Trade Agreements Should Protect An Open Internet, Not Kill It

from the fighting-for-the-future,-or-the-past? dept

For a few years now, we’ve been writing about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and how we’re quite concerned by many aspects of it. In particular, we’re quite concerned about the intellectual property provisions — which leaks have shown are tremendously problematic — as well as the corporate sovereignty provisions, which negotiators like to call “investor state dispute settlement” (ISDS) because it sounds so boring. Of course, the biggest concern of all is that these deals are negotiated in total secrecy, with the various negotiators refusing to reveal the agreed upon text until it’s a done deal and the public is unable to comment on it or suggest changes and fixes.

In the fight over the TPP (and the other big trade agreement, with Europe, called the TTIP or TAFTA), an important side issue is over so-called “fast track” authority, or (more officially) “trade promotion authority.” This is where Congress basically tells the USTR that it will only take a single “yes/no” vote on whatever the USTR comes back with, rather than delving into the details of the trade agreement and challenging specific aspects of it. In fact, there’s an argument that, without fast track authority, the USTR can’t really commit the US to anything. What’s really odd is that, in a Republican-controlled Congress that seems to want to fight President Obama on just about anything that even has a whiff of the executive branch having more power, it’s those Republicans in Congress who are pushing strongly for fast track authority — effectively giving up their (Constitutionally-mandated) power to regulate international trade.

Either way, it is strongly expected that Congress will introduce some sort of Trade Promotion Authority bill in the coming days, even as the key Democrat involved in this issue, Senator Ron Wyden, has pushed back on hearings planned by Senator Orrin Hatch for later this week.

To try to justify giving up Congress’s own power to the executive branch, defenders of trade promotion authority, such as Paul Ryan, claim that it’s actually Congress “asserting its authority in the early stages of a trade negotiation.” That’s clearly bullshit, since TPP is in its final stages, after being negotiated for many years. The other claim is that because of the way trade promotion authority works, it involves a bill that tells the USTR what needs to be included in any agreement. Again, while that is used to make it look like it’s Congress presenting its desires to the USTR, which has to follow it, that would only make sense if TPA was offered at the beginning — not the end — of the negotiations.

Even Paul Krugman, who was initially a supporter of the TPP eventually changed his tune. Most recently, in response to President Obama’s latest call for trade promotion authority, Krugman referred to it as suspicious nonsense. He supports trade deals, but “strongly suspects” there’s “bad stuff hidden in the fine print.” Of course, that wouldn’t be such a concern if the USTR actually released the drafts it’s pitching, but that apparently will never happen.

And that brings us (finally) to the question of what will be in the eventual push for fast track authority, that is expected to come out any day now. Daniel Sepulveda, who is sort of the US’s “ambassador to the internet,” just gave a speech talking about how fast track can help protect the open internet. He notes, rightly, that it’s important to “[preserve] the free flow of information, to protect the internet’s potential as the world’s engine for future growth.” He further points out that “the increase in Internet use creates significant economic potential.” But, oddly, he claims that fast track can somehow guarantee this — when previous attempts at fast track have shown no such thing. Here’s Sepulveda:

The Obama Administration is working to unlock the promise of e-commerce, keep the Internet free and open, promote competitive access for telecommunications suppliers, and set digital trade rules-of-the-road by negotiating new trade agreements. Trade Promotion Authority legislation and the pending trade agreements we expect Congress to consider over the coming months and years will provide that kind of protection. These agreements aim to ensure that the free flow of information and data are the default setting for nations. This will preserve the architecture that has empowered the Internet and global communications to fuel economic growth at home and abroad. It is in our interest, across parties and ideology, to ensure we move forward and approve TPA and the pending agreements for many reasons, but promoting the preservation and growth of global communications and the open Internet is one of the strongest.

I agree that preserving an open internet is important — and I wish that our trade deals did exactly that, but they don’t. In particular, the intellectual property sections of various trade agreements have not been focused on preserving an open internet, but on shutting it down. We’ve been asking for nearly a decade how protectionist policies aimed at propping up a legacy industry’s obsolete business models is “promoting free trade.” It seems like the opposite.

