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. Read more about TPP: Don Beyer (D-VA) Puts “Free Trade” Above National Sovereignty and Democracy
I've created a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TPPIgnorance, to have a central place for posting about the appalling level of ignorance regarding TPP. Read more about "TPP Ignorance" merits its own Facebook Page
Clearly our factory farm system is poisoning our food supply. Our elite, political, business, and press is in complete denial. We have become a banana republic. Read more about Imperial collapse watch, egg edition
Currently the Green view is that Bernie is just a distraction from the inevitable Hillary coronation. The bigger Bernie gets, the more bitter the attacks will get. Should Bernie win the Democratic nomination, as I hope and expect, the attacks from the left will become still more bitter. A Bernie candidacy will reduce the logic of a national Green campaign. Read more about Bernie and the Green Party
Over at nakedcap yesterday, the study on chimps potentially being able to cook somehow reacted in my mind with the TPP fight to produce, in the comments, a "possible career-making project for ambitious young mainstream economist: Inter-State Is Over: The Case for Inter-Species Free Trade Read more about The Better Angels Who Pay Me A Lot of Money To Give Talks
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. Read more about TPP: State of Play in the House
Today. This is actually the nut graph, and it's fourth from the bottom:
The item was signed The Wall Street Journal’s Central Banks team. It was conceived and written only by this reporter.
In other words, Hilsenrath's colleagues, whose email and twitter addresses he so helpfully listed, got a shit ton of feedback. And so we have the "lone ironist, acting alone" thesis. Excellent! Read more about Wall Street Journal's Hilsenrath follows up on his "humorous" piece
Here's a humorous-except-not posting from the Wall Street Journal's Daily Report on Global Central Banks, written by one Jon Hilsenrath. You really have to read the whole thing -- here is it, I'll wait, but put down your coffee -- and I'll quote some of the unfunnier bits just so you can get the flavor. Read more about The Wall Street Journal trolls the Internet
Lilac blossoms landing on my yards of soil. If this were a Japanese woodblock print, we'd have cherry blosssoms, not lilacs, and probably not mud, either.
Zooming out for context: Read more about In the garden: Mud season in June
So rainy there are mushrooms in my front garden! (Also, the wildflowers are coming along very nicely; the frondy plants are Poppies.) I don't know what mushrooms say about the state of my soil; good things, I assume. Read more about In the garden: How rainy was it?
This one is for the Finance Minister of Canada, Joe Oliver. He erroneously claims that the Volcker rule, implemented as part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, violates The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law on December 8, 1993.
Oliver says that the Volcker Rule prohibits US banks from trading AAA rated Canadian Government debt thereby violating free trade under NAFTA. The US government has denied any such violation.
I think the US Government has the better of this one. And it's interesting to consider why this is true.
According to our fundamental legal document, the Constitution of the United States, NAFTA isn't a treaty concluded by the United States with Canada and Mexico. Instead it is what is known as a Congressional-Executive Agreement (CEA). The difference between such an agreement and a treaty, is that a CEA requires presidential approval and plurality votes in both Houses of Congress legislating the agreement; while a treaty requires presidential submission of a negotiated agreement to the Senate for ratification by 2/3 of that body.
Another difference is that a treaty takes precedence over mere laws. It is subordinate only to the provisions of the Constitution itself. In contrast, Congressional-Executive Agreements have no explicit status in the Constitution and amount to no more than new legislation passing the Congress and signed by the President, superceding previous laws when in conflict with them, and being superceded by laws conflicting with them that are passed after the Congressional-Executive Agreement was. Read more about The Volcker Rule Doesn't Violate NAFTA
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. Read more about TPP: Call 'Em Out In the House, Now!
So, I'm all excited about a big pile of dirt:
Two yards of gardening soil (i.e., earth with some seafood compost in it). So, tomorrow I distribute the soil over the beds and sheet mulch everything, or at least as much as I can. Church gardening sale, then flats from the Farmer's Market, so all in all an orgy of planting....
Also gravel: Read more about In the garden: My soil came!