consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TPP, Elizabeth Warren, and a few links. [edited and updated]

Warren, (apparently her and not some grifter using her name), sponsors a simple online petition, which for Minnesotans might reach Klobuchar.

Interestingly, when you toggle to send the form it rotors over to a DONATE page. Politicians these days don't care to have time to read TPP because they are hither and yon shaking money trees; and likely in some cases incurring return obligations to TPP business champions, i.e., persons or trade associations or firms in international commerce.

Warren does not do so, and has to raise funds somehow so that rotoring a petition to a donate page makes sense. And is proper. If it takes money to run, you either get it small-donor, or from special interests. And successful business people do not buy tools upon which they cannot rely. That's unsound business.

If you don't care to help TPP opposition, the fight is lost. The small-donor policy contrarians are your hope to be actually represented and not in name only with special interests running the game. Reliance on citizen public participation creates no obligations, except to the public interest at large. The small-donor cadre has the freedom to actually criticize and suggest reform of the Main Street over Wall Street kind. And even knowing you cannot read TPP you know in your gut that international finance agreement, rigging money supplies and flows, is a big part of what the TPP pushers do not want you to know in your mind.

Not having a full schedule of speaking dates and glad handing money people gives Warren and other TPP opponents in Congress time to read TPP. They take the time. They are diligent, and do the Paul Revere corporatists-are-coming outcry after seeing what they read. Which again is something we are not permitted to read because citizens in the public are excluded from knowledge of how holders of power are rigging the game.

CommonDreams posts several items.

First, here, with this excerpt beginning itself with an excerpt of a statement issued by Warren:

"The Administration says I'm wrong – that there’s nothing to worry about," Warren wrote in a blog post addressed to constituents and the general public on Wednesday. "They say the deal is nearly done, and they are making a lot of promises about how the deal will affect workers, the environment, and human rights. Promises – but people like you can't see the actual deal."

Warren's statement came as members of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday evening — despite an attempt by Sen. Bernie Sanders to slam the brakes on the process — voted to pass trade promotion authority, or Fast Track, that would give President Obama and his administration the ability to negotiate the final terms of the TPP (as well as a similar deal with Europe), while relegating the congressional role to "all or nothing" up-or-down votes on the trade pacts.

Passed by a vote of 20-6, the Fast Track measure received support of seven Democrats on the committee and all but one Republican. In addition to Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), who co-sponsored the bill, the other Democrats who voted in favor of Fast Track were Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Tom Carper (Del.), Mark Warner (Va.), and Michael Bennet (Colo.).

In his recent comments, Obama has called the TPP the "most progressive trade deal in history," but critics like Warren have responded by saying if that is true — if the deal is so great and wonderful — why won't the administration release the details so the American public can see for themselves? Though lawmakers have received numerous briefings and can see draft versions of the agreement, they are forbidden from disclosing the details of what it contains.

[links in original]

While polemics can be misleading, the term "Iron Curtain" nonetheless comes to mind. That CommonDreams item is fittingly headlined, "Sen. Warren to Those Promising TPP Would Be So Great: 'Prove It.'"

Money talks to both parties equally? It is hard to see it in other terms. Doing a nose count of Dems on committee as reported by CommonDreams; Wyden and Cantwell, well, you can say Nike for Wyden, and Microsoft and Boeing for Cantwell? Carper from Delaware, is from Dupont's home state. Other listed Dems favoring Fast Track in committee look to be from DC/beltway area, possibly championing arms merchandising interests (a/k/a the military-industrial complex, a/k/a the defense industry), and likely the Florida and Colorado Senators oppose in-state military base closures.

That is conclusory, without links to validate or disprove the guess. Yet, a clear key fact is that there is bipartisan support for TPP, i.e., GOP solidarity on committee with Obama's trade people. GOP love for giving Obama fast-track authority looks stronger in general than Dem love for the deal. There appears to be GOP trust for the people setting terms, and for Obama of the other party to back what the people setting the terms tell him to back.

