Apr 252016
 

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling lethargic, but after doing my morning research, I needed to take a nap, so I’m running late again, and still feeling tired.  My green cloud is gathering strength.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (average 4:04).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In other states, Sam Brownback’s Kansas revolution is still being treated as a model for pared down government, but those close to ground zero are a bit less enthused.

… many of the same Republicans who helped pass Brownback’s plan are in open revolt, refusing to help the governor cut spending so he can avoid rolling back any of his signature tax measures.

If Brownback won’t reconsider any of the tax cuts, they say, he will have to figure out for himself how to balance the budget in the face of disappointing revenue.

Brownback sold the state on a flood tide worth of trickle down tax cuts, arguing that massive reductions would spur a surge of growth in the state and actually generate increased revenue. Instead, Kansas got a huge budget shortfall, education cuts, service cuts, and still more debt as top Republican economists proved for the nth time that they’re simply wrong. Oh, and instead of rocketing growth Kansas has actually underperformed neighboring states. 

When Republicans are in charge the only thing that trickles down onto the poor and middle classes is urine.

From NY Times: Even as his chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination slip away, Senator Bernie Sanders and his allies are trying to use his popularity to expand his political influence, setting up an ideological struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party in the post-Obama era.

Aides to Mr. Sanders have been pressing party officials for a significant role in drafting the platform for the Democratic convention in July, aiming to lock in strong planks on issues like a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, breaking up Wall Street banks and banning natural gas “fracking.”

Considering all the effort Bernie is making to transform the Democratic Party, those who would abandon the Party, if Bernie loses, would be working against Bernie.

From Alternet: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, elected last fall, campaigned on a promise that his Liberal government would legalize marijuana. Now, we’re getting an idea of just when that is going to happen.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs Wednesday, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott said the government will introduce legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana in spring 2017.

Does this mean our beloved Squatch will be getting even loonier? Angel

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Mar 292016
 

As I was listening to the car radio this afternoon, there was  announcement of a new contest — identify the voice of the news maker of the week.  About 20 minutes later, the sound clip was played.  I recognised the voice immediately. It was that of Ted Cruz.  Now you might say "So what?".  I live in Canada!  The fractious Republican race seems to have taken over here too.  It has been a pleasant sunny day today.  Not the kind of day they like as they go back to work.  OGIM!!!

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) vetoed a bill Monday morning that would have allowed open discrimination against gay people, a huge victory for the LGBT community and for businesses that had been threatening to boycott the state if Deal signed the law.

“Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind and generous people. And that is what we should want,” Deal said during a press conference. “I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto House Bill 757.”

The bill would have prevented the government from taking action against organizations or people with “a sincerely held religious belief regarding lawful marriage between… a man and a woman.” It would have opened the door to all kinds of discrimination against same-sex couples. A state-contracted counselor, for example, could refuse to provide services to people in a same-sex marriage. Taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies could refuse to place children in their homes. Government employees, a la Kim Davis, could refuse to file official forms for same-sex couples.

While I was out today, I kept hearing about Gov Deal's veto of the so called "religious freedom bill" which is not about religious freedom at all but about discrimination.  At the beginning of March, Deal spoke out against the bill which had not yet reached his desk saying:

“I think what the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world and said to those of belief, ‘This is what I want you to do,'” Deal said …  (from Raw Story)

Good work Nathan Deal!

Raw Story — The U.S. Secret Service will not allow people to carry guns into the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland, quashing the hopes of more than 45,000 people who have signed a petition saying attendees should be allowed to bring firearms.

The Secret Service said on Monday it has the authority to preclude guns from sites visited by the people it protects such as U.S. presidential candidates, presidents and former presidents.

Well we didn't have to wait a long time for an answer on open carry at the RNC in July.  Now, will it hold?

YouTube — Stephen Colbert: Now You’ll Be Able to ‘Binge-Watch the Death of the GOP’

I  always like a bit of humour . . . especially when talking about Republicans.

Alternet — New research findings from a team of progressive economists provides documentary evidence that the financial footing for Sen. Bernie Sanders visionary social change agenda is not only plausible, but would create far more socially productive jobs, as well as moving us down the road to the more humane society that is at the heart of the Sanders campaign.

In their push to vilify Sanders, Democratic Party acolytes from the media to academia have fallen in line attacking the economic foundations of his campaign for free public college tuition, Medicare for all, job creation through infrastructure repair, and other critical needs.

