Lobbyists, Politicians And USTR Planning A 'Rally' To Show 'Strong Support' For TAFTA

from the oh-really? dept

As the plans for the new TAFTA agreement are getting increasing heat and concern from the public, apparently the US Chamber of Commerce (a lobbying organization that has long favored these protectionist policies that seek to protect their members) along with the acting head of the USTR, Demetrios Marantis, and various "lawmakers," are planning to host a "rally" next week to pretend that there is "strong support" for such an agreement. Somehow, I doubt that this will bring out crowds of young people. Apparently this will be held on Capitol Hill and they'll be launching a "coalition" in support of "trans-atlantic trade." Sounds like a party.

Of course, this reeks of desperation on the part of the USTR and the Chamber of Commerce. The momentum against these kinds of agreements has been growing, and putting together a pretend rally where the only folks likely to show up are the representatives of big legacy businesses (apparently GE and IBM expect to attend) isn't going to mollify a concerned public.

I say this as someone who believes strongly in the value and importance of free trade. Trade barriers can create serious economic harm, especially for those they're supposedly designed to help. However, the reality is that these agreements are not really about free trade. They tend to be about helping out a few legacy businesses who don't want competition and don't want to deal with the impact of innovation. And, for reasons that are beyond me, the USTR thinks it's their job to help prop up those legacy businesses and to slow down the pace of innovation. I understand why the Chamber of Commerce does this (they're paid to), but it's pretty shameless for the USTR to be so obviously in the pocket of big business, rather than representing what is really in the best interests of trade policy across the board.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    rw (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    "... pretty shameless for the USTR to be so obviously in the pocket of big business..."

    Why should they be any different than the DOJ or other US government departments?

     

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  2.  
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    Rekrul, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    I hope thousands of people show up to this rally... to protest!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Counter Rally!

     

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

  4.  
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    Mike Palmedo, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 3:08pm

    They are launching the "Business Coalition for International Trade." The group is being set up by the Chamber of Commerce. It has a website, which now has a form up for companies to join the coalition. http://www.transatlantictrade.org/

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 3:41pm

    I'm getting a bit tired of these, people "non elected by the way", making decisions that affect my life.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 3:44pm

    And, for reasons that are beyond me, the USTR thinks it's their job to help prop up those legacy businesses and to slow down the pace of innovation.

    "Hey, once your term at the USTR is up, how'd you like to work for us? Vice presidency, six-figure salary sound good?"
    And then all of a sudden they just happen to decide that propping up those legacy businesses is top priority.

     

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  7.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Free Trade

    Trade barriers can create serious economic harm, especially for those they're supposedly designed to help. However, the reality is that these agreements are not really about free trade.

    I'm really not sure. Every time I've heard the term "free trade," I've needed to hold onto my wallet because that means someone's about to go and screw up my income.

     

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

  8.  
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    charliebrown (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 5:34pm

    Why does the USTR even exist? No sarcasm, I really want to know. What does USTR even stand for?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 6:09pm

    Re:

    We should give Rent-a-Demo a call. They are a wholly owned, but severely insulated sub sub sub subsidiary of Movements du Jour whom are based off shore of every UN country, for obvious reasons. They promise without any reservation or evidence to put the Million Man March to shame for whatever YOUR cause is (go for it grammar nazis). Their fees schedule runs the gamut from DDOS to Molotov Cocktail throwing anarchy, their sub-motto is 'You Get What You Pay For'. Hmmm, just like the other side. Demonstrators are contacted on a Flash Mob style basis using the text address list from a large Consumer Products company that also trades in underground currency. Holy MobPhone, make the call!

    /s for those with broken meters

     

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  10.  
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    Digitari, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 6:13pm

    Re:

    http://www.ustr.gov/

    and as far as I can tell, they don't stand for the "little" people

     

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  11.  
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    Digitari, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 6:15pm

    RE: they even have an open government page

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/around/eop/ustr


    OMG I almost choked reading this,talk about LOL

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 7:07pm

    I imagine wherever this "rally" is set up it's not going to be well received by the average person and especially not the tech-savy people.

