Congress officially gives the green light to President Obama’s trade agenda

(Screenshot Credit, Rare)

(Screenshot Credit, Rare)

June 24, 2015


WASHINGTON (AP) — In a triumph of divided government, the Republican-controlled Congress passed major trade legislation Wednesday that was long-sought by President Barack Obama but vehemently opposed by most lawmakers in his party.

The measure to strengthen Obama’s hand in global trade talks cleared the Senate on a vote of 60-38, and will go to the White House for his signature — less than two weeks after it was temporarily derailed in the House in an uprising of Democratic lawmakers.

A second bill, to renew an expiring program of federal aid for workers disadvantaged by imports, was on track to pass the Senate in short order. It would then go to the House, where a final vote was expected on Thursday.

The rapid sequence of events capped the end of a back-and-forth struggle that played out slowly over months, with Obama, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on one side, and the union-backed Democratic leadership of the House and Senate on the other.

The pace accelerated dramatically less than two weeks ago, when House Democrats prevailed in an early showdown that sent the White House and congressional GOP leaders into a rescue operation.

On Wednesday, McConnell, a frequent Obama antagonist, praised the president and Democrats who joined the GOP on the bipartisan measure vigorously sought by the nation’s chief executive.

“We were really pleased to see President Obama pursue an idea we’ve long believed in,” McConnell said. “We thank him for his efforts to help us pass a bill to advance it.”

The measure would allow Obama to negotiate global trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. The administration was seeking the “fast track” as it works to complete a round of trade negotiations involving 12 nations along both sides of the Pacific Ocean, including Japan.

Obama’s victory comes at a pivotal juncture in his second term. He is bracing for a Supreme Court ruling on his landmark health care law, and next week’s deadline is approaching for reaching a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, hailed the measure as “the most important bill that will pass the Senate this year,” and one that will prove to be an aid to the economy.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, countered shortly before the vote that it would be nothing of the sort. He said it would lead to “corporate handouts, worker sellouts,” as he said had been the case with the North American Free Trade Agreement and other deals across the past two decades.

The issue of global trade had opened the most striking breach between a Democratic president and the lawmakers who overwhelmingly backed him on health care and other hard-fought issues. But the White House tried to cast a soft light on the division.

“We have Republican majorities in Congress working closely with Democratic minorities in Congress to build bipartisan support for legislation that then arrives on the desk of a Democratic president,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. That’s how policy should be made “in an era of divided government,” he told reporters.

Boehner, the Republican House speaker, called the trade votes “a big win for the American people. Trade is good for American farmers, for manufacturers and small businesses.”

The 12 participating nations in the current Pacific-based talks account for 40 percent of the world’s economy, and include Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Canada and Mexico. China is not a member, and Obama says a ratified Pacific-rim pact will reassert the United States’ muscular role in international standards for commerce, treatment of workers and the environment.

House Democrats dealt Obama a humiliating rebuke on June 12, when they derailed his trade package only hours after he traveled to the Capitol to personally ask for their help. Republican leaders, with White House support, restructured the legislative package and passed its key elements with big GOP margins, plus modest Democratic support.

A final potential hurdle in the House crumbled Wednesday when Democratic leaders said most colleagues would support a job retraining program that Obama wants.

More at Rare

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.


dJune 15, 2015

Desert Musings:

The House of Representatives gave Bobo Obama a stunning defeat in his quest for a legacy item on Friday voting 302-126 to vote down something called the Trade Adjustment Assistance portion of the “fast-track” bill. Now, a lot of people think the house voted down the actual TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). Actually, that part of the bill passed 219-211. What failed was a measure that allowed for the funding of the TPP, better known as the TAA (yeah…I know…I’m tired of acronyms too!). And since the Senate had already passed the bill, they have to start at square one again (or at least send whatever the GOP led House passes to a conference committee).

Apparently, the TPP isn’t dead after all. House Ways and Means committee chair, Paul Ryan has emphatically stated that they WILL pass this bill…they just have to figure out how to pay for it. My question is, that if this bill is so good for the country, why in God’s name are we having to “pay” for anything? Well, the Obama administration won’t admit it, but the TAA basically included a “welfare-like program” to be used to help people when they lose their jobs. Huh? Yup. Apparently, the administration realizes that what Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats that voted against it, as well as all of the unions, were right. People in America are going to lose their jobs on this one. Lots of people. And it’s going to be expensive to re-train them. And TAA was designed to introduce more government programs that would re-train displaced workers.

How would TAA be funded? By cutting benefits in Medicare, which also didn’t sit well with the Dems. But Paul Ryan and the GOP have come up with a solution. They’re going to break some campaign promises not to raise taxes, and they’ve taken the Medicare cuts off the table. Now they’re going to raise taxes on small businesses. They’re going to increase fees and penalties on businesses that mis-file their income tax returns.