But a new report from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Political Economy Research Institute documents how a key Sanders proposal – a tax on Wall Street speculation -would bring at least $300 billion a year in new revenues from those who can most afford to pay it for the critical reforms the country so desperately needs.

The plutacrats really don't like Bernie's ideas because it means less money in their pockets.  I say Go Bernie!

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Mar 162016
 

It’s my week for getting stood up, first by my LIFT bus Monday, and then Lu didn’t show up yesterday, leaving me unshowered.  Her phone is out of order, so she has had one of her emergencies and has no way to let me know.  Unless she shows up this afternoon, I’ll have to give myself a whore’s bath in the sink tonight to prepare for my medical appointment tomorrow.  Please expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:41 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics: The latest delegate count.

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

1599

844

Delegates Won

4051

1112

806

 

 

Superdelegates

(712)

467

26

 

 

Iowa

February 1

44 (8)

23

21

Caucus

Semi-open

New Hampshire

February 9

24 (8)

9

15

Primary

Semi-closed

Nevada

February 20

35 (8)

19

15

Caucus

Closed

South Carolina

February 27

53 (6)

39

14

Primary

Open

Alabama

March 1

53 (7)

44

9

Primary

Open

American Samoa

March 1

6 (4)

 

 

Caucus

Closed

Arkansas

March 1

32 (5)

22

10

Primary

Open

Colorado

March 1

66 (13)

28

38

Caucus

Closed

Democrats Abroad

March 1-8

13 (4)

 

 

Primary

Closed

Georgia

March 1

102 (14)

72

28

Primary

Open

Massachusetts

March 1

91 (25)

46

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Minnesota

March 1

77 (16)

29

46

Caucus

Open

Oklahoma

March 1

38 (4)

17

21

Primary

Semi-closed

Tennessee

March 1

67 (9)

42

22

Primary

Open

Texas

March 1

222 (30)

145

74

Primary

Open

Vermont

March 1

16 (10)

0

16

Primary

Open

Virginia

March 1

95 (15)

61

33

Primary

Open

Louisiana

March 5

51 (8)

35

12

Primary

Closed

Nebraska

March 5

25 (5)

10

14

Caucus

Closed

Kansas

March 5

33 (4)

10

23

Caucus

Closed

Maine

March 6

25 (5)

7

15

Caucus

Closed

Mississippi

March 8

36 (5)

30

4

Primary

Open

Michigan

March 8

130 (17)

60

67

Primary

Open

Northern Marianas

March 12

6 (5)

 

 

N/A

N/A

Florida

March 15

214 (32)

130

63

Primary

Closed

Illinois

March 15

156 (26)

68

67

Primary

Open

Missouri

March 15

71 (13)

31

32

Primary

Open

North Carolina

March 15

107 (14)

59

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Ohio

March 15

143 (16)

76

57

Primary

Semi-open

I’m most pleased that Bernie is staying in the race, even though Hillary’s lead appears insurmountable.  The longer he stays in, the more likely the ideals of his vision of Democratic Socialism will be adopted.

From Daily Kos: Samantha Bee’s new show Full Frontal is off to a hilariously good start. The late night host gathered a group of hardcore Donald Trump fans and tried to understand their logic behind their unwavering support for the xenophobic and racist Republican frontrunner.

 

When Samantha talks about Trump’s "roid" rage, I think she means hemorrhoid, because he’s such a defective total asshole.

From The New Yorker: In 1980, the third-party Presidential candidate John Anderson succinctly summed up Ronald Reagan’s promise to simultaneously cut taxes, increase defense spending, keep government services intact, and balance the budget: “Reagan’s budget is constructed with mirrors.” Sure enough, Reagan presided over eight years of deficits that tripled the national debt. Yet the Republican faith that you can tax-cut your way to deficit reduction has never dimmed. This year’s Republican race is dominated by candidates whose budgetary plans make Reagan’s look downright reasonable.

Not surprisingly, the most extreme plan is Donald Trump’s. He would slash taxes across the board, reducing revenues by nine and a half trillion dollars over the next decade, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Yet he has also promised to balance the budget, protect Social Security and Medicare, and not cut services. How? Well, he says he’ll get rid of “waste and fraud and abuse,” and abolish the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. And he thinks that the tax cuts would spur an economic boom, so that revenues will actually increase.

