Congress May Not Be So Eager To Simply Hand Over Its Own Authority To The Obama Administration To Approve TPP

from the a-good-sign dept

We have all sorts of concerns about the TPP Agreement (Trans Pacific Parntership), but as we've discussed (both recently and in the past), a huge concern is over "trade promotion authority" or "fast track authority," in which Congress completely abdicates its Constitutional role "to regulate commerce with foreign nations." Basically, this power allows the USTR, which is a part of the executive branch, to get Congress to more or less give the USTR the "power" to finalize the trade agreement. Without it, Congress can -- as it should -- debate the different parts of the TPP agreement, and push back on the (many) problematic ones. Yet, if Congress gives up that power, without even seeing the full agreement (!?!?), then all Congress can do is a simple yes or no vote -- and there will be so many goodies in there that it will be difficult for them to reject the entire agreement.

The USTR and President Obama have been talking about the importance of getting this fast track authority from Congress for years -- but nothing has really come of it, nor has there been a direct public request. That suggests the administration knows it doesn't have the votes. In the past couple of months, the lobbying effort for getting fast track authority has ramped up a lot. While I still fear that Congress will cave on this, in the past few days, a group of 22 House Republicans and a (somewhat shocking) group of 151 House Democrats have sent separate letters to the White House, saying that they're opposed to granting fast track authority. Basically, it appears that Congress might actually be standing up for itself (shocking) on this issue, rather than just caving. That's nearly, though not quite, half of the House. It's not enough yet, but it does show that this isn't going to be easy (which again explains why there's been no real direct request yet).

The Republican letter focuses on the fact that Congress is supposed to (as per the Constitution) manage the nation's trade policy -- not the executive branch. The Democrats' letter calls into question the lack of consultation with Congress during this process (directly contradicting the USTR's own bogus claims of "working with Congress." The letter doesn't hold back on criticizing the White House, despite being from the same party:
For some time, members of Congress have urged your administration to engage in broader and deeper consultations with members of the full range of committees of Congress whose jurisdiction touches on the numerous issues being negotiated. Many have raised concerns relating to reports about the agreement’s proposed content. While your Administration’s goal was to sign a TPP FTA at the October 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, we believe that to date the process has failed to provide adequate consultation with Congress.

Such opportunity for input from Congress is critical as the TPP FTA will include binding obligations that touch upon a wide swath of policy matters under the authority of Congress.
It later notes that fast track authority "is simply not appropriate for 21st Century agreements."

A NY Times story about the letters notes that there's a lot of anger that the USTR has blocked Congressional staffers from even being able to take part in the negotiations or the discussions -- something we've discussed over the past couple years.

The amazing thing here is that this mess that the USTR and President Obama are in right now over TPP was easily avoidable. Rather than negotiating in secret, and only sharing drafts with a select group of deep industry insiders, they easily could have and should have opened the discussion up publicly. The USTR should have released its own negotiating drafts from the very beginning, so that the public and Congress could weigh in while the process was ongoing. That way, there would be no surprises and no concerns. Instead, they kept the public and Congress out of it entirely -- putting extra special precautions against the public or Congress from finding out what was going on, so that we know the final product will have massive problems. And now they want Congress to just say "Sure, we trust you got it right"? Really? The USTR screwed this one up badly, and it's good to see Congress pushing back on this blatant attempt to usurp Congress' own powers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    Well...

    This is the ONLY time I agree with Michelle Bachmann...

    ... Damn, this whole situation with the government is so screwed up that it's making the crazy people look normal!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Namel3ss (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Brought to you by the most transparent administration in history. NOT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:10pm

    And you know (speaking purely from my lack of faith) if the USSR... I mean USTR had just let congress in on it, their buddy-buddy relationship with the industry would've let this slide on through. I expect it's more cause they feel personally slighted that they're resisting.

    I mean, c'mon. You expect them to resist this load of bull because of what their constituents think?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    He's plenty transparent if you accept Obama's definition of transparency.

    Unfortunately, the problem is that Obama thinks that transparency means that when you and he are standing on the opposite sides of a window, he can see and hear you. He refuses to accept that what transparency means is that when you and he are standing on opposite sides of a window, you can see and hear him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    "Rather than negotiating in secret, and only sharing drafts with a select group of deep industry insiders, they easily could have and should have opened the discussion up publicly. The USTR should have released its own negotiating drafts from the very beginning, so that the public and Congress could weigh in while the process was ongoing. That way, there would be no surprises and no concerns."

