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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 5,696

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Repugnants slip repeal of Dodd Frank provision into funding bill....


After four years of twisting arms in Congress, Wall Street may have finally found the opportune moment to reshape financial regulation.

A flurry of legislative deal-making surrounding the federal budget has opened a window of opportunity for bank lobbyists to challenge the Dodd-Frank Act, the sweeping regulatory overhaul passed in response to the financial crisis. With the clock ticking on a budget bill — lawmakers have vowed not to shut down the government, but need to act by Thursday night — banks are seeking to tuck their proposals into the giant federal spending package.

Whether they succeed remains an open question. As of Tuesday afternoon, some Democrats and consumer groups retained hope that they could fend off the Wall Street effort.

The fight has centered on elements of Dodd-Frank that address the culprits of the financial crisis, including the sort of derivatives trading that helped push the insurance giant American International Group to the brink of collapse in 2008. One bill would amend the so-called Volcker Rule, a centerpiece of Dodd-Frank. Another bill that lawmakers plan to include in the government funding plan was essentially written by lobbyists for Citigroup.

This really requires everybody call email your Congressman (well, if they're Democrats) to try to get this stopped.

Elizabeth Warren urges Democrats to not vote for Funding bill with provisions to repeal part of Dodd-Frank

The last-minute inclusion, hammered out by party negotiators, is outraging several Democrats who have spent years fighting back against GOP efforts to reduce the impact of the 2010 law.
The titular sponsor of the law, retired Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), is calling on his former colleagues to defeat the funding bill because of the “stealth attack” on his namesake legislative achievement.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats are “deeply troubled” by several provisions included in the roughly 1,600-page bill posted Tuesday evening and highlighted language stepping back tougher rules on financial derivatives.

“This provision, allowing big banks to gamble with money insured by the FDIC , opens the door to another taxpayer-funded bailout of big banks — forcing middle class families to bear the burden of Wall Street’s mistakes,” she said in a statement.

Political Polarization & Media Habits - PEW Research


When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The project – part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America – looks at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. In all three areas, the study finds that those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other.

These cleavages can be overstated. The study also suggests that in America today, it is virtually impossible to live in an ideological bubble. Most Americans rely on an array of outlets – with varying audience profiles – for political news. And many consistent conservatives and liberals hear dissenting political views in their everyday lives.

Yet as our major report on political polarization found, those at both the left and right ends of the spectrum, who together comprise about 20% of the public overall, have a greater impact on the political process than do those with more mixed ideological views. They are the most likely to vote, donate to campaigns and participate directly in politics. The five ideological groups in this analysis (consistent liberals, mostly liberals, mixed, mostly conservatives and consistent conservatives) are based on responses to 10 questions about a range of political values. That those who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions have different ways of informing themselves about politics and government is not surprising. But the depth of these divisions – and the differences between those who have strong ideological views and those who do not – are striking.

"How much is 2 + 2? How much do you want it to be?" GOP wants to force CBO to use freaky math


Something similar has been the case in the rough-and-tumble competition known as legislating. Whenever Congress takes up a bill, the Congressional Budget Office "scores" it — that is, it provides an independent assessment of how much money the legislation will cost or raise.

The CBO has long enjoyed a reputation for objectivity, but now some conservatives are clamoring for changes that would undermine the CBO's independence and lead to bigger, hidden federal deficits.

The critics are pushing to dump the current director, Doug Elmendorf. Elmendorf, first appointed in 2009 when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress and reappointed in 2011 when control was split, has a well-earned reputation for facing down political pressure from both parties.

Even more ominously, there is also a push to order the CBO director — be it Elmendorf or someone new — to adopt something called "dynamic scoring."

THe GOP's objective to get imaginary math to be used by the CBO and find some stooge who'd be happy to do the GOP's bidding is a serious threat to logic based policy making and honest Government. Please email and phone your Congressmen to oppose this GOP move to force 'Beyond the Looking Glass' estimating on the CBO. It is antithetical to democracy to start using GOP propaganda as the official government estimate of the costs of specific pieces of legislation.

