With all the time and money spent in writing, negotiating and promoting this huge trade deal (that mostly just benefits huge multinational corporations), can the American people really expect President Obama to throw it all away into a big bonfire? Especially after millions of dollars have been spent by special interest groups on his campaign and on the campaigns of all those in Congress who voted to give fast-track for TPP to Obama? I mean, really — where would the big pay-off be for all their corporate masters?
Just imagine . . . it's late at night on Christmas Eve and lightly snowing in Washington DC when President Obama calls for a special midnight session with Congress, while most Americans might be at home sleeping or wrapping presents. The very last thing on their minds was some newfangled international trade agreement. After all, the mainstream media (who's been busy bombarding them with Holiday commercials for weeks) has hardly even acknowledged that such pending legislation for a trade agreement had even existed.
The last time many Americans had heard any real and meaningful discussion about the TPP trade deal on cable news was when MSNBC (which is owned by Comcast) still had their host Ed Schultz on the air. But the very next day he was fired from MSNBC after having Senator Bernie Sanders appear on his show on July 29, 2015. That was when they had discussed Hillary Clinton's reluctance to offer a clear and concise opinion on the TPP trade deal. (A month before on June 26, 2016 Comcast executive vice president David Cohen had hosted a $2,700-a-plate fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. It's all a quinky dink, right?)
Here is exactly what Hillary Clinton told Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston in a TV interview on June 16, 2015 about fast-track (TPA), and the program for re-training displaced workers (TAA) and the Asian trade agreement (TPP). Hillary Clinton had only opposed the trade bill if it excluded the funding for re-training displaced workers (TAA). She clearly seemed to support both the TPP trade deal and fast-track, and was only taking a stand on assistance for displaced workers — which, at best, is only a mediocre program that does very little for millions of workers who lose jobs to foreign low-wage countries. Just two days before that interview, she was explaining how Obama should get fast track.
Once not too long ago, only a few privileged Washington insiders (including a few members of Congress) and a whole slew of corporate lobbyists (about 500 in all who actually wrote the TPP trade bill) were the only ones who knew about this nefarious trade agreement (and Hillary Clinton) — that is, until the more enlightened among us had learned more about it from websites such as Wikileaks.
But for the most part, the corporate mainstream media (such as the BIG 3 cable news channels — MSNBC, CNN and Fox News) has been all but hush-hush on the subject; whereas online, the internet is abundant with information on the topic. But imagine if it were still 1995, we might not have ever known about such a trade deal, and it might have already passed behind closed doors.
I just read in an email yesterday (from an unnamed source) which hints that Congress and President Obama (who lobbied for the TPP trade agreement in front of the outsourcing and tax-dodging Nike headquarters last year) might be planning to sneak the TPP trade deal through in the lame-duck session after the November election is over — even despite the fact that public opinion is now against this nasty trade deal.
Of course, knowing what we know now, a "President Bernie Sanders" would never sign off on such a terrible trade deal. And he certainly wouldn't pass a bill behind our backs without our knowledge. (Honestly and integrity is so rare in our nation's capital these days.)
Former Secretary Hillary Clinton, after promoting the TPP trade deal 45 times (while saying it was “the gold standard” of all trade deals), now says she wouldn’t support it because of what she's "learned about it” — whatever that means. What exactly did she learn? She never told us and the media never asked her. But why did she promote it and call it the gold standard before knowing what was in it? That sounds a lot like Rep. Nancy Pelsoi saying we have to pass Obamacare first, before we want to see what's in it.
Obviously one would have to be pretty naive to believe that Clinton had no clue as to what was in the trade deal. Either that or, she was just a puppet for the corporate lobbyists and parroted everything they told her; in which case, neither scenario makes her qualified to be our next President.
But now, evidently, Hillary Clinton doesn't agree with Obama on everything — and won't continue with all of his polices either — not if she claims that she no longer supports the trade deal (that, for some reason, Obama wants very much) if she were ever to become the next POTUS.
I searched Google to find out if Obama and Congress were going to try and pass the TPP trade deal behind our backs; but other than what I've already written and read about TPP, the following is all I found — which mostly reiterates what we already know — and because the major media doesn't bring it up very often (because they favor the trade deal).
March 23, 2016 — Seattle Times: "Bernie Sanders gets trade right. Residents of Washington state recognize the difference between a good trade policy and a bad trade policy. A bad trade policy is still bad, even if you call it free trade, nuanced trade or utilitarian. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is neither free, nuanced nor utilitarian. It’s an extension of the failed NAFTA model, which helped de-industrialize our manufacturing sector and eliminated millions of family-wage jobs."
March 24, 2016 — Huffington Post: "The recent Washington Post piece by Vice President Biden’s former chief economist Jared Bernstein does a great job explaining why the real choice is not between TPP and no trade. As he notes, we don’t need more free trade agreements to expand trade..."
