Sunday, January 31, 2016

A PEAK INTO AMERICA'S FUTURE IF THE GOP GAINS COMPLETE CONTROL FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME

The picture below offers a peak into America's future if our xenophobic, do nothing, anti-science, race-baiting, hate-filled, Bible-thumping, ammosexual, Republicans come to power ...


- Mark

Friday, January 29, 2016

HEALTHCARE ... THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTOR TO ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE U.S. (for the moment)

Interesting. Because more people have access to health care, and with the oil sector slowing down, it turns out that spending on health care is the leading source of personal consumption in the country. It's not even close.

This graph from Zero Hedge helps explain what's driving the economy ...


- Mark 

COMMENTS ON THE GOP's LAST DEBATE BEFORE IOWA


Another KGET moment ... Cathy Abernathy and I discuss the last GOP debate before the 2016 Iowa Caucus. Here are the links to the issues I discuss:
Robert Gates: Republicans' grasp of national security is at a child's level" (The Guardian). 
Israel's top general: Obama took care of most severe threat facing us, Iran's nukes (Foreign Policy).
I let it happen, but Kudos to Cathy for getting the last word.

- Mark 

TRUMP vs. TRUMP, THE MASTER DEBATE(RS)

Via Salon ... Since Donald Trump is too good to be seen with the GOP riffraff on Fox News, Steve Colbert moderates the All-Trump Debate ...


- Mark 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ANOTHER U.S. COMPANY LEAVES COUNTRY TO AVOID PAYING TAXES ... U.S. TAXPAYERS WILL HAVE TO MAKE UP $150 MILLION ANNUAL LOSS


Another U.S. corporation has left the United States to avoid paying its fair share of taxes. This time it's Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls. And it's a real slap in the face to the American taxpayer too. Here's how the NY Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin explains it.

In the fall of 2008, with General Motors and Chrysler on the precipice of bankruptcy, executives at the car parts supplier Johnson Controls flew to Washington. The company’s president testified before a Senate panel and implored lawmakers to bail out the auto industry.
“Speaking for our company, and, I am sure for all auto parts suppliers, we respectfully urge the members of this committee, and the Congress as a whole, to provide the financial support the automakers need at this critical time,” Keith Wandell, then the president of Johnson Controls, said, warning that the failure of even one automobile company would “implode” the supply chain and lead to broad job losses.
Congress approved a bailout plan worth almost $80 billion for General Motors and Chrysler, saving the automakers and, indirectly, suppliers like Johnson Controls. By 2010, with its business back on track, Johnson Controls doubled the pay of Stephen Roell, then its chief executive, to more than $15 million.
Despite the federal government’s rescue — and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks over the last several decades from states like Michigan and Wisconsin — Johnson Controls said on Monday it was renouncing its United States corporate citizenship by selling itself to Tyco International, based in Ireland, a deal struck in large part to reduce its tax bill, which it said should drop by about $150 million annually.
So, yeah, just another day in paradise if you're an ungrateful tax dodging corporate parasite.


If you're interested, at least 10% of S&P companies have already "left America" for tax purposes, which this Bloomberg article helps to explain.

- Mark

MID-WEEK READING (Jan. 27, 2016)


What happened to Jane Mayer when she wrote about the Koch brothers (NY Times).

This governor wants to bring back the guillotine. Seriously (U.S. Uncut).

The colors you see can determine your dominant emotion (Play Buzz).

Three charts to Email your right-wing brother-in-law (Our Future).


CORPORATE SHENANIGANS (again)
High-skilled visa applicants hit record high (CNN Money).

A tidal wave of corporate migrants seeking (tax) shelter (NY Times / Andrew Ross Sorkin).

J.P. Morgan adds $2.6 billion to its $25 billion plus tally of recent settlements (WSJ).


FOREIGN POLICY
Robert Gates: "Republican foreign policy would embarrass a middle schooler" (Occupy Democrats).

Israels' top general: Obama took care of most severe threat facing us, Iran's nukes (Foreign Policy).

China's new grand strategy for the Middle East (Foreign Policy).

