Poor Barack Obama. He’s been making more flashy moves than an Olympic ice skater, trying to get Democrats in Congress to cheer his Trans-Pacific Partnership. But instead, they’re roundly booing him.
The president is on such thin ice with this ponderous giveaway to global corporate giants that his appeals for support have turned desperate, including this recent claim that TPP, “is the most progressive trade deal in history.”
Wow, that’s a low bar! Does he mean more progressive than the thoroughly regressive NAFTA? Or maybe he’s comparing TPP to King George III’s East India Trading Company, which was such a bully that it sparked the American Revolution.
Indeed, Obama is trying some bullying of his own. He’s pushing the lie that such Democrats as Sen. Elizabeth Warren are lying when they point out that TPP would let foreign corporations sue the USA in corporate-run, international tribunals to force our officials to weaken or kill laws that might pinch a corporation’s profits. “There is no chance, zero chance” of that happening, the president barked.
But, as he knows, it already has happened! In April, under another trade agreement, his own administration was directed by a WTO tribunal to change, and essentially gut, a U.S. food labeling law that has dramatically reduced the killing of dolphins by commercial tuna-fishing fleets. Responding to public outrage over the mass slaughtering of the mammals, our Congress passed an effective dolphin-free law. But some tuna operations in Mexico complained that using dolphin-free nets hurt their profits, and the WTO ordered our sovereign nation to surrender our law to the dolphin-killing Mexican profiteers.
By claiming that “no trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws,” President Obama is either lying, or he doesn’t know what’s in his own agreement.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.