When I started working in the US Senate in the mid-1990s, my then boss Senator Jeff Bingaman handed me, like he did to every incoming member of his staff, a copy of Eric Redman's book, The Dance of Legislation: An Insider's Account of the Workings of the United States Senate.
The book tells Redman's own story of then working on Senator Warren Magnuson's team and getting to know through error and success the machinery of the Senate legislative process.Redman learns that gravitational forces work differently for a Senator and his or her staff than they do for others in the administration, or the courts, or in the lobbying and advocacy arena.Senators, if they desire to, don't have to be spineless and passive -- but can make their own weather. They can write and pass laws - though successful legislating can be an excruciatingly frustrating, irrational process. In the end, Redman plays a tipping point role in getting a National Health Service bill passed.
One can overdo typologies and models in trying to describe social phenomena - but sometimes they work. When I was absorbing what I could about howthe mechanics of politics and policymaking worked, I was influenced bythe writing of Ripley and Franklin, who wrote Congress, the Bureaucracy and Public Policy. They suggest that there are many factors -- among them"time", the nature and number of policy actors in a decision, and theregularity or irregularity of the policy under consideration -- that effectlegislative and political outcomes.
In other words, Ripley and Franklin arguedthat structure and the context in which policy is debated and formed matters -and Eric Redman shows that empowered political actors who understand the toolsand mechanisms of politics and legislative process can have significant impact.
This is a round about way of saying that I amintrigued by stories of those who try to pass or changelegislation. No matter whether theimpulse for change is outside the system - like HIV/AIDS activists were during the Reagan administration battling for attention and resources - or inside, like Senator Warren Magnusson'slegislative assistant -- it's nearly always a byzantine process that changes the roster of winners and losers. It's how American style democracy works, and I find it fascinating.
In part because of America's and the world's growing dependence on China's production muscle, I have been interested in what the US needs to do to prevent its standards from being undermined by lesser standards, poor regulation, illiterate workers, and corruption abroad. What are the legal and regulatory adjustments that need to be made to shore up American standards -- rather than have them slip to levels seen elsewhere around the world?
The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, passed in1938, and only modified in minor ways since was originally introduced because more than 100 patients died because of a highly toxic hospital-administered drug. Today, thereare scores of stories emerging around the world in which counterfeit drugs are proliferating in alightly, often corruptly, regulated global drug industry. The media in China, India, countries in Africa and Southeast Asia often run stories about deaths and illness stemming from drugs being taken that are unsafe.
In the past, when the American drug andpharmaceuticals industry was mostly based inside the borders of thecountry, the regulatory and inspection scheme provide by the 1938 Food and DrugAct was adequate. But those days are gone.
Today, roughly 80% of theactive ingredients for drugs sold inside the United States are manufacturedabroad - often in lightly regulated environments, or ones where corruptionundermines what is often just a façade of regulation.
The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, andCosmetic Act is anachronistic in the sense that the law doesn't give the Foodand Drug Administration (FDA) the resources or authority to adequately regulateand inspect incoming drug and pharmaceuticals stock from international sources. The vulnerability of US citizens to dangerous drug materials has been increasing -- but virtually nothing (until recently) has been done to wave red flags that US-focused food and drug regulators are no longer really inspecting what US consumers, popping pills made in Xian, China and elsewhere.
Writing about some new possible dealsthat might fix this regulatory blind spot and major health risk to Americans,the New York Times' Gardiner Harriswrites:
Although branded drugs usually havemore secure supply chains than those of generics, major pharmaceuticalcompanies have moved aggressively into China in recent years and often rely onrarely inspected suppliers.
Federal officials for years haveexpressed concerns about the nation's growing reliance on sometimes mysteriousforeign drug suppliers, but they had largely despaired of fixing theproblem. Congress had never given theFDA the money it needed to inspect these plants, and for nearly two decades thegeneric industry to pay inspection fees.
The industry changed its stance forseveral reasons. First, the heparinscandal scared everyone. The fakeingredient was good enough to pass a sophisticated test, so the conspiratorsprobably knew that deaths would result, reflecting a callous level ofgreed. And the Chinese governmentrefused to allow the FDA to investigate, suggesting that the perpetrators werenot only smart but politically well connected.
In his interesting Times piece, Gardiner outlines other reasons why the US drug industryand American regulators may be ready to strike a new deal overhauling theout-of-date law.
