The 23 Count Indictment of the TPP

Yves here. This post will serve to remind you: call your Representative ( info ) and Senators ( info) today and tell them in no uncertain terms that you expect them to vote against Fast Track authority. This post provides more detail about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its evil twin, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. And you can read here about why Fast Track authority is a hazard to your political health.

By Joe Firestone, Ph.D., Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program. He taught political science as the graduate and undergraduate level and blogs regularly at , and . Originally published at

To really appreciate what a travesty the TPP is, and the scandal of the failure of our Congress to reject it, and the “Fast Track Authority“ sought for it, out of hand, I’m going to list 23 negative consequences that would likely follow from it. Any one of these, would, by itself be sufficient for any representative of the people, Senator or Congressperson, to vote to kill it. I’ll offer this list in the form of stanzas appropriate for a chant, except for the starting point in the list.

The tune of the chant that might be used is the tune used for Dayenu, the passover seder chant in which Dayenu means “It would have been sufficient,” where the reference is to all the things the almighty is purported to have done for the Israelites on their way out of Egypt and during their wanderings in the Sinai. I’m sure the President is familiar with this chant since he has had seders at the White House more than once. I’m also sure that he never envisioned using Dayenu to highlight the horrors of one of his favorite projects, the passage of “Fast Track Authority,” the TPP, and other “free trade” agreements such as the TTIP, and the TISA, all of which would get “Fast Track Authority” if the present bill passes.

The Stanzas of the Anti-TPP Chant

1. The TPP makes it easier to offshore more jobs now performed in the United States.

2. If the TPP just made it easier to offshore more jobs and did not also generate increasing downward pressure on wages, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

3. If the TPP just generated increasing downward pressure on wages and did not also empower another 25,000 foreign corporations to use Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

4. If the TPP just empowered another 25,000 foreign corporations to use investor state tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations and did not also give big pharma new monopoly patent rights, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

5. If the TPP just gave big pharma new monopoly patent rights, and did not also provide for rolling back financial regulations put in place after the crash of 2008, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

6. If the TPP just rolled back financial regulations and did not also provide for banning buy local and buy domestic policies, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

7. If the TPP just provided for banning buy local and buy domestic policies and did not also undermine climate change and energy policies by constraining the permissible policies governments can use to implement them, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

8. If the TPP just undermined climate change and energy policies by constraining the permissible policies governments can use to implement them and did not also use an anti-democratic fast track process that gives Representatives and Senators no space to represent the range of people they represent, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

9. If the TPP did not just use an anti-democratic fast track process that gives Representatives and Senators no space to represent the range of people they represent, and did not also potentially prevent the Treasury from replacing the practice of issuing Treasury debt to fund deficit spending with alternative funding methods, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

10. If the TPP did not just potentially prevent the Treasury from replacing the practice of issuing Treasury debt to fund deficit spending with alternative funding methods, and did not also potentially prevent the Fed from using negative interest rate policies if it chooses to do so, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

11. If the TPP did not just potentially prevent the Fed from using negative interest rate policies if it chooses to do so, and did not also potentially force the US to bail out insolvent banks through ISDS settlements, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

12. If the TPP did not just potentially force the US to bail out insolvent banks through ISDS settlements, and did not also constitute ISDS tribunals as criminogenic environments with corporate advocates who play the roles of both judges and corporate attorneys at different times and who have substantial incentives to both drag out and sustain corporate suits against governments at all levels, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

13. If the TPP did not just constitute ISDS tribunals as criminogenic environments with corporate advocates who play the roles of both judges and corporate attorneys at different times and who have substantial incentives to both drag out and sustain corporate suits against governments at all levels, and did not also turn over the legislative power of the Federal government to the investor state dispute settlement courts and the corporations buying their loyalty, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

14. If the TPP just turned over the legislative power of the Federal government to the investor state dispute settlement courts and the corporations buying their loyalty, and did not also paralyze action by future Congresses that might reduce corporate “expectations of profits,” it would still be sufficient to kill it!

15. If the TPP just paralyzed action by future Congresses that might reduce corporate “expectations of profits,” and did not also create a permanent political fight over repealing the horror of the TPP while the US economy declines year after year, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

16. If the TPP just created a permanent political fight over repealing the horror of the TPP while the US economy declines year after year, and did not also create an unconstrained and unconstitutional trade agreement fusing judicial and legislative authority whose overnight judicial undoing would create international instability, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

17. If the TPP just created an unconstrained and unconstitutional trade agreement fusing judicial and legislative authority whose overnight national judicial undoing would create international instability, and did not also demand that the American public ought to ensure them against the business risks they take abroad, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

18. If the TPP just demanded that the American public ought to ensure them against the business risks they take abroad, and did not also insist on classification of the TPP drafts, hiding them from the public and making it an impossible burden for Congresspeople to evaluate them, and then on keeping the proposed or actual agreement secret so that the American people can’t even know what the law is that may result in international levies of many billions of dollars upon them, for four years after the TPP is either passed or defeated, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

