President Obama Demands Critics Tell Him What's Wrong With TPP; Of Course We Can't Do That Because He Won't Show Us The Agreement

from the most-transparent-administration-in-history dept

President Obama is apparently quite annoyed by the fact that his own party is basically pushing against his “big trade deals” (that are not really about trade). Senator Elizabeth Warren has been pretty aggressive in trashing the TPP agreement, highlighting the fact that the agreement is still secret (other than the bits leaked by Wikileaks). In response, President Obama came out swinging against the critics of TPP arguing that “they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

He insists that it’s unfair to compare TPP to NAFTA because they’re different deals:

?You need to tell me what?s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago.?

Well, Mr. President, I would love to do that, but I can’t because you and your USTR haven’t released the damn text. It takes an insane lack of self-awareness for the guy who once declared his administration “the most transparent in history” to demand people tell him what’s wrong with his trade agreement, when that agreement is kept entirely secret.

Furthermore, multiple experts concerning things like the corporate sovereignty ISDS provisions and the intellectual property chapters have gone into great detail as to why the leaked versions have problems. They’re not complaining about NAFTA. They’re actually complaining about the latest drafts — but the USTR won’t acknowledge them because they’re talking about leaked versions.

In fact, the only real complaints I’ve seen relating to NAFTA concern the fact that the government says one thing about these big agreements, but the reality is something different.

Of course, he attacks the fact that people are complaining about the secrecy as well, by arguing (misleadingly) that the deal is not at all secret:

?The one that gets on my nerves the most is the notion that this is a ?secret? deal,? Obama said. ?Every single one of the critics who I hear saying, ?this is a secret deal,? or send out emails to their fundraising base saying they?re working to prevent this secret deal, can walk over today and read the text of the agreement. There?s nothing secret about it.?

I’m a critic. I can’t walk over today and read the text of the agreement. Obviously, President Obama is only talking about elected members of Congress. But that’s not what they’re complaining about. They’re complaining about the fact that the American public cannot see the text of the document or discuss the specifics of what’s in there. And that’s absolutely true.

And even the fact that members of Congress can actually see the document is tremendously misleading. Yes, members of Congress are allowed to walk over to the USTR and see a copy of the latest text. But they’re not allowed to take any notes, make any copies or bring any of their staff members. In other words, they can only read the document and keep what they remember in their heads. And they can’t have their staff members — the folks who often really understand the details — there to explain what’s really going on.

And it all comes back to the point that Senator Warren has been making for a long time: that former USTR Ron Kirk has admitted that a big reason why they keep the document secret is that when they tried being more transparent in the past, the agreement failed. As Warren says, if being transparent with the American public means the agreement will fail, then the problem is with the agreement, not the public.

?When I keep on hearing people repeating this notion that it?s ?secret,? I gotta say, it?s dishonest,? Obama continued. ?And it?s concerning when I see friends of mine resorting to these kinds of tactics.?

Here’s a little test: can we see the current TPP documents today? No? Then it’s secret. Claiming otherwise is what’s dishonest.

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Comments on “President Obama Demands Critics Tell Him What's Wrong With TPP; Of Course We Can't Do That Because He Won't Show Us The Agreement”

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59 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

Here’s a little test: can we see the current TPP documents today? No? Then it’s secret. Claiming otherwise is what’s dishonest.

He may be using the US Govt secret interpretation of what secret means, don’t be so hard on him. I’m already confused with one dictionary so imagine him having to deal with two entirely different meanings?

On a side note I’d love to know what “the most transparent in history” means in that dictionary. I have this feeling it translate to ordinary English as “nachos with molten cheese”.

David says:

Re: Not quite

On a side note I’d love to know what “the most transparent in history” means in that dictionary. I have this feeling it translate to ordinary English as “nachos with molten cheese”.

That does not even make sense when talking about the current government. It’s more like “roaches with molted feet”.

Actually, molting is indeed pretty much what happens with government come election time: the rigid skeleton of a parasitic moloch is discarded and replaced by something grown internally that hardens into something just as rigid but bigger and more dangerous almost immediately.

You don’t get the right to complain about being devoured by roaches if you don’t participate with their molting.

Which reminds me that a few years back I’ve seen an almost transparent scorpion. Probably shortly after molting. I can honestly say that it was the most transparent scorpion in my personal history.

