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Posts tagged ‘TPP’

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard builds image for bucking party

Gabbard builds image for bucking party / © Greg Nash

The Democratic lawmaker who met with President-elect Donald Trump on Monday is used to bucking her own party. A frequent presence on cable news, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), 35, has made a name for herself by criticizing the administration and her own party on foreign policy and national security.

She quit her post as a Democratic National Committee vice chair to act as a surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the insurgent candidate challenging Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. She has blasted the Obama administration for refusing to say the words “radical Islam” and voted in favor of requiring FBI background checks for Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

She also declined to back the majority of House Democrats in co-sponsoring a gun control bill this summer, instead backing a compromise bill that others in her party said didn’t go far enough.

Like Trump and Sanders, she is a vocal opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. On Sunday, she participated in a rally at the Capitol against the agreement.

With that background, it’s no surprise that she’d catch the eye of Trump and his newly appointed White House adviser, Stephen Bannon.

“He loves Tulsi Gabbard. Loves her,” a source familiar with the Trump adviser’s thinking told The Hill. “She gets the foreign policy stuff, the Islamic terrorism stuff.”

Gabbard was not one of the 169 Democrats in the House who signed a letter condemning Bannon’s appointment.

“Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance,” she said in a statement Monday released after the meeting with Trump. It’s not clear how strong a possibility it is that Gabbard could join a Trump administration.

News reports suggest she could be up for anything from U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to secretary of State.

It’s just as possible that the meeting was a bit of optics for Trump that shows his willingness to meet with a broad spectrum of people. Trump has also met recently with Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee who was a fierce critic during this year’s campaign.

“It does show a willingness to reach across the aisle, and on top of that, a different wing of the Democratic Party,” said Alex Ward, a defense expert at the Atlantic Council.

In her own statement about the meeting, Gabbard emphasized the need for people with different political views to talk to one another — particularly over national security issues such as the Syrian civil war.

“While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives,” she said.

The Army National Guard major and Iraq veteran also said she wanted to impress on Trump the need to avoid being dragged into another war.

“I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government,” she said.

Gabbard has criticized the Obama administration for not being aggressive enough against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which the U.S. has been fighting since 2014. She also has been a staunch opponent of U.S. military action against the Syrian regime under President Bashar Assad, seeing it as a potential open-ended quagmire and a distraction from going after Islamic extremists.

In the meeting with Trump, Gabbard said she shared her “grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world.”

Trump has also voiced concern for getting involved in the Syrian civil war, saying it could lead to war with Russia and that the U.S. should focus on ISIS instead.

Outside observers said they could see a scenario where Gabbard could be a part of a Trump administration.

“Tulsi Gabbard has emerged as a somewhat prominent critic of the hawkish consensus,” said Cato Institute defense expert Benjamin Friedman.

He suggested she could be a better fit for Trump’s foreign policy than figures such as John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton has also been mentioned for various posts in a Trump administration.

Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway praised Gabbard after the meeting, saying the lawmaker and Trump found they had a great deal in common during the meeting. She also praised Gabbard for bucking her own party.

Jonathan Swan contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:54 a.m.

BONUS Politically INCORRECT Cartoon

waving flagHonest Hillary

Thursday November 3, 2016

Hillary can not tell the truth, especially when it comes to TPP and Amnesty.

Hillary TPP and Amnesty / Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2016.

More A.F. Branco Cartoons at Net Right Daily.

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or a liar

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon

waving flagQueen of Mean

Tuesday October 3, 2016

Hillary still likes NAFTA, and many feel she will support TPP once elected president, although she currently says she’s against it.

Hillary and NAFTA / Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2016.

More A.F. Branco Cartoons at Net Right Daily.

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Obama in secret pact with world’s largest Muslim country

waving flagPosted By Curtis Ellis On 10/27/2015

Article printed from WND:

URL to article:

President Widodo of Indonesia and Obama of the United States.

muslim-obamaPresident Obama says the U.S. and the world’s largest Muslim country will merge their economies under an agreement whose terms have not been disclosed to Congress or the public. After Obama met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the White House Monday, Widodo said, “Indonesia intends to join the TPP,” referring to the TransPacific Partnership.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world with 250 million people. Obama attended elementary school in the country. “I have a very personal interest in Indonesia given the fact that I spent time there as a child and have relatives who are Indonesian,” Obama said.

