How The Media Deceive The Public About “Fast Track” And The “Trade Bills”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The way that “Fast Track” is described to the Amer­i­can pub­lic is as an alter­na­tive method for the Sen­ate to han­dle “Trade Bills” (TPP & TTIP) that the Pres­i­dent presents to the Sen­ate for their approval; and this alter­na­tive method is said to be one in which “no amend­ments are per­mit­ted, and there will be a straight up-or-down vote on the bill.”

But, in fact, the “Fast Track” method is actu­al­ly to require only 50 Sen­a­tors to vote “Yea” in order for the mea­sure to be approved by the Sen­ate, where­as the method that is described and required in (Sec­tion 2 of) the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion is that the Pres­i­dent “shall have the Pow­er, by and with the Advice and Con­sent of the Sen­ate, to make treaties, pro­vid­ed two thirds of the Sen­a­tors present con­cur.”  That’s not 50 Sen­a­tors; it’s 67 Sen­a­tors, that the Con­sti­tu­tion requires.

In oth­er words: “Fast Track Trade Pro­mo­tion Author­i­ty” (which was invent­ed by the impe­r­i­al Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon in 1974, in order to advance his goal of a dic­ta­to­r­i­al Exec­u­tive, that the Pres­i­den­cy would become a dic­ta­tor­ship) low­ers the Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly required approval from 67 Sen­a­tors down to only 50 Sen­a­tors.

This two-thirds rule is set forth in the Con­sti­tu­tion in order to make espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult the pass­ing-into-law of any treaty that the Unit­ed States will have with any for­eign coun­try. The same two-thirds require­ment is set forth for amend­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion, except that that’s a two-thirds require­ment in both the House and the Sen­ate: it can be done “by either: two-thirds (super­ma­jor­i­ty) of both the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives …; or by a nation­al con­ven­tion assem­bled at the request of the leg­is­la­tures of at least two-thirds (at present 34) of the states.”

Get­ting two-thirds of either house of Con­gress to vote for a bill is rare and dif­fi­cult, but it has hap­pened 27 times, because the entire process was pub­lic, and because there was wide­spread sup­port of each Amendment.

By con­trast: Obama’s pro­posed trade treaties are still secret.

The dif­fer­ence between 50 Sen­a­tors ver­sus 67 Sen­a­tors is, essen­tial­ly, the dif­fer­ence between a treaty that is pub­licly dis­cussed and wide­ly accept­able to the Amer­i­can pub­lic (the peo­ple, after all, who vot­ed for those mem­bers of Con­gress); ver­sus a secret treaty that will be wide­ly unac­cept­able to the Amer­i­can pub­lic when the Amer­i­ca pub­lic will become informed of its con­tents, which won’t be until years after the treaty has already gone into effect.

This is the rea­son why only a tiny frac­tion of authen­tic “trade bills” even need “Fast Track Trade Pro­mo­tion Author­i­ty” in order to pass; most trade bills are passed in the nor­mal way. A Pres­i­dent doesn’t ask for “Fast Track Trade Pro­mo­tion Author­i­ty” unless he is going to be pre­sent­ing to the Con­gress a treaty that is so hor­ri­ble for the Amer­i­can peo­ple that only few mem­bers of either the House or the Sen­ate would vote for it — the bill needs “Fast Track” in order for it to be able to pass.

What types of “Trade Bills” are these?

They are treaties in which only a tiny frac­tion of the treaty actu­al­ly has to do with “Trade,” or with tar­iffs and oth­er legal favoritisms toward one nation as opposed to anoth­er.  In oth­er words: They’re leg­is­la­tion to cede our nation­al sov­er­eign­ty to inter­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions. Issues of tar­iffs and oth­er “trade” dis­putes between nations are tacked onto these multi­na­tion­al treaties in order to be able to fool the pub­lic into think­ing that all that’s at issue is “trade.”

Now, it’s true that “Fast Track” does also elim­i­nate the abil­i­ty of mem­bers of the Sen­ate to pro­pose an amend­ment to the treaty that the Pres­i­dent is pre­sent­ing for their approval. But that’s a rel­a­tive­ly minor fea­ture of “Fast Track,” which was includ­ed in the con­cept in order for “Fast Track” to be able to be described by politi­cians and by the ‘news’ media as being a minor mat­ter — no “big deal,” no ced­ing of sov­er­eign­ty to inter­na­tion­al corporations.

It’s not a minor mat­ter; it’s the biggest mat­ter in Pres­i­dent Obama’s entire Pres­i­den­cyit’s about scan­dalous­ly bad inter­na­tion­al treaties with many nations at once, in which inter­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions (that is, the hun­dred or so indi­vid­u­als who own the con­trol­ling inter­ests in them) will be hand­ed our nation­al and demo­c­ra­t­ic sover­ieign­ty over labor rights, con­sumer rights, envi­ron­men­tal rights, and investors’ rights — it’s every way that those bil­lion­aires can think of to pass off onto the pub­lic the harms that they do while keep­ing for them­selves all the ben­e­fits of the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose game they’re play­ing with the U.S. pub­lic and that of every oth­er sig­na­to­ry nation. It’s inter­na­tion­al fas­cism, not mere­ly fas­cism  of the local type.

And that’s what we’ve now got.