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Totally busted

Politico has a bizarre hit piece on Elizabeth Warren. As Yglesias says:

Elizabeth Warren does not approve of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in part because she does not approve of its Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions that let businesses sue governments over regulatory matters outside of the normal judicial process. In fact, Warren hates the way ISDS empowers corporations so much that fifteen years ago she served as an expert witness for the US government when it was defending itself against a corporate complaint before an ISDS arbitration panel.

Except apparently some swathes of the Beltway media would like us to believe that it is hypocritical of Warren to have participated in an arbitration process that she opposes.

...Imagine that we were debating drug legalization, and one Senator is running around talking about how it's appalling that we are sending people to trial over possession of drugs. Now someone writes a story saying Senator X didn't seem to think drug trials were so appalling back when he was working as a defense lawyer for people accused of drug possession.

Nobody would write that, of course, because it doesn't make any sense.

Even the Politico piece (no link; i'm not going to help them "win the morning") has this:

Warren's involvement in the case centered on a narrow aspect of bankruptcy law. Her office says it doesn't conflict at all with her current stance.

"Fifteen years ago, when a big company used ISDS to sue the United States in an attempt to undermine the American justice system and the rule of law, Senator Warren helped the government in its successful effort to defeat the case," Warren spokeswoman Lacey Rose told POLITICO in an emailed statement. "Senator Warren opposes ISDS in trade treaties for the same reasons that were so clearly demonstrated in that case -- because it tilts the playing field toward big companies, and undermines the American justice system and the rule of law."

Ted Posner, a specialist in international arbitration cases and a former George W. Bush administration trade official, argued that Warren's involvement in the 2000 case was an "interesting tidbit" but ultimately not relevant.

"I really don't see any connection between her provision of expert advice to the government in Loewen and her position on ISDS in her current capacity as a U.S. senator," said Posner, who is a partner at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. "The advice she gave in Loewen was in her capacity as an expert on U.S. bankruptcy law. She was not acting as an expert on ISDS."

That probably should have ended the article (or stopped it from being published entirely), but they still manage to go on for another 18 paragraphs.

Update: Krugman weighs in on this, too, noting that the whole thing was likely fed to Politico by an Obama operative, but also lambasting the media for the lazy "hypocrisy" narrative.

By fnord12 | May 22, 2015, 7:26 AM | Liberal Outrage