The TPP is a sweeping global regulatory pact. It establishes an international authority that will write rules for merging the U.S. economy with other countries in the partnership. The administration reached an agreement on the TPP with 11 countries on four continents after negotiations that lasted more than five years. Indonesia was not involved in the negotiations.

But neither Congress nor the public have been allowed to see the final agreement the administration has negotiated. The president has not released the text of the agreement or the numerous side agreements attached to the TPP.Picture2

The administration describes the TPP as a “living agreement” that will be updated and which other countries can join in the future. China, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan also have expressed interest in joining the TPP economic union. But it appears the U.S. Congress will not have any say in the matter.Picture2

Earlier this year, Congress granted the president “fast track” trade promotion authority to negotiate the TPP and surrendered its ability to change whatever agreement the president proposes. An amendment to the fast track bill would have required congressional approval before China could join the TPP. But the amendment, opposed by GOP leadership and the president, was defeated.

The unilateral move by the president to bring Indonesia into the TPP confirms charges by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., that Congress will have no role in approving changes as the partnership grows. Sessions read the draft of the TPP agreement earlier this year and described it as “a nascent European Union.”Picture3

Like the European Union, the Transpacific Partnership calls for the free flow of people, goods and capital among member countries. “It’s going to put us in an international commission that allows the sultan of Brunei to have the same vote as the president of the United States,” Sessions said.

Sessions is referring to the TransPacific Partnership Commission, a governing authority created under the agreement, similar to the European Commission that oversees the European Union. This shadowy trans-Pacific body would have vast regulatory powers the details of which the president has refused to disclose to either Congress or the public. But it appears the president has revealed details to Indonesia and other countries it hopes to enlist in the pact. While Obama refuses to show the public the TPP agreement, the president and his surrogates are out selling the pact with a series of speeches and op-eds.

Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans across the political spectrum oppose the TPP. All the leading presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, oppose the agreement. Politico reports Republican leaders in the House and Senate want to vote on the TransPacific Partnership in a lame-duck session of Congress after the November 2016 general election. “If it’s such a good deal, then why do they want to keep the American people from having an influence on it?” Sessions asked. “Why don’t they bring it up during the election [campaign] so people can vote and evaluate their representatives on how they vote?”

Workers in Indonesia earn as little $2.50 a day.

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While Your Attention Was Diverted to Charleston, House Passed Unconstitutional TPA

waving flagPosted by 5 hours ago

Imperial President ObamaI admit that there are always things that seem to be used in order to cover up other things that are being done. Last week the House shot down the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill, but passed the Trade Promotion Authority (both are unconstitutional). With the coverage of the Charleston Church shooting in South Carolina, the House advanced the TPA again, and this time it passed.

In a 218-208 vote (previous vote was 219-211), with 28 Democrats and 50 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, the House advanced the fast track bill which would illegally delegate authority to the Executive Branch to work out trade agreements. As I’ve pointed out before, trade agreements involve tariffs (taxes). As such, those must originate in the House of Representatives.

Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution states:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…

This is not a treaty, it’s a trade agreement. Too many people are confusing the TPA with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is a treaty. I do believe confusion is exactly what is being perpetrated on the American people at this point in order to advance the agenda.B2A_FvyCMAE14px

The Hill reports:

The House on Thursday took the first step toward resuscitating the White House’s trade agenda by passing legislation granting President Obama fast-track authority.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where the White House and GOP leaders are seeking to strike a deal with pro-trade Democrats.muslim-obama

The Senate is now expected to vote on the legislation, but that is presumed to pass since they have already passed before. This is a vote to re-establish America’s credibility,” said Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).Reality 2

Previously, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) attempted to justify such actions by saying that the TPA wouldn’t give Obama more authority and chastening others that said such legislation would undermine the law. But it does, in fact, do that. Furthermore, if this is passed through the Senate and the TPP is approved, there is no doubt that American jobs will be lost, which is, in part, why the TAA was also attempting to be pushed through.

