Category Archives: Trade

TPA: Republicans Cede Some More American Sovereignty

Barack Obama, Federalism, Outsourcing, Republicans, Trade

“Some” would call it treason. OK, I would call it treason. Republicans—who boast of their respect for the republican value of limited authority, and who vowed to keep Obama in his Constitutional place—banded together to give President Barack Obama yet MORE executive authority. “[T]he Senate voted 60-38 to grant final approval to the fast-track bill, reports the Washington Post.

… The trade promotion bill now heads to Obama’s desk for his signature. It gives the executive branch additional powers for six years and authorizes the president, and his successor, to present trade deals to Congress for a vote on a specified timeline without lawmakers being able to amend the terms.

What is the TPA? Also via the WaPo:

… Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA. This is also known as “fast-track” authority because it gives the president the ability to negotiate a deal that will receive only an up-or-down vote in Congress. Without fast track, Congress can amend the terms of the deal. You can remember that TPA is “fast track” because when you T.P. a house, you are on the “fast track” to juvenile delinquency. Or you can just call it fast track, which is easier.

Fast-track authority doesn’t apply to only one agreement. In the past, it has spanned presidencies, beginning in 1974 and lasting until the Clinton administration. It also existed during parts of both terms of George W. Bush’s presidency. From the president’s standpoint, fast-track authority is critical to negotiating agreements because he can negotiate in good faith — what he says to his negotiating partners he’s confident will be part of the final deal (if Congress approves it).

Broadcaster Mark Levin, who exulted in the Republicans’ mid-term victory only to find himself needing to trash these traitors daily—spoke to Sen. Ted Cruz on voting against the fast track deal.

“Enough is enough,” Cruz had written at Breitbart.com. “I cannot vote for TPA unless McConnell and Boehner both commit publicly to allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire—and stay expired. And, Congress must also pass the Cruz-Sessions amendments to TPA to ensure that no trade agreement can try to back-door changes to our immigration laws. Otherwise, I will have no choice but to vote no.”

As commendable as a Cruz vote against the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is—Levin failed to point out the following:

No bit of legislation should ever cede US sovereignty to signatory nations—not on immigration, not on self-defense, not on sentencing, not on anything.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: War Party Inc. Welcomes WikiLeaks Trade/Treason Revelations

Barack Obama, Conservatism, Neoconservatism, Regulation, Technology, The State, Trade

The War Party Inc. is forever raging against WikiLeaks and its heroic founder Julian Assange. Lo and behold, I heard Mark Levin approvingly mention the “secretive Obamatrade documents” uncovered by Wikileaks. Hmmm.

So, the liberty to scrutinize what tyranny is up to is not so bad after all?

Via Breitbart.com:

Discovered inside the huge tranche of secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.

The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it. Nobody has figured how big a deal the documents uncovered by Wikileaks are until now. (See below)

The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.

TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.

Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved. …

MORE (if you can unstick this website.)

TiSA Annex on Movement of Natural Persons.

TiSA Annex on Movement of Natural Persons by breitbartnews

UPDATED (6/15): “The secretive wheeling and dealing on the massive 29-chapter draft [of the Trans-Pacific Partnership] (kept under classified lock-and-key and only a tiny portion of which have been publicly disclosed through WikiLeaks) make the backroom Obamacare negotiations look like a gigantic solar flare of openness and public deliberation. Fast-track Republicans, who rightfully made a stink when Nancy Pelosi declared that ‘we have to pass the [Obamacare] bill so that you can find out what is in it,’ now have no transparency legs to stand on. …”

Michell Malkin On “Why America Hates the GOP-Obamatrade Deal.”

And if “America” doesn’t yet hate the TPP, it certainly should.

My position: all legislation is bad unless it is legislation to repeal legislation.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Ordinary Iranians Deserve Relief

Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel, Trade

Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a patriot. About that there can be no doubt. Unlike American pols, whose policies vis-a-vis the American people border on treason, Netanyahu generally acts in the interests of his countrymen. As the patriot he is, one expects Netanyahu to disapprove of the deal Western powers are hammering out with Iran.

“I told them that according to the information reaching Israel, the deal that appears to be in the offing is bad and dangerous,” said Netanyahu. “Not just for us but also for them. I suggested that they wait and give it serious consideration, and it’s good that that is indeed what was decided. We will do everything we can to convince the leaders not to reach a bad agreement.”

