Protesters breakdancing in Wisconsin’s Capitol rotunda:
I only took a quick glance at the regulation, but it looks like the Obama administration has rescinded the far-too-general part of the so-called conscience clause that allowed pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions.
Good! He should do stuff like this more often.
I wonder if anyone died because of this “principled” man:
A veteran city firefighter’s refusal to respond to the Jan. 8 shooting spree, citing “political bantering,” may have slowed his Tucson Fire Department unit’s response to the incident that left six dead and 13 wounded, city memos show.
The firefighter, Mark Ekstrum, retired from his 28-year career two days later, while his supervisors were still considering how to discipline him, internal memos obtained by the Arizona Daily Star in a public-records request show.
In a Jan. 9 report on Ekstrum’s actions, fire Capt. Ben Williams wrote that when Ekstrum first told him he would not go out on the call, “he mentioned something about ‘political bantering’ and he did not want to be part of it.” He said he was acting “for the good of the crew.”
Williams said he told Ekstrum he could not refuse a call for that reason, and then talked to the firefighter privately in his office. He said Ekstrum “started to say something about how he had a much different political viewpoint than the rest of the crew and he was concerned.” Despite being told that was not acceptable, Williams said Ekstrum informed him he was going home “sick,” so they answered the call without him.
Is there any doubt in any of your minds as to how this turns out?
Reporting from Washington — Proposed limits on the hidden fees behind most debit card purchases — caps designed to bring down prices for consumers — could be changed or delayed after an outcry from the financial industry and lawmakers.
Every time a debit card is swiped, the merchant pays the bank an average of 44 cents to process the transaction. The Federal Reserve, saying the actual cost was drastically lower, proposed in December to cut the fee that large banks charge to 12 cents per transaction.
The Fed’s proposal has sparked a major battle between bankers and retailers. On Thursday, Congress and financial regulators weighed in, with the Fed even suggesting that the rules could be revised before they take effect in April.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to get this right,” Federal Reserve Gov. Sarah Bloom Raskin told a House subcommittee.
Retailers persuaded Congress last year to limit the fees, complaining that banks were gouging them in processing debit card transactions that have become increasingly popular among consumers.
The financial overhaul law required the Fed to set so-called debit card interchange fees for large banks that are “reasonable and proportional” to the costs of processing the transactions, and implement them by April.
But bankers decried the limit the Fed proposed, saying it would force them to eliminate free checking accounts or increase other fees on customers.
On Democracy Now, Noam Chomsky answers a question from a student about how to get Democratic leaders to take part in the Wisconsin demonstrations:
The reason why you can’t get Democratic leaders to join is because they agree. They are also trying to destroy the unions. In fact, if you take a look at—take, say, the lame-duck session. The great achievement in the lame-duck session for which Obama is greatly praised by Democratic Party leaders is that they achieved bipartisan agreement on several measures. The most important one was the tax cut. And the issue in the tax cut—there was only one issue—should there be a tax cut for the very rich? The population was overwhelmingly against it, I think about two to one. There wasn’t even a discussion of it, they just gave it away. And the very same time, the less noticed was that Obama declared a tax increase for federal workers. Now, it wasn’t called a “tax increase”; it’s called a “freeze.” But if you think for 30 seconds, a freeze on pay for a federal workers is fiscally identical to a tax increase for federal workers. And when you extend it for five years, as he said later, that means a decrease, because of population growth, inflation and so on. So he basically declared an increase in taxes for federal workers at the same time that there’s a tax decrease for the very rich.
And there’s been a wave of propaganda over the last couple of months, which is pretty impressive to watch, trying to deflect attention away from those who actually created the economic crisis, like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, their associates in the government who—Federal Reserve and others—let all this go on and helped it. There’s a—to switch attention away from them to the people really responsible for the crisis—teachers, police, firefighters, sanitation workers, their huge pensions, their incredible healthcare benefits, Cadillac healthcare benefits, and their unions, who are the real villains, the ones who are robbing the taxpayer by making sure that policemen may not starve when they retire. And this is pretty amazing, like right in the middle of the Madison affair, which is critical.
The CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, got a $12.5 million bonus, and his base pay was more than tripled. Well, that means he—the rules of corporate governments have been modified in the last 30 years by the U.S. government to allow the chief executive officer to pretty much set their own salaries. There’s various ways in which this has been done, but it’s government policy. And one of the effects of it is—people talk about inequality, but what’s a little less recognized is that although there is extreme inequality, it’s mostly because of the top tiny fraction of the population, so like a fraction of one percent of the population, their wealth has just shot through the stratosphere. You go down to the—you know, the next 10 percent are doing pretty well, but it’s not off the spectrum. And this is by design.
You have to give Gov. Walker and his wealthy patrons credit. Here we have a situation where Wall Street fat cats wrecked the economy – people like Richard Fuld, Robert Rubin, and Angelo Mozilo – and they’ve somehow managed to blame schoolteachers and the highway patrol.
Now we have a situation where the villains are sitting on their hundreds of millions of dollars, while tough guys like Gov. Walker are beating up school teachers to take away their $2,000 a month pension. And, the best part of the story is the Walkers are being heralded as statesmen for their efforts.
This situation speaks to the incredible corruption of U.S. politics. There have been numerous studies done by serious economists that all show the same thing, public sector employees are not paid on average more than their private sector counterparts.
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