Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Guardian details how much US senators were paid to fast-track the TPP corporate investor rights bill • Naked Capitalism explains why President Obama defends slavery in Malaysia • How close is the USTR with Wall Street?

Children at the Lenggeng detention center, south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
 face the possibility of being sold into slavery.

The Guardian: "Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill: Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle":
“It’s a rare thing for members of Congress to go against the money these days,” said Mansur Gidfar, spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.Us. “They know exactly which special interests they need to keep happy if they want to fund their reelection campaigns or secure a future job as a lobbyist.

“How can we expect politicians who routinely receive campaign money, lucrative job offers, and lavish gifts from special interests to make impartial decisions that directly affect those same special interests?” Gidfar said. “As long as this kind of transparently corrupt behavior remains legal, we won’t have a government that truly represents the people.”
Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism provides a comprehensive overview of why the Obama administration and neocon Republican political leaders are ignoring Malaysia's notorious record on human kidnapping, trafficking and slavery (including infants and children) as well as foreign migrant workers: "America’s First Black President Throwing Slaves Under the Bus on TPP":
Huffington Post has reconfirmed its reporting from over the past weekend, namely, that the Administration has a hairball to untangle to get Malaysia to sign the TransPacific Partnership. Basically, Malaysia needs to have an anti-slavery provision that was inserted in the bill in committee watered down. And the reason that that has to happen, as our reader Antifa pointed out in comments, is that Malaysia controls the Straits of Malacca, a critical shipping choke point. One of the major objectives of the pact is to strengthen America’s position in the region relative to China. Thus Malaysia’s location makes it a critically important signatory to the pact...

Of course, one might ask why we are now working so hard against China after having made the US dependent on her by allowing, even encouraging, US multinationals to outsource and offshore manufacturing in China...

Since Obama has had the embarrassing spectacle of having set a ministerial meeting for the TPP this week at which the other intended signatories were to give their final offers, based on the assumption that Obama would have Fast Track authority in hand. the negotiators increasingly doubt that Obama can get the bill passed this year, and the general assumption is that Congresscritters won’t touch this issue in 2016, an election year.

I strongly urge you to keep calling your Senators and Representatives. Concentrate on the slavery issue, since there is opposition on the right and left, and the folks on the Hill are likely not well prepared for voter pressure on this aspect of the sausage-making, since the MSM has pointedly ignored it.
Meanwhile American public interest organizations want the USTR Michael Froman to disclose the nature of his relationship with Wall Street by releasing his emails with bank reps:
“Michael Froman is not just President Obama’s trade representative, he is also a former senior executive of Citigroup,” said Justin Krebs, Campaign Director of Civic Action. “He raised money from Citigroup for Obama’s Senate and presidential campaigns and remained on the Citigroup payroll late into 2008 while helping select Obama’s policy staff as a senior member of President Obama’s transition team – all while Citigroup was making history as the biggest bailout recipient ever.”

...“Citigroup snuck a lobbyist-written Dodd-Frank rollback into last December’s CRomnibus, so we already know they’re willing to hijack unrelated bills to weaken regulations on Wall Street,” said Kurt Walters of Rootstrikers. “Wall Street has been lobbying to include financial regulation in ongoing trade negotiations, and Americans deserve to know what Froman has been privately saying to these big banks.”

“It’s no surprise that the TPP – an unprecedented corporate giveaway – is being negotiated by someone as cozy with Wall Street banks as Michael Froman,” said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO Action. Zaheed continued, “The American people deserve transparency. The Administration must make public all communications between Froman and the massive financial institutions that stand to benefit from proposed trade deals.” Zaheed added “the American people and Congress need to see what kinds of commitments Froman is making to his Wall Street cronies behind closed doors.

Furthermore, stated Michelle Chan, director of Economic Policy at Friends of the Earth: "If the Obama administration gets Fast Track, it would delegate Congress’s constitutional authority to a U.S. Trade Representative who, by background and mindset, responds to Wall Street rather than ordinary people."

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