Anonymous Coward says:

going on what is said in the post, how do we know he’s seen it? this could be more bullshit! i would have thought that, given his position, a modicum of brains was a requirement. asking opinions on something not available for scrutiny is like asking what color the man in the Moon is, when no one has managed to get near to him!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Dear Mr. President:

If you can’t answer the question, obviously, you have no reason to say there is something wrong with the agreement.

That the process behind the agreement is obscure enough for the interpretation, and therefore the effects of the agreement, to make even the final text questionable, is another issue entirely.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Being found out for the corporate apologists they are. As stated in the article, they fail to pass trade agreements when the public knows the content.

“And it all comes back to the point that Senator Warren has been making for a long time: that former USTR Ron Kirk has admitted that a big reason why they keep the document secret is that when they tried being more transparent in the past, the agreement failed. As Warren says, if being transparent with the American public means the agreement will fail, then the problem is with the agreement, not the public.”

Anonymous Coward says:

“As Warren says, if being transparent with the American public means the agreement will fail, then the problem is with the agreement, not the public.”

Bravo! How can the public let their elected leaders know what they think about the agreement, if it’s conducted in complete secrecy. That doesn’t sound very democratic. Nothing about these policy laundering agreements is democratic.

Anonymous Coward says:

I take it there are times such as this where you rue our being a nation having a government of elected representatives, as opposed to every individual being personally solicited before any government policy is implemented. As nice as it might be to put everything up to discussion by everybody, elected representative and otherwise, it is the surest way I know to make sure that everything grinds to a halt and nothing is ever done.

I am expressing no opinion on the agreement, or fast track, or any other issue related to this matter, but merely that railing against this because fewer than all have access misses the mark.

BTW, the President is directing his comments to members of Congress, each of whom, to my knowledge, is able to access all relevant information associated with the ongoing negotiations.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I take it there are times such as this where you rue our being a nation having a government of elected representative”

I just wish we lived in a nation where those elected representatives actually represented the people.

“the President is directing his comments to members of Congress, each of whom, to my knowledge, is able to access all relevant information associated with the ongoing negotiations.”

The post covered this point. Yes, they technically have such access — but that access is limited to the point where it’s largely symbolic rather than useful.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Screw you and your “true democracy” vs. this bullshit straw man argument.

There is another way. Specifically, that path lies through our representatives in the Administration showing us what they are actually negotiating so that we can call our representatives in the legislature and tell them to vote down this crap.

But the Administration has made it VERY clear that they do not want at all either us reading the agreement that will potentially bind our actions as citizens, or allow our representatives to represent us an vote to block these things from becoming law.

So I’ll turn your argument back on you. If the choice is implementing potentially bad laws that I cannot know or see beforehand (or that my representatives can’t even see!!) or nothing happening, then I will be on the side of not taking any action EVERY TIME.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

BTW, the President is directing his comments to members of Congress, each of whom, to my knowledge, is able to access all relevant information associated with the ongoing negotiations.

Sure they can. If they set up a meeting to do so, and don’t have anyone else in the room with them, and don’t take any notes, and don’t make any copies to have a lawyer examine later in order to spot any potential loopholes…

Adding insult to injury, as well as making it totally clear who’s really in charge of the negotiations, while members of congress may be severely restricted when it comes to viewing the agreement text, you know who isn’t? The industry insiders who are writing the thing.

They have real-time access, from their offices no less, they don’t need to jump through any hoops at all. Makes it pretty clear who’s really running the show, and who the ‘trade’ negotiations are really meant to benefit doesn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am positively shocked that you have limited yourself to only one dishonest comment that attempts to totally misrepresent what was actually said. You need to work on losing all inhibitions that are holding you back from becoming yet another mindless lemming spewing iltelkectually corrupt, unintelligible, and specious commentary.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s hardly a “misrepresentation” – this is exactly what happens with existing law. “It exists in law, therefore you must have wanted it to be law; any disagreements you have now are wrong, and you’re a pirate.” This happens every time people point out issues with existing and proposed laws.

And as for misrepresenting what was said, that’s hilarious coming from you. You’d rather quibble about EFF conduct than anything else, while singing the praises of patent, copyright and online trolls, of all things.