And, in fact, if you look at the version of the “fast track” legislation that was introduced in the last Congress, you’ll notice that the section it has on intellectual property is almost entirely focused on ratcheting up enforcement and protection. It only talks about intellectual property enforcement, including “meeting enforcement obligations,” and “providing strong protection for new and emerging technologies and new methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property.” It includes sections that are all about protectionism and enforcement, rather than “free trade.”

Providing strong protection for new and emerging technologies and new methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property, including in a manner that facilitates legitimate digital trade;

Preventing or eliminating discrimination with respect to matters affecting the availability, acquisition, scope, maintenance, use, and enforcement of intellectual property rights;

Ensuring that standards of protection and enforcement keep pace with technological developments, and in particular ensuring that rightholders have the legal and technological means to control the use of their works through the Internet and other global communication media, and to prevent the unauthorized use of their works;

Providing strong enforcement of intellectual property rights, including through accessible, expeditious, and effective civil, administrative, and criminal enforcement mechanisms.

In fact, if you look, these clauses are almost verbatim from the last time Congress granted trade promotion authority, back in 2002, with the 2002 Trade Act. Check out the section in that law about intellectual property and you may notice a rather striking similarity to what was in the last Congress’s attempt, put together by Senator Orrin Hatch, who’s leading the charge this time around as well:

Providing strong protection for new and emerging technologies and new methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property;

Preventing or eliminating discrimination with respect to matters affecting the availability, acquisition, scope, maintenance, use, and enforcement of intellectual property rights;

Ensuring that standards of protection and enforcement keep pace with technological developments, and in particular ensuring that rightholders have the legal and technological means to control the use of their works through the Internet and other global communication media, and to prevent the unauthorized use of their works; and

Providing strong enforcement of intellectual property rights, including through accessible, expeditious, and effective civil, administrative, and criminal enforcement mechanisms;

Look familiar? Other than the inclusion of the phrase “including in a manner that facilitates legitimate digital trade,” they are identical. And yet, think about just how much the world has changed since 2002 — and how important we know the internet is, and how much we’ve learned about how intellectual property law can be widely abused to harm or break the open internet.

Since then, we’ve seen the DMCA used repeatedly to stifle free expression. We’ve seen Russia using copyright law to stifle political dissent. We’ve seen how plans to use copyright law to block access to certain sites enable an architecture of censorship. We’ve seen news publications seized and popular digital storage lockers shut down completely via copyright claims.

Given all that, it’s difficult to see how the US can actually be serious about protecting an open and free internet, if it’s going to continue to use trade agreements like the TPP — to push for greater tools like those described above, that simply put the ability to censor the internet, and to take down innovative services, into trade agreements. If, when the eventual trade promotion authority bill comes out, it includes this same language all over again, you can be sure that the TPP is not about protecting an open internet, but rather about protecting a few legacy businesses, and enabling government to shut down and stop the open internet.

I’m a believer in free trade and open borders. I know that some are protesting agreements like the TPP because they don’t like free trade itself, and think it’s problematic. That’s not my concern. My concern is that what’s being done in the name of free trade, and in the name of an open internet, is anything but that. It’s about protecting the past, not investing in and enabling the future. We all have our concerns about what’s in the various sections of the TPP (which could be solved today if the USTR just released the damn documents), but our first hint of what’s really going on here will be evident by how the “intellectual property” section of the expected TPA bill is written. If it’s just repeating the same misleading lines from 2002, you can be sure that the TPP is just as big a problem as expected.

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Comments on “Trade Agreements Should Protect An Open Internet, Not Kill It”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Providing strong protection for new and emerging technologies and new methods of transmitting and distributing products embodying intellectual property, including in a manner that facilitates legitimate digital trade;

That sounds suspiciously like freedom for corporations to use the Internet as a means of selling to the public, while restricting the publics use of the Internet so as to protect corporate interests.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Nice, but not needed

Ultimately the public doesn’t need to see what’s in the ‘trade’ agreements to know that they are rotten and need to be rejected. The fact the they have been put together in total secrecy, with only representatives of various industries having full access to the texts and the discussions really tells you all you need to know about the contents and who they are meant to benefit.

No ‘trade’ agreement, treaty, or anything similar that is shrouded in secrecy should be accepted by the public and it’s (theoretical) representatives, and this one is no different.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Even Paul Krugman, who was initially a supporter of the TPP eventually changed his tune.”

