Is the T.P.P. Constitutional?

by Jim Howe

Friday after noon, June 12, 2015, just in time to make the lowest point in the news week, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (T.A.A.) bill failed, 102 -302. Then a vote followed on Trade Promotion Authority (T.P.A.). It passed, 219 to 211 (218 being the bare minimum to pass if all 435 members are present). But… the rules in effect prevent the bill moving forward unless T.A.A. is passed. So T.A.A. will be reintroduced the week of June 14.

T.P.A. was passed, but the bill that was voted on was not the final form of the bill. IF T.A.A. is passed then the T.P.A. could move to conference with the senate bill and on to the president. Would the T.P.A. have to be amended and re-voted due to the T.A.A. language being added post facto? Logically, there would be a vote on the actual final language of T.P.A. But this is the U.S. House of Representatives and pretty much anything goes after happy hour lunch on a Friday afternoon.

Of course, the process is meant to be convoluted and confusing. We can compare it to Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine (here).

“Our good friend, President Obama,” and the Republican majority have put the labor movement, the environmental movement, and the greater coalition against the corporate power grab treaties in the position of urging supporters to call their congressman to oppose T.A.A. That is, to oppose assistance to workers that have lost their jobs as a result of the very trade agreements that voting for the T.A.A. would enable. We’ve moved beyond Abbott and Costello into Alice’s Wonderland to the tune of Jefferson Starship’s “White Rabbit” with Obama as the rabbit and Hillary as the Red Queen. Bernie as the Cheshire cat?

Magicians call this an illusion. The audience (citizens) are misdirected and distracted while some (underhanded and dirty) trick is done.

Pay no attention to that Constitution in the display case! Try and follow the spider through the tangled web of purposeful deception.

The Constitution proscribes a much clearer path. Under the Constitution, international treaties must be negotiated with the “advice and consent” of the Senate and ratified by a two thirds (2/3) majority of the Senate. (Article 2, section 2, paragraph 2) Wow, that’s not confusing at all!

Fast Track, T.P.A., was misbegotten by “Tricky Dick” Nixon (was Kissinger the father?), the only president to resign (to avoid impeachment). His legacy is resurrected when the corporate elite feels the urge to expedite the outsourcing of jobs by passing a “Free Trade Agreement” by unconstitutional means.

Congressman Alan Grayson (D Orlando, Fl.) is one of very few congressman to raise the Constitutional issue. He explains the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.) here.

Treaties are agreements between two or more countries. Twelve (12) countries are participating in the T.P.P. negotiations. All treaties are covered by the above sited section of the Constitution. Calling them trade agreements, or magical job creation miracles does not change that.

Let’s take a look at the T.P.P. in class terms. Class is a concept little discussed and virtually unknown in mainstream media in the U.S. The media portrays almost everyone as “middle class.” Most of those not vaguely defined as “middle class” are “the poor.” “The poor” might also be “middle class” if they have only been poor for a short time or if they hope to find work soon, or if they are students. These are pretty muddled definitions, but if we do not have words with defined meanings the thought process is difficult! If we do not have clearly defined words to explain the divisions in our society, we cannot understand our society, we are unlikely to take rational action to improve it.

Those six hundred some corporate “advisors” that have been intimately involved in the secret negotiations over the past six (6) years have written the T.P.P. to serve the interests of the elite corporate class, the owners of the vast majority of wealth, those few thousand greedy inhumane elite that sit on the boards of the largest corporations, and their families. The small fraction of the 1%.

The rest of the 1% is made up of this inner circle’s close associates, their henchmen, C.E.O.s, C.F.O.s, corporate executives, and their families, the way less than 1%, or more precisely, the Capitalist Class.

The rest of us all have needs or interests that are in competition with the interests of the Capitalist class. The 99% are divided into several classes. Small and medium business owners, professionals that own their own businesses, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers that own their own trucks. The French call them petite bourgeois, little capitalists. We have workers, those that sell their labor in exchange for wages. We have people that have been pushed to the fringes of society, people which the capitalist system can provide no productive role, the unemployed, homeless, and marginalized.

