Author Archives: Joe Firestone

Grexit: Exchanges on the IT Problem Continue

I’ve already been over Louis Proyect’s critical analysis of the chapter on the IT software problem in my new e-book. But in the comments on Proyect’s post a significant dialogue occurred between two commenters at NC: Ben Johannson and Clive. Here I analyze and comment on that exchange. Continue reading

On the IT Problem of Grexit: A Reply

I’d like to start by thanking Louis Proyect for commenting on at least part of my new e-book Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis and the Theft of Democracy namely the chapter entitled “The Information Technology Problem.” His opening paragraph begins by including an aside calling Professor William Mitchell’s ideas about these problems “unrealistic.”

Professor Mitchell’s ideas on the amount of work involved in Grexit, may or may not be unrealistic, but I think it was unnecessary to say that at the beginning of the post, without also stating why Louis Proyect thinks so, or at least providing a link to one or more of his earlier posts at Naked Capitalism where he explains his reasons for thinking that. Continue reading

Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis, and the Death of Democracy: A Book about Greece and Much More

The Eurozone is an instrument of the globalization process that is setting financial elites over all nations of the world, including the democracies. The situation in Greece exposes the true nature of the Eurozone institutions as a naked fact, beyond spinning, for all to see. They are popular sovereignty-thieves and democracy-killers, with the power necessary to shut democratic governments down.

The architectural flaw in the Maastricht Treaty: that the nations of Europe were giving up their monetary sovereignty, was immediately recognized as fatal by acute economists, and many predicted failure. But, what was not seen clearly were the political implications of giving the ECB, the ability to deny liquidity to the banking systems of nations, and, in so doing to perform, essentially, coups rendering elected governments of democratic nation states powerless to enact policies they were elected to pass. This “theft of democracy” contradicts the EU’s commitment to advance democracy. It steals what was so hard won from the peoples of Europe. Continue reading

Declarations of Dependence: A New e-Book on the Nation-Subjugating “Trade Deals”

The trade agreements currently being negotiated by the Obama Administration are potentially enormously important in their possible impact on the United States. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated by 12 Asian-Pacific nations, and, if agreed to by Congress could be expanded in membership later on under the President’s sole authority. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will encompass 29 nations, including the United States. And the third agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), perhaps the most dangerous of the three, will likely encompass 52 nations, if agreed to by all.

Continue reading

TPP: 13 Democratic Senators Invite Republicans to Make Them Laughing Stocks and More Serious Matters

The cloture vote in the Senate is now done, making the TPA vote itself a mere formality. The vote was 60 – 37 in favor of cloture with 13 of the 14 original Democratic defectors (Ben Cardin was the exception) sticking with the multinational corporations, the President, and all but five of the Republicans in supporting cloture. Supporters of cloture celebrated the bipartisan nature of the vote, as if Americans who lose their jobs and their sovereignty as a consequence of it, and the things it enables, will look more favorably on what they did because both major parties did it. Continue reading

TPP: Will Voters Re-elect Laughing Stocks to the Senate?

Let’s review the devious process for passing the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill devised by the Republicans I outlined in my last post. It has the following steps:

– Step one: the House passes a TPA bill without passing Trade Adjustments Assistance (TAA); then

– Step two: the Republicans in the Senate give assurances to Senate Democrats that TAA will be passed by the Senate and later the House;

– Step three: the Senate then passes the House’s TPA bill, and then sends it to the President; then Continue reading

TPP: Fast –Track Is Back: Shall It Pass?

Under this plan, they say, the President and the Republicans get what they want, and so do the free trade Democrats (as without their saying it do the funders of both parties). In addition, the free trade Democrats have the TAA fig leaf they believe they need to defend them against primary challengers and Republicans who may run against them saying that the sold out American workers and national sovereignty to foreigners.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t It? But here are the process problems with it.

Step one assumes that a clean TPA bill can pass the House. Proponents of this step assume that this will happen because 191 Republicans and 28 Democrats, a total of 219 members of the House, passed such a bill last Friday, June 12th, while 54 Republicans and 157 Democrats, or 211 members voted to defeat it. Continue reading

TPP: Fast –Track, the Next Rounds In Congress

The roll call 126-302 vote (Roll call 361) defeating the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill was a result worth a little celebrating on Friday, since it was a very decisive victory on that particular vote, and also stopped the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) fast track bill from being sent to the President’s desk for signature. If the vote on TAA hadn’t failed, it would have been far more difficult (I don’t say impossible as many do) to defeat all manner of “free trade” agreements (aka multinational sovereignty agreements), including the currently scheduled Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services (TiSA) agreements over the next year or so.

Everything we know about these agreements is that they would have been a disaster for all but an extremely small segment of the people of the United States. So, we ought to be overjoyed that, for now, fast-track is stalled in the House, and may get pigeon-holed there for quite some time to come, if the re-vote on TAA fails. Still as Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, and Bill Black say in their recent posts, this stall may be short-lived if we don’t keep up the pressure and make sure that the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with the President are, unsuccessful in reversing Friday’s vote on the TAA. Continue reading

Fast –Track: It Looks Like It’s In Pelosi’s Lap or Maybe Not!

There are 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats in the House. Republicans, led by John Boehner and Paul Ryan, say they are confident about having enough votes to hold a successful floor vote on Friday, June 12th.. However, Politico reports that Republican sources are saying they will get anywhere from 180 – 200 votes for fast-track, which doesn’t sound very different from their at least 190 vote estimate as of June 3rd.

So, that leaves anywhere from 46 – 66 Republican opponents of the legislation. The top of this range is very near the maximum of 57 Republicans that TPP opponents have previously estimated could vote against it, except that on the high side it acknowledges the possibility that Republicans may have lost ground compared to a week ago.

Last week, also, supporters of the bill reportedly could not count on more than 17 Democrats to vote for it, and no more than 20 after all the maneuvering and politicking has occurred. Today, the number of committed TPP Democrats seems to be 20, with the recent addition of Don Beyer (D-VA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), and Jim Himes (D-CT). So, it appears not much progress has been made toward the 218 votes required to carry the fast-track authority in spite of all the activity and much posturing from the pro-TPP forces. Continue reading

TPP: Jim Himes (D-CT), Another Putting “Free Trade” Above National Sovereignty and Democracy

This is another in a series on Democratic Representatives who recently decided that pleasing their President, and their minority leader in the House, and protecting the expectations of potential profits of multinational corporations, was more important than protecting democracy, national, state, and local sovereignty, American Jobs, the environment, the climate, the capability to regulate corporate behavior for the public good, and net neutrality, among may other valuable things. In my previous posts I covered the statements of Don Beyer, Democrat of Virginia’s 8th District and then Kathleen Rice, Democrat of New York’s 4th.

This time the focus of my attention will be Jim Himes (D-CT) who represents the 4th Congressional District in Connecticut. I’ll be doing a point-by-point critique of his reasons for announcing his support of the TPP. Continue reading