Needless to say it is the capture of labor and justice organizations nationally that have created the lack of political dialog and education for Americans about all of policy issues unlike nations around the world that are organizing and protesting by the millions. Let's take a look at elections around the world and how people are reacting to issues like global corporate control of government, financial and corporate frauds and attack on public wealth, and Trans Pacific Trade Pact. Remember, the candidates for Governor of Maryland, whether neo-liberal or neo-con, mention NONE of the issues above in campaigning. That is how you know you have global corporate pols.
I shared the article about Europe's elections and how they are really pushing out the incumbents that gave them the bailing out of the banks and austerity to pay for massive corporate fraud. Nationalists, anti-immigrant, anti-corporate, and the media coverage is wide-spread. In the US, we don't even know these protests and election results are happening from mainstream media and certainly no mention of these protests and election results being tied in part to Trans Pacific and Atlantic Trade deals.
WE CAN REVERSE ALL OF THIS CORPORATE CONTROL BY TAKING BACK THE PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY FROM GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS. THEY ARE NOT LIBERALS----THEY ARE NOT PROGRESSIVE---THEY ARE SIMPLY CORPORATE PROFIT.
I know the people of Philippines wanted US military out and they resent having their citizens as immigrant workers so I doubt they want TPP!
TPP Push: Clinton’s visit to Asean: Philippines and Thailand
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting the Philippines on 15 November 2011 to initiate the Obama administration’s Partnership for Growth (PFG) program for devising measures to facilitate trade and investments in conflict, poverty and graft stricken countries such as Tanzania, El Salvador and Ghana. She will visit Thailand on 17 November.
Clinton’s one-day visit will also highlight the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty and pave the way for new strategies to ensure peace and stability in the region particularly in the disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea where Chinese military intrusions have been increasing of late.
The PFG launching comes amid the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen measures to implement economic reforms and improve trade policies, in order to qualify for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that facilitates trade and investments between the US and four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Brunei.
Backflip on Thailand TPP membership talks
In an apparent backflip on a proposed Thailand TPP membership application Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Saturday that she will not be discussing an application to join the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact with US President Barack Obama when he visits the country on Sunday.
Thailand’s TPP application threatens to overshadow Presidential visit
Bangkok is abuzz at the imminent visit of freshly re-elected US President Barack Obama on a whirlwind three-nation tour to shore up US support in the region, however trade discussions threaten to overshadow the stated purpose of the visit, a courtesy call to mark 180 years of Thai-US relations.
While details such as the number of security personnel to be deployed (more than 1,000), snipers being stationed on Bangkok rooftops (nothing new in that) and details such as the US President travels with his own bottled water supply and his advance team are concerned about giant water monitors at Government House have proved entertaining reading, it is trade that is capturing the most interest.
On Monday the Thailand government announced that it will hold negotiations with the US over the possibility of joining the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
The announcement has seen a flurry of opposition from academics, economists, and interest groups with Aat Pisanwanich, dean of the School of Economics at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce warning Thailand’s service sector is not competitive enough to become a part of the TPP.
Mr Aat also claimed financial institutions will be adversely affected under the TPP, as too would Thailand’s technology sector.
Also voicing concerns about Thailand’s intention to signup for the TPP is Thailand’s central bank, the Bank of Thailand (BoT), warning that joining the TPP could hamper regulations on capital flows and financial services.
In a paper prepared on the TPP Harit Rodprasert, a senior BoT economist warned that although capital inflows promote investment and economic development, they could lead to volatility and a bubble in the property sector or a liquidity shortage during capital flight. Sound familiar????
Former Thailand prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has also urged a cautionary approach, calling on the government to clarity the negotiating framework as the TPP would have a substantial impact on Thailand.
Wise words considering that when President Obama announced the USAs intention to join the TPP in 2009 he told Congress that negotiations would shape “a new kind of trade agreement for the 21st century, bringing home the jobs and economic opportunity we want all our trade deals to deliver”.
TPP more than just tariffs and exchange of goods Advocacy groups globally have protested at what little is known about provisions of the TPP.