Even without well-defined words most Americans understand that Capitalism has a way of organizing society. We understand that it seeks to keep wages low and to maximize profit for the corporate elite. We understand that it organizes the workplace to maximize productivity and to control and increase the pace of work.

We understand that capital seeks to expand and to introduce new technology in order to increase production, labor productivity, and most of all, profits.

When capital is ready to build new production centers, it will strive to build in places where it can obtain the best advantage. Many of the advantages derived from location in the U.S. are diminishing. The advantages of locating close to the source of raw materials or close to the customer have been radically undercut by cheaper transportation costs. The availability of cheap labor is ever increasingly a more central determining factor in where to locate new facilities. We call this “outsourcing.” That’s code for displacing workers here by exporting their jobs to places with cheaper labor costs, and lower standards, and therefore higher profits. (This concept is documented in “uneven and combined development,” summarized here.)

Capitalism’s tendency to move its centers of production to those places where it can best maximize profits by exploiting cheap labor is clearly accelerating. This tendency is limited by some remaining obstacles, some of which include poor infrastructure, unskilled workforces, unstable governments, taxes or tariffs, environmental laws, patent laws, minimum wage, child labor, overtime, and safety laws.

Governments might be inclined to play a role in limiting corporate profits by enacting laws to protect their environment, local industry, consumers, and workers. The T.P.P. and the other treaties waiting approval of Fast Track are designed to remove any impediments to corporate expansion and world domination. The investor state resolution process within the T.P.P, creates corporate kangaroo courts that are empowered to decide disputes between corporations and governments based on possible impact on future corporate profits.

The fact that only the corporate elite have played a role in crafting the language of the T.P.P. and that only they have seen the full text is a clear indicator of which classes’ interests are advanced by T.P.P. The fact that our elected representatives have only seen limited portions of the text and, that, under strict controls is sad commentary on the state of our representative democracy.

Every class below the corporate elite have strong vested interests in stopping Fast Track and the T.P.P. Defense of our representative republic and the Constitution are the first line of defense against the corporate power grab that is the T.P.P.

Now we must make the argument that we must defeat Trade Adjustment Assistance (T.A.A.) for workers thrown out of work by past and future outsourcing of their jobs in order to defeat a Treaty that will accelerate the outsourcing of more jobs!

Pay no attention to that constitution in the display case.

Jim Howe is a member of Communications Workers of America, local 3108, a Delegate to the Central Florida AFL-CIO, and a member of the Green Party of Florida.

 

“Warning, I Choose The Politics Of Courage, Not Fear!”

“Warning, I Choose The Politics Of Courage, Not Fear!”

By: Christoph L. Rocker 2/24/15

Recent news reports warn that the terror threat level is up and shopping malls may be a target, yet, in the next breath, the newscasters claim the public should feel safe enough to shop. Why such contradictions? Who is deliberately creating this fear? Is it a coincidence that just this week Congress battles over whether or not Homeland Security continues to receive funding?

Citizen Four, the Oscar winning documentary portrays whistle blower Edward Snowden as self-sacrificing. Collecting the award, Poitras, flanked by journalist and collaborator Glenn Greenwald, said: “The disclosures of Edward Snowden don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself. When the decisions that rule us are taken in secret we lose the power to control and govern ourselves.”

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In an interview with him last year Snowden claims that the NSA’s surveillance is so entrenched that he wishes he would have blew the whistle earlier. All it will take is a “major incident” to enact a policy with a flick of a switch to create “turnkey tyranny.”

This is the politics of fear and the endless war on terror in our new Orwellian Surveillance State in action. Does anyone else see this as more than coincidental, that they may be making stuff up in order to get more funding? Is it possible they are feeding us bits of intelligence and spinning it in order to keep us in fear and our money in their coffers? Or is this the media’s doing?

