"Stopping Obama’s “Legacy” ‘Trade’-Deals: Did Reid Finally Do It?"
This is superb as it ties American politics directly to Barry's desire to become a billionaire through post-Presidential bribes. Note the mention of the role of Reid, and don't forget Reid was badly beaten up and forced out of politics (as we've seen with Kerry, sometimes physical violence just slightly short of death is the only way to deal with politicians who show slight signs of non-treasonous activity). Note also how Barry has decided to start the Vietnam War in Iraq for the Jewish billionaires. The only proper analysis of American politics consists of an analysis of Barry's mind in balancing projected bribes from Jewish billionaires and gentile billionaires. If he gets the trade monster through, he needs fewer Jewish bribes, and thus can afford non-treasonous policies towards the Middle East. When trade prospects falter, he needs a bigger proportion of Jewish bribes, and thus leans to neocon policies. Everything he does is completely understandable based on the Jewish-gentile bribe equation. -- http://xymphora.blogspot.com/2015/06/control-of-narrative.html
So once again it is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, victory on one hand is defeat on the other.
"GOP, Obama on same side as trade bill heads for close vote" by Charles Babington and Erica Werner Associated Press June 12, 2015
WASHINGTON — The House plunged into a divisive two-day debate over trade legislation on Thursday, a controversy so thick that President Obama conferred on strategy with Republican Speaker John Boehner and drew a public rebuttal in the House from a Democratic foe of the measure.
No real controversy. The American people have said NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! What part don't they get?
With a showdown vote expected on Friday, Boehner declined to predict the fate of White House-backed legislation allowing Obama to complete global trade deals that Congress could approve or reject but not change. The bill also would renew an aid program, due to expire soon, for workers who lose their jobs as a result of international trade.
‘‘I’m not in the guaranteeing business,’’ Boehner said at a news conference after conferring with Obama on the phone.
‘‘I know he’s working on it and I hope he’s successful,’’ the Ohio Republican said of the president’s campaign to secure Democratic votes.
Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, e-mailed her supporters on Thursday afternoon asking them to call their representatives and press for a “no” vote. Warren fought the “fast-track’’ legislation in the Senate and succeeded in staving off the bill temporarily, only to see it ultimately approved by her colleagues.
That is the phase we are again in now, and the calls need to continue; however, if you remember the last time during the bank bailouts the phone lines went down (got a busy and full message) and the e-mail servers crashed (you can decide for yourself what it's all about; maybe they just don't want to hear from you anymore).
“I’m not against trade — but a tilted process produces a tilted product,” Warren wrote. “I’m really worried about a trade deal that works for big, multinational corporations and leaves everyone else in the dirt.”
That's what these alphabet jobs are, too.
Fast-track status would not just apply to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, Warren said. It would apply to any trade deal negotiated by any president in the next six years.
Yeah, put the brakes on the fast track.
She called signing onto the fast-track part of the agreement “just plain irresponsible” because it amounts to signing away Congress’ right to fix the Trans-Pacific Partnership before the deal is made public.
The White House dispatched Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and other administration officials to a midday closed-door meeting with House Democrats, but there was no immediate indication they converted any votes. Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, also attended the occasionally heated session. He strongly recommended defeat of the trade bill.
The House’s top Democrat, minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California, remained publicly uncommitted, as did some other members of the leadership. She has sought to maintain leverage to the end to sweeten the package for workers directly disadvantaged by trade.
But opposition to the White House-backed measure was so intense among some Democrats that Trumka and some lawmakers backed a strategy of defeating the aid program they normally support, thinking it would seal the defeat of the trade measure itself.
Republicans hold a commanding 246-188 majority in the House but were expecting a large number of defections on the trade measure.
They got 'em, and just wait until you see how that is spun.
The legislation is a top priority for the president, who hopes to complete a major deal with 11 Pacific Area nations. It has drawn fierce opposition from Democrats, many of them supported by unions arguing that expanded global trade will cost jobs at home.