All of this is setting America up for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There is no question about that. RT reports:

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is a vocal critic of the deal because of a provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). The provision would mediate disputes between foreign investors and a government, which Warren believes will inhibit regulation and pose a threat to American sovereignty.

ISDS is designed to address the problem of uneven national economic policies in an interconnected global economy. Foreign investors have to deal with the risk of having their investments seized if and when a new government comes to power and decides to nationalize the businesses of foreign industries. While this isn’t a risk in a stable company with a strong judicial system like the United States, it is a genuine risk in other countries without such stability. ISDS is an arbitration process that uses sanctions to put pressure on governments who have unfairly seized property.

That means that ISDS would allow foreign investors to make complaints against the United States, which is a point that many take issue with. Warren argues that the agreement could “tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations.”kingobamafingerconstitution-300x204Many opponents of the TPP worry that multinational corporations could argue that environmental, financial and minimum wage regulations could qualify for a dispute under ISDS, potentially costing the United States expensive damages.

Sorry conservatives, but Republicans are once again selling us out right along with many Democrats. They are selling out American jobs, sovereignty and most of all they are not following the rules of the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend. The push is on now to see if Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will take to the Senate floor and provide a filibuster for this unconstitutional legislation.

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Lawmakers pass up chance to read ‘secret’ trade text




waving flagBy Vicki Needham and Mike Lillis04/27/15

URL of the Original Posting Site:

Picture8kingobamafingerconstitution-300x204About 40 House members and three senators have asked to view the text of a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal in the three years since it was made available by the White House, according to records obtained by The Hill. The document is at the center of an intense battle between President Obama and liberals in Congress, who have assailed the White House for what they say is a cloak of “secrecy” surrounding the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. 

A congressional uproar led the Obama administration to relax the rules for viewing the TPP text, which is now kept in the basement of the Capitol and is available to any lawmaker — and their staffers with the proper security clearance — who wants to see it. Liberals have long argued that the White House doesn’t want them to see the TPP details because they would confirm their beliefs that the deal will harm U.S. workers. Some critics, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are going so far as to call on the Obama administration to release the TPP text to the public.

But despite those calls, few lawmakers have taken the opportunity to examine the trade pact even with votes looming in the House and Senate on trade-promotion authority (TPA) legislation.  Lawmakers have a range of theories about why their colleagues haven’t been rushing to view the text, even after the change in rules that lets them see the TPP at their convenience.

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, told The Hill that he is not surprised by the numbers because the deal is “still a work in progress.” “It’s not just about reading the text, it’s about having a dialogue with the U.S. trade representative’s [USTR] staff,” he said. Tiberi said he expects more lawmakers will look at the text with the trade debate getting more attention.

Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.), one of two Democrats to support trade promotion authority during a committee vote on Thursday, told The Hill he thinks the number of lawmakers who have reviewed the deal is now probably more than 40.  Kind said that he has helped organize dozens of walk-throughs for Democrats to delve into parts of the accord.

“It’s really up to the individual member to determine what level of engagement they want because the text is out there, we have access to it and [Michael] Froman and his team are more than willing to come up and sit down and make sure we have access to it and answer our questions and, at the same time, get our feedback on what we’d like to see,” Kind said. “USTR is encouraging all members to do that,” he said.

But there is still plenty of agitation over the viewing rules.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), a senior member of the Ways and Means panel who voted against the TPA bill on Thursday, said it’s “absolutely ridiculous that you have to go into a secret room” to view the text of the deal. “This is not the Iranian negotiation,” he said Friday by phone. “What the hell is secret about winners and losers?” Rangel said so few lawmakers have viewed the document “because the administration already said what’s not in it.”freedom

Those exclusions include tougher language battling currency manipulation, provisions for workforce training and an infrastructure component to create U.S. jobs — all elements he’s pushing for as part of a larger trade package. “All you have to do is show me the jobs and I don’t even have to go in there to see the rest of it,” Rangel said.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, also acknowledged the availability of the document, but lamented the strict rules surrounding its accessibility.  “We don’t know what’s in it, it’s a mysterious document. You can’t use your phone and take pictures,” Butterfield said. “I understand from a labor leader that Froman brought it over to the labor leader’s office and put it on the table and said, ‘Look, stop telling people that you don’t have the bill. There’s the bill, and you can look at it —  but you can’t make any notes.’ “I don’t know what the mystery’s all about,” Butterfield said. “Show your hand.”  

