“King Obama,” His Royal Court, And The TPP

| Resist!

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a global corporate noose around U.S. local, state, and national sovereignty – narrowly passed a major procedural hurdle in the Congress by gaining “fast track” status. This term “fast track” is a euphemism for your members of Congress – senators and representatives – handcuffing themselves, so as to prevent any amendments or adequate debate before the final vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership – another euphemism that is used to avoid the word “treaty,” which would require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate. This anti-democratic process is being pushed by “King Obama” and his royal court.

Make no mistake. If this was only a trade treaty – reducing tariffs, quotas, and the like – it would not be so controversial. Yet, the corporate-indentured politicians keep calling this gigantic treaty with thirty chapters, of which only six relate to traditional trade issues, a trade agreement instead of a treaty. The other twenty-four chapters, if passed as they are, will have serious impacts on your livelihoods as workers and consumers, as well as your air, water, food, and medicines

The reason I call President Obama “King Obama” in this case is that he, and his massive corporate lobbies (royal court), have sought to circumvent the checks and balances system that is the very bedrock of our government. They have severely weakened the independence of the primary branch of our government – the Congress—and fought off any court challenges with medieval defenses, such as no American citizen has any standing to sue for harm done by such treaties or the subject is a political, not judicial, matter.

Only corporations, astonishingly enough, are entitled to sue the U.S. government for any alleged harm to their profits from health, safety or other regulations in secret tribunals that operate as offshore kangaroo courts, not in open courts.

President Obama has weakened two branches of our government in favor of the third, which is currently his executive branch that has secret negotiations with 11 other nations, some of which are brutal regimes.

Allowing foreign investors (aka corporations) to bypass our courts and sue the U.S. government (aka the taxpayers) for money damages before secret outside tribunals is considered unconstitutional by many, including Alan Morrison, a constitutional law specialist and litigator now at George Washington University Law School.

In the mid-nineties, I opposed the creation of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. President Obama and some members of Congress say that the TPP will be different from NAFTA and the WTO, but I doubt that they have read the entire draft of the TPP. They’re relying on summary memos by the U.S. Trade Office and corporate lawyers, for example, drug companies that sugarcoat the complex monopolistic extension of the pharmaceutical patents and how this will result in higher prices for your medicines.

I challenge President Obama to state publically that he has read the entire TPP. Even a benign monarch would do this for his/her trusting subjects.

Inside these hundreds of pages of cross references and repeals of conflicting existing laws is the central subversion, subordinating our protective laws for labor, consumers and the environment (impersonally called “non-tariff trader barriers”) to the supremacy of international global commercial traffic.

One very recent example – by no means the worst possible – just occurred. After Congress passed a popular “country-of-origin” labeling requirement on meat packages sold in supermarkets, Brazil and Mexico, both exporters of meat to the U.S.A, challenged this U.S. law in a secret (yes, literally secret in all respects) tribunal in Geneva under the World Trade Organization Treaty. Brazil and Mexico won this legal challenge.

“Many Americans will be shocked that the WTO can order our government to deny U.S. consumers the basic information about where their food comes from and that if the information policy is not gutted, we could face millions in sanctions every year,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Today’s ruling spotlights how these so called ‘trade’ deals are packed with non-trade provisions that threaten our most basic rights, such as even knowing the source and safety of what’s on our dinner plate.” A May 2013 survey by the Consumer Federation of America found that 90% of adult Americans favored this “country-of-origin” requirement.

Fearing billions of dollars in penalties, the U.S. Congress is racing to repeal its own law. See how the noose works: foreign countries trying to pull down our higher standards can take conflicts to secret tribunals with three trade judges, who also have corporate clients and can say to the U.S., “Get rid of your protections or pay billions of dollars in tribute.”

The same noose can choke efforts by the U.S. to upgrade our health, safety, and economic rights. Had air bags been proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation under today’s global trade uber allesregimes, the proposal would have had to go to a harmonization committee of the WTO’s signatory countries that would sandpaper or reject this life-saving technology. Or if the U.S. went it alone, it would expose itself to repeal or pay by car-exporting nations.

For ten reasons why the TPP is a bad idea for our country and the world see my recent Huffington Post column.

If this all sounds so outrageous as to strain credulity, go beneath the tip of this iceberg and visit: http://www.citizen.org/tradewatch andhttp://www.flushthetpp.org/. Then, get ready for the battle over the TPP itself in the late autumn. The following are three examples of how to build resistance to an international problem in your local communities.

First, send the legislators who supported the fast track handcuffs a CITIZENS’ SUMMONS to appear at a town meeting where you, not they, present the agenda. If the lawmakers think 500 or more determined people will show up, it is very likely they will relent and meet with you. The unions and other groups working to stop the TPP around the country can get their people to attend these town meetings. August is the congressional recess month. The senators and representative will have no excuse to avoid a town meeting with their constituents. For a list of those legislators who need to be focused on, visit https://www.stopfasttrack.com/.

Second, hustle together some modest money from groups and individuals, rent an empty storefront, plaster the windows with large signs, and start a rumble of civic resistance in all directions. Politicians sometimes shrug off the warnings of losing contributions from unions. What politicians do fear is their inability to control groups of resurgent voters indeterminately expanding from inside their district or state.

Since opposition to TPP reflects a Left-Right alliance in Congress and back home, store fronts spell real worry for politicians. They should worry because they chose not to do their homework for their home country.