Apart from patchy details of controversial clauses leaked to the public little is known about the 26 provisions of the TPP, an expansion of the 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, but these leaks have been enough to see widespread opposition from advocacy groups, and elected officials globally.
So worrying are some aspects of the TPP and the secrecy surrounding its scope that independent news and advocacy organisations have described it as The Most Important Trade Agreement That We Know Nothing About and A Worldwide Corporate Power Grab of Enormous Proportions.
In August a bipartisan group of US lawmakers sent a letter to the the top US trade negotiator “in the strongest possible terms” demanding details of the TPP, particularly in relation to its intellectual property provisions.
Criticism and protests over restrictions imposed by the TPP have been voiced globally since its inception in 2007 and despite claims the pact now has 11 members, only the four original signatories – Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and later Brunei – are full members, while the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, and Canada are still negotiating the terms of the TPPs various clauses.
So far 14 meetings have been held attempting to thrash out the pact, with the 15th to be held between December 3 to 12, 2012, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Anti-globalists, privacy groups, and human rights advocacy groups internationally claim the TPP goes far beyond the realm of tariff reduction and trade promotion, granting unprecedented power to corporations and infringing upon consumer, labor, and environmental interests.
TPP strengthens patent protection for drugs more than any trade agreement Part of an Infographic on the TPP prepared by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (click to see full infographic)
The Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), a highly respected and long-established defender of consumers digital rights says the TPP “threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement”.
According to the EFF US negotiators are “pursuing a TPP agreement that will require signatory countries to adopt heightened copyright protection that advances the agenda of the US entertainment and pharmaceutical industries”.
Human rights group Amnesty International says the TPP “neglects protections for fair use and standard judicial guarantees – such as the presumption of innocence – and includes copyright provisions that could compromise free speech on the internet and access to educational materials.
“Draft TPP provisions related to patents for pharmaceuticals risk stifling the development and production of generic medicines by strengthening and deepening monopoly protections” the group said ahead of the 14th round of negotiations in September.
In a detailed article on the TPP in the respected journal Nature, science journalist Amy Maxmen said previously leaked documents indicate the “TPP looks likely to strengthen patent protection for drugs more than any trade agreement so far.
Nature warns that “some countries may be tempted to forgo access to generic drugs in exchange for better access to US markets in other industries.
Respected Science journalist Amy Maxmen said in Nature “some countries may be tempted to forgo access to generic drugs in exchange for better access to US markets” Photo: Courtesy Scientific American
in a 2011 report addressing the TPP Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders) says that counties which have rejected patents on new formulations of the off-patent HIV drug Abacavir now sell generic versions for as little as $US139 per person per year, whereas in Malaysia pediatric Abacavir costs $1,200 per child per year, because the country granted the new formulation a patent.
“The first generation of HIV drugs have come down in price by 99 percent over the last decade, from $10,000 per person per year in 2000 to roughly $60 today, thanks to generic production in India, Brazil and Thailand where these drugs were not patented.
“About 80 percent of donor- funded anti-AIDS drugs and 92 percent of drugs to treat children with AIDS across the developing world comes from generic manufacturers” MSF says.
Despite the mounting levels of concern and lack of any public debate the Thailand Ministry of Commerce says the government will hold a press conference to formally affirm its commitment to seek membership of the TPP during the the US President’s visit.
The old adage that one should be wary of Greeks bearing gifts is somewhat dated and in the 21-st century, with pressure to create jobs and increase exports, one should perhaps be be more wary of US President’s bestowing the honour of an official visit than wooden horses.
I want to show the spin that US media is presenting to the American people that is so overt and biased that it shows why Americans have no idea what policies mean even to US citizens.
Thailand is just one of among a dozen or so nations global corporations are trying to bring into this trade deal -----the people are determined to keep it out of their country with leaders in place ready to deal. Thailand is a good example of how successful citizen protest can be as the Prime Minister did end up backing away from TPP talks. Hopefully the Thai protesters will be able to send this PM packing and elect a pol looking out for the people's interest and not the oligarchs of the country.
