Don't get me wrong, it's great that Dems are fighting back against fast-tracking these trade agreements.But I think they're doing a piss-poor job of getting the public behind them.
Here's the most compelling and immediate reason to oppose the TPP: The intellectual property components are so draconian, they may make felons of us all. Really. If you share something on a blog or Facebook, and somewhere along the line, there was a copyright infringement, you could get hit with a huge fine -- or time in prison. You think property seizure and asset forfeiture is bad now?
That's what they should be talking about, because this agreement will be the new marijuana in terms of criminalizing the population.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) on Thursday accused the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) of “baffling” Democrats “with bullshit” in an effort to advance President Obama's trade agenda.
Pocan’s remarks, which were triggered by a debate over whether the U.S. enjoys a trade surplus with free-trade partners, mark the latest escalation in a fight between liberals and the White House office over President Obama’s trade agenda.
Obama is requesting that Congress approve “fast-track” legislation that would make it easier to negotiate trade deals, and his team is negotiating two new trade agreements. He’s getting some cooperation from an otherwise antagonistic GOP on Capitol Hill but is running into opposition from the left.
Some House Democrats argue U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has not been transparent in discussing U.S. trade negotiations with prospective partners, claims that White House officials vehemently refute.
Froman’s office held a classified briefing this week for members, which Democratic opponents of Obama’s trade agenda argued should have been open.
Pocan’s remarks were focused on a recent briefing for members.
“It was a process of baffling them with bullshit rather than providing us with the truth,” he said at a Thursday press conference. “It's time for the ambassador — if he wants to get this trade deal through Congress — be honest with us.↓ Story continues below ↓
“Let us sit at the big people's table,” he said.
A U.S. official called the attacks “desperate.”
“The press conference today was part of an increasingly desperate set of attacks that hard-core trade opponents are trotting out because they’ve realized the facts are not on their side,” the U.S. official told The Hill.
Pocan and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) held the press conference to dispute how Froman and other administration officials calculate trade data that they say shows the U.S. enjoys a trade surplus.
“Perhaps he has gotten access under D.C.'s new legalization law to some marijuana and he's filling in gaps in his memory with confabulated facts,” DeFazio said, calling the data “totally false.”
DeFazio and his allies argue that data calculated by the U.S. International Trade Commission states that the U.S. had a $177.5 billion goods trade deficit with its FTA partners in 2014.