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who has read most of the TPP text, has said that the changes made last month were a step in the right direction but questioned whether a bipartisan TPA bill does the trick in boosting transparency. “This really is a fast track — seeking to railroad the Trans-Pacific Partnership through while USTR hides from Congress the most important details,” Doggett said at a trade hearing last week. “By removing the congressional steering wheel and brake, this fast-track bill derails a full debate and restricts meaningful access to secret trade deals,” he said.

The debate has redrawn the political battle lines in Washington, with GOP leaders joining forces with the president in the face of strong opposition from liberal Democrats who have routinely been Obama’s strongest defenders. A number of the Democratic critics have cited the failed promises of past trade deals — particularly the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA — as a large reason for their reluctance to support the TPP.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a major critic of trade policy who viewed the text after the rules changes last month, said the White House has drawn a line in the sand. “It’s not to exchange ideas or to rethink how we do things. It’s to tell me how I’m wrong,” he said. “The administration has taken this approach of, ‘You’re either with us or against us on trade.’ “

Over the weekend Obama acknowledged the Democratic rift but held nothing back in his criticism. “It’s the highest-standard trade agreement in history,” Obama said Saturday during his weekly radio address.  “It’s got strong provisions for workers and the environment — provisions that, unlike in past agreements, are actually enforceable,” he said. “So this isn’t a race to the bottom, for lower wages and working conditions. The trade agreements I’m negotiating will drive a race to the top.”If his mouth is open he must be lying obama-liar4-266x189

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has sought to downplay the division with Obama, saying the president “believes in all that we want” and insisting she’s not lobbying against the TPA bill he supports.Liberalism a mental disorder 2

Still, the pressure is building on Democrats to insist on public release of the TPP, something the White House has argued adamantly against.

“So, now, it’s the case that the president says that he wants the American people to judge this deal based on the facts, but to do that, he’s got to make the deal public,” Warren said recently on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” “Otherwise, the American people can’t judge it on the facts. You won’t put the facts out there.”OARLogo Picture6


Obama secretly negotiating away U.S. sovereignty
2-pronged assault on economy, consumer rights, domestic law

Reported by Aaron Klein (Published: 21 hours ago)

Aaron Klein is WND’s senior staff reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief. He also hosts “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.

Consumer protections and the use of domestic law in the U.S. may drastically change as President Obama forges ahead with two secretive international deals that impact major aspects of the economy, privacy and beyond.

Wednesday, Obama defended a proposed mega free-trade zone between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and the European Union.

“I have fought my entire political career, and as president, to strengthen consumer protections. I have no intention of signing legislation that would weaken those protections,” Obama said during a visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Obama was responding to criticism of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which the U.S. has been negotiated with the EU since last July.

Besides creating the world’s biggest free-trade zone, the TTIP will also bring about closer cooperation between EU and U.S. regulatory bodies while more closely integrating the two economies.

One leak about the TTIP revealed a proposed “Regulatory Cooperation Council” that would evaluate existing regulations in the U.S. and EU and recommend future rules while coordinating a response to the current regulations.

Writing in the left-leaning the Nation magazine, foreign policy analyst Andrew Erwin said the TTIP was less about reducing tariffs and “more about weakening the power of average citizens to defend themselves against corporate labor and environmental abuses.”

Erwin took particular issue with a section in the TTIP called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement, which stipulates foreign corporations can sue the government utilizing a special international tribunal instead of the country’s own domestic system that uses U.S. law.

“The tribunals are not accountable to any national public or democratically elected body,” wrote Erwin.

Last December, a coalition of more than 200 environmentalists, labor unions and consumer advocacy organizations drafted a letter asking for the Investor-State Dispute Settlement section to be dropped.