Obama has publicly disagreed with critics in his own party on the merits of the legislation, saying they were wrong in their objections.
‘‘You’re not right, Mr. President. Actually, you’re wrong on that one,’’ Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, said in remarks on the House floor.
He drew a warning from the House chair not to engage in personal criticism of the president.
(Blog editor shakes his head. It gets to be more of a dictatorship every day)
The legislation to strengthen Obama’s hand in international talks was one of several trade-related measures pending in the House.
The first bill to be considered would extend existing rules for trade with African nations, Haiti, and elsewhere. It was adjusted by Republicans at the last minute to eliminate a provision that called for a cut in Medicare to help pay for the aid to workers.
Tougher tax compliance measures were inserted instead.
The bill cleared overwhelmingly, 397-32, a reflection of fear among lawmakers in both parties of being vulnerable to a charge of cutting Medicare.
I gue$$ you can only $care $omeone $o much:
"Democrats rebuff Obama on trade plans; Resounding loss in House fueled by fears for workers" by Tracy Jan Globe Staff June 12, 2015
WASHINGTON — House Democrats, including the entire Massachusetts delegation, sidelined President Obama’s trade agenda Friday, a stark repudiation of the president just hours after he made a rare trip to Capitol Hill to plead for support.
The fact that it is rare may have had something to do with it, but the spin here is Democrats defeated the deal.
The vote reflected deep fears among Democrats about the economic impact of foreign trade deals on middle-class workers and demonstrated the potency of labor unions who lobbied aggressively against the legislation. The bill would lay the groundwork for a sweeping trade pact among Pacific Rim nations.
The choice of terminology from the propaganda pre$$ is telling. Labor lobbied aggre$$ively.
The resounding defeat of Obama’s top domestic legislative priority also signals a weakened presidency as Obama’s second term begins to wind down.
I don't buy into that. The president has power still, and a year-and-a-half is still a long time. A lot can happen. He is not weak. He is still commander-in-chief.
For weeks, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, cheered on by liberals in Congress and across the country, has led a concerted public effort to defeat the “fast track” trade deal authorization.
Oh, I kept out of the chair and started celebrating when I heard the news.
Even minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who flanked the president on his way in to meet with House Democrats, spoke against the series of bills shortly before casting her “no” vote. She had previously withheld her judgment.
“I will be voting to slow down the fast track to get a better deal for the American people,” Pelosi said on the House floor.
She waited to see which way the winds were blowing.
The legislation would have given Obama wide latitude to finish negotiating the trade deal and then bring it back to Congress for a strict up-or-down vote. The Senate passed it last month, 62 to 38, with Republicans joining with Democrats to push it over the top.
In the House, Obama needed even more Republican help. In a dramatic series of votes Friday afternoon, House members first voted 302 to 126 against federal aid for workers who would be displaced by the trade pact. Only 40 of the House’s 188 Democrats voted in favor.
I noted those totals. Wow! The rejection is bipartisan!
Because of procedural rules that required passage of a full package of bills to send the legislation to the White House, that vote derailed the initiative. Obama had lost.
As a consolation prize that gave supporters, including House Speaker John Boehner some hope of reviving the issue, the House later passed the central element of the package, Trade Promotion Authority, 219 to 211.
I knew I shouldn't have gotten too carried away. These guys never stop pushing the agenda, which is why I'm still here every goddamn day I gue$$.
But for now, Obama’s defeat casts a shadow on the Pacific trade negotiations with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, and Japan.
The Obama administration downplayed Friday’s defeat, with Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, calling it a “procedural snafu.”
Boston business groups expressed disappointment.
“The fast-growing Pacific Rim countries would be an opportunity for us . . . to move forward with something that could benefit the medical device sector in this region,” said Tom Sommer, president of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, a Boston-based trade group.
Two other large groups, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts High Tech Council, also decried the outcome....
To illustrate how much was at stake for both the White House and the Republican leadership, Obama and Boehner, an Ohio Republican, continued trying to lobby members until the last moment.
