Escalating Panic Over Increasingly Unpopular Trade Deal Consumes White House

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Edward-Isaac Dovere writes: President Barack Obama and his aides launched a full-court press to save his trade package on Thursday, as House Democrats’ internal struggles pushed Obama’s top legislative priority perilously close to defeat.

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As Obama made phone calls to reluctant Democrats from the White House, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Labor Secretary Tom Perez went face-to-face with trade opponents including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a testy closed meeting on Capitol Hill…(read more)

POLITICO


Leaked TISA Documents Reveal Privacy Threat

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Emma Woollacott reports: Under the draft provisions of the latest trade deal to be leaked by Wikileaks, countries could be barred from trying to control where their citizens’ personal data is held or whether it’s accessible from outside the country.

“Under the draft agreement, the EU would be barred from requiring the personal data of its citizens to be held within European borders, an idea currently under discussion in Germany.”

Wikileaks has released 17 documents relating to the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), currently under negotiation between the US, the European Union and 23 other nations. These negotiating texts are supposed to remain secret for five years after TISA is finalized and brought into force.

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The deal, which has been under discussion behind closed doors since early 2013, is intended to remove barriers to trade in services. It’s a sort of companion piece to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which cover trade in goods – but potentially far bigger, with Wikileaks claiming that ‘services’ now account for nearly 80 per cent of the US and EU economies.

“No Party may require a service supplier, as a condition for supplying a service or investing in its territory, to: (a) use computing facilities located in the Party’s territory.”

— From the leaked draft

Like TTIP and TPP, TISA could be sped through Congress using Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as fast-track authority, which has been passed by the US Senate and may be taken up in the House this month. Under TPA, Congress is barred from making amendments to the trade deals, and most simply give yes-or-no approval.

A demonstrator protests against the legislation to give US President Barack Obama fast-track authority to advance trade deals (Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

A demonstrator protests against the legislation to give US President Barack Obama fast-track authority to advance trade deals (Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

And the contents of TISA make interesting reading, particularly for anybody concerned about privacy. Under the draft agreement, the EU would be barred from requiring the personal data of its citizens to be held within European borders, an idea currently under discussion in Germany.

“Under the draft provisions of the latest trade deal to be leaked by Wikileaks, countries could be barred from trying to control where their citizens’ personal data is held or whether it’s accessible from outside the country.”

“No Party may require a service supplier, as a condition for supplying a service or investing in its territory, to: (a) use computing facilities located in the Party’s territory,” the leaked draft stipulates.

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“No Party may require a service supplier, as a condition for supplying a service or investing in its territory, to: (a) use computing facilities located in the Party’s territory.”

Under the draft provisions of the latest trade deal to be leaked by Wikileaks, countries could be barred from trying to control where their citizens’ personal data is held or whether it’s accessible from outside the country. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Mitch McConnell Has Good News: Elizabeth Warren Could Help GOP Win in 2016

Matt Wilstein writes: At this point, it’s fairly undeniable that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presence, even without entering the Democratic race for president, will push Hillary Clinton to the left on certain issues. But will that ultimately help or hurt her chances in the general election?

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“You’ve got the energy of the Elizabeth Warren faction kind of driving the agenda, pulling Hillary Clinton further to the left, which, by the way, I think is useful for us in the general election next year. The biggest divisions these days are not among Republicans but among Democrats.”

While many progressives believe a challenge from Clinton’s left to be a good thing for the candidate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued in a new interview with CNBC’s John Harwood that it could end up helping Republicans.

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“Energy is on the left in the Democratic Party. And I don’t know what she really thinks but she’s being pulled in that direction because of her campaign for president.”

McConnell gave President Barack Obama a rare “compliment” for “the way he took on the base, his own base last week,” referring to the president’s push on an international trade deal that failed to move forward in the Senate because of Democratic opposition. “He took on Elizabeth Warren, he took on the labor unions,” McConnell said. Read the rest of this entry »