The administration says the trade deal will boost U.S. exports in the fast-growing Pacific basin where the United States faces growing economic competition from China. The TPP is part of Obama's strategy to contain China's economic and strategic prowess. Fine. But the deal will also allow American corporations to outsource even more jobs abroad. In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.
Unfortunately, despite lofty initial campaign promises by the Obama administration, widespread government secrecy has only worsened in recent years and access to information by journalists and activists is disturbingly limited.
President Obama hit the Oval Office and ordered State "to complete the processing of the backlog of 25-year-old records awaiting declassification by the end of December 2013." Didn't happen, of course. And that, it turns out, is the least of it.
The easy question is, whether or not trading privacy for government (and corporate) transparency make society physically safer. The difficult and infinitely more important question is, can democracy still thrive without personal privacy and institutional secrecy?
"Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing," Obama declared when he first took office in 2009. "My administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use." By almost any measure, that has not happened.
A federal appeals court rebuffed the Obama administration's drone policy on Friday, ruling that the CIA stretched its considerable secrecy powers "too far." The stinging decision may be the biggest news in the war on terror that you've never heard about.
The Obama administration answered more requests from the public to see government records under the Freedom of Information Act last year, but more often than it ever has it cited legal exceptions to censor or withhold the material, according to a new analysis by The Associated Press. It frequently cited the need to protect national security and internal deliberations.