First, we need to know all of the attacks on our US Constitution---from CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA using Executive Order including the Federalism Act to ignore and fail to enforce all of our US Constitution these few decades WAS ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Our founding fathers wrote a US Constitution just to keep just this kind of extreme wealth and extreme power from taking our nation. They gave legislative powers to each citizen just to keep that balance so just because CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA have captured our election process with election rigging and fraud to install a 5% to the 1% willing to do anything ---even kill our nation and our rights as citizens-----does not mean it is not EASY PEASY to reverse all this. WE SIMPLY NEED TO GET RID OF ALL GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS. That means paying attention----knowing and educating on public policy and candidates----knowing voting histories and broad education on different political stances. See why CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA were about dismantling public education---defunding and dumbing down our once strong, rigorous public standards----educating broadly? When the working class citizen says to me-----WE DON'T NEED TO KNOW HISTORY, WE DON'T NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING OUTSIDE OF OUR CITY OR STATE----they are repeating what that 1% is telling them----because we cannot be CITIZENS without knowing all of the above.
WE THE PEOPLE CANNOT COME TOGETHER TO FIX THESE ATTACKS ON OUR CONSTITUTION UNTIL WE STOP ALLOWING 1% WALL STREET CREATING FACTIONS AND THAT INCLUDES THIS BLAME GAME ON DEMOCRAT VS REPUBLICAN BEING THE BAD GUY.
CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA are the bad guys and they are not Republican or Democrat-----
Below we see 1% Wall Street telling Republican voters it is the Democrats fault PRETENDING Obama is a left-leaning Democrat when Obama is a far-right wing global Wall Street neo-liberal/ Libertarian. Peter Orzag mentioned below is a great big ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE GLOBAL 2% TO THE 1% so we would not believe anything he says.
THE GAME OF PRETENDING IT IS WE THE PEOPLE TELLING THESE PRESIDENTS TO USE EXECUTIVE ORDER TO BY-PASS OUR US CONSTITUTION IS PROPAGANDA----THEY MAKE IT UP---BELOW WE SEE A GLOBAL 2% TO THE 1% LA RAZA---LIKE CASA DE MARYLAND---SUPPORTING THIS BY-PASS FOR IMMIGRANTS WHEN THE GOAL IS TO FURTHER ENSLAVE IMMIGRANTS.
The Left’s Attack on the Constitution
The Left’s Attack on the Constitution
05 Oct Posted by Milton
Peter Orszag says we have too much democracy in the U.S.
North Carolina Governor says we should suspend 2012 elections.
Washington Post Editor Eugene Robinson says Obama should violate the constitution to prevent a preacher from burning the Koran.
(refresh page to see video)
Obama says the Constitution did not go far enough and is a charter of negatives saying what government cannot do as opposed to what government should do for its citizens.
People at a La Raza banquet encouraged Obama to bypass Congress to get things done.
View @ 15:19 mark; the concern here is the encouragement by the audience for Obama to violate the constitution.
And there are many more examples of government officials, Hollywood and Northeast elites who have challenged the legitimacy and relevance of the U.S. Constitution. The point to these examples is that Americans are being conditioned to accept some dramatic change in our constitutional form of government. Perhaps even an effort to replace the Constitution? Clearly these examples show that there are some in America, Progressives / liberals, who are ready for this change.
There is a growing cancer in America and it is threatening the very existence of the Republic. Quite frankly, in my opinion, it is a cancer that has existed in one shape or form now for over 100 years. I believe the cancer is Progressiveism and it’s first most ardent supporter, Woodrow Wilson laid much of the ground work which is spreading at a more rapid pace today, especially in the perception of our Constitution as a road bloc to accomplishing Progressive ideas and programs..
It is risky business to question a person’s patriotism; the argument goes that one’s perception or definition of patriotism is broad enough for most acts not to be disqualified. For example, many on the left describe Tea Party folks as racist, bigoted, narrowed minded and un-American. I, however, believe that Tea Party participants represent the essence of what the Founders envisioned for the Republic; a well informed and politically active citizenry peacefully exercising their Constitutional freedoms in seeking redress to government actions they think are a threat to the Republic. The operative word here is “Constitutional” freedoms. Tea Party patriots are seeking to ensure that Congress and the Executive Branch work within the confines of the Constitution to fix the nation’s problems. I challenge anyone to provide any picture, video or anything else that proves otherwise for Tea Party participants.
