Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Selling the TPP

This just in: President Obama will sell the corporate coup known as the Trans- Pacific Partnership by hilariously claiming that it's a sweeping renegotiation of NAFTA, and ideal for Etsy sellers, to boot.

That was the big takeaway from an Organizing for Action conference call last night with one of President Obama's top advisers. Besides spending an hour not answering a few pre-selected questions, White House communications guru David Simas provided the several hundred Obamabots who phoned in with some handy talking points to convince their progressive friends that the TPP is progressive. (If you call runaway unregulated capitalism progressive, then I guess that would be a correct characterization.) The TPP would, for instance,   make it easier for those struggling to get by in the New Economy to sell their crap on Ebay and Etsy.  Those tariffs are apparently real killers when you're trying to unload a shitload of knockoff Beanie Babies on some rube in Vietnam.

I took copious notes on the conference call, and what follows is a rough and truncated, but essentially accurate, transcript. The moderator identified herself as Sara El-Amine of OFA. I've saved the debunking of the many White House claims promising TPP Nirvana for the end of this post. Meanwhile, I have marked the outright lies with an asterisk; the veiled threats are in bold; the many boilerplate bromides should simply speak for themselves.

Sara: There are hundreds of activists calling in tonight to listen to some of the most incredible minds and senior advisers named David Simas!

David Simas: The TPP is the pillar of what the president wants to do. In 2008, he said he'd renegotiate NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement.) He will enforce labor and environmental standards. He won't sign anything that doesn't have American workers at its heart. TPP at its heart is a renegotiation of NAFTA.

Sara: Cool!

David: The Asian economy is the fastest growing in the world. Two billion Asian people will join the middle class economy. China has no labor and environmental standards. Will the world economy be ruled by Chinese values or progressive values? We have high trade surpluses*.  We have to break through high tariff barriers to level the playing field. Ninety-eight percent of our exports are from small businesses. We will renegotiate NAFTA. We will protect intellectual property.

In 2014, President Obama brought nine trade enforcement actions against China. We got China to stop with hoarding the rare earth minerals. We sued Guatemala on their labor abuses.*

I don't like it when people say Fast Track authority. I want you to call it Trade Promotion Authority instead, because it's not fast. We need fast track TPA because the next horrible president will then be forced to honor labor and environment clauses and progressive values. President Obama wants to fight for everyone who works hard and plays by the same rules on a level playing field.

Sarah: Wow. We received almost 6,000 questions and we have time for five. Next question: Is the TPP really NAFTA on Steroids?

David: NO,NO,NO.  It will renegotiate NAFTA. It will put teeth in NAFTA. We will accept no imports from forced labor. There are good dispute resolution provisions.* This is an opportunity to fix NAFTA. Tell your friends! China. Level playing field. Compete.

Sara: How do we get other countries to play by the rules?

David: Enforcement! We filed a Guatemala action. Progressives must seize the Progressive Moment. Because China. We included 150 new environmental regulations in DR-CAFTA (Dominican-Central American Free Trade Agreement) alone. 

Sarah: Beautiful!  The next question is, why is the TPP so secretive?

David: So, this fast trade TPA is anything but fast. There are three separate 90-day phases. Stop calling it Fast Track Authority -- it is Trade Promotion Authority. Congress will be allowed to make wish lists. We are taking unprecedented steps to increase transparency. We've brought special interest groups, unions, environmentalists, to the front end. They know our objectives. The text is available to Congress.* There is more dialogue and outreach than ever before. We are forward-leaning.

Sarah: Incredible! But, some progressives are against it.

David: President Obama is a Progressive! If not fast track TPA now, then when? If we cede ground to China, what will happen? What happens if auto workers are at a disadvantage?* We are Aggressive Progressives! We go to the heart of what it means to be a Progressive! We held Guatemala accountable! And we understand the concerns of past trade deals.

Sarah: Wonderful! One last question. What are some basic ways to talk about this? How do we go about it?

David: Begin with the status quo. If you're against the status quo of NAFTA, then the TPP is for you. This is an opportunity to compare the values that we hold dear to China's values. EBayers are exporters. Etsy could have its trade barriers lowered. Right now it's too competitive to sell our poultry to Vietnam. Exporters pay 18% higher wages. We have to out-compete and outsell everyone else. Thanks to OFA, wages are up*  and incarceration is down. It's all about We. Thank you.

