(Article changed on February 12, 2014 at 14:08)
(Article changed on February 12, 2014 at 13:09)
A group of Republican "Democrats," who have organized themselves under the moniker "New Democrat Coalition," are trying to salvage the two secret international trade deals -- one with the Pacific countries, and the other with the Atlantic countries -- that President Obama (through former Citibank executive and now Obama's U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman) has tried to negotiate on behalf of international mega-corporations so as to override the laws of the U.S. and the other participating nations.
Republicans in Congress want these deals to be passed, and so are staying quiet about the matter, but most Democrats oppose the deals. As The New York Times headlined about the issue, on January 31st, "Obama and G.O.P. Facing Opposition to Trade Pacts."
Now that President Obama no longer needs to pretend to be a progressive in order to retain his Democratic voting base for another election (since he has already had his last election, in 2012), he can finally afford to be more forward about his actual conservatism, and so he is increasingly allying publicly with Republicans on Capitol Hill, against Democrats there. They don't like it.
The Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is opposed to these deals, but great pressure is being placed upon him and the other Democratic opponents, by international corporations, who supply most of the money for political campaigns. Those corporations are now working on House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, to try to get her to support these deals. She has thus far remained quiet on the matter. The strategy of the corporate chieftains is to threaten Harry Reid's ability to remain the Senate Majority Leader. But first they need Pelosi to break their way.
In order for the deals -- one called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the other the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) -- to be able to pass Congress, Congress would need first to pass something called "Fast Track," an enabling bill to allow the deals to be rammed through Congress too fast for the complex legislation to be read, much less absorbed, much less to be publicly debated by the Representatives and Senators. Without "Fast Track," both TPP and TTIP won't stand a chance of passage. But with "Fast Track," congressmen will have an excuse with their voters: "I didn't know what was in it."
What would be in it? As George Monbiot in Britain's Guardian headlined on 4 November 2013, "This Transatlantic Trade Deal Is a Full-Frontal Assault on Democracy." Kate Sheppard in Huffington Post headlined on 24 September 2013, "Michael Froman, Top U.S. Trade Official, Sides With Tar Sands Advocates In EU Negotiations," and she reported that Froman was threatening the European Union with retaliation unless they'd weaken their anti-global-warming regulations so as allow them to import and burn the world's most-global-warming-bad oil, which is the oil from Alberta Canada's tar sands, half of which oil is owned by America's Koch brothers, who have lots (perhaps $100 billion ) riding on this matter. (The $400 million that the Kochs donated, raised, and bundled for the Republican Party in 2012 don't mean that Obama isn't fighting hard for David and Charles Koch against other countries, which care more about global warming than Americans do .)
The first Democrat to go public against Obama on this matter was U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, on the Senate floor, 23 May 2012, when he said that the TPP "might prove to be the most far-reaching economic agreement since the World Trade Organization was established nearly twenty years ago," and that, "TPP will set the tone for our nation's economic future." He noted, "The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations," in contravention of the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. Even "the Staff Director of the Senate subcommittee responsible for oversight of international trade continues to be denied access to substantive and detailed information that pertains to the TPP talks." A few months earlier, on March 9th, scoop.co.nz had headlined "TPPA Negotiations Slowed By Resistance To US Demands," and reported that Obama's man (the predecessor of Michael Froman), Ron Kirk, was fronting Philip Morris's pro-smoking demands, and fronting the PhRMA (Big Pharmaceutical, drug companies) demands to impose in all nations the high-drug-price system that PhRMA has thus far succeeded at imposing in no other country than the U.S., and was also fronting anti-labor-union demands that outraged the Australian and some other delegations, as well as outraged labor unions such as the AFL-CIO. Then, on Wednesday, 13 June 2012, Zach Carter at huffingtonpost, headlined "Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises," and reported that, "A critical document from President Barack Obama's free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations," to ride roughshod over U.S. laws protecting the environment, workers, and consumers.
The only net beneficiaries of the Obama demands, if agreed to by all of the negotiants, would be the executives and stockholders in huge international corporations, whose products and services would become freed from existing government regulations, and whose market power to set prices and to block smaller firms from entering their markets would become an international economic-political stranglehold, corporate fascism. Zach Carter reported that, "The deal is strongly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the top lobbying group for American corporations. Obama's Republican opponent in the 2012 presidential elections, Mitt Romney, has urged the U.S. to finalize the deal as soon as possible." Many Republican members of Congress had already come out publicly in support of quick congressional approval of this international treaty that not only had not yet been written, but whose progress and terms and conditions the Obama Administration wasn't even revealing to any member of Congress, but only to the lobbyists from firms such as Philip Morris, Glaxo, Microsoft, and Halliburton. ""Bush was better than Obama on this,' said Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules. "It's pathetic, but it is what it is. The world's turned upside-down.'"
Democrats in Congress are quietly appalled. Might the TPP agreement end up being passed by a "Democratic" President, with Republicans in Congress, and against almost solid opposition from congressional Democrats?
By now, this storyline seems grimly familiar. Rawstory.com bannered "U.S. Trade Proposal Would Let Corporations Overrule Laws," and Stephen C. Webster noted that the draft language that Obama's man Kirk had been hiding from lawmakers "proposes an independent dispute arbitration process that would be empowered to supersede domestic laws or regulatory actions in member states." Public Citizen bannered "Controversial Trade Pact Text Leaked," and reported that, "U.S. negotiators are alone in seeking to expand this extra-judicial enforcement system." None of the other member-states wanted the extreme subordination of national sovereignty to international corporations that Obama was pushing for on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other Republican interest-groups.
Among the leaders in the New Democrat Coalition is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the friend of Hillary Clinton whom President Obama made the head of the Democratic National Committee. If one looks at the membership of the NDC, it's very close to being the same list as the members of Congress who are owned by Wall Street.
Here, then, are the Democrats in the House who are not just Members of the NDC, but owned by Wall Street (listed alphabetically by state): Terri Sewell, Ron Barber, Ami Bera, Loretta Sanchez, Juan Vargas, Scott Peters, Jared Polis, Ed Perlmutter, James Himes, Elizabeth Esty, John Carney, Patrick Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Joe Garcia, John Barrow, David Scott, Colleen Hanabusa, Mike Quigley, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Cedric Richmond, John Delaney, Gary Peters, Greg Meeks, Eliot Engel, Sean Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Bill Owens, Dan Maffei, Mike McIntyre, Jim Clyburn, Jim Cooper, Jim Moran, Gerald Connolly, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck, Ron Kind.
Here are the Republicans in the House who are not owned by Wall Street: Tom Massie, Walter Jones, and John Duncan. That's all, just 3. The rest are.
If your representative in Congress is a Democrat who is not on that list, the person is probably honest. If your representative is a Republican other than the three who were listed, he or she is clearly dishonest, for the reason indicated.