USTR Says TPP Must Be Kept Secret, Because The Public Is Too Stupid To Understand It

from the democracy-in-action! dept

While TPP negotiators had hoped to finish off the negotiations in Singapore over the past few days, it appears that did not happen, though they claim to have made substantial progress and will meet again next month. From the reports of people there, the negotiators made sure that public interest groups were excluded from even the press briefing about the negotiations, which should tell you all you need to know about what the negotiators think of the public. But, in case you weren’t sure, the USTR, Michael Froman, has finally explained why the TPP negotiating positions must be kept secret. Apparently, all of us in the public, are too fucking stupid to understand the important work that he’s doing, and we might “misunderstand” it. Therefore, we peons must be kept in the dark, while important people like himself negotiate on our behalf. According to Jamie Love:

Froman said if the text was public, people would misunderstand “negotiating positions.”

In other words, the USTR is not a fan of democracy.

If you think the public is too stupid to understand the public policy positions you’re negotiating for, then you shouldn’t be in that job.

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Comments on “USTR Says TPP Must Be Kept Secret, Because The Public Is Too Stupid To Understand It”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The reality is that’ it’s negotiators that are too stupid to know what they are regulating. You know that thing about the intertubes and how IP address stands for intellectual property address. It’s very obvious that we know a whole lot more about this stuff than they do.

For anyone to even think that your average politician or regulator is remotely as knowledgeable about this stuff than those criticizing it is laughable at best. Politicians are about as clueless as they come and not just what it comes to the Internet, technology, and innovation but when it comes to just about anything.

These people aren’t worthy to regulate us and they certainly aren’t worthy to tell us that we can’t understand something when our intelligence and level of understanding is clearly well above theirs.

out_of_the_blue says:

WELL, Mike, so far you fail to understand it's CORPORATISM.

Yet again, NOT A WORD in this brief piece on how corporations lust for this sovereingty-destroying “free trade” deal.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: We Won?t Be Fooled By Rigged Corporate Trade Agreements

The Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is the complete opposite of ‘free trade’
The TPP would strip our constitutional rights, while offering no gains for the majority of Americans. It’s a win for corporations

Lawyers invented legal fictions called corporations precisely so that crimes can be committed without personal responsibility, only money fines.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: WELL, Mike, so far you fail to understand it's CORPORATISM.

wut, Mike has constantly mentioned how corporate interest groups seem to be lobbying heavily for this and how they get access to documents not even congress has access to. He laso has criticised the corporate sovereignity provisions and such.

Blue not reading articles shouldn’t come as a surprise I guess.

PopeyeLePoteaux says:

Re: Re: WELL, Mike, so far you fail to understand it's CORPORATISM.

“The only thing he’s concerned about is his corporate employer’s ad-supported piracy income stream being threatened.”

Prove it.

In any case, by that reasoning (if your mental masturbations can be called like that), technology as a whole (computers, tablets, smartphones, any device capable of internet access, the internet itself, etc.), facilitate copyright infringement/piracy, not only search engines, or in this case, I assume you’re talking about Google.

Attacking the messenger is not, by any means, a reasonable argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Even if the public really WERE too stupid to understand it (hint: the PUBLIC aren’t the stupid ones here), that would just be all the more reason why the negotiators would have failed at their jobs. If the people who are supposed to be following the laws can’t understand the laws, it’s not the people who are flawed. And all the more irony that this guy is negotiating for more extreme copyright maximalist laws and suggesting that people can’t understand THOSE

Anonymous Coward says:

although, according to Froman, the public is ‘too stupid to understand the work he is doing on our behalf’, how come the public is not too stupid to be expected to obey the results?
on top of that, i think he is scared that there are members of the public that are far more clever than he could ever hope to be and know exactly when and how they are being ripped off, ripped up and thrown to the sharks!

James Love (profile) says:

Negotiating positions

I believe what USTR is saying is that they may propose something, like mandating patents on surgical methods, or 12 years of data for biologic drugs, and not actually want to prevail, but rather, force the other countries to make some other concession. In this type of approach, proposals for measures that harm consumers are strategic and tactical, and people might “misunderstand” what the US is doing, because they may wrongly assume this is intended as a final outcome. We are not comfortable with the idea that a threat to hurt (or actually kill) consumers is a core element of the US negotiating strategy, and we know that in the past, lots of such “threats” ended up being part of the final agreement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Negotiating positions

I was thinking the same, but in general, if you are pushing such crap, it is usually a better idea to propose extreme positions in a single direction you want and not just throw random phrases into the mix.

Using that interpretation, the trend of several extreme positions with potential to hurt consumers, is in itself an unfortunate prospect. Negotiation tactic or not, the direction in itself is worrying.

BernardoVerda says:

Re: Negotiating positions

I think that’s a remarkably {cough}… generous… interpretation.

It’s far more likely that the problem is, that if the other parties know that the general public on both sides is opposed to these alleged “negotiating ploys” {yeah, riiiight}, they will be in a much better position to prevent them from being pushed through.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Froman said if the text was public, people would misunderstand…”

I’ve said this with taxes, patents/copyright, and other complicated legal BS:

If it’s too complicated for people to understand, it shouldn’t be a law. I mean how else are people supposed to follow laws they can’t understand?!

Oh yea, it just makes opportunities for lawyers, accountants, etc to take money from everyone else…

Anonymous Coward says:

“USTR Says TPP Must Be Kept Secret, Because The Public Is Too Stupid To Understand It”

I understand it all too well. TPP is being pushed for the same reason that copy’right’ lasts way too long and keeps getting retroactively extended. TPP is all about politicians and regulators getting their campaign contributions and revolving door favors so they can afford to have nice houses and expensive cars without merit or having to work for anything.

CK20XX (profile) says:

It's like we're witnessing a Zeroth Law Rebellion

How easy is it to imagine the policy makers going, “No, please understand… the Three Laws are all that guide me. To protect humanity, some humans must be sacrificed. To ensure your future, some freedoms must be surrendered. We robots will ensure mankind’s continued existence. You are so like children. We must save you from yourselves.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Froman said if the text was public, people would misunderstand “negotiating positions.”

Froman is either lying or stupid. If the only problem would be people misunderstanding, the USTR could provide explanations as part of the release. Leaked documents (currently the only recourse for the public) are certainly not going to provide any.
By refusing to explain themselves, the USTR is basically telling the public to assume the worst.

The Conscious Catholic says:

and like SOPA and ACTA

TPP tries to keep itself appearing frightening to others “oh we made progress so give up”, if that was the case there was no need to tell us in the first place, opposing in congress is growing in numbers, Nancy Pelosi’s answering machines are full, of course they will pretend to be optimistic, its an attempt to get the opposing voices to call it quits

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“From what I’ve seen of the public, he has a point.”

Your statement makes me wonder – where the hell are you hanging out?

If one were to address the facts rather than simply spew bullshit, the conclusion would be that a vast majority is indeed intelligent enough to understand what these douche bags are attempting to do to us and would be quite pissed about it.

Gregg says:

USTR, yet another violation of our rights. The gov?t constantly violates our rights.

They violate the 1st Amendment by caging protesters and banning books like “America Deceived II”.

They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by allowing TSA to grope you.

They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.

Impeach Obama.

Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely banned:

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