Sara: We will be sending out more information on how you can bullshit talk to your progressive friends on President Obama's behalf. (end of call.)

That's the bullshit. Now for some reality.

Before I get started on last night's vapid propaganda, I'd like to point you to an investigative piece by Gaius Publius, about a related pro-TPP astroturf group co-opting the "progressive" mantle for fascist purposes.  Called 270 Strategies, it's also run by former Obama campaign and White House staffers whose job is to plant friendly corporate coup stories in the mainstream media and gin up some drama. Writes GP:
Selling TPP as “progressive” is a stretch, but it’s an interesting move. It creates and leverages confusion on the left, and by dividing the left, attempts to finesse support for Fast Track, to sneak it past the finish line. Say “job killer” and the left is united against. Say “progressive” and “groundbreaking” and some on the left may be intrigued, may even be interested, may even be flattered enough to be tempted to agree.
This strategy may not work, but regardless, that’s the plan. 270 Strategies was hired to execute it — to put the confusion-sowing message bolded above, that TPP is a progressive treaty, into the mainstream press, to get that message mainsteam-blessed and make it part of “what everyone already knows.” As I said, a stretch, but that’s the job.
And just like magic, we suddenly see this in Politico.....
“Progressives Split on TPP”
Nice — and excellent message placement by the newly formed “Coalition” and their helpmates, 270 Strategies. Was this Politico paragraph the result of a nice “catch” by Politico, whose writers naturally read the same Daily Kos non-front-page diaries we do? Or did someone at the media-connected “270 Strategies” whisper into Politico’s ear on behalf of the “Coalition” and get them to put their — as I said, confusion-sowing — frame and message in the headline and then to bury the criticism (“astroturf” operation) behind a link that few will click? If I had to put money on it, I’d say the latter.
Notice that the “Coalition”-friendly framing is threaded throughout the paragraph. And notice that the only goal of this piece — of this whole operation, in fact — is to brand TPP as “progressive” and the disagreement as a disagreement “among progressives.” They don’t care, at this point, if the disagreement is covered, so long as it’s framed as a left-on-left discussion.
Mission accomplished. If 270 Strategies tried to be successful, they succeeded. If they didn’t try to succeed, they got very very lucky. Your call on which way this went down.
Just to make sure they succeed, OFA is enlisting "hundreds" of the same unpaid stalwarts who walked door to door selling Obamacare insurance policies to now go door to door in order to propagandize for a corporate coup. The White House is openly encouraging people to lie and say it's a whole dismantling of NAFTA. Smells pretty desperate to me.

As well it should. What David Simas didn't see fit to mention on his conference call is that the trade deficit is actually worse since the passage of free trade deals. Government data released last week show that the trade deficit with Korea has skyrocketed by more than 80% since the passage three years ago of Obama's North America-Korea Free Trade Agreement. His promise that the pact would expand exports and create American jobs turned out to be the exact opposite of the reality. The equivalent of 85,000 American jobs have been lost because of that ill-conceived pact. And meanwhile, exports from Korea to the US have gone up by 18%.

 Simas should be worried about auto exports. While the administration will try to spin the statistics, showing that American auto dealers sent an additional 23,000 passenger vehicles to Korea, South Korea exported an additional 450,000 of its own cars during the same time frame. That is real progress.

And then there was Simas's repetitive talking point about Obama's DR-CAFTA lawsuit against Guatemala over unfair labor practices. That trade pact, too, has had paradoxical consequences, to say the least:
Contrary to the promises of U.S. officials—who claimed the agreement would improve Central American economies and thereby reduce undocumented immigration—large numbers of Central Americans have migrated to the United States, as dramatized most recently by the influx of children from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras crossing the U.S.-Mexican border last summer. Although most are urgently fleeing violence in their countries, there are important economic roots to the migration—many of which are related to DR-CAFTA.
One of the most pernicious features of the agreement is a provision called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism. This allows private corporations to sue governments over alleged violations of a long list of so-called “investor protections.”
As for Obama's promise that he will also insist on environmental protections in any TPP deal he signs, the history gives lie to his claim. Central American countries have been devastated and workers' lives destroyed,by predatory multinational mining industries laying waste to the landscape. His recent suit against Guatemala over its labor practices came conveniently just as Guatemalan children began crossing the border in the hundreds. Many of them were deported and others remain incarcerated in private Texas holding pens pending adjudication of their refugee status. The crackdown is also widely seen as a fig leaf for the TPP, a political ploy for the president to show that he's "serious" about protecting workers in trade partner countries.