Moving on -

Next link, same website, the title likely telling you enough, "Sen. Warren Calls on Hillary Clinton to 'Be Clearer' on TPP -- Senator says presidential candidate must 'weigh in on trade'". That's a point that is hard to dispute; except a proper amended title should pluralize "candidate." And that would cross party lines - any presidential contender should offer a policy position on TPP, as a litmus test of courage if nothing else.

Third, this link, which arguably is cumulative. It discloses Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and the other Massachusetts Senator, Edward Markley, have authored a joint letter of concerns to the lead US trade negotiator, asserting among other things, ""We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises." Tell me this is not a legitimate consideration.

The above image is from Boston Globe coverage, here, with the Boston Globe also posting an item headlined, "The great deglobalizing -- Our interconnected world is shrinking back toward its national borders—and that’s a problem."

I have not found a fully cogent explanation for all the secrecy, beyond gentlemen with power exercising it behing closed doors because they like the doors closed. Surprise as a strategy - don't let them know what is going to hit them, until it hits.

That is an explanation. Not an excuse.

The above was edited. Posting a dreadfully written first draft was undone. Going beyond that, the CommonDreams excerpt above contained a link, here, in which The Hill reports:

The lone Republican to oppose was Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.).

In the most contentious vote of the day, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) lost their bid — on an 11-15 vote — to include an amendment in the legislation that would have required the White House to include enforceable currency manipulation provisions in international trade agreements.

Five Democrats — Cantwell, Nelson, Carper, Bennet and Warner — and 10 Republicans opposed the amendment.

Portman, a former U.S. trade representative, said the amendment was needed because the “playing field is tilted against us” and it would “allow our workers to compete.”

Stabenow argued the Obama administration’s process is “just not enough” to convince countries to make faster progress toward market-driven exchange rates.

After markup, Portman said he will make another attempt at passing the rule in floor debate.

The White House has argued that requiring the addition of currency provisions would derail negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and likely jeopardize its passage in Congress.

So unless the Chinese are permitted to undervalue their currency the Chinese are not interested in making a deal?

How else would you read that? Possibly also: The Treasury, Goldman Sachs, and the Fed don't want any international meddling with their own meddling; currency manipulation being an ancient sport of gentlemen in power, and a sport of gentlemen wanting to expand personal wealth by playing currency fluctuations, Soros being the poster child that way but Soros not being alone in gambling that zero-sum FX market game? The Hill further reports that, officially, the suggestion is along the lines of the Chinese wanting to be able to manipulate their currency and we do too with the dollar, as we have been doing, this being wording of the report:

“We have serious concerns about the inclusion of enforceable currency provisions in this or any trade agreement,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Lew has repeatedly asked Congress to tread lightly in pushing for provisions that could, in the end, do more to hurt U.S. workers than help.

“Enforceable currency disciplines would impair our already-successful efforts addressing currency practices through our bilateral and multilateral engagement and could grant other countries a legal basis to interfere with the flexibility of U.S. policymakers to take the steps necessary to protect jobs, support growth, and ensure continued price stability in the United States,” Lew said.

In a letter to senators Tuesday, Lew said other trading partners “have made clear that they will not support the introduction of enforceable currency provisions in the context of trade agreements, and specifically, the TPP.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) went as far as to say if the amendment passes, “you could kiss TPP goodbye.”

This Google.

Last, Ted Cruz's spouse is taking a present "unpaid leave" from being employed by Goldman, so who's got a guess of where Cruz stands on TPP?

Another Google.

Believe what Cruz reportedly says if that's your inclination. Yet if that is your inclination, (aside from somebody offering you the Brooklyn Bridge for sale), do you fault the Clinton Foundation and Bill and Hillary and their speaking fees; after their leaving office? An interim unpaid leave from Goldman while Ted runs is a big-time "So what - go figure." Senator from the oil patch.

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