    The USTR doesn't even pretend to be working in the interest of the people any more. Their purpose is solely to benefit the corporations. They know that there would be public opposition to this agreement which is why they did their best to keep it secret. They don't care about how it looks or what problems it causes as long as they can push it through and please their corporate masters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Jonathan (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    It is a mistake to continue to abdicate Congressional responsibility to the executive branch. We are losing the balance of powers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    'there will be so many goodies in there'

    they will be the only bits the USTR tells Congress about. they know already they this is no agreement, but an enforced treaty to get the best for the USA while giving the worst, under threat, to all the other nations concerned, including wrestling the control of the internet over the other countries as well!

    'USTR and President Obama have been talking about the importance of getting this fast track authority from Congress for years'

    hand this over and Congress can kiss itself goodbye! there will be no need for it because if the fast track gets the go ahead once, it will expect it every time. bang goes oversight completely and, like Cameron is trying to do in the UK, in comes the authoritarianism and totalitarianism. goodbye democracy, and for good!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:37pm

    When it comes time to play chicken...

    Who will flinch first.

    I'm sure that when this agreement reaches congress, the executive branch will say "The negotiations are over. There's no forum for going back to the international TPP community with any changes congress would like to make. You've got to take it or leave it, as is."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    The Conscious Catholic, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:39pm

    the only good thing out of the TPP

    is that it woke Congress up seeing how corporations where trying to fuck them over too, I think they now know what its like to be in our shoes, and now everybody is increasingly uniting against it. thats the ONLY THING GOOD that came out in all of this

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:42pm

    I might not trust Congress, but I trust the USTR even less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Re:

    Multilateral legislative commercialization...

    Actually what is happening in congress is almost a perfect repetition of what happened in the European Parliament before ACTA was proposed. The result is history.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    I'm honestly surprised there aren't more republicans against this. Haven't they always been gung-ho about stopping "dictator" Obama from seizing more power in his infinite schemes to "ruin" America?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    Can't say goodbye to what was never helloed.

    goodbye democracy,

    Errr the US of A is a Republic. And the Republic's service is not to the "mode" citizen but to the high Dollar value citizen - be they Corporations or the "1%".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:51pm

    Re: When it comes time to play chicken...

    Of course he will, and that's our only hope of shooting this shitheap down. No room to further negotiate means it's more likely that congresscritters will get in a huff about a specific piece of it, and vote no to all of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: When it comes time to play chicken...

    Hopefully as i said in previous comments the people that are trying to get real trade deals that benefit the country as a whole will stop the copyright industry from being included in any future trade deals and tell them to make their own deals, that are just about copyright, separate from any other organizations that are involved, like farming and manufacturing etc.
    Imagine how much money will have been wasted when this does not pass, and i seriously doubt it is going to pass as they will try t force it through and hopefully congress will block it and refuse to take it up for vote again until they have been paid to allow it to be passed that is.
    How dare they try to pass laws without paying the lawmakers first, who do they think they are, surely they should know by now that to pass laws you have to be big donaters to the parties to get there support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    True Patriot, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    Isn't this unconstitutional?

    Can the US Congress lawfully give up its right to review and modify trade agreements without running afoul of the US Constitution? Would they also be giving up the right to vote against the enactment of whatever legislation is necessary to implement the treaty?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 4:21pm

    Re:

    "Brought to you by the most transparent administration in history."

    Yup. The most transparent liars in US history.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 4:32pm

    Re:

    Most likely they haven't thought about it. Got to remember to email my rep to tell him to oppose fast tracking as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 5:28pm

    Re:

    As I, and several others have noted before, it is in fact the most transparent administration in history, as they don't even try to hide the fact that they consider themselves above the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 7:21pm

    It's hard to know where to start. Such a fertile field:

    Yet, if Congress gives up that power, without even seeing the full agreement (!?!?), then all Congress can do is a simple yes or no vote -- and there will be so many goodies in there that it will be difficult for them to reject the entire agreement.