Edward Snowden was a successful young man who gave up his comfortable life and career as a high level security analyst for the NSA in Hawaii to warn the American Citizens of the abuses of power he eyewitnessed. His greatest fear regarding the outcome for America, is that after hearing all that has been disclosed, the public will do nothing, that they will not force their Representatives to take a stand for their own interests. We need to support him and the sacrifices he has made on our behalf. We need to be heard by our Representatives!

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After hearing all this hype in the news, I visited the National Terrorism Advisory System on Homeland Security’s website. I was expecting a color chart with red or at least yellow, but in 2011 they opted for a new system where anyone can sign up to receive alerts via email, Facebook or Twitter. I visited their Facebook page and could only find posts by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson telling the public how important they are to the DHS. There were no current alerts to be found anywhere.

To quote Noam Chomsky, “To stop terrorism, a good place to start is to stop participating in terrorism.” We export terrorism on a wholesale level, whereas “terrorists” fight with guerrilla tactics in Afghanistan, for example. Those terrorists are fighting a super power, who has invaded their country for oil and other selfish interests. Who has killed more innocent civilians in the war against terror since 9/11? I’ll let you answer that question.

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On WFLA Sean Hannity radio show recently I heard right wing Christians fundraising for soldiers of fortune to go overseas and fight the evil empire. I find this reminiscent of the Crusaders who would do anything to instill fear in their blasphemous Muslim rivals.

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Native Americans were dehumanized by colonialists and then the American government. This genocide occurred through propaganda to create a belief system with hatred and fear of the “savages.” The extermination of almost an entire indigenous population was all for greed, land, and power, not Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It’s the same old song and dance. The question is, will we learn from history or be doomed to repeat it?

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Instead of the politics of fear and hate, I choose the politics of courage & love. I exercise my right to free speech before it is lost forever to the warmongers and unfettered capitalism. It is the multinational corporations who are buying governments and taking away all of our rights and destroying our planet at an alarming rate!

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Throughout all this talk, our young men and women are in a foreign country dying because private interests have convinced the public that it’s not about the oil but about the unethical, un-American, inhuman Muslim enemies. How many do we have to kill before it has been an “eye for an eye” for 9/11?

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Why don’t we clean up all the organized crime and white collar corruption here in our homeland before we start trying to fix other cultural problem thousands of miles across the ocean? There is no money in it, that’s why. The KKK is alive and well in America. They still exist and can rise and become more visible if we allow fear mongers to continue these violent and defensive knee-jerk reactions. We are the pot calling the kettle black if we arc going to play on emotions and public sentiment.

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Half of registered voters did not vote in the 2014 elections. We can change the world if we believe we can. You make a difference. Register Green today and vote! If you are not registered, register now! Choose the Green Party!

– Christoph L. Rocker

References:

c1- http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans-split-on-dhs-funding-edging-closer-to-partial-shutdown/2015/02/23/4b2de138-bb76-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html
c2- www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans-split-on-dhs-funding-edging-closer-to-partial-shutdown/2015/02/23/4b2de138-bb76-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

c3a- (00:10:46) https://www.youtube.comlwatch?v=Hpvb-hln-ek c3b – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

c3c – (00:11:32) https:llwww.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpvb-hln-ek

c4 (paragraph 13) – http:llwww.nytimes.com/201 5/02/23/us/mall-of-america-terrorism-threat-jeh-c-johnson.html?j=0

c5a – http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/check-national-terrorism-advisory-system-ntasc5b – https://www.facebook.comlhomelandsecurity c6 – https://www.youtube.comJwatch?v=kPj89C7bzOO

c7a – http://download.premiereinteractive.comlseanhannity/201 5/O2lSean%2oflannity%20-%2OFeb%2023%2020 I 5%20-%2OHour%203.mp3

c7b – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui9C6xVpVfO c7c – https://www.youtube.comlwatch?v=b51QFBZjN5M

c8a – http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration/voter-reg.shtml

c8b – http://gp.org/index.php