No one’s going to believe some chump whose sole purpose on this site is to speak condescendingly to everyone who disagrees with your worldview, and curry favor with those who define reasoned debate as insulting everyone else at every turn.

Seriously, it’s getting old.

Ambrellite (profile) says:

Opportunity for leaking?

Didn’t Obama warn congress members not to leak the TPP or they’d be criminally charged for espionage? And now he doesn’t see why the agreement is secret? How can anyone be charged for leaking the agreement if it isn’t?!

I can only hope that members of congress take that statement and run with it. Leak the agreement and let the DOJ just try to file charges when the president himself has declared the TPP not a secret. You’d make your constituents happy, whatever their politics.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Others have aluded to this, but I am goin to say it in full.

The solution to this challenge by President Obama is for the Congressmen challenged to take it up. ‘Read’ into the record the problematic parts of the deal ‘as best you can’ by memory. Express both before and after that you are leaking the contents of this in response to Obama telling you you should. Tell Obama that if you have anything wrong, he can prove it by releasing the relevant parts of the current text and telling us what it means.

P.S. Bonus points if you can distort the text to imply that the TPP mandates concentration camps or institues Sharia law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Secrets? No way

This is the James Comey of the FBI. We’re keeping the authorized-for-public-release version of the Public Impact Assessment on Drones secret, because, well, it’s just a good idea.

Same thing on IMSI Detectors. Never heard of a thing called a Stingray….(Oops, did I just say that?) Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

CW says:

Come its Obama so its must be good…he would never hide anything, right?

I love Elizabeth Warren’s argument which is “The government doesn’t want you to read this massive new trade agreement. It’s top secret,” Warren said in a statement released on her website last week. “Why? Here’s the real answer people have given me: ‘We can’t make this deal public because if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it.’” Which is the exact argument used against Obamacare but we know how that ended up. So now her and the libs are getting a taste of their own medicine. Swallow hard.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Obamacare was openly debated in congress. I remember the news coverage of those debates. I remember the repeated debates over the public option (which was included and axed several times), republicans bluffing and insisting congress Obamacare was so bad that congress wouldn’t use it. I remember then changing their tune and decried how Democrats were exempting congress when Democrats called that bluff and made congress the only employer exempt from Obamacare’s employer mandate. Members of congress could take notes, show their staffers, discuss with their staffers. Obama care was one of the longest and most drawn out legislative fight in recent history. The Republican argument that The ACA was slipped in and passed secretly only appeared after the bill passed, and doesn’t hold muster. Contrast with this debate in which a lack of transparency and the inability of congress to read the text of the TPP is being criticized during the process and no substantive debate over the content of the TPP is taking place. That’s a sign of lack of transparency with congress.

Tyler Durde says:

We can't see TPP?

You are poorly informed, and should try to do a better job as journalist. Now that the fast track has been approved it is available for ANYONE to see the terms, I’m sorry but you are wrong.

Everything that was wrong (which was a lot) with NAFTA actually gets addressed in TPP, which is why I am dumbfounded by people who do not support it because of the NAFTA debacle..

Ignorance is a terrible disease that plagues this country’s progress, please don’t contribute anymore.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: We can't see TPP?

“Now that the fast track has been approved it is available for ANYONE to see the terms”

Please tell us where it is available. All I can find is the leaked texts.

“which is why I am dumbfounded by people who do not support it because of the NAFTA debacle”

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t support it because NAFTA happened. Everyone I know who doesn’t support it have that stance because of what the leaked texts contained.

However, NAFTA is worth bringing up because it shows a similar mindset to TPP: legislation that is intended to benefit corporations at the expense of ordinary people.

JMT says:

Re: We can't see TPP?

“Now that the fast track has been approved it is available for ANYONE to see the terms…”

Great to hear, but you forgot to provide the link to the document that ANYONE can see.

“Everything that was wrong (which was a lot) with NAFTA actually gets addressed in TPP, which is why I am dumbfounded by people who do not support it because of the NAFTA debacle..”

Actually that’s one criticism of TPP that I’ve barely heard mentioned around here. Most of the criticism on Techdirt has been based on the leaks and the ridiculous secrecy, so your complaint makes little sense.

And how exactly do you know that TPP fixes everything wrong with NAFTA?

David E.H. Smith says:

TPP & Global Treaties; 'The Global Slight of Mind' Illusion.