Just like supporting the Iraq invasion and so many other disasterous policies, and then trying to back out when the winds change direction, Paul Krugman is the ultimate me-too “bandwagon”-type who almost never opposes the status quo.

People like Krugman are nothing more than lapdogs to the ruling powers, giving them cover while trying to appear as some kind of unbiased intellectual guru (though one with a track record of being disasterously wrong much of the time), who by strange coincidence supports whatever policies the establishment is pushing, but eventually bails out when he realizes that he’ll be going down with a sinking ship.

Flyinginn says:

Trade agreements should

Adding to @cypherspace’s comment about GOP’s unexpected willingness to support Obama on TTIP, in the UK we notice that the Tory objection to everything European stops suddenly when it comes to working with the European Council of Ministers’ International Trade commission to push TTIP approval, bypassing consultation and public disclosure in the process. Strange bedfellows all around, and a growing conviction that the corporate fix is in.

ysth (profile) says:


After the President’s speech, I posted this and also mailed it to my congresscritters. The only response from them was from Adam Smith (see below). But basically he said he’s all for trade promotion authority and the TPP while trying to not actually say that. It seems a lost cause unless many people join me in contacting their representatives.

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral free trade agreement currently under negotiation. I appreciate hearing from you about this very important issue.

Let me first say that I am committed to growing jobs here at home and agree that we must work to promote American jobs and ensure we have a strong, well-trained workforce. Throughout my time in Congress, I have been working to do just that. Not only have I supported robust investments in education and workforce training and development, but I have also supported programs to assist American manufacturers access new markets. Additionally, I have pushed to increase the minimum wage to ensure our workers are compensated fairly for their work and can be part of our country’s middle class.

I also agree with you that input from Congress and the American people on the terms of any TPP agreement is critical to ensure that it is the best deal possible for the American people. President Obama has laid out a range of ambitious standards for this trade agreement to better position domestic industries and workers and to raise the standard of living of the global economy. These include incorporating high labor standards, promoting innovation, helping small and medium sized enterprises export their products to new markets, reducing costs for utilizing green goods and services, allowing governments to respond quickly to the needs of their communities, and allowing our exporters to more actively compete in international markets especially against state-owned enterprises and value added taxes, among others.

As a part of broader efforts to renew U.S. economic, diplomatic, and defense engagement with Asia, TPP seeks to improve our trade relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. Although negotiations began on November 12, 2011 and some of the agreement’s text has begun to take shape, there are still important outstanding issues that need to be addressed. The current negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Of the eleven countries currently in the partnership, the United States already has existing trade agreements with six of the participant countries. There are also more than 180 preferential trade agreements among Asia-Pacific countries, most of which do not include the United States. Further, the Asia-Pacific region hosts some of the fastest growing markets in the world and there is potential for significant economic gains for the U.S. from increased trade with these countries over the next couple of decades. A successful agreement could go a long way toward the creation and retention of American jobs as the economy continues to recover.

If done right, Washington State is particularly well-positioned geographically and economically to take full advantage of a TPP agreement. Our state’s economy is one of the most trade-dependent in the country due in part to the large amount of container traffic at our two large ports in Tacoma and Seattle, as well as the demand for Washington exports such as agriculture and aerospace products. Over the past 30 years, Washington’s exports have contributed to nearly 40 percent of the state’s jobs. In 2011, total Washington State exports equaled $64.6 billion, placing the state fifth in the nation and with 37% of these exports going to TPP countries. Additionally, there are over 375 companies in TPP countries with investments in Washington State. Expanding market access for American goods and services overseas is a critical part of growing our economy.

I have heard from various local stakeholders who feel they continue to lack meaningful input in that process and I agree with those concerns. Throughout TPP negotiations, I have been actively engaged with all stakeholders that have concerns about a wide range of issues within TPP. Not only have I convened many meetings to discuss these concerns directly with my constituents, I have also transmitted these concerns directly to decision makers in Washington, DC. Last year, I convened an important meeting with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Froman where leaders of our community had the opportunity to voice their concerns directly to the Ambassador here at home. Issues regarding constitutional authority, transparency, labor and environmental provisions were all discussed openly.