This is pure fantasy. Those spending cuts would save just a tiny fraction of what he claims, and the revenue projections have no basis in reality. Yet, unrealistic as Trump’s ideas are, they differ from those of his chief opponents only in degree, not in kind. Marco Rubio wants to couple a $6.8-trillion tax cut with significant increases in defense spending, while Ted Cruz has proposed an $8.6-trillion tax cut with—guess what?—significant increases in defense spending. Naturally, Rubio and Cruz have been vague about where they’d find the necessary trillions in cuts, and about how what the government does would be affected. This is par for the course. Paul Ryan’s infamous budget of 2012 would have effectively eliminated nearly all the federal government’s non-defense discretionary spending, even as he insisted that he wanted to “strengthen” the social safety net and keep the government investing in infrastructure.

The bottom line here is, when you strip away the window dressing, all the occupants of the Criminal Clown Car are just Republicans, armed with the same economic policies that Saint Ronnie Ray Gun proved were based only on lies. I call it Republican Tinkle Down Economics.  Note, however, that the Clown Car just barfed-up Border Booter Bot.  His campaign is no more.

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Feb 232016
 

Earlier in the Democratic campaigns, I remember Bernie dealing with questions from Black Lives Matter.  His campaign seemed very "white bread" at the time, and he was heckled.  He struggled with the questions being put to him, but he developed a plan and spoke out with his usual authenticity.  Now Clinton is being confronted with similar concerns.

From The Nation:  Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries. Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.  

Image result for hillary clinton images

But what about a larger agenda that would not just reverse some of the policies adopted during the Clinton era, but would rebuild the communities decimated by them? If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities,” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win. When politicians start telling you that it is “unrealistic” to support candidates who want to build a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system, it’s probably best to leave the room.  

But recognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.

Click through for the rest of this interesting article to determine if, in the eyes of the author, Hillary deserves the support of African American voters.

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Jan 172016
 

Here in BC, the provincial Liberal government (no relation to the federal Liberals), has hitched their wagon to the development of liquified natural gas (LNG), some of it with PetroChina and other foreign corporations.  But much of the northeast LNG fields lie on Aboriginal lands, making access "difficult" fortunately.  Some of the foreign nationals are pulling out, or at least have threatened to because they want the drilling now, not after negotiations with First Nations.

China has joined the fracking revolution to meet some of its energy needs and to try to decrease their pollution.  I remember images of pollution in Beijing prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics.  The air pollution was so thick that one could cut it with a knife.  So now China is fracking to feed the economy and deal with pollution.  Not surprisingly, the Chinese are running into the same problems as everywhere else, problems that threaten its very survival.

From Mother Jones

The US-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, sponsored by the US departments of Commerce and Energy, as well as China's National Energy Administration, has convened for the last 13 years. But the focus turned to shale gas in 2009, when President Obama and then-President Hu Jintao announced an agreement to develop China's immense resources. The partnership set the stage for companies in both countries to forge deals worth tens of billions of dollars.

Here at the 2013 conference, the first American to take the podium was Gary Locke, the US ambassador to China at the time.

 underlying all the talk of new energy was an urgency to wean China from its decades-long addiction to coal. Locke promised that shale gas would do just that: "We can make further strides to improve energy efficiency, produce cleaner energy, increase renewables, and increase supply," he asserted. "Unconventional gas, especially shale gas, is just the start."

Constituting a whopping 70 percent of China's energy supply, coal has allowed the country to become the world's second-largest economy in just a few decades. But burning coal has also caused irreparable damage to the environment and the health of China's citizens.  

Scientists wrote in the medical journal The Lancet that ambient particulate matter, generated mostly by cars and the country's 3,000 coal-fired power plantskilled 1.2 million Chinese people in 2010. In late 2013, an eight-year-old girl in Jiangsu Province was diagnosed with lung cancer; her doctor attributed it to air pollution. And earlier this year, scientists found that up to 24 percent of sulfate air pollutants—which contribute to smog and acid rain—in the western United States originated from Chinese factories manufacturing for export.  

But China's push to wean itself from coal has also triggered a rush to develop alternative power sources.  

By the time of our trip, villagers living near fracking wells had already complained about the deafening noise of drilling machinery, the smell of gas fumes, and strange substances in their water. 

The clouds faded as we climbed, revealing a quilt of farmland dotted withpingfang, or flattop houses. We drove down a road lined with new hotels, small restaurants, and hardware stores—the markings of a boomtown. Roughly the size of Minnesota, the Sichuan Basin—where many of China's experimental fracking wells are located—is home to some 100 million people, many of them farmers. It's not the only part of China with shale gas, butfracking requires a lot of water, and with a subtropical climate and proximity to the mighty Yangtze River, Sichuan has that, too, making it the nation's first fracking frontier.  