Below you see CNN media outlet telling Americans what all that protesting in Thailand is about. Never once do they mention that the middle and upper class are fighting to keep TPP out because they know it will surrender that nation to loss of sovereignty and wealth. Shinawatra is simply a relative of a billionaire business tycoon enriched by taking over Thailand's communications sector much like the Russian oligarchs. He is fraudulent and corrupt---autocratic and wanting to sell out his nation to maximize his corporate profits. The poor are fighting for the very person and policy that will kill the nation and further impoverish those supporting it. The poor are brought out to protest for Thanksin and TPP while the middle class and affluent are determined to send Thanksin and his farm team out because they know TPP will steal all of their wealth. Thailand's poor do not know what the handing of national sovereignty to global corporations will mean.
10 questions: What's behind the protests in Thailand?
By Jethro Mullen, CNN updated 11:18 PM EST, Tue November 26, 2013 Thai protesters march to oust government STORY HIGHLIGHTS
- At the heart of the unrest is the polarizing figure of Thaksin Shinawatra
- His sister is now prime minister, and critics say she's his puppet
- A recent move to grant amnesty to Thaksin and others caused anger
- Protesters say they won't stop until "Thaksin's regime is wiped out"
(CNN) -- In order to understand the turbulent world of Thai politics, you have to start with one name: Thaksin Shinawatra.
The former prime minister has dominated the country's political scene for more than a decade despite going into exile after his ouster in a 2006 coup.
Back in 2010, deadly clashes took place between security forces and Thaksin supporters who had occupied central Bangkok. They were demanding his return.
Now, his sister is in power and she recently tried to pass an amnesty law that could have allowed his return. The attempt failed, but it provided fuel for the current protests shaking the capital.
Here's a quick primer to make sense of it all.
Thai protesters stage huge rallies Tensions tighten in Thailand Thailand PM defies critics 1. Who is Thaksin?
He's a deeply polarizing figure -- a billionaire telecommunications mogul who built his political power on policies popular with Thailand's rural villagers. His success ruffled a lot of feathers among the country's established elites, and critics accused him of corruption and autocratic rule. He was prime minister between 2001 and 2006, when the military deposed him in a bloodless coup.
2. What happened in 2010?
Thaksin's ouster spurred the protest movement that developed over the years into the widespread "red shirt" demonstrations that occupied upscale parts of Bangkok in 2010. By that stage, the movement had broadened to represent other issues, including resentment at the military's involvement in politics and economic inequality. The crackdown by security forces on the red shirts resulted in clashes that left around 90 people dead. It has been described as the worst civil violence in Thailand's history, and the country remains severely scarred by the experience.
3. Could the current protests lead to a repeat?
The situation is different this time.
Those protesting are opponents of Thaksin rather than his supporters. His sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is now prime minister. Her government is under pressure after widespread anger over its recent failed attempt to pass a bill that could have granted amnesty to Thaksin and others.
Although the public has generally moved on from the conflict over the amnesty bill, the opposition Democrat Party is trying to use the issue to bring down Yingluck's government, says Paul Quaglia, director of the Bangkok-based risk assessment firm PQA Associates.
"The government is facing probably a countdown until it will have to dissolve and hold new elections," Quaglia says. "But it doesn't look like it's a replay of 2010 when we're going to see violence in the streets and an extended takeover of central Bangkok."
4. What has Thaksin been up to?
He has been living in exile in a number of different places, most recently Dubai, while continuing to play an active role in Thai politics.
He briefly returned to Thailand in 2008. Later that year, he was convicted by a Thai court of corruption and sentenced in absentia to two years in prison over a controversial land deal. Courts have also frozen billions of dollars of his assets, but he is believed to still have a great deal of money held elsewhere.
He's also stayed heavily involved in Thai politics over the years, communicating with supporters via social media and video messages. With his younger sister in power since 2011, his influence remains strong. Critics say Yingluck is Thaksin's puppet, but she insists she has always been independent.
5. What is happening this week?
After weeks of demonstrations, thousands of protesters have gathered around government buildings in central Bangkok, occupying some of them for varying periods of time. Yingluck has expanded the area in and around Bangkok covered by an internal security law that gives police extra powers to disband protesters. In parliament, the Prime Minister is facing a "no confidence" motion against her. And police have issued an arrest warrant against protest leader, Suthep Thaugsuban.
