Sir Paul and Wings:
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, is considered a strong dark-horse candidate. Dimon has said he is not interested in public office but many on Wall Street believe he would accept the job if asked by Obama. But the White House will have to decide whether Dimon, who leads the most successful bank in the U.S., is too closely aligned with Wall Street.
Do you hear a noise like power saws cutting away at your Social Security benefits? That’s the sound of the politicians working on the “Chain Gang.”
They’re promoting the “chained CPI,” Washington’s latest gimmick for tricking voters and cutting their hard-earned benefits to protect the wealthy. That may sound like inflammatory rhetoric, but the numbers don’t allow for any other conclusion. People retiring today could lose more than $18,000 in benefits over their lifetimes – and people who are already retired will feel the pain too.
What’s wrong with this idea?
1) It’s an underhanded way to cut Social Security benefits (its true intent).
2) It’s unnecessary.
3) It’s unfair to women, the poor, minorities, and the very elderly.
4) It reflects a un-American political culture of pessimism and lost faith in the future.
Any politician who signs onto a “chained CPI” approach to Social Security will feel the wrath of the voters – and deserves to.
Although they’re using hocus-pocus to make the idea sound complicated, it isn’t. The government calculates the cost of living in order to do things like determine next year’s Social Security benefits. The “chained CPI” approach would alter that calculation by including changes in the way people spend their money when prices go up.
As a government agency explains, “Pork and beef are two separate CPI item categories. If the price of pork increases while the price of beef does not, consumers might shift away from pork to beef.” So if people can no longer afford pork, they’re spending less. Under a chained-CPI approach cost of living adjustments (COLAs) would then go down.
See where this is going? If not, stick around.
Go read the rest. And then read Dave Dayen.
This is the same insane policy that was pushed last week by former progressive Andy Stern. Jared Bernstein explains why it’s so stupid.
This is a really positive decision that will help black communities, who have far too many people in prison because of the racially-biased sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine:
WASHINGTON – As many as 12,000 people in federal prison for crack-related crimes can get their sentences reduced as a result of a new law that brought the penalties for the drug more closely in line with those for powdered cocaine, a government commission decided Thursday.
The decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission applies to approximately 1 in 17 inmates in the federal system.
Congress last year substantially lowered the sentences for crack-related crimes such as possession and trafficking, changing a 1980s law that was criticized as racially discriminatory because it came down extra hard on a drug common in poor, black neighborhoods.
The question before the commission Thursday was whether people already locked up under the old law should benefit retroactively from the changes. The six-member commission unanimously decided in their favor.
“I believe that the commission has no choice but to make this right,” said Ketanji Brown Jackson, a vice chairwoman of the commission. “I say justice demands this result.”
The NAACP was among the groups praising the commission’s action. About 85 percent of the inmates expected to benefit from the decision are black.
The commission’s action is final unless Congress decides by the end of October to intervene, and that is considered unlikely.
Prisoners will have to petition a judge for a sentence reduction, and requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis, with the court taking into consideration the defendant’s behavior in prison and danger to society. Prosecutors will be allowed to weigh in. The earliest anyone could get out is November.
You know, it’s nice that Bill Clinton was all teary-eyed about the effect his policies had on Haiti, but the fact is, the country is still colonized by corporations and I don’t see him doing a damned thing to stop it:
Hinche, Haiti – Last week, thousands of farmers and supporters of Haitian peasant agriculture marched for hours under the hot Caribbean sun to call for more government support for locally grown seeds and agriculture.
The demonstration was organized by the Peasant Movement of Papay and other farmer associations, human rights and women’s groups, and the Haitian Platform for Alternative Development (PAPDA), the Haitian online agency AlterPresse reported from the march. The official theme of the peaceful demonstration was “Land Grabbing is Endangering Agricultural Sovereignty.”
Singing slogans like “Long Live Haitian Agriculture!” and “Long live local seeds!” the crowd – wearing straw hats and red T-shirts – wound its way on foot, donkeys, and bikes through this dusty provincial capital. The demonstration ended at a square named for farmer Charlemagne Péralte, who lead the “Caco” peasant revolt against the U.S. army occupation from 1916 until 1919, when U.S. Marines assassinated him.
One year ago, thousands of farmers covered the same march route to protest the import of a “gift” of seeds from Monsanto. The farmers burned some of the seeds, calling them a “death plan” for peasant agriculture.
Last spring, in violation of Haitian law, the Minister of Agriculture gave the agribusiness giant Monsanto permission to “donate” 505 tons of seeds to Haiti. The first shipment of 60 tons, reportedly of maize and vegetable seeds, arrived in May 2010. Some of the seeds were coated with a chemical (Thiram) so toxic that the EPA forbids its sale to home gardeners in the U.S.. Monsanto announced its $4 million gift was “to support the reconstruction effort” in Haiti.
When we’re medicating mentally ill people to make them competent enough to stand trial and hold them accountable for the things they did while they were mentally ill, doesn’t that mean our society is mentally ill?