Someone Finally Read Obama's Secret Trade Deal And Admits The TPP "Will Damage This Nation"

Tyler Durden's picture

There is a huge paradox surrounding what is supposed to be the crowning achievement of Obama's second term, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bill whose contents virtually nobody is familiar with or will be before it passes into law.

That's not the paradox: the paradox is that back in October 2009, the White House Press secretary said that "the President has returned to a stance of transparency and ethics that hasn't been matched by any other White House.... the President believes strongly in transparency... that transparency in that way in the best policy."

Or to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

And yet while everyone seems to have an opinion on the final formulation of the TPP bill, especially Elizabeth Warren and her circle of progressive democrats who have emerged as the bill's most vocal critics, the truth is that none have actually read it for the simple reason that anyone who is familiar with its text could be jailed for disclosing its contents.

Most transparent administration indeed.

We won't even comment that those who don't care to have their opinion made public and do have access to the bill have also not read the massive bill which layers giveaway upon giveaway to mega corporations: in fact the only ones who are intimately familiar with the TPP's contents are those who drafted it: America's multinational corporations whose shareholders will be the biggest beneficiaries of the TPP.

And yet someone appears to have finally read Obama's TPP: that someone is Michael Wessel, a cleared liaison to two statutory advisory committees and a commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, as well as the international trade co-chair for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign.

Earlier today, Wessel wrote an article in Politico titled "I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned" which we agree with wholeheartedly because while one may or may not disgree whether the US economy will benefit from a trade agreement which anecdotally benefits large multinationals, it should be unanimous that America's transformation into a secretive, klepto-fascist state controlled by corporations is catastrophic for not only the republic but America's people, or at least those who are not among the 0.001% who stand to benefit from the TPP.

* * *

From Michael Wessel, first posted in Politico:

I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned. 

"You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

So-called “cleared advisors” like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we’ve seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific. Instead of simply admitting that he disagrees with me—and with many other cleared advisors—about the merits of the TPP, the president instead pretends that our specific, pointed criticisms don’t exist.

What I can tell you is that the administration is being unfair to those who are raising proper questions about the harms the TPP would do. To the administration, everyone who questions their approach is branded as a protectionist—or worse—dishonest. They broadly criticize organized labor, despite the fact that unions have been the primary force in America pushing for strong rules to promote opportunity and jobs. And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.

I’ve been deeply involved in trade policy for almost four decades. For 21 years, I worked for former Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and handled all trade policy issues including “fast track,” the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round, which is the largest trade agreement in history. I am also a consultant to various domestic producers and the United Steelworkers union, for whom I serve as a cleared advisor on two trade advisory committees. To top it off, I was a publicly acknowledged advisor to the Obama campaign in 2008.

Obama may no longer be listening to my advice, but Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren might as well be. Warren, of course, has been perhaps the deal’s most vocal critic, but even the more cautious Clinton has raised the right questions on what a good TPP would look like. Her spokesman, Nick Merrill, said: “She will be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health, promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses to export overseas. As she warned in her book Hard Choices, we shouldn’t be giving special rights to corporations at the expense of workers and consumers.”

On this count, the current TPP doesn’t measure up. And nothing being considered by Congress right now would ensure that the TPP meets the goal of promoting domestic production and job creation.

The text of the TPP, like all trade deals, is a closely guarded secret. That fact makes a genuine public debate impossible and should make robust debate behind closed doors all the more essential. But the ability of TPP critics like me to point out the deal’s many failings is limited by the government’s surprising and unprecedented refusal to make revisions to the language in the TPP fully available to cleared advisors.

Bill Clinton didn’t operate like this. During the debate on NAFTA, as a cleared advisor for the Democratic leadership, I had a copy of the entire text in a safe next to my desk and regularly was briefed on the specifics of the negotiations, including counterproposals made by Mexico and Canada. During the TPP negotiations, the  United States Trade Representative (USTR) has never shared proposals being advanced by other TPP partners. Today’s consultations are, in many ways, much more restrictive than those under past administrations.

All advisors, and any liaisons, are required to have security clearances, which entail extensive paperwork and background investigations, before they are able to review text and participate in briefings. But, despite clearances, and a statutory duty to provide advice, advisors do not have access to all the materials that a reasonable person would need to do the job. The negotiators provide us with “proposals” but those are merely initial proposals to trading partners. We are not allowed to see counter-proposals from our trading partners. Often, advisors are provided with updates indicating that the final text will balance all appropriate stakeholder interests but we frequently receive few additional details beyond that flimsy assurance.