19. If the TPP just insisted on classification of the TPP drafts, hiding them the public and making it an impossible burden for Congresspeople to evaluate them, and then on keeping the proposed or actual agreement secret so that the American people could not even know what the law was that might result in international levies of many billions of dollars upon them for four years after the TPP is either passed or defeated, and did not also create the possibility that one ISDS case, decided by a biased three-judge panel dominated by attorneys who primarily work for corporate clients could deliver a financial crisis to an American State or local government, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

20. If the TPP just created the possibility that one ISDS case, decided by a biased three-judge panel dominated by attorneys who primarily work for corporate clients could deliver a financial crisis to an American State or local government, and did not also provide multinationals protections against risk that would not be accorded to domestic corporations, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

21. If the TPP just provided multinationals protections against risk that would not be accorded to domestic corporations, and did not also define “investment” so broadly that it applies to any asset that is either owned or controlled and therefore to any new regulation that may be passed by any democratic government placing chains on all of them and defeating the requirement of the consent of the governed, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

22. If the TPP just defined “investment” so broadly that it applies to any asset that is either owned or controlled and therefore to any new regulation that may be passed by any democratic government placing chains on all of them and defeating the requirement of the consent of the governed,, and did not also prohibit “Buy American” laws and regulations, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

23. If the TPP just prohibited “Buy American” laws and regulations, and did not also fail to provide a clear legal provision allowing regulating investments for public purpose through laws and regulations that would not be subject to the interpretations of ISDS tribunals dominated by representatives of corporations making decisions in accord with the principle that national level rule making must not interfere with the “expectations of profits” held by multinational private corporations, or to any other tribunals not subject to the consent of the governed, it would still be sufficient to kill it!

And finally, if it only fails to provide a clear legal provision allowing regulating investments for public purpose through laws and regulations that would not be subject to the interpretations of ISDS tribunals dominated by representatives of corporations making decisions in accord with the principle that national level rule making must not interfere with the “expectations of profits” held by multinational private corporations, or to any other tribunals not subject to the consent of the governed, then that alone would still be sufficient to kill it!

Conclusion

The governing functions of the TPP regime would not be exercised with the consent of the governed. The combination of the vague definition of “investment,” the ISDS criminogenic tribunals, and the elevation of the principle of “expectation of profits” above the principles of “public purpose,” “consent of the governed,” and “separation of powers,” is tantamount to the overthrow of democracy, preserving its form in national level elections, but emptying its elections of meaningful content in mandating change and conferring legitimacy on national authorities.

And, further, the ISDS tribunals if in operation, would not exercise just powers, but only illegitimate power derived from the TPP agreement itself, negotiated in secret, passed without benefit of open debate based on the secret text of the TPP, and intended to remain secret for years after the TPP is signed. That makes TPP decision making, performed without the consent of the governed, tyranny, and makes those who want to pass the TPP guilty of conspiracy to create tyrannical rule of the few over the people of the United States and other TPP member nations.

Right now, those who want to pass Fast Track Authority and the TPP, in the face of the 23 reasons, recorded in the 23 stanzas, for killing these things, any one of which is reason enough to vote to kill them, apparently number the President of the United States, most of the corporate media, a majority of the Senate, though perhaps not a majority of its Democratic members, a large number of Representatives in the House, mostly Republican, but including some Democrats, who may or may not reach a majority of the House with the help of a full court press corporate and billionaire-funded media campaign that we will see intensify in the coming days and weeks. So, these are the forces arrayed against democracy and for tyranny. These are the forces in back of the attempt of the elite to engineer a bloodless coup, that they hope will replace national popular sovereignty with globalizing corporate rule.

Will we counter them in the coming days and weeks and block Fast Track Authority and the TPP? The fate of democracy depends on how we respond to this question and on whether our loud public outcry can counter them successfully, and persuade some in the House and the Senate that it is dangerous for them to oppose the popular will. Let us not fail this test!

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50 comments

  1. MRW

    If you don’t have the time to look up your representative and senator’s DC office–maybe you’re reading this walking down the street–call the US Capitol switchboard, and they will connect you:

    US Capitol switchboard: 1-202-224-3121.

    The President’s comment line is 1-202-456-1111.

    1. Kokuanani

      I used to work in a Congressional office, so let me offer a couple of points re correspondence:

      1) they only “count” the number of communications [“x pro & y con”].

      2) thus they — meaning the staffie who’s reading your correspondence — will not be “persuaded” by your articulate arguments. The staffie is just sending a report up the line saying how many “pros” and “cons” came in via the various forms of communication. It’s highly unlikely the member of Congress will see/hear your actual communication — unless you can buttonhole him/her when he/she visits the district to “listen” [sic].

      3) if you can persuade friends & family members to write/e-mail/call, you can increase the effect. Hey, offer to “compose” their communication, noting that all that’s really needed is a “I oppose this horrendous legislation and hope you will too” is really all that’s needed.