For most of Bangkok, business as usual despite protests
6. What's at stake for the region?
The demonstrations are bringing instability once again to Thailand, a key regional economy and popular tourist destination. The protests are centered on Bangkok, a vital transportation hub, especially for air travel. So far, the protests are concentrated in specific parts of the city. More than a dozen countries have issued travel warnings for citizens to avoid areas near protests in Bangkok.
7. What do the demonstrators want?
Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister under the previous Democrat-led government, has said the demonstrations "will not stop until Thaksin's regime is wiped out." Such an aim seems ambitious. Yingluck's government was democratically elected and her Pheu Thai party retains support in its core areas. The current protests have echoes of 2008 when demonstrators opposed to a pro-Thaksin government occupied Bangkok's main airport and government offices.
8. Where are the protesters getting their support from?
Opposition to Thaksin and Yingluck is strongest among the urban elites and middle class. That means the capital.
"Bangkok is the ground zero for anti-Thaksin protest movements," Quaglia says. "The rest of the country, other than southern Thailand, is either in his camp or sort of politically neutral." That's why the recent demonstrations have been concentrated in the streets of the capital.
9. What's the government's support base?
Thaksin's traditional support comes from the populous rural areas of north and northeast of Thailand. The government's botched amnesty move may have hurt its standing in those areas, but not fatally.
"Despite the pictures of thousands of people in the street that doesn't necessarily mean the government will go -- or if it does go, that it will lose the next election," Quaglia says.
10. What is likely to happen next?
Questions remain over the ability of Yingluck's government to maintain order in the capital and weather the heavy political pressure in Parliament. Some observers are concerned that government supporters, tens of thousands of whom rallied in Bangkok on Sunday, could clash with opposition demonstrators.
Yingluck has said authorities would "absolutely not use violence" to disperse the demonstrators.
Even if Yingluck survives the "no confidence" motion against her, the situation appears unlikely to calm down soon.
"We're going to see political instability here for some time," Quaglia says.
Hmmmm....missing Malaysian airliners and tensions growing and US media seems to tell us that everything is moving forward with TPP-----Did you know TPP is illegal and a COUP against the Constitution and the American people? That is why millions around the world are marching and voting pols out of office and it is why in the US Clinton is pushing his farm team in state and local levels as hard as possible because these global corporate pols will build the government structures needed to hand all power of policy to global corporations.
Does this headline tell you what the media article leads you to believe? Scrambling to find justifications for TPP.......meanwhile many Americans do not even know how TPP will affect them.
1.8 Million People Call For TPP To Be Made Public
By Fuseworks Media, www.voxy.co.nz
June 4th, 2014
Powered by Translate 22 A petition of more than 1.8 million people worldwide, calling for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to be made public has been delivered to Australia’s Parliament this morning.
Japan Remains Hotbed of TPP Protest as U.S. Tries to Fast-Track Trade Deal, Crush Environmental Laws
Japan has been a hotbed of protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would establish a free-trade zone stretching from Japan to the United States to Chile, and encompass nearly 40 percent of the global economy.
'the perceived value of being a part of the TPP has been gradually diminishing for those countries. While corporate interests may have driven these countries to the negotiating table, public outcry might be starting to pull these countries back away from the table'.
Malaysia Rejecting TPP as Agreement Causes Political Turmoil in Australia
- Written By Drew Wilson
- August 14, 2012 |
We begin with the more dramatic developments coming out of Malaysia where the country is reportedly getting increasingly sceptical of the agreement altogether. From The Sun Daily:
Malaysia is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) which seeks to extend the patent periods of medicines by foreign companies.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the agreement, which is being negotiated among eleven countries including the US and Malaysia, would be detrimental to the local medical industry.
“We are against the patent extension. According to the agreement, if a medicine is launched in the US, and then three years later it is launched in Malaysia, the patent would start from when it is launched here and not when it was launched earlier in the US,” said Liow. “This is not fair.”