     

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  13.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Apr 8th, 2013 @ 7:35pm

    Me thinks the USTR and the Chamber of Commerce might be a great target for budget reduction efforts. Protectionism, however seemingly patriotic, is bad for profits overall and definitely bad for my pocketbook! Especially since the USTR recent TPP and other 'treaties' seem more about coercing US domestic law than foreign trade growth.

    In what way has the USTR supported innovation and new technology that benefits the average citizen? Have they instead been trying to support (legacy media) ice salesmen by restriction of (computer) refrigerator sales or use? Laws (treaties? Hahaha) that fetter cultural growth don't help anyone not even the legacy firms they try to support. A monopoly by any other name is still a monopoly.

    It seems that even the lowly refrigerator is rapidly becoming a computer itself and the two words might become interchangeable soon.

    Also please tell me why the USTR gets to hold a rally and not the opposition? Oh. You say you can? Sure go ahead. Just try to get a 'permit' to protest at your local city hall. Most likely the group would be forced to put the protest on some back alleyway at a time only visited by ally cats.

    Its at least possible the opposition be jailed just for waving signs/slogans of opposition? Likely also tracked by some religiously/patriotically motivated nut-case, (got a better explanation?) working at the nearby reaction center, as terrorists? Didn't that exact same scenario happen to a recent peaceful protest group?

    Realizing this is rain on a potential parade... The only safe way to protest these days it to donate to the EFF or the few senators willing to face the grindstone of todays current industrial/media monopolies.

    Mooolah! Dirty ol cash. Funding given to a politicians campaign fund to splash wine into glasses and char thick steaks with the weak willed courtiers who follow such cash outflow. Give it up or lose to the better funded special interest corporate opposition. Ugly. but true?

     

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  14.  
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    cxlwxz, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    chiavette usb

    I'm getting a bit tired of these, people "non elected by the way", making decisions that affect my life.

     

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

  15.  
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    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), Apr 9th, 2013 @ 12:03am

    Re:

    The Chamber of Commerce isn't going to be the target of any government budget cuts because it's not a government agency.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2013 @ 1:06am

    Re:

    The CoC is a fraud upon the public, masquerading as an "official" body.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2013 @ 3:17am

    i'm curious to know how much they are going to pay each person to attend on their behalf. surely no one with an iota of sense will agree with this only to lose so many other things in the bargain, will they? the only other way is to lie about what the gathering is about. now that might work given the years of practice they have had!

     

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  18.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Apr 9th, 2013 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re:

    Your right. Specifically the US Chamber of commerce or USCC. Its a special interest industry group that likes to masquerade as an integral part of federal government. Even I get fooled sometimes. Thanks for reminding me to get more bug spray.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Chamber_of_Commerce

    Among may lobbying efforts they;
    Support the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
    Oppose the DISCLOSE Act, which aims to limit foreign influence on U.S. Elections.
    Oppose action on climate change.
    Supported corporate personhood and allowing corporations to spend unlimited sums on electioneering,

     

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  19.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 9th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    Re:

    That could be awesome. But then again seeing how the Govt is in the pockets of those industries we might see their henchmen (the police) getting really nasty on peaceful protesters. Too much tension.

    I'd say that a better solution would be to organize simultaneous events via the web and have hundreds of thousands attend. That would be a nice slap in their face without too much risk of getting derailed and shown everywhere that people against those laws/agreements are hooligans or something.

     

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

  20.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 9th, 2013 @ 4:10am

    Re:

    That could be awesome. But then again seeing how the Govt is in the pockets of those industries we might see their henchmen (the police) getting really nasty on peaceful protesters. Too much tension.

    I'd say that a better solution would be to organize simultaneous events via the web and have hundreds of thousands attend. That would be a nice slap in their face without too much risk of getting derailed and shown everywhere that people against those laws/agreements are hooligans or something.

     

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

  21.  
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    The Real Michael, Apr 9th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    It used to be that bribing a public official/civil servant was considered a crime. Needless to say, these people shouldn't be holding a (manufactured) rally in order to flaunt their corruption.

     

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  22.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 9th, 2013 @ 6:20am

    "where the only folks likely to show up are the representatives of big legacy businesses"

    where the only folks allowed to show up are the representatives of big legacy businesses

    FTFY

     

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


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