      4) form letters & postcards are much less effective, since they don’t demonstrate the sender’s original intent. Actual letters, calls & e-mails are more effective than signing the petition you received from MoveOn or DFA, since “signing” a petition requires so little actual effort.

      5) don’t bother writing to someone who’s not “your” representative or senator — unless you’re a huge contributor or other “important person.” Your opinion only counts because you might VOTE.

      Again, offices DO count their mail, and when there’s an avalanche of correspondence, particularly on the TPP, which has been so well hidden, Congress-critters will take notice.

  2. MRW

    About the . (I’m not copying all the links)

    A preliminary analysis of the Financial Services Annex by Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, New Zealand was published with the WikiLeaks release.[12]

    The Public Services International (PSI) organization described TISA as:

    a treaty that would further liberalize trade and investment in services, and expand “regulatory disciplines” on all services sectors, including many public services. The “disciplines,” or treaty rules, would provide all foreign providers access to domestic markets at “no less favorable” conditions as domestic suppliers and would restrict governments’ ability to regulate, purchase and provide services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations.[13]

    One concern is the provisions regarding retention of business records. David Cay Johnston said, “It is … hard to make the case that the cost of keeping a duplicate record at the home office in a different country is a burden.” He noted that business records requirements are sufficiently important that they were codified in law even before the Code of Hammurabi.[14]

    Impacts of the law may include “whether people can get loans or buy insurance and at what prices as well as what jobs may be available.”[14]

    Dr. Patricia Ranald, a research associate at the University of Sydney, said:

    “Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as ‘monopolies’ and to limit public regulation of all financial services … They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.”[15]

    Regarding the secrecy of the draft, Professor Kelsey commented: “The secrecy of negotiating documents exceeds even the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and runs counter to moves in the WTO towards greater openness.”[12] Johnston adds, “It is impossible to obey a law or know how it affects you when the law is secret.”[14]

  3. Dan

    For regular NC readers, the issues have been well hashed and this provides additional fodder. However it is written in such a way, that if shared with someone like my mom (and my mom is actually above average in the reading material she tackles), the list as written would be more perplexing that clarifying.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Yes, I agree. It’s a good summary list and helpful for people who have not been immersed in this topic (ie family and friends). But the writing device used makes it a bit confusing to read. It would be much clearer to just state each list item as “TPP does X” and tell why X is bad if it is not obvious.

    2. tim s

      AGREED!!

      If I didn’t already have a headache, reading through all of that would certainly give me one. And I’m already aware of this issue, so following it should not have been a problem.

    3. Carla

      Maybe I’m like your mom.

      As someone who is more familiar than the average person with the TPP, I found the post difficult–and annoying–to try to follow. Fortunately, I don’t have to rely on it to understand the issues involved: the mortal threats to Democracy, national sovereignty, and the rule of law.

    4. Mel

      You have to be patient. As he says, it’s based on a hymn. I imagine Martin Luther King, say, could make the truth and the irony fill a hall.
      Of course if your rep. wants bullet points (and is probably a very busy person,) you’ll be crazy to send this. Definitely digest it down to bullet points.

      1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

        What if your Senator is a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, who sang Dayenu at Passover Seders? Or he’s Jerry Nadler another one with a similar background. Do you think these guys might look twice at this and perhaps circulate it to others in Congress or use it some other way.

        1. MRW

          OK. But can you do a non-Jewish version that simply lists:

          TPP/TTIP/TISA: KNOWN SO FAR:
          Item. Result/Consequence.
          Item. Result/Consequence.
          Item. Result/Consequence.
          Item. Result/Consequence.
          Item. Result/Consequence.

          We ned something we can dump on blogs or send in emails that’s grammatically correct and has no spelling mistakes. ;-)

          People who know nothing about the monetary system, nor care about what happens to trade agreements crafted in Switzerland, need a head-yanker. They need to know why they should care now.

            1. EJH

              Think about rewriting it and reposting. Communication about this issue has already been bad enough.

    5. Ian

      There are plenty of other sites that deal with lower level, more simplistic analysis. I come to NC because of the high level of analysis with which they operate. perhaps perpetual links to other sites with more general and low level but still valid analysis that would be more coherent to the general populace that would be a bridge to the higher level content on this site would be in order for future articles.

  4. Brooklin Bridge

    This is a somewhat helpful map of “clickable” states showing which representatives/senators have taken positions for and against TPP, from “Progressive Democrats of America” (for what it’s worth from a group formed out of the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich ).

    Right now, however, I’m having trouble connecting to it.

    1. Carla

      Exactly.

      Suggest simplifying the Conclusion to read:

      So, these are the forces so far arrayed against Democracy and for Treason: the President of the United States, most of the corporate media, a majority of the Senate, and a large number of Representatives in the House.