A key reason he highlights is the policy agitating of an individual, Heather Bresch,the recently appointed 42-year old CEO of Mylan Inc., a Pittsburgh-based genericdrug firm ranked No. 396 on the Fortune 500.
If Eric Redman was updating hisfascinating book, written originally in the 1970s, he might focus on what anoutsider like Bresch with insider DNA (her dad is Senator Joe Manchin III ofWest Virginia) was doing to change a major regulatory framework and shake upthe drug industry and those who regulate it.
Bresch has been with Mylan for abouttwenty years - working up the ladder from a job she got typing drug labels at what was then Mylan's sole drug plant inMorgantown, West Virginia. She knows the drug industry line by line and term by term, all the pharma-speak slang and acronyms. She told me that for decades, the FDA has kept two inspectors on site at the Morgantown facility, which is huge. But through globalization and mergers with other firms, Mylan has operations all over the world today -- but there is no consistent inspection regime overseeing these other facilities.
In late 2011, Bresch was made CEO of Mylan. If her dad were not a US Senator, it would really be a perfect Horatio Alger, from mail room to the top, story -- but spending time with her, it becomes immediately clear that her intellectual dexterity with the details of running a global pharmaceuticals business has nothing to do with family connections. Her father is not my favorite Senator -- having missed a key vote on Don't Ask Don't Tell and as Governor of West Virginia suing to block federal regulatory frameworks that would prioritize the health and safety of miners and protect the environment. Senator Manchin, most likely because of how he reads his state's political currents, is often a regulation foe rather than advocate.
That is what makes his daughter's behavior since becoming Mylan's CEO so interesting. Heather Bresch is leaning into and wants more regulation for her own industry.
When Bresch ascended to her recent perch, she surprised many by not just leaving things as they were when it came to the comfortable, long standing, structured relationship between FDA inspectors and US producers.
Bresch told me she commissioned some work last year that showed that she and the US pharmaceuticals industry writ large were facing enormous liabilities if drugs that they manufactured abroad and sold into the US proved to be fraudulent or 'bad'. She knew after two decades of interaction with FDA regulators at the Morgantown production facility that Mylan's sites outside the US had virtually no regulatory oversight. And this was true for every other major US pharmaceuticals producer.
She also sensed that the unlevel regulatory playing field, added to other cost factors such as skimpy environmental standards and low wage rates abroad, was going to economically gut punch US producers in the long run. Like so much of the rest of American industry that had off-shored to China, India, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and more -- the pharmaceutical producers were going to face cost decisions on regulation that could undermine not only the job base of the U.S. but also the physical health of citizens.So in a move that not many business CEOs typically make (and in my book very consistent with The Atlantic's criteria for "Brave Thinkers"), Heather Bresch began a full board campaign demanding more regulation from the government that would deal with the industry in a global rather than national framework. She strong-armed other of her leading pharmaceuticals industry competitors to join her in proposing a new tax on their industry, called generic drug user fees, of $300 million annually to fund an expansion of FDA regulators.
In an interview with conservative radio host Neal Boortz, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney floated an unusual profit-making opportunity for himself if he becomes president — paying himself a higher salary if he performs well in the White House. In Romney’s words, “I do believe in linking my incentives and my commitment to the accomplishment of specific goals . . . . I wish we had that happen throughout government — where people recognized they are not going to get rewarded in substantial ways unless they are able to achieve the objectives that they were elected to carry out.”
This is not a new proposal, however. It was actually proposed in 1992 by billionaire presidential candidate Ross Perot — or at least by someone pretending to be Perot. In a 1992 Saturday Night Live skit, Perot impersonator Dana Carvey outlined something very similar to the Romney plan for presidential compensation:
If I’m President, we get 0% growth, you don’t pay me nothing. 1% growth? Hell, a chimpanzee could run this country and make 1% growth! So you don’t pay me dime one. Got my own plane, don’t need Air Force One. State Dinners? I’ll pay it, it’s nothing to me, sand on the beach! Now, don’t worry about ol’ Ross Perot, I got $3 billion back at home.
Now, here’s the deal. Here’s what I’m trying to tell you. 3% growth in our economy, $120 billion growth in our GNP – I get a billion dollars. Now, think about it, that’s a bargain! You’re up $119 billion. I’m telling you, 2.99% growth, I don’t see a penny, not one red cent. But don’t feel sorry for me – I got $3 billion. I’m gonna be fine.