Obama was well received by the Democratic caucus, said those in attendance of the standing-room-only, closed-door meeting. He appealed to members by discussing what drew him to politics as a community organizer in Chicago — helping people who could not help themselves.
OH! If that is what drew him, he failed.
Upon exiting the meeting, Obama told reporters, “I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here. It’s always moving.”
The liberal, all-Democratic Massachusetts delegation unanimously rejected Obama’s personal appeal, saying their concerns for workers outweighed the interests of the business community.
With no chance for amendments to the ultimate pact, many Democrats also complained that “fast track’’ would unduly tie their hands.
“The president’s attempt was valiant. Everybody gave him credit for showing up,” said Representative Stephen Lynch, a Boston Democrat. “But at the end of the day, most members are guided by their sense of purpose, whether this helps their constituents or hurts them.”
Lynch said he spent several hours recently poring over hundreds of pages of the classified Trans-Pacific Partnership deal at a secure location in the Capitol building. He described it as “vague’’ and “aspirational.”
“It says words to the effect that the parties shall endeavor to engage in an agreement to protect labor rights and things like that,” Lynch said, “but there is no hard and fast and forcible language that would protect workers or the environment of those countries.”
Lynch, who once worked at the GM plant in Framingham that no longer exists, said he cannot see why multinational corporations and the pharmaceutical industry were able to assist in drafting the guidelines for the agreement while Congress sits on the sidelines.
That right there is what is wrong with these $elf-$erving deals.
“Those people have an extreme profit motive,” Lynch said. “We represent American workers and we’re outside the process. That’s not right.”
Not even lobbying by the pharmaceutical and high-tech industries across Boston, which stand to benefit from looser trade limits, could sway Representative Michael Capuano.
“I respect them. But I respectfully disagree with them,” said Capuano, a Somerville Democrat. “I don’t think they would ever give up their right to negotiate a contract. Why should I?”
While nearly all of the Massachusetts delegation had previously indicated their opposition to the set of bills, Representative Seth Moulton, a Salem Democrat and the delegation’s newest member, did not announce his final decision until Friday, after seeing the text of the legislation which shifted even in recent days.
Moulton said he has held dozens of constituent meetings and spoken to numerous interest groups on both sides of the issue. He has received pressure from the AFL-CIO, which ran ads in his district urging constituents to press him to vote against the bill. On Thursday the North Shore Labor Council and other labor allies rallied outside Moulton’s Peabody Square office and met with his staff.
Last I saw of him he was at the VA where they checked him for Agent Orange exposure (meaning it will be another 50+ years before the current crop of war poisonings from depleted uranium and the like will be acknowledged).
Representative Bill Keating, a Bourne Democrat whose district includes fishing and garment businesses, said his constituents fear the trade deal would hurt American manufacturing jobs. “To me, the district trumps all of the special interests,” Keating said.
The 21st-century Tip O'Neill.
Kennedy, too, said his office phones have been ringing off the hook with constituents expressing overwhelming concern that the agreement cedes too much worker protection. In contrast, he said, business groups have not been as vocal.
Oh, I'm $ure they have been hearing from them all weekend.
Boehner indicated Friday that the House would take up the bill that failed, the Trade Adjustment Assistance, again next week in an effort to move the trade package forward. But some expressed skepticism that the White House would be able to get enough Democrats to reverse their votes.
Are the craven political $laves finally going to tell their corporate ma$ters enough is enough? And why is this all on the Democrats?
“Republicans did our part,” Boehner said in a statement. “This is an opportunity for the Democratic Party to take stock and move forward in a constructive fashion on behalf of the American people.”
The vote was 302-126 with a 148-40 Dem spread; you can check my math, but that leaves it 154-86 against Repugs.
How many drinks did Boehner down before saying that?
Here is an argument against it:
"Arguments for TPP don’t make sense" by Chas W. Freeman May 31, 2015
No country in Asia wants to choose between political allegiance to the United States and economic alignment with China. Nor can any country in the region be forced into such a choice. Efforts by Washington to do so create a zero-sum game with zero appeal.
