Or: Will Obama still be able to f*ck over Those Who Don’t Matter™ and the ecosystems of 85% of the planet despite some… obstacles?
This is likely old news by now, as I’ve been so long getting this diary together. But I’d been getting pretty weirded out by some in the Twitterverse declaring them dead, so I went a-hunting. This was the first, although Assange used the caveat ‘may’.
The Wikileaks video is dated, but still a good overview: ‘WikiLeaks – The US strategy to create a new global legal and economic system: TPP, TTIP, TISA’ I failed to find a transcript anywhere.
We’d seen headlines of the Demise of the TPP as ‘Mitch McConnell won’t bring it to a vote’, but it pays to actually read an article. As in: ‘Obama’s Chances To Ratify TPP Sink As Senate majority Leader Says No To Vote’, staff, RT via the popular resistance newsletter.
“Washington, DC – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may not be dead in the water, but it’s struggling to stay afloat now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has said he’s not willing to serve as its lifeguard.
McConnell said he will not bring the TPP up for a vote in the Senate this year.
“The current agreement, the Trans-Pacific [Partnership], which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year,” McConnell said at the Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast on Thursday, The Hill reported.
McConnell wasn’t willing to kill the deal completely, however, saying that it could see a vote in 2017 if some changes are made.
“It will still be around. It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration,” he said.”
Nice to read that UPS CEO David Abney threw his weight behind the deal recently; the 200,000-member strong American Postal Workers Union (APWU) opposes it.
But sure, maybe they just don’t intend to let the Negro in the White House have his signature victory party; pus: the R’s want more? And don’t forget, if the Queen is The Parlor in 2017, she was adamantly for the treaty…before she was (cough) ‘against it’. Tim Kaine can’t make up his mind, of course.
I’d kept checking at Public Citizen’s ‘Global Trade Watch’ and on their Twitter account: nothing. But finally, this came in on the Popular Resistance newsletter:
Lori Wallach, Sept. 2: ‘TPP Is Not Dead, Unfortunately’
“The reports of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s death have been greatly exaggerated, unfortunately.
It would great news if the pact, which would mean more power for corporations over our lives and government, and fewer good jobs for Americans, were ready to be boxed and buried.
But more urgently, if last week’s news stories convince the growing transpartisan movement fighting the TPP to stand down, the prospects that the pact’s powerful proponents can succeed in their plan to pass it after the election will increase.
Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said at the Kentucky Farm Bureau: “The current agreement…which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year.” This generated a wave of press coverage declaring that there would be no lame duck vote on the TPP.”
Yep, Paul Ryan had said much the same thing: we ain’t got the votes, why bother? Obama has a lotta work to do yet, as in, and I agree with Wallach:
“…negotiating for changes to obtain even more corporate goodies – longer monopoly protections for pharmaceutical firms’ high medicine prices, elimination of an exception protecting some tobacco regulations from TPP attack, and more.
If the GOP leaders get what they want, they will be pushing hard to pass an even more damaging TPP in the lame duck session, despite their insincere political posturing over the unpopular agreement leading up to the elections.
It’s also possible congressional Republicans will jump into gear to pass the deal in the lame duck session even if they do not achieve that last one percent of corporate goodies for the one percent.
Thanks to Fast Track, President Obama gets to decide if the TPP vote clock is started – not the Republican leadership. It is risky, but Obama could call the GOP leaders’ negotiating bluff.
Fast Track is a one use tool. Failure to pass the TPP once a president starts the clock [90 Congessional Days] means that Fast Track for the TPP is “used up.” Knowing that corporations that fund the Republicans want the TPP, Obama could gamble that the GOP leaders would fold on their demands and start pressuring their members to vote “yes” if he submits the implementing legislation.”
And make no mistake, the massive corporate coalition pushing for the TPP is aggressively lobbying to pass the pact in the lame duck session—that unique moment of minimum political accountability when the retired and fired in Congress get to come back and vote one more time knowing they will not be facing their voters again. These interests are rolling out big-money AstroTurf “field” operations to generate paid telephone calls for the TPP, wrangle corporate retirees to write their Representatives and carpet cyberspace with paid social media.
That is not the behavior one would expect from interests with close personal relationships to McConnell and Ryan if in fact the Republican leaders intended to block a lame duck TPP vote, something the GOP could do even if Obama started the clock.”
So, stay tuned. As a side note, can you parse this sentence from Wallach?: (That is why Sen. Bernie Sander’s statement last week, praising McConnell for announcing he would “block” the TPP was so very sly, because of course McConnell said no such thing.) She blows by the corporate-funded Dems’ positions in the main…
Now the TTIP is a bit trickier, but for instance, from globaljustice.uk, Aug. 29: ‘’TTIP has failed’ – a victory for people power’. Well, maybe not.
A number of pretty bright folks were Tweeting this with glee, but hadn’t apparently read past the title. ’‘Trade wars: Why the central pillar of global order is in danger of collapse as TTIP disintegrates’, telegph.uk. But Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (yes, that one) proceeded to show why it ain’t dead at all.
“The Transatlantic pact intended to unite Europe and North America in a vast free trade zone is close to collapse after France called for a complete suspension of talks, accusing the US of blocking any workable compromise.
“Political support in France for these negotiations no longer exists,” said Matthias Fekl, the French commerce secretary.
