Radioactive Filibuster

Image

 

 

Very simply put the Senate of the United States of America will not approve the appointment of judges on President Obama’s watch because they don’t like him. This has caused the Senate leaders to use whats called the “nuclear option” which allows the appointment to happen with only 51 votes from the senate instead of the usual 60. While its true the trend began under President Bush it has come to a head during this administration. This is a problem because this will be the status quo going forward regardless of what party is in power. You can say what you want about the President but the fact is half the nominees filibustered in the history of the United States were blocked by Republicans during the Obama administration; of 23 district court nominees filibustered in U.S. history, 20 were Obama’s nominees; and even judges that have broad bipartisan support have had to wait nearly 100 days longer, on average, than President George W. Bush’s nominees.

Advertisements

Add On Economic Inequality

Add On Economic Inequality

The GOP insists on increasing military spending while cutting assistance even though its proven to help our country as a whole.

These right-wing talking points are false, mean and unfair. False, because the facts show that SNAP overwhelmingly serves poor people. Those who receive other benefits are still poor, and education, health care and environmental programs in low-income communities don’t feed children or seniors, although they are obviously important investments. Mean, because they are designed to take away food from people who will go hungry without it. And unfair, because they suggest that cutting SNAP is the best way to balance the budget, when we have far better options available to us.

We do have better, fairer choices. What is more important: making sure children have nutritious food to eat or subsidizing stratospheric corporate CEO pay? Taking this food away from families will reduce SNAP costs by $11 billion over 3 years. A loophole in the corporate tax code allows businesses to deduct the cost of “performance-based” executive pay. Getting rid of that loophole would save $50 billion over 10 years. Even after closing the loophole, corporations will still get to deduct the first million of their CEO’s pay.

There is something terribly wrong with choosing to reduce the amount of food available to poor people while defending multiple and costly tax breaks for multi-millionaires. This choice perpetuates damaging inequities, slows shared economic growth, and hurts vulnerable people, including children. And it is based on a pile of inaccuracies that don’t become true just because they are tirelessly repeated.

sourced: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-weinstein/food-stamp-cuts_b_4218559.html

State of Well Fair

Image

Didactic. Such a word should only be thrown around in intellectual circles at MIT right? Possibly its some form of chemical reaction taking place in a chemistry lab? It should be a word heeded more carefully by those in the media, if they can Wikipedia the article quickly enough. Didactic means something to the effect of “related to education or teaching/ instructional and informative”. Through the use facts and statistics you would imagine the USA to have more of an objective line of media, but you’d be wrong. 

One such issue that arises and continues to be mentioned often and cited rarely is the concept of public aid and the social safety net, or what we call welfare. It has long been a republican talking point that welfare need be reduced and we spend far too much on giving hand outs to those unwilling to work. I would like to cite a didactic study on the current state of welfare within the US, the effects the recession of 2008 had on welfare, and what we can learn from it going forward. 

From the years 2007-2012 the number of people on food stamps jumped from 26 million to 46 million respectively. This one simple fact would point to the idea that food stamp recipients/welfare families rely on government assistance due to financial hardship in their situation and the market in general, not because individuals are too lazy and unwilling to work. These newly included beneficiaries to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, were effected by the collapse of the housing bubble and stock market within the US, not because they suddenly found themselves too lazy to work. This would seem to follow logically as this is exactly what the program is designed to do, help pick up families in need after or during hardship. The largest problem lies in the fact that not only were jobs and savings lost for millions of Americans because of the recession, but their tax dollars also bailed out the exact corporations and banks who doomed them in the first place. JP Morgan Chase was recently fined a record $13 billion dollars for their role in some of the illegal activities and lies that cost millions their life savings. However, the coverage from multiple organizations has been largely that this was a necessary step and that the fine imposed was too harsh! I’m jumping around here but $13 billion dollars is right around the net profit of a few months for a company like JP Morgan. Now there a lot of ways to cut the pie when it comes to overall social welfare. You really have to first cut out social security, Medicare, Medicaid, aid spent on the elderly, the blind and the seriously disabled because hey, those aren’t like the rest of the losers sitting on the couch eating Cheetos not willing to work right? The figure ends up right around $235 billion per year goes to the non working poor. That is total government spending on “those types of people” and it totals right around the same amount of profit JP Morgan would make in a year and a half. Thats one company vs. the entire welfare spending of a large nation on those “unwilling to work”. Seems strange and yet the numbers really don’t add up, I think what we all learn from this is that the problem lies in the richest Americans and how their finances effect the economy and national debt, not the poorest…

 

I have to get back to real work for a bit but I will be riffing on this much more later, check out the links below for some more information. 

 

The concept of derivatives trading why the market collapsed in the first place is a larger story and needs exploring in great depth of which I do not have at this time. Check out the link at the bottom to the documentary “Inside Job” to get more details on the causes and effects of the recession. Back to the 

 

 

Welfare wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellfare#United_States

HuffPost Food Stamps Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-weinstein/food-stamp-cuts_b_4218559.html

Inside Job: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Xyn3OnsH3o

Myth About the Free Market

 

Myth about the Free Market:

By this view, if some people aren’t paid enough to live on, the market has determined they aren’t worth enough. If others rake in billions, they must be worth it. If millions of Americans remain unemployed or their paychecks are shrinking or they work two or three part-time jobs with no idea what they’ll earn next month or next week, that’s too bad; it’s just the outcome of the market.

According to this logic, government shouldn’t intrude through minimum wages, high taxes on top earners, public spending to get people back to work, regulations on business, or anything else, because the “free market” knows best.

In reality, the “free market” is a bunch of rules about (1) what can be owned and traded (the genome? slaves? nuclear materials? babies? votes?); (2) on what terms (equal access to the internet? the right to organize unions? corporate monopolies? the length of patent protections? ); (3) under what conditions (poisonous drugs? unsafe foods? deceptive Ponzi schemes? uninsured derivatives? dangerous workplaces?) (4) what’s private and what’s public (police? roads? clean air and clean water? healthcare? good schools? parks and playgrounds?); (5) how to pay for what (taxes, user fees, individual pricing?). And so on.

These rules don’t exist in nature; they are human creations. Governments don’t “intrude” on free markets; governments organize and maintain them. Markets aren’t “free” of rules; the rules define them.

Aesop Rock

Aesop Rock

At one point this summer I met my favorite rapper Aesop Rock. I got a chance to talk with him and Kimya Dawson from the Moldy Peaches. They collaborated on a band/ project called The Uncluded which is the show I saw at Wooly’s in the East Village in Des Moines. It was a spectacular show and Aesop tore it up as usual.