I?d never heard of Valley Stream. It sounds like the sorta non-descript town that could be anywhere in America. (Apparently it?s in New York.) It has a population of 37,000 people. Around 260 of those people are employed at their local Target. They may not sound terrible exciting, but these people are movers and shakers. [...]Related posts:
Michele Bachman surges in poll of Republican primary voters, morons.[...]
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Source: ForexYard US Federal Funds Rate on Tap
The US economy will be publishing its recent decision regarding short-term interest rates today, known as the Federal Funds Rate. A rate adjustment is not expected given the sentiment expressed by the Fed in recent weeks. Any hawkishness expressed could lead to further risk taking and drive the USD lower as the week moves ahead.Economic News USD – USD Bearish as Investors Hungry for Risk
The US dollar was seen decreasing late yesterday as traders began to seek riskier assets following several optimistic economic data releases. The EUR/USD was seen moving towards 1.4300 yesterday whereas the GBP/USD was trading in a mildly sideways channel.
US existing home sales lived . . . → Read More: US Federal Funds Rate on Tap
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It's good to be da king! No wonder they're all millionaires and are more concerned about tax cuts for the richest Americans rather than helping the middle class. Why should Congress benefit from secret information? Changing the law has to happen to level the playing field.
The SEC generally does not view trading on the basis of advance knowledge of Congressional action to be insider trading. Both House and Senate ethics manuals say that members of Congress are not supposed to make any personal profit from confidential knowledge, although no member of Congress has ever been publicly sanctioned for such trading.
Critics of the loose rules say they can?t prove that members of Congress or their staffs are actually trading and profiting from their positions, but they still believe that?s the only explanation for the returns members of Congress generate over time.
?It just boggles the imagination to think that members of Congress are so much smarter than we are and other traders that they just for some reason enjoy a much higher rate of return on their stock investments than the rest of us,? said Holman. ?I just don?t believe that.?
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck hosted several oil and gas industry executives to attack President Obama's energy policies and tout fossil fuels. During the show, Beck hyped the false claim by one of his guests, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, that "the oil and natural gas industry gets zero subsidies" from the federal government.
On Beck, American Petroleum Institute's Jack Gerard Claims "The Oil And Natural Gas Industry Gets Zero Subsidies." During his show, Beck asked American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard how many subsidies oil companies get. Gerard said "zero." Beck made Gerard repeat his statement and then facetiously told Gerard that he must be lying. Gerard then repeated the claim that "the oil and natural gas industry gets zero subsidies" from the federal government a third time. From the show:
BECK: Tom, you have been going after General Electric for a very long time, for a very long time. General Electric, they're building all these turbines, they're making money, and they're doing all these green things. And they're getting -- you want to talk about subsidies, how many -- seriously Jack, how many subsidies do the oil companies get?
BECK: Zero. Say it again.
GERARD: The oil and natural industry gets zero subsidies.
BECK: That's not true. I've got --
GERARD: That's absolutely true.
BECK: No, I've got cartoons here that are up on the wall. It shows the fat cats getting subsidies -- the oil companies.
GERARD: The oil and gas industry gets zero subsidies. Now, while some would like to convince you and make you believe we get subsidies, the tax provisions they're talking about -- that they've proposed raising our costs $80 billion over the next ten years -- are provisions applied to all industry, to the General Electrics you mentioned earlier.
GERARD: What they've done is identified five companies that they want to deny the ability to recover our costs to produce energy. It's punitive, it's vindictive, and it doesn't help us produce the energy we need for this country.
CRS Report Describes Subsidies Explicitly For Fossil Fuels. An April 14 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) titled, "Energy Tax Policy: Issues in the 112th Congress," details seven federal tax breaks explicitly targeted to the oil and gas industry that cost the federal government billions of dollars.
[CRS Report, Energy Tax Policy, 4/14/11, via OpenCRS.com]
Environmental Law Institute: Subsidies To Fossil Fuel Industry "Totaled Approximately $72 Billion" Between 2002 And 2008. Using a broader definition of subsidies to the oil and gas industry than CRS, the Environmental Law Institute found:
The federal government provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuels -- a mature, developed industry that has enjoyed government support for many years -- totaled approximately $72 billion over the study period, representing a direct cost to taxpayers.
