Protesters in Miramar, October 12, 2015
  • Protesters in Miramar, October 12, 2015
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Most media attention surrounding President Obama's weekend jaunt to San Diego focused on his two golf outings and local admirers out to catch a glimpse of the presidential foursome on the links. But a handful of protesters gathered outside Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (where Air Force One spends its time in San Diego) late Monday morning, hoping to send Obama off with a rebuke of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) international trade deal.

Kali Gochmanosky, who has spent months organizing rallies calling on local congressional representatives to vote against a TPP negotiation provision called "fast-tracking," explained the concerns of the protesters assembled outside Miramar's east entrance.

"We're afraid of offshoring more jobs like [the North American Free Trade Agreement] did, that it's going to have a detrimental effect on the environment," says Gochmanosky. "We're concerned about a provision that allows companies to sue states or municipalities that enact laws that dip into their profit lines — proponents of labeling genetically-modified food, for example, could face lawsuits from Monsanto on the grounds that labeling could hurt their sales. There are just an overwhelming number of things that could potentially raise concerns with this treaty."

Despite a lengthy campaign targeting local Democrats Susan Davis and Scott Peters, both Congress members voted to give Obama sole authority to negotiate the trade deal, afterward sending it to Congress for only a simple up-or-down vote on approval, with no amendments allowed.

"We didn't want fast-tracking of the bill to pass," Gochmanosky continues. "We're not happy that Susan Davis and Scott Peters voted to help it to pass — they were the only two Democratic representatives in Southern California to vote for fast-track. It's great that we're finally going to be able to see the text of the document, but if there's anything disagreeable in there by the time the public finds out, it'll already be too late to change any of it."

While happy to get their message out to a handful of news crews that had gathered in hopes of spotting the presidential motorcade on its way out of town, the activists were in for a long wait and intermittent drizzle, as Obama elected to squeeze in one last round of golf rather than head straight back to Washington on Monday morning.

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Comments

AlexClarke Oct. 13, 2015 @ 11:03 a.m.

If you wonder what happened to the middle class good paying American jobs they have all gone to free trade. Free trade means unrestricted access to American markets. American traitor companies have gone to foreign countries that have lax or no environmental laws, no worker protection laws, no worker rights, etc. Both "Parties" have bought into the Walmart economy is good for us. Somehow having the working poor and the wealthy is a good thing. Even the American working poor can not compete with workers who make pennies a day or pennies an hour. I want my employer to make money. I want my employer to benefit from this investment but I want to share in that success. As a worker bee I will certainly share in the bad corporate decisions and in the economical slowdowns which is as it should be but I should also share in the good times too. Fair trade should be the standard not free trade there is a big difference.

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jnojr Oct. 13, 2015 @ 2:43 p.m.

If jobs are lost to truly free trade, then they SHOULD be lost. Everyone is always better off with more freedom and greater economic efficiency, allowing us to buy more with our dollars. If all electronics were made in the US with unionized labor, it would all cost 5X as much. How would that benefit us? Why not ban all automation and seek to employ as many people as possible to make anything?

My concern is that this isn't "free trade" at all, but just a disguised giveaway.

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Ponzi Oct. 13, 2015 @ 12:08 p.m.

The rich make the middle class support the poor. That is why the lobbied politicians don’t protect our borders, bring over H-1B Visa holders to do the jobs that American CAN DO, but for less money and agree to import millions of “refugees” that are actually economic and not persecuted. Just because you live in or near a war zone or your country is in a civil war, does not mean you are being persecuted… it means your country is unstable and at war. Why does the United States continue to feel an obligation to babysit the world, feed the world’s poor, bring over people from hostile and diametric cultures, then feed, and clothe them for life while our own veterans are not treated for substance abuse and homelessness? Greatest county? I feel like we are the greatest fools.

Our country has devolved into two societies. Those with money who send their kids to elite schools, who go on to elite colleges and then get comfortable jobs. They live in gated communities where they never see what the other 90% of Americans live like.