Jared Bernstein at the Washington Post: "The TPP says signatory countries must have minimum wages, but it says nothing that would prevent a country from setting its wage floor at the equivalent of one cent [and] it must be weighed against the notion of multinational companies suing governments through a tribunal that supersedes sovereign law in a system that allows no appeals ... my read of the evidence is that trade will continue to expand with or without Free Trade Agreements."
Via Citizen.Org: "The Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act outlined a way forward to a new trade and globalization agenda that could benefit more Americans. The bill was re-introduced for the 2009 Congressional session on June 24 by Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) with 106 original cosponsors, including nine committee chairs and representation from the entire range of Democratic caucuses and classes." [Not mentioned in that post was that this was also co-sponsored by Bernie Sanders. Maybe they don't know that he's running for President?]
March 24, 2016 — Street Roots: "The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 6,194-page pact that seeks to set rules governing approximately 40 percent of the global economy, yet fails to mention the term climate even once . . . U.S. negotiators refused to tell the American people what they were proposing in our names, while simultaneously granting hundreds of corporate lobbyists special cleared advisor status that provided them access to the documents — including representatives of Chevron, the National Mining Association and America’s Natural Gas Alliance . . . Under the TPP, exports of fracked natural gas would be automatically deemed in the U.S. public interest, bypassing environmental and economic reviews." [FYI from Mother Jones: How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World.]
March 26, 2016 — NBR: "The US will vote on TPP ratification in December or later. The trade deal needs ratification from countries representing 85% of the GDP of original signatories to come into force. Mr Trump is anti-TPP and would veto any Congressional vote in favor if he comes to power ... Senator Cruz also opposes the TPP."
And here's something from Canada: "The Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal that covers 40 per cent of the world’s GDP, has mushroomed into a political hot potato in the United States. Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders are all expressing either opposition or concern over the agreement . . .When it comes to the TPP, U.S. demands could trump Canadian's desires."
Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true . . . huge American-based multi-national corporations can be real bullies sometimes — and that's because legal entities have the same Rights as real "people" — but oddly, when these corporations break our laws, no corporation every goes to prison — they just pay a fine. But corporations have put millions of real people in jail. The CEOs of these corporations have "limited liability", and can be guilty of manslaughter — but remain above the law. Congress writes the laws, and because members depend on campaign contributions from these same corporations, they pass tax laws and trade agreements that mostly benefit them. The TPP trade deal will also allow foreign governments to sue American taxpayers and vice-versa. (FYI: This is another reason why campaign finance reform is such a huge issue on Senator Bernie Sanders' agenda.)
The Congressional Big Pharma Bait-and-Switch Scam
But I've also noticed something very contradictory . . . some Democratic Senators will pass a trade deal that would drive up the price of prescription drugs, while also introducing legislation to stop price gauging by BIG PHARMA into a Republican-controlled congress that, not only supports the trade deal, but would also kill any such Democratic proposal.
Is this (like many other congressional bills) just a political game of bait-and-switch to make it appear as though they are genuinely concerned about high drug prices, while at the same time, passing a trade deal that would effectively drive prices higher? Is it time to see who is donating to their campaigns again?
It was mostly Republicans who voted to fast-track the TPP trade deal for Obama last June — 81% of all the Republicans in Congress (in both the Senate and House) voted FOR fast track and TPP. But 80% of all the Democrats in Congress (both in the Senate and House) had voted AGAINST fast track and TPP.
The exceptions in the Senate were 13 Democratic senators (listed below) who had all voted FOR TPP — and just by chance, they also endorsed Hillary Clinton for President — not to mention, all 6 of the female senators had also participated in a fundraiser for her, and are fierce advocates on her behalf, campaigning for her and often appearing on cable news shows. (Senator Elizabeth Warren, to date, neither endorsed Hillary Clinton nor voted for the TPP trade deal.)
- Michael Bennet (CO)
- Maria Cantwell (WA)
- Ron Wyden (OR)
- Tom Carper (DE)
- Chris Coons (DE)
- Dianne Feinstein
- Heidi Heitkamp
- Tim Kaine (VA)
- Claire McCaskill (MO)
- Patty Murray (WA)
- Bill Nelson (FL)
- Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
- Mark Warner (VA)
The bait-and-switch time line:
- June 15, 2015 — Hillary Clinton "sort of" comes out against the TPP trade deal.
- June 23, 2015 — The same aforementioned senators passed fast-track for the TPP trade deal.
- June 25, 2015 — Senator Claire McCaskill [a Hillary surrogate who voted for TPP] said Bernie Sanders was too liberal, and had complained that the media was being too nice to him because they weren't calling him a "socialist" often enough (even though the media was ALWAYS calling him a "self-proclaimed Socialist" rather than a "democratic socialist").
- January 19, 2016 — Senator Jeanne Shaheen [another Hillary surrogate who voted for TPP] said on MSNBC that Hillary Clinton's speeches to the bankers "was all in the past, just like Bernie's socialism was in the past." (Red-baiting Bernie Sanders is the dirty work that Hillary's surrogates do on her behalf.)
