By Don Quijones: While many Spaniards may spit bile and venom at the merest suggestion of Catalonian autonomy, they would do well to ask themselves what happened to their own national sovereignty. How is it, for example, that Spain is taking orders on virtually all economic matters from men in black dispatched from Brussels and Frankfurt?
Entries in Democracy (116)
By Chriss Street: Away from the cameras and the media scrum, the first political casualty of the President’s disastrous launch of Obamacare is a bipartisan Congressional revolt against crony capitalists’ effort to pass the clandestine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty.
The huddled masses yearning to breathe free in the EU drown by the boatload in the Mediterranean. They languish in detention centers in Greece and elsewhere. They’re maligned, hounded, sometimes killed. But it’s getting cheaper and easier for the rich.
By Bianca Fernet, Argentina, The Bubble: In many circles, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is pinned up as the cause of Argentina’s cyclical and seemingly inescapable economic demise. But she is nothing more than the current face of Peronism, a political and economic model that limits her alternatives.
Now “trade agreements” are negotiated behind sealed doors, without public oversight, beyond the reach of Congress. The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is secret, but some sections were leaked. It deals with trade only on the margins. Corporate interests dominate. It mocks democracy, establishes kangaroo courts, and taxpayers are on the hook.
By Don Quijones: 58% of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities aren’t countries but corporations. Royal Dutch Shell's revenues exceed the GDPs of 171 countries, making it the 26th largest economic entity in the world. And the balance of power is shifting rapidly.
Most powerful person in the world? Putin! Sez Forbes. At least, it wasn’t Merkel, who has been throwing her weight around when she found out that her Handy had been bugged by the NSA, just like our cellphones. We have to take it; she gets to make a big stink and gripe to Obama on the (bugged) phone.
The fight over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, carried out in the media with maximum intensity, barrages of sound bites, folksy sounding talking heads, and a good portion of twisted logic, has cost both parties dearly. But it has hammered the GOP. A chart with an ugly plunge.
It is starting to show up in the numbers: the debt-ceiling and government-shutdown debacles are worming their way into the economy. Americans blame the already single most disparaged institution, Congress, for it and have started to react economically. Clicks of seatbelts being fastened can be heard around the world.
That's the question for Treasury Secretary Lew and Fed Chairman Bernanke during the debt-ceiling charade; it seems they’re boxed into a contradictory situation where one of them will have to break one of the laws, whether they want to or not, writes Vincent Reinhart, managing director at Morgan Stanley and former head of the Fed’s monetary division.
Wall Street Brushes Off Debt-Ceiling, Republicans Beg To Differ, But Default Would be “Catastrophic,” And Nothing Is Priced In
Wall Street is convinced the government shutdown won’t hurt unless it drags out too long. It’s even more convinced that Congress would never be crazy enough to refuse to raise the debt ceiling in time and send the mighty and sole superpower, biggest debtor of all times, into default. That risk hasn’t been priced in. But a majority of Republicans begs to differ.
By Chriss Street: President Obama sought to showcase his leadership on the anniversary of 9/11 by leading an international coalition against a brutal tyrant in Syria. After much dithering, neither Congress nor the international community was willing to follow. A Russian-controlled settlement may be a defeat for the President’s ego, but....
An American attack on Syria would just be a punitive action for the gruesome gas attacks. “Regime change” wouldn’t be part of it. That was the idea. Now the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Obama to wage war on Syria, but amendments suddenly set new goals – smack-dab in the middle of a distant lala-land.
They’re at it again! Originally created by Congress in 2007, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program provided low-cost government loans that were subsidized, and then in part eaten as we now know, by hapless and strung-out American taxpayers. In 2011, it was left behind as dead, but now the government wants to bring that zombie back.
“According to intelligence officials,” who remained unnamed, the NSA is not just looking at meta-data when Americans send emails and texts overseas, as the government had proclaimed when the scandal first broke, but is actually searching the content, however steamy it might be.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe skillfully used his miraculous economic salvation plan, a religion lovingly dubbed Abenomics, as a platform to catapult his party, the LDP, into power. With the LDP controlling both houses of parliament, real changes, after years of dickering, might now finally be possible.
“The largest espionage scandal in the 21st century is shaking Germany,” wrote Peer Steinbrück, the man who's desperately trying to unseat one of the most popular German politicians, Chancellor Merkel. Massive anti-NSA protests spread across the country. Well, 1,000 demonstrators straggled through Frankfurt. It’s going to be tough for him.
Contributed by Don Quijones, Spain: Ester Quintana, a 42-year old Barcelona resident, was on her way home after taking part with friends in a demonstration to mark that day’s general strike. As she made her way past riot police vans parked in a narrow street just off Paseo de Gracia, she was hit in the face by a rubber bullet.
“A culture of dangerous greed and excessive risk-taking has taken root in the banking world,” said Senator McCain last week. Senator Warren told Wall Street, where failure has been rewarded with bailouts and record bonuses, that “Banking should be boring.” They were pitching the “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act.” Wall Street must have gotten the willies.
Contributed by Don Quijones, Spain: BBC's article about the political funding scandal gripping Spain featured a photo of hapless leader Mariano Rajoy licking his lips like a "dirty old man." It spread like wildfire across the social media, setting off a cacophony of calls for Rajoy to resign for the irreparable damage he’d done to Spain’s overseas image.