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passing the Congress and signed by the President, superceding previous laws when in conflict with them, and being superceded by laws conflicting with them that are passed after the Congressional-Executive Agreement was.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!
Then I learned that his 1972 piece recently reproduced in Mother Jones was "an attempted critique of heteronormativity — a clumsy and weird-as-hell attempted critique of heteronormativity," and apparently no big deal. Uh, okay?
Well technically it is Rich Lowry's racist screed. It is yet another blacks only care if police kill blacks, not when blacks kill blacks. It is yet another attempt to deflect public attention from police brutality. Shame on Albritton and Harris for publishing it. Harris could have politely said this really isn't right for a Politico audience. But no, Albritton and Harris hate poor people and they especially hate poor black people. Read more about Robert Allbritton's and John Harris racist screed
Hillary Clinton is the most popular non-incumbant politician since Eisenhower. Partly it is the remembered prosperity of her husband's presidency. Partly is because Hillary never lets the bastards get her down. No matter how vicious the attack, Hillary Clinton maintains her focus on doing what she thinks is best for the country, and people LOVE her for it. Read more about People love Hillary Clinton
We had a lovely hot day, or what passes for hot in Maine, 80°F, and then rain. So even though drops of rain on the flowers is a cliche, I thought that the colors at dusk would be so saturated I'd go ahead anyhow. Sorry the focus is a little soft; gotta figure out a way to get that view camera, then get the tripod, the f-64 lens...
Honestly, I don't know what I did to deserve this patch of bleeding hearts in my front garden. They just keep growing! Read more about In the garden: Twilight
Thomas Palley recently blogged a post that was cross-posted at Naked Capitalism where I read it. In it, he discussed the question of whether Hillary Clinton's apparent intention to run as a progressive in 2016 represents a sincere change in her views, or whether it is just a political communications strategy to please the progressive base of the Democratic Party.
In his analysis, Palley points to Clinton's failure to answer questions of journalists and to be pinned down to specifics on policy questions. He also points to the fact that the economic advisers who are central to Clintonworld still include Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Peter Orszag, and, I think, he reasonably could have added Gene Sperling and Jack Lew, who are still serving President Obama, but who were two of Bill Clinton's mainstays. These economists, and others associated with the Clintons had a hand in all the economic policy failures of the past 20 years, and continues with this money quote: Read more about Is Progressivism in the Eye of the Beholder?
So, on May 22, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) (“Fast Track”) Bill passed the Senate 62 – 37, with 14 Democrats defecting to the pro-Fast TracK/Trade-Pacific Partnership (TPP) forces. However, all was not wine and roses for the Administration and Fast Track/TPP proponents in the Senate.
First, the pro-TPP forces sustained a temporary defeat on May 12, when the Senate would not approve debating Fast Track, introducing delay into the process. The problem was quickly fixed with agreements to consider and vote on related issues such as Trade Adjustment Assistance, forced child labor, and currency manipulation outside of Fast Track. But nevertheless the glitch was unanticipated, and looked bad for an Administration wanting clear sailing in the Senate for Fast Track. Read more about Get Ready to Call 'Em Out On the TPP!
No photographs -- it all happened so fast! -- but yesterday I spotted a big dragonfly and a bird with a twig in its beak landed on my woodchuck fence before flying off, somewhere. Read more about In the garden: The animal kingdom
For those of you who don't know her, Pluto is a writer I met through our interaction at the place so nice they banned me twice (sure I'd love to tell you about it, but it's not relevant to this piece).
She's a ForEx trader and we don't necessarily see eye to eye on economics since she still seems to think there is some connection between money and actual goods and services (particularly in terms of investor confidence) while I'm with the MMT types that find it totally fictional except for its use as a medium of exchange (which could be replaced in a pinch) and to pay taxes (in lieu of feudal servitude), and think confidence is a scam entirely unjustified by reality.
She is whip smart and has much more practical experience than I do, so it's probably better to listen to her.
And while I would argue that gold is simply another commodity that is useful industrially for its ductility, conductivity, and inertness, and that has a certain aesthetic appeal, it is psychologically true that many people attribute special economic value to it however unjustified by facts that attitude is.
Thus I think her bottom line conclusion, that China is preparing itself to take over as the world's reserve currency is probably true. China's reluctance to do so, according to MMT, stems from the fact that the reserve currency is condemmed by account balancing to run pretty serious trade deficits, otherwise nobody else has any money.
Money is a lubricant for transactions. It has no magical, mystical inherent value (of which it is a poor store and this is a good thing because it forces productive investment rather than unproductive hoarding). But feel free to disagree, never let it be said that at TMC's and my sites (The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma) we don't entertain ideas we don't completely endorse.- ek
Reprinted with permission from The Stars Hollow Gazette
All week I've been seeing references to this headline:
"China could announce that it holds 30,000 tons of gold to back the Yuan/Renminbi."
As a Forex trader, the story took me by surprise, even though China has been stockpiling for years, and is the world's largest gold producer. Also, it's not like China to pull this trigger so fast. However, in the South China Sea last week, the US started militarily terrorizing China with war ships and fighter jets — and China warned (in so many polite words) that the US planted the seeds of its own doom.
So, maybe that's what this is all about.
.... which then appear on the masthead. It's always pleasant to see a new one! (The logos rotate randomly, so there is always the possibility of surprise.) Read more about Thanks to Correntians who are still adding "Logo" photos....
Let's playfully take the artwork that pro-TPP
traitor Senator John Thune (R-SD) tweeted as representative of an entire stylistic school, and let's call that school "Neoliberal Realism," and let's compare it to old-school "Socialist Realism." Take a look at Figure 1 and Figure 2 and see if you can spot the similarities and differences, formally and thematically.
Figure 1: Neoliberal Realism
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) May 21, 2015