    Look at ANY bill that passes (which is increasingly few) and you will see that there are "goodies" everywhere. That's the way it works, for better or worse. Congress can't even agree on paying the nation's bills and you want them to be on front street here? The USTR obviously has a handle on the concerns of Congress and will bringing them a treaty that will pass. That indicates that the majority's concerns will be addressed. Which, it appears is precisely your problem- that your narrow issue won't be dealt with as you see fit.

    While I still fear that Congress will cave on this, in the past few days, a group of 22 House Republicans and a (somewhat shocking) group of 151 House Democrats have sent separate letters to the White House, saying that they're opposed to granting fast track authority. Basically, it appears that Congress might actually be standing up for itself (shocking) on this issue, rather than just caving. That's nearly, though not quite, half of the House. It's not enough yet, but it does show that this isn't going to be easy (which again explains why there's been no real direct request yet).

    Look at the list of R's. I see a lot of Teabagger types and those with a libertarian bent. Though I'm a bit surprised at Frank Wolf signing on. Those people are exactly adored by their own party and are of little consequence. The r's in general, love FTA's. And this will provide them (the traditional Republican Party) a great opportunity to prove that they can work with the administration to further the nations interests (further isolating the out-of-control far right wing of lunatics and redeeming themselves somewhat after the recent government shutdown debacle. The Dem's will get back in line. Most are reliant on PAC money and the goodwill of the Democratic machine. And all are up for reelection in '14. Not one, R or D wants to be depicted as "thwarting an important international trade agreement that will bring jobs and prosperity to their District." That's how it will play out on the campaign trail and few will be willing to take that kind of heat- particularly if their objection relates to copyright. For the world outside of Techdirt; jobs > copyright dilution. Sorry.

    A NY Times story about the letters notes that there's a lot of anger that the USTR has blocked Congressional staffers from even being able to take part in the negotiations or the discussions -- something we've discussed over the past couple years.

    Surprisingly, it's not a Congressional staffer's job to negotiate. Nor is it the USTR's job to debate legislation.

    The USTR should have released its own negotiating drafts from the very beginning, so that the public and Congress could weigh in while the process was ongoing.

    Seriously? We live in a representative democracy. Nobody crowd sources international agreements. Diplomacy is completely different than legislation. If Congress doesn't like the package it is brought, they should vote it down. Congress clearly lacks the requisite expertise to their own jobs. And the public? C'mon, you mean the piracy apologists. You don't give a shit about anything but the IP chapter.

    That way, there would be no surprises and no concerns. Instead, they kept the public and Congress out of it entirely -- putting extra special precautions against the public or Congress from finding out what was going on, so that we know the final product will have massive problems.

    That's a call Congress makes. No bill, no treaty, no law is perfect. If it is satisfactory to a majority of members, it will pass. If not, it won't. But don't think that just because the IP chapter doesn't meet with your approval, the entire process should be turned inside out to accommodate your wishes. As you will soon see, IP is not the single most important issue to most of the planet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 7:56pm

    Re:

    IP is not the single most important issue to most of the planet.

    And that's why ACTA and SOPA passed, amirite?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 7:58pm

    Given how corrupt Washington is these days, I can not help but think with an election coming that Congress has seen a way to milk the deep pockets for war chest funds through putting a road block on what is near and dear to those deep pockets.

    If so, this is how that plays out to get it started. I didn't hear a lot of uproar over SOPA being fast tracked by executive privilege. Hardly anyone bitched in congress. Were it not for the European side it would have passed globally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 8:01pm

    Re:

    Fact is, IP law *IS* becoming more and more important in everyone's lives, thanks to the internet.

    Because of the DMCA and other copyright laws, more and more people are seeing how it's affecting them directly.

    If not for the DMCA, you'd be right, IP law wouldn't be important.

    But, unfortunately, it is, because it affects how we use our phones, being able to repair our cars, our computers, our way of gaming, being able to share culture with one another, not to mention how it affects medicines, farmers being able to grow crops if the seeds are patented (look it up, a farmer got sued for growing a crop that had seeds that were under patent law, and he bought them as part of a group, how would he have known?), not to mention the ability to resell things we buy (remember the student who bought textbooks from Thailand and then resold them in the U.S.?) to international laws and how they're used to go after people like Richard O'Dyer and Kim Dotcom.

    IP law is so crazy that North Korea recently used copyright as an EXCUSE to have PUBLIC EXECUTIONS on people who pirated South Korean movies, songs and even a Bible.

