While America Debates the Flag, the Senate Passes Trade Legislation


It’s time to move on. While we were all busy talking about the Charleston shooter and taking down the Confederate flag, the United States Senate was hard at work passing the TPA – Trade Promotion Authority. Even though the bill narrowly passed with a vote of 60-38, there was hardly any coverage by the mainstream media. So, what is the TPA? The US Trade Representative’s website describes TPA as “legislation that defines US negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements.” They go on to admit that after the President reaches an agreement, the Congress is allowed to give it an “up or down vote, without amendment.” The second part is what concerns a lot of people and rightly so.

For those of us who are concerned about the implications of possible trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPA passing the Senate is a big step in that direction. It’s amazing to me that we have a Congress who would willingly give up their right to add amendments before voting on something so huge. What’s even more outrageous is how these deals, specifically the TPP, are being negotiated in secret. CNN reported on this saying, “The document is classified. Only members of Congress and staffers with security clearance can access it. And they can’t make copies or even carry their own handwritten notes out the door.” The article goes on to claim that such secrecy is needed so we don’t let other countries know what we’re planning before it’s completed and with respect to the American citizens, it’s simply too complicated for us to understand and “decipherable only to experienced hands.” This idea that only government knows best is ludicrous.

Isn’t the TPP technically a treaty? Not according to the federal government. Discover Diplomacy defines a treaty as, “a formal, written agreement between sovereign states or between states and international organizations.” Funny, that sounds a lot like these trade deals, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more. They go on to say that, after the President reaches an agreement with negotiators, the executive branch passes it on to Congress for “advice and consent” as referred to in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution. I guess that’s really the only difference between the two. Instead, the federal government refers to this as an executive agreement. The Berkey Law website does a good job describing the difference saying, “Generally, a treaty is a binding international agreement and an executive agreement applies in domestic law only. Under international law, however, both types of agreements are considered binding.” So what they’ve basically done here is that classic lawyer tactic of tweaking one small technicality so they can play word games, making people think they’re doing one thing while actually doing something else. If the TPP were treated as a treaty, they’d need a 2/3 majority vote. That’s why they did what they did.

Final Thoughts

It’s amazing how easily we are distracted with trivial issues while simultaneously ignoring those that could have massive effects on the day-to-day lives of everyone. Whether you are for or against the treaty, you know this to be true. So why is it that we’re not paying more attention to this? Is the Confederate flag really that consequential to everyday Americans? Speaking of society, what’s happened to us? We’ve come to the point now where we blindly accept the idea that those in government know what’s best for us and our future. We’ll debate the flag until we’re blue in the face, but when it comes to secret trade deals, the American people and mainstream media are virtually silent. Are our priorities really that messed up? The only way that this remains a government of, for and by the people is if We, the People, act like it and get involved. Voting for President isn’t enough. Calling your Congressmen and Congresswomen isn’t enough. We need to stand up!

If you don’t think that these trade deals are a threat to our economy and lifestyles, take another look at what happened after NAFTA was implemented. If you don’t think that these trade deals are a threat to American sovereignty, take another look at the Treaty of Rome and how the European Union was started. Don’t think that something like that could happen here? Then you should take another look at what General Petraeus said over a year ago about North America being the next logical step after America. The plan to unite the planet under a one world government is not a  joke and if we don’t act now, it will become a reality much sooner than we think.

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