The New York Times, meanwhile, reported earlier this week that some American companies “are concerned that protections for investors will not be part of a deal.”

While Obama is negotiating the TTIP largely in secret, talks continue to forge ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The expansive plan is a proposed free-trade agreement between the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The agreement would create new guidelines for everything from food safety to fracking, financial markets, medical prices, copyright rules and Internet freedom.

On Tuesday, the leaders of Canada and Japan reportedly met on the sidelines of a nuclear summit at the Hague to discuss the TPP.

The TPP negotiations have been criticized by politicians and advocacy groups alike for their secrecy. The few aspects of the partnership leaked to the public indicate an expansive agenda with highly limited congressional oversight.

A New York Times opinion piece previously called the deal the “most significant international commercial agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.”

Last October, the White House website released a joint statement with the other proposed TPP signatories affirming “our countries are on track to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.”

“Ministers and negotiators have made significant progress in recent months on all the legal texts and annexes on access to our respective goods, services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry markets,” the White House said.

The statement did not divulge details of the partnership other than to suggest a final TPP agreement “must reflect our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation model for addressing both new and traditional trade and investment issues, supporting the creation and retention of jobs and promoting economic development in our countries.”


In February, the Open the Government organization sent a letter to Obama blasting the lack of transparency surrounding the TPP talks, stating the negotiations have been “conducted in unprecedented secrecy.”

“Despite the fact the deal may significantly affect the way we live our lives by limiting our public protections, there has been no public access to even the most fundamental draft agreement texts and other documents,” read the letter.

The missive was signed by advocacy groups such as, Project On Government Oversight, ARTICLE 19 and the Global Campaign for Freedom of Expression and Information.

The groups warned issues being secretly negotiated include “patent and copyright, land use, food and product standards, natural resources, professional licensing, government procurement, financial practices, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, and other service sector regulations.”

Lack of oversight

Normally free-trade agreements must be authorized by a majority of the House and Senate, usually in lengthy proceedings.

However, the White House is seeking what is known as “trade promotion authority” which would fast track approval of the TPP by requiring Congress to vote on the likely lengthy trade agreement within 90 days and without any amendments.

The authority also allows Obama to sign the agreement before Congress even has a chance to vote on it, with lawmakers getting only a quick post-facto vote.

A number of lawmakers have been speaking out about the secret TPP talks.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., recently proposed legislation requiring the White House to disclose all TPP documents to members of Congress.

“The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations – like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America – are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement,” said Wyden.

However, Obama has so far refused to give Congress a copy of the draft agreement.

Regulates food, Internet, medicine, commerce

The TPP is “more than just a trade deal,” wrote Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch in a New York Times op-ed last June.

“Only 5 of its 29 chapters cover traditional trade matters, like tariffs or quotas. The others impose parameters on nontrade policies. Existing and future American laws must be altered to conform with these terms, or trade sanctions can be imposed against American exports.”

Wallach and Beachy spotlighted several leaks in the proposed TPP text, including one that would regulate the price of medicine.

“Pharmaceutical companies, which are among those enjoying access to negotiators as ‘advisers,’ have long lobbied against government efforts to keep the cost of medicines down. Under the agreement, these companies could challenge such measures by claiming that they undermined their new rights granted by the deal.”

Amnesty International USA warned draft TPP provisions related to patents for pharmaceuticals “risk stifling the development and production of generic medicines, by strengthening and deepening monopoly protections.”

Another leak revealed the TPP would grant more incentives to relocate domestic manufacturing offshore, Wallach and Beachy related.

Jim Hightower, a progressive activist, wrote the TPP incorporates elements similar to the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Hightower wrote the deal would “transform Internet service providers into a private, Big Brother police force, empowered to monitor our ‘user activity,’ arbitrarily take down our content and cut off our access to the Internet.”

Indeed, Internet freedom advocacy groups have been protesting the TPP, taking specific issue with leaked proposals that would enact strict intellectual property restraints that would effectively change U.S. copyright law.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued the TPP would “restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector.”

In a petition signed by more than 30 Internet freedom organizations, the group warned the TPP would “rewrite global rules on intellectual property enforcement.”

With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.

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