Veteran thanks Bernie Sanders for voting against war in viral open letter (U.S. Uncut).


JUST INTERESTING / THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Cartoons show 'thank you' can be an empowering substitute for 'sorry' (Mogul).

White supremacy + Me (Ozy / Eugene Robinson).

How pornography saved civilization (Ozy).

Scientists in Belgium find a surprising reason why Greenland's glacier is melting so fast (Upworthy).


CALIFORNIA STUFF
The California ranch that takes Jerry Brown off the grid (NY Times).

California: Governor's Budget Summary, 2016-2017 (California Governor's Office).

California's ballot initiatives, 2016 (Ballotpedia).


SPORTS CORNER
College sports exploits unpaid black athletes. But they could force a change (Washington Post).

Colleges with the most active NFL players (Point After).

The 9 best NFL players currently not in the Hall of Fame (Sports Break).


OBAMACARE A HUGE SUCCESS
American Medical Association: Obamacare is a HUGE success, GOP is wrong (Occupy Democrats).

A checkup for Obamacare reveals a positive prognosis (Washington Post).


MISCELLANEOUS
Texas grand jury indicts 2 people behind undercover Planned Parenthood videos (NPR).

Why big blizzards in winter don't disprove global warming (Think Progress).

Just weird ... Top Trump official defends call for 'pure breed' president: Obama is a 'half-breed' and so am I (Raw Story).

Revealed: Environmental officials warned Snyder administration not to use water that poisoned Flint (Raw Story).

- Mark

Monday, January 25, 2016

WELCOME TO THE ANTHROPOCENE EPOCH

Sea(s) of plastic waste.

Since the end of WWII humans have become a major geological force, altering our world in ways we never imagined. Consider the following:
* More than half of all the concrete ever created has been used in the past 20 years.

* We are now finding the presence of isotopes from nuclear testing from the 1950s and 1960s.

* We have put so much plastic in our waterways and oceans (about 300 metric tons per year now) that microplastic particles will be found in future fossil records.
 
* Just 25% of ice-free land is considered wild, compared to 50% three centuries ago. As a result, rates of extinction of species are far above long-term averages.
The Concrete Jungle spreads across Asia.

These Youtube clips help to explain what's been happening:






For more on the issue you can check out the following:

BBC: 'Case is made' for Anthropocene epoch.

The Guardian: Human impact has pushed earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say.

IFLS: Scientists believe we have entered a new geological epoch.

Science: The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene.

- Mark 

A STEP BACK IN TIME ... SANTA CRUZ IN THE 1950s

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 1950s

I grew up in Boulder Creek, which is in Santa Cruz county, California. I worked and spent a good amount of time in the city of Santa Cruz. This 1955 color film of Santa Cruz and the surrounding region is awesome. The cheesy music, choppy film quality, and Ed Herlihy-wannabe voice narration combine to make this a time capsule jewel ...



Hat tip to Chris for the link.

- Mark

4459

Friday, January 22, 2016

WHY THE GOP NEEDS YOU TO BE AFRAID

The meme below provides us with one of the reasons why the GOP wants you to be afraid of ISIS and all those scary brown people from the Middle East (and those from south of the border too) ...


Simply put, the Republicans don't want you thinking about the good things happening in the economy so they need you to be afraid, 24/7.

Here's something else to consider when it comes to gas prices. While gas prices are averaging about $1.89 in the United States Michigan's ABC7 News is reporting that the price of gasoline dropped to .47 cents after a price war between three stations in Michigan.

But wait, there are a few more reasons the GOP needs you to concentrate on ISIS and to fear for your lives ...

THE DEFICIT: BUSH vs. OBAMA


For the Fox News viewers out there, the chart above explains that President Bush's policies added about $5 trillion to our national debt. President Obama's policies added only $983 billion. And, yes, the built-in trillion dollar deficits at the beginning of Obama's presidency were part of Bush's "legacy" - as it were.

To make things clearer let's go one step further. As I've pointed out before, new federal spending under Obama has risen at its slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower was president

Seriously, look it up

The GOP needs you to forget all of this. To do that they need you to focus on terrorists, scary brown people, and the ISIS threat.