Due to this continued engagement with the Administration concerning these pressing issues, USTR has implemented new transparency measures to engage stakeholders and the public. One of these important changes is the inclusion of labor representatives in all 16 Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITAC) that was announced in February 2014. This was an important policy shift because typically labor unions are represented in a Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) and their representatives cannot participate in the proceedings of other ITACs or any ad hoc working groups they form.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama indicated that he will seek Congressional approval of TPA. Technically, TPA is not necessary to begin or even conclude trade negotiations, but it is widely understood to be a key element for passing legislation that implements trade agreements. Previous negotiations for free trade agreements were conducted under the auspices of Congress through TPA, which has been reauthorized by Congress since 1974. The last authorization expired on July 1, 2007.

TPA defines how Congress has chosen to exercise its constitutional authority over trade policy. It allows the President to negotiate directly with foreign countries and then submit the agreement to Congress for unamended consideration under an expedited timeline. Beyond negotiation objectives laid out by TPA, I was pleased that Democratic congressional leaders succeeded in forcing the White House to agree to a new trade framework for bilateral trade agreements in May 2007. Previous trade agreements had not done enough to ensure the environment and workers’ rights were protected. Our trade system must include enforceable protections for workers and the environment to help create an economy that benefits the largest possible number of people. I voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) exactly because it lacked these protections.

However, Democratic congressional leaders and I have continued to insist that minimum standards for workers’ rights and environmental protection be included in the core of the trade agreements and that these provisions be enforceable and subject to the same sanctions for violations as all other parts of the agreement. Democratic leaders have worked closely with national labor unions and major environmental groups to make sure strong language was included. The bipartisan agreement that was reached – known as the May 10th agreement – represented a fundamental shift forward in U.S. trade policy, as all pending U.S. free trade agreements were amended to include these important labor and environmental priorities. These changes have been accepted as a baseline for future trade agreements.

However, I consider the May 10th agreement to be a foundation upon which we need to continue to build. I have heard and share the concerns my constituents have voiced over the strength and enforceability of the labor and environment chapters in TPP. I too agree that we need to preserve and continue to build high standards, along with having the ability to hold trade partners accountable should they not honor their commitments. For this reason, in early 2014 I signed a letter to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman urging him to protect the environmental provisions in the May 10th agreement within TPP. This letter asked him to ensure stronger and binding environmental provisions to help better address climate change, protect finite natural resources, and foster economic stability at home and abroad.

I also share some of the concerns of the labor community and have expressed these in Washington, DC to key decision makers. In May, I signed a letter to Ambassador Froman urging him to support an enhanced framework for protecting worker’s rights to help ensure that TPP benefits the middle class in this country and protects the rights of workers in our trading partner countries. The U.S. must ensure that substantial progress is made on this front in countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Mexico to ensure that we are not rewarding bad practices or inadequate labor norms.

In an effort to provide the Administration with instructions and objectives for the trade agreements under negotiation, last Congress Senator Max Baucus, Senator Orrin Hatch and, Congressman Dave Camp introduced the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act (BTPAA) of 2014 in January 2014. This legislation included new negotiation objectives for the 21st century economy and expanded executive branch requirements to consult with Congress and the public. This bill was not considered in either the House or the Senate in the 113th Congress and a new TPA bill has not been introduced this Congress.

As the TPP negotiation process continues to evolve, I will continue working to ensure that any TPP agreement reached is the best deal possible for the American people, builds on the May 10th agreement, and reflects our values. As the TPA debate continues or should TPP become a formal agreement that is submitted to Congress for consideration, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.

Additionally, I remain strongly committed to strengthening Washington State’s economy by supporting robust investments in education, job training assistance, and help for American manufacturers. I realize that trade raises countless other issues and concerns. I am constantly looking for ways to not just improve our trade policy, but to make other public policy changes that will help workers both in the United States and throughout the world better deal with the challenges of our rapidly changing global economy. Congress must continue to work for better health care, job training, education, and fairer wages to ensure broader economic opportunity and make our workers more competitive in the global economy.

While I believe that trade is a key component to help our economy grow – even if done right – it is not enough. We must also do more to help displaced workers in our country – more skills training, income support during displacement, and health care coverage and pensions that don’t go away with a change in job. That is why I have worked to support displaced workers and make sure the American workforce stays competitive.