People on the Right might characterize people on the left (i.e. the Day of Rage and Occupy Wall Street participants) as extremist who are bent on overthrowing our democratic form of government to be replaced by some sort of Marxist, socialist or communist utopia. No doubt the members of the left see themselves as peaceful protesters, like Tea Party members, exercising their Constitutional freedoms to seek redress for government and private sector acts. While this might be the case for some on the left, it is also clear that many on the left make their complaints of government known under the cloak of Constitutional protections while at the same time demanding that a new form of government, Socialism or Marxism, replace our Constitutional form of government.
Since the inception of our beloved Constitution it seems that forces have been at work to undermine its protections. There is an element consisting of elitist who believe that their New England education qualifies then to determine how America can best be governed.
ECONOMIC Progressives today, as in the past, take a rather dim view of the Constitution. Progressives have as their central belief the fact that big government should play an intimate role in the daily lives of all Americans. From jobs to job benefits; healthcare, education; you name it, if it is a human need, Progressives believe government has the responsibility to provide it. However, in order to accomplish their goal of benevolent governance, Progressives realize that the government has to play a larger role if not in fact control all elements of our economy. Socialism is one form of governance that would allow Progressives to realize their ambitions for America. Is this what is in store for America? Facts seem to suggest that the Left, Progressives, are laying the ground work for deconstructing America and reestablishing a new America under a different constitution. Their strategy to accomplish this objective appears to be to create conditions that are so horrific the public will demand a change in our form of governance.
The following video was made available at The Blaze and we are adding it here as an update. In the video, Steven Lerner, SEIU Executive and community organizer, tells the crowd that they are about to create economic terrorism, and amazingly, the crowd cheers. Given the tenuous economic conditions in the country, who stokes economic riots, especially where the focus of the unrest is directed to our financial system. The answer, radicals; radicals bent on bringing down the entire economic system not to repair a broken system.
The left is increasingly complaining how our government is in gridlock. We hear daily, especially on liberal media outlets like MSNBC, that our government is not working; how Congress has become too partisan; how the Tea Party’s racism has prevented any moderate legislator from working with Progressives; how too much money is poisoning the system and the lack of leadership needed to correct these deficiencies.
As the above videos and articles show, the left is very comfortable with suspending or violating the U.S. Constitution if it means that their greater good is achieved.
What is this all leading to?To view this question in the context of leftist organizations, media, unions and non-profit organizations, espousing how corrupt and broken our government is, it seems inevitable that these same leftist individuals and groups will eventually call for a new government structure. Oh wait….they are already making this demand.
For the past two weeks protestors have descended on Wall Street as part of the Occupy Wall Street rally. What originated in New York is now being seen throughout the country with more protests planned.
While the nature and purpose for the protest is somewhat vague, increasingly we are now told that the general purpose and intent is to change the banking system and to hold all who were involved in the 2009 financial collapse accountable. While this is offered by protesters as their driving purpose there are ominous signs that a greater agenda exists.
A general perusal of signs and listening to some supporters suggest that the real purpose is to fundamentally change our economic system and thus America. This objective is not only consistent with the call of people who support the protests, people like Michael Moore, Cornel West and others, it is seen also in the signage carried by protesters.
For years now, the Left has decried and vilified our economic and financial system often calling it cruel, impassionate, corrupt and slanted in favor of the rich. Now, with a presidential campaign structured on class warfare; radicals coming out for a new America; a bias complicit media bent on giving the radicals legitimacy; a weaken and vulnerable America economically; America is in real trouble and could very well be disrupted to an extent that Americans, looking for solutions, could embrace the idea that capitalism has failed and that a new system is needed.
A new economic system and governmental structure is the goal and objective of many of the people in the Obama Administration including Obama himself, if one understands what Obama meant by fundamental transformation.
Capitalism and our constitutional form of government are under attack and the inroads of those hoping to replace these systems are now reaching an apex. Shortly, America will experience social unrest and during the midst of this upheaval there will be efforts to do away with our constitutional form of government. Yes, this sounds too incredible to believe but the social disorder that we will witness will be so great, so devastating, so unprecedented and that will disrupt the lives of people to such degree that Americans will look for solutions. It will be conditions like these that opportunist like those seen in the Obama Administration (never let a crisis go to waste) will obligingly step in.
There are several current events that will lead to the massive social upheaval not only in America but throughout the world; including the inevitable Greece and Italian defaults; Middle East unrest; and ultimately a financial collapse in America and the rest of the world. These events will create such mass confusion and chaos that an already conditioned people will become receptive to answers that under normal circumstances would not see the light of day.