David Brooks on PBS announces Presidents' policies don't affect the economy!

On PBS Newhour, David Brooks elegantly pulled off the Conservative trick of claiming, with complete composure, that reality just isn't really there - when Mark Shields pointed out that over the last - "70 years since World War II, 36 years with a Republican president, 34 years with a Democratic president, in those 70 years, there were 36.7 million jobs created by Republican presidents, while Republicans were office...

...In 34 years, there were 63.7 million created by Democrats. That’s 29 million more"

David Brooks responded, without blinking an eye, that a President's policies don't have much effect on the economy, that it's just the 'business cycle'.

Well, how about that!? All these decades we've been hearing the Right chanting that Republicans can make the economy work and that they know how to create jobs while that Democrats kill the economy and now Brooks tells us that any President doesn't have that much affect on the economy.

Now, when confronted with a study by economist Steve Stoft, and attorney/economic researcher Nathan Salminen that shows that over the past 74 years Democratic administrations produced job creation rates (3%) about triple that of those produced by Republicans (1%) Brooks with complete equanimity, disavows any such notion that Presidential policies have much affect at all on job creation. ... As one of the later 'little Rascals' would say: "REMARKABLE!".


Mark Shields: "...70 years since World War II, 36 years with a Republican president, 34 years with a Democratic president, in those 70 years, there were 36.7 million jobs created by Republican — under Republican presidents, while Republicans were office, OK, a little over half the time.

In 34 years, there were 63.7 million created by Democrats. That’s 29 million more. Perhaps it’s an accident once or twice or what. But, I mean, at some point, the Democrats ought to be trumpeting the fact that they have been better on the economy and job creation than have been their opposition."

Brooks: "..if the president could turn up a dial and create jobs, that would be great. But presidents can’t do that. The correlation between policies and actual job creation, there’s a huge amount of lag and they just don’t have that ability. A lot of it is just the function of the cyclical labor market.

Mark mentioned President Bush’s lamentable job performance. But he created a bunch of jobs, and then they all got wiped out in the last year during his recession, because we had this grand recession. And so business cycles come and go. And what the government can do is create a landscape which can create long-term job growth, but it’s rare that an administration has the ability to turn it on and off in that kind of short-term way. So, I just don’t think it’s that germane a number.

Additionally, Brooks makes a truly astounding assertion that Bush had no responsibility for the Trickle Down Disaster!!!!! It was just this 'grand recession'. the business cycle catching the Bushter up!! David doesn't think the numbers for job creation for administrations is a "germane" number.

Well, interestingly enough that's not how Moody's Analytics, or the Congressional Budget Office sees Obama's efforts to restart the economy after the Trickle Down Deregulation disaster (a product of Republican policies of concentration of capital and deregulation). Both organizations credit Obama's policies for creating millions of jobs that would have taken many years to produce if we had waited on David's Business Cycle to do the job.

how many visits does DU get per day, on average?

any grownups: how many total visits to DU per day on avg? Alexa wants you to pay to see these data.

The Wall Street Journal Publishes Long-Debunked Myths (by Steven Koonin) To Promote Climate Inaction

The Wall Street Journal Publishes Long-Debunked Myths (by Steven Koonin) To Promote Climate Inaction

There is no death for even the most long-debunked climate myths, especially on the pages of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. And the only certainty about carbon taxes — or indeed any serious climate action — is that the Journal will try to undercut their moral urgency by giving life to dead myths.

In the case of the Journal’s Saturday piece, “Climate Science Is Not Settled,” we get the umpteenth error-riddled rehash of denier talking points — to the effect that the remaining uncertainties in climate science undermine the case for strong action.

The piece is by former BP chief scientist and former Department of Energy official, Steven Koonin, but this dangerously error-riddled piece is much more BP than DOE — and its bizarre and unjustified conclusions have already been debunked by leading climate scientists.

In fact, it has long been known that the reverse is true: Uncertainty is a major reason climate action is so urgent. Three years ago, a major climate-assessment study of just the rainfall impacts to this country conducted by Sandia National Laboratory concluded:

“We want to reemphasize that the methods of this study reveal how compelling risk derives from uncertainty, not certainty. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the risk. It is the uncertainty associated with climate change that validates the need to act protectively and proactively.”


