Tag: bipartisanship

If there’s anyone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to trade, it’s President Obama

After over six years of, outside of a few issues like Social Security and domestic spying where he’s sided with the far-right Republicans, largely relying on progressives as a base of support, President Barack Obama has launched a full-on War on Progressives by openly antagonizing opponents of proposed free-trade agreements, including the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that would destroy most of what little sovereignty America still has.

This is what President Obama said at an Organizing for Action (OFA) summit in our nation’s capital:

When people say this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about…I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families.

If there’s anyone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to international trade, it’s President Obama and his corporate allies in both major parties in this country. In fact, the fact that the TPP and other free trade deals and policies

For many decades, tariffs and other trade protections made America great by building a strong economy and manufacturing sector that provided middle-class jobs and American-made goods that Americans could actually purchase. Now, because of NAFTA, CAFTA, Most Favored Nation status for China, and other agreements and laws that have loosened American trade policies, most goods sold in the United States are made in foreign countries

Over the last three and a half decades, we’ve seen the effects of current free-trade agreements and other free trade policies between the U.S. and foreign countries, and they’re almost entirely negative. For several very brief periods in the early 1980’s, the U.S. actually had a very small trade surplus. Since then, because of free-trade policies that have been pushed by every president from Ronald Reagan onward and a bipartisan corporate coalition in Congress, wages in this country have been driven downward, the manufacturing sector of our economy has been annihilated, our trade deficit with foreign nations has exploded, the vast majority of goods sold in this country are foreign-made, and the American economy has become an economy full of low-wage jobs. Here’s a graph showing how our nation’s trade deficit has exploded since 1980:

U.S. Balance of Trade 1980-2015 (Graph Courtesy of Trade Economics)

For someone who professes to be a constitutional scholar, President Obama clearly doesn’t understand that the TPP itself and the fast-track authority for it are both blatantly unconstitutional.

The TPP itself is in blatant violation of Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the structure of our nation’s court system. Article III, Section 1 reads as follows:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

(emphasis mine)

While I’m not an attorney, I interpret Article III, Section 1 as allowing for the creation of a single Supreme Court of the United States and any number of federal courts that are below the single Supreme Court. Since the TPP would create the Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS), a de facto court system that is effectively above the U.S. Supreme Court, this means that the TPP is blatantly unconstitutional.

The fast-track authority for free trade agreements blatantly violates a different part of the Constitution, specifically, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, which reads as follows:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

(emphasis mine)

Again, I’m not an attorney, but I interpret Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 as requiring approval by two-thirds of U.S. Senators who are present for such a vote, for ratification of any treaty negotiated and signed by the President on behalf of the United States. However, since fast-track authority, among other things, allows for free trade agreements, which I consider to be a type of treaty, to be ratified by a simple majority of members of both houses of Congress who are present for votes on such agreements, fast-track is blatantly unconstitutional.

I know I’m going to say something controversial, but I’m willing to say it: President Obama and his corporate allies in both parties in Congress have a deep-seeded hatred of the concept of American economic sovereignty, and they are pushing to enact a corporate globalization agenda in order to drive down wages, pollute our environment, and destroy the American economy without any regard for the U.S. Constitution or the American people. While some international trade is necessary due to consumer demand, globalization and weak trade protections are destroying America and our economy, and we certainly don’t need more of the same.

For President Obama to effectively claim that the overwhelming majority of those who twice elected him President of the United States are stupid is absolutely disgusting and traitorous.

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Instead of caving to the Tea Party, Democrats should be more like them

You might be reading that headline and thinking, “that’s a self-contradictory headline!”

Actually, it’s not a self-contradictory headline at all.

What I mean is that, instead of supporting parts of the Tea Party’s agenda like most establishment, moderate, corporate, centrist, and conservative Democrats do, Democrats should emulate the Tea Party’s no-compromise attitude toward politics while promoting a vastly different political agenda.

The Democratic Party should stand for restoring the American middle class (such as raising the minimum wage, granting workers more rights, repealing free-trade agreements, etc.), improving the quality of education (such as making college more affordable, eliminating charter schools and school voucher programs, eliminating standardized testing and anything tied to it, etc.), improving our country’s health care system (such as implementing a single-payer or public option health care system, etc.), isolationist foreign policy (such as opposing war unless the U.S. is directly attacked, not getting the U.S. involved in foreign policy except to protect U.S. interests, etc.), ending corporate welfare (such as eliminating tax breaks for business, creating national and state economic development banks, etc.), protecting and expanding the legal rights of the American people (such as making it easier to vote, protecting the reproductive rights of women, granting same-sex couples the right to marry, prohibiting warrantless spying on the American people, legalizing recreational marijuana, etc.), and making government less corrupt and more transparent (such as taking redistricting out of the hands of state legislators, making campaign finance laws more strict, etc.).

While there are many Democrats who stand for most of those ideals, there are also many Democrats who stand for only a few of those ideals. However, even the most progressive Democrats who run for public office will talk about bipartisanship and compromise at every opportunity. I find that to be downright annoying and, more importantly, out of touch with political reality. It is practically impossible to compromise with the Republican Party, which has been taken over by the far-right Tea Party, these days, except for maybe one or two issues. Instead of trying to compromise with a group of people that one can’t compromise with, Democrats should emulate the Tea Party’s no-compromise attitude to politics while pushing to implement a progressive, pro-middle class, pro-woman, pro-worker, pro-democracy, and pro-America agenda that will make America a far better place to live.