The great unraveling of globalization   Recently updated !

The Washington Post has the article The great unraveling of globalization.

Indeed, although multinational executives avoid talking about it publicly, profits in global markets are underwhelming — and doing business internationally is full of unanticipated risks.
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The shortcomings of globalization manifest in any number of ways. For one thing, international trading patterns point to an increase in protectionist attitudes rather than a golden age of open borders. Between 1986 and 2005, global trade volume increased at a rate of about 2 to 3 times that of GDP growth, but the ratio since then has fallen dramatically (except for one year) and is now close to 1, according to research by UBS strategist Bhanu Baweja.
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That’s about the best way to sum up globalization now. Instead of flat and seamless, globalization is full of hurdles and obstacles. There’s money to be made for multinationals the world over, but they are going to have to rethink their strategies for making it. Though presented as a way to eliminate economic disparities and magically expand multinational revenue streams, globalization is, simply put, still a barely profitable and perplexing strategy for most companies.

If you read the details, and believe them, then perhaps this is a clue as to why business is so intent on getting the TPP.  It’s only a clue, because you would have to guess at how the TPP would solve any of these problems.  Perhaps the idea of the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement”  (ISDS) in the TPP is corporations’ way of getting around some of the difficulties mentioned in The Washington Post article.

See my previous post ISDS is a bad deal for America – Part ot TPP “Trade” deal for some background for why US corporations may be pushing for this without any care for the harm it could do to the rest of us.

I wonder if any corporations or trade negotiators ever consider that the cause of increasing protectionism is how badly past “free” “trade” deals hurt the countries who are becoming more protectionist.  Rather than getting even more draconian in the next trade deal, they might consider coming up with something that was actually better for the people in the countries who will sign the pact.

Thanks to reader RichardH for bringing this article to my attention


VIDEO: When Van Jones met Elizabeth Warren

MoveOn has an addition to its page on the Lawrence Lessig event. VIDEO: When Van Jones met Elizabeth Warren is an introduction by Van Jones.

I loved the introduction, but there is one point that we should not get carried away over. After seeing Elizabeth Warren debate Scott Brown, I am not so sure that she could elevate the conversation. There is only so much one can do when the only questions asked are stupid questions. I have a much better role for Elizabeth Warren in the upcoming debates, if there are any on the Democratic side. Elizabeth Warren should be the moderator.

Have you watched any videos of Elizabeth Warren in action on a Senate panel questioning witnesses? Elizabeth Warren can do more with asking a question than most of the witnesses can do in answering those questions.

Elizabeth Warren Blasts New York Fed President William Dudley

Watch Elizabeth Warren Push The Bank Regulators

Elizabeth Warren still taking on the banksters, regulators


TPP Could Bring On Armageddon 3   Recently updated !

Thinking about my previous post, Joe Firestone: Another Danger of the TPP: It Sacrifices Monetary Sovereignity and taking into account Murphy’s Law, I started to wonder if signing the TPP could bring on Armageddon.

I decided to look up the major foreign holders of US Treasury securities.

Here is the Murphy’s Law scenario. Suppose we decide to devalue the dollar to bring our wage rates more in line with the countries where all our jobs are being outsourced. Supposing some of those countries decided to sue us before one of the tribunals established by the TPP. Their claim is that by devaluing our dollar, we will be harming their profits and the value of their holdings of our currency. It seems pretty obvious that their claim is true, and our sole purpose for taking that action is to take back some of those jobs and lower the value of our foreign debt.

So what could they sue us for? Japan holds $1.2 trillion of our foreign debt and will be one of the major signatories of the TPP. China holds another $1.2 trillion of our foreign debt. China will not be a signatory of TPP, but I bet they could buy lots of companies in countries that will be signatories. That would give them standing before one of the tribunals.

Rather than demanding immediate payment of $2.4 trillion, they could just hold us hostage and control our major policies.

I have come to a new understanding of Murphy’s Law. It is not just by chance that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It is that if you give an adversary a brand new weapon that they could use against you, then they will use it. Do you want to hold your breath hoping they won’t? You could turn blue in the face just from that.


Joe Firestone: Another Danger of the TPP: It Sacrifices Monetary Sovereignity 2

There are two places to go to read this story. Naked Capitalism has the headline Joe Firestone: Another Danger of the TPP: It Sacrifices Monetary Sovereignity. New Economic Perspectives has the headline How Can Our Senators and Representatives Vote for Giving Away Our Monetary Sovereignty?

Let’s see if giving you the first and last paragraphs can give you a clue as to the magnitude of this blunder.