    IP law isn't important?

    Think again!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 8:02pm

    Re:

    You're thinking ACTA, not SOPA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 8:05pm

    Re:

    "As you will soon see, IP is not the single most important issue to most of the planet."

    Except, apparently, to people like Mike, and idiots such as yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 8:16pm

    Re:

    out of that whole speel, you managed to get 1 thing half right, let me finish the quote for you.

    "As you will soon see, IP is not the single most important issue to most of the planet, just the corporations and their corrupt bought and paid for politicians. This is why they do not want the public to see what is in there. They know that they have no chance of it passing if the general public found out"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re:

    ACTA, imho was a victim of SOPA. And SOPA's demise (I think) was an anomaly. In the final analysis, you got SOPA+ implemented without any of the pesky judicial overview by use of industry agreements. And surprisingly, the internet still isn't broken!! The reality for most of the world is that copyright, etc. just is not as important as the jobs and prosperity that these FTA's often bring to less developed countries. And while you can accuse the US of being the intellectual leader on global copyright treaty, some countries (like Mexico) are clamoring for even more. Others don't really give a shit as long as they get what they need.

    And that's what should scare you and why TPP is different than SOPA and ACTA. This is the Pacific region (and select others) which has a very different outlook than socialist Europe. And this is diplomacy, not legislation. Marv Ammori can't write 70 different amendments to derail a markup. Diplomacy has always been conducted in a much more cloistered fashion, with negotiators relying on consultations and instructions rather than exposing themselves to the political process. You see how wonderfully the political process is working in the governance of our domestic affairs… amirite? So while IP law might be your biggest issue, much of the rest of the world has bigger (or at least more immediate) concerns.

    In the current situation, I believe that the centrist Republicans will turn on the extremists who authored this letter and come out strongly in favor as it is:
    a) pro-business, which is part of their DNA; and
    b) an example (albeit a specious one) that they can work across the aisle and the public lashings over their craven partisanship are misplaced.

    As far as the Dem's go; I think they'll get whipped back into shape. I infer (from looking at the roster) that a few have the IP chapter at the top of their list but have other agenda items or hurt feelings about lack of consultations. These sorts of letters are generally the Congressional version of trick-or-treating. With the exception of Lofgren and a few others, most have a different agenda item or need cajoling or promise of campaign help in order to have their concerns allayed. So while I admire the plucky (albeit futile) resiliency of you and your fellow Techdirtbags, I don't see you achieving critical mass here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 11:01pm

    Re: the only good thing out of the TPP

    +1 for whistle blowers. +2 for leaks.

    It appears that the only thing that keeps the iron pipe of the executive branch off the side of my head is leaks.

    Pick up your whistles, keep them on your person and blow when necessary.. blow hard. Pass it along.

    What else is going on that we should know about? Somebody knows.

    Lying, deceitful, treasonous, selfish bastards.

    Along with Congress it seems that there are several hundred million other people that should not cede their authority either.

    ... with the stone that's in my hand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't see critical mass here either. I see yet another asserted attempt at distorting reality. Copyright, as we currently know and love, is crumbling. Comfuckingpleatly. It's hilarious to watch, actually, or it would be if it weren't so bloody painful.

    Control. Not only of the media but the medium as well. Thus those that partake of any of it are, likewise, controlled. It's a perfect plan, Pinky couldn't even mess it up. But he will, he will.

    The same can be said of government in general inclusive of diplomacy, I think. I hope.

    Something is afoot regardless. And it's not the spreading of democracy. That much seems pretty clear. A connected world is the threat. The question is how long can those that are threatened continue to hold the walls? Those walls that, really, only serve to contain the ignorant and willfully ignorant alike.

    ... shall not pass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 11:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Acta it tpp'd on da sopa we are gun nafta kill it over again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    trinsic (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 12:41am

    The amazing thing here is that this mess that the USTR and President Obama are in right now over TPP was easily avoidable. Rather than negotiating in secret, and only sharing drafts with a select group of deep industry insiders, they easily could have and should have opened the discussion up publicly. The USTR should have released its own negotiating drafts from the very beginning, so that the public and Congress could weigh in while the process was ongoing. That way, there would be no surprises and no concerns. Instead, they kept the public and Congress out of it entirely -- putting extra special precautions against the public or Congress from finding out what was going on, so that we know the final product will have massive problems. And now they want Congress to just say "Sure, we trust you got it right"? Really? The USTR screwed this one up badly, and it's good to see Congress pushing back on this blatant attempt to usurp Congress' own powers.