Dark clouds are surrounding America and the world; similar clouds that gathered just prior to World War II. This time there will be no America to fight back the evils that will encompass all nations, unless……Americans wake up, pray and return to God.
We would like to end this article with this video of The Forgotten Man
Social Democrats like me were shouting back in the 1980s and 90s that REAGAN/CLINTON were not Democrats or Republicans. We knew 3 decades ago of this move by old-world global rich to take control of our American governance. WE WERE CALLED CONSPIRACY THEORISTS because that is what national media told US citizens to think. So, Clinton was allowed to take control of our people's Democratic Party and Reagan set the stage for a global Bush neo-con control of our Republican Party. All were Harvard/Yale----Ivy League global wealth. Not all Ivy League students and grads are involved in this SKULL AND BONES attack on our US Constitution and freedoms----it is a very secret group. We must have US citizens to WAKE UP----stop allowing media/Wall Street to tell us what populist opinion -----who is a populist leader----what actions are populist.
This is why we spend so much time describing WALL STREET PLAYERS. Below we see all kinds of political terms being used by national media and captured CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA organizations and they all use these political terms INCORRECTLY----THEY USE THEM TO LIE, CHEAT, AND CONFUSE VOTERS.
HERE IS THE GUY OBAMA PLACED AS HEAD OF OUR US BUDGET AGENCY----JUST AS GEITHNER/LEW----AND THEY ARE ALL CRIMINALS.
'Peter Orszag is vice chairman at Citigroup and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This article appeared in the October 6, 2011, issue of the magazine'.
We talk about who is and is not a populist leader----media chooses who to place in front of cameras during civil unrest and they are WALL STREET PLAYERS not populist leaders---don't listen to them.
We talk about how global 1% Wall Street is confusing citizens over what is MARXISM----WHAT IS SOCIALISM----WHAT IS CONSTITUTIONAL! If we know the global rich use terms like Marxism and Socialism as propaganda to protect NAKED CAPITALISM----as with what is happening in Asia and Latin America these few decades-----then we know the policies being pushed by Congress, state assemblies, our city halls have that global corporate campus/global factory extreme wealth extreme corporate power----AND THEY WANT TO CALL THAT SOCIALISM/MARXIST.
We talk all the time about the difference between ECONOMIC PROGRESSIVES and SOCIAL PROGRESSIVES----the same with economic liberals and social liberals. We have these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA had only far-right economic progressives-----far-right economic liberalism called NEO-LIBERALISM. IT IS NOT LEFT-LEANING.
civil unrest in America, Marxism, Occupy Wall Street, Progressives, Socialism, U.S. Constitution, Unconstitutional
One thing is sure---we do not call lying, cheating, stealing----pragamatic nilism -----no morals, no ethics, no attention to Rule of Law ELITE----OR RELIGIOUS. The 1% and their 2% are not smart----they are criminal. We don't call the mafia Godfather ELITE----we don't call international drug cartel leaders ELITE-----we don't allow them to PRETEND they are a religious group as with OPUS DEI FOR EXAMPLE BEING SIMPLY A RELIGIOUS CULT. The global rich use religion to launder stolen money---as with these corporate and Wall Street frauds. The once strong academic Ivy League universities in the US are gone-----they have been since Clinton simply Wall Street product mills.....nothing academic---nothing elite happening in the US.
'Since the inception of our beloved Constitution it seems that forces have been at work to undermine its protections. There is an element consisting of elitist who believe that their New England education qualifies then to determine how America can best be governed'.
Too Much of a Good Thing
By Peter Orszag
September 14, 2011
Why we need less democracy.
In an 1814 letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That may read today like an overstatement, but it is certainly true that our democracy finds itself facing a deep challenge: During my recent stint in the Obama administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget, it was clear to me that the country’s political polarization was growing worse--harming Washington’s ability to do the basic, necessary work of governing. If you need confirmation of this, look no further than the recent debt-limit debacle, which clearly showed that we are becoming two nations governed by a single Congress—and that paralyzing gridlock is the result.
So what to do? To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.
I know that such ideas carry risks. And I have arrived at these proposals reluctantly: They come more from frustration than from inspiration. But we need to confront the fact that a polarized, gridlocked government is doing real harm to our country. And we have to find some way around it.
POLARIZATION—the divergence of voting patterns in Congress—was historically low following World War II. But it started rising rapidly in the 1970s, and it’s now at historic highs. To grasp why such bold measures are needed to circumvent polarization, we first need to understand that it cannot be easily fixed and that it is therefore not going away.