Those details have enormous repercussions. For instance, rules of origin specify how much of a product must originate within the TPP countries for the resulting product to be eligible for duty-free treatment. These are complex rules that decide where a company will manufacture its products and where is will purchase raw materials. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 62.5 percent of a car needed to originate within NAFTA countries. In the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it was lowered to 50 percent. It further dropped to 35 percent in the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In essence, under our agreement with Korea, 65 percent of a car from South Korea could be made from Chinese parts and still qualify for duty-free treatment when exported to the U.S.

That fact is politically toxic, and for that reason, we should expect the TPP agreement to have higher standards. But will it reach the 62.5 percent NAFTA requirement? Or will it be only a slight improvement over KORUS? Without access to the final text of the agreement, it’s impossible to say.

State-owned enterprises may, for the first time, be addressed in the TPP. But, once again, the details are not clear. Will exemptions be provided to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, all of which could be heavily impacted by such a rule? What will be the test to determine what is or is not acceptable behavior? Will injury be required to occur over a substantial period of time, or will individual acts of non-commercial, damaging trade practices be actionable? Again, it’s impossible to say for sure.

Advisors are almost flying blind on these questions and others.

Only portions of the text have been provided, to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official. Access, up until recently, was provided on secure web sites. But the government-run website does not contain the most-up-to-date information for cleared advisors. To get that information, we have to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials. Even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement.

Cleared advisors were created by statute to advise our nation’s trade negotiators. There is a hierarchal structure, starting with the USTR’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations at the top—a committee that includes people like Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and Jill Appell, co-owner of Appell’s Pork Farms. Then there are specific Committees covering subjects like labor, the environment and agriculture that make up the next tier. The last tier consists of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACS), which focus on individual sectors such as steel and aerospace. At last count, there were more than 600 cleared advisors. The vast majority of them represent business interests.

In an effort to diminish criticism, USTR is now letting cleared advisors review summaries of what the negotiators have done. In response to a question about when the full updated text will be made available, we’ve been told, “We are working on making them available as soon as possible.” That’s not the case overseas: Our trading partners have this text, but the government’s own cleared advisors, serving on statutorily-created advisory committees, are kept in the dark.

How can we properly advise, without knowing the details?

Questions pervade virtually every chapter of the proposed agreement, including labor and the environment, investor-state, intellectual property and others. The answers to these questions affect the sourcing and investment decisions of our companies and resulting jobs for our people. Our elected representatives would be abdicating their Constitutional duty if they failed to raise questions.

Senator Warren should be commended for her courage in standing up to the President, and Secretary Clinton for raising a note of caution, and I encourage all elected officials to raise these important questions. Working Americans can’t afford more failed trade agreements and trade policies.

Congress should refuse to pass fast track trade negotiating authority until the partnership between the branches, and the trust of the American people is restored. That will require a lot of fence mending and disclosure of exactly what the TPP will do. That begins by sharing the final text of the TPP with those of us who won’t simply rubber-stamp it.

* * *


It almost makes one wonder just whom does "elected" government represent...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
InjectTheVenom's picture

everyone please repeat after me :   CLOWARD PIVEN STRATEGY.  ( please google it if not familiar, thank you ! )

doctor10's picture

So if this is in print, its probably already passed? Or how would we know?


Can the Congress even pass a bill without divulging its contents to their constitutents ahead of time?

InjectTheVenom's picture

Congress = a special interest clearinghouse, and nothing more.

mt paul's picture

Congress = a special interest whore house

freewolf7's picture

Safe driving, Michael Wessel.

Cangaroo.TNT's picture

This is obviously a Clinton campaign piece.

Comte de Saint Germain's picture

Fear Porn =

Someone Finally Read Obama's Secret Trade Deal And Admits The TPP "Will Damage This Nation"
InjectTheVenom's picture

a surprise IRS audit arrives in Mr Wessel's mailbox in  3 ... 2 ... 1  . . . . . .

TeethVillage88s's picture

Well all I know is why make expensive new Treaties if you never keep them in the first place, unless it is a total Fraud meant to transfer wealth and power to the few Wealthy.

Treaty providing for the renunciation of war as
an instrument of national policy.
Signed at Paris August 27, 1928.
Entered into force July 24, 1929.
46 Stat. 2343; TS 796; 2 Bevans 732; 94 LNTS 57.
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United Kingdom
United States

Miles Ahead's picture

Impressive.  You have the longest comment by height on ZH ever.  Good on you, hope you got it out of your system, thank goodness most others excercise better judgement and restraint.

NoDebt's picture

The mere fact that the TPP has been barred from public debate has already harmed the nation.

The deal itself could be the best thing since sliced bread and I'd vote it down just because of how it's being pursued.  This is Obamacare all over again, except this time they're not even going to discuss it.

Oldwood's picture

Personal freedom of choice has been proven a failed model.

Every time humanity is given a bad choice as the alternative, they always take it. Our elected politicians show undeniable proof.

The ruling elites do not have to look far to verify their belief that we are stupid sheep that require leading. The world will change for the better when we can actually learn to choose intelligently. Until then, we will have THIS.

I'm tired of people demanding to not be treated like sheep and then proceeding to act as sheep. Waiting for some hero, some savior to drop in from the heavens to show us the light. We are fucking BLINDED by the light and still cannot see. Anyone who would be stupid enough to actually inform us, to show us the way, would be nailed to a cross. It's happened many times before.

We are no way near ready to hear the truth. We are still in denial about our reality, our true circumstances, and will fight to the death to prevent reality from entering our awareness. The Greeks are showing us the way to suicide through denial.

Richard Chesler's picture
Obama's Secret Trade Deal 

I cant help to think gay porn is involved.


Oldwood's picture

Oh, there's some fuckin going on....

lordylord's picture

I wish someone in Congress would read the Constitution.

Oldwood's picture

They read it, buried it and only speak of it in casual passing as some fond remembrance. It offers no utility value in their pursuit of power. It is now a "living" document that will be used in some monstrous form to eat us alive

crisrose's picture

I wish US citizen peasants would read contract law...

LianaKaulitz's picture
LianaKaulitz (not verified) crisrose May 19, 2015 7:30 PM

You'd think a financial website for the people would talk of the TPP's attempt to ban public banks

neidermeyer's picture

Contract Law? Read this ....



As one Florida appellate court stated in 2013, there is no consideration of the “mind” when it comes to determining whether there was a “meeting of the minds,” even when the party seeking to avoid the contract “could not possibly have understood” it. Spring Lake NC, LLC v. Holloway, 110 So. 3d 916, 917 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2013). In Spring Lake NC, LLC v. Holloway, a 92-year-old woman with a fourth-grade education became a resident at a facility that provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy. 110 So. 3d at 917. The woman signed, among other things, an arbitration agreement before becoming a resident. The trial court found (and the appellate court agreed) that the woman “could not spell well and often had to sound out words while reading” and that “[s]he had memory problems and was increasingly confused.” Id. Further, the trial court found “that the contracts were so complex that she could not possibly have understood what she was signing.” Id.


When the woman’s estate brought suit against the rehabilitation center for her allegedly wrongful death, and despite the obvious inability of the woman to understand what she was signing, the trial court did not declare the woman incompetent or incapacitated. But, because of her shortcomings, the trial court held that no “meeting of the minds” had occurred.

On appeal, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal enforced the arbitration agreement. The court explained that it was following established Florida precedent holding that there is a presumption of competence and that two signatures create a contract absent undue influence (including being prevented from reading the contract). Among precedent relied on by the court was an intermediate court ruling that the fact that the plaintiff was legally blind when she signed an agreement did not make the agreement invalid. See Estate of Etting ex rel. Etting v. Regents Park at Aventura, Inc., 891 So. 2d 558 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004). In other words, only if you are prevented by the other party from reading the contract can your claim that you did not read the contract (even if you are physically or mentally incapable of doing so) prevail.

mkkby's picture

Wrong, dumb ass.  NOTHING SECRECT IS EVER GOOD.  That should be obvious to a 3 year old, who's pretending she didn't break mom's vase.  The treaty is yet another sell out to special interests.  That is dot gov's only purpose.  Red, blue - it's all the same.

Oldwood's picture

Nothing good at all...except the demonstration of our foolishness. They are keeping it secret because they know it will work. Sure, a whole bunch (if not all) of us will be fucked in the deal, but we will accept it and after a few years we will be looking for someone else to blame it on. We have set here and watched NAFTA and GAAP and all the rest put in place WHILE we continued to lose jobs and we just keep blaming the corporations. Sure some of them were behind this and have profited greatly, but it is our government that made these laws and we have just set back and allowed it all to happen.

