In Full View. Please.

Something that crossed my radar yesterday morning:

Let The Public Read The Completed Parts Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership”

The short version: Elizabeth Warren and President Obama have been publicly at odds over fast tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty over a range of things. warren has worried about weakening of laws that were designed to prevent another “Great Recession” as it has been called (that always feels like an understatement), and the possible outcomes for wage workers. Obama, for his part, has been defending the deal, saying it will actually be much better than feared and he’s been careful to keep those things very much in mind. The President has in fact has promoted it as something which will lead to a good outcome on all of those fronts.

Elizabeth Warren hasn’t been the only one especially concerned about TPP.

EFF, FFTF, and other Internet watchdogs have been sounding alarm bells. Because past iterations of this treaty, passed or failed, have included some intellectual property control provisions that are often championed by software and content giants but are potentially quite maddening to small content creators and individual consumers.

Robert Reich has been sounding the alarm, mainly over the fact that the agreement is simultaneously secretive and being negotiated by very wealthy parties but will impact a significant part of the globe directly and the entire globe indirectly. Which is not a good recipe.

I want to trust President Obama on this. But I’m conflicted. And in point of fact, I can’t, nor should I have to.

The rebut is, of course, that the treaty is too large to negotiate in public — that would let some corporations and public groups target it to death. It would expose the negotiating table to the buffeting winds of public opinion before the negotiations were through. And a better deal can be had if more rational negotiators are allowed to get to the furthest stage possible before the deal is done. There is, actually, significant truth to that.

That said, this is being portrayed as an all or nothing deal. And that’s the fundamental flaw. We’re negotiating a grand bargain when we could be making smaller, incremental bargains in full view of all publics on every side of the negotiating table. And that is the moral, and democratic, way to do it.

It might even be as Obama describes it.

I shouldn’t have to sign off on a significant treaty based on “trust me”.

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