A common idea in Washington policy circles is that gerrymandering is to blame for polarization. In fact, gerrymandering doesn’t play nearly the role that many people believe. This becomes clear when you compare the House with the Senate. If gerrymandering were the main culprit, we would expect polarization to be considerably worse in the House (where districts are gerrymandered) than in the Senate (where they are not). Yet polarization patterns have been roughly similar in both parts of Congress. Indeed, although the political science literature contains deep disagreements about the causes of polarization, it is virtually unanimous in dismissing gerrymandering as an important force. Sean Theriault of the University of Texas at Austin has concluded that redistricting can explain no more than 10 to 20 percent of the rise in polarization. Other estimates are similar. As Tom Mann of the Brookings Institution has argued, “Gerrymandering cannot account for the sharp partisan polarization of the House, and diagnoses that place it at the center of the problem—as well as the prescriptions that invest entirely in redistricting reform—are clearly flawed.”
It’s too bad the redistricting myth is not right, because, if it were, the problem of polarization would be much easier to fix. All we would have to do is change the country’s redistricting laws. Unfortunately, the true causes are less amenable to simple solutions. One crucial cause, as documented in Bill Bishop’s The Big Sort, is that Republicans and Democrats are increasingly living in separate places. Compared with the ’70s, roughly 25 percent more of the American population now lives in a county that votes decisively, one way or the other, in presidential elections.
This trend is taking place alongside technological changes in the media that have created a splintered market. Common news sources, such as major broadcast TV stations and national newspapers, have been joined by an array of websites, podcasts, and cable shows. Research suggests that Americans are only tuning into or logging onto a small share of the media choices available to them—and they are picking the ones that fit their beliefs. The effect is to further reinforce geographical sorting.
Psychology research shows that, when people with similar opinions are put together, their views become more radical. In Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide, Cass R. Sunstein, the legal scholar who is now administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, reviews a variety of evidence and concludes, “When people talk to like-minded others, they tend to amplify their preexisting views, and to do so in a way that reduces their internal diversity.”
It is true that several respected political scientists have suggested that elites play a larger role in polarization than my analysis would suggest. But those arguments founder on a simple point: Political scientist Gary Jacobson has found that people’s views on politics have not diverged considerably from those of their representatives. This suggests that polarization is not primarily an elite-driven phenomenon. As Bill Galston and Pietro Nivola of Brookings explain, “Polarized politics are partly here, so to speak, by popular demand. And inasmuch as that is the case, undoing it may prove especially difficult.”
FACING THIS PROBLEM is crucially important because our current legislative gridlock is making it increasingly difficult for lawmakers to tackle the issues that are central to our country’s future—issues like climate change, the hard slog of recovering from a financial slump, and our long-term fiscal gap. It is clear to everyone that a failure to act will lead to undesirable outcomes in these areas. But polarization means that little action is possible. This is why I believe that we need to jettison the Civics 101 fairy tale about pure representative democracy and instead begin to build a new set of rules and institutions that would make legislative inertia less detrimental to our nation’s long-term health.
Let me be more specific in the context of fiscal policy, which was at the heart of the debt-limit debate. Virtually all responsible economists agree that we should be aiming to reduce the deficit in the long-term but not in the short-term. We need an even larger deficit in 2011 and 2012, to support a weak economy—but a much smaller deficit in 2020 and 2050, to put the nation back on a sustainable fiscal course. Yet our polarized political system has proved incapable of reaching a consensus on this common-sense approach.
What we need, then, are ways around our politicians. The first would be to expand automatic stabilizers—those tax and spending provisions that automatically expand when the economy weakens, thereby cushioning the blow, and automatically contract as the economy recovers, thereby helping to reduce the deficit. A progressive tax code is one such automatic stabilizer. The tax code takes less of your income as that income declines, so after-tax income tends to decline less in response to an economic shock than pre-tax income. Since spending is based on after-tax income, the impact on the economy is cushioned. Alan Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley has found that, as a result, the tax code has, over the past 50 years, offset about 8 percent of the initial shock to GDP from economic downturns. For the same reason, making the tax code more progressive would strengthen its role as an automatic stabilizer. Unemployment insurance is another automatic stabilizer; as the economy weakens, unemployment insurance expands, providing a boost to demand right when the economy needs it.
