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Some good news from the US Congress

November 14th, 2013

The US Congress is rightly regarded as a dysfunctional mess, blocking vital legislation for trivial partisan reasons. But occasionally, things work out for the best. A variety of critics ranging from left and liberal Democrats to members of the Tea Party appear likely to derail ‘fast track’ authority for Obama to sign the appalling Trans-Pacific Partnership. By contrast, the Abbott government is keen to sign this secret deal and has dropped Labor’s objections to clauses that would allow foreign corporations to sue our government for policies inconsistent with the market liberal ideology that informs the treaty. Let’s hope the whole thing is slowed down until the 2016 election year. If that happens, the pressure to renegotiate the deal, or scrap it altogether, will become intense.

Coincidentally, Wikileaks has published a draft chapter from the agreement, hidden from us by our governments and making clear what everyone knows. This isn’t about trade but about imposing market liberal institutions, including strong intellectual property in pharmaceuticals, copyright and so on.

  1. Jim Rose
    November 14th, 2013 at 20:16 | #1

    Is the agreement trade diverting?

  2. idunno
    November 14th, 2013 at 20:54 | #2

    Third time lucky? There is also a story in the Guardian, yesterday, about Wikileaks releasing the details of the agreement. As I am too stupid to use the link button above, anyybody interested will have to find it for themselves;(


  3. TerjeP
    November 14th, 2013 at 21:07 | #3

    Trade agreements used to be meaningful acts of market liberalisation but increasingly they seem to have become Trojan horses for market regulation. We should for the most part pursue a policy of unilateral trade liberalisation and stay away from these deals. Where our goods are blocked from specific markets by protectionist policies of foreign governments we should lobby those foreign governments for reform on the basis of merit rather than via the horse trading of red tape.

  4. ZM
    November 14th, 2013 at 21:31 | #4

    Does anyone know how the crown does break trade treaties?

  5. November 14th, 2013 at 21:40 | #5

    15 August, 2013. Richard Marles:

    This is a great opportunity. We need to get the trade landscape right. We are working very closely and energetically with China to try to get the Free Trade Agreement with China on a footing where we can bring that to conclusion as soon as possible. We are, of course, working with Korea and Japan to do the same, and we are also promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership as an important pluri-lateral trade agreement which will enhance our ability to export agricultural and resource products into that Asian region.

    Aren’t the ALP just as enthusiastic about the TPP as the LNP? Is there any difference whatsoever between them on this?

  6. Ikonoclast
    November 14th, 2013 at 23:59 | #6

    The TPP is downright sinister. Whenever I think the world of modern politics can’t get more frightening something like the TPP comes along. Someone is definitely pushing an agenda for abolishing democratic government and setting up Corporate Dictatorship.

  7. November 15th, 2013 at 00:40 | #7


    In theory any Government could break out of or renounce any treaty at any time – but globalist protocol dictates that isn’t the done thing.

    That’s probably why, rather than simply drop out of the 1953 Refugee Convention, our Government went through the silly charade of excising Australia from the Australian Immigration Zone.

    The obvious thing would have been to openly repudiate the convention, but to do that would have set a totally unacceptable (to the Global Elite) precedent. In other words, if we’d done that we could simply walk away from the TPP when public anger domestically required it. What will happen is that we will be told the ‘deal is done and there’s no way out, we must stick with our international obligations’ etc….

  8. ZM
    November 15th, 2013 at 00:45 | #8

    Well, theory means its possible at least. Because the TPP was made directly to exclude China, I guess if we broke it we would emphasise our trade with China (even more than now) over the TPP countries then?

    It was pretty awful reading that Australia wanted to adopt all the clauses that other pacific countries wanted changed.

  9. Ludwig
    November 15th, 2013 at 05:52 | #9

    @Ludwig Bloody key board! That should have read: The link is here 🙂 https://wikileaks.org/tpp/

  10. Jim Rose
    November 15th, 2013 at 14:48 | #10

    Is the correct name for these agreements preferential trade agreements?

  11. Jim Rose
    November 22nd, 2013 at 18:21 | #11

    great news: the US senate has cut back on filibusting. Just in time for the republicans to take back the senate and then the white house.

    as John lott pointed out, views on this vary:

    NYT 2004: “[The filibuster] is all part of the Senate’s time-honored deliberative role and of its protection of minority rights, which Republican leaders would now desecrate in overreaching from their majority perch.”

    NYT 2013 (today): “a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the president’s nominees… That means a return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote.”

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