TPP, TTIP, CETA & Global Treaties;
‘Schadenfreude’ & the Public; Too ‘Unenlightened’ to Figure out ‘The Global Slight of Mind’ Illusion.

– David ‘Copper’ Smith

Corporate America, Wall St., Congress; Deluded, or, Delluding; ‘IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS’?

Individual States & Provinces Jump at Opportunity to: Refuse, or, ‘Over Charge’ Business Licenses, Raise Targeting Prov./State Taxes, ‘Road’ Taxes, etc. to Recoup Global Treaties’ Suits (plus Earn Lucrative ‘Punitive Damages’) from Non Good Corporate Citizens (Prov./State non Compliant), Associated/Support Corps., Securities Exchanges, et al.
TPP, TTIP, CETA, et al, Shareholders ‘Personna non Gratus’; Shareholders’ Meetings I.D. Toxic Neighbors, In-laws, et al.

MORE Blaming & Punishing Info Deprived Citizens of Signatory Nations, et al.
Global Treaties Not about How Much Trade, but, How to & Who to Trade with to ‘Undermine’ AIIB. About as Reversible as Wall St.’s ‘Derivatives’. How Can You Ensure that their are NO ‘Future Considerations’ Paid out by TPP, et al, ‘Foreign’ & Domestic Lobbyists?

The limited number of direct beneficiaries of the CETA, TPP & the other global treaties (ie. the global corporate leaders & their ‘preferred’ shareholders), are most desperate to keep from the prying, due diligence eyes of the of the potential global un-preferred shareholders’ & the harmless NON shareholders.

The fact of the matter is, the flurry of global treaties have very little to do with trade. The treaties are about ‘preferred’ trading partners who are successfully attempting to legitimize for the signatories of the treaty/’Arrangements’, settlements of the TPP’s ‘contrived’ disputes, et al, by enabling the parties to alleged ‘disputes’ to use non adversarial settlements whereby,

the corporations & preferred shareholders ‘merely’ shift all of their costs from themselves to the harmless NON shareholder & the un-preferred shareholders, ie. the general public/individual taxpayers.

These costs include the costs of determining:
1) which harmless non shareholders will have to pay corporations & some SHAREHOLDERS (‘preferred’ SHAREHOLDERS) for the corporations’ ‘mistakes’, contrivances, unrealistic, &/or, any expectations, etc.,
2) how high (win-fall) the punitive penalties, awards, damages, etc. will be
without the harmless NON shareholder being represented throughout the determination
of, not, if the NON shareholders are guilty, but, ‘merely’ how ‘guilty’ the harmless NON shareholders are with no means/opportunity to appeal the decisions by way of the Treaties’ (‘Death-Star-Chamber’) new superseding, cyber jurisdiction Tribunals,
&
3) et al.
***
For Further Information, see,
‘TPP & Global Treaties & Anti AIIB’ below.
Also see;
‘The Submission’ to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA:
“The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Australia, Canada, the EU, et al
v
the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al”
including
‘The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?’
(see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)
***
TPP & GLOBAL TREATIES;
IS HOLLYWOOD PART of the (TPP Global Treaty & Anti AIIB) PROCESS, or, OUT-of-the LOOP, too?
– L.A. Times, Apr. 7, 2015, blog

It may regrettable that the simplest & most basic information & questions that can lead to a much more secure & profitable relationship between the potential signatories of the TPP & China, et al, has not been shared with Defense Secretary Carter for his humble consideration. Perhaps, he may consider answering some of the enclosed questions in order for us to get a better idea of what his understanding is of how the TPP & other Global Treaties can be vastly improved inclusively & thereby, minimize, &/or, eliminate the dangerous problems below that have led some to understand that

‘What the TREATY of VERSAILLES was to the 20th century (ie. provided the basis for World War II) PALES in COMPARISON to the TPP, CETA, C-CIT, NAFTA, et al, in the 21st’.

