Politics and Legislation
‘Stability’ Trumps Democracy in Egypt
Charles Davis and Medea Benjamin, Op-Ed:
If one only pays attention to what politicians say, ignoring what they do, this may come as a surprise. President Barack Obama, after all, has voiced support for the Arab Spring. He gave a speech in Cairo full of lofty words about the people of the region’s legitimate democratic aspirations. So why would his administration lavish a regime that cracks down on pro-democracy forces with money for weapons?
The Dumbest ‘Bipartisan’ Move Since Repealing Glass-Steagall
Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed:
The hype that led Washington honchos to name this tragic bill the “JOBS Act” is the same brand of patented b.s. that inspired lawmakers to call Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the law that overturned Glass-Steagall, the “Financial Services Modernization Act.” That act of “modernization” actually turned the clock back – from 1999 all the way back to 1929, stripping away some of the common-sense measures that prevented the formation of too-big-to-fail banks that could gamble with their customers’ money or bring the economy to the brink of ruin – which they promptly did, less than a decade later.
Ten years of Obamacare would cost 1.76 trillon dollars – far more than originally claimed
By Ethan A. Huff,
(NaturalNews) According to new spending projections issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the costs associated with implementing Obamacare over the next ten years are more than double what the Obama Administration claimed when first pushing for its passage. Through 2022, the gross spending requirements for the federal government to fully implement this progressive form of universal healthcare in the U.S. are an astounding $1.76 trillion dollars, also written as $1,760,000,000,000.
“The ACA’s (Affordable Care Act) provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012-2022 period,” says the CBO report. “[T]hat amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762 billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources)” (http://cbo.gov/publication/43080)…..
Cairo fuel shortage causes long lines at gas stations
The New Straits Times reports that the reason for the fuel shortage isn’t clear:
Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab flatly dismissed talk of a shortage, saying fuel supplies exceed demand. He said the crisis stems from “mistrust between the government and the citizens,” according to the state-run MENA news agency.
Another Petroleum ministry official, Hani Dahi, was also quoted by MENA as saying that there is “a rise in the illegal use of fuel” and calling for tighter security measures to prevent black market dealers selling subsidised fuel at higher prices……
Tax breaks exceed $1 trillion
By John D. McKinnon
A congressional report detailing the value of major tax breaks shows they amount to more than $1 trillion a year—roughly the size of the annual federal budget deficit—and benefit wide swaths of the population.
AT&T points finger at federal regulators for layoffs at T-Mobile
By Brendan Sasso
AT&T blamed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Friday for thousands of layoffs at T-Mobile, saying the jobs would have been saved if the agency had approved the merger of the two companies last year.
Why Leaving Goldman Sachs Breaks the Rules of the Game
Elizabeth Doty , Op-Ed:
Most professionals who hold this second worldview believe that, in the long run, the greatest financial rewards go to whoever creates the most value. Unfortunately, when regulations are distorted or monopoly power comes into play, businesses can be rewarded for actions that do not add value for customers or other stakeholders. For example, by convincing regulators to drastically reduce banking oversight, Goldman and other banks helped create incentives for banks to take irresponsible risks, for which society ultimately bore the cost.
Why Seniors Could Pay $5,900 More for Health Care Under the Republican Budget
Topher Spiro, News Report:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the Republican budget and estimated its effect on average Medicare spending per beneficiary. Under current law, or CBO’s “baseline scenario,” CBO projects that average spending will rise from $5,500 today to $8,600 in 2030 and to $17,000 in 2050. (CBO converted all dollar figures to 2011 dollars to remove the effects of inflation and ensure appropriate comparisons over time.) These numbers reflect the projected trend in health care costs over time.
Wall Street Confidence Trick: The Interest Rate Swaps That are Bankrupting Local Governments
Ellen Brown, Op-Ed:
Interest rate swaps are less often in the news than credit default swaps, but they are far more important in terms of revenue, composing fully 82% of the derivatives trade. In February, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had cleared $1.4 billion in revenue on trading interest rate swaps in 2011, making them one of the bank’s biggest sources of profit.
MF’s Corzine Ordered Funds Moved to JP Morgan, Memo Says
Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Holding Ltd. (MFGLQ)’s chief executive officer, gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators.
Edith O’Brien, a treasurer for the firm, said in an e-mail quoted in the memo that the transfer was “Per JC’s direct instructions,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail, dated Oct. 28, was sent three days before the company collapsed, the memo says. The memo does not indicate whether that phrase was the full text of the e-mail or an excerpt.
Wars and Rumors of War
Terrorists blow up gas pipeline in Syria: State media
Syrian state media say terrorists have blown up a section of a pipeline carrying gas through the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
The attack was carried out on Saturday, state media said.
This is not the first time a Syrian gas pipeline comes under attack by armed groups over the past year.
In January, Syrian state media also said terrorists attacked an oil pipeline near Quriye area in Deir al-Zour.
An armed terrorist group also blew up a section of a gas pipeline in the central province of Homs near the Lebanese border in January, state media said…….
US: Journalist fired after calling Israeli occupation ‘brutal’
A veteran American journalist has been fired after referring to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land as “brutal.”
Sunni Khalid, managing news editor at WYPR-FM in Baltimore, was dropped by the public radio station on Thursday after more than nine years on the job.
He had been on probation following criticism of comments he made on Facebook about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine.
“I, for one, have had enough of this pandering before the Israeli regime,” he wrote.
“The war-mongering toward Iran has, once again, distracted the world from Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.”…..
Anatomy of an Occupation: Did the Planners of Occupy Wall Street Really Have a Plan?
Nathan Schneider, Video Report:
When Occupy Wall Street and the ensuing Occupy movement captured the world’s attention in the fall of 2011, the world wasn’t exactly sure what hit it. Through a series of up-close portraits of the movement in both planning and execution, this webinar will explore how it has succeeded as well as what its challenges will be in the coming months. Drawing from his experience covering the Occupy movement since the early planning stages, Nathan Schneider will focus on the role of strategizing.
Afghan case puts military mental health care under microscope
By Carlo Munoz
The recent killing of 17 Afghan civilians at the hands of a U.S. soldier has reignited concerns on whether the Pentagon is doing enough to care for its newest generation of combat veterans.
Documents: White House was all-hands-on-deck as Solyndra collapse neared
By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia
Several key White House offices were involved with the Obama administration’s messaging plans and other preparations as the collapse of the taxpayer-backed solar company Solyndra was imminent, newly released documents show.
Hunter: Marine should not be punished for anti-Obama Facebook posts
By Jeremy Herb
A Marine who said he would not follow an unlawful order from President Obama should not be dismissed, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said Friday.
Hunter, a Marine reservist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Marine Sgt. Gary Stein should not be punished for posting his opinions on Facebook.
U.S.: Bales went on 2 shooting sprees
(AP) WASHINGTON – American officials say U.S. investigators now believe the U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians split the slaughter into two episodes – returning to his base after the first attack and later slipping away to kill again.
This scenario seems to support the U.S. government’s assertion — contested by some Afghans — that the killings were done by one person, since they would have been perpetrated over a longer period of time than assumed when Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was detained March 11.