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Member since: Wed May 27, 2015, 02:02 PM
Number of posts: 336

Journal Archives

Inequality Troubles Americans Across Party Lines, Times/CBS Poll Finds

Americans are broadly concerned about inequality of wealth and income despite an economy that has improved by most measures, a sentiment that is already driving the 2016 presidential contest, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that a strong majority say that wealth should be more evenly divided and that it is a problem that should be addressed urgently. Nearly six in 10 Americans said government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, but they split sharply along partisan lines. Only one-third of Republicans supported a more active government role, versus eight in 10 of Democrats.

These findings help explain the populist appeals from politicians of both parties, but particularly Democrats, who are seeking to capitalize on the sense among Americans that the economic recovery is benefiting only a handful at the very top.

Far from a strictly partisan issue, inequality looms large in the minds of almost half of Republicans and two-thirds of independents, suggesting that it will outlive the presidential primary contests and become a central theme in next year’s general election campaign.


Bernie Sanders Hates America?

"There will be NO opportunities to interview Hillary Clinton; her speech will be her interview."

Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps): "From confirmation note from Texas Southern Univ, which is hosting Hillary Clinton's voting rights speech tomorrow"

Hillary Clinton, who has aggravated reporters with her limited press avails, will not take questions after her speech at Texas Southern University on Thursday, the school informed reporters Wednesday.

The University's guidance: "There will be NO opportunities to interview Hillary Clinton; her speech will be her interview."

The Clinton camp has frustrated reporters at almost every turn. Since her campaign's launch in April (although now her campaign apparently "officially" launches on June 13 in New York), she hasn't sat down for a formal interview with any media organization. Before answering questions from the press in New Hampshire and Iowa last month, Clinton had gone 28 days without answering a single question from the media.

Texas Southern University has also informed reporters that the media must stay within certain barricades and that there will be special media-designated restrooms. Readers of the blog will no doubt recall the time New York Times reporter Amy Chozick was escorted to the restroom while covering a Clinton Global Initiative event.


Chafee: Iraq War vote should disqualify Hillary from the presidency

Chafee, the former Republican and now Democrat, is barely registering at the polls, is unpopular at home in Rhode Island, and so far his most prominent presidential issue is pretty darn narrow — bashing Hillary Clinton’s vote in favor of the Iraq War more than a decade ago.

He outdid himself during a wide-ranging speech on Wednesday announcing his White House run, calling for America to join the metric system (“Let’s be bold.”), saying Edward Snowden should be allowed to return home, and pledging to repair relations with Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have sought to distinguish themselves from Clinton chiefly on domestic issues, hoping to win over the Democratic Party’s progressive base concerned about stagnant wages, income inequality and trade deals. They have also been largely reluctant to take on Clinton by name, occasionally challenging her directly but more typically running parallel campaigns.

Chafee has no such qualms. The 62-year-old former Republican who became a Democrat in 2013, surprised the political world in April when he announced he was exploring a presidential bid. The former Rhode Island governor and senator immediately attacked Clinton, saying her vote for the Iraq War was an inexcusable lapse of judgment that should disqualify her from the presidency.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/lincoln-chafee-announce-presidential-campaign-118602.html#ixzz3c2e4j515

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

The group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.

After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans to “develop brand-new communities.” None has ever been built.

Aid organizations from around the world have struggled after the earthquake in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. But ProPublica and NPR’s investigation shows that many of the Red Cross’s failings in Haiti are of its own making. They are also part of a larger pattern in which the organization has botched delivery of aid after disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. Despite its difficulties, the Red Cross remains the charity of choice for ordinary Americans and corporations alike after natural disasters.


Clinton to call for at least 20 days of early voting nationwide

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to call for an early voting period of at least 20 days in every state.

Clinton will call for that standard in remarks Thursday in Texas about voting rights, her campaign said. She will also criticize what her campaign calls deliberate restrictions on voting in several states, including Texas.

The former secretary of state's address at historically-black Texas Southern University in Houston comes as Democrats pursue legal challenges to voting rule changes approved by Republican legislatures in several states.

Clinton and her allies claim the changes are aimed at narrowing the electorate in ways that benefit Republicans.