Now, this here’s a business proposition. Now, see, 4% growth, you pay me $20 billion. The way I see it, you’re ahead $140 billion, see? Now, this ain’t no golden parachute, this isn’t the President GM giving himself a big bonus when the company’s losing money sending jobs to Mexico. I get my money if and when you get yours.
Now, 5% growth, I get $50 billion. Everybody’s happy, see?
Hulu Plus subscribers can watch the entire skit here:
Romney did not elaborate on whether his incentive structure for himself would include the kind of outlandish payouts Fake Ross Perot called for in his very similar plan. Nevertheless, the very idea of incentive pay for the president is a little bizarre. The President of the United States is the nation’s top public service position. If a person needs a financial incentive in order to be motivated to do the job well, they might want to consider working in private equity instead.
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Last year, nearly a dozen new states passed voter ID laws. These laws may have prevented the nine cases of voter impersonation that occurred between 2000 and 2007, but the Brennan Center estimates they could collectively disenfranchise more than three million people this year. In other words, for each case of voter impersonation these laws prevent, nearly 350,000 citizens may lose their right to vote.
ThinkProgress traveled to Wisconsin recently to investigate how the new law, if allowed to stand by the state judiciary, would affect voters in the state. (Two judges recently blocked the law, but their ruling will be appealed.)
One Wisconsinite we spoke with, 95-year-old Florence Hessing of Bayfield, said that she’d voted in every election without any problems until voter ID was enacted. However, her driver’s license expired when she stopped driving at the age of 90 (she’s now half-blind) and because she was likely born via midwife, she didn’t have a birth certificate required to get a new photo ID. Lawyers were eventually able to find an exemption for Hessing that will ultimately allow her to vote, but thousands of other Wisconsinites might not be as lucky. Indeed, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found that approximately 300,000 lack photo ID.
Watch a short video about Hessing and other potential victims of new Wisconsin’s voter ID law:
You can read about other people denied their voting rights by new voter ID laws here.
by Max Frankel
Biofuels have fallen out of favor in many environmental and political circles. But in the world of science, researchers around the world are working on some very innovative ways to produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from more sustainable feedstocks.
Here’s a look at three cool recent developments in biofuels:
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em: Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California are working on converting tobacco plants into fuel powerhouses. The project is funded by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The scientists selected the plant because tobacco is “grown in large tracts throughout the U.S and in more than 100 countries. It generates multiple harvests per year, its large leaves could store a lot of fuel, and it?s amenable to genetic engineering.”
Tobacco has huge potential because it produces very high yields. The Berkeley lab estimates “that about 1000 acres of tobacco could yield more than one million gallons of fuel.”
Currently, tobacco is one of the most ubiquitous plants in the American south. But as sales of commercial tobacco products fall demand for the crop is declining (a good chart from Canada is here). It’s possible that this new use for the product could stimulate the industry for the benefit of our health, not the detriment. Tobacco grown for biofuel purposes can be planted at up to 16 times the density of tobacco planted for consumption, so fields already producing the plant could vastly increase production to meet potential future need.
The Berkeley scientists are working on creating tobacco plants that maximize the uptake of CO2 and sunlight and the production of fats and oils. Check it out:
Bottoms up: The Scotch Wiskey Association of Scotland is currently constructing a nearly $100 million combined heat and power plant capable of generating up to 7.2 megawatts of electricity from nothing but whiskey byproducts.
The process uses “pot ale” and “draff,” two waste products created during the production and distillation process, to create biobutanol, a fuel with the potential to produce 30% more energy than ethanol. Scientists at Edinburg Napier University have pioneered the process and say that the butanol produced could eventually be pumped right into existing automobile engines.
Halfway around the world, scientists in the United States and Central America have been studying the biofuel capability of Agave, a plant best known as the main ingredient in tequila production. The Agave has more potential output than many traditional biofuel crops like corn and soy.
Agave is grown in arid or semi-arid regions where not much else can grow, so it is more environmentally sustainable. According to researcher Sarah Davis, “Biomass from Agave can be harvested as a co-product of tequila production without additional land demands. Also, abandoned Agave plantations in Mexico and Africa that previously supported the natural fiber market could be reclaimed as bioenergy cropland.”
With all this tobacco, whiskey, and tequila going into our gas tanks, pretty soon we may need an ID just to fill up at the local fueling station.
