it up.

    One of the main differences between Democrats and Republicans is that we hold the leaders on our side accountable, whereas the Republicans get in step and show blind loyalty to whoever is in charge. We all have heard, first Senator Obama on the campaign trail back in 2007, and then President Obama say over and over for the last 6 years, “Hold me accountable. I’m not a perfect president. Make me do the right thing.” Why do you think he keeps saying these things if he didn’t want us to hold him accountable?

  11. Continued:
    Now, if you think that the TPP is a good idea, as apparently President Obama does seeing how he’s been pushing for it, that’s your right. But, I don’t think you’ll find a majority of Liberals and Democrats who agree with you. It’s going to make the rich and corporations even richer, while it outsources good jobs, and drives down wages for the rest of us. Have you ever heard of NAFTA? That was a trade agreement by another very popular Democratic president that most Democrats in the working class feel has been a disaster for them.

    BTW, I wasn’t whining. I was attempting to add thoughtful debate to the important issue of a trade deal that, if it gets signed by the U.S., is going to have a profound effect on all of us for years and years to come—and not in a good way—while you, on the other hand, are content, not to add to the debate, but instead hit me with your juvenile spitballs and proudly declare yourself winner by a brilliant knockout punch.

  12. Actally NAFTA was a pure gop plan. It was approved and ready for Bill to sign when he entered office. He signed it, that was his sole contribution to it

  13. Excuse me…your first assumption was that even Obama ass sniffers, your term, wouldn’t agree with his position on TPP.
    Your second assumption was the implication that someone cant support Obama’s position or TPP itself without being an Obama ass sniffer.
    And you have the nerve to lecture me about assumptions.
    Secondly I did not post an opinion on the subject I merely posted a pew poll result
    showing americans support for TPP. As the media keep telling us Obama is so unpopular are the results from this poll
    from Obama ass sniffers then?

  14. You know I have been reading conflicting comments and post on the TPP. JMO but I think this would be a fine time for someone to READ what’s its about and then write a article on the pros and cons about it.

    I remember when labor was against the Korean trade pact and then our exports increased, jobs were protected and the sky didn’t fall. Guess what? When was the last time you heard labor come out against this trade pact? I thought so

  15. “Excuse me…your first assumption was that even Obama ass sniffers, your term, wouldn’t agree with his position on TPP.”

    I didn’t say or imply that.

    “Your second assumption was the implication that someone cant support Obama’s position or TPP itself without being an Obama ass sniffer.”

    I didn’t say that either. You need to work on your reading comprehension. The rich, the corporations, and the Republicans love his positions on TPP, even though they hate Obama personally. Also, I’m sure there are many uninformed Democratic voters that think this is a great idea as well.

    “Secondly I did not post an opinion on the subject I merely posted a pew poll result
    showing Americans support for TPP.”

    You are conflating two different posts. Your poll result post had nothing to do with my post or this conversation. This conversation got started because of your self-righteous indignation with my using the term “Obama ass sniffers.”

  16. Continued:

    BTW, that poll suggests that “most” Americans support TPP is 6 months old. And if your argument here is that TPP is a good thing because “most” Americans are for it, remember, most Americans just gave the Republicans huge majorities in both houses. Half of this country is stupid. That doesn’t mean that a bad thing is a good thing. It just means that even stupid people can vote.

    You muddied the waters by addressing things I didn’t say, and disregarded specific questions I asked you. Great Republican debating tactic. What comes next, “I know you are but what am I?”

  17. Man you sure are long winded. Finally you are right, yes you lost me at ” Obama ass
    sniffers “. I summarily dismissed the rest of your post as soon as you displayed your bias. In my opinion your initial response to me calling you out on it should have been……’ there was no need for me to inject ass sniffers into my comment to make my point’.
    Of course we both know your real point by injecting ass sniffers into it was to get a response and you did.
    Now, I am moving on. Feel free to have the last word.

  18. While average people argue at each other the parties don’t work long vacations get 150,000 to 250,000 checks and lifetime benefits and corporations reign and laugh at us. Why are normal policies min wage etc. wrong to invest in our country! What is the agenda of the republican party helping average people. I have not seen any but obstruction! Because there isn’t any for average people! They are the leaders of corporations followed by demos. Should have made congress work for you. The idiots who voted the 6 year NO work Republicans in deserve what is coming! I wander do you get awarded a job back for no work! Especially 6 years of it! Now the war starts in 2015! Like a broken record more corporation tax breaks attack the poor while average people suffer too! Stupidity on behalf of voters in last election!

  19. Obama is wrong on Tpp. Period, Voters why is republicans worried about business and not average people! Is this why we vote republican! We have had this for 30 to 40 years now. So sad! Change or its coming !

  20. Dont kid yourself. Republicans are all for business and Tpp is all for business. The president AND republicans are wrong on TPP

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