Postcards from Ecotopia

old new lefty

old new lefty
alienation, discontent
September 16
Making trouble whenever possible
virgin novelist, middle school teacher for the morally handicapped, government bureaucrat, most famous unknown photographer in LA, PhD dropout, coat hanger sorter, presidential campaign worker, sewer worker, and retired guy -- but not in that order.


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NOVEMBER 21, 2013 4:19AM

TPP: Is It On The Ropes?

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The Transpacific Partnership has certainly had a bad billing from the left and labor. To listen to them, you would think that the TPP was Satan on steroids, and that big business was steamrolling the monster over Congress, and there was very little that anyone could do to stop that. But then -- you'd be wrong.

In one of the most dramatic and little understood wars over the fate of the American Empire, the imminent demise of the TPP will certainly be a watershed that may only be appreciated after a while.  Because the death of the TPP really does give a solid indication that American power is slipping out of our grasp.  And the manipulators of Pax Americana have begun their losing streak.

First, a bit of wonky explanation is needed regarding the TPP and what is proposed by it.  The Trans Pacific Partnership is being secretly negotiated by as many as 23 different countries meeting in Utah as we speak.  The representatives of these countries are not ordinary civil servants though. In fact, they are represenatives of major multinational corporations. Disney, Intel, Nike, you name it.  The boys doing the hammering together of the TPP are errand boys for multinational capital in every sense of the word.

And yet. A curious constellation of events appears to be targeting both the TPP and TAFTA, The Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. TAFTA is expanding America's free trade status to the European Union.  The goal of the multinationals is to make a simulacrum of world government through multinational domination. Now mind, you.  Given the constellation and monetary throw weight behind TPP and TAFTA, it is certainly possible that the whole kit and kaboodle could be greased through Congress -- just as previous free trade agreements like the Urugauy Round, Doha Accords, and NAFTA were greased.

TPP and TAFTA could supercede any federal, state, or local law.  It is unclear how much this would apply to workers' wages.  But in areas like land use, environmental regulation, and a whole host of other areas now totally the province of local control -- there is no doubt that TPP would enforce the continued exporting of American manufacturing and other jobs. It has been said that TAFTA might actually benefit our economy, but I don't want to get too technical.

These are curious times we are living in.  The first thing that will hinder the passage of TPP or TAFTA willy nilly through Congress are the intransegient turtles of the Tea Party, who have made this session of Congress the least productive session in American history.  As an aside, I had to tell the powers that be in my state that their beloved piece of legislation privatizing public timber land was dead on arrival because the enviros' best friends in Congress are Rand Paul, Mario Rubio, and Ted Cruz.

Just about any piece of legislation that Barack Obama could support in Congress is DOA. Call it good old fashioned racism. But it's the dirty truth about the shenanigans in Washington, DC.

The bright side of this is that the dysfunctional Congress works totally against the passage of the TPP at any foreseeable point in this session of Congress, or even the session in 2014.

In an even stranger twist, TAFTA is being mortally threatened byWikileaks. Much of the kerfuffle over the perfectly legal spying on foreign countries and their leaders by the NSA actually revolves around TAFTA. In an aside on the media circus, the mainstream press will never tell you that Glen Greenwald has a lot of toothpaste in his tube that he hasn't squeezed out. And this leakage will reveal more sinister stuff that the Stasi has been doing -- OOPS! I mean the NSA.

In any event, the ire of Dilma Rouseff  (President of Brazil) and Angela Merkel of Germany is over the NSA monitoring of their intimate moments to find out about  what their positions on TAFTA  are beforehand. Nothing personal, it's just bidness. Big Unka is doin' what a guy's gotta do.

And Wikileaks hasn't been helping matters with its release of TPP provisions on intellectual property.  These proposals were clearly written by Walt Disney or whatever minion  there is flying first class to Utah. Not only that, but Microsoft, Apple, and Google are unhappy because NSA's interference in monitoring their business is costing them collectively $35 billion.

TPP and TAFTA are also in trouble because of geopolitical considerations. Serious disagreements between countries have been evident in this report, and it is all one more reason why the American Empire (business as usual) is in deep trouble. One of the rationales for the TPP is America's pivot towards China.  All of our TPP negotiations are excluding the Peoples Republic.  The irony is, that every TPP partner we're in negotiation with is also conducting its own trade negotiations with Beijing. So, as much as the powers that be would like us to give away the farm, the very purpose for TPP may be redundant.

And then there is the sand of protectionism creeping into the free trade machinery. There is now a formal distrust in the American defense establishment over chips made in China because of back doors installed in the hardware.  And the Chinese are boycotting American made computer products for the same reason, fearing what the NSA has hardwired into the machinery.

Truly, this is a curious century we are living in.  We are truly at the dawn of a new age. And American power is slip, slip, slipping away.

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I'm not liking the obvious take over by business, though I guess having them where we can see them has advantages. I have to say part of this is my fault because I did vote for Reagan and Poppy Bush, I fell for the conservative line when I was younger but, remember, Bob Dole was for the social safety net...

Who knew we would have cause to like the Tea Party? Glad to know they stalled the privatization of the timber lands.
I'll take a closer read of this tonight onl. Off to the office now. But treaty negotiation in secret is nothing new and not necessarily sinister. It avoids grandstanding and is akin to deal in any legislative body that get struck in corridors or offices rather than in open assembly. These treaties still get publicly debated and examined when they have to get passed by the party's governing bodies.
New age, indeed, tho we can't say we haven't been warned. Note the prophetic Jensen Speech penned by writer Paddy Chayefsky in the 1977 movie Network.

I'm told that things have deteriorated in the American manufacturing sector that we must now depend on the Chinese or the Russians for replacement parts for our tanks. Hard to remain the dominant military force when you must depend on your once and future enemies for materiel.