    Sounds like you are still operating under the assumption we live with a government that works for the people, We dont.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 1:01am

    Re:

    It is better to have dysfunctional dialog, than complete silence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 1:27am

    Re:

    I just watched V for Vendetta. We're heading in that direction in an alarmingly high speed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 1:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You see, the difference between ACTA, SOPA, PIPA and other FTA is one thing and one thing only...

    The public was able to truly express how they felt.

    As I pointed out, IP law is becoming the most important thing in the world, simply because it's affecting our lives more and more.

    IP law includes copyright, patents and trademarks. When those start screwing over the common folk like farmers who just want to plant seeds that they bought without a problem, or schools who want to be able to share knowledge without problem...

    Then people start making a fuss over it.

    This isn't the 20th century anymore. IP law is important to everyone.

    Oh, and BTW, calling people here Techdirtbags doesn't endear you to anyone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 2:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, and BTW, what SOPA+?

    The thing that a few ISPs agreed on?

    It doesn't affect everyone like SOPA would have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Treason

    Handing over Legislative authority to the Executive branch should be considered treason... and punished as such.

    It goes against the most fundamental basis of our Constitution - separation of powers.

    Just because they are lazy, self-serving, power-hungry idiots is no reason to give away power - power that the executive branch RARELY, if EVER, relinquishes and which it will twist to its own ends in "secret interpretations".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    True. But you sure don't hear much from the millions of customers of those ISP's. Nor do you hear about six strikes, ad network and payment processors cutting off pirate sites, search engine demotion, etc. If anything, all of the law abiding citizens and casual infringers have been largely unaffected by by increased enforcement. And their internet is not broken, Justin Bieber is not incarcerated, they haven't been kicked off of the internet. The entire parade of horribles conjured up by the SOPA fear-mongers has not come to pass, even though almost all of it (plus six strikes) has been unilaterally implemented through industry agreements brokered by the IPEC. I think that the average citizen (if he's even paying attention) realizes that the anti-SOPA campaign was a contemporary rendition of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right, I don't hear about payment processors cutting off sites, because they aren't doing it very often. In fact, here's a little something for you, SOPA-Lite, the thing you say is SOPA+, has ZERO enforcement ability to it. Sure, the ISPs can cut you off, but they can't arrest you, they can't force entire websites to shut down unless they're the ones hosting the website, and even then, they can get sued for doing so. the difference between SOPA and SOPA-lite is that SOPA-lite has no ability to arrest anyone or forcibly shut down websites. SOPA, on the other hand, would force websites to police their users, SOPA-lite doesn't.

    Besides, ISPs aren't keen on kicking off their users, because that's less money in their pocket. SOPA would have done that, SOPA-lite doesn't. Besides, SOPA-lite doesn't affect everyone. SOPA-lite only affects those who have ISPs that agreed to the terms. And not every ISP did. So, unlike SOPA, which would have affected everyone, SOPA-lite does nothing other than offer a small piecemeal to the copyright cartels who are still mad about losing out on SOPA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 6:51am

    Were congress to surrender its authority to regulate and approve treaties over to the USTR, it cannot be understated that this would represent a huge step towards fascism.

    Ask yourself: do you want a group of crony corporates controlling your rights, regulating everything from books, medicine, pictures, movies, music and video games to computers, phones, consoles, data and even transmissions? That's a disturbing thought.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You see, the difference between ACTA, SOPA, PIPA and other FTA is one thing and one thing only...

    The public was able to truly express how they felt.


    The internet was the megaphone that amplified the shrieks of the piracy apologists. If you look at ANY broad-based survey of American voters about what their concerns are; you'll see things like: Employment, healthcare, the debt, funding higher education, gasoline prices, abortion, school prayer, gay rights, crime, terrorism, etc. Copyright, IP law reform and even privacy aren't even on the list. Though privacy may be rising through the ranks of recent.

