I have C-Span as my default TV station, so that whenever I turn the TV on, there it is. That doesn't mean I watch it; in fact, as the republicans have gained more power in Congress, my tolerance for listening to the bullshit has diminished. Today, for example, when I turned on the tube, there was John Boehner, whining that all the House Democrats are opposing their own president on this bill, and President Obama ought to get his team in line.
I like coming in in the middle. I play a little guessing game with myself, to see how long it takes to figure out what is going on. Usually, though, when I turn it on, there is one lone House member going on about something, and without looking, I try to guess whether it's a republican or a Democrat. I'm pretty good at it, too. I can do it in about three seconds. You don't have to know what they are talking about, because they use the same words for everything. This could probably be a good drinking game.
Anyway, there was that idiot Boehner today, going on about how the President needed to reign in his party. All of a sudden he was doing kumbaya with President Obama. I had an idea what it was all about, but other than signing online petitions, I hadn't been all that involved. But we really should be.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership -- known now as TPP because who has time to say Trans-Pacific Partnership? -- is a trade deal. If you liked the way NAFTA worked, you will love TPP. We were told back then the same things we are being told now. This will be a job creator by increasing exports and will just be super for the economy. Except what happened with NAFTA was that it allowed businesses in the USA to move to Mexico where labor is cheaper.
Here's another really weird outcome, which I read about in an important book about climate change by Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (a book that the New York Times reviewer said was, "a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable.")
Because of current trade agreements between Canada and foreign governments, Ontario was forced to repeal parts of its 2009 Green Energy and Economy Act, which had in fact created jobs and improved the environment. The European Union and Japan took Ontario to the World Trade Organization because the Act favored the local economy. Ontario lost more than the court case.
This makes as much sense for our country as selling roads and parking meters to foreign governments and private corporations to make a quick buck so you don't have to tax the wealthy. Being too much a part of this new global environment these days means becoming even more vulnerable to the forces of capitalist greed. It means giving up a community's right to determine it's own fate, sometimes giving up important economic ground, losing the ability to make its own decisions about safety and the environment.
This is not a trade agreement between countries; this is a trade agreement that will be controlled by the big corporations that are sinking millions into our elections so that people like John Boehner can push for trade advantages for the powerful.
This may be good business for John Boehner, but I am heartened that the Democrats are pretty much opposed. Just as did Bill Clinton, President Obama is being lured into a compromise that will make our economy weaker in order to be beef up his world leader creds. But just as with the Keystone Pipeline, Obama needs to honestly look at how this agreement could tie the hands of local communities, states, and the federal government in critical environmental and security issues.
Meanwhile, get out a six-pack and try your hand at guessing what's going on on C-Span.