Now, let's get to Simas's boast that the TPP will protect intellectual property. This is the part that neoliberal economist Paul Krugman mildly dislikes the most about the TPP:
So why do some parties want this deal so much? Because as with many “trade” deals in recent years, the intellectual property aspects are more important than the trade aspects. Leaked documents suggest that the US is trying to get radically enhanced protection for patents and copyrights; this is largely about Hollywood and pharma rather than conventional exporters. What do we think about that (slide 7)?
Well, we should never forget that in a direct sense, protecting intellectual property means creating a monopoly – letting the holders of a patent or copyright charge a price for something (the use of knowledge) that has a zero social marginal cost. In that direct sense this introduces a distortion that makes the world a bit poorer.
There is, of course, an offset in the form of an increased incentive to create knowledge, which is why we have patents and copyright in the first place. But do we really think that inadequate incentive to create new drugs or new movies is a major problem right now?
You might try to argue that there is a US interest in enhancing IP protection even if it’s not good for the world, because in many cases it’s US corporations with the property rights. But are they really US firms in any meaningful sense? If pharma gets to charge more for drugs in developing countries, do the benefits flow back to US workers? Probably not so much.
Which brings me to my last point: Why, exactly, should the Obama administration spend any political capital – alienating labor, disillusioning progressive activists – over such a deal?
Um, maybe because Hollywood is one of Obama's biggest donors?  In case any studio bigwigs were listening in to last night's conference call, David Simas wanted to send the message to them loud and clear that the politicians they've bought are still on board with copyright protections.

Oh, and about that whole "TPP is NAFTA reform" malarkey. When Obama made renegotiating NAFTA a campaign promise in 2008, he was only kidding. Black Agenda Report has the long, sordid history of the president's serial NAFTA mendacity here. He was caught assuring the Canadians that it was just political posturing, that he had no intention of standing in the way of job-destroying hypercapitalism.

And as he'd told a group of banksters in 2006, at the launch of the conservative Hamilton Project, he is a hardcore free trader, fully aware that neoliberalism destroys jobs and is harmful to the middle class. "It's not," he blandly said,"a bloodless process." 

And he wants volunteers to go out there and lie for him. This is how he always rolls. It's an m.o. that keeps on working.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of healthy skepticism out there. Congress critters are at least posturing their animus. Despite the transparency boasts of David Simas, House Democrats are upset that a White House meeting on the TPP set for tomorrow has been declared "classified."
Members will be allowed to attend the briefing on the proposed trade pact with 12 Latin American and Asian countries with one staff member who possesses an “active Secret-level or high clearance” compliant with House security rules. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told The Hill that the administration is being “needlessly secretive.”
“Even now, when they are finally beginning to share details of the proposed deal with members of Congress, they are denying us the ability to consult with our staff or discuss details of the agreement with experts,” DeLauro told The Hill.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) condemned the classified briefing. “Making it classified further ensures that, even if we accidentally learn something, we cannot share it. What is USTR working so hard to hide? What is the specific legal basis for all this senseless secrecy?” Doggett said to The Hill.
One more debunk and I'm done, but please feel free to let me know if I've missed any other lies. To be fair to David Simas, though, when he said that wages are up, he probably meant to say that income is up, drastically...  for the already hyper-rich plutocrats negotiating the TPP. High rollers gotta roll, right along with the nonstop propaganda.


annenigma said...


Good work spying on the OFA for us and interpreting the bullshit. Much appreciated.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, thanks for your thorough and aggressive reporting on TPP.

re your post re Krugman yesterday, and his trips..... I must add --he's advising Times readers he's off to another conference, this time to Austin, and with a note about his expected beer consumption, etc. He must keep us up to date on this, while he is only mildly negative on TPP, as a basic 'free trader', he says.

Kat said...

Yes, thank you for keeping tabs on this conference. Now that this is not such a slam dunk in Congress, it seems that some anti "free" traders-- the ones that can be counted on to symbolically cast a "no" when passage is assured- are not bellowing so much against this pact. Well, that's the feeling I get from my senator anyway. Senator Warren has been putting this at the forefront, so good for her.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, let me paste in this NYT commenter’s praise of your post to Brooks, for any blog readers who missed it.

