…ralph nader, that letter of his, sen warren, and the bard…

…ralph nader and the ingenious suggestiveness of his proposal: ‘check those cvs’…

For those who came in late, Nader had written a letter to the US President, inviting him to debate the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – with Senator Elizabeth Warren. That proposal would give those who somewhat belatedly had been having nagging doubts, second thoughts to do that Damascene, ‘But wait a minute!’

The US President, with some petulance (as had observed Ray McGovern on another issue),  had directed strong accusations against Senator Warren of being ‘dishonest’, ‘wrong’, on the issue, accusations which naturally provoked interest in doing some comparison. But before that comparison, we have a look at the tenacity of the accused, of the ‘dishonest’, of the ‘wrong’. Clearly, this lady is not for turning. The Senator will be neither shaken nor stirred by disingenuous frivolousness trotted out at every turn as serious argument.

Over at the blog common dreams is the post, Warren Hits Back Hard on ‘Broken Promises’ of Corporate Trade Pacts. An excerpt, where the Senator is quoted as saying,

“Supporters of past trade agreements have said again and again that these deals would include strong protections for workers, but assurances without strong enforcement are just empty promises,” Senator Warren said in a press statement. “The facts show that, despite all the promises, these trade deals were just another tool to tilt the playing field in further of multinational corporations and against working families.”

Clearly, here the Senator’s interest, her focus is on the workers and families in the US, and concern, the likely beneficiaries of these touted proposals.

To be remembered in all this is is the ability of less powerful countries to protect the interests of their own citizens, in contrast with the Senator who is seeking the interests of the US citizen. And the situation can be worse in those countries whose leaders are ‘induced’ into accepting agreements disadvantageous to citizens and destructive to the countries themselves.

Now, then, who are these people who, like the Senator, would be ‘wrong’, and ‘dishonest’ in supporting her, and opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), aka ‘fast track’? Why not we start with Simon Johnson – no need to call back other economists such as Joseph Stiglitz or William K Black or Robert Reich, or even Jeffrey Sachs. Of course, for Dean Baker of CEPR, his is the Sisyphean task of carting away the boulder of economic ignorance rolled down to the public square by the MSM, almost daily. Now, to Prof Johnson, Sen Warren is right: fast-track could help roll back Dodd-Frank. From which three telling excerpts,

President Obama says that he would do nothing to facilitate the rollback of Dodd-Frank. But his administration did exactly that with the repeal of Section 716 in December (Section 716 limited the ability of big banks to bet heavily on derivatives).

Senator Warren and others on Capitol Hill fought hard against that repeal, wanting to keep this sensible restriction on big banks. But at the decisive moments the White House pushed strongly in the other direction.

Has the White House made a simple and perhaps embarrassing mistake by seeking TPA that runs for six years? Or does the Obama administration know exactly what it is doing when it opens the backdoor to undermining its own signature Dodd-Frank legislation? The latter, unfortunately, seems more likely.

[bold added for emphasis]

Indeed, Prof Johnson, like so many others, has allowed that tacit ‘awkward self-restraint’ to colour expression of an ineluctable reality.

On we go to Paul Krugman, normally mild-mannered with regard to the Democratic party and its US President. As what Dean Baker had long predicted would happen has continued to happen apace, Krugman has finally become increasingly less mild-mannered, more irritable at utter idiocy. The Mis-selling of TPP.

And he is fast out of the gates at his eponymous NYT blog (a few freebies then paywall) with,

And the selling of TPP just keeps getting worse.


And he goes on to dissect sheer desperation, stunningly inconceivable nonsense from an official arguing for the TPP,

William Daley’s pro-TPP op-ed in today’s Times is just awful, on multiple levels. No acknowledgment that the real arguments are not about trade but about intellectual property and dispute settlement; on top of that a crude mercantilist claim that trade liberalization is good because it means more exports; some Dean Baker bait with numbers — $31 billion in trade surplus! All of 0.2 percent of GDP!

The word cynical is never far in Daley’s ‘argument’. And Krugman had served notice a mere few days earlier when he had chided the President and his supporters on their unwarranted criticism of the Senator.

Similarly related, and no different the conclusion, is the legal foundation of the Senator’s argument. And on what shaky ground stands the Senator?  Here we go, Why Obama Is Wrong and Warren Is Right on Trade Bill Quarrel. On we roll with some observations,

In her quarrel with President Barack Obama over trade legislation, Elizabeth Warren has got the law on her side.


On Warren’s side: One of the nation’s preeminent constitutional law scholars, Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, who counts Obama as a former student.

“Any act of Congress or duly ratified treaty overrides any contrary prior federal legislation,” he said in an e-mail.

The bill to grant the president fast-track authority for six years is expected to pass the Senate next week. It faces resistance from House Democrats.

Obama’s supporters argue that a back-door rewrite of Dodd-Frank through trade legislation would be unwieldy, and therefore Warren’s concern is unlikely to be realized.

[bold added for emphasis]

As if the Senator needed any other support and evidence for her already overwhelming argument, we have from the Democratic and the US President’s camp, I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned.

From one who is very familiar with the negotiations, but has to engage in generalities for fear of prosecution, violation of all sorts of concocted secrets that, if divulged, would reduce some folk’s intended wealth of tens of millions to not quite tens of millions.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

And who is Michael Wessel? The brief bio at the end of the common dreams post reads,

Michael Wessel is a cleared liaison to two statutory advisory committees and was a commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, as well as the international trade co-chair for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign.

Which brings us to The Bard. In most countries of the world there are those useful truisms, Apposite is ‘Talk is cheap’, as in the US the cacophony of its non-stop media finds much value in such stuff – and its President has proved to be a veritable inexhaustible fount of rhetoric.

Again, elsewhere, folk would appreciate the value of some eternal verities of The Bard such as : ‘Action is eloquence‘ – US MSM, as well as the rhetorician, seems to think that the word is, indeed, the deed. And this, which has been very much in evidence: ‘Tis not the many oaths that make the truth; But the plain single vow, that is vow’d true.’

So, then, to go beyond Prof West, as the ineluctable conclusion looms, the world has seen not even a Kenny G lookalike, And the Senator? Undaunted, she, on the other hand, with little political support and lots of corporation-inspired ridicule, continues to demonstrate sparkling eloquence, though not to guarantee her wealth, or even admiration among her many ‘co-opted’ peers.

…there is, of course, the more prosaic, ’empty vessels make the most noise’ – even on the way to an ‘aspirational’, post-presidential rewarding life of some Clinton-eque, approximate Croesus…