Hillary Clinton actually supports Barack Obama’s trade-policy, and even supports the way in which he is trying to get it through Congress. However, the news-media didn’t report it that way. Hilary is repeating her earlier tactics, in 2008, when she tried to give the impression that she had opposed her husband Bill Clinton’s NAFTA, though in fact she had earlier bragged about how great it was for the country and claimed it as if it were her own.
And just like that, President Obama's fast track of his "great job creation" bill is defeated in a 126-302 procedural vote which stumbled over what is known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance. Following Pelosi's comments that "its defeat is the only way we will be able to slow down fast track," and "people would rather have a job than assistance", the defeat of a measure to provide aid to workers displaced by trade deals means the fast-tracking of the TPP is done (for now).
If you still think that the establishment Republicans in Congress represent real opposition to President Obama’s policies, you’re either extremely brainwashed or extremely stupid. Honestly, we wonder what it will take for some people to wake up. How many times do you need to be used, abused and conned by slimy politicians before you can shake off your political Stockholm Syndrome? Today's example is from chief ObamaTrade proponent Paul Ryan who gaffed Pelosi-like when he admitted (with regard to the super-secret TPP) "It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to," in other words - “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
"The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you. I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice."
Boom-and-Bust City at its glorious best.
The US House of Representative just approved (by a vote of 269 to 151) the $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) funding moar warmongery for fiscal year 2016. However, the vote came short of a veto-proof majority and since the administration opposes the defense policy bill - for its alleged budgeting "gimmicks," as well as its provisions for arming Ukrainian forces - we suspect President Obama is preparing to unleash the veto pen.
Having initially missed its deadline to provide a response to Congress with regard the 2012 leak of FOMC minutes to an external newsletter writer, The Fed reluctantly admitted that none other than Janet Yellen had met with them. Today, however, as The Wall Street Journal reports, The (unaudited) Fed has agreed to furnish a congressional panel with the names of its staffers who had contact with Medley Global Advisors in the months before the leak, “with the understanding that the names will be kept confidential." So we'll happily tell you who leaked it... as long as you don't tell the public. Audit The Fed!!!
In a stunning shun to Congressional lawmakers, WSJ reports that The Fed has failed to comply with a request that the bank-owned entity identify the individuals who leaked The FOMC Minutes to Medley Global Advisors a day before the official release in October 2012. Rep. Jeb Hensarling sent a letter to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on April 15 asking the Fed to name them by 5 p.m. EDT April 22. The deadline passed without any response by the Fed...
- Google's new CFO to make $70 million (WSJ)
- Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts (Reuters)
- With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S. (Reuters)
- Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River (BBG)
- North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse (BBG)
- Japan’s Zero Inflation a Setback for Abenomics (WSJ)
- Cooperman Says U.S. Seeks Information About Omega Trades (BBG)
By far the most important geopolitical event of the day, as straight-to-C Span-poluist-pandering as it may have been, was Israel Prime Minister's address to congress, in which for nearly one hour the Israeli leader bashed Iran, stopping just shy of fabricating even more evidence about how close Iran is to developing a nuclear weapon. Yet one person missed everything including the standing ovation at the end: president Barack Obama. As it turns out he had more important things to do...
Nothing says limited government and separation of powers like a bureaucracy unaccountable to the voice of the people! Then again, Yellen doesn’t care much for democratic oversight. She’s a caricature of Randian libertarianism: someone who wants to do whatever, whenever, without rulers. The problem is Yellen isn’t operating a private railroad company. She’s the figurehead for a government institution created by Congress. If democracy means anything, it’s that voters have some measure of control over political bureaucracies.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
"My name is Jasmine and I support President Obama's move to give affordable auto insurance for everyone."
Following the passage of the Crominbus on Thursday night in a last minute "nailbiter" when the Federal spending bill got just one vote more than the required majority, it was off to the Senate. And late last night, proving that the Senate can work on weekends when a piece of Citigroup-penned legislation is on the table, in a 56-40 vote (21 democrats, 18 republicans, 1 independent voting No), the Senate joined the House in voting itself $1.1 trillion for the next 9 months, with the bill now heading for the final signature: Obama's. There is some argument whether the executive will join the legislative in confirming the US government is now (and always has been) merely a pupet of Wall Street, although we expect all it will take Jamie Dimon is just one more phone call of "encouragement" to Obama to make sure Wall Street's will is done in the White House.
Curious what to expect out of today's 600-page mega dump by the Senate Intelligence Committee revealing US torture techniques and practices, aka the "torture report"? The the following explainer by the Intercept's Glenn Greenwald should provide some useful pointers.