Tag Archives: TPP

Weaponizing the US Dollar Is Accelerating Global De-Dollarization, by Federico Pieraccini

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, if catching flies is your quest. Turn the dollar into vinegar and other countries turn to alternatives. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

Donald Trump has in just over two years abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), ditched the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), withdrawn the US from the Paris climate agreement, and unilaterally removed American participation in the Iranian nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Some of these decisions have undoubtedly received popular support from far beyond America’s shores. Washington’s withdrawal from the TPP was welcomed by the People’s Republic of China. During the Obama presidency, Xi Jinping strongly protested the exclusion of Beijing from the TPP. In the case of the TTIP, European allies for the most part were strongly opposed to the treaty because European multinationals would be subjected to sanctions and fines from American authorities.

The climate agreement, placing important limits on CO2 emissions as well as imposing regulations governing pollution, has been strongly resisted by US energy oligarchs. The withdrawal from the Paris accord has satisfied a substantial proportion of Trump’s donors linked to the hydrocarbon industry and beyond. Finally, the abandonment of the JCPOA was praised by Riyadh and Tel Aviv, two essential partners in Trump’s domestic and foreign strategies.

Observing the consequences of these political choices in the months since, it is easy to see how the world has reacted in a more or less similar fashion, which has been by ignoring the United States and emphasizing cooperation amongst themselves. The TPP, with its agreements between 11 countries, has remained in place without Washington. The development of relations between ASEAN and China continues on without Washington’s participation. While the TTIP has been halted, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is in its final approval stage, an agreement between Canada and the EU that bypasses the American-inspired TTIP. The Iran deal remains in force despite Washington’s cowardly withdrawal, and the five countries remaining in the Iranian nuclear agreement have every intention of respecting the JCPOA, which had been negotiated over a number of years.

To continue reading: Weaponizing the US Dollar Is Accelerating Global De-Dollarization

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Leaked Soros Memo Exposes Obama’s Secret TPP Negotiations; Hillary “Flip-Flopping”, by Tyler Durden

SLL WILL BE ON VACATION 10/27-10/30 AND RESUME POSTING 10/31. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The WikiLeaks emails have been an eye-opener. In a better world the organization would get some sort of public service award, and its leader wouldn’t be holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In addition to providing a glimpse into the internal, and often confrontational, dialogue that took place within the Clinton campaign on topics ranging from Hillary’s email server, to coordination and collusion with the media, to the planning how to attack Bernie Sanders, to the fascinating strife and conflicts of interest within the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, the Podesta leaks have also been instrumental in providing the public with insight into Hillary’s flip-flopping views on the TPP. Indeed, as the WSJ put it recently, a running question through the presidential race has been whether Hillary Clinton is sincere in saying she opposes the 12-nation Asian trade deal that is one of the Obama administration’s top overseas priorities.

As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton praised the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling it the “gold standard” of trade deals. But that was before she jumped into the presidential race. Organized labor, liberal activists and others want to scuttle TPP, so if Mrs. Clinton remained supportive, she risked a political backlash.

This is what the Podesta files have revealed so far: on Oct. 8, 2015, Hillary Clinton said she opposed the trade pact, a position that proved helpful in keeping her coalition intact and beating back a primary challenge from Vermont’s liberal senator, Bernie Sanders. That wasn’t an easy call. A new batch of hacked emails illustrates divisions within her staff about how to handle one of the most delicate issues of the race.

Five days before Mrs. Clinton’s announcement, her top advisers were divided about what she should do, with some fearing that opposition to the trade pact would look like a blatant “flip-flop.”

On October3, 2015, Clinton advisor Ron Klain wrote Jake Sullivan with the following advice:

She has to be for TPP*. She called it the “gold standard” of trade agreements. I think opposing that would be a huge flip flop. She can say that as President she would work to change it. She can say that it can be better. But I think she should support it.

That produced the following reply from Jake Sullivan, the Clinton campaign’s top foreign policy advisor: ”I agree with you on TPP but others (including on this email!) feel strongly to the contrary.” The exchange ends with campaign manager Robby Mook noting that labor wouldn’t stand for her endorsing the trade deal.

“TPP would be lethal with labor. We’d loose [sic] Afscme and likely SEIU as well.” As the WSJ points out, that calculation apparently carried the day.

To be sure, the TPP came up during the last debate in Las Vegas, where Hillary Clinton said the following about the trade deal: “Well, first, let me say, number one, when I saw the final agreement for TPP, I said I was against it. She added that “it didn’t meet my test. I’ve had the same test. Does it create jobs, raise incomes and further our national security? I’m against it now. I’ll be against it after the election. I’ll be against it when I’m president.”

What she really meant is that she had realized that backing her previous stance, and supporting the TPP, would likely cost her millions of union votes. The irony, however, is that if Hillary is elected president, she will almost certainly revert back to some TPP formulation, especially since it is in the best interest of big business.

To continue reading: Leaked Soros Memo Exposes Obama’s Secret TPP Negotiations; Hillary “Flip-Flopping”

The Secret Global Court – Why Corporate Criminals and Corrupt Politicians Desperately Want the TPP, by Michael Krieger

Remember this acronym: ISDS. It stands for investor-state dispute settlement. It means that a company operating in a country can appeal to an authority higher than the country’s highest court in disputes with the country’s government. That higher authority is usually three arbitrators, usually private attorneys. How do three-attorney panels overrule national governments and courts? So-called free trade agreements, like NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Obama is going to try to ram through a lame-duck Congress after the election. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Obama needs to ensure he gets well compensated after leaving office for a job well done protecting, defending and further enriching the global oligarch class. This is precisely why he’s so adamant about passing the TPP during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, when he knows “representatives” who no longer face reelection can be coerced or bribed into voting for this monumental public betrayal.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ins’t really a free trade deal, it’s a way for global oligarchs to consolidate, grow and protect their enormous wealth. The investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS) is perhaps the most nefarious and objectionable aspect of the deal, with this shadowy court system being used to accomplish the following for the super rich and powerful:

1) Eliminate sovereign risk from their investments.