The debacle that followed recent US efforts to oppose the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, is a case in point. The more Washington sought to prevent other nations from joining the AIIB, the more they questioned US leadership. In the end, they effectively repudiated it. There is an important lesson in that.
Apparently unperturbed, the president and his top officials are now going for a repeat performance. They are promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement as a bulwark against rising Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region. In his 2015 State of the Union address, and again in a recent interview, President Obama declaimed: “If we don’t write the rules, China will write the rules out in that region.”
Not to be outdone by his boss in the effort to fend off a defeat for the treaty in Congress, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently warned that “We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets.”
So TPP is about geopolitical influence, not about economics — even butchered economics. (Far from being carved up, Asian-Pacific markets are coalescing, and US firms have been and remain among the drivers of this process of integration.) Somehow — it’s not explained how — persuading Asians to adopt the intellectual property practices favored by Hollywood, BigPharma, and patent-trolling American lawyers will keep China at bay. Really?
In the end, trade agreements need to be justified in terms of their economic impact much more than by the putative political leverage they may provide. The two operative questions are: Will the TPP improve American competitiveness and/or create jobs in the United States? What US economic problems does it fix?
Meanwhile, America’s largest and fastest growing market in the Asia-Pacific region is China, which TPP studiously ignores.
The White House’s efforts to portray the treaty as critical to national security simply underscores its inability to make a case for the agreement on the basis of economic benefits. The best that can be said for the trade agreement is that it could reduce nontariff barriers in Japan, opening opportunities to reduce the chronic US trade deficit with that country. It would also make it easier for US companies to outsource production to Vietnam and Malaysia. But it would do nothing to address the huge US trade deficit with China.
Quite aside from this, the administration’s geopolitical case for TPP is fanciful. In the real world, there is no way that new rules for trans-Pacific trade, written without regard to China and without Chinese participation, will somehow pivot the United States into a lasting position of supremacy in China’s backyard.
Four basic facts explain why that is so: First, China is now everybody’s biggest trading partner, including America’s prospective partners in TPP. Second, the Chinese market represents the major growth opportunity for all these nations.
Third, whatever their concerns about China’s increasing military power, Asian leaders have no interest in distancing themselves economically from China — or from the supply chains that converge there. Fourth, most economists expect China’s economic growth will continue to be much faster than that of the United States.
Casting the partnership as a way to cut China out of the rule-making process for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region may appeal to American Sinophobes and protectionists. But it ignores commercial realities on the ground in Asia. They, not the internal dynamics of US politics, will always guide Asian nations’ diplomacy.
Even the Obama administration seems to recognize this. After initial silence on the subject, administration officials have begun to say that China will be free to join TPP once negotiations have concluded, provided that China undertakes further, unspecified legal and economic reforms.
All this makes it almost surreal that the administration has staked the future of US relations with Asia on TPP as a counter to Chinese influence in the region. The likelihood that this will succeed is poor to nonexistent, and there is no fallback proposal should the effort fail.
In the end, the administration’s current arguments for trade treaty boil down to this: We have made the conclusion of this deal a test of our credibility as a Pacific power. If it fails, our credibility will suffer along with our geopolitical influence. So TPP must go forward.
But that’s both a circular argument and a bad bet.
More importantly, it’s irrelevant to what ought to be the main issue: What would the TPP do for US competitiveness and growth and how would it effect American workers and consumers?
It is absurd to imagine that TPP could wrest China — soon to be the world’s largest economy — from a preeminent role in Asia. The United States is far more likely to buttress its influence in Asia by leveraging rising Chinese prosperity and working with China than by ignoring it or attempting to bypass it.
Perhaps the Obama administration understands this. Even as it tries to sell the TPP as a means of containing China, it is well along in negotiating a bilateral investment treaty with Beijing. That makes sense. But it would be nice to hear a serious economic case for the TPP rather than a largely frivolous geopolitical one.