My hometown used to have a testing ground for US tanks fitted with motors manufactured right there in Muskegon, Michigan, by Continental Motors. I guess TPTB are depending on winning the next war with drones alone -- but that begets a question of its own: how much of the electronic gadgetry in those drones is manufactured elsewhere?
Our future lies in the hands of descendants of Walt Disney?

Much here that I'm slow to understand. Not much media coverage, of course. Talk of fast track legislation is one little bit. Will read again and look around after coffee. I do get the sense that this is world changing stuff.
"...The Trans Pacific Partnership is being secretly negotiated by as many as 23 different countries meeting in Utah as we speak..." Predating the TPP by four decades was the first meeting of the Trilateral Commission in July of 1973: the brainchild of David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski, United States National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981,who left his post at the time to organize the group along with:
Henry D. Owen (a Foreign Policy Studies Director with the Brookings Institution)
George S. Franklin
Robert R. Bowie (of the Foreign Policy Association and Director of the Harvard Center for International Affairs)
Gerard C. Smith (Salt I negotiator, Rockefeller in-law, and its first North American Chairman)
Marshall Hornblower (former partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering)
William Scranton (former Governor of Pennsylvania)
Edwin Reischauer (a professor at Harvard) and more importantly, a United States Ambassador to Japan from 1961-1966
Max Kohnstamm (European Policy Centre)
Tadashi Yamamoto (Japan Center for International Exchange)
Other founding members included Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, both later heads of the Federal Reserve system.
Sound familiar? As Kurt Vonnegut so succinctly put it, "Poot tweet, so it goes."

R&R :-o
look, empires rise and then they fall.
it was kinda ridiculous, to even think we would become an empire,
anyway, but then Europe self-destructed and we were there
to "save them"...
then the Red Menace...

there is a lot of talk about American Exceptionalism these days.
What we truly offer to the world is a looseness, a throwing off
of old traditional ways of thought..
cuz , ha, we are blissfully ignorantly blind to our own actions...
we forge ahead , we embrace the New..

98 percent of the shit we embrace will die in the dustbin of history

but we got a few good men to our old Emerson..
"Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world."
We're a nation of whores. Expect likewise behavior.
Discussing free trade is usually about as exciting as reading a phone book. That's one of the reasons why NAFTA et. al. slipped through. But each time negotiations have come up, it's become tougher to get approval through Congress. It's interesting to me that there actually is an exciting story behind TPP's problems.
Rule of the bourgeois does have its discontents, if they are less violent historically speaking than their militarists fangs all out or Bolshevik fangs all out alternatives.
Ayn Rand (and the little Rands) are partying like it's 1999. I'll have to do some reading up on this.

Eisenhower likely didn't think things would get this bad.
Then you have Anonymous and their Global Cyber War II aimed at stopping TPP:
I'm surprised that the Tea Party is proving useful about something, but this makes sense.
I thought that it would be a good idea to talk about how a nobody living in Ecotopia should be so presumptuous as to put a jink into something so rarified, jejuene, and complicated -- not to mention something with so much money riding on a particular outcome, i.e. -- international trade negotiations.

I can assure you that such an audacious undertaking is not done lightly. I have read about 30,000 academic tomes on political science and economics, and so I know where the good and reliable stuff is buried.

Interestingly enough, the most reliable analyst on this particular situation is Clyde Prestowitz, a former Undersecretary of Commerce during the Reagan administration. I have stolen his analysis lock, stock, and barrel. He is certainly in the position to know one or two things about international trade. The only problems I have with him are in his diagnosis.

His words on analyzing the American Empire are pretty much on the same par as my own, however. We are truly entering a new era. Facts are such inconvenient things, and the collective power that we have is in our command of indisputable facts.

As an aside, if I were to give you a "fact," how hard would it be to put a hole in my boat?

58.3% of all Martians use toothpaste.

Now if you imagine us being able to collectively use the positive power of facts in the political and economic process, we might find in the long run that the advantages were all to our side.

This could lead to a digression on historic economic cycles. From the indisputable forces that Prestowitz has displayed in making his case means -- that in the long run the tide towards planetary income redistribution is shifting towards the majority.

And for us to all collectively make that happen, it will be necessary for us all to practice the principles of information sharing, force multiplication, and intelligence functions. I feel that the first two principles that I refer to are in fact, self-explanatory. Intelligence is a thing that I think needs some explanation.

For one thing, you are currently sitting on the internet -- a device that has far more power than the CIA or KGB had in 1985. This device is at your fingertips, and you shouldn't be afraid of travelling all over the world in the search for bulletproof information.

And when you find that information, feel free to get up on your soapbox and information share. And together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

And that is how we make the revolution.
What I hope:
Emerson: “Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind;
and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era…”
What I fear:
“Perhaps a revolution can overthrow autocratic despotism and profiteering
or power-grabbing oppression,
but it can never truly reform a manner of thinking;
instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones they replace,
will serve as a leash for the great unthinking mass.”
What I know:
• Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy
Thanks for this background on TPP and TAFTA, which I had not even heard of before now. I wonder how the new constraints on filiblusters might affect the outcome here.
That's mostly why I blog.

By the way, I've read one Preztowitz book, Trading Places, and it remains one of the most important I'd ever read. If you look we my How The Angry White Guys Gt That Way post, the Japanese stuff is mostly Preztowitz.
The Senate changes to Rule 22 apply only to federal appointments, and do not apply to legislation. It is anticipated that there will be no additional changes to the filibuster rule to allow for equal treatment on legislation until the session starts in 2015. Meanwhile, the internal dynamics of TPP and TAFTA will create much greater internal contradictions as other countries begin to choke on the thing.
James, I am hopeful that the new era we are entering could be entitled:
JFK's revenge.