Pass the wasabi: Seaweed is a great source of natural sugars that can be utilized when fermented. Until recently however, scientists had no way to ferment alginate, the sugar that makes up half the energy potential of seaweed. Now, an altered form of E. Coli has been developed to tap into this resource.
A company called Bio Architecture Lab is currently conducting studies off the coast of Chile that are showing promising results — yielding up to 80% of the algae’s theoretical energy potential. Because it grows in the ocean, seaweed totally avoids the problem of taking up valuable arable land and increasingly scarce freshwater. In fact, it may prove more effective as a biofuel than some other, more traditional crops: “Farmed at 18 to 22 dry tons per acre…seaweed can yield 1,500 gallons of ethanol per acre. That is 50 percent more ethanol per acre than sugar cane and triple the ethanol per acre of corn, at a fraction of the cost.”
Interestingly, the idea of using marine biomass for energy is anything but new. Check out this plan from the 1970s to create a power producing undersea farm.
These are a few of the interesting ways researchers are experimenting with new biofuel feedstocks. Considering all this innovation going on, it’s clearly too early to write off biofuels.
Max Frankel is a senior at Vassar College.
Mitt Romney has threatened to declare China a currency manipulator and, in a February Wall Street Journal oped on China, stated, “A nation that represses its own people cannot ultimately be a trusted partner in an international system based on economic and political freedom.” But while his campaign has had no shortage of tough talk towards China, Romney’s history at Bain Capital and his ongoing investments in its funds suggest the former Massachusetts Governor has looked favorably on companies that benefit from China’s low labor costs and controlled currency.
Even more strikingly, Reuters’ Rachelle Younglai reports today: “As chairman of the 2002 Winter Olympics, he also said Beijing should not be punished for human rights abuses.” According to Younglai, Romney was quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying:
They have practices, as reported in the media, that violate my sense of human rights, but we should not build walls even if we vehemently disagree with many of their practices. Building bridges increases the possibility for spreading the ideas of civil societies.
Romney’s inconsistent positions on China have already been cited by fellow Republicans and Washington policy analysts as a casualty of campaign season rhetoric. Last February, Romney supporter Jon Huntsman called Romney’s China policy “wrongheaded,” and dismissed his bluster on China as “typical campaign rhetoric.”
That rhetoric also stands at odds with Romney’s business record. His history at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in 1984 and ran through 1999, may pose some difficult questions for a candidate who now claims he would declare China a currency manipulator if elected president. His presidential campaign promotes how three of the companies that Bain invested in during this time — Staples, Sports Authority and Dominos Pizza — created more than 100,000 jobs combined. But when Reuters conducted an examination of products at Staples and Sports Authority stores, they found that Chinese manufactured products formed the backbone of the companies’ business. 40 percent of Staples products in the sample and two-thirds of Sports Authority products were manufactured in China. Dominos has, since Romney left Bain, announced plans to franchise their restaurant in China.
Bain’s heavy investments in companies that outsource manufacturing to China means that Romney, and the company he helped found, directly benefited from Beijing’s undervaluation of its currency and inexpensive labor.
While talking tough on China, Romney toed a very different line while CEO of Bain and chairman of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Indeed, Bain’s investments in China and Romney’s ongoing investments — including, via a Bain fund, in a controversial Chinese company which provides surveillance tools to the Chinese government — underscores the disconnect between Romney’s business career and positions taken in his campaign.
As the Supreme Court readies to announce their decision on the individual mandate portion of the health reform, it has emerged that the largest health care lobbying group in the country spent a total of $102.4 million in just 15 months to prevent Obamacare from becoming law in the first place.
In 2009 alone, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) pumped $86.2 million into a conservative lobbying group, the US Chamber of Commerce, to combat President Obama’s health care reform plan. But with the added months of 2009 prior to the ACA’s March passage, AHIP piled on an additional $16 million to be used against the bill.
That staggering total, which the National Journal’s Influence Alley uncovered today, was not out in the open — rather, the funds were transferred through a secretive process and listed only by the organization as ‘advocacy’ spending:
The backchannel spending allowed insurers to publicly stake out a pro-reform position while privately funding the leading anti-reform lobbying group in Washington. The chamber spent tens of millions of dollars bankrolling efforts to kill health care reform.
The behind-the-scenes transfers were particularly hard to track because the law does not require groups to publicly disclose where they are sending the money or who they are receiving it from. [...]