You mention stop and frisk....I’m trying to think up a way to apply the concept of stop and frisk to a psbl wider meaning re how the 1 percent control us thru lawmaker donations, off shore our jobs, and sort of legally frisk us all of our resources.

Like the traffic stops, fines and fees piling up for the minorities in Ferguson and other places. Legal extraction. All approved with the cooperation of the city managers, mayors, and judges, as W. Post Jonathan Capehart said on msnbc.
And all for ‘law and order’, like the 1 percents’ confiscations are justified for ‘freedom of private enterprise’ ...both are sold to us with these slogans.

Robert Eller . 8 hours ago
Reading "salutes" to David Brooks is one of my favorite bi-weekly pastimes. I think many of us would nominate, as many of us do, gemli, for being the long-running champion in this category.

However, with this contribution, Ms. Garcia, I am ready to propose an Individual Contribution Crown for you.

Not that your comments are not normally of high calibre. They most certainly are. But this single effort rises for me, even above that, and, I feel, above any single comment on Brooks I can remember (Of course, I can't tout the quality of my memory. I'm happy for others to challenge me on this.).

Your comment, Ms. Garcia, and a link to "Skills in Flux," are going right up on my Facebook page and Google+ accounts.

I hope you realized as much a sense of prose and "purpose-driven" accomplishment as I did a sense of pleasure reading this, Ms. Garcia. As long as we're on the subject of necessary, elusive and underpaid skills - such as effectively countering Our Mr. Brooks. Brava.

Denis Neville said...

“Tyranny never has much trouble drumming up the smiles of prompt agreement, but a democracy stands in need of as many questions as it can ask of its own stupidity and fear. Idealism rescues cynicism, and the continued comfort of the party of things-as-they-are depends on the doubts placed under their pillows by the party of things-as-they-might-become.” - Lewis Lapham

David Simas and Sara El-Amine …

“A babbitt met a bromide on the avenue one day, And held a conversation in their own peculiar way…”- George and Ira Gershwin

Organizing for Action is another crony capitalist conduit.

Simas reminds me of Sinclair Lewis’s George Babbitt. Zenith's chief virtue was conformity and its religion was "boosterism." Boosterism pushed economic development, stressing the positives while downplaying the negatives. The negatives were forgotten or pushed aside. Lewis hated unthinking conformity that encouraged ignorance.

"The men leaned back on their heels, put their hands in their trouser-pockets, and proclaimed their views with the booming profundity of a prosperous male repeated a thoroughly hackneyed statement about a matter of which he knows nothing whatever… All of them perceived that American Democracy did not imply any equality of wealth, but did demand a wholesome sameness of thought, dress, painting, morals, and vocabulary." - Sinclair Lewis, Babbit

Swindle and fraud are old dogs always keen to learn new tricks writes Lewis Lapham.

“How not exult in the powers of the unfettered free market, admire the entrepreneurial initiative, the scale of the revival of the go-ahead, can-do spirit that made America great?”


Meredith NYC said...

Msnbc Ed Schultz has labor leaders on to talk about the dangers to US workers of the TPP. Say 80 percent of house democrats oppose it now (?). Obama is trying to deal with his own party against it. Also talking about lawsuits settled by corporate tribunals under the influence of foreign, multi national corporations.

Bert Gold, Frederick Maryland said...

I left OFA several years ago (or was chased) because of Obama-bots. These unusual creatures think everything he says and does is godlike. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In about 10 years details of narcissism, opportunism, fear, loathing and capitulation will come out about how the whitehouse and 2008 winners conducted themselves.

We will all hate those exposes, but we will know they are true. At a time when we needed a courageous leader, we didn't get one.

Good luck, America: You're gonna need it.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen.......Your TPP post is stunning. 10x more important that hc emails, yet gets little tv coverage—except, Ed Schultz msnbc. Maybe RT and Aljazeera, not sure. CNN? Not likely.

The Krugman excerpt shows how well he basically explains things. But then he stops, when it leads him to campaign finance. So it pisses me off, that he titles himself the ‘conscience’ of a liberal. He wants to be liberal, but not too far left, so he still has ‘INFLUENCE’. In our politics that means centrist, or almost conservative compared to other nations.