  5. Molly

    Cleverly written, but can this be distilled into bullets that we can copy into an email to our Senators and Reps, who obviously have not (been allowed to) read the whole thing?

  6. Molly

    Our Senators and Reps have not (been allowed to) read the TPP. Please distill this into bullet points so they can read it. Otherwise tl;dr.

  7. Molly

    Can this be distilled into regular bullet points? Our Senators and Reps have not (been permitted to) read the TPP language, and unfortunately they won’t read this either because it is very clever but too long.

  8. Molly

    My apologies for the multiple comments. My Firefox browser was not showing them as posted, so I kept re-entering. If there is a way to delete the duplicates, please do!

    1. John Zelnicker

      Molly – If your comment does not appear at first, try waiting about ten seconds and just reload the page. That has always worked for me. And, I also use Firefox.

      1. Molly

        Thanks. I also discovered when I tried to remove the extras that apparently there is a small window for editing or deleting, complete with buttons for same. Frequent reader, first time commenting, won’t make that mistake again.

  9. nat scientist

    My representative’s job depends on his not reading the TPP so he’s cool with that. Ask your silent representative what was their Top Ten Courageous statements or decisions made in Congress. I asked, they said thank you and hung up. He does wring his hands often about the difficult decisions he ends up joining, in an abundance of caution and a avoidance of principle.

  10. Ulysses

    “The governing functions of the TPP regime would not be exercised with the consent of the governed. The combination of the vague definition of “investment,” the ISDS criminogenic tribunals, and the elevation of the principle of “expectation of profits” above the principles of “public purpose,” “consent of the governed,” and “separation of powers,” is tantamount to the overthrow of democracy, preserving its form in national level elections, but emptying its elections of meaningful content in mandating change and conferring legitimacy on national authorities.”

    There’s the most appalling thing, right there. And of course, although some are skittish to name it out loud, the dismantling of democracy is also the installation Mussolini-style corporatism.

    “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

    President Franklin D Roosevelt, April 29, 1938

  11. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for taking the time to craft a creative approach to fast-tracking this secret, fraudulently presented and unconstitutional legislation, Joe Firestone. I phoned my representative and both senators this morning to re-express my continuing opposition.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves

    After Dick Cheney’s private energy task force that the SCOTUS approved as legal, and after being lied into a war based on non-existent WMD, one would think that Americans of whatever political persuasion are more than a bit fed up with secret treaties and behind-closed-doors deals.

    Even if the TPP Fastrack passes, there’s simply not enough legitimacy left in government for much of anyone to ‘trust us’ (‘us’ meaning the feuding, bought Congress or the corporate-leaning courts).

    If TPP passes, it will further erode government legitimacy.

  13. Steven

    I find it really difficult to believe any branch of the US government that had even the slightest clue how the dollar-based international monetary standard works would consent to this. The ‘near money’ of Treasury debt provides the foundation for that system, right? If the TPP really does this, could it be the opening move for setting the country up for a bout of Greece-style austerity?

    9. If the TPP did not just use an anti-democratic fast track process that gives Representatives and Senators no space to represent the range of people they represent, and did not also potentially prevent the Treasury from replacing the practice of issuing Treasury debt to fund deficit spending with alternative funding methods, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

    As for

    10. If the TPP did not just potentially prevent the Treasury from replacing the practice of issuing Treasury debt to fund deficit spending with alternative funding methods, and did not also potentially prevent the Fed from using negative interest rate policies if it chooses to do so, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

    wouldn’t directly taxing stagnant pools of money to stimulate investment and job creation (or fund a guaranteed income if there simply was no real need for more of capitalism’s “creative destruction” at the moment be a more honest, less regressive form of taxation than eroding the value of middle class savings of those who lack the equity or financial sophistication to participate in today’s casino economy?

    1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      If you can tax the stagnant pools of money without having them escape to Tax havens.

  14. Praedor

    An attempt to pass a “bloodless coup”. Bloodless. Perhaps initially, but as the reality of the dictatorship people are laboring under, should TPP and similar pass, becomes evident, the bloodless part will change. The aristocracy always thinks it is above the fray of the filthy masses until they are strung up by those masses.

  15. curlydan

    I just called my Congress critters for the first time in probably 10 years–maybe more. Those DC guys (at least the ones from Kansas) really answer their phones fast! Here’s what I would recommend:
    *Ask them for their positions on TPP and Fast Track Authority (most will say they haven’t taken a stance)
    *Then lay into them with the 5 best reasons you’ve got from the 23 above

    Out of my 3 hard core righty critters, I only got a snarky snort from one of them.

  16. Jeremy Grimm

    Letters opposing TPA, TPP, and TTIP are in the mail. I called my Representative — spoke with a person, she took my name and email address; called Senator1 — spoke with person, he took my zip code; called Senator2 — put on answering machine, left message and name (all that was requested).

