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pa28's Journal
pa28's Journal
July 6, 2015

Clinton in 2011: Greek austerity is necessary "chemotherapy" to give Greece a "strong economy".


Of course we all know the actual result. 25% drop in GDP, 25% unemployment, untold suffering by the Greek people and absolutely no prospect of repaying the debt under the original terms with a badly shrunken economy.

Economists like Paul Krugman, Dean Baker and Joseph Stigletz warned this would be precisely the result of Friedmanesque austerity measures in Greece. Washington conventional wisdom was wrong, taking a stand in favor of massive cuts despite the human costs. Hillary Clinton was squarely on the side of Washington conventional wisdom.

As president will she be willing to break with the Washington consensus when it is clearly wrong? Has she done so in the past?
June 23, 2015

About slavery and human trafficking. TPP legitimizes a Malaysian government that condones it.

That's according to our own State Department.

Instead of being marginalized as a rogue state Malaysia is sitting with us at the table as partner in the TPP. Their behavior is being excused at the insistence of Republicans and the administration right now.

Why Is The U.S. Desperate To OK Slavery In Malaysia?

WASHINGTON -- On Friday night, in an impressive display of dysfunction, the U.S. Senate approved a controversial trade bill with a provision that the White House, Senate leadership and the author of the language himself wanted taken out.

The provision, which bars countries that engage in slavery from being part of major trade deals with the U.S., was written by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). At the insistence of the White House, Menendez agreed to modify his language to say that as long as a country is taking "concrete" steps toward reducing human trafficking and forced labor, it can be part of a trade deal. Under the original language, the country that would be excluded from the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership pact is Malaysia.


I think we can agree that slavery is a pretty big shit sandwich. Hopefully you aren't suggesting it's OK to take a bite because the sons and daughters belong to somebody else.
March 29, 2015

TPP contains a provision for bailing out derivative losses. Is this what re-negotiating NAFTA means?

You probably remember President Obama's pledge during the campaign of 2008 to re-negotiate NAFTA on behalf of unions and environmentalists.

Never happened. However, as part of Obama's effort to sell the Trans Pacific Partnership the administration has depicted the agreement as an improved trade deal that would fix NAFTA's problems and make good on the President's promise.

Sounds good but the leaked environmental and investment chapters say it's not true.

TPP widens the scope of an "investment" to derivatives, opening the door for compensation from governments in the event of losses resulting from new law or regulation. Derivatives are side bets on the performance of an investment that have no equity stake in the underlying security or commodity price. Derivatives are NOT an investment and the scale of the derivatives market far exceeds that of the cash value of stock markets. This means a massive increase in taxpayer exposure to losses and increased incentive for banks to ramp up leverage and risky bets without actually investing in the economy.

Investment means every asset that an investor owns or controls, directly or indirectly, that
has the characteristics of an investment, including such characteristics as the commitment
of capital or other resources, the expectation of gain or profit, or the assumption of risk.
Forms that an investment may take include:
(a) an enterprise;
(b) shares, stock and other forms of equity participation in an enterprise;
(c) bonds, debentures, other debt instruments, and loans;23
(d) futures, options and other derivatives;

NAFTA limited the definition of an investment to money directly connected with an enterprise.

The leaked environment chapter also loosens rather than strengthens protections included in trade deals as recently as the Bush administration.

Sierra Club: Obama’s record on environment and trade worse than George W. Bush

Environmentalists told the New York Times that the Obama Administration was “retreat[ing] on a variety of environmental protections — including legally binding pollution control requirements and logging regulations and a ban on harvesting sharks’ fins — to advance a trade deal . . . .” Further the Sierra Club’s Ilana Solomon, saying “the draft omits crucial language ensuring that increased trade will not lead to further environmental destruction.” The problems in the draft are detailed in their Joint Analysis.

In a press release Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club says: “If the environment chapter is finalized as written in this leaked document, President Obama’s environmental trade record would be worse than George W. Bush’s. This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues – oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections – and in fact, rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts.”

Banks and corporations are negotiating this agreement with former bankers and lobbyists who were paid huge exit bonuses to draft TPP on behalf of the American public. It's true that NAFTA is being "re-negotiated" by this agreement but it seems to me we're replacing it with something even worse.
March 22, 2015

Accidental moment of candor: Rahm Emanuel adviser reveals what is wrong with Democratic politics.


