July 2, 2015—Last week, while most Americans were busy tearing at each other’s throats over the Confederate flag – encouraged by the fan-flaming of President Obama who deems the flag a “symbol of slavery” — the Republican-controlled Senate quietly passed legislation granting Obama fast-track authority on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with 11 other nations around the Pacific Rim.
I’ve expressed some sentiments on the flag here. As for the alleged “free trade” TPP deal, it’s anything but “free.” Free trade is trade free from the meddling of government. That’s not the TPP. Actually, we don’t really know what’s in the TPP because the anti-transparency leaders (Obama) and their corporate-cronies helping to ram it down our throats won’t tell us. But critics make a strong case that the deal will give more power to the international corporations writing it, all at the expense of the people in the “sovereign” member nations who will be forced to abide by it.
The TPP is indeed further proof that Obama is the ultimate corporatist tool. But he’s also the height of cynicism and hypocrisy on the issue of slavery. Shortly before the Confederate flag flare-up, the Huffington Post ran a highly disturbing article “Why Is the U.S. Desperate To OK Slavery in Malaysia?” centering on the efforts by Obama’s White House to remove the TPP’s anti-slavery provision. Yes, you read that correctly.
“The provision, which bars countries that engage in slavery from being part of major trade deals with the U.S., was written by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). At the insistence of the White House, Menendez agreed to modify his language to say that as long as a country is taking ‘concrete’ steps toward reducing human trafficking and forced labor, it can be part of a trade deal. Under the original language, the country that would be excluded from the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership pact is Malaysia.”
Malaysia is known to tolerate a high-degree of human-trafficking and slavery. In 2014 the U.S. downgraded Malaysia to Tier 3 status, the lowest grade, in its annual human trafficking report.
If Obama cared more about present-day slavery in the real world rather than what he sees as a symbol of slavery — the Confederate flag, then we might see real progress in the fight to eradicate slavery and human trafficking. But clearly that does not suit Obama’s political ambitions. Nor does it suit the purpose of the corporate mainstream media which time and again fails to hold Obama accountable or point out his self-serving, cynical hypocrisy.
But the more specific question from HuffPo remains to be answered:
“Why, in the year 2015, is the White House teaming up with Republican leaders essentially to defend the practice of slavery?”
Again, you’d think someone in the media would ask Obama himself, or at least his Press Secretary, Josh Earnest.
Why do you think they haven’t? Sound off in the comments section and let us know. Or better yet, call your representatives in the Congress and Senate and ask why.
For more on the TPP, there’s this:
Do you think Obama’s grandstanding will backfire? Comment below!
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