One way to assist displaced workers is through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which offers job training, extended unemployment benefits, and health benefits to workers who lose their jobs as a direct result of foreign trade. I have introduced legislation for several years to make the TAA program a more generous benefit for displaced workers, as well as to extend it to cover service-sector workers, such as software programmers, engineers, and architects, who lose their jobs as a result of competition from trade. These benefits expired in February 2011 and I have worked hard to push for their renewal, including the introduction of my own bill last Congress. I will continue my support for this program and will reintroduce my legislation very soon to ensure that American workers have the training and assistance they need.

Again, thank you for contacting me in regard to Trade Promotion Authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I will continue to support economic and trade policies that uphold our basic values and truly benefit Americans and Washington State residents. Should you have additional questions, concerns, or comments in the future, please feel free to contact me again.

David E.H. Smith says:


How Many Preferred Shares of CETA, TTIP, et al, Generated Enterprises are You Selling your Right to Sue the Global Corporate Economy for? ‘New’ Shareholders Can Say ‘NO’ to & Over-Rule CETA, TTIP, et al, Plans.

TPP, CETA, TTIP, Global Treaties; Corporate ‘USA’ & SHAREHOLDERS Secretly Using Tax Dollars to Implement SECRET Suing Machine to HAMMER Non Shareholders. Time to Re-Set ‘Game’?

Will corp.’USA’ et al, & Feds to Prepay $Billions for All ‘Trade’ Treaty/’Arrangements’, et al, Secret (‘Death-Star-Chamber) Tribunals’ Punitive Damages to Protect Home Territory’s Taxpayers? Other Territories, Municipalities, et al, “…(we) need to control corp. USA’s ‘Contributions'”.

Undemocratic, Higher Taxes & More Cuts to Services to Pay Secret Penalties; NON Shareholders Have to Pay corporates USA, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, et al, & their SHAREHOLDERS.
How Much are You Selling your Right to Sue the Global Corporate Economy for?

But, If Not PUTIN; ‘The WHITE KNIGHT’, then Who Do YOU Want to Bankroll the Saving the harmless NON shareholders of the World from Fast Tracking TPP’s, CETA’s (TTIP) Secret ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ Tribunal Penalties?
Will China, Iran, the Muslim World, et al, Support Putin in Suits?
How about Warren Buffett, et al?

It will be good for, not only the NON shareholders of the enterprises that can be generated by the on-going global ‘cooperation’ of corporate treaties, agreements, partnerships, et al, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, the EU – Canada CETA, TTIP, the China – Canada Investment Treaty, et al,
for the potential shareholders, as well,
who are quite interested to know if President Xi Jinping (China) will support Russia as a co-member of B.R.I.C.S. when President Putin uses his potential role as ‘The White Knight’.

And, while President Putin’s potential support as ‘The WHITE KNIGHT’ in the development of the TPP, et al, litigation below can dramatically off-set the hundreds of billions of dollars due to the present & future sanctions leveled by American led, et al, corporations & financial institutions via their governments’ signing their global corporate economic treaties/’arrangements’,
and the potential for making trillions of dollars for the Russian economy over the next 30 – 40 years & beyond,
are the citizens (SHAREHOLDERS & NON shareholders) of Germany & JAPAN just being prudent in wanting to wait for the outcome of:
1) The Submission to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA & the highest court in Germany, et al, to make their findings regarding ‘The Submission’:
‘The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, CHINA, Japan, Germany, Canada, et al
the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al’?

2) ‘The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?’

Have the federal representatives of the nations that are the potential signatories of TPP, TTIP, et al, willingly provided the NON shareholders of US, Canada, Europe, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, with the aforementioned information? Are the federal representatives, et al, depriving the NON shareholders of Canada, et al, of the due diligence information that enables the family of the NON shareholders of Canada, et al, to make informed decisions regarding their financial planning?

