28 Democrats just voted to Offshore more Jobs

Earlier the Huffington Post had reported that after a clean fast-track bill is passed and sent to the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) will then attach TAA to another bill, the African Growth and Opportunity Act — a separate trade bill involving African countries.

And with "Power Africa", could make another potential "emerging market" for cheap labor and a great source for much more crony capitalism.

Then it happened: US News and World Report says that Boehner and McConnell struck a compromise to link TAA with the bill extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years. Slightly different versions of the African trade bill had passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly earlier this year, but supporters fear adding TAA to it could make it much harder reach a compromise to send to the president because Republicans overwhelmingly oppose it.

AGOA may be caught up in the controversy around other trade legislation that has nothing to do with AGOA — and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) urged her colleagues in a letter Wednesday:

“The Senate should follow its initial instinct and approve the version of AGOA that the House passed this month so it can go to President Obama for his signature in order to benefit American businesses and the American workers whose jobs rely on it.” ["American workers whose jobs rely on it?"]

The GOP-led House of Representatives started over on the fast-track bill, passing a fresh bill to give President Barack Obama sweeping powers to negotiate massive international agreements. The measure would grant Obama and the next president what's known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), allowing the White House to fast-track through Congress a string of enormous trade pacts, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) — covering well over half the global economy.

The House had voted 218 to 208 for the bill, with 28 Democrats in favor and 50 Republicans opposed. The new strategy came after days of phone calls, meetings and intense planning with the White House, the Senate GOP and House Republicans. They decided to put a clean fast-track bill on the floor — free of any ties to the worker aid program (TAA).

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) provided a grim outlook last Thursday about the future of legislation funding a worker aid program that will be key for pushing President Barack Obama’s trade agenda over the finish line. The program, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance [TAA], helps workers who have lost their jobs to trade deals.

Last week, House Democrats killed TAA, a program they generally support, in order to stall Obama's broader trade plans to pass TPP (and maybe TTIP and TiSA) — which they oppose. "I don’t see a path right now for TAA," Pelosi told reporters when asked whether she thought it would make it through Congress and to the president’s desk.

NPR: The Wall Street Journal reports, "the course forward is uncertain. The fate of the fast-track legislation is intertwined with a related measure [TAA] to help workers hurt by international trade. Many pro-trade Senate Democrats say they won't vote for the fast-track bill without evidence the workers' aid program will pass both chambers."

The bill now goes to the Senate (without TAA for displaced workers — but will be included in a separate bill with the African trade deal) where the White House and GOP leaders are seeking to strike a deal with pro-corporate Democrats — who want fast-track for secret trade deals now, with a promise to get worker's assistance passed with an African trade agreement later. ("I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.")

Below is the list of the 14 “Third Way” Democrats in the Senate who first voted for the pro-business/anti-worker TPP trade deal, which then included TAA, but at the cost of cutting $700 million form Medicare to fund the TAA program. Now they have to vote for a stand-alone fast track bill with a promise and a prayer — also known as "bait and switch".

  1. Ron Wyden (D-OR) Also voted for the NAFTA and CAFTA.
  2. Bill Nelson (D-FL) Also voted for the CAFTA .
  3. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Also voted for CAFTA.
  4. Patty Murray (D-WA) Voted to double the number of H-1B visas.
  5. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  6. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  7. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  8. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  9. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  10. Tom Carper (D-DE)
  11. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  12. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  13. Mark Warner (D-VA)
  14. Ben Cardin (D-MD)

The recent House vote for this "new and improved version" of the fast-track bill was passed 218-208, which is now going to the Senate for a vote (without TAA). Below is the list of he 28 Democrats who voted for fast-track in the House to offshore more American jobs, drive up drug prices, and give foreign corporations the ability to sue our government — us, the American taxpayers. (There were 3 others Democrats who didn't vote in the first round).