Subsidies for renewable fuels, a relatively young and developing industry, totaled $29 billion over the same period. [Environmental Law Institute, September 2009]
Senate Republicans Blocked Attempt To Repeal Oil And Gas Industry-Specific Subsidies. Contrary to Gerard's claim that people are talking simply about not allowing the oil and gas industry to take advantage of tax "provisions applied to all industry," the Senate considered a bill that would repeal many tax breaks that benefit only the oil and gas industry. Although a majority of senators voted for the bill, it was blocked by a filibuster on a near-party-line vote. The bill would have repealed tax breaks such as:
President Obama Has Also Called For Repeal Of Other Oil And Gas Industry-Specific Subsidies. As noted by PolitiFact, in his fiscal year 2010 budget, Obama outlined "nine different measures under the category 'eliminate oil and gas company preferences.'"
President Obama proposed many changes to the U.S. tax code when running for office, including eliminating oil and gas tax loopholes.
When he unveiled his first budget outline on Feb. 26, 2009, he included a number of measures that would revoke tax advantages for oil companies.
The budget outline calls for nine different measures under the category "Eliminate oil and gas company preferences." Among other things, the outline says the Obama administration will "levy excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas (limits excess royalty relief)," "repeal enhanced oil recovery credit," "repeal marginal well tax credit," "repeal expensing of intangible drilling costs," and "repeal deduction for tertiary injectants." [PolitiFact.com, 5/18/11]
Previously, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer misinformed the public on a National Labor Relations Board complaint that Boeing illegally moved jobs away from a unionized facility, claiming that "paying off the unions to [President Obama] is more important than a healthy export economy." Krauthammer spread more falsehoods in a Washington Post column in which he suggested that the NLRB is a political organization "trying to get the [South Carolina] plant declared illegal" because "Democrats need unions."
Krauthammer: The National Labor Relations Board Is"Stacked With Democrats" And "Retaliating Against" Boeing For "ChoosingRight-To-Work South Carolina." From Krauthammer's Washington Post column:
But Democraticfealty to unions does not stop there. Boeing has just completed a productionfacility in South Carolina for its new 787 Dreamliner. The National LaborRelations Board, stacked with Democrats --including one former union lawyerconsidered so partisan that he required a recess appointment afterthe Senate refused to confirm him -- is trying to get the plant declaredillegal. Why? Because by choosing right-to-work South Carolina, Boeingis accused ofretaliating against its unionized Washington state workers for previousstrikes.
Moreover, the idea thata company in a unionized state can thus be prohibited from expanding intoright-to-work states by a partisan regulatory body is quite insane. It violatesthe fundamental principle in a free-market economy that companies can move andbuild in response to market conditions, rather than administrative fiat. Itjeopardizes the economic recovery, not only targeting America's single largest exporterin its attempt to compete with Airbus for a huge global market, but alsothreatening any other company that might think of expanding in any waydispleasing to unions and their NLRB patrons.[The Washington Post, 6/16/11]
KrauthammerPreviously Claimed Obama Is "Paying Off The Unions," Which "IsMore Important [To Him] Than A Healthy Export Economy." [FoxNews, Special Report, 6/14/11, via Media Matters]
Complaint Against Boeing Was Brought On Behalf Of TheNLRB Acting General Counsel, Who Is "Independent From The [NLRB]." Thecomplaint against Boeing was not brought by Becker or any other NLRB boardmember. Rather, it was brought by a National Labor Relations Board regionaldirector on behalf of "the Acting General Counsel of the National LaborRelations Board." As stated on the NLRB's website, "The GeneralCounsel, appointed by the President to a 4-year term, is independent from theBoard." [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's officecomplaint, 4/20/11; NLRB.gov,accessed 6/21/11]
Federal Law Gives Independent General Counsel "FinalAuthority" Over "Investigation Of Charges And Issuance Of Complaints." Fromthe National Labor Relations Act:
There shall be aGeneral Counsel of the Board who shall be appointed by the President, by andwith the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of four years. TheGeneral Counsel of the Board shall exercise general supervision over allattorneys employed by the Board (other than administrative law judges and legalassistants to Board members) and over the officers and employees in theregional offices. He shall have final authority, on behalf of the Board, inrespect of the investigation of charges and issuance of complaints undersection 160 ofthis title, and in respect of the prosecution of such complaints before theBoard [29 U.S.C. § 143, accessed 6/21/11, via Law.Cornell.edu]
NLRB's Acting General Counsel Solomon Is A Career CivilServant Who Has Worked For Republican Members Of The NLRB. Beforebeing named acting NLRB general counsel by President Obama in 2010, LafeSolomon spent nearly 30 years as a National Labor Relations Board member,working in both the general counsel's office and as a staff member for variousboard members. Half of the board members for whom Solomon worked are identifiedby the NLRB's website as Republicans. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/21/11; NLRB.gov,accessed 6/21/11]
The Complaint Specifically Says Boeing Is Free To Make"Non-Discriminatory Decisions" About "Where Work Will BePerformed." Contrary to Krauthammer's claim that the complaintseeks to prohibit Boeing from "expanding into right-to-work states," thecomplaint states that it "does not seek to prohibit [Boeing]" fromhaving work performed in South Carolina or anywhere else as long as Boeing doesnot violate labor laws in making such decisions. From paragraph 13 of thecomplaint:
(a) As part of the remedy for theunfair labor practices alleged above in paragraphs 7 and 8, the Acting GeneralCounsel seeks an Order requiring Respondent to have the Unit operate its secondline of 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly production in the State of Washington,utilizing supply lines maintained by the Unit in the Seattle, Washington, andPortland, Oregon, area facilities.
