In the next 40 days the voters will make a momentous choice.
They will cast a vote for a woman of the last century, molded in radicalism and glazed in the furnace of feminist victimhood. It will be a vote for the continued dismantling of the Republic, and the final, perhaps irreversible corruption of the rule of law that protects it.
Or they will cast a vote for an unorthodox and atypical Queen’s businessman who in an age of timidity, scares the timid. He speaks plainly and sometimes crudely, and detests the political correctness that covers cowardice like a security blanket. He is untested in the workings of a great nation, yet his well-crafted economic, defense, immigration and energy plans are solidly conservative.
Just after the citizens make that decision on November 8th, Congress may make its own momentous decision in lame duck session between the elections and before January.
The fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) sits on the lip of the Congressional cup; a decision that could set the economic trend lines for generations, and rip the already fragile threads that hold the Constitutional order and national sovereignty in place.
[Today, the Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) told a farm group in Kentucky that there are serious problems with TPP and that it would not be taken up this year. As encouraging as that sounds now, Mr. McConnell also mockingly refuted every significant campaign promise he made to the voters in his home state within days after winning re-election in 2014.]
If you’ve lost track, you’re not alone and surely that is part of the plan. The TPP is a massive 3,000 page (full text here) “trade” deal between twelve Pacific Rim counties from Vietnam to Canada and points in between.
In truth, it is less of a trade deal than it is an agreement crafted by trans-national corporations, corporate lobbyists, and global bureaucrats that seeks to homogenize business practices and laws. Only five of its twenty nine chapters concern trade at all.
As this author wrote in June, 2015, just prior to the Republican-led Congress unwisely granting the President so-called “fast track” authority to present the treaty for an “up or down” vote without the possibility of amendments:
“The rest of the document is an intricate construction of regulations, corporate rights and the transfer of national sovereignty [to corporate interests in many cases] that covers almost every aspect of economic life you can imagine between the twelve countries; investment banking and retail banking, food regulations, farming regulations, livestock importations, drug regulation, internet regulation, and the list goes on and on.”
As bad as that seemed prior to public access to the treaty, they may not be the worst aspects of TPP now that the full text is public. TPP raises serious concerns about protections under our Constitution and the Bill of Rights; immigration, free speech, copyright law, the right to petition for grievances, the Second Amendment, and a host of similar issues. If Constitutional rights are yielded to arbitration or conflict with a treaty, will they fall outside of legal recourse?
[As a prelude to these concerns about investor-state disputes, Congress already had to change federal law this year when the U.S. lost a World Trade Organization ruling that conflicted with existing federal legislation requiring “country of origin” labeling on meat products.]
It is not too much to say that the U.S. Constitution and our unique national calling to human liberty is in the balance. Between TPP and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Europe, which hopefully is in trouble, our constitutional system cannot survive.
One will rise and one will fall.
Regardless of Leader McConnell’s remarks today, citizens will need to keep a sharp eye on the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI). Speaker Ryan is a full-throated supporter of TPP, as he is with anything that is labeled “free trade,” irrespective of how it actually works. This is in the tradition of the last twenty years where far too many in the “conservative movement” have become very good at smoke and mirror politics, and not so good at advancing actual conservatism.
The “free trade” deals beginning with NAFTA in 1993 demonstrate how real conservatism has now been largely subsumed into a political process, run by donors and corporate bigwigs, and its ideas reduced to sound bites instead of principled, effective policy proposals and hard legislative work.
Donald J. Trump’s success in the primary cycle where he alone challenged the conventional wisdom on NAFTA and TPP, and his building success in the general election are directly linked to the issues of the overall economy, unregulated immigration and these so-called free trade deals – which combined with our insane corporate taxation policies and regulations, have driven nearly 60,000 American businesses off-shore in the last 15 years.
Even more concerning, these trade deals have given even longer legs to the trans-national business model that rejects national sovereignty and individual rights in favor of a global order that gives corporations, bureaucrats and dictators virtually unchecked power.
Citizens will have a full fall keeping up, but they dare not turn their back between now and the New Year. A lot is at stake.