China's early fracking operations face many risks, but the incentives to keep drilling are too good to pass up. Based on early sampling, Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Liebreich estimates that China is currently extracting shale gas at roughly twice the cost of the United States. Analysts expect those costs to fall as China gains experience, but even at current levels, shale gas production has been up to 40 percent cheaper—and geopolitically more desirable—than importing gas.

"You've got this 'damn the torpedoes' development strategy that sets out all sorts of quotas, expectations, and productivity targets that are not constrained or balanced in any way by environmental protection or public participation to hold people to account," says Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch's China program. Throw in corruption, she adds, and you see a toxic mix, one that has contributed to an unprecedented level of social unrest.

Fracking may soon join that list. Protests have already stymied drilling operations in Sichuan. From 2010 to March 2013, the Wall Street Journalreported, Shell had lost 535 days of work at 19 of its shale gas wells due to villager blockades or government requests to halt operations. "There are a lot of people in China who don't want to take political risks—they have too much at stake," Osnos says. "But when it comes to something as elemental as their health, and that's what pollution really is about, then they're willing to take a risk."

The country's shale gas lies deeper underground and in more complex geologic formations than those deposits in the flatlands of Pennsylvania, North Dakota, or Texas. As a result, researchers estimated that the Chinese wells will require up to twice the amount of water used at American sites to crack open the reserves.  

In addition to his concerns about fracking's enormous appetite for water, Tian also worries about its waste: the chemical-laden water that comes back out of the rock with the natural gas. In the United States, it is typically stored in steel containers or open pits and later injected underground in oil and gas waste wells. In China's early wells, wastewater is often dumped directly into streams and rivers. If fracking—most of which takes place in China's breadbasket—contaminates water or soil, Tian argues, it could jeopardize the nation's food supply. In a seismically active area like Sichuan, leaks are a major concern: Even a small earthquake—which, emerging evidence suggests, wastewater injection could trigger—might compromise a well's anti-leak system, causing more pollution. In the past year alone, more than 30 earthquakes were recorded in the Sichuan area.  

As aJPMorgan research memo stated, "Unless the popular environmental concerns are so extreme, most countries with the resources will not ignore the [shale gas] opportunity."

As the drilling continued, Dai said, her groundwater started to run dry, and now only rain replenished it. She doubted the water was fit for drinking. "After you use it, there's a layer of white scum clinging to the pot," she said. They couldn't even use it to cook rice anymore. "You tell me if there's been an impact!".

Taken from Mother Jones, this article is from late 2014 but just as relevant.

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Jan 062016
 

Since the repeal of Glass-Steagall, Banksters have been an ongoing drain on the US economy, siphoning off what little equity Americans have left, and redistributing it to the 0.1%.  Republicans have been their active allies and supporters.  A few Democrats have also been purchased.  The remaining Democrats have tried, but have not been effective.  There is, however, a champion against the Bankster blight.

0106BernieBernie Sanders has declared war on the biggest players in Wall Street’s financial sector, saying they are overrun with “greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,” and criticizing his top rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, as being naïve about what needs to happen to create a financial system that “works for all Americans.”

“To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear,” Sanders said in a midtown Manhattan speech on Tuesday. “Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president: If you do not end your greed, we will end it for you.”

Sanders laid out a 10-point program to deeply change the nature of the financial sector, while occasionally digressing to emphasize how much more sweeping his proposals are compared to Clinton’s. As always, he started by recounting how the “20 richest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans”—and said the finance industry has spent “billions” to get Congress and federal agencies to deregulate almost all areas of the financial industry while weakening consumer protection laws.

“They spent this money in order to get the government off their backs and to show the American people what they could do with that new-won freedom,” he said. “They sure showed the American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes and their life savings.” Sanders continued, “While Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world with no strings attached, the American middle class continues to disappear, poverty is increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider.”

Here are the 10 major components to Sanders’ Wall Street reforms.

1. End too-big-to-fail.

The underlying logic of this federal policy is that the biggest banks cannot fail and shut down, even if they make terrible investments or wreak great harm to the economy, because the U.S. economy and millions of ordinary people would become financially destitute. Sanders said this “scheme…is nothing more than a free insurance policy for Wall Street.” Compared to before the crash of 2008, the biggest banks in the country are larger than ever, he said, adding, “if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

“In 2008, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because we were told they were ‘too big to fail,’” Sanders said. “Yet, today, three out of the four largest financial institutions [JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo] are nearly 80 percent bigger than before we bailed them out. Incredibly, the six largest banks in this country issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and more than 35 percent of all mortgages. They control more than 95 percent of all financial derivatives and hold more than 40 percent of all bank deposits. Their assets are equivalent to nearly 60 percent of our GDP. Enough is enough!”

