Tag Archives: democracy

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

TPP: Kathleen Rice (D-NY) Is the Latest to Put “Free Trade” Above National Sovereignty and Democracy

I blogged a critique of Don Beyer, Democratic Representative in the Virginia 8th Congressional District to protest his announcement of support for the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill followed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) legislation. This past Saturday, Kathleen Rice (D-NY, 4th Congressional District) became the latest to join President Obama’s effort to elevate corporations above the people through the TPA, followed by the TPP legislation, and, he hopes the passage later on of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). This post is my reply to Congressman Rice’s justification, in talking point/response format, for joining the pro- fast track-TPP forces. Continue reading

TPP: Don Beyer (D-VA) Puts “Free Trade” Above National Sovereignty and Democracy

Recently, my wife, Bonnie, sent an e-mail to Don Beyer, our Democratic Representative in the Virginia 8th Congressional District to express her opinion opposing fast-track/TPP and to tell him that she wanted him to vote against it in Congress. In reply, she received a form e-mail which was non-responsive to hers, but also stated his support for all four trade bills and his talking points on the subject.

Congressman Beyer’s e-mail made her angry and she asked that since I’m the writer in the family, I write a reply from both of us for him. Since drafting this reply, I’ve learned that Don Beyer has announced his support for fast-track in a statement on his web site. Below is our reply to him, in talking point/response format, sometimes cast in the first person, for his consideration, and anyone else’s who is interested in “free trade” agreements. Continue reading

TPP: State of Play in the House

The Republicans and the Administration still can’t count on the 217 votes needed to pass Fast-Track, according to Politico. There are 245 Republicans and 188 Democrats in the House. Republicans are now “feeling new found optimism that at least 190 of their lawmakers” will support fast-track. So, that leaves 55 Republican opponents. Very near the maximum of 57 that TPP opponents have estimated could vote against it.

A few days ago, 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 18. So, it appears not much progress has been made toward the 217 votes required to carry the measure, and the pro-TPP forces still have 9 votes to get, provided they don’t lose any of the 18 Democrats, called out publicly by Alan Grayson on June 1st, much to the regret and/or consternation of Steny Hoyer, perhaps the rest of the House leadership, and, at least some of the 18 Democrats called out. Continue reading

TPP: Call ‘Em Out In the House, Now!

In a previous post, I discussed the likelihood that the Fast-Track bill, if it passed the House, would need to return to the Senate again to align the different bills produced by the two Houses. I focused on the importance of Fast-Track/TPP opponents preparing for that return by building the opposition into a movement exerting continuous pressure on Senators to expand the size of the opposition to the bill in both parties.

I also pointed out that an emerging movement should be emphasizing the governance impact of Fast-Track/TPP on national, state, and local sovereignty, separation of powers, consent of the governed and democracy, more than the many other TPP issues that have emerged. In my view, the governance issues are the winning issues against the Fast-Track/TPP initiative for a number of reasons.

This is so because they cut against the beliefs that 1) the people, ought in the final analysis to rule; 2) the independence of the United States is, above all, to be treasured and ought not to be subordinated to corporations and big money; and 3) the United States is an exceptional nation, in part because its governance institutions, with all their warts are still superior to all others on earth. Continue reading

Yes, Theoclassical “Economists [are] Basically Immoral”

By William K. Black

The failures of theoclassical economists and economics are total and myriad. Many of their theories are long-falsified dogmas. Their methodological preference is econometrics – which gives the worst possible results in bubbles and when accounting control fraud epidemics occur. Theoclassical policies are intensely criminogenic, anti-democratic, and grotesquely unfair. Their proudest creations – their risk and price models – proved to massively understate risk and overstate asset values. They betray the scientific method that they purport to exemplify because they are overwhelmingly mono-disciplinary, in thrall to their dogmas, driven by self-interest, incapable or unwilling to follow logical standards of internal consistency, and intellectually dishonest. They award Nobel Prizes to economists who fail what economists claim is the decisive test of truth and success – predictive ability. Theoclassical economists are infamous for their arrogance, praising their field as the only social science worthy of the term “science” and celebrating its “imperial” nature while ignoring work in other fields that has proven to have far superior predictive success. Theoclassical economists are infamous for their lack of altruism.

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MMT and the Struggles of Political Democracy

By J.D. Alt

A principal dilemma of the theory of modern fiat currency (MMT) is the question of how the state spends the money it issues: who decides, and by what process? It may be frustrating to watch U.S. Congressmen and Senators bicker and behave as if their national government has run out of dollars, but it is sobering to consider what would happen should these legislative prodigies suddenly realize that, in fact, there are no currency constraints on their spending at all. It is hard to imagine who, or what, would step in to impose some kind of discipline and planning for the spending spree that would ensue. I suspect that many who actually understand fiat currency are hesitant to overtly embrace it for precisely this reason—because they are unsure what structure exists, or could be put in place, that would rationally manage the remarkable levels of sovereign spending MMT makes possible.

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