The next year followed a similar pattern. In 2010, AHIP reported giving $16.5 million to unnamed advocacy organizations working on health care reform and the chamber reported receiving about $16.2 million from an undisclosed source, which the Alley has learned was AHIP. The $16.2 million accounted for about 8.6 percent of the total contributions and grants the chamber received that year.
This funneling scheme allowed health groups like AHIP to save face no matter whether the bill passed or not — if the bill failed, the groups figured, they would be able to point to their lobbying efforts against it. When it succeeded, AHIP and others remained quiet about any efforts against the legislation.
With the ruling coming down in the coming weeks from the Supreme Court, and with all the money spent to defeat the law, AHIP may be all to happy if it’s overturned.
The illustrious Betty White had the opportunity to meet President Obama in the White House this week and stopped by the Huffington Post for a little chat while in town. When she was asked what it was like being a gay icon, she offered some simple thoughts on marriage equality:
WHITE: Oh! I didn’t know I was a gay icon. I get a lot of mail — but I don’t get many bad letters — but I got a woman the other day that was so upset with me because they said, “How do you feel about the gay marriage thing?” and my answer to that is, “I really don’t care with whom you sleep, I just care what kind of a decent human being you are.” I figure all the rest of it is your business and not mine. And not hers, incidentally.
This ad features three female veterans?Dottie Guy, Kayla Williams and Shannon Clark?who have recently returned from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is part of a campaign by the coalition Stand With Servicewomen and the American Civil Liberties Union to end a congressional ban on abortion care coverage in cases of rape and incest.
Imagine for a moment that you're a soldier who gets pregnant from a rape. You want an abortion. If you were an employee of the State Department, your government health insurance would cover the cost. But because you're in the Army, it doesn't. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat, wants to change that. Her amendment to do so as part of the 2013 defense authorization bill passed the Senate Armed Services Committee late last month. But she has run into an obstacle: House Republicans. They want to keep things the way they are.
The way things are is that not only must a servicewoman who has been made pregnant by rape pay for her own abortion if she wants one, she also can't even pay with her own money to have the procedure done at a military health care center unless she can prove she was raped, which requires an investigation. What that means when she's deployed in, say, Afghanistan or some other war zone, is rather obvious. But even if she is based in the States, the law treats her inequitably simply because she's in the armed forces. This prohibition is far more stringent than the Hyde Amendment, which restricts government funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest and if the woman's life is endangered.
The way things are is that thousands of American servicewomen report being assaulted each year, according to the military's own surveys. As in the civilian world, reported rapes constitute only a fraction of the actual numbers because, for various reasons, women don't come forward. These aren't reports from women who have been captured by enemy forces and raped, one of the reasons "chivalrous" right-wingers often bring up as an excuse to bar women from combat roles. Servicewomen are raped by their male peers and by their commanding officers. In 2011, 471 servicewomen reported rapes. But given that the Pentagon estimates only one in seven rapes is reported, the actual number is several thousand a year. Thus, the number of pregnancies from rape in the military is several hundred a year.
The subject of sexual assault in the military has received considerable attention lately thanks to the efforts of the Service Women?s Action Network, the coalition of groups Stand with Servicewomen and the feature-length documentary, The Invisible War?shown on Capitol Hill and at Netroots Nation in Providence, R.I. The film opens to the general public on June 22.
The way things are, according to a report in Military Medicine, is that junior enlisted women are most likely to be targets of rape and the least likely to be able to afford an abortion if they need it. As usual, the less affluent get the worst treatment.
The way things are is that efforts have been made for years to get this grotesque, ruthless inequity off the books. But Congress hasn't budged. Sen. Shaheen tried to change the law for the 2012 budget without success. Her amendment then and now would permanently allow servicewomen to obtain safe and affordable abortions on their bases or through the military?s health network. The Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health for Military Women Act would require Tricare, the military's health insurance, to cover the cost of abortions in the case of rape or incest. It would also allow servicewomen to obtain abortions for other reasons at military health centers if they pay for them out of their pockets.
Civilians and servicewomen ought to be able to obtain this still legal procedure for whatever reason and have it covered by their insurance. But we're a infuriatingly long way from that.
Retired Commander Joellen Oslund, the Navy's first woman helicopter pilot in 1974, thinks extending abortion care for rape victims is a step that should attract less opposition. She told Mother Jones reporter Kate Sheppard: "We lost these privileges and these rights a little bit at a time, we're going to have to get them back a little bit at a time. This is the one piece that's probably the least controversial, and helps the most people."
