Monday, 25 April 2016

TPP: Reams of Regulations

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British voters are getting set for a national referendum in June that will decide whether they leave the European Union or stay in. There are many issues driving the British exit vote (dubbed the “Brexit”): EU spending, EU taxes, EU regulations, EU bailouts, EU corruption, EU usurpations of power, EU migration — and much more. The ongoing migrant/refugee crisis caused by the disastrous EU policies was the last straw, not only for freedom-minded Brits, but for sensible residents all across Euroland. With a tidal wave of more than a million and a half migrants and “refugees” flooding across Europe since 2014 and millions more trying to come in, the national governments of EU member states are defying the EU open-border mandates and are reinstituting their own border security. The Brexit vote is inspiring a similar “Czexit” effort in the Czech Republic, rekindling a “Grexit” in Greece, and may very well lead to a wave of revolts against “the ever closer union” planned by EU officials to submerge all national and local institutions under the suffocating authority of the EU.

Incredibly, at the same time that Europeans are in the throes of this battle royal to take back national and local powers from the steadily encroaching EU central authorities, the U.S. Congress is facing votes on a series of multi-national “trade” agreements that threaten to saddle Americans with an EU-style scheme of “governance” that would wipe out our constitutional checks against the accumulation of unlimited power. The most imminent of these votes concerns the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive “integration” scheme for the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Following closely on the heels of the TPP are two additional mega deals: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a similarly enormous agreement between the United States and the European Union; and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which involves the United States and the EU, along with 21 additional countries, and covers nearly 70 percent of the global services economy. All three of these “ObamaTrade” mega deals are closely related and are being pushed by the same promoters. However, our focus here is on the TPP because it is the first out of the starting gate and is coming at us full bore. As such, it not only is the most immediate threat, but its approval or rejection by the U.S. Congress will greatly impact the approval or rejection of the other two treaties as well.

Will House and Senate Republican leaders, who favor the TPP, hold  a vote on the treaty after the elections in November, in the lame-duck Congress? Possibly, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are now suggesting hearings and a vote on TPP will not happen until next year.

The highly secret negotiation process that produced the TPP was initiated in January of 2008 and concluded in October of 2015. The text of the proposed agreement, running more than 5,500 pages, was finally released — and glowingly praised — by the Obama administration on November 5.

“The result,” said the administration’s office of the U.S. Trade Representative, “is a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced agreement that will promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections.”

Apparently, in their enthusiasm, the TPP cheerleaders forgot to mention that it also will cure cancer and halitosis, end war, and guarantee universal salvation!

The “Most Progressive” Trade Deal

The Obama White House boasts that the TPP is the “most progressive trade agreement in history.” That should be sufficient tip-off that the TPP signifies huge new socialist/fascist inroads, with Big Government and Big Business sealing more Public Private Partnership (PPP) deals, with huge detrimental consequences for the rest of us. The enormous TPP lobby includes not only the Obama White House, but also the top Republican leadership in the House and Senate, as well as hundreds of major corporations, banks, media conglomerates, trade groups, business and industry associations, think tanks, and “public intellectuals.” More importantly, the leadership of the pro-TPP lobby includes all the big guns of the globalist establishment that have been pushing world government for decades: the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Atlantic Council, the World Economic Forum, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the Bilderberg Group, the Brookings Institution, et al. So formidable does the pro-TPP lobby appear that not too long ago many analysts and observers considered final approval of TPP to be virtually a done deal.

My, how things have changed! As we will show later on, many analysts — both pro-TPP and anti-TPP — are now saying that “free trade” is no longer getting a free ride, as even many of its former votaries are defecting. The presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders are all being buoyed by the candidates’ anti-TPP rhetoric, which is striking a resonant chord with a broad cross-section of the American electorate. Even Hillary Clinton, who as Obama’s secretary of state helped craft the TPP, has read the political winds and decided to flip-flop on the issue. For political expediency (and only until she can flip-flop again) she now opposes the TPP. Predictably, the globalist establishment has come unglued and is lambasting these “anti-trade” heretics (especially Trump and Sanders) as dangerous renegades. In like manner, the same globalists are attempting to sabotage the Brexit vote with desperate statements and op-eds claiming that the United Kingdom will be relegated to pariah status and will suffer economic ruin if it exits the EU.

However, British voters increasingly seem to understand that the real threat of economic ruin — in addition to social chaos and political tyranny — is more likely to ensue from continuing their current EU relationship. And more American voters are beginning to see that the current European crises are being caused by the EU institutions and policies — and that these are eerily similar to the institutions and policies proposed in the TPP. We also now have more than 20 years of evidence of economic decline since NAFTA and the other bilateral and multilateral so-called free trade agreements have gone into effect, gutting our manufacturing and industrial base. Twenty-plus years of false promises have now come home to roost — and are going to make it much more difficult to sell the same promise once more. Among the many dangerous traps hidden in the 5,554 pages of the TPP are snares involving mass migration, environmental regulation, sovereignty-destroying tribunals, job outsourcing, economic integration, and much more.

The Migration Refugee Trap

The video and photo images of the EU’s migration crisis over the past year have been more than sobering: teeming boatloads of migrants and refugees swarming into Europe from across the Mediterranean, and even more pouring in by land through Turkey. Under the EU’s Schengen Accord, member states agreed to open borders with all other EU members, and for the EU to provide perimeter border security. As a result, EU and United Nations officials colluded to take millions of migrants and “refugees” — the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims — into Europe, regardless of the opposition and protests of European citizens.

The TPP threatens to replicate the EU experience with migration here in the United States. “No Party,” according to the TPP text, “shall adopt or maintain … measures that impose limitations on the total number of natural persons that may be employed in a particular service sector … in the form of numerical quotas or the requirement of an economic needs test.” It isn’t too hard to imagine that a foreign country or a foreign corporation — or a U.S.-based company for that matter — could sue the U.S. government for restricting the number of employees said company wished to bring into the United States. The Obama administration has already been working overtime in this area, using every means available to break down our borders. Completely disregarding our constitutional separation of powers, Obama is attempting to rewrite the law by executive orders. His illicit amnesty for “unaccompanied minors” has caused a huge influx of illegal-alien children and youths. His illegal expansion of the H1B, L1, and B1 programs for foreign workers and visitors is wreaking havoc on our employment picture, as well as undermining our national security. Ultimately, the adjudication of any dispute on these matters under the TPP would be decided by an arbitration tribunal set up by the TPP, or by the World Trade Organization.

Concentrated, Unaccountable Power

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands,” said Founding Father James Madison in the The Federalist, No. 47, “may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

The European Union exemplifies this accumulation of all powers to which Madison was referring. And the EU institution that has become most tyrannical in exercising these powers is the European Commission. In a statement issued on November 5, 2015, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) warned that the newly released TPP text created a similar commission, with similar claims to authority as the EU entity it was modeled on.

“Among the TPP’s endless pages are rules for labor, environment, immigration and every aspect of global commerce — and a new international regulatory structure to promulgate, implement, and enforce these rules,” Senator Sessions noted. “This new structure is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission — a Pacific Union — which meets, appoints unelected bureaucrats, adopts rules, and changes the agreement after adoption.”

Sessions, one of the most trenchant critics of the TPP among Republicans in Congress, was among the first to point out the extensive powers proposed for this commission, noting that, according to the TPP text, “the Commission shall”:

• “consider any matter relating to the implementation or operation of this Agreement”;

• “consider any proposal to amend or modify this Agreement”;

• “merge or dissolve any subsidiary bodies established under this Agreement in order to improve the functioning of this Agreement”;

• “seek the advice of non-governmental persons or groups on any matter falling within the Commission’s functions”; and

• “take such other action as the Parties may agree.”

And it keeps getting worse. “This global governance authority is open-ended,” Senator Sessions warned, pointing further to the TPP text claim that “the Commission and any subsidiary body established under this Agreement may establish rules of procedures for the conduct of its work.”

The TPP, Sessions charges, “puts those who make the rules out of reach of those who live under them, empowering unelected regulators who cannot be recalled or voted out of office. In turn, it diminishes the power of the people’s bulwark: their constitutionally-formed Congress.”

“These 5,554 pages are like the Lilliputians binding down Gulliver,” declared Sessions. “They will enmesh our great country, and economy, in a global commission where bureaucrats from Brunei have the same vote as the United States.”

“At bottom, this is not a mere trade agreement,” Sessions warned. “It bears the hallmarks of a nascent European Union.” Indeed it does, as The New American has been pointing out for years, even before the final, official text was released.

National Sovereignty & Independence

The crux of the matter described by Senator Sessions is the crucial issue of national sovereignty. Will we, as American citizens, continue to have the right to govern ourselves under the structures and philosophy of our own constitutional system, or will it, along with us, be subsumed under the new Trans-Pacific Union?

In addition to the TPP Commission, the TPP agreement creates tribunals (which is to say, courts) that will allow TPP judicial authorities to run roughshod over our national, state, and local laws, as well as our Constitution. As The New American has reported many times in the past, this is already happening, thanks to the similar tribunals and judicial processes built into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). An especially pertinent example of this threat is the WTO ruling last year striking down the U.S. Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, which requires foreign meat to be labeled as to its place of origin. Even though it was passed by Congress, and even though U.S. courts had ruled COOL to be legal, the WTO tribunal decided otherwise, determining that U.S. consumers do not have a right to know if their meat is coming from China, Mexico, Brazil — or wherever.

The EU’s escalating migration/refugee crisis further illustrates the intentional sovereignty subversion at the root of the EU and TPP processes. Peter Sutherland, the United Nations special representative of the secretary-general for international migration, is one of the principal architects of the EU’s migration disaster. In an October 8, 2015 interview with UN News Centre, Sutherland stated that national governments must “recognise that sovereignty is an illusion — that sovereignty is an absolute illusion that has to be put behind us. The days of hiding behind borders and fences are long gone.”

In earlier testimony before a committee of the British House of Lords in 2012, Sutherland declared that Europeans “still nurse a sense of our homogeneity and difference from others. And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.”

And undermine it he has. In a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations last year, Sutherland freely admitted his “antagonism toward nationalism” and charged that Europeans who opposed his plans for unrestricted migration and Islamification are guilty of “immoral and xenophobic posturing.”

Sir Peter Sutherland is important to our TPP consideration here because he is an exemplar of the insider’s insider, operating at the apex of the power elites who are driving the globalist EU-TPP-TTIP agenda. Not only is he a longtime chairman of Goldman Sachs International, the predatory investment behemoth, but he is (or has been) a regular attendee and Steering Committee member of the ultra-secretive, ultra-elite Bilderberg Group; European chairman of the Trilateral Commission; past chairman of British Petroleum (BP); a principal architect of the WTO and the euro currency; and, most especially, honorary president of the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN), one of the principal corporatist insider organizations promoting EU-U.S. merger through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and to which many of our members of the U.S Congress belong. He is also a mover and shaker in the World Economic Forum and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR, a sister organization of the CFR). According to the ECFR, “The fate of TTIP is also linked to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).... If TPP fails, TTIP will be harder to ratify.”

The publications, speeches, and lectures of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), the Brookings Institution, and similar globalist organizations are replete with calls for creating a New World Order that will feature “global governance” — which is the euphemism that has been adopted by the organized forces of internationalism who realize that their open calls for world government were counterproductive, stirring up more opposition than support. They recognized the need for stealth and an “end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece.”

That stealth plan was articulated by Columbia University law professor, State Department official, and veteran CFR member Richard N. Gardner in a 1974 article for the CFR journal Foreign Affairs entitled “The Hard Road to World Order.” He acknowledged that the hoped-for “instant world government” under the United Nations, which had seemed more plausible in the immediate aftermath of World War II, was unrealistic. He proposed instead an alternative route to the creation of a global superstate. According to Gardner’s CFR plan:

In short, the “house of world order” will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great “booming, buzzing confusion,” to use William James’ famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.

Gardner specifically cited trade agreements and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, which was transformed into the WTO) as key pathways to the planned “world order.”

“Integration” and “Harmonization”

In advancing this “end run around national sovereignty,” the TPP and TTIP have drawn heavily from the EU experience, particularly in adopting the EU processes of economic, political, and social merger of nations under the rubric of “integration” and “harmonization.” This has been relatively easy to do, since many CFR glob­alists have been directly involved in all stages of planning and transforming of the EU, from its earliest days in post-World War II, when it was known as the European Coal and Steel Community. Thus the U.S. Trade Representative summary of the TPP declares: “We envision conclusion of this agreement, with its new and high standards for trade and investment in the Asia Pacific, as an important step toward our ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region.”

It is very clear from a multitude of admissions by the architects of the TPP and TTIP that they view the EU process as their gold standard — but they intend to take advantage of their knowledge, leverage, and experience to move these latest projects along on a much more accelerated schedule, achieving in a few years what took them decades to accomplish in Europe.

The integration and harmonization proc­esses involve the piecemeal merger of economic policy, monetary policy, social policy, foreign policy, military policy, etc., with all of these areas steadily coming under the jurisdiction of constantly evolving supra-national institutions that eventually override all national legislative, executive, and judicial functions.

A “Living,” “Evolving” Agreement

The deceptive processes of integration and harmonization are facilitated by drafting the TPP and TTIP as malleable “living” and “evolving” agreements that can easily morph to provide whatever structures its designers desire and to usurp whatever powers are convenient.

In her remarks to the 2013 conference of the National Association for Business Economics, Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard said: “The ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are of central importance.... The TPP should be a ‘living agreement’ so that other economies willing to take on the high-standard TPP obligations could join.” Brainard, a Trilateral Commission member and former CFR fellow, and a key operative in the TPP/TTIP process, is now a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve.

On November 12, 2011, the trade ministers of the TPP nations issued their report stating: “We have agreed to develop the TPP as a living agreement.... Therefore, the TPP teams are establishing a structure, institutions, and processes that allow the agreement to evolve.... We envision a continuing joint work program, including new commitments.”

The European Council on Foreign Relations likewise issued a report, entitled “A Fresh Start for TTIP,” which proposes: “The [TTIP] negotiators should agree on standard harmonisation where it can be easily achieved … and should set up an inclusive process of regulatory convergence to allow TTIP to become a living agreement which harmonises further standards later on.”

It should not be necessary to point out that such open, living, evolving documents are the very antithesis of the rule of law, since they have no fixed meaning and can be changed to vindicate any usurpation or violation. Unfortunately, it is necessary to point out such elementary principles, since influential and powerful forces have so corrupted our political discourse and thought processes on the matter that many who should know better have bought into this deception.

Toward a Global EPA

Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has assumed truly tyrannical powers, presuming to mandate, legislate, and regulate all things “environmental,” which covers, well, virtually everything concerning land, water, and air. The TPP will kick this up several notches. How?

Well, here’s what Ambassador Michael Froman, the Obama administration’s trade representative, says about it:

Today’s environmental challenges are staggering in their severity and scope.... Trade agreements are a vital tool for combatting these global threats. Two decades ago, environmental provisions under NAFTA were relegated to a side agreement, with only a single enforceable obligation to “effectively enforce your own environmental laws.” In contrast, our most recent trade agreements contain extensive, enforceable environmental commitments. These commitments are subject to the same dispute settlement procedures as other commercial obligations, including recourse to trade sanctions in the event of a violation.

According to Ambassador Froman, “The TPP would establish the toughest environmental protections of any regional trade agreement to date, with an extensive set of fully enforceable environmental obligations.”

Due to threats by Republican senators to kill the TPP outright if the administration tried to include global-warming regulations in it, the agreement does not specifically mention global warming or climate change. However, it uses repeated declarations of commitments to “transition to a low emissions economy,” “sustainable development,” “resilient development,” and “clean and renewable energy sources” to accomplish much the same purpose. And it makes numerous references to UN environmental treaties, “biological diversity,” “conservation,” and “obligations” that each party (i.e., each nation) “shall” perform. Anyone familiar with the way that militant “green” NGOs collude with the EPA to bring lawsuits that build the federal EPA’s power will quickly grasp how the TPP would be used in like manner to build an international EPA regime.

Another Offshoring Wave

The TPP advocates never tire of claiming that their latest trade agreement will provide huge numbers of good-paying jobs for Americans and will stimulate economic growth. However, over the past couple decades they have made many similar claims. The results invariably have been almost exactly the opposite of what they promised. Thanks to successive trade deals, America’s once-vaunted leadership in virtually every field of industry and technology has been dramatically weakened, hollowed out, or completely stripped away. American businesses offshored their production to Mexico, China, Pakistan, and dozens of other countries — and took millions of jobs with them.

There is no reason to believe that the TPP would not usher in another wave of business and job offshoring, with even greater devastating impact to our struggling economy.

The China Game

The Obama administration and its allies in Congress and the corporate world claim that the TPP is necessary to offset China’s economic influence and its own trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The 16-member RCEP includes many of the same members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) that are also members of the TPP. However, while the Obama administration is using fear of China to promote the TPP, it is actually pursuing a parallel track that seeks to merge Communist China’s RCEP with the TPP in a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP — yes, yet another acronym). And China, after playing coy on the issue for the past several years, now openly concedes that it looks favorably on joining the FTAAP. In fact, the globalist literature is replete with references to the TPP as a “stepping stone” and a “pathway” to an FTAAP that includes the Beijing regime.

With the benedictions of the Obama administration and Council on Foreign Relations, the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing  adopted “The Beijing Roadmap,” which outlines the “pathway” for China’s accession to the FTAAP. “APEC is expected to make an important and meaningful contribution as an incubator of the FTAAP,” the Roadmap declares. “By providing leadership and intellectual input into the development process of regional economic integration, APEC could play a strong role in driving the FTAAP vision forward.” This is actually the culmination of years of advocacy by one-worlders such as former U.S. Treasury official C. Fred Bergsten (CFR and Trilateral Commission), a co-founder and top wonk of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

But if the plan is — and has been all along — to create a TPP that would morph into an FTAAP that includes China, then the TPP loses some of its appeal as a foil against China, doesn’t it? Precisely — which is why the TPP sharpies have been playing this double-sided deception close to the vest, hoping that the American public won’t catch on to the truth that they are being played as chumps with the TPP “China card.”

Can It Be Stopped?

Can the TPP be stopped? Absolutely, and the prospects for doing so look much better now than they did a few months ago. Even many of the TPP boosters who were already savoring victory have had to recork their celebratory champagne bottles. Opinion polls reinforce what we are seeing in the primary polls for both the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates and politicians who once faithfully supported free trade agreements (FTAs). The “free trade” bloom is definitely off the FTA rose. One example of the shifting FTA trade winds is an anti-TPP letter sent to President Obama on March 23 and signed by a bipartisan group of 19 House members from New York.

“Western New York bears the scars of poorly negotiated past free trade agreements; scars like lost jobs, shuttered factories, and a generation lost to economic opportunities that were outsourced to foreign competitors,” said Republican Congressman Chris Collins, who led the effort, along with Democrat Congressman Louise Slaughter. “I cannot support a trade agreement that once again threatens America’s working middle class,” Collins said in a statement released with the letter.

The letter, which announces the 19 congressmen’s “firm opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” states: “Like many Americans, New Yorkers have grown increasingly disillusioned with our nation’s international trading relationships and are rightly skeptical that the TPP will fare better than previous trade agreements. In the months since the TPP’s text was released to the public, we have made a careful review of its wide-ranging provisions. Our concerns with the TPP are as varied as the people and districts we represent, but there are a number of core issues with the agreement that we all share.”

Among those signing the letter were Republicans Christopher Gibson, Lee Zeldin, Daniel Donovan, and Tom Reed, along with Democrats Kathleen Rice, Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, and Charles Rangel.

As Politico.com pointed out, Representative Tom Reed’s defection from the free trade camp may be signaling a critical turning point. Reed, a Republican member of the important House Ways and Means Committee, has been a reliable FTA supporter, voting for South Korea, Panama, and Colombia FTAs in 2011, and for “fast track” trade promotion authority last year.

The March issue of Manufacturing & Technology News further reinforces the idea of a potential paradigm shift with an article entitled “The Election Explained: An Angry Electorate Has Turned Dead-Set Against Free Trade and the Politicans Who Support It.” The article reports on a recent survey by pollster Pat Caddell, who says free-traders in the administration, Congress, trade associations, think tanks, and corporate America have been slow to recognize that a “revolutionary change has taken place.”

“The trade issue has become the concrete nexus issue for the American electorate,” Caddell says, and the animosity toward trade “is flowing into the issue of economic insecurity and the high anxiety of the American people.”

Among the important findings of the survey, which was conducted for Americans for Limited Government, is that Republican voters are more opposed to the free-trade agenda than are Democrats.

Alienation and concerns about national security and economic security “have all flowed into the issue of trade and [have] become a voting issue — a super issue,” Caddell told Richard A. McCormack of Manufacturing & Technology News.

When asked if trade agreements signed by the United States government are more beneficial to other countries, 63 percent said yes. Only 12 percent said that trade agreements are “more of a benefit to the U.S.”

The percentage of Americans who oppose any type of free-trade deal similar to President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been endorsed by a majority of House and Senate Republicans, is “stunning, overwhelming,” says Caddell. By a margin of 82 to 18, Americans have turned against the free-trade agenda.

“The angry electorate is being concretized,” Caddell says. “The issue of trade policy has moved from a minor issue in the thinking of Americans to being a central issue. In other words, it has become a voting issue. Surprisingly, the party that has been the most strongly in favor of free trade, the Republican Party, has seen its rank and file become the most consistent and strongest opponents of free trade. This is a stunning change and it explains how it has hurt all of the establishment candidates.”

Now is the time to reach out to these newly awakened Americans with the information we have been publishing about the TPP, to turn their inchoate unfavorable sentiments toward the TPP into a more mature understanding of the underlying issues and the anti-American forces that have been using the free-trade agenda to batter America down.

 

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TPP — Trilateralist Power Politics

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