Right now the US fulfills the three essential conditions for monetary sovereignty: 1) it issues its own non-convertible currency, 2) which it allows to float on international currency markets; and 3) it owes no debts in any currency other than dollars. Because it is monetarily sovereign, and can always meet its obligations the US can never be forced into insolvency.
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Which brings us back to our erstwhile Representatives and Senators in Washington. How they can even consider Fast Track Authority for the President without extensively considering and debating the sovereignty-infringing aspects of the TPP is beyond me. Its potential infringement on Monetary Sovereignty is only one of these. There are many others, as well. And it is hard to understand how people who swear fealty to the United States can justify their apparent complete lack of concern for these issues when they make trade agreements.

In one fell swoop, a decision in a single case could force a $350 billion dollar debt on our country and the complainant could insist on payment in Chinese yuan.

If, after seeing the financial collapse of 2008/2009, you realize the magnitude of Bill Clinton’s blunder in doing away with the Glass-Steagal Act, you should contemplate how the TPP could be a blunder of far larger magnitude. What is surprising is that it has taken this long for someone like Joe Firestone to expose the full implications of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals that are set up by the TPP.

All the phoney issues the Republicans raise about our debt to ourselves in our own  currency could be made to come true by changing that debt to be in a foreign currency of the lender’s choice after we have incurred a debt we didn’t even know we had incurred.


Senator Warren cites ‘rigged’ process in concerns on trade deal

Rachel Maddow has an interview with Elizabeth Warren about the TPP controversy.

Senator Elizabeth Warren explains to Rachel Maddow why she is reluctant to give fast track power to President Obama on a new trade deal, citing concerns that the crafting of the deal is ‘rigged,’ and insisting that the deal be made public first.

I have seen people wonder how the Senators could know what they are complaining about. Well, this should stop it. Elizabeth Warren says that she has read the TPP. So here’s the challenge Mr. President, if it’s such a good deal, let us see it. Otherwise, we just plain don’t believe you. The more you keep it hidden, the less we believe you. What you say about it is belied by your actions to keep it secret.

I notice that Rachel Maddow gives deserved credit to Bernie Sanders and others who are fighting this deal. As for the President and interpreting his mentioning only Elizabeth Warren by name, “Bernie who. Never heard of him.” He’ll even mention John Boner, but not Bernie Sanders. The trouble is that Bernie Sanders refuses to go away.


Why Elizabeth Warren Should Run

I received an email from Run Warren Run about why she should run.  The main topic was about the trade disagreement between Warren and Obama.  I agree fully about that argument, and I will show the email at the end.

What I found most powerful was the speech by Prof. Lawrence Lessig about why Warren should run.  The email provided the link to that speech in its postscript.

Until Warren says she wants to run, I am putting most of my effort in promoting Bernie Sanders. I also think he has the broader platform of the two candidates. If Lessig is right that she is the candidate we need, and she agrees to run, then I would certainly support her efforts.


Tell new Attorney General Loretta Lynch: End “too big to jail.”

Now that we have been forced to accept the unqualified Loretta Lynch as our next Attorney General, all is not lost.

Credo Action has the petition Tell new Attorney General Loretta Lynch: End “too big to jail.”

“Begin your term as attorney general by announcing criminal charges for the fraud that led to the financial crisis, ending the abuse of deferred prosecution agreements without steep penalties, and committing to bring to trial any financial institutions caught breaking the law in the future.”

We are getting close to the statute of limitations for some of the crimes committed during the financial crisis.  However, these crooks are still committing the crimes, so that deadline shouldn’t stop prosecution or quiet our calls for prosecution.

I am aware that these petitions from Credo are probably only a way to get your email address so they can send you junk email, but perhaps it can do some good to at least listen to the message which is a good one.


It’s Time For America and Americans to Face the Facts 1   Recently updated !

I may have hinted at these facts before in this blog, but it is time to bring them out, and boldly state them.

There are millions if not billions of people in this world in other countries  who are as smart as we are, as educated as we are, and who are willing to do our jobs as well as we can for less money and under more difficult conditions.

Those are the facts right now, and they won’t change instantly.  As with global climate change, we  can deny the facts, but we  cannot avoid them.  So sit yourself down, take a deep breath, and now start to think about what we are going to do about it that is non-violent and recognizes the brotherhood and sisterhood of people all around the world.

The corollary to the above is that we enjoy a superior standard of living to the people who are competing most strongly for our jobs that has no justification when you look at the facts without blinders.

There are going to have to be some adjustments to our expectations that we must make.  We have a range of options in the adjustments we choose to make.  There is a set of choices that will spread the pain reasonably fairly across all segments of the American population.  There is also a set of adjustments that will exempt the rich from having to share any of the pain, but will concentrate it even harder on the rest of the population.