Chas W. Freeman was President Nixon’s main interpreter on his historic trip to China in 1972. He is a retired career diplomat who also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1993-94.
If my memory is correct, he's the guy Obama tried to appoint to the National Intelligence Council but Israel didn't like him, so....
Also on the trade front:
"Export-Import Bank in fight to stay open" by Jay Fitzgerald Globe Correspondent June 13, 2015
The Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that provides insurance, credit, and other financial services to exporters, will go out of business at the end of the month unless Congress reauthorizes it.
The future of the bank is the next big trade issue facing Congress, following an overwhelming vote by the House on Friday to deny the authority that President Obama sought to complete negotiations on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The debate over the Export-Import Bank is expected to be nearly as contentious. It pits business groups, which argue the agency helps US companies compete in a global market, against conservative Republicans, who say the program amounts to corporate welfare for large companies such as aerospace giant Boeing Co. of Chicago and heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Ill.
Some $old out.
The outcome has implications for Massachusetts.
The Export-Import bank was founded during the Great Depression as a way to boost the struggling economy by helping US firms sell goods abroad. In the last fiscal year, the agency provided about $20.5 billion in loans, insurance coverage, and other financial assistance in about 3,700 deals with companies, according to the Congressional Research Service, the research agency for Congress.
Supporters say the agency — mostly through revenues it earns on interest from loans and premium payments on insurance — last year returned about $675 million to the US Treasury. Its loan delinquency rate is less than 1 percent, lower than many private lenders, supporters say.
Over the years, the Export-Import Bank has enjoyed bipartisan support, and past reauthorizations have not generated controversy. But this time conservative Republicans have moved to shut it down. Unless Congress reauthorizes the agency by June 30, it will have to stop making new loans and covering new shipments, even though it would be given time to unwind outstanding business.
Bad Republicans, 'eh?
Critics argue that the bank earmarks the vast majority of its funding authority to larger corporations, too often missing its goal of providing 20 percent to small business. Those large companies have the financial wherewithal and resources to support their own export activities, rather than putting taxpayer money at risk, critics say.
“It is time to wind down Ex-Im,” US Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said during a hearing on the agency earlier this month.
In some districts, conservative groups are targeting congressional members who support or are undecided about the Export-Import Bank with TV ads, referring to the agency as a “crony capitalist” institution that mostly benefits major corporations.
It is, but because they are icky conservative Republicans you must oppose.
“We feel like the momentum is on the side of opposing reauthorization,” said Doug Sachtleben, a spokesman for the Club for Growth, a small-government, pro-free-enterprise group in Washington that has spent $1 million on a media blitz against the bank.
I see bank and I saw bad idea. Sorry.
Business groups are countering with their own television and radio ads. The US Chamber of Commerce is advertising in dozens of congressional districts, highlighting the bank’s role in helping local businesses export products. In Massachusetts, the state’s largest employer group, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, is also calling for Congress to keep the Export-Import bank in operation.
Barbour Stockwell’s Ken Maillar doesn’t understand why there’s a debate at all. The company pays for the insurance, a few hundred dollars a month, and has never made a claim. But without affordable insurance to cover the risk of foreign customers failing to pay bills — which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars — the Woburn company may “have to walk away from some deals,” he said.
“My vote is to keep the bank,” he said. “It’s not costing taxpayers money. We pay for the insurance.”
Related: Some Final TPPs
Those are better than the primer the Globe gives you regarding the unrealistic debate we keep hearing about.
"For both parties, path ahead on trade bill is unclear" by Charles Babington Associated Press June 16, 2015
WASHINGTON — President Obama and his legislative allies scrambled Monday for ways to revive his severely wounded trade agenda, although Democrats and Republicans alike said all options face serious hurdles.
Obama talked with House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio. And White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough spoke with Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader whose rejection of Obama’s pleas capped Friday’s stunning setback delivered mainly by his own party.
It's a continuing false narrative.