  1. Debbie Wasserman Schultz FL (DNC Chairperson)
  2. Earl Blumenauer OR
  3. Gerry Connolly VA
  4. Jim Cooper TN
  5. Henry Cuellar TX
  6. John Delaney MD
  7. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX
  8. Ron Kind WI
  9. Rick Larsen WA
  10. Susan Day CA
  11. Sam Farr CA
  12. R Hinojosa TX
  13. Gregory Meeks NY
  14. Scott Peters CA
  15. Jim Costa CA
  16. James Heinz CT
  17. Jared Polis CO
  18. Kurt Schrader OR
  19. Mike Quigley IL
  20. Terri Sewell AL
  21. Suzanne Bonamici OR
  22. Suzan DelBene WA
  23. Ami Bera CA
  24. Beto O'Rourke TX
  25. Derek Kilmer WA
  26. Brad Ashford NE
  27. Kathleen Rice NY
  28. Donald Beyer VA



Hillary finally weighs in on TPP

Well, sort of...

When asked if she would vote for fast-track authority on the TPP trade deal, Hillary Clinton told Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston in a recent TV interview: 

"Right now, I'm focused on making sure we get Trade Adjustment Assistance, and I certainly would not vote for it unless I were absolutely confident we would get Trade Adjustment Assistance."

So with a bill that might cut Medicare by $700 million to fund assistance for displaced workers (TAA), it appears Hillary would vote for fast-track (TPA) and the secret Asian trade bill (TPP). But for some reason, the National Journal heard Hillary saying:

"She 'probably' would not vote for fast-track if she were still in the Senate."

 But that's not at all what she actually said.

Public Citizen writes:

Today's Senators should have no such confidence. Many of them say "no" outright to the notion that it's a fair deal to Fast Track trade pacts that would offshore the jobs of middle-class workers in exchange for a small amount of assistance for some of those laid off workers. (Know what's better than handing someone some cash after you eliminate their job? Letting them keep their job.) But even those Senators who might be willing to vote yes on Fast Track in exchange for TAA would have to take a huge gamble that TAA would actually become a reality. If they would vote for Fast Track before TAA passes both houses of Congress, Republicans - many of whom deeply oppose TAA - would have little incentive to help Democrats pass TAA. Greg Sargent of The Washington Post explains, "But there’s no way to be certain Republicans will deliver on TAA, because many of them don’t really care about worker assistance and they’d already have achieved the Fast Track they want."

Democrats vote to offshore outsource jobs

My thoughts exactly. i think all are aware by now, Democrats are just as corrupt as GOP. They play games with unions who continue to blow their money on them but they really are bought and paid for by corporations.

Wyden, he is disgusting. He's in a "blue" state, completely untouchable to get rid off, I'm not sure exactly who he is bought and paid for, I think Nike, Intel and the timber industry but he could care less what his constituents think and just ignores the entire concept of being there to represent others.

So many like this, Congress is simply a power cash cow for these people. Dianne Feinstein is another, completely untouchable, 100% bought and paid for, corrupt.

TPP Democrats - phone numbers & twitter handles

Missing from the list of Democrats in the Senate who voted for TPP:
Ben Cardin (MD) 202 224 4524 @senatorcardin

Here are the other 13 who were previously mentioned who voted for TPP:

Michael Bennet (CO) 202 224 5852 @senbennetco
Maria Cantwell (WA) 202 224 3441 @cantwellpress
Ben Cardin (MD) 202 224 4524 @senatorcardin
Tom Carper (DE) 202 224 2441 @senatorcarper
Chris Coons (DE) 202 224 5042 @sencoonsoffice
Dianne Feinstein (CA) 202 224 3841 @senfeinstein
Heidi Heitkamp (ND) 202 224 2043 @senatorheitkamp
Tim Kaine (VA) 202 224 4024 @senkaineoffice
Claire McCaskill (MO) 202 224 6154 @mccaskilloffice
Patty Murray (WA) 202 224 2621 @pattymurray
Bill Nelson (FL) 202 225 5274 @senbillnelson
Jeanne Shaheen (NH) 202 224 2841 @senatorshaheen
Mark Warner (VA) 202 224 2023 @markwarner
Ron Wyden (OR) 202 224 5244 @ronwyden

TOTAL -- 14 Democratic Senators who will be voting on fast track. Call and Tweet them.


my take on the trade bill sausage making...