The truth, of course, is that the “deal” is not dangerous to the U.S.

Israel’s concerns notwithstanding, pursuing negotiations that ease sanctions on Iran are good for the U.S. and indubitably fair to the Iranian people. Detailed in “The Warmongers: Not Looking Out For Us” are the costs to Americans—as opposed to their overseers in Washington—of sanctions:

Not to be overlooked are the costs to Americans of sanction enforcement, avers Harmer. In addition to the opportunity costs—the missed business aforementioned—there are “direct costs.” The Office of Foreign Asset Control in the U.S. Treasury Department squanders around $1 billion a year in developing lists of “financial institutions that are subject to sanctions,” and then infringing on the rights of individuals and companies to freely exchange privately owned property.

“Indirect costs” are incurred in the course of cultivating a massive U.S. intelligent infrastructure—a veritable alphabet soup of agencies—upon which the Treasury draws in enforcing a regimen of sanctions.

So, too, are the “deterrent costs” borne by the American taxpayer who pays for patrolling the Persian Gulf, the Northern Arabian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz. …

The toll on ordinary Iranians is orders of magnitude greater. Especially pressing: “the disbursement to Iran in installments of up to about $50 billion of Iranian funds blocked in foreign accounts for years.”

Ultimately, trade, not democracy, is the best antidote to war with Iran. The more economically intertwined countries become, the less likely they are to go to war. More than boycotts, barter with Iran is bound to promote good will and reduce belligerence on both sides. As a general rule, state-enforced boycotts harm honest, hard-working Americans who use the economic means to earn their keep. They benefit servants of Uncle Sam—the political class and its media and think-tank hangers-on. For they deploy the political means to advance their ends and grow their sphere of influence. As libertarian economist Murray Rothbard once observed, these “are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth”—the economic means is honest and productive, the political means is dishonest and predatory.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Multiculturalism & ‘The 18th-Century Levantine Mindset’

Family, Free Markets, IMMIGRATION, Liberty, Middle East, Multiculturalism, Trade

As hard as it is to believe, the “18th-century cities of the Levant” were liberal, libertine and prosperous. The secret to the successful, vibrant life in the Levant is detailed in a book by Philip Mansel, which traces “the story of how first Smyrna (modern Izmir), then Alexandria and then Beirut emerged to prominence, and how they waxed in wealth, power, beauty and influence over the 19th and 20th centuries.”

The Levant then was without the top-down, punitive, forced integration which is the hallmark of the 19th-century nation-state. Enforced across the Anglo-American and European spheres, this integration compels the founding peoples to prostrate themselves before minorities, each and every one of whom is said to suffer from historical wounds and claims to match their eternally suppurating wounds:

The reviewer reveals a thing or two about multiculturalism in these cities.

“The cities of the Levant were never a melting pot of peoples, rather a grid of self-governing communities, enforced by separate schools, places of worship, hospitals, burial grounds, clubs, charities, newspapers and libraries. Internal schisms – between Catholic and Orthodox, between Nestorian and Monophysite, between Sunni and Shia, between Ashkenazi and Sephardim further subdivided the urban tribes of Greeks, Jews, Syrians, Armenians, Turks, Franks and Egyptians. Trade, fame and the pursuit of pleasure alone brought the citizens together, and with it came a natural multi lingualism, so that it was not uncommon for a Levantine family to be fluent in half a dozen languages and scripts, or to use ‘farabish’ a slang-like fusion of Arabic, Italian, English and French. And because the divisions between the communities were so absolute there was a remarkable spirit of tolerance within a Levantine city. Noone felt that their children were in danger of being submerged by another culture and so there was a propensity for sharing, knowing and acknowledging the various festivals and rituals of the different faiths. This arose not out of any interest in a multi-faith fusion, but as neighbours with a taste for being amused by different dishes, street processions, dances and tunes.”