    I was at the Post Office earlier today and urged the guy at the counter to remind people to call their Representative and Senators. His response surprised me a little. He said he didn’t think it mattered since they were already bought and paid for and would do what they’re told no matter what we do. Is anyone else running into this kind of cynical resignation?

    1. Steven

      You will no doubt get a response like the following if your Congress person is the stereotypical corporate / banker / Wall Street shill:

      I support reauthorizing trade promotion authority. There is little chance of increased market access for U.S. businesses through future free trade agreements without it. In addition, trade promotion authority will increase the likelihood of the successful approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP would yield the largest regional free trade agreement in which the U.S. has ever participated and one that would significantly benefit the state of Arizona. However, I am concerned about the timing of Congressional consideration of the renewal of trade promotion authority and legislation implementing the TPP. For example, it is my hope that Congress will renew trade promotion authority before considering the TPP so that Congress is fully consulted prior to the Administration’s negotiation of the TPP.

      Flake, Arizona

      Is there any point in arguing with them?

      1. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

        Din’t argue. just tell them that since they are voting to end democracy and the rule of law in the United States you will never forget how they voted and that if they vote for the TPP you will vote to defeat in every future election until they are defeated or you are dead!

  17. susan the other

    Gosh. Why go to all the bother to create Loopholia when all we have to do is what we really want to do, declare war on China. Alternatively we could rethink our absurd aggressive stand and get real. Write traditional trade deals with contracts that recognize mutuality, you know, the legal stuff.

    1. skippy

      Wellie… who can trust a bunch of Gawdless Commies to adhere to such concepts such as mutually established Law….

      Skippy… Seriously… when the foundations to “Natural Law” are ignored….

    2. different clue

      This isn’t a declaration of war on China. This is a declaration of war on the majority citizenry of the TPP countries themselves. Each of them. All of them. Every single one.

      China is merely “invoked” as a scare-boogeyman to herd people into supporting TPP.

  18. Oregoncharles

    Bookmarked. Always useful to have a catalogue – if only so we don’t overlook items.

    You might want to print this out and mail it to your Congress people.

  19. JTMcPhee

    RE: TPP “Bullet Points”
    Unfortunately, there is just too much here, especially for a person who knows more than a little bit about it all but not anywhere near enough to have mastery for succinctness, to write something simple for ordinary people to easily understand. For me at least.

    I wonder if any of our “liberal progressive groups” are up to the task of agreeing on opposition text, in a form that reaches ordinary people, and in possession of email lists or other social media means of getting the reasons to shoot this down in front of them.

    My quick restatement of the points, without the stylistic meme:

    Your president and his administration are lying to you about the “Fast Track” and TPP and other “trade agreements” that you are starting to hear about. So are most Senators and Congressmen, who are representing corporate interests, rather than you, the people who elected them. Lying to you again, just like you were lied to before, about NAFTA. Very simply, this is a plan to lock down a world-wide rule of corporations, by corporations, for the benefit of corporations.

    We ordinary people need to fight back. Information is what we need, about this “deal.” But despite Obama’s lies about “transparency” and “broad invitations to affected persons to comment,” that information is strictly, “legally,” off-limits to us, until long after the “deal” is signed.

    NAFTA cost us our jobs, cut our paychecks, trashed our cities and communities, and made it easier for Wall Street, and huge corporations with zero loyalty to our America, to do all that to us. They even claim that it was all “legal.” The so-called “Fast Track authority” Obama is demanding will, like was done with NAFTA, let him push TPP and other future “trade agreements” through Congress, without meaningful discussion or debate or even amendment. Without our consent, let alone our awareness of what’s being done to us, supposedly in our names. All nice and “legal.” That is just a preview of what TPP and the other trade agreements will do: to gut what is left of your voice in Washington and your rights as an American citizen.

    They are counting on confusing you, and burying any useful information about this “agreement” until it’s been bolted down around you. This is not simple stuff, unfortunately, but there are huge reasons why these secretly written deals are bad, for you, for your family, for your community and for the country.

    If you think terrorism is scary, you need to understand what this vast “cooperative effort” is going to do to you. You can get only leaked peeks at this “agreement,” which is being written by non-elected “trade representatives” and corporate attorneys for their clients’ benefit.

    What is known about the TPP’s terms has everyone, other than corporate loyalists and politicians who will gain from it, angry about and rightly afraid of what that “agreement” will do. Obama says your Congressman can look at it any time. That is a lie. The restrictions on access obstruct any effective review of the complex draft that is grinding toward becoming “one law to rule them all, one law to bind them.” Your Congressperson cannot even tell you what they find in it, because Obama has classified it as “secret.”

    Obama wants an authority that supersedes the Constitution, the Congress and the US Courts, to give even more breaks and give even more of your declining wealth to foreign corporations. Including corporations that might once have been based and “branded” in America, but now are headquartered in places like the Caymans, Switzerland, the Channel Islands and Bermuda. The same ones, aided by so-called venture capitalists, who have offshored, just simply sent away, all those jobs and all that business activity we have lost, under NAFTA and other “trade agreements.” Not only is this pending “agreement” wrongfully classified as “secret,” the “transparency” Obama claims for this secret deal-making actually includes hiding it all from the public.”Day is night,” in this strange new world.