Stand with Servicewomen, which produced the ad at the top of this post, is fighting for simple justice. Nearly 400,000 women now serve in the armed forces, more of them officially or unofficially in combat and support roles that put them in harm's way every day. It's bad enough that, after all these years, sexual assault in the military is not taken as seriously as it ought to be. For servicewomen not to have the costs of the consequences of some of these assaults covered by their health insurance adds insult to injury. Opponents of the Shaheen Amendment and the MARCH Act should be ashamed. But shame seems as foreign to them as commonsense.
The Troubadour has posted about this subject here.
A recent Federal Reserve study found that the wealth gap increased during the recent recession with the median net worth of the wealthiest Americans increasing between 2007 and 2010, while the median net worth for all Americans decreased. But right-wing media have ignored or misrepresented this aspect of the report in order to attack President Obama.
Federal Reserve: Median Net Worth For The Top Ten Percent Increased By 1.9 Percent Between 2007 And 2010. The Federal Reserve found that median net worth increased for top 10 percent families. In 2007 these families had a median net worth of $1,172,300 and in 2010 their median net worth increased to $1,194,300. By contrast, median net worth for all Americans decreased. From the bulletin:
[Federal Reserve, June 2012]
Washington Post: The Recession Caused An "Upheaval Among The Middle Class" While "The Wealthiest Families' Median Net Worth Rose Slightly." The Washington Post reported in a June 11 article:
The recession caused the greatest upheaval among the middle class. Only roughly half of middle-class Americans remained on the same economic rung during the downturn, the Fed found. Their median net worth -- the value of assets such as homes, automobiles and stocks minus any debt -- suffered the biggest drops. By contrast, the wealthiest families' median net worth rose slightly. [The Washington Post, 6/11/12]
NYT: "Wealthier Families...Were Cushioned Against The Recession." The New York Times reported on June 11:
[M]iddle-income families also lost a larger share of their income. The earnings of the median family in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution actually increased from 2007 to 2010, in part because of the expansion of government aid programs during the recession. Wealthier families, which derive more income from investments, were also cushioned against the recession.
The data does provide the latest indication, however, that the recession reduced income inequality in the United States, at least temporarily. The average income of the wealthiest families fell much more sharply than the median, indicating that some of those at the very top of the ladder slipped down at least a few rungs.
Ranking American families by income, the top 10 percent of households still earned an average of $349,000 in 2010.
The average net worth of the same families was $2.9 million. [The New York Times, 6/11/12]
Limbaugh: Buried in Stories On The Fed Bulletin: "Declines In Average Income Were Greatest In The Wealthiest 10 Percent Of Families." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh ignored the increase in net worth for the richest Americans to claim that "declines in average income were greatest in the wealthiest 10% of families" and that this claim was buried. From the broadcast:
By the way that story on the decline in personal wealth -- let me tell you something buried in that story. Declines in average income were greatest in the wealthiest 10 percent families, and for higher education or wealth groups, according to the survey. Now that story is out there that 40 percent wealth -- the net worth was destroyed during the recession, but declines in average income were greatest in the wealthiest 10 percent. Now it's in there, it's in the story, but it's buried. They want you to conclude something else. They want you to conclude that the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, because the rich are stealing from the poor. And yet, they had to include it, because the polling data is what it is. Ten percent - the wealthiest 10 percent of families saw the largest decline in average income during the recession. [Premier Radio Network, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/11/12]
Breitbart.com: "American Family Net Worth Nosedives 40%, Obama Approval Still At 50%." In a June 12 Big Government piece, editor-at-large, Ben Shapiro, commented on the Federal Reserve's findings, claiming, "much of that decline must be laid at the feet of the Obama administration, and wondering "how many even hope to build net wealth rather than living off government largess in coming decades," never commenting on the wealthiest Americans. [Breitbart.com, 6/12/12]
Limbaugh: Increasing Income Inequality "A Myth." During the January 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, host Rush Limbaugh claimed that "there are so many myths - the income gap getting wider, it isn't real." [Media Matters, 1/3/12]
O'Reilly: "Income Inequality Is Bull." During the May 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "income inequality is bull. Nobody gives you anything, you earn it." [Media Matters, 5/14/12]
The United States government has responded to a challenge against secrecy in the court martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks. They argue they don't have to releave documents during the trial,[...]
Read The Full Article: