Sunday, November 09, 2014

Big Republican Gains in Congress. Is President Obama Secretly Celebrating?

Is Obama, in his heart of hearts, delighted at the results of last week's election? After all, it didn't take President Obama long to sell out the progressives in his first term when his cabinet picks didn’t include a single liberal and he extended, not to mention, expanded, many of the Bush administration's policies: from increasing drone strikes in foreign countries to drafting legal justification for killing U.S. citizens abroad to signing the Bush tax cuts into law to spying on Americans to deportation of immigrants. Unfortunately, President Obama has no problem helping his financial friends on Wall Street.

Now, Obama is very good at spouting liberal rhetoric and Fox News is very good at spreading the delusion that he's some extreme left-wing socialist, if one looks at Obama's actions, they clearly prove otherwise. Obama, as author and activist Cornel West said, is a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface."  

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to be with you. So we’re right here in the president’s city. In fact, he just flew out on Wednesday after his re-election. Cornel West, the figures—who is ahead? Who isn’t? As your book is titled The Rich and the Rest of Us.

CORNEL WEST: Well, one, I think that it’s morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion—poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people. So we end up with such a narrow, truncated political discourse, as the major problems—ecological catastrophe, climate change, global warming. So it’s very sad. I mean, I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies.
One thing is for sure: the Republican Congress and President Obama certainly agree on one very important issue: prioritizing and fast tracking the very secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which virtually exempts multinational corporations from national laws.  In other words, even more protection for corporate profits..."NAFTA on steroids".

Fast-track legislation was introduced in January but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would not allow a vote. Many Democrats fear that opening markets to countries with lower wages and standards will cost American jobs. Republicans tend to be supportive, because from the small leaks, since the TPP is negotiated mostly in secret, seem to indicate favoring US big business above overseas consumers (e.g entertainment, pharmaceuticals etc.)

After the election, when Mitch McConnell was asked what specific areas he could work on with President Obama:
Trade agreements. The president and I were just talking about that right before I came over here. Most of his party is unenthusiastic about international trade. We think it’s good for America. And so, I’ve got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for America. And the president and I discussed that right before I came over here, and I think he’s interested in moving forward. I said, "Send us trade agreements. We’re anxious to take a look at them." -- Sen. Mitch McConnell, November 5, 2014 

Links:

McConnell and Obama are Already Planning to Undercut Liberal Democrats in Congress
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he and President Barack Obama are already discussing plans to cut corporate tax rates and pass free trade agreements, following the GOP's major gains in Tuesday's elections.
...
Obama has struggled to sell Democrats on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact his administration is negotiating with 11 other Pacific nations. Leaked drafts of the text have sparked a host of liberal concerns. Consumer advocates are worried about potential restrictions on food safety and other regulations, environmentalists fear it will undermine environmental protections, and global health experts are concerned it will curb access to low-cost generic medicines.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has a testy relationship with many Democrats in Congress and with many liberal policy organizations, who accuse him of making promises on key Democratic priorities and then retracting them as trade negotiations continue.

Large swaths of the Democratic Party are simply wary of free trade deals in the mode of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. Some studies have concluded that such deals exacerbate income inequality and depress wages. While the NAFTA and World Trade Organization treaties have helped to expand overall U.S. economic growth, many economists argue they have had substantial negative consequences for American workers.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, is a strong supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been finalized. The pre-eminent American corporate lobbying group almost exclusively supports Republican candidates.

Trade and Income Distribution: The Debate and New Evidence

Trade policy in particular has at times been hostage to the fears of some (including Ross Perot) that international trade and globalization are reducing living standards for American workers.
Stop TPP

Expose the TPP

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