OK, one more ...

THE ECONOMY: BUSH'S LAST YEAR vs. OBAMA 2015


With the price of petroleum falling and more people working the GOP needs to distract Americans from where the economy was when President took office and where it's at today.

All of this helps to explain why the GOP needs America to be afraid. They have nothing else to run on but fear, and the smoke & mirrors that drive their ill-informed economic rhetoric.

- Mark

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

MID-WEEK READING (Jan. 20, 2016)



Goldman Sachs agrees to $5.1 billion settlement for selling mortgage securities destined to fail to unwitting customers (Ozy).

The bad ass wife of W.E.B. Du Bois (Ozy).

10 percent of college grads say Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court (AJC).

Anti-vaxx mom abandons movement - after all seven of her kids get whooping cough (Raw Story).


THIS IS NUTS, AND JUST WRONG
Cambodia asks Interpol to hunt down culprit of 'disrespectful' Facebook post about PM's wife (RT).

Thai woman gets 9-year sentence for insulting Monarchy on Facebook (RT).

Carl Hiaasen: Firing FAU professor long overdue (Miami Herald).

Alabama cop paralyzed Indian grandfather; judge throws out case after two racially charged trials (Salon).

'Family Values' Republicans introduce a bill that would make sex with lobbyists a 'gift' (Addicting Info).


RUNOFF FROM FLINT, MICHIGAN
Michael Moore calls for arrest of Gov. Rick Snyder over Flint lead poisoning (Crooks & Liars).

Desperate MI governor tries claiming Flint poisoning was 'natural disaster', Obama slaps him down (Addicting Info).

Flint's massive water poisoning all started with an innocent-enough vote at city council (Upworthy).

Michigan Governor Snyder apologizes for Flint water crisis, says "I will fix it" (NBC News).


THE DANGER OF TRADE PACTS
TransCanada's financial claim against the U.S. for violating NAFTA - over the Obama administration's rejection of Keystone XL pipeline - shows the danger of trade pacts (Buzz Flash).

The billions made by lawyers and firms when multinationals sue host countries for lost income, tax disputes, or industry shutdowns (Truth Out).


OUR MODERN WORLD
How many years do you have left? Check out the chart (Flowing Data).

Was Canada's latest earthquake the largest fracking quake in the world (Buzz Flash)?

These men's rights activists are suing women for meeting without men (Mother Jones).

Signs of the 'Human Age' ... It's not pretty (NY Times).

Planned Parenthood sues "complex criminal enterprise" behind deceptive videos (Mother Jones).

Davos gets jittery as Trump rises, oil falls and China slows (Bloomberg).


YEAH, MONEY IS STILL THE MOTHER'S MILK OF POLITICS
Steve Israel: Confessions of a Congressman (NY Times).

Child cardiac patients at risk after Florida for profit hospital system donates to Florida GOP (Buzz Flash).


DRUGS AND MEXICO
How the Mexican drug trade first began (Time).

The War on Drugs is literally killing Mexico (Vox).

Forget El Chapo - Meet El Mencho and his blood thirsty cartel (Ozy).

Why the GOP's fence fantasy is a farce (Buzz Flash).


UNION TALK
What would happen if the Court kneecapped the unions (Slate)?

Catholic teaching says support unions. Catholic colleges are fighting them (Huffpost).


MISCELLANEOUS
Fear Itself: Why Obama wants to change how Americans think about terrorism (Vox)

The richest 62 people have as much wealth as half the world's population combined (The Guardian).

This is the single most stunning poll number on Donald Trump I have seen (Washington Post).

China's Haier buys GE's appliance unit for $5.4 billion (Bloomberg).

- Mark

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SOUTH CHINA SEA 101 ... THE SPRATLY ISLANDS


This is a story of the Spratly Islands, perhaps the most contested set of reefs, islands, "part time" islands, and artificially constructed islands the world has ever known. As you can imagine, at one time, these islands and reefs attracted no attention from anyone.

At least six countries are now staking claim to various island-reef extensions that were once primarily fishing areas, or a place for shipwrecked sailors and pirates to hang out.



The story is a rather simple one. It's about resources and projecting national power in the region.






However, simply claiming a set of islands in international water and then building on them is not sufficient for making claims, as the Chinese have learned over the past two decades. This is especially the case with the Spratly Islands, which are just south of the South China Sea.

Still, the Chinese began claiming the areas surrounding makeshift fishing villages in the region, many of which were little more than overgrown piers built on submerged rock formations (Chinese fishermen were actively encouraged into the region).




But claiming and building artificial structures in the ocean doesn't grant you Law of the Sea protections, let alone legal permission to declare huge swaths of the ocean as your territory. So China began building islands on and around reef formations with dredged sand, and are effectively daring others to kick them off.

To build their islands they suck millions of tons of sand off the ocean floor and pile it in one area. The site below is being built on Mabini Reef, and was pictured Feb. 2014.





Reclaimed land from the sea is piled up and then used to build facilities, which include military bases.




Below we have the story of the Fiery Cross reef, which is claimed by Vietnam but occupied by China. What started out as a reef is now an island airstrip, with a harbor and building facilities.




To build the island suction dredgers (with the long snaking hoses below), cargo vessels, and even fishing boats (smaller ships) were necessary.




As the "island" began to take shape it was easy to see that it would be used as an air base and port facility.




In areas where the Chinese didn't need an island or an air base they simply put up a structure, like this radar dome. Who needs sandy beaches when all you need is a radar facility in the middle of the ocean, right?





And since you have to build, you should make sure you have a military presence to help insure that everyone knows you're serious, right?




Check out what happened to the Mabini Reef in the span of two years.


As you can see in the top left corner of this picture, in March of 2012, you have a reef with a few protruding rock structures. One of the rocks becomes the anchor point for a building structure (top right corner) that will slowly be surrounded by dredged and reclaimed sand. Within two years we have an island structure, which China can now claim as part of its national territory - along with the 12 miles of surrounding ocean to boot.

The story is far more complex than what I've laid out here. Stay tuned.

- Mark

Some interesting links ...

http://www.eu-asiacentre.eu/pub_details.php?pub_id=46

http://www.chinausfocus.com/finance-economy/chinese-renminbi-u-s-dollar-and-hot-money-outflows/

http://www.chinausfocus.com/peace-security/chinas-rejection-of-south-china-sea-arbitration-is-lawful-and-justifiable/

http://www.chinausfocus.com/finance-economy/venezuelas-leaders-and-the-chinese-trough/

http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/china-africa-cooperation-in-the-new-normal-is-a-blessing-for-whole-world/

http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/china-africa-cooperation-in-the-new-normal-is-a-blessing-for-whole-world/

What Vietnam claims in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands has been claimed by China on Mischief Reef  http://www.thanhniennews.com/world/china-building-possible-airfield-in-south-china-sea-us-34338.html

Artificial structures or reclaimed land from the sea? Which does the U,S. support, and why are the Chinese so mad? http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/washington-needlessly-escalates-south-china-sea-crisis/

UPDATE (2-10-16): China installs two launch batteries for surface-to-air missiles in the Paracel Islands ... http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21693207-chinas-bullying-south-china-sea-must-not-be-allowed-pay-sunnylands-and-cloudy?spc=scode&spv=xm&ah=9d7f7ab945510a56fa6d37c30b6f1709

UPDATE (2-19-17): John Oliver did a segment on China building islands (like never before), which you can access by clicking here.

UPDATE (4-10-17): Vox has a nice clip on China's island building here.

DONALD TRUMP ACCORDING TO BRITISH PARLIAMENT ... IT'S NOT PRETTY



Via the Washington Post we learn what various members of the British Parliament think of Donald Trump. And, yes, "buffoon" and "idiot" are part of the dialogue ...



You might also enjoy this op-ed from the WP, "For the good of the Republican party, both Trump and Cruz must lose."

- Mark 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

READING FOR THE MLK WEEKEND (1-15-16)


Martin Luther King Day: How much do you know about MLK? Take our quiz (CS Monitor).