2) Earn money by scouring the world for potential ISDS “opportunities” and then speculating on them.

3) Escape prosecution from criminality on a global basis.

The whole thing is absolutely disgusting and epitomizes all that is wrong and unethical about the world today. As such, stopping the TPP from passage is probably the most important near-term challenge ahead for all of us who want to make the world a better place (or at least prevent it from getting much, much worse).

Before getting into today’s article, I want to commend Chris Hamby and BuzzFeed for publishing this extremely timely and important work. We can only hope that it will inform millions of Americans sufficiently to create the needed pushback to prevent the TPP from ever becoming law.

So without further ado, let’s get on with it. What follows are excerpts from Part 1 of a four part investigative series. My snippets don’t do this work the justice it deserves; as such, I strongly encourage you to read the entire piece and share it with everyone you know.

Now, from the blockbuster piece, The Court That Rules the World:

Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court’s authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as “The Club” or “The Mafia.”

And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing — and its decisions so unpredictable — that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.

This system is already in place, operating behind closed doors in office buildings and conference rooms in cities around the world. Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.

To continue reading: The Secret Global Court – Why Corporate Criminals and Corrupt Politicians Desperately Want the TPP

The US Is Militarizing the Pacific – and Not Taking Questions, by Jon Letman

From Jon Letman at antiwar.com:

The biggest US military realignment in a generation may be underway in the Asia-Pacific. But most Americans know nothing about it.

Unveiled in 2011, the “Pacific Pivot” aims to transition US military and diplomatic resources away from the Middle East and toward the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.

The United States already has enormous resources invested in the region – including tens of thousands of troops, large aircraft carrier groups, and mutual defense treaties with powerful countries like South Korea and Japan. The pivot aims to bolster that military presence, as well as secure more political cooperation from US allies and boost trade through major pacts like the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

“The United States is a Pacific Power,” President Obama told the Australian parliament in November 2011, “and we are here to stay.” In the shadow of a rising China, Obama promised that Washington “will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region.”

In a sprawling 5,500-word article in Foreign Policy, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described America’s role in the region as “vital,” “essential,” and “irreplaceable.” For a few companies, it could also be lucrative: Key components of the strategy, Clinton explained in 2011, are strategic economic partnerships and international trade agreements like the TPP.

Under pressure from the Bernie Sanders campaign, Clinton says she now opposes the TPP. But it remains a key plank of the US strategy to pull countries in the region into its sphere of influence. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said that “passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier” – though he’s asking for actual armaments too, including “high-end capabilities” like the new long-range stealth bomber and anti-ship cruise missiles.

Though overshadowed by unrest in the Middle East, the pivot remains very much underway. Already the US has expanded and established new military exercises and agreements with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other parts of Southeast Asia – as well as Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, and even China.

The linchpin of this military realignment is my home state of Hawaii, which has hosted the headquarters of the US Pacific Command, or USPACOM, for almost 70 years.

To continue reading: The US Is Militarizing the Pacific – and Not Taking Questions

TPP Will Destroy Free Speech, by Stilton Jarlsberg

From Stilton Jarlsberg on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

The TPP (which allegedly stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership even though we’re more familiar with those first two letters having a different and more accurate association) is the bizarre, mostly-secret trade agreement which our current anti-capitalist president is ramming through. It’s long, complex, and, like Obamacare, deliberately written to be misunderstood – so we just want to focus on one seemingly teeny-tiny element which was recently changed (and which the Obama administration is no doubt hoping will fly under the radar).

You can read all about it here, but in a nutshell the TPP will allegedly extend “copyright protection” for things like online content by allowing the government to bring charges against anyone suspected of copyright infringement even if the “copying” (like a simple link to a news story) does no harm to the copyright owner and, indeed, may even be encouraged by the copyright owner.

In other words, Hope n’ Change could be shut down for linking to the dry story about the TPP above, let alone linking to stories about more sensitive issues like Hillary’s criminal wrongdoing or how “Bathhouse Barry” got his nickname. And if you share one of our cartoons, even though we explicitly encourage you to do so, the government could come and get YOU, too. A very tidy way to curtail bothersome political speech, don’t you think?

Despite vagueness in many other areas, the TPP is quite clear about what the government can do to you if it finds you in potential (or even imaginary) violation of their new copyright standards:

• Sentences of imprisonment as well as deterrent-level monetary fines
• Higher penalties in more serious circumstances
• Seizure of infringing items (ie, computers, phones, printers, office equipment)

• Forfeiture or destruction of those items, materials, and implements (that’s right, they’ll crush them with a steamroller just to further honk you off).
• Forfeiture of any assets (such as money) derived from the infringement
• Assignment to a prison cell which you’ll share with an angry muscular giant named Mohammed Mustafa “Ass Rammer of Death” X. (Okay, the TPP doesn’t specifically say this, but we think it’s implied).

It’s hard to see either Bernie or Hillary not liking this potential tool for reining in free speech, but can anyone really be sure that a president Trump might not also like the power to keep people from seeing “stupid” things like this troubling review of his past (and current) policy positions..?

Without freedom of speech, every other freedom will soon fall by the wayside. Which is what makes the death of a true Constitutionalist like Antonin Scalia such a critical and tragic loss at this crucial time.

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/02/22/tpp-will-destroy-free-speech/