He stressed that the agreement would in effect make healthcare less affordable to the public.
Malaysia is not the first jurisdiction to possibly want out of the TPP as some municipalities and even a whole territory in Canada have been voicing either their concerns or want to be exempt altogether from the agreement. However, Malaysia may be the first country to announce their opposition to the agreement. It’s significant because there now are signs that cracks from within the agreement are steadily growing as negotiations go along. Signs of cracks and divisions within the TPP have surfaced since June, but they were never so pronounced that a countries government is publicly announcing their opposition altogether before to my knowledge.
Meanwhile, the TPP is causing major political headaches in Australia. It is seemingly mirroring the kind of political turmoil seen in New Zealand from back in June. The Australian Green Party is pressing the government on why it’s simply towing the US line in the agreement. From Computerworld:
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has slammed the federal government for continuing to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is currently undergoing negotiation.
Ludlam stated the Federal Government is “hell-bent” on locking Australia into a dead-end copyright treaty.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, if the USA gets its way, will cause huge problems for Australians, but our Federal Government is backing Washington to the hilt,” he said in a statement.
“Not content with supporting the ill-fated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement [ACTA], which would endanger the legal status of generic medicines and was overwhelmingly rejected by the European Parliament, the trade minister is now pushing for an Agreement that offers no protection for copyright exceptions enshrined in Australian law.
“ACTA was an absolute dud, and the Government wanted to jump on board before the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry had even warmed up.”
The charges have thrown the Australian government onto the defensive as they try to defend their record on the TPP. From ITNews:
a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) argued that Australia’s support for copyright limitations and exceptions was consistent with “existing international obligations”.
While not denying the substance of the leaks, she said the discussion on limitations and exceptions were still under negotiation. Revised text on copyright limitations and exceptions has been tabled as recently as the last round, in July 2012.
The spokeswoman said Australia would not accept an outcome in the TPP that reduced its ability to enact copyright limitations and exceptions under Australian domestic law.
“Australia’s positions in the intellectual property chapter have been, and continue to be, informed by a wide range of relevant stakeholder views and perspectives,” she said.
The Attorney-General’s Department has undertaken a review on the technological protection measures available to Australians to bypass copyright measures, such as removing region coding on DVDs.
While the Australian government has been trying to find ways of calming the critics of the TPP by deflecting criticisms against it, it also seems to be scrambling to justify the TPP in the first place. One option the government is considering is a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. This seems to be a direct response to the the Pirate Party of Australia who, back in May, argued that the TPP has no economic benefits at all. Of course, the natural question for me would be, why did the Australian government wait all this time before trying to find reasons why the TPP is suppose to be all good for the Australian people? Wouldn’t it have made sense to look at the earliest proposals and try to figure out what’s in it for Australia before signing up and being a part of the negotiation for all these years? to me, it’s a little backwards to sign up for an agreement, negotiate the provisions, pretty much agree with everything the US is saying, ratify it, then figure out why the agreement is good for Australia.
Japan, interestingly enough, is also having second thoughts on the TPP in general. While it seems that the Japanese government is interested in the TPP, there is hesitation on joining the talks due to domestic political reasons – namely the fear of politicians from the governing party defecting in protest of the TPP. From Yomiuri:
Amid prolonged political turmoil, it has become nearly impossible for Japan to join talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord before the end of this year.
To take part in the round of TPP negotiations scheduled for early December–the last for this year–the government and ruling parties must reach a consensus by the end of August, as it will take 90 days for the U.S. Congress to approve Japan’s entry.
The government had planned to make quick preparations for joining the TPP talks by coordinating opinions among relevant bodies after enacting bills on the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems. An official announcement regarding Japan’s participation had been planned for a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum scheduled for September or another occasion.
However, at Wednesday’s meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and main opposition leaders–Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki and New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi–Noda referred to an early dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Many within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan remain cautious regarding the TPP issue. If the government pushes ahead with the talks, more lawmakers may leave the ruling parties in addition to those who left to oppose the integrated reform bills.