“Unless they get the crazy lefty money machine going nationally, it’s not going to matter that there’s a resurgent left,” said an adviser to Mr. Emanuel who did not want to speak publicly about strategy. “The liberals at Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park can think great thoughts and read poetry for Chuy, but nothing else will happen.”

By "crazy left" he means what was the "moderate left" 20 years ago. AKA people who have been "right" about just about everything ranging from the Iraq war to tax policy, trade policy and more.

It seems to me that this election is one battleground for the future of the Democratic party and Chuy has won something by just forcing a runoff.

Worth a read.

December 13, 2014

Where is the compromise from Republicans in this "compromise" bill?

President Obama seemed to have finally learned his lesson in dealing with Republican extortion demands over continuing funding. He refused to deal with the extortionist last time by holding their demands up to public scrutiny. The extortionist folded.

Now we're back to negotiating and compromise. We're told that's the nature of politics in a divided government, that's how sausage is made in Washington and we all need to suck it up and deal with the result.

The problem is I don't see what we're "getting" in return for the massive giveaways to the lobbies of Wall Street and corporate America. At least not in any kind of scale normally considered a fair trade.

We're "giving" potentially hundreds of billions or even trillions in guaranteed bailouts that WILL be needed one day. We're making it legal to raid pensions and cut guaranteed earned benefits for working people and we're raising pentagon spending back to Iraq war levels. Levels that saddled us with trillions in debt.

I hear we're "getting" funding for the ACA. Huh? That was already a law. We already have that. If the Republicans want to choke the ACA to death make them explain their actions in public. As the party now responsible for governing MAKE Republicans be accountable.

Quietly giving what we already have in exchange for continued funding reminds me of some bullied schoolyard kid "giving" his lunch money in exchange for not "getting" a black eye. That's a losers way of thinking.

We "got" a couple of other relatively small tokens too. Great, but In no way can they be measured against the years of hard won progress and legislation we just gave away. With over a million dollars a day being spent on lobbying activities We're never going to win back ground on pensions or wall street regulation. At least not until after the next disaster that we are now culpable for.

There is another way of looking at this disaster. Maybe, to the Democrats who supported this bill, the massive giveaways were not something traded away. Maybe they were politically inconvenient policy objectives just waiting for an opportune moment to be quietly passed. Maybe it was time to re-pay Jamie and Lloyd.

Watching this fiasco unfold over the past few days I can't decide if we're hopelessly corrupt as a party or merely feckless and out of touch.

October 25, 2014

Reads like a more detailed version of the rationalizations I read right here.

Obama can only sign bills, Obama is handcuffed by Congressional Republicans Or the classic "if you expect more from Obama you must want a dictator . . . or a KING".

Perhaps the author is not considering another possibility. Obama's goal from the very start was to be a caretaker president who just wanted to re-establish the status quo in a time of crisis.

He's satisfied with his work as president. He preserved the existing system and many many fortunes and followed the neoliberal economic playbook to the letter.

As a finishing touch on his second term he can sign the TPP and put together a grand bargain with the help of a Republican congress. Maybe that's why he seems to be mailing it in right now. His job is done.

December 27, 2012

Harumph. That's right.

BTW Chained CPI is not a cut. It only means future recipients will receive far less than they expected after decades of paying into the system.

Well ok maybe thats a "cut". It's definitely not slashing though. Cut, not slash.

July 6, 2012

I read a few reviews and I see what you mean.

One of them was OUTRAGED about the show's open attacks on anything or anybody to the right of center . . . like Sarah Palin, Allan West, the Koch brothers or Fox News.

You know. Just a little bit right of center.

I think Aaron Sorkin hit a nerve here.

May 26, 2012

Anthony Bourdain does that sometimes.

If you step back and think about Dick Cheney as a food source in the face of starvation it adds up.

He's very well fed and he only eats the finest organic items at the best restaurants. The only liquids in his system are spring water and single malt scotch. The muscle tissue is tone and gets worked on a daily basis by his dominatrix.

It seems a little like Kobe beef . . . just sayin.

May 21, 2012

Looks like George Tierney of Greenville South Carolina learned a lesson in responsibility.

George Tierney of Greenville South Carolina is going to be hearing about this when he's 70 because the internet is forever.

It's too bad for him that his dating life will effectively end forever and the HR person who might hire him away from his caddy job will end up calling security to have his ass kicked out.

I just don't want to be around when his mother finds out.

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Hometown: Sisters, Oregon
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