Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Senate Defeats Anti-Consumer Trade Bill Fast Track Authority

Senate Defeats Anti-Consumer Trade Bill Fast Track Authority

by Stephen Lendman

Score one for the good guys. A previous article explained so-called "trade promotion authority (TPA)" lets Obama and his trade representative, complicit with corporate predators, ram through Congress, with minimal debate, no amendments or public discussion outrageous legislation global justice advocates call NAFTA on steroids.

Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are stealth corporate coup d'etat measures - freedom and ecosystem-destroying nightmares.

Corporate giants wrote both measures - to establish unrestricted supranational global trade rules overriding national sovereignty, domestic laws and personal freedoms, serving their interests at the expense of humanity.

They permit anything goes for profit. Investor rights alone matter. Public ones be damned.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called fast track's defeat "a significant (consumer) victory."

Hundreds of independent organizations opposed it. EFF said its "members alone sent tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets to lawmakers to come out against this legislation."

Fast track supporters needed 60 Senate votes to debate granting Obama what he sought. He fell eight short. 

One Democrat alone backed him - Delaware's Tom Carper. Party leadership opposed him. Fast track authority was defeated by a 52 - 45 majority.

In Tuesday Senate floor remarks, Carper willfully and outrageously lied claiming TPP is "fair to workers and middle class families." If enacted, it's a dagger in the heart of fairness, fundamental freedoms and eco-sanity.

"Today is not the end of the fast track fight," said EFF. TPP and TTIP supporters won't quit.

Obama continues going all-out to enact what belongs in the dustbin of hellish proposed congressional legislation.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest downplayed Tuesday's defeat saying "(i)t is not unprecedented for the US Senate to encounter procedural snafus. We're going to continue to work through these challenges."

EFF was upbeat saying "we can come away from (Tuesday's victory) empowered and energized because it's a clear sign that we're succeeding at convincing Congress to come out against these (hellish anti-consumer) international corporate deals."

Let's hope EFF is right. Consumer victories are hard to come by. Sustained momentum is vital to prevent triumphs later becoming tragedies.

Global Trade Watch's Lori Wallach issued a statement saying in part:

"The Fast Track train went off the rails today. The US Senate vote was supposed to generate momentum for Fast Track in the US House of Representatives, where it’s in deep trouble, with almost every House Democrat and a significant bloc of GOP lawmakers opposing it." 

"The only reason to upend the required procedures for a 'revenue bill' and bring up Fast Track in the Senate first was to get a huge victory to build momentum in the House." 

"But that strategy backfired and Democrats in the House remain committed to standing up for their beliefs that the trade package would do a lot more harm than good."

"Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an especially bad idea. After six years of negotiations, the text is almost complete." 

"Yet under the Hatch-Wyden-Ryan Fast Track bill, the pact would remain secret from the public until 30 days after its text is locked." 

"That the text would be made public 60 days before the formal signing ceremony is irrelevant, because it would be too late to fight for needed changes."

"The rhetoric being used to sell the trade package is really far off from the reality of what is in it. It is like being in the twilight zone."

TPP and TTIP are corporate predator wish lists at the expense of fundamental consumer rights and environmental sanity.

Not according to New York Times editors. They support fast track enabling enactment of outrageous trade bills demanding rejection. 

In a Tuesday editorial, they lied claiming TPP "could help reduce environmental destruction and improve the lives of workers…"

"The laboriously constructed agreement to phase out trade barriers among the US, Mexico and Canada, which this page has strongly supported, is likely to have a positive, though small, impact on US living standards and provide a modest boost to the Mexican economy." 

"Some American jobs would be lost to cheaper Mexican labor, other jobs would be gained because American exports would increase as Mexico's high tariffs gradually disappeared."

"Economics aside, Nafta's defeat would suggest that the US had abandoned its historical commitment to free trade and would thus discourage other Latin and South American countries that have moved toward more market-oriented economies in the expectation of freer world trade."

Fact: America's trade deficit with Mexico cost around 700,000 US jobs through 2010 alone.

Fact: Official government data show well over five million US manufacturing jobs lost - plus millions more offshored to cheap labor markets, many more at risk.

It bears repeating. US trade bills are one-way - everything for corporate predators at the expense of fundamental consumer rights and eco-sanity.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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