Other automatic stabilizers are possible as well. For instance, rather than simply extending and expanding the existing payroll-tax holiday, as President Obama has proposed, policymakers should permanently link the tax to the unemployment rate. Consider a system under which the payroll tax would be reduced by 6 percentage points whenever the quarterly average unemployment rate exceeded 7.5 percent or increased by more than 2 percentage points over the previous year. Since a cut in the payroll tax is a powerful form of stimulus, this would be a built-in way to ensure a quick and effective government response to an economic downturn.
Beyond automatic stabilizers, we also need more backstop rules: events that take place if Congress doesn’t act. In this sense, the fiscal trigger created as part of the debt-limit negotiations is a good step forward. It leads to automatic spending reductions if Congress doesn’t enact measures to reduce the deficit; in other words, it changes the default from inaction to action.
Finally, a significant part of the response to polarization and gridlock must involve creating more independent institutions. A good model for this was the process of closing military bases that began in the late ’80s and involved several rounds. To deal with the political difficulty of shutting down bases, Congress empowered a commission of nine independent experts to come up with a list of bases to close. If the president accepted the list, Congress had 45 days to enact a joint resolution disapproving of the entire list—or else it went into effect.
That final point is the key: The commission’s recommendations took effect unless Congress specifically disapproved. Thus, unlike most commissions, this one had a guarantee that its recommendations would not sit on a shelf collecting dust. On the other hand, even though this process favored action over inaction, it was not completely undemocratic: Congress still had oversight and could, if it wanted to, reject the commission’s ideas.
Proposals abound for expanding this type of process. In the late ’90s, economist Alan Blinder proposed shifting responsibility for tax policy to a Fed-like institution of experts. Stephen Flynn of the Center for National Policy has proposed a similar process for infrastructure decisions—and, indeed, creating an infrastructure bank, as President Obama has proposed, would accomplish much the same goal. Such a bank would be empowered to select individual infrastructure projects, thereby removing some decision-making power from Congress.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of this idea is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created as part of the recent health care reform legislation. The IPAB will be an independent panel of medical experts tasked with devising changes to Medicare’s payment system. In each year that Medicare’s per capita costs exceed a certain threshold, the ipab is responsible for making proposals to reduce projected cost growth. The proposals take effect automatically unless Congress specifically passes legislation blocking them and the president signs that legislation.
THE PROBLEM WITH such commissions is that, like automatic stabilizers and backstop rules, they reduce the power of elected officials and therefore make our government somewhat less accountable to voters. Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institution at Stanford puts it this way: “There is something undemocratic about entrusting the formation of big policy decisions to expert commissions.” And yet he also goes on to note that “the process is not less democratic than having nine unelected justices with lifetime tenure and no political accountability to anyone but themselves decide such basic questions as when a woman can have an abortion and where a child can go to school.” He concludes that, despite the risks, rising polarization justifies the increased use of these types of commissions.
As the debt-limit experience vividly illustrated, by polarizing ourselves, we are making our country more ungovernable—and no one has come up with a practical proposal to deal with the consequences. I wish it were not necessary to devise processes to circumvent legislative gridlock, but polarization isn’t going away. John Adams may have been exaggerating when he pessimistically noted that democracies tend to commit suicide, yet, as we are seeing, certain aspects of representative government can end up posing serious problems. And so, we might be a healthier democracy if we were a slightly less democratic one.
Peter Orszag is vice chairman at Citigroup and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This article appeared in the October 6, 2011, issue of the magazine.
Below you see the ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE MOVEMENT----they are indeed calling for a new government structure. These are the 5% to the 1% working for global Wall Street ---not leftist groups. They are setting the stage to install global 1% and their 2% rich enslaving a global labor pool working at $3-6 a day or $20-30 a day and calling that LEFT-LEANING SOCIALISM/MARXISM.
IT IS SIMPLY GLOBAL SLAVE TRADING. THAT IS WHAT OLD WORLD GLOBAL RICH DID FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS----AND THAT IS WHO NOW CONTROLS OUR US GOVERNANCE----THEY ARE MAKING A COLONIAL ENTITY OF AMERICA SEEING ONLY US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES AS GLOBAL CITY STATES UNDER A GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL LAW----MUCH LIKE THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
Nothing leftist happening folks---this is all far-right, authoritarian, militaristic, extreme wealth and extreme poverty complete with their own religious cults----their own global COMMON CORE NEO-LIBERAL EDUCATION controlling all the information WE THE PEOPLE GET----
'What is this all leading to?To view this question in the context of leftist organizations, media, unions and non-profit organizations, espousing how corrupt and broken our government is, it seems inevitable that these same leftist individuals and groups will eventually call for a new government structure. Oh wait….they are already making this demand'.