The other society can barely scrape by. They are also not the best educated and what they do learn in school doesn’t help them later in life. They need vocational training (because let’s face it everyone is not cut out for advanced academics – college) and they need education in household finance and managing (what little) money they have. However, the rich don’t want them to handle money properly, because it’s “a consumer society.” If we cannot extract every dollar from the poor via rent, we’ll invent something they can’t resist. Payday loan stores, expensive entertainment, smartphone “plans” and a host of other things humans don’t need but will buy because they are “consumers.” They are shamed into "keeping up" or "fitting in" by the media circus that surrounds us on 1000 channels and on the internet. A culture of greed, flamboyance, one-upmanship and me-me attitudes.

Now we seem to have no say in whether our federal government can remove the last barriers that have propped up our middle class for almost a century. Make it so that we have to compete with people who earn pennies a day. Many of the people that it will affect are white-collar jobs that will also be easily exported because of the taxation clauses in the agreement. It does not help America’s tax base making it easier to hoard money overseas.

Why does our government spend so much time and resources accommodating the economies of other nations? We should take a break and fix the problems in our country before it disintegrates into a third world country itself. We are like the proverbial frog in a pot of slowly boiling water, being killed slowly because we are not acting now to stop the damage before it’s too late.

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Ponzi Oct. 13, 2015 @ 12:20 p.m.

Trillions of dollars lost. We have an ongoing trade deficit bleeding money from our economy.

Stagnant or falling wages for most of us. Pitting Americans against low-wage workers has forced US wages down.

Millions of good-paying jobs lost. Most of these workers are getting paid much less now, if they can find work.

Tens of thousands of factories closed, moved out of the country. This costs us our ability to make a living as a country.

Entire industries lost. As we lose the factories and supply chains, entire industries disappear.

Devastation of entire regions of the country. Nothing has come along to replace manufacturing in much of the country. Go take a look at Detroit, Flint, Cleveland, Lorain, Eria and so many other areas.

Massive increase in income and wealth inequality. A few billionaires do great when labor costs decline and profits rise.

Destruction of the middle class and maybe even our democracy. Just look around you.

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jnojr Oct. 13, 2015 @ 2:47 p.m.

If I have a choice of two widgets, one made "somewhere else" by "low-wage workers"; and one made in the US; and we presume that they're of equal quality and functionality (so we're comparing apples to apples); and the "foreign" widget costs $100 while the US widget costs $150, which should I buy?

Answer: the one that leaves me with more money to spend on something else. That's how I'm better off. Americans used to innovate and build a better mousetrap. Now, it's "Pay me more just because, even though lots of other people can do the same job for less!" No!

If your job can be done by a robot, an illegal alien, or an illiterate sweatshop worker; you're better off learning a new job than bitterly clinging to the one that's now obsolete, like it or not.

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Ponzi Oct. 13, 2015 @ 5:23 p.m.

You have valid points. It's just should be a fair playing field. In other words, what conditions and standards we demand of our companies, we should demand of those companies that export things to us. Level the playing field. Our exporting of manufacturing isn't just about jobs and money, it's about treating the people right, not using sweatshops, not damaging the environment, having labor standards for safe workplaces. If those kind of things were demanded in these treaties, the cost of things would probably go up and the benefits of exporting stuff would be reduced.

Do we really need all the electronics we own to be replaced every year or so? Things used to last.... when they were made in America. Do we need all the junk on the shelves of Walmart? What happened to fixing things or buying them used? We are creating jobs in foreign countries that are just going to be replaced by robots anyway, so why encourage it? Yes, most of those jobs will be automated in a decade.

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AlexClarke Oct. 14, 2015 @ 5:46 a.m.

Ponzi: jnojr has bought into the Walmart economy. He sees only what is good for him. As long as his job is secure he could care less about anyone else. He is like many of the corporations, a traitor. He cares nothing about workers and their conditions as long as he can purchase his widgets for less. Who cares if they are produced by low wage workers living in squalor. He knows nothing about fairness or fair trade. He thinks giving full and free access to American markets is fine while he says nothing about the markets that are restricted to us just as long as he can buy on the cheap. Sad but many so called Americans think like he does.

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