    So don't confuse loud noise with broad-based support. You live in an echo chamber. It reminds me of the utter shock on the part of the Republicans around the nation lost. They isolated themselves with their sole inputs being from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, birthers, Teabaggers and a host of polls designed and commissioned by the likes of the Koch brothers.

    Then when Romney caught an enormous beatdown they were absolutely STUNNED. There's a lesson here for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right, I don't hear about payment processors cutting off sites, because they aren't doing it very often. In fact, here's a little something for you, SOPA-Lite, the thing you say is SOPA+, has ZERO enforcement ability to it. Sure, the ISPs can cut you off, but they can't arrest you, they can't force entire websites to shut down unless they're the ones hosting the website, and even then, they can get sued for doing so. the difference between SOPA and SOPA-lite is that SOPA-lite has no ability to arrest anyone or forcibly shut down websites. SOPA, on the other hand, would force websites to police their users, SOPA-lite doesn't.

    It is like you are still in denial over what SOPA sought to accomplish. It was targeted at foreign websites. SOPA was never needed to arrest domestic pirates or shutter domestic websites.

    Besides, ISPs aren't keen on kicking off their users, because that's less money in their pocket. SOPA would have done that, SOPA-lite doesn't. Besides, SOPA-lite doesn't affect everyone. SOPA-lite only affects those who have ISPs that agreed to the terms. And not every ISP did.

    All the major players are participants. Re-read all of the sniveling that went on about this when six strikes was announced on TD. For the record, there was no provision for six strikes within SOPA. You are flat out wrong in claiming otherwise.


    So, unlike SOPA, which would have affected everyone, SOPA-lite does nothing other than offer a small piecemeal to the copyright cartels who are still mad about losing out on SOPA.

    It's great that you can rationalize over what has happened. It will be a great coping mechanism for what is coming down the road.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re:

    Ummmm, you do realize that under fast track, that there's a vote by Congress. Right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, and BTW, what SOPA+?

    The thing that a few ISPs agreed on?

    It doesn't affect everyone like SOPA would have.


    From torrentfreak.com:

    "AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.

    In total the ISPs above cover roughly 75% of all U.S. broadband internet customers."

    It affects 75% of the US population, Yet there's no uprising, backlash, popular revolt or even any significant grumbling. That should pretty much tell you that the measures were pretty benign and that law-abiding citizens don't seem to have been inconvenienced one bit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Um, I'm sorry, what?

    Might I remind you about the recent Supreme Court case that had the right to resell books?

    Or the farmer who got sued by Monsato for the fact that some of the seeds he bought had their patented product in it and he grew it, so they sued him for breach of contract, even though he never signed it?

    Or the whole "genetically modified foods" debate that's going on. Oh, guess what? That all falls under IP law.

    Let's not forget that libraries are getting attacked by the copyfraud alliance, depriving them of books that are under copyright because they don't want the works read aloud.

    Not to mention that entire governments are saying "screw copyright, pirate the textbooks for our schools".

    And the price of healthcare goes up because patents screws us over and keeps the cost of life-saving medicines too damn high.

    So, guess what? IP law IS important, it's just that the people don't always understand how IP law is screwing them over. But they're coming around. More and more people are finding out and learning, and that is what the Copyfraud Alliance doesn't want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that you're missing one thing...

    Those ISPs can't hold websites accountable for their actions.

    SOPA would have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    SOPA would have held WEBSITES accountable for the actions of the users.

    SOPA-lite can't.

    How simple is that?

    It's great that you can rationalize over what has happened. It will be a great coping mechanism for what is coming down the road.

    Make sure to keep that in mind when copyright gets repealed in the coming years as more and more people realize how badly it's been screwing them over.

    Funny thing is, the rise of piracy was foreseen in the 1800s when the British decided to increase the length of copyright to past the lifetime of the creator. The guy who saw it said that "the public doesn't make distinctions between wholesome copyright and corrupted copyright. Once the balance of copyright goes in favor of the rightsholders over the public, the public will no longer support copyright."

    He was right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, and how many of those ISPs can have someone thrown in jail? How many of them can shut down entire websites?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    Not one, R or D wants to be depicted as "thwarting an important international trade agreement that will bring jobs and prosperity to their District."


    It's a little harder to portray them that way when the text of the treaty isn't out, and they are not voting against the treaty itself but merely the fast-tracking of it. An interest group cannot say in an ad that the treaty does X because they either don't know what's in the treaty or are bound by secrecy. (Well, OK, the interest group can lie, but they can do that anyway.)