Larry Diamond/Hoover Institution/Stanford University are all Bush neo-conservative institutions like Yale and Johns Hopkins so when they push this idea of COMMISSIONS as being the only way to DEMOCRATIZE----we see in Maryland and Baltimore where absolutely no citizen participation occurs because of these quasi-governmental structures and it is indeed the MAOIST CHINESE governance structure. There is nothing left-leaning in all this and we see that when these far-right Bush neo-conservative institutions push this. Baltimore is Bush/Hopkins global neo-conservative and has been a global Wall Street corporate plantation for decades. IT'S FAR-RIGHT FOLKS---NOT LEFTIST---NOT SOCIALIST----NOT DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN.
'Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institution at Stanford puts it this way: “There is something undemocratic about entrusting the formation of big policy decisions to expert commissions.”' 'He concludes that, despite the risks, rising polarization justifies the increased use of these types of commissions'.
Since most Democratic and Republican voters have caught on to their pols being Wall Street players this past decade was about creating new POPULIST LEADERS and political groups so we have
GLOBAL GREEN CORPORATION AND THE ELIZABETH WARREN/ROBET REICH wing of the Democratic Party---ALL THE SAME GLOBAL 1% WALL STREET ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE PEOPLE.
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Day 60 of Occupy Wall Street in New York City, NY on November 15, 2011. Photo credit: David Shankbone.
The revolving door in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, part 1
by Bill Waren, senior trade analyst“…
[T]he Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises. With millions of families still struggling to recover from the last financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed, we cannot afford a trade deal that undermines the government’s ability to protect the American economy.” — Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, and Ed Markey, letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, December 17, 2014.The Obama White House and the Republican leadership in Congress are pushing hard for three massive and environmentally- destructive trade agreements: the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement. These three agreements and similar deals going back to the North American Free Trade Agreement reflect the philosophy and culture of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which assume that many forms of regulation by democratic institutions inhibit global economic growth.
This is not surprising, given that the U.S. Trade Representative and members of his senior staff frequently rotate through the revolving door to and from positions in Wall Street banks, multinational law firms, corporate lobby shops, political campaign fundraising operations and the executive suites of global corporations. The agency conducts little independent policy analysis, and is dependent on lobbyists for information.
It is no wonder that public opinion data show that, beyond the Capitol Beltway, people believe our current trade policies are imbalanced.
Take the case of Ambassador Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called Froman someone with whom they are quite comfortable. The American Chemistry Council representing manufacturers and exporters of products associated with a range of health and environmental problems has applauded him. Wall Street banks are especially close to Froman.
This is not surprising. Ambassador Froman, a former Citigroup executive and bundler of Wall Street and other contributions to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, has been through the revolving door between Wall Street and government service repeatedly. He is a man who, by background and mindset, responds to financiers and corporate chieftains rather than the woman or man on the street.
In the Clinton Administration, Froman served as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin (and former head of Goldman Sachs) where they pushed legislation to deregulate the financial services industry: a root cause of the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent Great Recession.
At the end of the Clinton Administration, Froman followed Rubin to Citicorp where they engaged in alleged casino gambling investments that broke Citi when the house of cards tumbled. U.S. taxpayers had to spend billions to bail out Citi and other Wall Street institutions.
But, Froman did not go to jail or lose his shirt but rather pocketed millions in compensation at Citi. He was then given a reported $4 million bonus, aka Golden Parachute, by Citi to join the Obama Administration first on the White House staff proper and now as U.S. Trade Representative — where he is pushing for the TPP, TTIP and TiSA agreements that would deregulate financial services even more and put a brake on environmental and other public interest safeguards.
Froman acts to protect Wall Street
TPP. So, how in particular has Froman acted to protect Wall Street in the investment and services chapters of the TPP and similar deals? Public Citizen sums it up: “The TPP’s Financial Services chapter ‘reads in’ Investment Chapter provisions that would grant multinational banks and other foreign financial service firms expansive new substantive and procedural rights and privileges not available to U.S. firms under domestic law to attack our financial stability measures.”… “the TPP would grant foreign firms new rights to attack U.S. financial regulatory policies in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals…”
According to U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin and Ed Markey “Past trade deals have included terms that allowed foreign firms to use the investor-state dispute settlement process to challenge a wide range of government financial policy decisions.” They conclude that, “the TPP should not include an investor-state dispute resolution process…The consequence would be to strip our regulators of the tools they need to prevent the next [financial] crisis.”