Sanders concluded, “A handful of huge financial institutions simply have too much economic and political power over this country. If Teddy Roosevelt, the Republican trust-buster, were alive today, he would say, break ‘em up. And he would be right.”…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared only the introduction and the first of ten steps in Bernie’s plan.  Click through for the other mine’  His plan is worthy of your support.

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Jan 062016
 

Yesterday was a zoo.  I practiced walking (with a walker) for PT.  The RN took my vitals and checked both stumpy and my remaining foot.  I took a shower with the bath-aide.  I have soft fur and smell wonderful.  I thought I might be bashful, but necessity trumps nekkidness,  I ordered groceries.  The sheets came, and I made the bed.  It took two hours.  When my helper friend arrived, my bed making was not up to her standards, so she remade it, swept and mopped the floor, moved a couple things to make them accessible to me, and helped empty the fridge, until she couldn’t eat anymore.  Today will be lighter.  I have a grocery delivery coming.  I have a social worker coming top help me set a strategy to get a permanent bath aide, after home health services expires.  My helper-friend may come again.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From The New Yorker: Two days after their team completed a losing season for the fifteenth time in seventeen years, a consortium of Cleveland Browns fans has formally applied to relocate the N.F.L. franchise to Los Angeles.

Unlike other teams vying to move to L.A., such as the St. Louis Rams, the San Diego Chargers, and the Oakland Raiders, the Browns’ application is believed to be the only one submitted entirely by fans.

Andy may be reporting straight news again.

From Daily KosRead it and weep, Republicans. And while you’re at it, absolutely run on a rehashed version of George W. Bush’s economic policies.

0106Emp

Consider also that under Bush, the Democrats worked to boost the economy, while under Obama, the Republicans worked to sabotage it.

From FAIR.org: …Lesson One: Social Security and Medicare Are Not Unfair to the Young…

Lesson Two: The Affordable Care Act Redistributes from the Healthy to the Less Healthy, not the Young to the Old…

Lesson Three: Our Children Will Only Be Hurt by the Debt Because the Washington Post and Other Elite Types Will Use it As An Excuse to Cut Necessary Spending…

Lesson Four: We Hand Our Children a Whole Economy, Not Just Government Debt…

Lesson Five: Global Warming Threatens the Planet, but It Is the Fault of the Rich, not Older Generations… [emphasis original]

Click through for a fascinating article anout how media are trying to brainwash youth to blame seniors for the world’s ills, instead of the 0.1%.

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Jan 052016
 

Robert Reich explains that economic forecasting can be dicey at best, but some satiations are so obvious, that even I can be accurate, as I was in predicting the Republican depression of 2008.  It came three months earlier than I had predicted.  Now we face the fallout that must come from continuing to use supply-side economic policies in the face of demand-side economic problems.  The Reich on the right, the Republican Reich, is wrong.  Listen to the Reich on the left, Robert Reich.

0105Robert-ReichEconomic forecasters exist to make astrologers look good, but I’ll hazard a guess. I expect the U.S. economy to sputter in 2016. That’s because the economy faces a deep structural problem: not enough demand for all the goods and services it’s capable of producing.

American consumers account for almost 70 percent of economic activity, but they won’t have enough purchasing power in 2016 to keep the economy going on more than two cylinders. Blame widening inequality.

Consider: The median wage is 4 percent below what it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. The median wage of young people, even those with college degrees, is also dropping, adjusted for inflation. That means a continued slowdown in the rate of family formation—more young people living at home and deferring marriage and children – and less demand for goods and services.

At the same time, the labor participation rate—the percentage of Americans of working age who have jobs—remains near a 40-year low.,, [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Robert Reich>

Click through for more explanation on how Republicans are feathering the rich’s nests, but sabotaging economic prosperity for the rest of us.  The Reich on the left is right again!