But there were negative comments to his blog-- TPP & The Nabe, many mistrustful of Obama, that it’s done behind our backs.

Krugman, amazingly, asks, "Why, exactly, should the Obama administration spend any political capital – alienating labor, disillusioning progressive activists – over such a deal?"

That’s the $64, 000 question. Political capital? Our nobel winner stops there, not daring to go to paying back campaign donors. But commenters told him. Obama wants big $$ donor support so Dems will win in ’16.
A strategy that may not work, since the big money will go gop and the dem voters disillusioned. Perfect recipe for low voter turnout, then they get scolded for it.

Here’s a practical suggestion comment, “When tariffs were much higher in the 1950s and 1960s (slide 4), the American middle class was at its zenith in terms of wage growth and standard of living. It did not require two incomes to live the good life.”

Sure, isn’t that the data comparison a prestigious economist might use, while he lectures?

Denis Neville said...

@ Meredith NYC

re: Paul Krugman.

A year ago Paul Krugman suggested that continuing the expansion of Medicaid was the answer to our outlandish costs of health care. He said that care from Medicaid providers was good and that lack of access was greatly exaggerated. LOL! It has been my experience, both personally and professionally, that Medicaid patients are all too often treated as second-class citizens.

Hugh, a frequent commenter at Naked Capitalism, has said this about Krugman:

“Krugman’s job is to sell whatever the current Democratic line is to a particular set of rubes. Of course, it is contradictory and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Propaganda seldom does. This is a class thing. If those of Krugman’s class had to live under Medicaid, they would see it as a kind of unjust punishment. The idea that they could not get good and timely care whenever they wanted it is against the laws of nature. But for the undeserving poor, inadequate, inconvenient, and delayed treatment is perfectly fine for them. Indeed it is necessary. If their care wasn’t heavily rationed, they would just abuse the system. We all know how the poor are."

“It’s all about class. We would not have Medicaid at all if we didn’t also have a class system. As soon as Krugman starts championing Medicaid, he is also championing the class system which spawned it. But what else would we expect from the conscience of a liberal? We need to understand that liberalism as practiced, not as it is sold to us, is perfectly at home in a class system, –as is Krugman.”

“Krugman is an establishment liberal. He will criticize aspects of the Establishment and what they do. He will do the same with the Democratic Party, but he will never reject either. This creates a tremendous cognitive dissonance.”

“Krugman acting the part of the loyal Democratic tribalist puts it this way: “What he [Obama] has to do now is bargain down or ride over these crazy people in the Republican Party.”

“You have to consider how amazing this statement is at this jointure after 5 years, a year of his initial campaign and four years in office. Krugman is supposed to be an opinion leader, ahead of the curve, but somehow he has not noticed how Obama has out-Bushed Bush on all the great issues of the day: bailing out the bankers, a policy that became apparent with the TARP more than 4 years ago and has continued ever since, the concomitant screwing over of the American people at every turn since but most notably in housing, jobs, income, healthcare, education, and Constitutional rights, in other words the fundamental building blocks of a fair, decent, and just society.”

“Krugman has achieved fame, wealth, and prestige, in a kleptocracy. Shouldn’t that tell you something?”

Krugman says: “I guess I am an optimist, which is that I believe that you can fix both capitalism and democracy.”

“But we have neither. We have kleptocracy. So Krugman goes about proposing his cute, little solutions to problems for things that don’t exist: capitalism and democracy, knowing that his solutions will never be implemented because of goblins or crazy Republicans or something similar. If the kleptocrats had not already invented Krugman, they would have created him because what counts are not his innocuous critiques but his validation of, and optimism in, the Establishment and system which they use to loot us.”

“Krugman’s allegiance is and remains to the very class which has granted him his fame and privileges, and which loots us. We should never make the mistake of thinking just because Krugman makes sporadic, half-hearted criticisms of certain aspects of the system that he is on our side. He is not. Much like the astroturfed Tea partiers on the right, his function is to distract and steer the discontent of one part of the 99% into politically safe dead ends, to make sure that no real opposition to his class ever forms.”

I could not have said it any better.

annenigma said...

You've all got to read this article, linked below.

It's info straight from one of the horses mouths from 1967 and published in the Congressional Record. It's taken over half a century, but we are on the cusp of their dream and our nightmare.

