Friday, June 26, 2015

The Fast Track Battle Is Not the TPP War


"This is your captain speaking..."

by Gaius Publius

It would be easy to be deflated after the recent loss of the Fast Track battle. Our 2008 Democratic hero and Corporatist in Chief has managed to shove a Fast Track bill down congressional throats — which were, I must say, mainly eager recipients.

But the battle is not the war, as explained above, and it's always true that if you fail to fight to the end, you will always lose. On the other hand, this is what sometimes happens when you do play hard to the end:

Auburn returned a missed field goal 100 yards on the last play of the game to upset number one Alabama 34-28 in the 2013 Iron Bowl.

There's no way they win if the Auburn players are checked out during that field goal attempt.

Meteor Blades, keeper of the progressive flame at Daily Kos these days, has this to say (my emphasis throughout):
Some progressives threw up their hands Tuesday after the Senate voted for closing debate on fast-track trade legislation. It's all over, they said: The nearly completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is certain to pass now.

Not so fast.

Although the Senate will undoubtedly approve fast-track legislation today—the trade promotion authority bill only needs 51 votes—the despair and talk of surrender on the TPP shouldn't be on anyone's agenda. Certainly, it's true that blocking that agreement will be exceedingly tough. But it is by no means impossible.
As evidence, he quotes George Zornick in The Nation, who lists a number of reasons to be optimistic that TPP could fail, especially in the House. Here's the schedule and the possibilities:
Sometime in the late summer or early fall, the Obama administration will finally release the full TPP text, after the president signs it. After 90 days, Congress can vote on it.

Without question, fast track makes the TPP much more likely to pass. No amendments can gum up the process or chase off support, and we already can easily see there are 50 votes in the Senate based on the fast-track votes. But the House remains no sure thing for the TPP. Fast track twice passed by only two votes.

When the TPP actually comes out, there will be some really ugly details that are likely to enrage liberals and solidify opposition among Democrats. For months the White House has been dodging some criticisms of the TPP by stressing that the text isn’t final, but that will no longer be an option.

The unknown details of the TPP, incidentally, are what Hillary Clinton cites for not yet having an official position on the trade deal. If the Democrat base gets truly riled up when the details do come out, she may end up opposing the deal. This would give cover for every congressional Democrat to do the same.

Members of the House will also be in the thick of their reelection campaign this fall, and increased progressive activism and actual primary challengers will no doubt make a TPP vote even harder. ...
Again, there's more at the link.

At the risk of overdoing the sports metaphors, the only way to win is to play. And the only way to play is — block to the whistle; tackle to the ground; play to the end of the game. This game is not over.


AMAZING BUT TRUE: The Supreme Court looks into the
Constitution and finds some rights for people who aren't rich

I'll be poking around today's decision at 3pm PT/6pm ET. -- Ken

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At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The constitution says that the president and two thirds of the senate are required for approval of a treaty or international agreement. It says nothing about the house of representitives.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Gaius Publius said...

Yes. The trick is that these are "congressional-executive agreements," not "treaties," so they're handled differently. First, no 2/3 requirement. Second, they pass like other legislation (unless "fast-tracked" by fast-track legislation, which these will be).

More here:

The Supreme Court of the United States has considered congressional-executive and sole-executive agreements to be valid, and they have been common throughout American history. ...



At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. I have been wondering about this since I read the D KO article you referenced.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! It could be argued that had TPP been presented as a treaty, it would have a better chance. I have no doubt that enough Democratic senators would put on their turncoats and give Obama his two-thirds majority along with the Republicans.

In the House, I think the sovereignty-destroying clauses of TPP are the best reason for the Libertarian/Teapot elements in the Republican caucus to vote against the agreement.

Frankly, those are the elements of TPP that disturb me the most. The thought of a secret panel of hand-picked corporate lawyers in a suite somewhere in Singapore sitting in judgment on a NY State environmental or labor law and deciding to reward Shanghai Happy Slave Electronics Corp is more than galling. It is a fundamental and irreparable attack on representative democracy. The only path back would be revolt.

At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take the TPP; get The $HAFT.

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that your using sports as a metaphor for congressional buggering of the 99.99% is you way to use tiny words and short sentences for the masses -- usually necessary I grant you.

But these are mixed metaphors. In sports, what happens in one game is only relevant for that game or, at most, for that season. Next season the cast changes and all results are rewound to zip.

FTA is for many years spanning this obamination and whomever the next corporate/oligarchy-fellating asshat will be. And extension of FTA will likely be a rubber-stamp affair in a coupla more congresses filled with even a bigger supermajority of corporate/oligarchy-fellating asshats... which we will dutifully elect as a pavlovian response to our sanctified corporate media stimuli.

This is not a treaty so much as an abdication by 2 of the 4 branches (remember cheney created a 4th branch with the VP the sole servant therein) with certain agreement by the other 2 (supremes and veep).

The prez and congress just abdicated sovereignty to their donor caste... as have the "respective" governments of all signees of each affected xxFTA to come.

They didn't try to kick a field goal to win a game. They took their ball and goalposts and went home, as did all security personnel... and set the stadium on fire to punish the fans for being... NOT wealthy enough to matter.


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