- February 8, 2016 — The Alliance for Retired Americans wrote: "The corporations want the [TPP] to slip through Congress under the radar. Pharmaceutical companies and their corporate allies are doing their best to ram this harmful pact through the U.S. House and Senate — telling the American people one thing, while hiding the truth. This agreement is bad for American workers and consumers, and particularly harmful for retirees. It locks in high drug prices for consumers and the government while lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. TPP also contains extreme patent protections for name-brand pharmaceuticals that threaten to restrict access to cheaper lifesaving medicines in all TPP countries, including in the United States. It will make it more difficult for companies to manufacture the cheaper generic versions of drugs — leading to higher costs for everyone. When the policy makers finally revealed details of the Trans Pacific Trade (TPP) deal in November of 2015, it was clear why the talks had been kept secret for seven years. The TPP is an outsourcing deal — not a trade deal."
- February 23, 2016 — Senator Claire McCaskill [who voted for TPP and bashed Bernie Sanders on behalf of Hillary Clinton] announced she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
- March 1, 2016 — A bill was co-sponsored by Senator Claire McCaskill [who voted for TPP] to promote competition in the off-patent drug marketplace by instituting a priority-review pathway to break up off-patent drug monopolies and create an additional voucher system to create incentives for generic drugmakers to take more interest in low-margin, off-patent products ... and, if passed, would represent a substantial step in shoring up generic competition and deterring future price gouging.
- March 17, 2016 — Senator Claire McCaskill [who voted for TPP] helped lead the second in a series of hearings on dramatic drug price increases—often on older, off-patent drugs—after the acquisition or merger of pharmaceutical companies [There are many, and they are using "inversion" to escape U.S. corporate taxes as well. The latest is Pfizer and Allergan's $160-billion pharmaceutical merger.]
- March 21, 2016 — Noted economist Dean Baker at the Huffington Post: The real story of the TPP is that it has little to do with trade . . . The deal is about putting in place a pro-business regulatory structure. It was largely negotiated by business trade groups who crafted a deal to boost their profits. The TPP will put into question every health, safety, and environmental regulation that governments at any level seek to implement. The assurances from the Obama administration to the contrary on this front are absolutely worthless. The TPP sets up an extra-judicial system, not bound by precedent and not subject to appeal, which can impose large fines for any measure it chooses. Former President Obama will not be pulling money out of his personal bank account to compensate anyone if his assurances prove to be wrong. But the most pernicious part of the deal is its extension of protectionism in the form of stronger and longer patent and copyright protection. This will raise the price of the protected products, most importantly prescription drugs . . . The deal is about increasing corporate profits at the expense of the public in all of the countries that are parties.
- March 24, 2016 — A new Bloomberg Politics national poll found that Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 49 percent to 48 percent of those who have voted, or plan to vote, in this year’s Democratic contests.
- March 25, 2016 — AlterNet: "Bernie Sanders rightfully pointed out on The Young Turks Wednesday night that corporate media is full of conflicts of interests. Comcast, which owns or partly owns MSNBC, NBC, Vox and Buzzfeed has a great deal invested in private health care and has lobbied hard for the Trans Pacific Partnership — both of which Sanders has railed against ... these types of corporate biases are sure to trickle down to the content in the aggregate."
Here's how Senator Bernie Sanders stands on prescription drug prices. Remember, those such as Senator Senator Claire McCaskill voted for TPP, while Bernie voted against it. And with Hillary Clinton, we just don't know for sure. What she says and what she does, what she thinks and what she believes, what is true and what is not, are for her, many different things.
But nothing I've found online through my Google searches has led me to an answer to my original question: Will our economically right-leaning pro-corporate "moderate" President and all his Republican allies in Congress pass the TPP trade deal behind our backs while we're all focused on the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election?
Because if Obama II (Hillary Clinton) now says she doesn't support the TPP trade deal, will we all be safe if Obama and Congress doesn't pass TPP in the lame duck session? We already know for sure that the "progressive" Bernie Sanders would never pass TPP, and that's one big reason why most of the "establishment" Democrats are endorsing the "moderate" Hillary Clinton.
Trillions of dollars in profits (that don't trickle down) are at stake for the big drug companies and many other multi-national mega-huge corporate conglomerates, so the pressure is on. Bernie Sanders (and maybe Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) might be the only presidents who would NOT pass this horrible trade deal — which has been described as Bill Clinton's "NAFTA on steroids".
Of course, it would greatly help assuage our fears if President Obama would appear on national television, and during a White House press conference, promise the American people that he would NOT pass this nasty trade deal in the middle of the night behind our backs while we're safely snug in our beds sleeping.
But if he does pass TPP, the American taxpayers should NOT build his $1 billion presidential library — not while millions of Americans still remain unemployed and devastated in the aftermath of the Great Recession.