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Dec 262015
 

I am sure that today has been hectic for most . . . family, children running about, Christmas dinner or other festivities. I had Christmas dinner Thursday night with friends, and I contributed yams baked in olive oil and honey with generous amounts of ginger and a bit of garlic but absolutely no salt.  Today, I had a slow start but then in the afternoon headed out to see my mother.  Staff were having a potluck dinner and I was invited to share the bounty.  It was good to share a delicious meal with the people that look after my mother so well.  I hope your day was equally enjoyable.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:54). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet — Outsourcing to these 1099 workers has become the preferred method for America’s business leaders to cut costs and maximize profits. This is only the beginning; we have yet to see how these trends will affect the labor force over the next decade or so. But already we can see that the so-called “new” economy looks an awful lot like the old, pre-New Deal economy. “Jobs” amount to a series of low-paid piece work – they’re called micro-gigs today—offering little empowerment for average workers, families or communities. We’re losing decades of progress, apparently for no other reason than because these on-demand companies conduct their business over the Internet and apps, somehow that makes them “special.” Technology has been granted a privileged and indulged place where the usual rules, laws and policies often are not applied.

The work requirements were changing at the end of my career, and not necessarily for the better, moving towards this new idea.  Will this "sharing" economy continue?  I don't know but I do think it will kill the idea of the American dream which of course Republicans will continue to tout as achievable if one works hard.  The new way almost sounds like indentured servitude.

Mother Jones — Climate change will have some pretty terrifying consequences. Experts have predicted everything from deadly heat waves and devastating floods to falling crop production and even increased political instability and violence. But according to some of the world's biggest companies, these future disasters could also present lucrative business opportunities.

In a remarkable series of documents submitted to a London-based nonprofit called CDP, big-name corporations describe global warming as a chance to sell more weapons systems to the military, more air conditioners to sweltering civilians, and more medications to people afflicted by tropical diseases. CDP, which stands for "Carbon Disclosure Project," asks companies all over the world to disclose information about their greenhouse gas emissions and how the changing climate will impact their operations. Each year, thousands of companies send in responses. Below, we've compiled a list of some of the most striking—and, in some cases, disturbing—scenarios laid out by those businesses.

In my mind, climate change and global warming are huge challenges to the world as we know it.  The human need for survival is paramount.  If that survival is in doubt anywhere, people will rise up.  With economies the way they are, who will be able to afford these "fixes"?  Click through for the rest of the details.

Think Progress — A National Rifle Association lawsuit seeking to immunize gun dealers from a recently enacted tax was rejected by a state trial court on Tuesday. If Judge Palmer Robinson’s decision is ultimately upheld on appeal, the tax will fund gun safety research as well as programs seeking to prevent gun violence.

Last August, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) signed an ordinance providing for a $25 tax on each gun and a 2 to 5 cent tax on each round of ammunition sold within the city. The NRA, along with several other pro-gun groups and individuals, sued, claiming that the law violates a Washington State law preventing municipal governments from enacting any “regulation” of guns. As Judge Robinson explains in his opinion, however, the power to tax is separate from the power to regulate. Among other things, he notes, the ordinance does not “place any burden or restriction” on gun dealers beyond the obligation to pay the tax.

Personally, I hope that Judge Palmer Robinson’s decision is upheld.  It is a start.

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Dec 232015
 

When my very favorite candidate writes an Op-Ed concerning one of my least favorite centers of Republican wealth redistribution, sparks are sure to fly, and Bernie did not disappoint.  While some Republicans want to abolish the Fed, in order to give Banksters even more license to plunder the poor and middle classes, Bernie wants to reform the Fed.

1223BernieWALL STREET is still out of control. Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time.

To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions and which uses monetary policy to maintain price stability and full employment. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.

The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort — not to fight phantom inflation.

What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs.

These are clear conflicts of interest, the kind that would not be allowed at other agencies. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. We don’t allow the Federal Communications Commission to be dominated by Verizon executives. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions.

If I were elected president, the foxes would no longer guard the henhouse. To ensure the safety and soundness of our banking system, we need to fundamentally restructure the Fed’s governance system to eliminate conflicts of interest. Board members should be nominated by the president and chosen by the Senate. Banking industry executives must no longer be allowed to serve on the Fed’s boards and to handpick its members and staff. Board positions should instead include representatives from all walks of life — including labor, consumers, homeowners, urban residents, farmers and small businesses.

The Fed must also make sure that financial institutions are investing in the productive economy by providing affordable loans to small businesses and consumers that create good jobs. How? First, we should prohibit commercial banks from gambling with the bank deposits of the American people…[emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

In case you missed it, interpret prohibiting Bankster gambling with bank deposits as reinstate Glass-Steagall!  Amen!  Click through for the rest of Bernie’s plan.

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