Martin Luther King, Jr. ... Test your knowledge (Seattle Times).

'Navigation error' led U.S. sailors into Iranian waters - Carter (RT).

Denial, paranoia and bigotry: Obama warns against Republican ugliness and they immediately prove him right (Salon).


THIS IS JUST WRONG
Day care teacher faces decades-long prison sentence after 'baby fight club' conviction (RT).

The shaming of Izzy Laxamana (Slate).

Atlanta police stop and put gun to head of rapper after he withdraws $200,000 from his bank (Raw Story).

Following Flint tragedy GOP led Congress votes to block clean water bill (U.S. Uncut).

Ronald Reagan stuck it to millenials: A college debt history lesson no one tells (Salon).

Seriously? North Carolina legalizes prostitution for state politicians (The Daily Beast).


ECONOMIC TRENDS, AND COUNTER-TRENDS
The Obama Boom (NY Times).

Paul Krugman: Are we heading to a global economic catastrophe (Alternet).

The country that tricked the world ... China (Washington Post).

Sell everything ahead of stock market crash, say RBS economists (The Guardian).

More than half of Americans reportedly have less than $1,000 to their name (Esquire).


NEW WAVE ECONOMICS
Billionaire blasts companies that jump overseas to duck taxes: 'I'm selling your stock' (Think Progress).

Pay it Forward: The New Zealand town where your time is a currency (The Guardian).

Republicans silent as Seattle's economy booming with higher minimum wage (Occupy Democrats).


YEAH, BERNIE'S IDEAS WILL WORK
170 top economists back Bernie Sanders' plan to rein in Wall Street (U.S. Uncut).

Bernie Sanders' single-payer health care plan will save American taxpayers $1200 a year (Nation of Change).


TED CRUZ ... NEEDS ANCHOR PARENTS TO ADOPT HIM
Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president (Washington Post).

Karma: Ted Cruz releases Mother's birth certificate after she's found on Canadian voter list (Occupy Democrats).

Ted 'Duck Hunter' Cruz goes full camo in BIZARRE new ad pandering to Idiot America (Addicting Info).


OREGON (BUNDY) NUTJOBS
Expert: Majority of Oregon militia thugs likely broke, unemployed, or on disability (Liberal America).

Thank you, Oregon militiamen: The longer you stay, the more ridiculous you and the conservative movement look (Salon).

BUSTED: Oregon militia thugs caught falsely posing as Marine veterans (Liberal America).

Outrage in Oregon: Taking over a federal building at the point of a rifle gives protest a bad name (Common Outrage).

Bundy militia terrorists remove fence at Oregon wildlife refuge as protest escalates (The Guardian).


OREGON FUMES
The GOP's sympathy for sedition (Dana Milbank).

How about some Oregon militia homoerotic fan fiction (JoeMyGod).

7 kind of government subsidies those angry ranchers get that you don't (Grist).

An excellent read ... Former forest supervisor explains "Why I resigned over a public land dispute" (Time).


SERIOUSLY, THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS
Texas governor calls for huge, insane changes to U.S. Constitution (Slate).

Felon enraged over Obama's gun reforms shoots up apartment building (Occupy Democrats).

Anti-Obama march organizer fatally shoots right-wing militant buddy in drunken dispute over gun (Raw Story).


MISCELLANEOUS
President Obama drops a fact bomb and obliterates the NRA at CNN gun town hall (Politics USA).

Why "collateral damage" elicits little empathy among Americans (Common Dreams).

Melvin Russell: I love being a police officer, but we need reform (TED).

Signs of the 'Human Age' ... It's not pretty (NY Times).

- Mark

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

MARKETS AT WORK, SORT OF ... HOW PATENT LAW IMPACTS DRUG PRICES AROUND THE WORLD


Harvoni is a pill that effectively treats those afflicted with Hepatitis C (disease of the liver). Here's the break down of what a 12-week Harvoni treatment costs in the United States and what it costs in other countries, according to Esofosbuvir.com ...

Harvoni is the most effective Hepatitis C treatment known to man. Here are the cost of standard 12-week treatment around the world:
  • US – $94,5000
  • Canada – $84,000
  • UK – £39,000
  • France – 48,000€
  • Egypt – $1,200
  • India – $900
  • Germany – 41,000€
If you're wondering - and I'm sure you are - one of the reasons for the price difference between countries has to do with global gaps in how patent law is applied.
_______________________________
_______________________________

In India the Indian Patent Office (in Mumbai) declined patent protection for Harvoni because - among other reasons - they determined that the primary compound of the drug was niether developed as a drug originally, nor was it deemed to be significantly more effective than other compounds submitted (or on file).

Then we have the actions taken by Doctors of the World. They took a look at the molecular structure of sofosbuvir - the primary property in the Harvoni - and objected to the patent filed at the European Patent Office for Harvoni. They argued that the molecular structure of the medicine is based on already known molecules. Put another way, Doctors of the World argue that the "technology" behind the drug is not new, which means that it is not deserving of patent protection.

You can't get a patent for something that's already invented, or already in nature.

For what it's worth, the relatively high price of Harvoni in the United States is justified by R&D costs, a lack of alternative treatments (i.e. monopoly) and/or the fact that a new liver costs about $250,000 in America. I'll let you be the judge as to the merits behind these arguments.

Finally, in the FYI department, this site has information for people looking for alternatives to purchasing Harvoni in the United States.

- Mark

UPDATE: The plot thickens ... From RT, "Congress outraged that cure developed by VA scientist sells for $1k a pill, out of reach to vets"

OBAMA BEGINS HIS VICTORY LAP ... "PEACE, OUT"

After saving the economy, getting reelected, and achieving success in the face of unprecedented obstructionism and disrespect from his political enemies this pretty much captures President Obama's final State of the Union moment ...

- Mark

Hat tip to Agulia for the post. 

ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS ON KGET 17 NEWS



I had an interesting exchange with Cathy Abernathy on KGET's Sunrise program this morning. We discussed President Obama's final State of the Union address. You can access the exchange by clicking here.



- Mark

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS ON KGET 17 NEWS

For those of you in the Bakersfield and Kern County region, I'll be on KGET 17 News tonight a little after 5 pm discussing President Obama's last State of the Union address with Cathy Abernathy. As usual, it should be fun.


I'll also be on KGET's early morning segment (6:10?) tomorrow morning.

- Mark

UPDATE: You can access our KGET Sunrise morning exchange-analysis by clicking here.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

EXPLOITED COLLEGE ATHLETES A LABOR ISSUE? YES ...


One of my former colleagues, David Berri, is fast becoming one of the most knowledgeable and sought after voices in sports economics. He posted the following on his Facebook page.

******************

This is a great article on college sports, exploitation, and race. These three paragraphs are especially important:

In some cases, officials have made small concessions to avoid bigger ones. When football players at Northwestern tried to unionize in March 2014, alarm bells went off in athletic directors’ offices nationwide. Suddenly, that June, USC committed to giving football players guaranteed four-year scholarships. Before then, scholarships were a year-to-year proposition, renewable at the discretion of the head coach. Some other schools quickly followed suit, lest they be put at a competitive disadvantage. 
When University of Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier complained in April 2014 of often going to bed hungry, the NCAA passed emergency legislation allowing for expanded year-round meals for athletes. 
The NCAA could have made these changes at any time — it didn’t have to wait for players to complain. Only when the free labor threatened to take action did the NCAA respond.

The history of labor relations in sports tells that story over and over again. Ownership does not voluntarily share with workers. Only when workers take action do things change. And you should never, ever believe that owners have the best interest of their workers at heart. Owners are interested in their interests. That is it.
There is a very important lesson here. If you are working for someone else and you are anti-labor, you are against your own interests. You might want to think a bit harder then about your political beliefs.
******************
Sports economist David Berri, author of Wages of Wins (2006) and Stumbling on Wins (2010). 

I encourage you to read the entire article, which you can access here.

