pro-TPP propaganda

Check out this propaganda image from Sen. John Thune in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, an agreement with Pacific states (other than China) that Pres. Obama is trying to ram through Congress*:


Note that there are no people in this image, only shipping containers. That says much about the treaty (Naomi Klein: "It’s the latest and largest in a series of international agreements that have attacked working women and men, fueled mindless and carbon-intensive consumption, and prevented governments from enforcing their own laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions.") Lambert Strether of Corrente contrasts Thune's artistic style, which he calls Neoliberal Realism, with an example of Socialist Realism, an equally false vision but one that at least acknowledges the existence of workers:


Strether adds:

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to see Thune's Orwellianly-sized slogan text "Trade Promotion Authority for a Strong America" as a proxy for the treaty text of TPP itself ("the rules"), which, although secret, will have a powerful effect on the material reality within Thune's world --and ours -- just as much as as the pictured container cranes, container ships, and the hidden commodities themselves. In fact, Thune's tweet says as much ["Renewing TPA helps ensure America, not China, writes the rules on trade deals. #TPA4USjobs and a stronger America."] "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality," as "a senior advisor to Bush" famously said, although not of trade.

*Under the US constitution treaties are the "supreme law of the land," requiring a 2/3 vote of Congress. Obama is asking for so-called fast track authority (Thune's "trade promotion authority"), described by the Wikipedians as follows:

The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Also called trade promotion authority (TPA) since 2002, fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress. The authority was in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it expired for new agreements on July 1, 2007, it continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law in 2011. In 2012, the Obama administration began seeking renewal of the authority.

Trade agreements such as TPP establish arbitration panels with the power to compel actions from member governments. Thus, if a foreign or multinational corporation objects to, say, a state environmental initiative, it can drag the state into a costly arbitration proceeding because it has interfered with the holy right of "trade." Naomi Klein, in her book This Changes Everything, gives the example of a solar initiative in Ontario that was shuttered because its requirements of a percentage of locally sourced labor and materials "discriminated against" foreign traders. Obama claims the TPP doesn't directly trump US law but critics say the threat of TPP legal action will have a chilling effect on budget-conscious states and municipalities. The terms of the TPP are being negotiated in secret but Obama says we should trust him, just as we trusted him to close the Guantanamo torture facility. He wouldn't put the interests of multinationals ahead of ours, would he?