Mr Fekl said his country would request a formal decision by EU ministers at a summit in Bratislava to drop the hotly-contested deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).” [snip]
“Sigmar Gabriel, the German economy minister, said over the weekend that talks were going nowhere. “The negotiations with the US have de facto failed because the Europeans would naturally not submit to American demands. I can’t imagine that the social democrat movement in Europe will opt to carry on and say ‘we stick to the whole bad deal’”, he said.”
“The Americans are offering nothing, or just crumbs. That is not how allies should negotiate. There must be a clear and definite halt to these talks, to restart them later on a proper basis,” he said.”
Merkel of course is still advocating for it. Related, of course is: #Brexit, and the war of words, claims, counter-claims, etc.. Evans-Pritchard adds:
But even if Germany stays the course on TTIP, it is far from clear whether The Netherlands would ever be able to ratify it. Dutch law allows activists to force a referendum on any new treaty once they have collected 300,000 signatures…and that TTIP likely wouldn’t fare much better.”
Now as for those Pesky Dutch, it’s conceivable that given Greenpeace Netherlands leaks may have hit closer to home, no? From RT, May 3: ‘LEAKED: Explosive TTIP documents expose plans for corporate takeover, dismantled climate protection’
“Greenpeace Netherlands published the documents on Tuesday to dismantle a veil of secrecy over the watershed deal and lay bare its implications for climate protection, human health, labour rights, internet privacy rights and the very social fabric of Europe itself.” [snip]
“Executive Director of UK social justice campaign War on Want John Hilary [he’d spoken in the Wikileaks video at the top] said the leak uncovers how TTIP threatens jobs, food safety and the democratic foundations of Europe.
“It is even worse than we feared,” he said. “Today’s leak shows the European Commission preparing to sell us down the river, doing deals behind closed doors that will change the face of European society forever.
“It is simply unacceptable that a group of unelected officials should be allowed to contemplate such a thing without any public scrutiny.”
“Hilary went on to suggest the leak signals TTIP’s demise.” Again, the rest of the exposé is here. Well done, leakers!
We hope you’re right, John Hillary and others, but then:
“A global trade deal currently being negotiated in secret and involving 50 different countries could prove to be a serious threat to public services according to a briefing published today by campaign group Global Justice Now.
The Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) is a proposed international trade treaty between 23 parties, including the European Union and the United States. Unlike most trade deals, TISA is about services, not goods. The briefing argues that this means it will affect areas like labour rights, banking regulation and whether public services like electricity and water are run for public good or private benefit.
The briefing, A blueprint for global privatisation argues that:
- TISA would lock in privatisation of public services. TISA contains mechanisms, such as ‘ratchet ’and ‘standstill’ clauses, that make it much harder to reverse privatisations and will allow greater market access for foreign companies;
- TISA would be terrible for the climate. TISA entrenches the idea of technological neutrality on energy policy. This could stop countries favouring renewables over coal, oil and gas;
- TISA will mean more casino capitalism. TISA will undermine efforts to regulate the financial sector and avoid another crisis;
- TISA threatens online privacy. TISA promises to hand much more power to the likes of Google and Microsoft to move personal data across borders to countries with lax data protection laws;
- TISA will be especially damaging to countries in the global south. TISA includes countries like Pakistan that could be hindered in developing public services. It also poses a threat to countries outside TISA, because, once approved, rich countries will seek to impose TISA-style measures globally through the WTO;
- TISA could mean a rollback on the rights of migrant workers. Proposals being negotiated under TISA mean that some migrant workers may end up being categorised as ‘independent service suppliers’ and will consequently not have rights to things like the minimum wage or be allowed to join a union. Workers’ presence in a country could also be tied to their employer. This form of indentured labour is in effect in countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and has resulted in horrific working conditions under unscrupulous employers.
Nick Dearden added,
“Many people were persuaded to leave the EU on the grounds they would be ‘taking back control’ of our economic policy. But if we sign up to TISA, our ability to control our economy – to regulate, to protect public services, to fight climate change – are all massively reduced. In effect, we would be handing large swathes of policy making to big business.” (the rest is here)
(NAFTA and TTIP as well, but the latter’s still under final ‘negotiation’, according to the Guardian.)
Back to Wikileaks, then:
Wikileaks’ ‘Trade in Services Agreement’ (an array of releases, documents, articles)
Aug. 28, 2016
‘The Court that Rules the World; A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. Part one of a BuzzFeed News investigation. Part one of a BuzzFeed News investigation — read the whole series here. (An in-depth investigation into Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals
And let’s not forget #CETA (The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement EU-Canada treaty) But hoka-hey; if Juncker, Justin Trudeau, and Chrystia Freeland love it, why should The Rabble fear and loathe it so?
Two relevant quotes from Pepe Escobar, both pre- and post G-20 in Hangzhou:
‘ASEAN and East Asian powers, meanwhile, keep weighing the merits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — 16 nations, 29% of global trade – as an alternative to the US corporate-pushed TPP, a sort of NATO-on-trade that excludes China.” and
“China’s “message” anyway was unmistakable; it has set a geoeconomic path for the future and it’s lobbying hard for scores of nations to join on a win-win framework. And whatever the future of the graphically confrontational “pivot to Asia” – the TPP “NATO on trade” arm included – Beijing won’t sit silent to US intimidation, or threats to what it considers China’s vital security interests.
The G20 in Hangzhou showed China is ready to show off its economic clout and to exercise a much more active role in geoeconomics. It’s clear that Beijing’s prefers to play the game in a multilateral trade system based around the WTO. Washington, instead, has been trying to rig the game with new “rules”; TPP and TTIP.”