But key lawmakers and aides said significant political and legislative challenges complicate the ‘‘many different options’’ cited Monday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California. House Republican leaders sought to give themselves more time, seeking a new deadline of July 30 for the legislation. The House was slated to vote on an extension on Tuesday.
The situation deeply frustrates Obama’s supporters on trade, because in some ways, success seems almost within reach.
The House on Friday narrowly approved the key component of the president’s trade agenda: granting him ‘‘fast track’’ authority to negotiate agreements that Congress can reject or ratify, but not change.
And there’s reason to believe the House would approve the legislative package’s other main element — renewal of an aid program for workers displaced by international trade — if it were decided on a stand-alone vote. Democrats overwhelmingly support it, and it costs so little that that numerous Republican consider it a reasonable price to get fast track.
But three legislative realities are thwarting any easy solution:
■ The Senate combined the two elements into one bill, which it sent to the House after a bruising, lengthy battle.
■ House Democrats opposed fast track so strenuously, they were willing to sacrifice a favorite program — the displaced workers’ aid — to scuttle the whole package.
■ The administration and others are loath to start over and give the Senate another crack at dragging out, and possibly killing, the entire package.
The original strategy assumed a left-right combination would ratify the Senate-passed legislation. Nearly all House Democrats would support the worker aid program, joined by enough Republicans for a majority, the thinking went. Then, a big majority of House Republicans, and just enough Democrats, would approve the fast track portion.
So much for that continuing narrative. I did the math.
But Democrats, urged on by unions and Pelosi, foiled the plan Friday by killing the aid program, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA.
That is where my print copy ends.
Even some colleagues called the tactic cynical, and Obama had specifically asked them not to do it.
All weekend, House Republicans gleefully distributed headlines about the Democrats’ rebuke of Obama.
The fact remains, however, that the failed fast track legislation was a top priority of Congress’ Republican leaders and crucial GOP allies, including the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable.
Pro-trade lawmakers were weighing possible paths Monday. McCarthy said the best option was for Democrats to ‘‘come to their senses’’ and pass TAA, by reversing Friday’s outcome. Several Democrats called that highly unlikely, noting that 144 House Democrats opposed the measure Friday.
Representative Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who supports fast track and spoke with White House officials over the weekend, said, ‘‘I think it’s going to be a very heavy lift to try to change the outcome on TAA.’’
Connolly said he worries that Republicans will somehow enact fast track without the displaced workers’ aid. ‘‘Why Democrats want to actually be the handmaiden of that, I do not know,’’ he said.
Another possibility is to have the House revise the Senate-passed bill and send it back to the Senate for a new round of debate and votes. But strategists in both parties said trade opponents would welcome another chance to suffocate fast track.
Why won't it ju$t $tay dead?
A third option calls for the House — which last week voted separately on fast track and TAA — to revisit the combined package with a single up-or-down vote.
No new Democrats are likely to vote for fast track. But the House voted 219-211 for the fast track component Friday, and some advocates hope the same margin might prevail on a revised approach.
GOP aides, however, say it’s highly likely that more than four Republicans would switch to ‘‘nay’’ to avoid endorsing TAA, which they consider a sop to unions. That would be enough to sink the legislation.
The congressional impasse jeopardizes hopes to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that the United States and 11 other nations have been negotiating for years.
Pro-trade advocates aren’t giving up. ‘‘The differences are so small and the prize is so large that I think they'll be some creative efforts at solving this,’’ said Jim Kessler, a pro-trade supporter and vice president of the Democratic-leaning group Third Way.
Third way is a completely corporate entity that was formed to oppose the Liz Warren wing.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the most prominent Democrat running for president, tip-toed around the trade issue again Monday even as her Democratic rivals loudly condemn fast track. The fast track bill, Clinton told reporters, ‘‘is a process issue. The issue for me is what’s in the deal’’ for the Pacific Rim nations, assuming it reaches final form.
‘‘I will wait and see what the deal is and then I will tell you if I would vote for it,’’ she said.
Well, maybe she can see it but the rest of us rabble can't.