When even @NewsHour fails to do their job properly

Here’s a perfect example of how easily people can be duped. Given the outlet this time, I suspect the targets are mostly people on the left.

Column: Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t a bum deal

TPP signing“The TPP is a horrible deal,” Donald Trump said. “It’s a deal that’s designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”

“TPP is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multinational corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment, and the foundations of American democracy,” Senator Bernie Sanders argued.

With presidential candidates on both extremes denouncing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a bum deal, and with middle-ground candidates offering tepid support at best, it may be tempting to declare the Trans-Pacific Partnership dead on arrival.

That would be a mistake.

It’s actually a very interesting read, and brings to light some of the sausage making that still has to be done before the Trans-Pacific Partnership gets translated into actual law.

What disappointed me was how Kristin Doerer (@k2doe), Making Sen$e Editor for the PBS Newshour, seemingly sidestepped what I would think is part of her job. Then again, perhaps I’m asking too much for any journalist nowadays to give us more than the canned bios of a column’s creator.

Ms. Doerer ostensibly, “…asked trade scholar Gary Hufbauer and Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs of the Peterson Institute to break down the nuts and bolts of the trade deal and make their case for it.”

What Ms. Doerer didn’t do but I wish she had done was to tell us something more about the authors and their employer.

Yes, Hufbauer’s and Cimino-Isaacs’ bios were printed, but after spending some time today doing my own research, I feel as if they aren’t even really the tip of a meaningful iceberg.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics , like most think tanks and experts, have done a nice job of branding themselves. Even the name conveys a degree of gravitas. “Institute for International Economics.” Sounds like it ought to be a group of very smart people whom we can trust.

It’s only when you look at where 40%+ of annual funding comes from, who sits on their board, and even who the “honorary” directors are that you may begin, as I have, to question their claim of a, “….commitment to intellectual integrity and independence.”

Given all of this, it comes as no surprise to me that Mr. Hufbauer and Ms. Cimino-Isaacs would make the case for why the TPP isn’t a “bum deal.” Oh, and as it relates to duping PBS fans, look at that language. “Bum deal.” Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it?

How about lumping Sanders in with Trump as “candidates on both extremes?” Most people aren’t comfortable with being labeled as extreme or as being associated with extremists, right? Can you begin to feel what I’m quite sure is an intentional subliminal tug toward the authors and their views?

The rest of the column is peppered with similar language which I am sure is meant to appeal to the sensibilities we left-leaning and rational fans of PBS are supposed to possess.

Which is why I think PBS and Ms. Doerer need to be called out for the lack of transparency on these authors.

Yes, I’m sure Ms. Doerer believes she’s doing her job as a journalist. I don’t have any reason to believe otherwise. After all, all that’s really required to call oneself a journalist these days seems to be a willingness to give both sides of an issue equal voice without bothering to provide meaningful background, context, or facts that challenge and refute the spin or outright lies from one side versus the other.

It’s how journalism has come to be described in the 21st century with these two words:

Chuck. Todd.

Is it any wonder that so many Americans have lost faith in the Fourth Estate? Now this from PBS.

Are we asking too much of PBS to reveal more of the truth when they offer their outlets as a platform……sorry, column…..for an organization that any reasonable person would come to see has an agenda masquerading as a position and interpretation of the facts?  I believe that any reader would immediately see through this charade if only a bit more was revealed about who the authors are and who butters their bread.

Can we count on someone like Lori Wallach (@PCGTW) of Public Citizen Global Trade Watch to be invited to publish her views?

This piece isn’t a personal attack. It’s a plea to Ms. Doerer and all of her professional colleagues everywhere to do more than simply look for sources of content. You have a responsibility like no other institution in our democracy.

Your failure is our failure.

Please don’t succumb to the rampant failings of corporate mainstream media.

Tell @USTradeRep: #NoTPP via @FlushtheTPP http://bit.ly/USTRnoTPP – DEADLINE is January 13!


CLICK HERE to write to the USTR:

Mass Mobilization To Stop The #TPP Announced for DC Nov 14-18 #FallRising #StopTPP #NoTPP


By Staff, www.PopularResistance.org
November 5th, 2015

A mass mobilization in Washington, DC from November 14th  to 18th has been announced to begin the next stage of the campaign to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The TPP was made public 10 days from the actions.

The protest, co-sponsored by 59 organizations, is being spearheaded by Popular Resistance and Flush The TPP and includes environmental, human rights, labor, climate change and good government groups. They have been organizing this mobilization for months knowing that the TPP would be made public around this time.

Sign and share this petition to congressional leadership opposing the TPP.

(full article)

It’s bad. 

There will be a mass mobilization Nov. 14 through 18 in Washington to begin the push to block the TPP.(https://www.popularresistance.org/mass-mobilization-to-stop-the-tpp-announced-as-text-is-released/

Rising up to stop the TPP is a far, far better investment of our time and energy than engaging in the empty political theater that passes for a presidential campaign.“The TPP creates a web of corporate laws that will dominate the global economy,” attorney Kevin Zeese of the group Popular Resistance, which has mounted a long fight against the trade agreement, told me from Baltimore by telephone. “It is a global corporate coup d’état. Corporations will become more powerful than countries. Corporations will force democratic systems to serve their interests. Civil courts around the world will be replaced with corporate courts or so-called trade tribunals. This is a massive expansion that builds on the worst of NAFTA rather than what Barack Obama promised, which was to get rid of the worst aspects of NAFTA.”



The lies we are told about “free trade”

Last week didn’t go as hoped for by the President. The House, thanks mostly to a demonstration of leadership by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, put the brakes on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as fast track authority.

Last-minute lobbying from President Obama couldn't save the fast-track trade authority he's requesting, for now. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
Last-minute lobbying from President Obama couldn’t save the fast-track trade authority he’s requesting, for now.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

In the lead up to and then as a post-script to the vote, we were treated to lies from the President and the Speaker as reported this week in a single CNN piece.

“These kinds of agreements make sure that the global economy’s rules aren’t written by countries like China; they’re written by the United States of America,” Obama said. “And to stand in their way is to do nothing but preserve the long-term status quo for American workers, and make it even harder for them to succeed.”


“Republicans did our part, and we remain committed to free trade because it is critical to creating jobs and growing our economy,” he said. “I’m pleased that a bipartisan House majority supported trade promotion authority. This is an opportunity for the Democratic Party to take stock and move forward in a constructive fashion on behalf of the American people.”

First of all, the president is presenting a false choice. It’s the black and white logical fallacy in all it’s glory. He’s also engaging, of course, in what always seems to work with frightened Americans; the appeal to emotion that big, bad, and scary China will control the world’s economy, as if that’s not already the case thanks to corporations who long ago moved production to cheaper overseas markets.

What he’s actually saying is this.

“The Big Money corporatists who actually control me, Washington, our state houses, and the global economy want me to scare you into believing in false choices and promises sure to be broken.”

What is known about the TPP and it’s Atlantic-oriented cousin, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is that they are terrible for democracies and for everyone outside the board rooms of corporations and financial markets.

What else needs to be understood is that the promises made to past legislators and to we Americans in exchange for support for past trade deals have almost never materialized or have been broken entirely.

The post-script comes from Speaker Boehner. He’s making the case that Republicans want to empower this President and future presidents with the authority to negotiate trade deals in secret and then which have only 60 days for review before a simply up or down vote is cast by Congress. That’s what fast track authority is all about, and Republicans – the so-called “smaller government” party – want this kind of Executive Branch power more than Democrats.

The proof is in the votes. The GOP voted Aye for the TPA portion of H.R. 1314 by nearly a 7-to-1 margin versus Democrats.

Stop and think about that. The GOP has done everything possible to stymie just about everything the president and the Democrats have tried to accomplish in the last 7 years. Now, they’re on his side. Why is that?

Because when you get past the layers of bullshit we’re fed by corporate media and bi-/trans-partisan groups begging for compromise (which is how we’ve gotten into the mess we’re in), there are differences between the parties.

Lots of them, and they are not subtle. They are not nuanced. They are obvious. TPA and the TPP is just another glaringly obvious example to anyone willing to open their eyes to look.

Yes, of course, Big Money Corporatists are doing their best to control everything and every politician, but here’s the truth that those on the right and those pining for some mythical middle ground don’t seem to want to acknowledge. Right now, what little defense we ordinary Americans have in Congress comes almost exclusively from the Democrats and Independents. They have proven before their willingness to stand up to the President on the TPA, and they are the ones doing it again.

Call your elected officials. Keep the heat on. Tell them you expect them to vote against fast track trade authority, and remind them that you’ll be voting in the next election.

Included in fast track authority is TiSA, Trade in Services Agreement. This is just one more reason why we cannot allow corporatists and Big Money interests to win.

Additional reading:

H.R. 1314: Trade Act of 2015

TPP/TTIP Resources

“Fight for the Future statement on defeat of Fast Track trade package in U.S. House of Representatives”; Evan Greer, Fight For The Future, 6/12/2015

“New Polls Spotlight Damage of Past Trade Deals, Reveal Opposition to TPP Content”; Ben Beachy, Public Citizen, 5/28/2015

“Nike, Obama, and the Fiasco of the Trans-Pacific Partnership”; Robert Reich, 5/8/2015

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