A simple thing we could have done, that required no laws or politicians to act, no corporate largess or charity, but simple individual acts...was to refuse to buy imports. Imported manufactured goods, imported labor in the form of illegals and H1B visa. We know where this shit is coming from, just like we know for the most part what is in the foods that make us fat...and we do it anyway. Now we don't have the choices. We have few American made goods to buy. And we still blame others because they lied to us. BIG FUCKING DEAL!! They have ALWAYS LIED to us. We were supposed to learn better, or at least that's what my parents taught me. Of course they grew up in the depression and WWII and knew what liars really looked like and what the effects of believing them brought.

We still want to believe in something for nothing. That we can make a living by buying stocks low and selling them to some greater fool high. That we can buy cheap imported goods and never lose our job! We are fucking geniuses I say! And lets just eat all the crap in the world and grow fatter, put all of our info on the net and bitch about privacy and then converse amongst ourselves about how damned much smarter we are than everyone else, cause we can work our I-phone.

crisrose's picture


Quit blaming the corps, banks, government and start looking in the mirror.  

11b40's picture

Way to go, are on a roll!

SWRichmond's picture

The mere fact that the TPP has been barred from public debate has already harmed the nation.

Well of course.  The mere fact that it is a secret prevents us from advising our "elected represnetatives" how we would like them to vote on it, rendering it void.  Any attempt to enforce any treaty thus passed should be met with whatever resistance proves necessary.  Lex Mala, Lex Nulla.

Things that go bump's picture

Secrets are what your pedophile uncle wants you to keep. Like Obamacare, anything that's kept so close to the government's vest is bound to be a total disaster for the country. If it were good for us they'd let us see it.  

mvsjcl's picture

Miles, have you seen some of Radical's missives? Impressive in both length and content.

earleflorida's picture

DHS is the operative agency for ferret`ting-out'd 'those-against-us'

Bush #43 and Tom Delay!

mt paul's picture

Fear Porn =


3rd ex wife

rolling down the drive way

ersatz007's picture

Don't do any recreational nail gunning this weekend

Oldwood's picture

Many of us have labored under the illusion that we could compete, that we could work harder and smarter to excel. We now realize that our trade is not fair and will never be because the rules are designed in the favor of only those few at the top who can buy influence. The notion was sold to us years ago that what was good for GM was good for America, and there was a time when that was likely true. But not today. The interests of big corporations are their own, not anyone else's, much less America. We have watched as America has been damaged and disparaged by those who would quickly sell us down the river for another few dollars. American corporations care not about the people's prosperity. They no longer see our earning ability as relevant given the government's continuous debt backing to facilitate "stimulating" us to spend. Most large corporations have moved past the production theme and are quickly passing the service theme, all going to "financialization" as their primary industry. The simply movement of money and the transaction fees it generates. They don't need people for that and barely need customers. They can just keep selling and buying financial instruments, and our government will do everything they can to prevent it from collapsing.

Tek Kinkreet's picture

And if all else fails, they can require by law that we buy their shit. They already circumvent capitalism via government contracts = collusion theft. This is also why there is no more customer service, their profits do not hinge on pleasing the customer, we are forced to buy pleased or not.

g speed's picture

day late and a dollar short Ken --- You have to buy auto insurance and health insurance and fire innsureance  and etc etc ---your required buy law to buy their shit or not live, work, or pursue happiness.

Tek Kinkreet's picture

That was my point Sherlock.

Quick's picture

WRONG --- you don't have to buy any of that ..... what a uninformed thing to say.

don't buy a car - no car insurance. 

Don't buy health insurance... pay BarryO's tax

Don't have a homeowners insurance neede  !!!!

pods's picture

Do you think that any trade deal, that the government would have to negiotiate in SECRET, was going to benefit the public?

If you can sell me something on the benefits, why use fraud?

The one that I can see them doing it for (a secret negiotiation) would be the Iran deal. I bet you CONgress wanted it that way, to keep AIPAC off their asses.

If you don't think AIPAC and friends can ruin your day, ask the Tyler's and their implementation of the Cheesepope Rule.


Uchtdorf's picture

Exactly, just like fascism/communism: Ideas so good they have to be mandatory.

Ignatius's picture

This TPP is about multi-national corporations and their interests.

Our Congress is completely corrupt and compromised.

Loss of sovereignty probably dates to 1913, if not before.

Chupacabra-322's picture

It dates back to The Act of 1871 that created the Criminal 10 square mile of the District of Criminal & the Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC.

We, through our Silence, Ignorace & CONSENT via Taxes are accessories to the Criminal Fraud.

Bankruptcy of U.S in 1933 & State of Emergency, War Powers & Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917
The United States went "bankrupt" in 1933. [President Roosevelt Executive Order 6073, 6102,6111, 6260; Senate Report 93-549, pgs. 187 & 594, 1973]. In 1950, declared "bankruptcy and reorganization." Secretary of Treasury appointer receiver in the bankruptcy [Reorganization Plan, No. 26, 5 U.S.C.A. 903; Public Law 94-564; Legislative History, Pg. 5967
To reinerate,

The Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC. Is Bankrupted. The Emergency Banking Emergency Act of 1933 put the Bankrupted US into receicership to the IMF, World Bank & BIS.

Criminal. 14th Amendment made "Citizen" Slaves out of every single man, woman, child & future childdren. All assets, land (making Americans Tenants on our own soil) labor, future labor & American Souls Aka birth certificates were securized & put up as collateral to pay back a Criminal Loan the BANKSTERS know can never, ever be paid back.

In addition, the Act made de facto all "Citizen" Slaves Enemies of the newly formed Criminal UNITED STATES, CORP. INC.

nmewn's picture

The TPP is so filled with awesomely awesome goodness it has to be kept a state secret by The One AND THE SENATE (I'm looking at you McConnell, you fucking traitor) or we'd all be faintng dead away in the streets filled with ecstasy in our final moments!

We simply must pass it to find out whats in it!!!

Now where have I heard that last line before? ;-)

Urban Redneck's picture

Where did the IMF and WBG find 1.21 gigawatts and a Delorean?

macholatte's picture


Interesting to note that the TPP is secret among all 12 nations involved with it ...... and nobody complaining.

Ignatius's picture

"No complaining"... that the corporate media will report.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Section 3002 15a, b, and c, under U.S. Code, was established under treasonously signed ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION, on February 21st, 1871 by THE CROWN CORPORATION, now known as THE IMF. Our old capital city, Washington city, was also sold to them that day. Thus, we have never had any say in the CORPORATION that is posing as the governing seat of our nation.

In 1939, they began the BERTH/BIRTH CERTIFICATE/MOTHER BOND SCAM on WALL STREET. The catch with these "human enslaving stocks" is that the owners of these human enslaving MOTHER bonds cannot collect on the bonds, until their supposed HUMAN PRODUCTS are dead!

chubbar's picture

Does anyone besides me see the conflict in this statement:

"And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.

I’ve been deeply involved in trade policy for almost four decades. For 21 years, I worked for former Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and handled all trade policy issues including “fast track,” the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round, which is the largest trade agreement in history."

Can anyone point out how NAFTA in anyway helped domestic producers and their employees? (I'm assuming he means US domestic employees).

pods's picture

It allowed producers to keep "made in amerika" stickers while assembling Mexican parts?

DWI lawyers from the "south of the border" crowd?

ESL teachers?

idk, kind of thinking out loud because you seemed kind of serious chubbar.


bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

It removes "made in america" stickers.
No more country of orgin, no more product discloser. You just wont know or be able to find out what that product your buying is or how it got there.

TeethVillage88s's picture

It takes money to make money. Like if you earn 3% on a Million dollars, you wish it was more but you are happy.

It takes money to make a Trade Agreement. You cut American Labor, cut your Benefit Costs, Cut your older workers near retirement, you cut your building space in expensive US Real Estate, Cut your property taxes, cut employment taxes,... well you are real happy if you can go off shore or transfer technology offshore and buy materials and supplies for dirt cheap.

But for Employees and those that thought they would get a Retirement for their cheap wages... No you are not happy. You feel Betrayed.

Can Corporations, Foundations, Think Tanks be patriotic, be Loyal to the Community..? Maybe But they don't go to war, put on a uniform, get shot at or bombed, they can't give their life because they are fictions on paper.

Will Wealthy always act with Patriotism or even part time if they have a 'profit motive', 'wealth preservation motive', or a 'Cost Cutting Motive'? I doubt it.

- Money Rules this Capitalist World, Treaties are probably always about honoring debts, bank debts, and business & trade which makes few at the top Richer

Tek Kinkreet's picture

Especially considering there are almost no domestic producers left, they have no loyalty to America.

breadonwaters's picture

I can tell you that Canada wasn't allowed to see the NAFTA trade deal before it was voted on.....and the PTB inadvertantly screwed themselves in that " Once a product was commoditized, the gov  lost all control of any national favoritism / control of the commodity".  Well, we figured out this included our freshwater...and guess what?  The CDN people said "Keep your NAFTA, we'll never allow fresh water to be commoditized ...and thats how it has been ever since.  We'd like to help out California, but theres a poison pill .

Tough luck ....for all of us....but we still have our fresh water.