And, would a reasonable person conclude by a preponderance of the evidence, &/or, beyond a reasonable doubt, that these documents, et al, demonstrate that the SHAREHOLDERS of AMERICA, CANADA , the EU & Trans Pacific nations, et al, really do not care which NON shareholders pay them the punitive penalties, etc., by way of their secret (‘Death-Star Chamber’) TRIBUNALS, as long as its not the SHAREHOLDERS who pay & not their corporations regardless of which country the corporations:
1) operating from,
2) maintain their headquarters,
3) use to do their cyber banking, accounting, ‘taxation’, etc.
4) et al?

And, re; the CHINA – Canada Investment Treaty (C-CIT), et al, is it understandable why the ‘coveted’ Hong Kong investor & his associates are ‘concerned’ with the aforementioned findings of The SUPREME COURT of CANADA, et al, & the effects of the potential findings, et al, on the EU, AMERICA, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, treaties with CHINA, et al?

In regard to arms sales (and other ‘contentious’ products & services) ; how about the sale of arms (non nuclear) in general in regard to the ‘trade’ treaties that are continuing to be secretly negotiated and how will the Tribunals, both; B.R.I.C.S. & non BRICS, adjudicate, decide & penalize the NON SHAREHOLDERS for the sale of legitimate, semi- legitimate & ‘illegal’ sales of arms within the signatories nations & the those of others, &/or, unaligned? Of particular, interest is China, which does have an treaty with Canada, which puts China ‘at odds’ with other arms manufacturing & nuclear powers that it (China) does not have any ‘arrangements’ with.
Are these types of questions that your politicians & the corporate lobbyists calls ‘forget-me-nots’ (‘Buyer Beware’) that will be (maybe) worked out after the fast tracked signatures are obtained?

And, what do you think is the significance of the line in The Submission to The Supreme Court of Canada ‘…And, lest one forgets that the revelation of the present perilous international treaties/’arrangements’ began with the regard for the rights of Native Canadians as per the Treaties/’arrangements’ that corporate Canada & the Government of Canada have ‘foisted’ upon Native Canadians…’? What are the various ways that this line will cost the SHAREHOLDERS, et al?

On the other hand, it may be worth repeating yet again,
‘What the TREATY of VERSAILLES was to the 20th century PALES in COMPARISON to the TPP, CETA, C-CIT, NAFTA, et al, in the 21st’.

And, how will YOUR submission to YOUR highest court IMPROVE upon The Submission that is presently before The Supreme Court of Canada?

David E.H. Smith
– Researcher
– ‘Qui tam…’
Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 members of your family, friends, associates in order that they can use the due diligence info to make more informed decision about their families’ financial planning, & then they can share it with 10 others…
For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement, TPP, et al, and The WAD Accord

LVCitW says:

Orrin & the Supremes

Senior senator Orrin Hatch Tuesday floated (another) one on his official web page – from – in part:

“Again and again, the President has demonstrated he is accountable to no one, not even the American people.”

Seriously Mr Senator, as one who is, at present, a total shill-tool for the metastasizing end-stage web of capitalist tumors promoting the several ‘trade partnerships’ – which connive to TOTALLY EXCLUDE public review and comment and ultimately SUBVERT DEMOCRATIC PROCESS in these matters – HOW DARE YOU?!?

(The statement quoted above continues to self-backslap Mr Hatch for his relentless support of freedom and babies…)

(However, I don’t disagree that Mr Obama is as stated in the quote.)

A blip of this was carried on local TV news in Utah Tuesday evening, but as yet no on-line versions appear when searching for ‘orrin’ thereon.

As I find little ‘mainstream’ coverage of this whole taudry trade nonsense, apparently the various major news outlets wish to keep these matters out of the public eye – surprise! (Yet-another affirmation of the inevitable abuse by allowing ‘news’ sources to be controlled by entertainment industry / broadcast and internet providers, who in turn bankroll various govt agencies. Ergo, Leni Riefenstahl 2.0.)

In any case, gentle TD readers, as your consciences may allow – please join me in astro-blogging any articles regarding Mr Hatch’s pronouncement by making the connection to his attempts to abet the obstruction of democracy vis-a-vis ‘free trade’.

I’ve not yet read throughly the post immediately above which. at a glance, appears to cover another point that occurred to me, which was … I’m No Constitutional Lawyer (INCL?) but – I cannot imagine that the abuse of fast-track legislation to bypass complete citizen review isn’t something which is actionable by SCOTUS – how about a pre-emptive censure here?

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