And since it's been such a hard sell -- what with such awfulness as trying to establish corporate sovereignty over national governments and judiciaries, and keeping life-saving drugs out of the reach of the poorest countries on earth -- the neoliberal marketers of "free trade" are out in full force, with all the gaslighting techniques they can muster.
The message is that if you're against global fascism, then there is something mentally wrong with you. Or, as President Obama told it to the plutocrats-errant of the Business Roundtable recently, opponents of TPP are "barking up the wrong tree" and quixotically trying to fight the "last battle" (over NAFTA), which is silly, because globalization is already a fait accompli anyway.
So what better way to herd the recalcitrants into the veal pen than to propagandize the job-killing, environment-polluting TPP as a "progressive" initiative -- and then recruit man o' the people/ New York Times columnist Joe Nocera to peddle it as such to the liberal readership?
Nocera quotes a so-called expert from a "left-leaning" think tank called Progressive Economy as saying that the American job losses of the late 20th century had nothing to do with the passage of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). He wants us to believe that globalization is just a natural phenomenon, not the work of greedy men. The passage of NAFTA was all just a serendipitous coincidence, Nocera claims, as he snidely portrays New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter as a "well-meaning" (subtext: aging and therefore somewhat ditzy) dame for opposing the TPP. He slyly gets her to admit that even though the Rochester Kodak factory closed and jobs went to Mexico, a new breed of entrepreneurs is now taking over those abandoned spaces as part of the New Normal Economy! And isn't that what globalization is all about?
To answer that Godzillion-dollar question, he shamelessly quotes experts without even bothering to inform his readers that they are lobbyists:
Edward Gresser, the executive director of Progressive Economy, a left-leaning think tank, noted that other factors were taking place at the same time as Nafta: the growth of container ships, the lowering cost of communications, the rise of global industries. With or without trade deals, globalization is an unstoppable force. What Nafta really is, Gresser told me, is a proxy for globalization.That's just what Obama told his confab of plutocrats at the BRT. It's the talking point of the Democratic Leadership Council, the right-of-center think tank co-founded by none other than Mister Nafta himself, Bill Clinton. (It is now more popularly known as the New Democrat Coalition.) Edward Gresser comes to his current stint as "scholar in residence" (TPP marketer) direct from the DLC, as a matter of fact. Nocera doesn't share this detail, either because he doesn't know, he doesn't want to know, or he knows but doesn't care.
But wait. It gets even worse. The Progressive Economy front group, it turns out, is a wholly-owned lobbying subsidiary of yet another lobby shop called the GlobalWorks Foundation, itself the front group for the Fontheim International multinational lobbying enterprise. There is nothing even remotely left-leaning about this Big Fat GlobalWorks Foundation Daddy, given that its executive director is National Association of Manufacturers consultant Wayne Palmer. The NAM is notorious as one of the most powerful anti-regulatory lobbyists in Washington. And why not? It's heavily funded by the Koch Brothers, who'd love the TPP to pass so they can spread their pollution at no cost to themselves and for much obscene profit. Before that, Palmer lobbied for Astra Zeneca. Before that, he was chief of staff to former GOP Senator Rick Santorum, one of the more notorious right wing politicians of the American oligarchy.
Of course, you wouldn't know about Palmer's ulterior motives by casually glancing at his website, which vaguely gushes that:
Our work supports the elimination of poverty through support for practical policies and innovative programs addressing conditions related to globalization. Since 2001, GlobalWorks has been bringing together leaders from nongovernmental organizations and educational institutions, governments, the business community, and grassroots organizations to identify and promote such policies and initiatives.Note the carefully worded neoliberal dog whistle, replete with such standard buzzwords as "practical" and "innovative." Translation of this mission statement would go something like this: Our plunder supports the elimination of poverty by eliminating poor people from the equation. Since 9/11, we've used fear and terror to get rich beyond our wildest dreams. Government and corporations transformed the world into their own militarized public-private partnership with a vested interest in identifying everybody and every thing ripe for extraction, at their cost and for our profit.
A look at the Board of Directors of GlobalWorks is interesting, to say the least. In charge of public relations is its co-founder, corporate reputation-salvager Claude Fontheim, a former State Department trade negotiator and another DLC Clinton alum. Among the services provided to his oligarchic clients are a parade of Thought Leaders -- neoliberal-speak for tycoons posing as social service concern trolls at Clinton Global Initiative and Davos confabs, as well as columnists and other self-proclaimed experts willing to shill for trade deals. I imagine he's got Tom Friedman all lined up for another friendly New York Times column in the very near future.
Except for their Republican executive director, Wayne Palmer, the other board members are all Clintonistas -- and all are affiliated with Fontheim International. Ben Kobren, chief counsel at Fontheim, worked for Hillary Clinton both at State and as her press secretary in the Senate.
As Joe Nocera might say, what a coincidence. As Joe Nocera does say, since the TPP is bipartisan, then it's got to be good and naysayers like Bernie Sanders have to be marginalized. And we can't ever forget that this is good for Obama's legacy, and especially good for the legacies of his heirs and heiresses.
If you want to know the truth, Public Citizen is one of the best places to go for factual info on the TPP. It's the perfect antidote for capitalism on crack.