The rich know which set of options they are willing to fight tooth and nail for.  Do most of the rest of us have a clue as to what the fight is all about?

Oh, one thing the rich may not know, or maybe they do, is that there are potential CEOs in other countries that are just as smart as our CEOs, but they are willing to work for lower salaries and under more difficult circumstances.  There is no reason why the CEO jobs won’t leave this country and move to China, India, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and all  those other countries where the rich people also want the TPP.  You can bet our corporate executives who are writing the TPP rules are working overtime to protect their asses from the competition of the executives in these other countries.  That may be the only reason there is any resistance at all from the other countries.

Once the rich people in our country can make it clear to the rich people in other countries that all the rich people will do exceptionally well with the new scheme (and there are plenty of billionaires in the emerging countries, too), then their will be nobody left to resist the rest of us from being driven into poverty.

So what are some of the things that we can do?  Here is a list in no particular order.  In fact we can do many of them at the same time if we  can muster the political will.

  • Get the government to spend more money to get us all back to work at reasonable wages for this country.  That means investing in the infrastructure we all know we will eventually have to pay for anyway.  Investing in making our own education affordable as they do in all the countries that compete with us.  Invest in the research that corporations will not pay for on their own, and don’t then give it away to the corporations without extracting something for the rest of us in return.
  • Let the value of the dollar sink so that there will be more parity on income levels internationally.  It won’t be as painful or maybe even as noticeable to our own standard of living if we all adjust in about the same way relative to people in the rest of the world.  Moreover, it will bring the balance of living standards across the world to a more sustainable level.  It will also tend to fix trade imbalances.
  • Work cooperatively around the world to get all people labor rights and human rights. That may raise other people’s standards of living so ours won’t have to drop so much to reach parity.
  • Try to fix the laws around the world that encourage the mal-distribution of wealth and income.  We must warn developing countries about the dangers of allowing wealth to be concentrated in the hands of the billionaires in their own countries.
  • We must stop allowing our oligarchs to use this country’s military might to help them hold  onto their own untenable advantages in life.
  • Make sure the technological advantages of workplace automation are shared equitable among all classes of people in all countries.  We can make technology the friends of all of us, instead of just some of us.

That ought to be a good list to start with.  Let’s have a discussion around our issues rather than around the issues our oligarchs want us to focus on.  They can’t use us as cannon fodder to protect their privileges while they are taking our privileges away.


Bernie Sanders Highlights the Deep Dishonesty of President Obama   Recently updated !

The Daily Kos has the article On TPP, Warren Shows Backbone, Fires Back At Obama; Watch Bernie Sanders, Too

If you want to know what is what, just watch the Sanders’ video below that the article points to.

Sanders’ spends the beginning of his talk completely debunking the arguments for many previous trade agreements foisted on us from President Bill Clinton on to President Obama.

He talks about the arguments given to us about normalization of trade with China. Besides his very good discussion I have to ask the obvious BS detector question of the proponents of the agreement.

If we’d rather have products from China because they are cheaper, why would the Chinese buy products from the US? Would they buy them because they are more expensive? Does that make any sense?

If a simple thought experiment like this gives the lie to the argument, then there had better be a damn good argument as to why the obvious is in fact not true.

Compare what Bernie Sanders’ has to say to Obama’s assurances as seen in my previous post Obama Says Elizabeth Warren Is ‘Wrong’ on Trade.

Look at Elizabeth Warren’s rebuttal as described in this previous post, Elizabeth Warren: I’m Not Wrong on TPP.

Now who are you going to believe, President Obama, or your own lying eyes?

Oh, by the way, imagine Hillary Clinton having the depth of knowledge to give a speech like this on this subject any time in the near future. (Remember all the qualifying nouns and adjectives in that sentence. Don’t give me any arguments that ignore those words.)

Will the Republicans, please, please go through with their threat and impeach this President? I am begging.


Faux Noise & Sarah Palin Denounced In Stunning Earth Day Video   Recently updated !

The Daily Kos has the article Faux Noise & Sarah Palin Denounced In Stunning Earth Day Video (36M Views).

In this visually beautiful and mesmerizing piece, 27 year-old Prince Ea apologies to future generations for what we are doing, and not doing, to the planet today. The six-minute video contains so many great thought-provoking quotes, it’s bound to be shared for many years. So far, in less than 48 hours, his video has garnered over 35 million views on Facebook.

Here is the YouTube video version. It certainly doesn’t have 36 million views there, but of course that is not Facebook.