Overall, it seems that with growing local backlash for each of these countries either thinking of joining the TPP negotiations or are already in them, the perceived value of being a part of the TPP has been gradually diminishing for those countries. While corporate interests may have driven these countries to the negotiating table, public outcry might be starting to pull these countries back away from the table.
Below you see the US Trade Team using a poll to show support by the US public for TPP. If you remember 80% of Americans are against Citizens United----both Republican and Democrat and TPP is Citizens United on steroids.
These polling corporations are no longer scientific or unbiased----they are being used to sell policy both in the US and abroad. Democratic voters love ending our rights as citizens and re-writing WE THE PEOPLE OUT AND WE THE CORPORATIONS IN---SAY THIS POLL.
This poll is propaganda used to pressure Japanese politicians by selling the idea to Japanese citizens that Americans love these trade deals. How many people in the US know about these trade deals do you think? Also, look at how this article places US Congress as working against the interests of the citizens by delaying and fighting TPP.
THIS IS ALL PROPAGANDA AND IT IS USED AS A REASON FOR CONGRESS TO VOTE FOR POLICY THAT KILLS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
Americans Support the TPP, Trade With Japan
According to a new poll, the majority of Americans support joining the TPP, and even more want more trade with Japan.
By Zachary KeckApril 29, 2014 351 44 0 0 394 Shares17 Comments A majority of Americans want the U.S. to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a new poll.
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia last week, the Pew Research Center released a new public opinion poll it had conducted on Americans’ views of the TPP, the major free trade pact being negotiated between 12 Pacific Rim nations.
As Pew explained the result “A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans (55%) believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a good thing, while just 25% think the agreement will be bad for the country and 19% don’t have an opinion.”
That is slightly more than the percentage of Americans who support the TPP’s European counterpart, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). According to a Pew poll taken earlier this month, just 53 percent of Americans view the TPIP as a positive thing for their country.
U.S. support for the TPP is also greater than support for growing trade ties with China. Pew also reported last week that in a recent survey only 51 percent of Americans advocated for greater trade with China compared with 45 percent who were against expanded commerce with Beijing. At the same time, Pew found greater U.S. support for trade in the abstract than for the TPP, TTIP or trade with China. According to Pew, no less than 74 percent of Americans recently told pollsters that greater trade is a good thing for their country.
The sizeable support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the United States appears to be driven largely by a desire among the American public to expand trade ties with Japan. As Pew explained: “Fully 74% in the U.S. say increased trade with Japan would be a good thing, and 29% think it would be very good for the U.S. The belief that increased trade with Japan is a very good thing is shared across the political spectrum and has strong backing among the college-educated, 42% of whom hold that view.”
The widespread support for the TPP in the United States, and especially for expanded trade ties with Japan, is somewhat surprising given that both proposals have been met with fierce resistance from members of Congress. This has been especially true among members of President Obama’s own Democratic Party.
Indeed, last May, 43 Democratic Congress members—including 35 House members and 8 Senators--wrote a letter to President Obama expressing their opposition to Japan joining the TPP talks. Then, in November of last year, a coalition of 151 Democratic House members wrote a letter to Obama to inform him of their opposition to Trade Promotion Authority, which is seen as essential for signing the pact. The 151 Democratic representatives who signed onto the letter account for about 75 percent of the entire Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives.
The fact that the main Congressional opposition to the TPP comes from the Democratic Party is also at odds with the results of Pew’s recent survey, which found that support for the TPP is actually greater among Democrats than Republicans. According to the poll, 59 percent of self-identified Democrats said they support the TPP compared with just 49 percent of Republicans. Self-identified Independents are somewhere in the middle (56 percent support TPP).
The incongruence between the views of the American people and the positions of their representatives in Congress is an increasingly common phenomenon in U.S. politics. One of the more notable recent instances of it was Congress’s failure to pass legislation requiring background checks on all firearm sales despite roughly 90 percent of Americans expressing support for such a law. On the other hand, this phenomenon is not unique to America’s democracy. A November poll by the Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, found that Japan’s population support joining the TPP by a large margin. Nonetheless, special interest group lobbying has hobbled Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to join the proposed trade pact.