As we well know, TPP, TTIP and TISA (collectively named “T3” for this essay.) are being negotiated in secret, and while corporate lobbyists know contents of their relevant chapters of these agreements, both our elected representatives and the American public know little except rumors and leaks.
First some history, abstracted from Wikipedia, and a conclusion. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements.
- Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants power to the President to make treaties with the “advice and consent” of two-thirds of the Senate.
- Throughout U.S. history, the President has also made international “agreements” through congressional-executive agreements (CEAs) that are ratified only with a majority from both houses of Congress.
- Sole-executive agreements made by the President alone. These are considered appropriate if and only if they include no long term commitment.
A sole-executive agreement can only be negotiated and entered into through the president’s authority (1) in foreign policy, (2) as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, (3) from a prior act of Congress, or (4) from a prior treaty. Agreements beyond these competencies must have the approval of Congress (for congressional-executive agreements) or the Senate (for treaties).
An important addition is:
American law is that international accords become part of the body of U.S. federal law. Consequently, Congress can modify or repeal treaties by subsequent legislative action, even if this amounts to a violation of the treaty under international law.
Conclusion: Treaties are NOT binding on the United States, consequently Good Faith does not exist.
Back to our subject.
T3 clearly affects US Domestic law, is not a Sole-executive agreement, and must be ratified by either a supermajority in the Senate or by a simple majority in both the house and senate.
Either the senate must be consulted (for both advice and consent), or both the House and Senate must be consulted (for both advice and consent). Negotiating in secret seems to negate the “advice” part of the process, because dumping a fully drafted treaty on either or both of the Senate and House, with no latitude for change (a take it or leave it), eliminates any advice.
Recall that USTR wanted Fast-Track Authority for these “treaties.” Under that authority, Congress would be forced to vote on the WHOLE PACKAGE, and would not be able to discuss or debate individual clauses! Fortunately, USTR did not get Fast-Track authority. Be grateful for small mercies. There may be some hope for our Constitution yet, but we’d expect the President to ask for Fast Track again.
What is a conspiracy? Back to Wikipedia:
- Conspiracy (civil), an agreement between persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to gain an unfair advantage
- Conspiracy (criminal), an agreement between persons to break the law in the future, in some cases having committed an act to further that agreement
- Conspiracy (political), the overthrow of a government
Now we believe the secret T3 negotiating process is clear evidence of a civil conspiracy, with well-documented group meetings to hammer out common agreement between the conspirators to chapters of a document which is intended to change the US Constitution IN SECRET, AND WITH NO PUBLIC INPUT. The intent must be to avoid public discussion of the terms, and to keep Congress in the dark until the document is written, agreed to, and signed by the conspirators. The USTR demanding Fast-Track is evidence of intent to present congress, who must ratify the T3 treaties with a “Hobson’s Choice,” — “take it or leave it – but you can’t CHANGE it” — also known as an unfair advantage, in favor of the Conspirators.
Which raises the question, is it a criminal conspiracy?
Presenting Congress with this Hobson’s choice, is in our opinion, Contempt of Congress. We hope Congress will agree. If all or part of T3 becomes law, our elected representatives will become superfluous to the companies which currently give them “campaign contributions,” because those companies will be able to go to an arbitration board to get what they want. Congress’s campaign contributions will dry up. THAT should motivate Congress to want to look at TTP, TTIP, and TISA VERY CAREFULLY.
We’d note that having a constitutional Scholar and Lawyer as President just exposes us to a person who’s is trained to look for loopholes and evade the principles in the constitution. We can only expect a politician to have contempt for the people, his oath of office and all but his rich backers. Those are the politicians principles, greed and influence.
This brings us to Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Mr Issa, instead of pissing on Obama with Benghazi and the IRS, why don’t you go after the real prize, TPP, TTIP, and TISA, plus Obama’s Contempt of Congress in failing to seek advice and apparently intending to dump these secretly-negotiated agreements on Congress to ratify? Obama claims to be a Constitutional lawyer, so he has no excuse for not knowing that what he is doing is wrong.
Presidential Contempt of Congress is impeachment material. Issa’nt it?
Looks clear to us.
Well Mr Issa, it’s up to you.
Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.