So, why does Obama NEED to have this thing “fast-tracked”? Well, it’s happened before. When you “fast-track” a trade agreement, the president negotiates the agreement and then brings it to congress for approval. Normally, there are debates, and amendments that can bog down the treaty. Fast-tracking allows an up or down vote on the agreement as it is written. If someone doesn’t like a clause in there, you can’t change it, you can only vote for it or against it. That’s it.

Why has this particular bill in congress been so controversial? Because of the stuff that’s in it. Obama didn’t want to show the American people the Medicare cuts that would fund the trade authority. And he didn’t want to show them before the vote that the unions screaming about losing American jobs were absolutely right. By hiding those details until after it passed, he would have had an easier time getting it through congress, and would not have had to deal with the millions of calls to congressmen and women from their constituents telling them to vote against it.

So what happens now? Ryan is hoping to bring his new bill to the House floor sometime early this week. If it’s not there by tomorrow, chances are very good he won’t get the votes and the fast-tracking part of the bill will be dead. That means that Obama can still negotiate the trade agreement with he 40 countries or so. He just can’t get an up or down vote on it, and it could take months to wade its way through congress…if it makes it at all.

Is it dead? Nope. Is it a zombie? We’ll have to wait and see!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

Permission was given by Desert Musings to Lorra B. to post his articles in their entirety.

TPP: Unconstitutional Tribunal For .01% Oligarchs To Dictate What Is ‘Fair Trade’

dJune 15, 2015

WashingtonsBlog: Hat Tip Arlin Report:

Note: has blocked public access to my [WashingtonsBlog] articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).

“The corporations have bribed the political leaders in every country to sign away their sovereignty and the general welfare of their people to private corporations. Corporations have paid US senators large sums for transferring Congress’ law-making powers to corporations.” – Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary to US Treasury, former editor of the Wall Street Journal

Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) is “secret national security legislation” that President Obama and both parties’ “leaderships” refuse to disclose to the American public, and only visible from WikiLeaks. President Obama attempted “fast track” dictatorial power for Congress to vote for TPP without access to full text or public consideration. “Fast track” violates the US Constitution’s requirement for the Senate to ratify all treaties with 2/3 vote by claiming that 50% is somehow the same (a tie is broken by the VP, so 50% is enough). President Clinton’s justification of “fast track” is here.

TPP is Emperor’s New Clothes’ unconstitutional because it allows a foreign three-person tribunal chosen by the same .01% oligarch powers that created TPP to have power to tax Americans billions of our dollars for claimed “damages” of corporations. These three persons appointed by TPP interests would have dictatorial power to protect corporate claimed “future profits.” From Ellen Brown:

“To date, the highest ISDS award has been for $2.3 billion to Occidental Oil Company against the government of Ecuador over its termination of an oil-concession contract, this although the termination was apparently legal. Still in arbitration is a demand by Vattenfall, a Swedish utility that operates two nuclear plants in Germany, for compensation of €3.7 billion ($4.7 billion) under the ISDS clause of a treaty on energy investments, after the German government decided to shut down its nuclear power industry following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.”

President Obama led the lies of commission and omission for TPP: “If we don’t write the rules, China will.” Obama’s actions reminds of Bush Jr.’s Senior Advisor, Karl Rove’s admission:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

Readers and writers in alternative media can explain, document, and prove that much of these “created realities” like TPP are “Big Lie” crimes, objectively not even close to the foundational principle of “limited government” within the US Constitution, and “created” with whatever bullshit rhetoric their focus groups conclude most likely to sell (thank you, Professor Frankfurt, for your bestseller making BS an academic term).

Readers and writers in alternative media observe escalating US and developed nations’ “created reality” crimes in ~100 areas, but perhaps most easily recognized in:

Good news is that solutions are obvious; the challenge for Earth’s victory over these literalpsychopathic “leaders” is to cause critical mass of humanity to recognize “Emperor’s new clothes”obvious crimes, demand arrests, and split the ~95% of humanity who would choose love and justice from relatively few committed psychopathic wanna-be slave masters.

Great news is that readers and writers in alternative media are certainly free to “study what the psychopaths do,” their crime du jour, AND we are also free to take the endgame path to:

  1. Declaring our study over; we’ve seen more than enough.
  2. Command the facts over a few key areas of the “Big Lie” crimes (feel free to take the three I have above).
  3. Confidently demand arrests and/or Truth & Reconciliation.