    And there are lots of people who see any free-trade treaty as costing jobs. Look at the opposition to NAFTA.

    That's a call Congress makes.


    Ironic that you say that. You do realize you're arguing that Congress should vote to give the President part of the authority that Congress constitutionally has, right? Fast-track authority doesn't exist unless Congress says it does.

    Most are reliant on PAC money and the goodwill of the Democratic machine.


    Perhaps. But the Democrats as a whole can only play that card so many times, especially against a majority of the Democrats in the House. They might not consider it to be worth it to play it here. I'm guessing that many labor unions will oppose this, anyway, and they're a significant component of the Democratic machine.

    And this is not an issue of partisan politics so much as it is one of legislative vs executive power. The branches of government can be a bit territorial at times when it comes to stuff like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that you're missing one thing...

    Those ISPs can't hold websites accountable for their actions.

    SOPA would have.


    Can you please cite the provision(s) within SOPA that you believe support this assertion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It seems like your understanding of SOPA is ENTIRELY rooted in the hyperbole and outright lies promulgated by its detractors. Please cite ANYTHING with the the actual SOPA text that supports your assertions. Otherwise, you'll be coronated as "King Chicken Little II"; deposing Mike Masnick from his throne.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Congress will do the same as it always does. totally ignore the people and everything they are supposed to do, as soon as the bundles of cash start being handed out!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re:

    "Not one, R or D wants to be depicted as "thwarting an important international trade agreement that will bring jobs and prosperity to their District.""

    It's a little harder to portray them that way when the text of the treaty isn't out, and they are not voting against the treaty itself but merely the fast-tracking of it. An interest group cannot say in an ad that the treaty does X because they either don't know what's in the treaty or are bound by secrecy. (Well, OK, the interest group can lie, but they can do that anyway.)

    The argument will be that given our tepid economic recovery, the FTA needs to be passed immediately to assure economic recovery and adding more jobs. No one will need to get into the weeds as it will be pointed out that there still can be an up or down vote.

    And there are lots of people who see any free-trade treaty as costing jobs. Look at the opposition to NAFTA.

    Yeah, and it still passed.

    "That's a call Congress makes."

    Ironic that you say that. You do realize you're arguing that Congress should vote to give the President part of the authority that Congress constitutionally has, right? Fast-track authority doesn't exist unless Congress says it does.

    Right. It's not like it is without precedent. And if the R's derail fast track (they won't even try) they will bleed even heavier at the polls.

    "Most are reliant on PAC money and the goodwill of the Democratic machine."

    Perhaps. But the Democrats as a whole can only play that card so many times, especially against a majority of the Democrats in the House. They might not consider it to be worth it to play it here. I'm guessing that many labor unions will oppose this, anyway, and they're a significant component of the Democratic machine.

    Sadly, labor unions are not as influential as they once were in the Democratic Party. And even if they were, different unions have different agendas. In the KORUS FTA, the UAW was a strong, vocal supporter while the overall AFL-CIO opposed it. Why? KORUS opened up the Korean market to American cars.

    And this is not an issue of partisan politics so much as it is one of legislative vs executive power. The branches of government can be a bit territorial at times when it comes to stuff like this.

    Yeah, I agree with that. But it's a mistake to think that partisan politics won't drive the resolution. The Dem's are trying to retake the House in '14. And the R's keep stepping in shit making this less of a fantasy. Sorry, after an invite to the White House and a little stroking, those 151 Dem's will go back to the reservation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    bobmail, Nov 15th, 2013 @ 4:54pm

    fuck obama

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re:

    The difference is that it's a vote though, and it goes from being able to debate the points of the treaty, keeping the good while tossing the bad, vs. being forced to vote yes or no on the entire thing, no debate or removal of the bad possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    The Conscious Catholic, Nov 17th, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: the only good thing out of the TPP

    Exactly, better than sitting round and complaining, and now with Congress wanting to look over it, It might give us even more time

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 20th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Go ahead and call me that, go on.

    I don't fucking care.

    Besides, SOPA would have, by law, put liability on websites and ISPs to monitor their users so they didn't link to "potentially infringing content".

    SOPA-lite can't do a goddammed thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This