- Mark

FYI Category: As an aside, if you are a sports fan and consider yourself an expert when it comes to evaluating talent or the value of sport athletes - and especially those in the NBA - you really aren't unless you've read David Berri's stuff. You'll understand why once you read what he writes, including his first book, Wages of Wins, which you can access here

Saturday, January 9, 2016

ONLY DICTATORS GOVERN WITH EXECUTIVE ORDERS? OK, LET'S GO WITH THAT ...


Meme from early 2013.

For an updated count on executive orders by President Obama (he's at 227 today), click here ...



So, yeah, as it stands today, President Obama could sign another 100 executive orders over the next year that he's in office and he still wouldn't catch President Reagan.

- Mark

Friday, January 8, 2016

THIS IS NOT THE "PEOPLE'S WORK"

With the White House touting rising enrollments House Republicans just passed another bill to kill Obamacare.

Knowing that President Obama is going to veto any legislation that repeals Obamacare, one has to wonder why the GOP would pull a blatantly political stunt that repeals a law that effectively brings back the following worst practices of the health care industry ...


The reality is our Republican-led Congress is not concerned about doing the "people's work." They only care about gumming up the works so they can blame President Obama for doing nothing.

This means wasting time and millions in taxpayer dollars every time they grandstand by mindlessly voting to repeal Obamacare.

Sigh ...

- Mark

ELVIS WOULD BE 81 TODAY


I was reminded that Elvis Presley would be 81 years old today if he had lived. For those of you too young to remember, Elvis was so cool that he was making music videos before MTV called them music videos ...


- Mark 

READING FOR THE WEEKEND (Jan. 8, 2016)


Thomas Piketty ran the numbers on income inequality. Here's what he found (Think Progress).

Calls mount for outside probes of police shootings (The Hill).

Dear Gov. Snyder: You have to go to jail (Common Dreams).

Too funny ... Gym wildlife trolls the ridiculous environment that is every gym (College Humor).


IS THIS REALLY A SURPRISE?
Engineer finds examples of 'horrific' construction in tornado wreckage (Dallas Morning News).

Pentagon tells Congress to stop buying equipment it doesn't need (Military.com)

Man proudly "open carrying" new pistol is robbed of it at - wait for it - gunpoint (The Everlasting Gop Stoppers).

5 taxpayer handouts the Bundys receive (U.S. Uncut).


POLITICS IN AMERICA
Trump makes America hate, not great (The Hill).

Wow. Trump supporters tear up "God Bless America" and "America's ALREADY Great" signs (Facebook).

The sudden but well deserved fall of Rahm Emmanuel (The New Yorker).


THINGS WE REALLY SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT ...
4 things that were supposed to happen by 2016 because Obama was reelected (Think Progress).

President Obama catches Netanyahu bribing Republican congressmen to change their Iran votes (Daily News Bin).

The IMF confirms that 'trickle-down' economics is, indeed, a joke (Pacific Standard).

Here's what happened when these unarmed Native-American sisters defended their land from the Feds (U.S. Uncut).

We compared Obama and Reagan's executive orders; Republicans won't be happy (News Groopspeak).


SUNNI OR SHIITE?
How do Sunni and Shia Islam differ (NY Times)?

Questions rebels use to tell Sunni from Shiite (NY Times).


ARE YOU SERIOUS?
Ben Carson asks fifth-graders to single out the 'worst-student' in their class, and they did (Washington Post).

Maine Governor says drug traffickers come, sell drugs, and "impregnate a young, white girl" (Slate).

Pharma CEO: We're in business of shareholder profit, not helping the sick (U.S. Uncut).

Marco Rubio lobbied regulator for drug trafficking brother-in-law to get real estate license (Slate).


WE DON'T NEED MOTHER EARTH ... WE'VE GOT FREE MARKETS
More good news: The sixth mass extinction is under way (Truth Out).

As climate-induced floods hammer Britain Tories approve new fracking law (Truth Out).


MISCELLANEOUS
Is technology making our attention span worse than that of a goldfish (IFLS)?

21 unbelievable facts about guns in America (The Fiscal Times).

Why China is rattling the world (NY Times).

China's state-backed companies to continue driving global semiconductor M&A activity (South China Morning Post).

- Mark