In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been registered as Non-affiliated my entire life. I consider myself to be a fan and a supporter of Senator Sanders, and I’d like to think that I can offer some evidence of having more than just dabbled as a layperson into matters of TPA, ISDS, TPP, and TTIP.
I also want to make it abundantly clear that I have nothing personal against Robert Naiman or Truthout, but I have to take issue with his op-ed from today, “How Bernie Sanders Can Kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
Read it and let me know if I’m missing something below.
With Friends Like This….
…who needs enemies?
The people who stand to gain the most from Bernie breaking his oath and revealing the text of the TPP are only his opponents.
While we Bernie supporters might cheer him for his courage, his revealing this document would absolutely end his political career. There’s fighting the system, and then there’s being naively quixotic.
Can’t you just see the campaign ads against this wild-eyed, socialist madman from the backwoods of Vermont just willy-nilly revealing state secrets as he spins in his chair in the Oval Office.
Then there would the GOP ads!!!
…with a sprinkling of No True Scotsman
Robert Naiman is engaging in both, and probably a few more.
Bernie’s choices are not to binary; to reveal the text or else be seen as not doing enough. Bernie can keep doing what he’s doing by making this an issue the country ought be paying attention to without breaking the rules or putting himself at risk.
Hell, the secrecy is a prime issue in and of itself!
Then there’s this. We’re a nation of laws. They’re supposed to apply to everyone, but in my opinion, this is not an issue I want Bernie committing political seppuku over. I consider Edward Snowden to be a hero, but I don’t want Bernie to be his roommate.
Mr. Naiman seems to be trying to frame Bernie’s “inaction” by what Senator Durbin did and didn’t do about intelligence on Iraq. That’s the No True Scotsman fallacy in full view.
It was his job as a member of the intelligence committee to tell the American people that the intelligence didn’t match the Bush administration’s rhetoric. Of course, it was other people’s job too; he was the one who subsequently confessed to inaction.
That sounds like, “If only Durbin had acted like a true <fill in the blank> and just broken his silence, we never would have invaded Iraq.”
That’s a dubious notion at best. We were a nation drunk with fear, blood-lust, and revenge, and looking back there seems nothing that could have stopped the Cheney/Rumsfeld/W juggernaut in the Middle East.
Bernie’s illegal release of the TPP text would be equally dubious. Even if every sentence of the TPP were revealed tomorrow – and with a $100,00 bounty from WikiLeaks, it just might have been released by the time you read this – we’re still going to see too many of our fellow citizens acting like the good corporatist’s Pavlovian dog at the ringing of the supposed “free trade” dinner bell.
Now that I think about it, it seems eminently fair to add the Appeal to Emotion logical fallacy to Mr. Naiman’s approach in all of this.
So What To Do?
Bernie can’t do this alone. No one can. We all need to unite, first and foremost, and voice our opposition in granting the president fast-track authority.
There are tons of examples of people making their voices heard; from Reverend William Barber, to Fight For The Future, to the Pittsburgh city council, to one of my personal favorites and a leading organization in this area, Public Citizen.
(My own page has many more links. articles, and original blog posts.)
So, how about it, Mr. Naiman. Let’s not call for Bernie to act like a fool or a madman. Instead, let’s help him as best as we can so he stays out of trouble and so maybe we can see him on the ballot and even in the White House!