Open-ended definitions of discriminatory government financial regulations. For example, so –called “too big too fail” regulations to limit the size or restrict the activities of banks because their failure would threaten the whole economy, could be challenged … on the grounds that they deny a foreign investor’s right under the TPP “to fair and equitable treatment,” a largely undefined element of the TPP’s “minimum standard of treatment” article obligation that allows pro-Wall Street investment tribunals to assess money damages of unlimited size in compensation for application of common-sense financial regulations. This is illustrated by the case of Saluka Investments v Czech Republic, brought under provisions of a bilateral investment treaty very similar to the TPP investment chapter. More such cases can be expected if the TPP is approved by Congress.
Restrictions on capital control regulations.
The TPP investment chapter also sharply restricts regulation of capital flows intended to promote financial stability. “A new “temporary safeguard” provision that might appear to a lay person to protect government authority, in fact, as Public Citizen observes, “would not adequately protect governments’ ability to regulate speculative, destabilizing capital flows. The safeguard is subject to a litany of constraining conditions…”
Sarah Anderson, at the Institute for Policy Studies, says such capital control provisions in international trade and investment agreements put governments in policy handcuffs when so called “hot money” flees a country during a financial crisis. Such panicked capital flight was a major cause of the disastrous Asian financial crisis of 1997. Fauwaz Adbul Aziz, at Third World Network , reports that, “ More than 100 prominent economists from the Asia Pacific region have urged negotiators of the…Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement…talks to ensure that the eventual document their governments sign on to does not preclude, or impose sanctions against, the use of capital controls.” But, these calls went largely unheeded, as Wall Street flexed its political muscle.
Restrictions on regulation of risky new financial products.
The 2008 financial crisis was caused in significant part by the introduction of new, risky and little understood financial products like toxic derivatives, collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. But, the complex language of the TPP financial services chapter might well be read to require governments to allow foreign firms to sell new financial products and services, if they are allowed in other TPP countries. Public Citizen reads this language to say that, “…the TPP’s financial services chapter would require each signatory government to allow foreign-owned firms to sell in their territory any new financial products and services that do not exist on the domestic market, but do exist in any of the other 11 TPP countries.”
The list of potential giveaways to Wall Street in the final text of the TPP goes on.
TTIP. Froman is also carrying water for his Wall Street buddies and CEOs of global corporations in negotiations on the U.S. — Europe trade deal. The TTIP chapter on regulatory cooperation would weaken regulation of the financial services industry. Regulatory review provisions in the TTIP deal would encourage business-friendly, cost-benefit analysis that would hamstring financial and other public interest regulations. It would also allow trade bureaucrats and industry representatives to screen proposed regulations and also contemplates mutual recognition and harmonization of regulations between the EU and the U.S. that could effectively reduce standards to the lowest common denominator.
Froman has also taken a hard negotiating line on TTIP services provisions of critical importance to Wall Street, calling for much broader coverage than that provided by the General Agreement on Trade in Service administered by the World Trade Organization.
Ambassador Froman and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew claim that they will not allow the TTIP to gut the relatively mild Dodd-Frank reforms of Wall Street practices. Lew has frankly admitted that, “Normally in a trade agreement, the pressure is to lower standards on things like that.” So, given that TTIP negotiations are almost certain to carry over to the next presidential administration, what would a President Trump or even Clinton do? This not an idle question given that EU negotiators appear to be pushing for a dilution of Dodd- Frank and similar standards — at the behest of the investment bankers in “The City of London,” by some measures the world’s biggest financial center and one known for its risk-taking culture.
TiSA. Michael Froman’s actions in the secretive negotiations for the massive Trade in Services Agreement clearly expose his working relations with Wall Street and his former employer, Citigroup. This is a textbook case of the policy consequences of the revolving door.
The TiSA deal being negotiated in Geneva by the United States, 23 other countries and the EU, flies in the face of the international consensus after the 2008 financial crisis that deregulation of financial services was a primary cause of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. As a result of the crisis, financial reforms were adopted in the United States and around the world. But as leaked documents published and analyzed by WikiLeaks demonstrate, “TISA does not support these reforms but continues to ‘discipline’ and restrict how legislators, regulators and supervisors can regulate the financial sector.”
Wesleyan students protesting unfair Citibank employment policies in Delaware, Ohio on November 16, 2001. Photo credit: Maccarton.TiSA is designed for and in close consultation with the global finance industry. In particular, Froman’s old firm, Citigroup is leading the charge for TiSA and financial services deregulation. The Chairman of the Board of a powerful trade lobby, the US Coalition of Service Industries is the Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group at Citi. Citi is also a leader of Team TiSA,” a broader business coalition, including not only global services industries, but also big manufacturing firms and big agriculture interests. “Team TiSA,” is co-chaired by Citigroup and coordinates its lobbying activities with Ambassador Froman, who stated in a speech to the Coalition of Service Industries that, “We need to move forward together with a Trade in Services Agreement that unlocks opportunity for Americans, and with Team TiSA behind us, I’m confident that we are on the right track.”
It’s time to slam the revolving door shut
The trade policymaking in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is biased. As David Dayan has written in the American Prospect, “Michael Froman, former Citigroup executive…, runs USTR, and his actions have lived up to the agency’s legacy as the white-shoe law firm for multinational corporations.”
It’s time for institutional reform of USTR and an end to the revolving door. A tough new ethics code must be put in place. Also, like the State Department, the USTR should be primarily staffed by government professionals who plan to spend their whole careers in public service.
Reform of USTR must also address its single-minded export promotion culture and clearly mandate that the agency give equal weight to protecting domestic laws and regulations and protecting the environment, consumers and the public interest more generally. USTR must be charged with protecting the authority of our democratic institutions, as well as opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and services.
The secrecy of trade negotiations must end. Trade deals like the TPP are negotiated behind closed doors with input from official advisors, most of whom represent global corporations. This facilitates special interest capture of the U.S. negotiating agenda. Moreover, USTR is exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act and functionally exempt from the bulk of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.” Congress should explicitly require that USTR end the secrecy and release the draft text of U.S. proposals after each round of negotiations, as was the practice in the George W. Bush administration, abide by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and end the corporate capture of the USTR advisory committee process.
Reorganization of trade policymaking in the executive branch is equally essential. The centralization of power in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative must be unwound. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor and Department of Justice must be given more powerful roles in trade policymaking. Above all, USTR must be evicted from the White House.
The revolving door career path of Ron Kirk. Learn more here. Image credit of Ron Kirk: United States Mission Geneva.Most important of all, it is time to slam shut the revolving door between Wall Street and the White House. Michael Froman is not the only U.S. Trade Representative or senior USTR official who has been through the revolving door. His immediate predecessor Ron Kirk and many others preceded him. And, many others will follow him unless there is institutional reform of the USTR office.
Why does the revolving door matter?Senator Elizabeth Warren asks and answers, “Because it means that too much of the time, the wind blows from the same direction. Time after time in government, the Wall Street view prevails, and time after time, conflicting views are crowded out.”
And yes conservative Democrats and Republicans---it was your blind faith in Chamber of Commerce allowing it to be government that created this mess. These few decades has seen US Chamber of Commerce being those global Wall Street corporations enfolding all our businesses into great multi-national conglomerates no longer attached to our US or America----and still locally we see our local Chamber of Commerce installing whatever this global Chamber of Commerce tells them---and this is how they killed our local economy and keep it stagnant. WAKE UP CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
While REAL left-leaning Democratic voters are hanging on to lying, cheating, stealing CLINTON/OBAMA FAR-RIGHT WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS-----our REAL right-leaning conservative are still tying themselves to Chamber of Commerce telling themselves that business has all the answers and knows how to do policy best. Well, we have had these few decades a GLOBAL US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE so if a state or local Chamber does what this national organizations says it is pushing policies of ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL. Who shouts against this the loudest? RIGHT-LEANING REPUBLICANS SAYING THEY WANT LIBERTY AND FREEDOM. They are allowing the very far-right global CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA tell them what to do.
Both Bush neo-cons and Clinton/Obama neo-liberals are KILLING OUR US CONSTITUTION AND REPLACING IT WITH A GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL CONSTITUTION and doing it by pretending these policies are for what WE THE PEOPLE are shouting. LET'S BE OUR OWN VOICES----STOP ALLOWING THESE GLOBAL NON--PROFITS AND MEDIA tell us what is populist!
Here is global Wall Street paraphrasing one of their 2%----Hillary Clinton---IT TAKES A VILLAGE.
This is for whom our US Supreme Court is working----and that is why our US Constitution is failing WE THE PEOPLE----the NEW CONSTITUTION is for global corporations and not for fixing a failing of our own constitution.
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