Unless, of course, the long term economic destabilization and subsequent (secret) military weapons development & appropriations are the intent of DefSec Carter, et al, in the secret (Death-Star-Chamber) ‘arrangements’ of the TPP & the Global Corporate Treaties/Agreements.
***
But, how many ‘savvy’ Americans & their global corporate associates are ‘poised’ to make windfall profits from their international cross investments, ‘nest-feathered’ lawsuits & preplanned treaty ‘arrangements’ at the direct expense of the harmless non shareholders, ie. 95% – 99% of America, et al?
***
While the good sales folks of Wall St. may prefer to tell their ‘Enron-able’ customers who were also the victims of ‘The Preliminary Foray of The Wall St. Meltdown’, et al, that it’s just some Unions that are fighting back, how much of the Fighting Back of Unions against the Secret, Unethical & Anti-Democratic Arrangements of The Global Treaties’ ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ Tribunals, can be understood in the context of the harmless NON Shareholders, including Union members, fighting to Survive (not ‘thrive’) Against the Uncaring, ‘Profits at Any (body else’s) Costs’, SHAREHOLDERS & their Colluding, Global Corporate Leaders?
– Wall Street Journal, blog, Mar. 25, 2015

TPP & GLOBAL TREATIES;

Global Corporate Economy Conniving to Get Harmless NON Shareholders to Pay Trillion$ in Court Costs, Punitive ‘Penalties’, etc.?
No Treaties = Corporations/SHAREHOLDERS pay for Their Own ‘Mistakes’.

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

But, If Not PUTIN; ‘The WHITE KNIGHT’, then Who Do YOU Want to Bankroll the Saving of 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, &/or, the ‘coveted’ Hong Kong investor, et al?
***
FULL Article, see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com
***
Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others…

tonyn says:

check this out

check this out heres why we are watching tyranny evolve in the USA and no one is doing a dam thing about it , while all the politicians are enriching themselves as fast as they can before this tidal wave comes crashing in on our shores …. I bet some kind of false flag event takes place before this …..
when you click to close the page it will go to a read page if you click stay on page and there are lots of graphs to help explain the economic state we are in . My Question is with all the majority of broke people living pay check to pay check in the USA How in the hell did this Debt get so out of control ??????
Somebody is raping the nation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://pro.moneymappress.com/MMRBSSH39PPM3/LMMRR4BE/?h=true

GEMont (profile) says:

...all of the people most of the time and most of the people all of the time...

No surprises here at all.

When most Americans get all their information from TV, its a simple enough process to fool most Americans – all the time – into believing absolute bullshit, by just having the current US president go on national TV and lie his ass off about everything.

This is exactly what Obama has done.

He really is the Liar in Chief.

His handlers simply looked at the complaints against TPP, and then one by one, Obama publically pretended they were all false, and told the general US public that all the talk they’ve been hearing about how the TPP is a bad Trade Agreement, is simply not true.

He lied. Publically. Massively. Its his job.

All of his comments about how anyone could just waltz over and read the entire thing was designed to “prove” to the TV viewing general public that everyone who says the TPP text is secret, is lying.

After all, that is what they hired Obama to do, because generally speaking, Americans believe whatever their president says.

The job description says: must be able to CON-vince the general public that truth is fiction and that fiction is truth, repeatedly.

Obama is just earning his keep.

Anon says:

SOLUTIONS

Here are a few links, that provide possible INDIVIDUAL SOLUTIONS, that assist individuals in becoming more self-reliant, and less susceptible to the machinations, and predations, of the District of Criminals and Wall St. predators:

Withdraw Your Consent: 25 Ways to Declare Your Independence
http://www.silverdoctors.com/withdraw-your-consent-25-ways-to-declare-your-independence/

50 Ways to Starve the Beast
http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/50-ways-to-starve-the-beast-04052013

Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Americans Can’t Afford the Future
http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/81190/lets-stop-fooling-ourselves-americans-cant-afford-future

89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression
http://sgtreport.com/2015/01/89-tips-that-will-help-you-prepare-for-the-coming-economic-depression/

Be sure to read all the comments which follow the articles (above), for many more INDIVIDUAL SOLUTIONS, that anyone may begin using today, to counter the predations of the predatory class (.001%)

DHFabian (profile) says:

Politics of the TPP

As far as we know, the TPP meets its description of, “NAFTA on Steroids.” Liberal media evidently supports the TPP, since they virtually disappeared VP Joe Biden, trying to sell Hillary Clinton as the 2016 Dem candidate. Before launching her pre-campaign speaking tour, H. Clinton was hard at work promoting the TPP. We’re stuck with the reality that there will be only two viable candidates, representing each of the two power parties, both of which have the same agenda.

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