(copied from my weekly letter to our county anti-frack group)

it appears that the international corporate trade deals are moving forward again, after last week's setback...initially, Boehner's planned Tuesday re-vote on the defeated trade adjustment assistance (TAA) bill was abandoned after consulting with Obama, and plans at midweek were to postpone the House vote on the issue for 6 weeks, so as to coincide with the July 30th expiration of the Highway Trust Fund authorization...that's because in helping defeat the TAA on Friday, Pelosi never said that she intended to stop TPA (trade promotion authority, aka "fast track"), but rather slow it down, and gave indications that Democrats would be willing to allow fast track on trade in exchange for a long term highway funding bill...however, on Thursday, when the national news media was preoccupied with coverage of the Charleston church shooting, the House took a vote on a stand alone version of TPA, which the House Rules Committee had attached to H.R.2146, an uncontroversial police and firemen retirement bill the night before...with 28 Democrats joining all but 50 Republicans, that fast track bill was passed by a 218 to 208 margin and sent to the Senate..

now, as you'll recall, the Senate defeated just such a stand-alone fast track bill a bit over a month ago, and then turned around and passed it when the TAA, a displaced worker assistance bill, which Republicans tended to oppose, was coupled with it...so now, for this House fast track bill to pass the Senate, at least a handful of the Senate Democrats who originally voted against a stand alone TPA will have to switch their votes to for it, and to do that they must be convinced that the TAA bill that they wanted will pass separately....there are at least two ploys being discussed to achieve that; one would be to link TAA with the bill extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years; the AGOA, first passed 15 years ago, allows favored African exports, such as clothing and textiles, to enter the US mostly duty-free, and it is usually renewed with broad bi-partisan support...another possibility would be to couple TAA with a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which finances and insures foreign purchases of US goods, many from Democratic states, and which the Republicans have blocked up until now...presumably, if one or both of these carrots could be dangled in front of the Democrats, enough of them would snap at that lure such that both the House passed stand alone TPA and a TAA bill combined with one of these other trade bills could pass the Senate...then, the TAA bill, with whatever it's attached to, would have to go back to the House for a vote, where it is assumed that a bill with mostly Democrat party initiatives could pass easily, assuming Boehner's co-operation...

within hours of the House passage of the TPA bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a cloture motion on it, meaning it could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday...however, it's questionable whether Democrats would switch their votes merely on an assurance from McConnell and Boehner that the bargain chip TAA would be allowed to pass; the trustworthiness is just not there...for instance, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell voted for fast track earlier based on a promise that the Senate would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, providing financing needed for foreign Boeing jet purchases; that hasnt happened, and it could thus be a case of "once burnt, twice shy" for Senators who would otherwise allow themselves to be compromised...so we can hope that there is at least enough bad blood among our congresscritters to at least slow this thing down...nonetheless, now that Obama has opportunistically switched parties and has become a Republican, it appears that with a majority of his party in both houses he should eventually be able to push his corporatocratic agenda through...from there, we're probably less than a year away from ramping up exports of our oil and gas to the 11 other countries on the Pacific rim that will be signatories to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), and then to the rest of the world, as soon as similar treaties can be signed with them...


In the Cage! The Incredible Hulk Hogan vs the Iron Sheik!

This illustrates a point I have made before. The Democrats are no more the friend of the working man than the Republicans. They always manage to get enough votes for their corporate paymasters. All the rest is just theater.

It is a lot like a WWE WrestleMania event. It is pretty unsophisticated to think that those guys are really on opposite "sides", since they are all paid by the same paymaster. The "Good" guys aren't good, and the "Bad" guys aren't bad. They are all motivated by self interest, and basically wicked, which is the normal state of fallen humanity. Actually, they are friends, like Scalia and Ginsberg. or Bush I and Clinton.

The game is played this way: Some democrats will pretend to oppose legislation that favors the wealthy, while others (those in safe districts) will quietly vote for it. So it is assured to pass, but they get some credit for "fighting against" it.

So in that case, since there is no difference between the politicians at all on the economic issues, you might as well be a values voter.

Maybe Dennis and Bernie aren't for sale (maybe) but those two are just mascots, trotted out to burnish the party reputation. They don't actually represent where the party is going. To see where the party is going, follow the money.