(b) Other than as set forth inparagraph 13(a) above, the relief requested by the Acting General Counsel doesnot seek to prohibit Respondent from making non-discriminatory decisions withrespect to where work will be performed, including non-discriminatory decisionswith respect to work at its North Charleston, South Carolina, facility. [TheBoeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Alleges Boeing Decided To Transfer 787Production To SC Because Washington State Employees "Engag[ed] In ...Lawful Strikes." From paragraph 7 of the complaint:
(a) In or about October 2009, on adate better known to Respondent, but no later than October 28, 2009, Respondentdecided to transfer its second 787 Dreamliner production line of 3 planes permonth from the Unit to its non-union site in North Charleston, South Carolina.
(b) Respondent engaged in theconduct described above in paragraph 7(a) because the Unit employees assistedand/or supported the Union by, inter alia, engaging in the protected, concertedactivity of lawful strikes and to discourage these and/or other employees fromengaging in these or other union and/or protected, concerted activities.
(c) Respondent's conduct describedabove in paragraph 7(a), combined with the conduct described above in Paragraph6, is also inherently destructive of the rights guaranteed employees by § 7 ofthe Act. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
NLRB Fact Check: "The Complaint Explicitly StatesThat Boeing May Place Work Where It Likes." In response to anumber of news outlets "erroneously report[ing]" the Boeing case, theNLRB issued the following fact check stating that "Boeing may place workwhere it likes" "as long as the decision is not made for discriminatoryreasons." From the NLRB fact check:
Several news outlets haveerroneously reported in recent days that the National Labor Relations Board hasordered the Boeing Company to close its operations in South Carolina. [...] Infact, the complaint issued on April 20 by the Acting GeneralCounsel does not seek to have the South Carolina facility closed. It seeksto halt the transfer of a specific piece of production work due to allegationsthat the transfer was unlawfully motivated. The complaint explicitly statesthat Boeing may place work where it likes, including at its South Carolinafacility, as long as the decision is not made for discriminatory reasons.
In addition, the Board has not yetconsidered or ruled on the allegations in the complaint. Under the NLRB'sstatute, the General Counsel and the Board are separate and independent, withthe General Counsel functioning as prosecutor and the Board functioning as acourt. The case is scheduled to be tried before an administrative law judge,acting under the Board's authority. That decision could then be appealed to theBoard itself for its decision. (posted 4/26/11) [NLRB.gov,accessed 6/21/11]
Krauthammer: "Obama HasBeen Utterly Silent In The Boeing Affair" Because "Democrats Need Unions." From Krauthammer's Washington Post column:
Obamahas been utterly silent in the Boeing affair. Which is understood by all astacit approval. He's facing reelection next year. And Democrats need unions.
Ofcourse, unions need Democrats -- who deliver quite faithfully. In last year'snationwide "shellacking" of Democrats, for example, Wisconsin gave Republicanscontrol of both legislative chambers and elected a Republican governor who madeclear his intention to rein in public-sector union power. [The Washington Post, 6/16/11]
WH Press Secretary: "We DoNot Get Involved In Particular Enforcement Matters Of Independent Agencies." In response to a question on whether President Obamais "aware of the [NLRB Boeing] issue," White House Press Secretary Jay Carneysaid: "Well, it's obviously been in the news, so we are aware of it, but Iwould refer any questions about it to the NLRB because it is an independentagency, and we do not get involved in particular enforcement matters ofindependent agencies." From the May 11 press briefing:
Q Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, who chairs the President's Export Council, said theNational Labor Relations Board suit against his company for building a plant ina right-to-work state is a fundamental assault on capitalism. I'mwondering is the President aware of the issue, and does he think the governmentshould be involved in how businesses allocate capital or resources?