    The few people that have seen the drafts have said candidly that if the American people knew what was in them, they would massively oppose the whole process. These “secrecy” tricks even make it impossible, even for the few Congresspeople who might want to do it, to effectively protect their constituents and their Constitutional obligations and authority. On top of that, the proposed or actual agreement that will cost us jobs and billions of dollars will continue to be secret, so that the American people can’t even know what the new regime actually is, for four years AFTER the TPP is either passed or defeated. That’s clearly intended to allow the corporate interests, that are scurrying to cement this in place, to get their machinery in operation and irresistible, before its power and impact can be seen and opposed.

    “Isn’t this a Free Trade Agreement? I though Free Trade was Good!”

    Here’s why this latest grab for power and wealth by corporate interests is bad for all us ordinary people, our communities, and small businesses:

    1. Just like NAFTA, the TPP makes it even easier and more profitable for corporations to offshore more jobs now performed in the United States.

    2. Just like NAFTA, the TPP will result in even lower wages for Americans – people in China and Vietnam will end up with our jobs, and be paid a tiny fraction of what you or I would earn for the same work here, and with no protections there for health, safety or labor rights – a condition that the TPP will inevitably “export” back to America.

    “I thought America was a Sovereign Nation!”

    3. Just like NAFTA, the TPP will let 25,000 foreign corporations use what’s called an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process to make us pay them billions for “anticipated (not even earned) profits.” Going way beyond even NAFTA, the TPP lets those 25,000 corporations do what only sovereign nations could do under NAFTA: if they don’t like federal, state and local laws that protect important public assets like an open Internet, that protect your health and your environment, and that give you labor rules and health care and pensions and and tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations. This is already happening all over the world under other “trade agreements.” A “tribunal” of three corporate lawyers will evaluate corporate claims of “lost anticipated profits” and make a binding “award,” of millions or billions of dollars, against a nation or state or local government that had laws and rules the corporation did not like. You count on the sovereignty of your government to make and enforce laws to protect you. TPP, like NAFTA and other “agreements,” wipes out that sovereignty. This is already happening.

    4. Going beyond the other corporate gifts in NAFTA, the TPP will give Big Pharma drug makers new monopoly patent rights that, like the other parts of “health care reform,” will cost you lots more for treatments you need. The same gift will be given to other “intellectual property” interests, vastly extending and increasing the costs to the public of copyrights and other claims that are currently limited by national laws.

    5. The recent economic crisis you are still suffering from was mostly a result of stopping the sensible, necessary regulation of large financial institutions. The TPP will roll back even the puny regulatory efforts, made after 2008, to rein in the crazy speculation and leverage, and guaranteed more corporate profits and huge public losses. The same things that caused the last crash – a crash that resulted in you being made to “bail out” Wall Street and “too big to fail” banks, by giving them unearned trillions of dollars, much of which went to bonuses for the same people that caused the crash. The TPP will let banks use the ISDS tribunals to force us to provide “bailouts” for any future crashes they cause.

    6. If we can understand just one thing about the TPP and the other “trade agreements,” it’s that even their supporters agree that only a tiny fraction of the “agreement” is “about trade.” The rest of it is about making the rest of us pay the cost of any risk, the risk that corporations are supposed to assume. We, the public, will now be eating the costs of “business risks,” while corporations and “investors” reap the profits. By the way, that “investor” category does not include you and me and our little stock holdings and savings. Not only are we now going to have to watch helplessly as our jobs go away and our wages keep declining, we are going to have to provide insurance for “anticipated profits” of stuff like unconstrained drilling for oil and mining for uranium and coal and chemical manufacturing, while we lose our fight to protest and try to outlaw damaging actions by these corporations.We will not even be able to slow the process by enacting “Buy American” laws and policies.

    7. NAFTA was just the jumping off point for this power grab. Corporate interests wrote this “agreement” to let them squash and override any buy-local and buy-domestic laws, as in “Buy American” policies. And your Congress just snuck in a provision to the “fast track” legislation that would specifically bar any individual or institution from exercising their First Amendment rights by arguing for divestment by selling stock in, or ceasing to do business with, corporations in Israel and its occupied territories. As with NAFTA, Obama, and the corporate interests his policies will further enrich, want “fast track” authority to push the TPP past the Constitutionally mandated legislative debate in what they used to call “The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body,” with a rubber stamp of a secret “agreement,” in place of deliberation and informed consent. But you can bet that other “special little side deals” will be part of what finally reaches Obama’s desk.