Muse - JFK + Defector

One of the best protest songs I've heard in a long time.

Three suicides in eastern Kentucky because of a suspension in Social Security payments

I wish I had a news link for you, but no one seems to care.

Ned Pillersdorf is a trustworthy source. He's a local liberal lawyer who is doing everything he can to help these people.

He's also married to Janet Stumbo, one of the most liberal judges in Kentucky, serving on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, 7th Appellate District.

More background information on what's going on:

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Attorneys for hundreds of people who are suing the federal government after losing their disability benefits met with their clients Tuesday to provide updates on the litigation.

The Social Security Administration last month suspended payments to about 900 former clients of Floyd County lawyer Eric C. Conn, who the government suspects of using fraudulent information to secure the benefits.

Attorneys have filed separate lawsuits against Conn and the S.S.A., hoping to restore federal assistance to Conn's former clients while they wait for the administration to review their cases.

Dozens of people packed the Floyd County Fiscal Courtroom Tuesday to hear from attorneys about the lawsuits filed on their behalf.


WikiLeaks releases secret TISA docs: The more evil sibling of TTIP and TPP

WikiLeaks has released 17 secret documents from the negotiations of the global Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which have been taking place behind closed doors, largely unnoticed, since 2013. The main participants are the United States, the European Union, and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel, which together comprise two-thirds of global GDP.

Significantly, all the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are absent, and are therefore unable to provide their perspective and input for what is essentially a deal designed by Western nations, for the benefit of Western corporations. According to the European Commission's dedicated page: "TISA aims at opening up markets and improving rules in areas such as licensing, financial services, telecoms, e-commerce, maritime transport, and professionals moving abroad temporarily to provide services."

TISA's focus on services complements the two other global trade agreements currently being negotiated in secret: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the corresponding deal for the Pacific region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which deal with goods and investments. Like both TTIP and TPP, one of the central aims of TISA is to remove "barriers" to trade in services, and to impose a regulatory ratchet on participating nations. In the case of TISA, the ratchet ensures that services are deregulated and opened up to private companies around the world, and that once privatised, they cannot be re-nationalised.

The 17 documents released today include drafts and annexes on issues such as air traffic, maritime transport, professional services, e-commerce, delivery services, transparency, and domestic regulation, as well as several documents on the positions of negotiating parties. The annexes on e-commerce is likely to be of particular interest to Ars readers, since, if adopted, it would have a major impact on several extremely sensitive areas in the digital realm.


HRC's State Dept. Increased Chemical Arms Sales To M.E. Countries That Gave to Clinton Foundation

As Egyptian democracy protesters massed in the streets of Cairo in 2011, provoking a bloody crackdown from the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented herself as a champion of human rights. Clinton was “deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters,” she told reporters at the State Department. “Egyptian authorities,” she urged, should not impede “peaceful protests.”

But behind the scenes, Clinton pursued contrasting aims. She cautioned the White House about backing the ouster of President Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a family friend. Her State Department cleared Egypt to continue purchasing arms the U.S. government classified as "toxicological agents,” a broad designation that included chemical and biological weapons, as well as vaccines -- this, at the very moment Mubarak’s forces were unleashing one toxicological agent, tear gas, against protesters demanding his ouster.

The Clinton-run State Department’s approval of chemical and biological exports to the Egyptian government increased in volume just as dollars flowed from Mubarak-linked entities into the coffers of Clinton family concerns. A group closely associated with the Mubarak government paid Bill Clinton a $250,000 speaking fee in 2010, less than 4 months before the Egyptian revolution began. In 2012, a firm with an ownership stake in the company that manufactured the tear gas reportedly used by Egyptian security forces against the uprising paid $100,000 to $250,000 for another Bill Clinton speech.

The approval of American chemical weapons sales to Egypt as Mubarak’s associates were stocking Clinton family interests with cash is but one example of a dynamic that prevailed though Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. During the roughly two years of Arab Spring protests that confronted authoritarian governments with popular uprisings, Clinton’s State Department approved $66 million worth of so-called Category 14 exports -- defined as "toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment" -- to nine Middle Eastern governments that either donated to the Clinton Foundation or whose affiliated groups paid Bill Clinton speaking fees.

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