MR.CARNEY: Well, it's obviously been in the news, so we are aware of it, butI would refer any questions about it to the NLRB because it is an independentagency, and we do not get involved in particular enforcement matters ofindependent agencies.
Q The President has weighed in on outside issues before,though. I mean is this something -- it's also coming from someone who ischairing the Export Council, who's saying this is hurting job creation.
MR.CARNEY: I don't have a reaction to this from the President. And I think thefact that he's weighed in on outside issues doesn't mean that he will weigh inon an independent agency's enforcement action.
Andon the broader point about capitalism and our support for it, I just want toremind you that yesterday General Motors announced that it would hire 4,200workers at 17 of its plants around the country. It announced a $2 billioninvestment.
Thisis an industry that was on its back when the President took office, and he madea very unpopular decision to do what he thought was the right thing, which wasto save the American auto industry, and to do it in a way -- to put taxpayermoney on the line to save that industry, but to make sure that in taking thataction, that the companies involved would restructure themselves in a way thatwould make them what they have become, which is profitable, successful leadersin the automotive industry.
AndI think another thing I would point out is that -- very encouraging news --there was from the American Enterprise Institute, a blog post by Mark J. Perry,professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the FlintCampus of the University of Michigan, in which he describes: "Theimpressive rebound in U.S. manufacturing. That rebound is shown by 7 percentgrowth in manufacturing in 2010, and 9 percent in the first quarter of 2011, aswell as the fact that more manufacturing jobs were created in the first fourmonths of this year than in any year since 1984." I think that's a verypositive sign for our economy. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/11/11]
The NLRB's General CounselHas Charged Boeing With Being In Violation Of Section 7 Of The NationalLabor Relations Act. In its case against Boeing, the NLRB general counsel'soffice has charged Boeing with violating Section 7 of the National LaborRelations Act, which the NLRB was designed to enforce. From paragraph 7 of thegeneral counsel's complaint against Boeing:
(a) Inor about October 2009, on a date better known to Respondent, but no later thanOctober 28, 2009, Respondent decided to transfer its second 787 Dreamlinerproduction line of 3 planes per month from the Unit to its non-union site inNorth Charleston, South Carolina.
(b) Respondentengaged in the conduct described above in paragraph 7(a) because the Unitemployees assisted and/or supported the Union by, inter alia, engagingin the protected, concerted activity or lawful strikes and to discourage theseand/or other employees from engaging in these or other union and/or protected,concerted activities.
(c) Respondent'sconduct described above in paragraph 7(a) combined with the conduct describedabove in paragraph 6, is also inherently destructive to the rights guaranteedemployees by §7 of the Act. [The Boeing Company NLRB generalcounsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Employees shall have theright to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, tobargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and toengage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargainingor other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrainfrom any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may beaffected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as acondition of employment as authorized in section 158 (a)(3) of this title. [29U.S.C. § 157, accessed 6/21/11, via Law.Cornell.edu]
The NLRB, Not ThePresident, Was Given The Power To Uphold Section 7 Of The National LaborRelations Act. According to Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act,which established the NLRB and defines its duties, the NLRB is given the taskof upholding Section 7 of the act. From the National Labor Relations Act:
§158. Unfair labor practices
(a)Unfair labor practices by employer
Itshall be an unfair labor practice for an employer --
(1) to interferewith, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed insection 157 of this title;
(2) to dominate orinterfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization orcontribute financial or other support to it: Provided, That subject to rulesand regulations made and published by the Board pursuant to section 156 of thistitle, an employer shall not be prohibited from permitting employees to conferwith him during working hours without loss of time or pay;
(3) by discriminationin regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition ofemployment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization:Provided, That nothing in this subchapter, or in any other statute of theUnited States, shall preclude an employer from making an agreement with a labororganization (not established, maintained, or assisted by any action defined inthis subsection as an unfair labor practice) to require as a condition ofemployment membership therein on or after the thirtieth day following thebeginning of such employment or the effective date of such agreement, whicheveris the later, (i) if such labor organization is the representative of theemployees as provided in section 159 (a) of this title, in the appropriatecollective-bargaining unit covered by such agreement when made, and (ii) unlessfollowing an election held as provided in section 159 (e) of this title withinone year preceding the effective date of such agreement, the Board shall havecertified that at least a majority of the employees eligible to vote in suchelection have voted to rescind the authority of such labor organization to makesuch an agreement: Provided further, That no employer shall justify anydiscrimination against an employee for nonmembership in a labor organization(A) if he has reasonable grounds for believing that such membership was notavailable to the employee on the same terms and conditions generally applicableto other members, or (B) if he has reasonable grounds for believing thatmembership was denied or terminated for reasons other than the failure of theemployee to tender the periodic dues and the initiation fees uniformly requiredas a condition of acquiring or retaining membership;
(4) to discharge orotherwise discriminate against an employee because he has filed charges orgiven testimony under this subchapter;
NLRB Is Also "Empowered" To"Prevent Any Person From Engaging In Any Unfair Labor Practice." From the National Labor Relations Act:
(a)Powers of Board generally
TheBoard is empowered, as hereinafter provided, to prevent any person fromengaging in any unfair labor practice (listed in section 158 of this title)affecting commerce. This power shall not be affected by any other means ofadjustment or prevention that has been or may be established by agreement, law,or otherwise: Provided, That the Board is empowered by agreement with anyagency of any State or Territory to cede to such agency jurisdiction over anycases in any industry (other than mining, manufacturing, communications, andtransportation except where predominantly local in character) even though suchcases may involve labor disputes affecting commerce, unless the provision ofthe State or Territorial statute applicable to the determination of such casesby such agency is inconsistent with the corresponding provision of thissubchapter or has received a construction inconsistent therewith. [29 U.S.C. §160, accessed 6/21/11, via Law.Cornell.edu,emphasis original]
Like The General Counsel,The National Labor Relations Board Also Functions As An Independent Agency. From the NLRB's website:
TheNational Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protectsthe rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without aunion, to improve their wages and working conditions. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/21/11]
Found at the science blog Pharyngula.
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A few weeks ago the right-wing Republicans in the House of Representatives made a huge mistake. They voted to abolish Medicare for anyone under the age of 55 years old, and replace it with a government voucher which would have to be used to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies. These vouchers would be woefully inadequate, because the private insurance companies don't want to insure the elderly (because they are almost guaranteed to get sick and need to use that insurance) and would make that insurance very expensive.
The current Medicare program covers ALL Americans 65 and older, but the Republican voucher system is guaranteed to leave many millions of low-income elderly people without any insurance at all, and would increase medical costs for those who could afford the private insurance. It's just a very bad deal for all of America's elderly (except for the rich).
And the American people know it's a bad deal. Every poll taken shows that huge majorities of Americans (of all ages) oppose the Republican plan to abolish Medicare (and regardless of Republican claims, that's exactly what their plan does). Even majorities of the people in their own party oppose the abolishing of Medicare and they have been quick to tell the GOP congressmen in their Town Hall meetings.
But the Republican congressmen are nothing if not stubborn. They refuse to admit they made a mistake in trying to abolish this very popular program. Instead they have started to lie about the plan they proposed. They say it does not abolish Medicare (even though it obviously does for everyone under 55). They say it would give the elderly the same choice in insurance that members of Congress have (a ludicrous suggestion at best). They say Medicare is doomed if their plan is not accepted (even though both Medicare and Social Security would be solvent far into the future by simply making the rich pay the same percentage as every other American does).
Now they are running TV ads putting forth these same lies. I saw this add several times just yesterday. I think they hope if they tell these lies long enough and loudly enough they can fool the people.
A group called the 60 Plus Association is shelling out $1.4 million dollars for the TV ads. This group calls themselves the "conservative alternative to the AARP", but they are more than just conservative -- they are way out on the right-wing fringe. One tip-off is that their national spokesman is fundie-right-wing nut-job and ex-celebrity Pat Boone (who made his career back in the sixties by stealing songs from Black artists).
The obvious question is where does this group get its funding. But don't expect to go to their website and find that out. They keep their donors secret. They do admit they have received donations ranging from $1 to $1,000,000, but refuse to divulge who gave them that money. They try to give the illusion that the money comes from donations by millions of elderly people, but if any of you believe that I've got some oceanfront property in Amarillo I'll sell you real cheap.
Personally, I smell the stench of money from John Birchers like the Koch brothers or fringe right-wing groups like FreedomWorks or the American Enterprise Institute (the same people who funded the teabaggers).
This silly group is nothing more than a front for rich right-wingers (who don't want to pay their fair share of taxes). And these TV ads are nothing more than an effort to lie to the American people and propagandize for the GOP plan to abolish Medicare. Don't believe their ridiculous lies!!!
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Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.
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