Obama is such a disgusting, treasonous, subversive tool to even allow himself be part of this seriously dangerous threat to all Democracies, let alone THE pusher man.

'The Plan Behind The TPP To Destroy National Sovereignty'


Karen Garcia said...


Gershwin's Babbitt Meets Bromide just about sums up the bullshit. Thank you. I guess OFA should change its motto to "We Are All Global Rotarians Now."


Thanks for posting the letter on my Brooks comment. Went to thank Mr. Eller personally in the thread, but comments were already closed. Also, thanks for keeping us posted on Krugman's whirlwind social life. To what Denis said, including reposting that excellent analysis by the Naked Capitalism commenter, Krugman is essentially Babbitt with a Nobel Prize and a NYT column. He's that rare bird who possesses both One Percent Cred and mass appeal.(achieved largely by constantly grousing about his abuse at the nefarious hands of CNBC ignoramuses.) Just like Obama, who gleans tribalistic support based on the constant idiotic attacks against him by GOP ignoramuses.

Bert Gold,

I remain on the lists of OFA and other "veal pens" so I can write about their propaganda. It doesn't matter how many insulting emails I send back to them, they still keep my on their lists. Every once in awhile they send me a "bill" and a friendly reminder that my running tally to the Cause is exactly Zero Dollars.


Thanks for the link to the Stoller story on Popular Resistance. The evidence of the globalized corporate agenda has been out there in plain sight, for decades, but such is the power of propaganda that either don't know, don't care, or they know and just don't care. Greece is a prime current example, as is Ukraine.

Denis Neville said...

“Upon passage of Tobacco Control Act in 2009, President Obama committed his administration to work with the WHO and other nations “to fight this epidemic on a global basis. He acknowledged the ‘constant and insidious barrage of advertising.’ Yet in the years since, U.S. negotiators have worked to expand market access for advertising and distribution, expand trademark protections, reduce tariffs, and expand investor rights—all to the benefit of tobacco companies at home and abroad.” - Robert Stumberg, “Safeguards for Tobacco Control: Options for the TPPA,” American Journal of Law & Medicine

Dr. Stanton Glanz, UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, summarizes Stumberg’s article on precisely how TPP protects Big Tobacco:

“The TransPacific Partnership Agreement will make it more difficult and expensive for countries to implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and other tobacco control policies. It will create litigation opportunities for the tobacco companies, who have a long history of using the threat of expensive litigation as a strategy for bullying countries (and states and localities and organizations and people). Some of the provisions that nominally would protect public health are written in ways that still leave important loopholes open for the tobacco companies by not covering all the different potential causes of action that the TPPA creates.

“The TPPA potentially threaten tobacco-control measures. They expand market access or protect the industry with WTO-plus rules that can be used in later rounds of litigation. It creates opportunities for the tobacco companies to file lawsuits and drive up the cost and time for resolution for defending tobacco measures. The threat of costly litigation has long been part of the tobacco industry’s strategy to constrain implementation of tobacco-control measures.”


John Oliver's recent Last Week Tonight on the role of “free trade agreements” as agents of corporate predation and “free trade courts” as the corporate weapons of choice. Philip Morris used "stronger international intellectual property laws" to sue one of the poorest places on the planet, Togo. Philip Morris International is suing Uruguay for its increasingly aggressive tobacco health warnings. A trade court is the agent. Nothing says “corporate control” like a nation-trumping “trade” court.


Their hypocrisy insults our intelligence.

Meredith NYC said...

Denis and karen
thanks for posts re Krugman.

Krugman, centrist, calls his blog ‘conscience of a liberal’ but he parts with other liberals on crucial points. Comments are distracted by his competitions against the gop rw punditry.

Campaign finance? Eliz Warren said it’s our major problem. Krug admits it’s important —tho he never talks about it---but says it’s not the number 1 impediment to equality, because even with our big money influence, Obama still accomplished ACA and financial reform. Krug leaves out that these are both inadequate, 2nd rate reforms, leaving us vulnerable, due to big money donors.

Re ACA, Krug leaves out of his praise that it hardly matches the 20th century standards of most advanced countries, since profit is still the main value.

Student debt ? Disagrees with Warren. Krug says the debt of trillion is not the emergency that Warren claims--- despite it being the highest among modern countries that prevents grads from moving ahead with adult life—home/car buying, marriage, business starts.