Levantine loyalty structures started with family, then progressed out to ethnic community with a light gilding of urban pride before drifting on outwards via thin personal connections (however faint or imaginary) to other trading cities and the court of the ruling dynasty. Nationalism was startling absent from the 18th-century Levantine mindset, as was any concern, kinship or sense of responsibility for the parochial hinterland. The laboriously constructed contract of 19th-century nationalism – duty, obedience and sacrifice (duty to pay tax, obedience to the heirachy of state servants and readiness to fight for the fatherland) was in almost comic opposition to the Levantine mindset. For the Levantine was a natural free-trader, if not a smuggler, a deal-maker, a tipper of minor officials and a hoarder – who would migrate rather than fight for a distant state, but also perish rather than witness the break-up of family. Mansel creates a mantra to help us translate the smiles of welcome, the immaculate tailoring, the charm and the intoxicating scents of the Levantine: Deals before Ideals, City before State, Trade before Politics.

UPDATE: “Deals before Ideals, City before State, Trade before Politics”: This quote from the review above is especially germane for those of us who champion the locality as the proper repository of conservative loyalties.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Iran, Susan Rice And The Tit-For-Tat Gangs

Democrats, Iran, Middle East, Republicans, Trade, UN

The Stupid Party and its followers have been maligning “United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice for an investment portfolio that “includes investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran, according to financial disclosure forms.”

The Evil Party and its devotees have responded by pointing “to ]John] McCain’s financial disclosures, which reveal $1,000 to $15,000 in the JP Morgan International Value Fund. What’s the second-biggest holding in that fund? Why, Royal Dutch Shell, of course. McCain has another $1,000 to $15,000 stake in the JPMorgan Emerging Markets Equity Fund, which invests in China’s CNOOC, which has contracts to ‘develop some of Iran’s biggest oil and gas fields.'”

Two observations: The arguments the Democratic and Republican factions advance exist on a continuum of cretinism. There is no qualitative difference between them. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that Iranians should be crippled economically, when the truth is that Iran should be bartered with, not boycotted. Trade, not democracy, is the best antidote to Iran’s belligerence. The more economically intertwined countries become, the less likely they are to go to war.

The second and secondary point is that the woman (Susan Rice) probably has no idea how all her money is invested. Most people do not examine each and every investment fund they have in their portfolio.

UPDATED (Dec. 2): Rice may, however, be accused of hypocrisy and worse for enforcing sanctions, yet investing in Iran.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The Perils of Presidential ‘Yellow Peril’ Fever

BAB's A List, Business, Capitalism, China, Democrats, Republicans, Trade

The quote is from the current column, “The Perils of Presidential ‘Yellow Peril’ Fever,” now on WND:

“In the course of the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked to differentiate himself from the justifiably despised George Bush. The Republican presidential contender, who has surrounded himself with neoconservative heavy hitters—and has called Dick Cheney a ‘person of wisdom and judgment’—listed a number of inconsequential distinctions.

Left off was a distinction that reflects favorably on Bush. Like Mr. Obama, George W. Bush did not ‘label China a currency manipulator,’ something Romney has promised to do on his first day in office. This dubious distinction, if anything, belongs to ‘the Clinton administration,’ also the only administration to ever so do.

Labeling China a currency manipulator, to quote Mr. Romney, ‘would allow me as president to be able to put in place, if necessary, tariffs where I believe that they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers.’

The same executive-branch omnipotence allowed Barack Obama to go all-out on matters menstrual. Judging by the questions culled by moderator Candy Crawly, America’s female lobby wants a sugar daddy in the White House. Such sentiments, with their attendant wish lists, are easily gratified, given the plenary powers of the presidency.

Yes, feelings are Barack Obama’s forte; facts not so much. The president, poor man, is up a stream without a paddle. Obama is working with all he’s got. It’s hard to blame him for his inability to explain the inexplicable.

And it is this. On the topic of the imagined perils of the ‘Yellow Peril,’ here’s what escaped Obama, who was as eager to impress voters with his me-too Sinophobia …

… Ultimately … Both the president and the incumbent flout freedom and flirt with fascism when they threaten to come between Americans and their cheap, Chinese, consumer goods. …”

The complete column, now on WND, is “The Perils of Presidential ‘Yellow Peril’ Fever.” Read it.

If you’d like to feature this column, WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, in or on your publication (paper or pixels), contact ilana@ilanamercer.com.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION, AND DO BATTLE FOR LIBERTY BY:

Using the content-sharing icons on Barely a Blog posts.

At the WND and RT Comments Sections, and on Facebook.

By clicking to “Like,” “Tweet” and “Share” WND’s “Return To Reason” , and RT’s “Paleolibertarian Column.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint