Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Ten Hour Glorified Lunch


Today, the three leaders of North America: President Barack Obama, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, meet in Mexico to supposedly discuss issues of trade between the three nations.  This on the 20-year anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as (NAFTA), which was signed into law by Bill Clinton in January  of 1994.
Before the meeting, it could have easily been guessed that the agendas of each leader were similar yet different.  I am certain Obama wanted to discuss security and immigration, and that Mr. Harper wanted to discuss the Keystone pipeline to take Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico, and that President Enrique Peña Nieto wanted to discuss immigration. But I also suspect that all wanted to get down to the nitty gritty with respect to the on the proposed trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The concern the average thinking American should ask is why is the US involved in another far reaching, sovereignty reducing trade pact that will supersede constitutional parameters that benefit the people over large, and in many cases foreign corporations? Although some purport the divinity of NAFTA, what we do know is that it was responsible for more than a million jobs leaving America for Mexico by incentivizing U.S. manufacturers to move production to lower-cost Mexico and that through Chapter 11 of the agreement, allows corporations or individuals of foreign governments to be placed on the same footing as Americans. As a consequence, many of the manufacturing jobs that once used to be in states like Michigan left and consequently, allowed companies that did stay in America to suppress wages of workers. So regardless of all the good it was supposed to do, what America really got was massive unemployment  and a massive U.S. trade deficit especially in the manufacturing sector with respect to Mexico of about  $100 billion which is still growing.

What President Obama should have mentioned was the concern with the criminal justice system in Mexico and the problems of violence perpetrated by the numerous drug cartels in the region, but he didn’t?  He should have discussed openly, that he wants the Keystone pipeline, but it would be hypocritical for him to do such given the oil from the Canadian Tar Sands would produce more of what he calls “carbon pollutants” and because much of the oil will not be used in the U.S. but rather sold and shipped abroad.  And lord knows Obama didn’t want to go on the record saying he supported foreign corporations like Trans-Canada having the right to claim imminent domain in America.

After I read the releasedjoint statement, it was obvious that this was just a waste of time. It had nothing to do with real issues, but more about show and photo ops.  I should have known Obama would not go on the record about the TPP, an agreement he is keeping so hush-hush, that he won’t even share it with the American citizenry openly and no one yet knows the broad scope of its reach. An agreement so hidden that we wouldn’t even know about its breath if it wasn’t for Wikileaks. All we do know is that Wall Street and the big banks and all associated with it are racking up big bonuses and it aint even law yet.

But as, unusual, I actually expected a meeting to be productive, and that American leaders should (the conditional) work on the best interest of U.S. citizens. But I was wrong, all this was it seems was a ten hour glorified lunch meeting, I just wonder how much tax payers spent for this, seeing that it could have been conducted via Skype.


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