    8. Even corporations now acknowledge that human-induced climate change is real and dangerous. They are busily re-modeling their businesses, to cynically take advantage of, and grab further profits from, this catastrophe they helped create. They also want the power to force the rest of to allow it to get even worse. The TPP lets corporations stop and reverse laws and policies intended to slow or stop climate change, including even efforts to encourage energy use from sources that are safer for the environment than coal, oil, gas and nuclear.

    “What do you mean, America can’t control its own budget and money supply?”

    9. One requirement for a sovereign nation is the ability to issue its own money. Greece is suffering today, along with other nations, because their governments gave up that power. The TPP would potentially take that power away from us too, by preventing the U.S. Treasury from using appropriate funding methods to pay for the nation’s necessary operations.

    10. The definition of “investment” in the leaked text is written so vastly broad that it gives a foreign corporation the right to claim “expected profits” from any “asset,” real or legal, that they might own. The original purpose of similar text was to protect plants and mines and so forth against nationalization or appropriation. It was also limited to claims only by other sovereign governments, but now that power is given to any foreign corporation. All of this is being done without the consent of the citizens of the US or any of the other countries whose corporations are building this actual “new world order.”

    12. The TPP defines “investment” so broadly that it applies to any asset that is either owned or controlled by a corporation, and therefore to any new regulation that may be passed by any democratic government restricting “profit making,” however costly it is to ordinary people anywhere. It places chains on all governance in favor of the general welfare, and trashes the notion of government by consent of the governed.

    12. The TPP’s ISDS power would let corporate attorneys represent corporations, in their extortion from us of “expected profits” from their “investments” on one day, and then sit as judge, jury and enforcer on “expected profits” claims by other corporations against government bodies the next day. The likelihood of abuse and fraud is already clear, in claims brought under other similar “agreements.” These rulings will be under arbitrary interpretations of vague terms, with little to no rights, for those who will be ordered to pay these outrageous fines and penalties and lose their rights to local self-government, to even appear and present defenses. That would not be much of a right in any case, since the “tribunals” will be held far away, and making a defense will be very expensive. This new regime will no doubt scare local and national governments enough that they will just repeal the protective laws or not adopt laws that are necessary for protecting the public. These self-serving “awards” have already provoked financial crises in other parts of the world, and will do so here – which is the intent of the drafters.

    13. The TPP will not only give corporations the power to drive and control and limit federal, state and local regulation (beyond the power that their “contributions” of campaign money to legislators and presidents already gives them.) It will also bar Congress from undoing, in the future, any oppressive part of this new power structure in favor of true national interests. We will, barring world war or environmental calamity or some revolutionary change, be stuck with this new world order, in perpetuity.

    Conclusion

    The governing functions of the TPP regime would not be exercised with the consent of the governed. The combination of the vague definition of “investment,” the ISDS rigged and theft-inducing tribunals, and the elevation of the principle of “expectation of profits” above the principles of “public purpose,” “consent of the governed,” and “separation of powers,” is simply the overthrow of democracy. All that will be left are the formalities of national and local elections, of “representatives of the people” who have no power to legislate or govern for the benefit of the ordinary people, and no way to stand up against or revoke this abandonment of but emptying its elections of meaningful content in mandating change and conferring legitimacy on national authorities.

    The powers of the supra-national ISDS tribunals,once in operation, are in no way legitimate, not derived from the consent of the governed, but solely from the corporate takeover that the TPP and other secretly created “trade agreements” are sneaking into place. The TPP would not even be signed off on with benefit of open debate based on the secret text of the TPP, and intended to remain secret for years after the TPP is signed. That makes TPP decision making, performed without the consent of the governed, tyranny, and makes those who want to pass the TPP guilty of conspiracy to create tyrannical rule of the few over the people of the United States and other TPP member nations.

    Right now, those who want to pass Fast Track Authority and the TPP despite the many outrages listed here, include the Hope And Change President of the United States, most of the corporate media, a majority of the Senate, though perhaps not a majority of its Democratic members, a large number of Representatives in the House, mostly Republican, but including some Democrats, who may or may not reach a majority of the House with the help of a full court press corporate and billionaire-funded media campaign that we will see intensify in the coming days and weeks. So, these are the forces arrayed against democracy and for tyranny. These are the forces in back of the attempt of the elite to engineer a bloodless, essentially worldwide coup, that they hope will replace national popular sovereignty with globalizing corporate rule.

    Your government, local, state and federal, will no longer be able to regulate or outlaw even the worst behaviors of corporations and their officers, whose only interest is profit and freedom from risk of loss. If we try to regulate or stop even the worst behaviors, three corporate lawyers will decide how much “anticipated profits” the corporations can claim, and make us pay them for not polluting, for not stealing public resources, for daring to try to keep jobs and industry at home, and much more. we will no longer even control our own financial situation or how we issue money for the kind of trade we ordinary people do every day. And we will not even get to see how this was done to us, or even what the new rules of this new world order are until they are fully in power.