Of course, if voters at large were more sophisticated, and spent the time people in this forum do evaluating political candidates and their actions, the world would be a different place. But, as Churchill noted "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

So there really is very little hope for the political process. Especially with the sensory bombardment of the population with distracting and disinformational messages, which takes their attention away from anything of significance.

Perhaps, if things got worse, people would "wake up", but it seems more likely that instead of investing 10 minutes in serious thought on the matter they would attach themselves to some opportunist that promised them "Hope" and "change". Not much chance of improvement there.

And some would say there needs to be a revolution, but revolutions usually result in a lot of bad things happening to a lot of people. Not a prospect any reasonable person would look forward to.

So it seems to me that we should enjoy the good in life that we can find, since we will not be able to prevail by force (of logic, persuasion, arms, or organization) against those who own the political process.

And preach the Gospel! It is the only thing that changes mens' hearts. And that is where the problem is.

Senate passes fast track

What a show, of course the American people, U.S. worker get royally screwed here.

OK I just don't get it...

Why would anyone represent that this bill would be acceptable if it contained funds to retrain displaced US workers?

I am a displaced worker, BTW. I lost my job to several engineers in China, who collectively are paid about as much as I was, and who collectively do not appear to me to be able to get as much done. I'm doing alright, because I saw it coming, but I am still not happy about the situation.

Saying it is better if it has funds to retrain displaced workers is like saying it is OK to import polio, as long as the importer will pay part of the cost of wheel chairs and iron lungs.

It is like saying it is OK to kill American workers, as long as you agree to pay part of the cost of their funeral plots.

How is that OK?

The things we built, created, invented being given to people who don't have a clue what they are or how they work is offensive.

My son, who has more mechanical aptitude that anyone I have ever seen, (and I have seen a lot) will not enjoy the privilege of following me in a technical career, because our technology is being given to people who could never have developed it, don't understand it, can barely maintain it.

This is not a zenophobic rant. I have worked for years alongside of organizations in Asia which were developed with the idea of eliminating my job. I know these people personally. They are not bad guys, and on a personal level, I like some of them. But I was to some extent responsible for their technical development. I have seen their work product, over a period of many years. I have reviewed their work. This is a large organization. I am not talking about a few individuals. My observation is that they do not compare at all well with Americans with similar paper qualifications.

There are aspects of American culture and world view which account for American exceptionalism. It isn't an accident.

Right now, there is some money to be made for technical people, in the business of disemboweling US industry, and sending it overseas. But once everything is packed up and shipped off, it is going to get really unpleasant.

So is this like good cop - bad cop? The good cop says "I'll make sure there are bandages for you after the bad cop beats you up?"

The idea that people sell you out, but want to make sure before they do that they give you 5 cents worth of compassion in exchange for every dollar they take, and that because of this they are your friends is repulsive. (And by the way, that 5 cents actually comes from you).

Better open hostility than feigned affection. The republicans want to rob you and don't care if you know. The democrats want to rob you, but want to make sure you know they are your friends. Do I have that right?

I just don't get it. Requiring funds to retrain the displaced is an open admission that this bill will injure US workers. No question. It will displace people. Who? People in higher paying and productive jobs. Who will it benefit? Wal-Mart shoppers.

I can understand the appeal of fast track to politicians. After all, it means they don't have to pretend to defend the interests of their constituents.

But why isn't everyone up in arms about the idea it is OK to destroy the lives of American workers, as long as you promise to train them to do something they don't want to do, that pays less? Why isn't the mere suggestion of this offensive? I don't get it.

End of rant.

People are wicked. That's why they need a Savior.

Fast Track Wall of Shame

The 13 Most Corrupted Democratic Senators in Congress — who on June 23, 2015, gave fast track to Obama.

1) Dianne Feinstein of California
2) Ron Wyden of Oregon
3) Bill Nelson of Florida
4) Claire McCaskill of Missouri
5) Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
6) Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
7) Michael Bennet of Colorado
8) Maria Cantwell of Washington
9) Patty Murray of Washington
10) om Carper of Delaware
11) Chris Coons of Delaware
12) Tim Kaine of Virginia
13) Mark Warner of Virginia