Third, hold rallies designed to attract, collectively, hundreds or thousands of people around the country. These rallies could have an array of high-profile speakers and entertainers, as well as workers who have been harmed by past so-called trade agreements. Rallies can bring in new people and start the process of galvanizing them about the many problems with the TPP.

Remember, 75 percent of Americans think that the TPP should be rejected or delayed according to a bipartisan poll from the Wall Street Journal. People know what these “pull–down,” misnamed trade agreements have done in their own communities. Start organizing today to win tomorrow!

  • michael pierce

    As a related idea whose time has trully come. I encourage citizens to support a constitutiional amendment providing citizens the right to be the final arbitrers of any and all acts of Congress through a National Inititative, referendum, and recall process. This is the only way we can effectively strangle the corrupt stranglehold of corporate globalist interests. When you communicate with your member of congress, please share with them your support for a National initiative, referendum and recall constitutional amendment.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Fighting ‘Fast Track” and TPP in the complex language and distorted extra-legalism terminology of the Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist EMPIRE is crazy and useless waste of energy for the daft left.

    While Fast Track, TPP, NSA domestic spying, expanding wars, Wall Street looting, vast inequality, drone assassinations can ALL be fought and easily beat ONLY by focusing on the EMPIRE which is the core cancerous tumor that is the underLYING CAUSE of all these superficial ‘identity issues’, subordinate ‘symptom problems’, and our entire “ailing social order” if the deluded leftish, progressive-lite, and alt media horde will just focus on understanding, diagnosing, and ‘exposing’ the EMPIRE behind all such problems:

    As Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis…is a crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13

    Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition.

    Obama and all the rest of the gutless and deceitful political-puppets of both the neocon ‘R’ Vichy party working for the EMPIRE and the slicker neoliberal-con ‘D’ Vichy party fronting for the exact same EMPIRE can only be overthrown, expunged, successfully Revolted against, and if necessary ‘excised’ by focusing ‘like a laser’ on the EMPIRE behind the smoke and mirrors.

    As Chris Hedges notes in his fabulously revealing new book, “Wages of Rebellion” quote Dr. Cornel West and Abu Jemal regarding treasonous bastards like Clinton, Bush, and Obama on:

    [The solitary imprisoned] Abu-Jamal’s venom is reserved for liberal politicians such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whom he excoriates for callously disempowering the poor and the working class on behalf of their corporate patrons. And he has little time for those who support them.

    “It was Clinton that made possible the explosion of the
    prison-industrial complex,” he said, speaking of the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill. He looked around the visiting area at the thirty-odd prisoners with their families. “Most of these people wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Bill Clinton,” he said.

    “He and Barack Obama haven’t done anything for poor people but lock them up. And if our first African American president isn’t
    going to halt the growth of the prison-industrial complex, no
    president after him is going to do it. This prison system is here to
    stay. The poor and the destitute feed it. It is the empire’s
    solution to the economic crisis.”

    Hedges, Chris (2015-05-12). Wages of Rebellion (pp. 110-111).
    Nation Books. Kindle Edition.

    Abu-Jamal has written: “In this place, a dark temple of fear, an
    altar of political ambition, death is a campaign poster, a
    stepping-stone to public office. . . . In this space and time, in
    this dark hour, how many of us are not on death row?” 14

    “The brutality of the empire was exposed under George W. Bush,”
    he said to me. “The empire desperately needed a new face, a black face, to seduce the public. This is the role of Barack Obama. He is the black face of empire. He was pitched to us during the most recent presidential campaign by Bill Clinton, the same Clinton who gave us NAFTA in 1994 and abolished good-paying manufacturing jobs for millions of workers. The same Clinton who locked us up. Clinton and Obama represent the politics of betrayal at the heart of the corporatist machinery. And they have fooled a lot of people, especially black people. During slavery, and even post-Reconstruction, there were always a few black people who served the system. The role of these black servants to white power was to teach passivity in the face of repression. This is why Obama is president. Nothing has changed.”

    Hedges, Chris (2015-05-12). Wages of Rebellion (p. 112). Nation
    Books. Kindle Edition.

    BTW, Ralph, Obama is not any “King Obama” but only a pathetic and treasonous Faux-Emperor Obama playing the role of a supposedly democratic president for this deadly and disgusting EMPIRE!

  • mwildfire

    What’s wrong with this picture? “Our” representatives, elected under a system in which money calls the shots, just passed Fast Track which restricts their own Constitutional powers, in order to pass a set of secretly negotiated treaties that essentially pass all legislative powers to the world’s corporations. And we are urged to engage in various time-honored tactics to try to pressure “our” representatives not to vote for the agreements their Fast Track vote was expressed designed to assure. First of all, there is no reason to think we have any more power to stop “our” reps from voting for TTP, TTIP. TISA and XYZ than we just had to stop Fast Track: the notion that we can frighten them with the prospect of being voted out of office ignores the likelihood that those hardest to persuade have been promised very well-paid sinecures by the corporations whose interests they’re serving, if they do get voted out. And our election system makes that voting-out difficult even after such a monumental betrayal as this. But more importantly, at one point do we recognize that this entire system is utterly corrupt, completely illegitimate, and that begging people to support the interests of the mere organic persons without money who happen to live in their districts over those of the handful of rich ones who fund them, is both unlikely and INAPPROPRIATE…at some point we must stand on our hind legs, reclaim our dignity and rights, and overturn this corrupt system! The time has come to begin conversations about how we set up a better system–I think we need to dissolve the United States as democracy is probably not possible in such a large entity. Perhaps a dozen smaller unions could create states in which people set their own agenda.