    Will we counter them in the coming days and weeks, and block Fast Track Authority and the TPP? The fate of democracy and any hope for a decent future for all us ordinary people depends on how we respond to this question and on whether our loud public outcry can counter them successfully, and persuade some in the House and the Senate that it is dangerous for them to oppose the popular will. Let us not fail this test!

    My edit-in-haste, way too long, bullets are still needed and I am out of time today.

    Here’s another better-written abstract on mostly the ISDS provisions:

  20. different clue

    This post and thread is too important to suffer its possible fate of being prematurely buried and forgotten under the steady fall of ever-newer ever-fresher posts and threads. One hopes people come back to this one for several more days at least. And then can easily find it in an intuitively-findable category title. If it isn’t currently in the TPP title-bunch of articles, one perhaps hopes it may be placed there. For easy finding, re-finding, and re-re-finding all over again.

    I agree with the criticism that the chant-form is too specific-culture specific to find brain-traction across the multiple cultures in America at large. JTMcPhee showed what can be done to make its information and bullet points more accessible. I hope NaCap offers more invitations and opportunities for other re-casting of the points and the form, and chances to punch it up.

    I can sympathise with the statement above that people come here for depth of granularly detailed analysis.
    But if that analysis never gets beyond these pages then it may have little effect in tipping the outcome of the life-and-death battle of economic survival or economic extermination raging all around us as we type and read. It would be good to simplify this presentation to the point where it can be weaponised. And once various weaponised versions of it have been created, these weaponised versions should be disseminated to various social-economic combat groups so they (we) can fight the brainwar on several fronts. And carry the brainwar to the heart of the enemy in time to exterminate Fast Track in Congress.

  21. CC

    Here is a draft of my emails to Senators Cardin, Mikulski and Representative Van Hollen. Thanks to NC for making them easy to find and thanks to John Angelos of the Baltimore Orioles for putting it all together!

    Email Text to my CongressCritters:

    For the reasons set out below in comments by John Angelos of the Baltimore Orioles regarding the Baltimore Riots of 2015, I urge you to vote against the TPP Trade Agreement (or fast-tracking the TPP).

    The comments of John Angelos follow: “That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

    The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, an ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ball game irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.”

  22. Stephen Clark

    Professor Firestone,
    I cut it down to bullets as I had a bit of trouble following. There is nothing of mine here. If you find this helpful leave it, if not eh. Thank you for the info and the chant, I’m just a bit ADD and this helped me.

    1. The TPP makes it easier to offshore more jobs now performed in the United States.
    2. generate increasing downward pressure on wages
    3. empower another 25,000 foreign corporations to use Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations
    4. give big pharma new monopoly patent rights
    5. provide for rolling back financial regulations put in place after the crash of 2008,
    6. provide for banning buy local and buy domestic policies
    7. undermine climate change and energy policies by constraining the permissible policies governments can use to implement them
    8. use an anti-democratic fast track process that gives Representatives and Senators no space to represent the range of people they represent
    9 potentially prevent the Treasury from replacing the practice of issuing Treasury debt to fund deficit spending with alternative funding methods
    10. prevent the Fed from using negative interest rate policies if it chooses to do so
    11. potentially force the US to bail out insolvent banks through ISDS settlements
    12. constitute ISDS tribunals as criminogenic environments with corporate advocates who play the roles of both judges and corporate attorneys at different times and who have substantial incentives to both drag out and sustain corporate suits against governments at all levels
    13. turn over the legislative power of the Federal government to the investor state dispute settlement courts and the corporations buying their loyalty
    14. paralyze action by future Congresses that might reduce corporate “expectations of profits
    15. create a permanent political fight over repealing the horror of the TPP while the US economy declines year after year
    16. create an unconstrained and unconstitutional trade agreement fusing judicial and legislative authority whose overnight judicial undoing would create international instability
    17. demand that the American public ought to ensure them against the business risks they take abroad
    18. insist on classification of the TPP drafts, hiding them from the public and making it an impossible burden for Congresspeople to evaluate them, and then on keeping the proposed or actual agreement secret so that the American people can’t even know what the law is that may result in international levies of many billions of dollars upon them, for four years after the TPP is either passed or defeated
    19. create the possibility that one ISDS case, decided by a biased three-judge panel dominated by attorneys who primarily work for corporate clients could deliver a financial crisis to an American State or local government
    20. provide multinationals protections against risk that would not be accorded to domestic corporations
    21. define “investment” so broadly that it applies to any asset that is either owned or controlled and therefore to any new regulation that may be passed by any democratic government placing chains on all of them and defeating the requirement of the consent of the governed
    22. prohibit “Buy American” laws and regulations
    23. fail to provide a clear legal provision allowing regulating investments for public purpose through laws and regulations that would not be subject to the interpretations of ISDS tribunals dominated by representatives of corporations making decisions in accord with the principle that national level rule making must not interfere with the “expectations of profits” held by multinational private corporations, or to any other tribunals not subject to the consent of the governed

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