Inequality vs growth? Disagrees with Nobel winner Joseph Stiglitz, who does not compulsively blog under a liberal title, and says our inequality inhibits economic growth, holding business and all of us back, not just the pitiful poor. Krugman, to carve out his own position, says, no, there are other things holding back growth. Implying he sees farther and deeper than Stiglitz

So our prestigious media Nobel liberal keeps training the voters to accept 2nd best. And at the influential Times. This leaves voters vulnerable to GOP propaganda. Opposite of what Krug says he wants.

I’m left thinking that he's actually being pushed around by the rw even as he seems to be fiercely combating them with refutations. But he won't push for the components of other democracies
He wants to go only so far, and not further beyond a line that the rw radicals have drawn. Even the Times op ed page takes care to include absurd right wing apologists, but with tepid liberals.

Meredith NYC said...

Msnbc, Ed Schultz, not my fav, is still the main one against TPP, again.

He's got Leo Gerard on, head of steel workers union, describing the negativs and so much opposition---unions, anti poverty groups, environmental mvt-- all against tpp.
It's the only place to go for some back talk on this on main media that I've seen.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Thanks, Karen,

You are one of the few journalists keeping this story alive. It is astounding to me that people are not more concerned, particularly about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)clauses which allow corporations to sue
sovereign governments for enforcing labour laws, environmental laws and laws protecting the health and safety of their citizens. The real crux of the matter is these lawsuits will not be heard in a legitimate court of law. When the governments sign on to the TPP, they agree that these lawsuits will be settled in a tribunal with judges being rotated in and out. These judges will be the same people defending the corporations in other disputes. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!

Can this really happen? It already has, there have been more than 450 such lawsuits against countries of the developing world. This has emboldened them to take on First World governments as well. US-based tobacco giant, Philip Morris, is suing Uruguay and Australia over health warnings on cigarette packets.Swedish energy multinational Vattenfall is seeking US$3.7bn from Germany following a decision to phase out nuclear energy in the country after Fukushima.And US-company Lone Pine is suing the government of Canada for US$250 million over a moratorium on controversial shale gas extraction (fracking) in Quebec.

Our governments are basically signing a contract that is pretty unbreakable which will give away the governments' rights to work in the best interests of their citizens. It is frightening and very undemocratic.

If any of your readers have not seen the interview with Bill Moyers on the TPP http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-the-top-secret-trade-deal-you-need-to-know-about/ I encourage them to watch. It is very thorough and clear.

I will say that the fact that the Obama administration is running scared enough to run a propaganda campaign is a sign that enough people are raising questions that it won't be the slam dunk the corporations hope it will be.

And thanks for your research revealing that the trade deficits have worsened under so called, Free Trade Agreements. In the end, I guess it is whether we want a secure economy with slow and steady growth and some job protections and industry on our shores, or we want a bunch of cheap stuff we don't need that won't last.

VLT said...

I think there might have been a time when Paul Krugman was a liberal but those days have long passed. Like Thomas Friedman, he went over to the dark side a while ago. Whenever "little people" like Kruggie, Friedman, and Obama and Clinton for that matter, rub elbows with the uberwealthy, they seem to be dazzled into submission. I think the reason FDR was able to fight the banksters and "Titans of Industry" was he WAS one of the upper, upper class and he wasn't in awe of them.

Robert Reich is speaking out against the TPP. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=robert+reich+video+tpp&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=EB40355E549247A749D2EB40355E549247A749D2

I trust him a lot more than I do Kruggie these days. Reich is a lot smarter and he has a lot more integrity.

Also, a link to a video I have shared before from Doctors Without Borders on the damage the TPP will do to health in developing countries. It is really shocking how greedy these corporations are that they would take from the most vulnerable people in the world. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=transpacific%20partnership%20doctors%20without%20borders&qs=n&form=QBVR&pq=transpacific%20partnership%20doctors%20without%20borders&sc=0-23&sp=-1&sk=#view=detail&mid=454C43EDF38B70C79FDA454C43EDF38B70C79FDA

Also, an Australian video on the TPP - It really shows the U.S. as working on behalf of corporations. http://wn.com/the_trans-pacific_partnership_the_dirtiest_trade_deal,_you've_never_heard_of