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. . . . Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator.” – James Madison, Federalist Paper # 47

More at WashingtonsBlog


Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

House Set To Vote On Fast Track Trade Authority Tomorrow…

Screenshot Credit, The Last Refuge

Screenshot Credit, The Last Refuge

June 11, 2015

The Last Refugeby

The key part of this vote is to remove the possibility for trade defeats in the Senate.  If Fast Track authority is passed/granted then a simple majority of 51 votes will be all that is required to approve President Obama’s trade deal.  

Mitch McConnell has essentially granted President Obama new powers not enumerated in the constitution.  John Boehner is about to do the same thing in the House of Representatives.  Paul Ryan has cemented his cross-over to the dark side of Chamber of Commerce Republicans led by CoC head Tom Donohue…..

(Via Washington Examiner) The House will vote Friday on legislation to give President Obama “fast track” authority to secure trade deals.

Republican leaders announced plans for the vote in a closed-door meeting with their rank and file, who are divided over whether to support the legislation.

The vote is likely to be close. With just two days until the vote, GOP leaders continue to negotiate with members to win their approval for the bill.

“Actually we are doing really well,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a chief negotiator, said as he emerged from the meeting. “I think we have addressed lots of concerns and I feel we really have an air-tight case to make. We’re in our closing arguments. We are comfortable. That’s why we are proceeding.”

Passage of the fast track bill, known formally as trade promotion authority or TPA, will depend mostly on Republicans, as fewer than 20 Democrats have said they will support the bill. (read more)

karl rove emporer

..”We are very close to full construction of the death star.  We only need about 16 more months.  The conservative rebel alliance must be defeated at all costs”.  ~ Emperor Rove


dJune 11, 2015

Desert Musings:

What the hell could be wrong with a bill that increases trade for this country? How much would our economy improve if we were able to lower tariffs abroad? Wouldn’t that mean it would be easier (and cheaper) to sell our products that we do still manufacture here in this country to others around the world? Apparently not!

NBC News, that bastion of liberalism and lying newsmen has come out with a poll (I can’t vouch for its credibility) that says a whopping two-thirds of Americans polled don’t think the TPP that Bobo Obama is trying to push through congress is a good deal for America. Most cite a loss of jobs and back union rhetoric as the reason. Personally, I’m starting to sway on this one, and it’s not for passage. I’m starting to sway that congress nixes it because of another reason altogether.

I don’t like the secrecy.

I know I watched Mitch McConnell the other day tell me on TV that we’re all going to get the chance to read the bill (like we were all able to read Obamacare before it passed?)…and I’m skeptical. The GOP is always very quick to push a trade bill through. They were with NAFTA, and I don’t think that was a bad bill. Hey, at least I was able to read the damn thing before it was passed.

If TPP is so damn good, why is Obama keeping it under wraps? Why are senators and representatives that actually WANT to wade through its enormity, made to go to the basement of the Capitol, turn over all recording material, before getting a single copy of it? Seems rather sinister to me. And I haven’t heard a very good explanation why it’s being done that way. I’m thinking it needs to be out in the open where it can be debated. If it’s not in the open, then we don’t know what’s in there, and I’ve heard all sorts of stuff from climate change regulations to paying for Sasha’ college after she graduates high school. I guess, what I’m saying is, I don’t trust the president to do the right thing anymore.

Anytime you’ve got two-thirds of the American people against something (including Obamacare!), you need to step back and ask yourself why. Hell, anytime two-thirds of Americans agree on anything you need to do that. We aren’t a country that comes together as much as that. Which scares me a lot. Which tells me that maybe we need to slow this thing way the hell down and take a good, hard, PUBLIC look at it BEFORE it gets passed.

Maybe what we need to do is call our congressmen and demand that it be made public at least a week before there’s a vote on it. If not, don’t vote on it. It’s that simple. Obama wants it passed, but doesn’t want it public. The public wants it public and doesn’t want it passed. Who is supposed to win out in this scenario? The public.

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

Permission was given by Desert Musings to Lorra B. to post his articles in their entirety.

Watch: Democrats Bow Down to Wall Street

December 16, 2014

Huff Post Politics:


Previously published on

Negotiators from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are in Washington this week for a new round of talks which they hope will lead them closer to agreement on the trade deal. President Obama has called passage of TPP a “high priority.”

This week, I speak with outspoken veteran journalist John R. MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine, about the problems with TPP, which is being negotiated in secret, behind closed doors. MacArthur says that the “free trade” agreement will take jobs away from Americans: “I guarantee you, this is a way to send more jobs [abroad], particularly to Vietnam and Malaysia.”

Obama’s commitment to trade is just another example of his indebtedness to Wall Street for massive campaign contributions. Hillary Clinton, who MacArthur describes as to the right of Americans’ political beliefs, may be scaring off progressives looking to run in 2016 as she is “very much in harmony” with Wall Street.

“There are a lot of people who would make good candidates, but they’re intimidated by the Clinton fundraising machine.”

Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at