Crude Oil prices drop ~40% as World Production increases 1% and inventories increased 0.8%..Whaat???

The International Energy Agency indicates that World Crude Oil production has gone up almost 1% from the Second Quarter of 2014 (92.77 MB/D) to the Third Quarter of 2014 (93.62 MB/d). https://www.iea.org/oilmarketreport/omrpublic/

the Energy Information Administration indicates in their Short-Term Energy Outlook - Nov 2014 (click on "Table 3a. International Petroleum and Other Liquids Production, Consumption, and Inventories" - or - "All Tables" at the top of the page) that:

End-of-period Inventories (million barrels) for OECD Commercial Inventory was at 2,661 for Nov 2014 (estimated) and at
2,640 as of June 2014 for an increase of .8%.

Yet the price for Crude Oil (Brent) has dropped about 39% since end of 19 June of this year. (19 June 2014: $115.14 to $70.67 (note Bloomberg's udates oil prices continuously so this price can change)

So apparently, this ~40% price drop is due to anticipating the impact of OPEC keeping production at the same levels while World oil demand is declining. This shows the impact of traders/speculators in Oil - or in any other commodity (like food crops) - on the price of that commodity. At this point in time, World Crude Oil Production has risen about 1% over what it was in the second Quarter and Crude Inventory for the OECD countries has risen over the same time period a whole 0.8%!



The notion that all citizens have a voice in our country’s governance is at the center of the American ideal of democracy. Yet the role of corporate and private money in our political system means that the voices of the majority are often drowned out by those with the most money. The political spending of the country’s largest big-box retailers demonstrates how firms with low-wage business models turn massive profits into political leverage, embedding the inequality they perpetuate in the economy into the political system. This report examines the federal campaign spending and lobbying of the nation’s top earning big-box retailers, and finds that it is large and growing, and targeted at maintaining their economic power through political influence.

Big-box retailers spent $30 million on elections and lobbying during the 2014 election cycle, almost six times more than they spent in 2000.

Walmart and Home Depot—through their Political Action Committee (PAC) and individual donations—are ranked among the 100 biggest political donors in the country.

The country's largest big-box retailers spent a total of $111 million since the 2000 election cycle lobbying Congress on issues like corporate tax reform, health care, and labor, antitrust, and workplace regulations.

Robert Reich- Foreign corporations contribute unlimited amounts to campaigns thanx to CitizensUnited


The New York Times reports this morning that more than a dozen prominent Washington think tanks have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign sources in recent years while pushing U.S. government to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities. But the Times misses the really big story about foreign influence in Washington: Global corporations owned and run largely or partially by non-Americans that since the Supreme Court’s shameful “Citizen’s United” decision have been pouring unlimited sums into election campaigns. This includes major foreign-based banks, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies, as well as American-based global companies whose management and shareholders are substantially non-American. It’s a back door for non-Americans to have their way in our nation’s capital. In 2012 they began donating big-time to SuperPACs and secret 501-c-4 “social welfare” entities that don’t have to disclose sources of their money, and the sums are increasing. It's exactly what Justice John Paul Stevens anticipated in his prescient dissent in the case.

This is why all political expenditures must be fully disclosed, why public corporations must report all campaign contributions, and "Citizens United" must be reversed if not by the Court then by constitutional amendment. It's also why corporations using tax inversions to desert the United States must no longer have a voice in American politics.

here's the NYT article about foreign corporations buying influence in prominent think tanks

Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks
WASHINGTON — The agreement signed last year by the Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs was explicit: For $5 million, Norway’s partner in Washington would push top officials at the White House, at the Treasury Department and in Congress to double spending on a United States foreign aid program.

But the recipient of the cash was not one of the many Beltway lobbying firms that work every year on behalf of foreign governments.

It was the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit research organization, or think tank, one of many such groups in Washington that lawmakers, government officials and the news media have long relied on to provide independent policy analysis and scholarship.

More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

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