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Daily Kos Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:03 GMT  

Open thread for night owls: In last 30 years, Americans have gotten poorer
Mitt Romney and Bain buddies, before they sought membership in the victim class (the one that does not pay federal income taxes)
Most, not all.
In the last thirty years, most Americans have gotten poorer.
US net worth rose considerably over that period, which is what you would expect to see. Technology has improved and productivity increased, so society has a greater capacity for wealth building. America was also quite a bit older on average in 2013 than it was in 1983, so average wealth should have gone up.

But all of these gains went to the top 20 percent of the population. It's worse than that, actually. Over 100 percent of the gains went to the top 20 percent, because the bottom 60 percent of the population got poorer.

Much of the blame can be placed on the great recession and a sharp decline in home values, the primary savings vehicle for many Americans. All of the blame can be placed on policy decisions from the Reagan era to the Clinton era to the economic collapse and onward that have valued wealth-building by the upper classes (read: investment, capital gains, corporate offshoring) as a conspicuously more privileged enterprise than the wealth-building efforts of the lower classes (read: labor, pensions), and which seek to manage both tax policy and overall economic policy with an eye towards advantaging that investor class over that laboring classes.

But no, you're not imagining things. Despite sharply increased productivity and economic growth, the majority of non-wealthy Americans have ended up poorer. Not only has that been a the result of explicit policy choices dismantling wealth-building efforts by the lower classes, it's one that has continued with no meaningful adjustments even after the economic collapse. You may consider sixty percent of America to be a valuable part of the nation, or at least a respectable part of the nation, but as of the 2012 elections most of them were still being dismissed by presidential candidates as moochers who would do better if they weren't being coddled so much. If we only let the reins loose on the top percentage of Americans so that they could bring their growth to the rest of us, every single sodding conservative voice since the Reagan era has vowed no matter how much we had previously loosened those reins or how little it boosted the economic prospects of everyone else, we would finally be getting somewhere.

Hasn't happened yet. Hasn't happened ever. And now most Americans are worse off than they were thirty years ago, and a single wealthy family is planning out how to best spend something close to a billion dollars on their personal efforts to get their preferred candidate installed in the White House, because if we just got government and the little people off their backs they could finally get some things done around here.

Honestly, it's enough to make a person want to go out and buy some pitchforks.



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009GOP 100% Against Economic Recovery:

Not a single vote in favor of the economic recovery plan passed today by the House. Nobody expected overwhelming GOP support. But for every single Republican member to oppose a new economic recovery plan?

After the 2008 election, that's just stunning.

But perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. It's the same thing that happened in 1993, when not a single Republican voted for Clinton's stimulus bill after the first George Bush's presidency.

Hopefully the economy rebounds just as strongly this time as it did back then.


Tweet of the Day
Now that Ted Cruz is running the NASA committee they've reopened the Challenger investigation and determined it was, in fact, Obama's fault.
@JohnFugelsang


On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin re-enacts his APR for radio. Cook's 2016 brackets. AL's 1st openly gay legislator says she'll expose affairs of marriage equality opponents. And AL's Chief Justice Roy Moore doesn't believe in courts. Reid trolls McConnell. Why won't the Kochs stop leading? Good reasons not to vaccinate. "The Netenyahu Disaster." Is it baffling that MMA fights are illegal in NY? Gun rights vs. property rights. No PB&J in school, but unvaccinated kids A-OK! More on "scam PACs." Joan McCarter visits to update us on the Lynch hearing, new GOP subpoena rules, GOP governors disguising Medicaid expansions, and ID's "Add the Words" campaign.


High Impact Posts. Top Comments

Pensito Review Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:04 GMT  

Blizzard of 2015
There once was a storm on Nantucket, When the snow came down by the bucket. "We just got some inches," Said those New York bitches, "So go on, Nantucket, and suck it!"

There once was a storm on Nantucket,
When the snow came down by the bucket.
“We just got some inches,”
Said those New York bitches,
“So go on, Nantucket, and suck it!”


http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/feed/ Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:04 GMT  


ThinkProgress Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:04 GMT  

Surveillance Video Raises Questions About 17-Year-Old Girl Fatally Shot By Cops At Police Station

The Longview Police released surveillance footage capturing the final moments of Kristiana Coignard's life.

The post Surveillance Video Raises Questions About 17-Year-Old Girl Fatally Shot By Cops At Police Station appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Kristiana Coignard

Kristiana Coignard

CREDIT: Courtesy of Heather Robertson

The Longview Police released surveillance footage capturing the final moments of Kristiana Coignard’s life. The 17-year-old was fatally shot by two police officers in the lobby of the Longview Police Department.

Coignard struggled with mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder, since her mother died when she was four. She had been hospitalized twice in recent years after suicide attempts. But according to her aunt, Heather Robertson, she had been regularly seeing a counselor and taking medication since she moved in with Robertson in December.

The video captures most of the incident at a considerable distance and contains no audio but does raise questions about whether police had an opportunity to defuse the situation prior to the shooting. For several minutes before Coignard was shot, one officer appeared to have her effectively controlled and immobilized. The other officer who fatally shot Coignard had been on the scene for less than five seconds.

The silent video is nearly 25 minutes long. (Coignard’s aunt was told by police that video footage that includes audio exists.) The first officer, Glenn Derr, arrives on the scene at the 7:38 mark. By 8:00 some sort of struggle commences between Derr and Coignard. Just 15 seconds later, Derr appears to have Coignard subdued, pinned on a bench, and she appears to be motionless for more than a minute. Coignard starts kicking again but goes limp a few seconds later. After another minute, officer Derr appears to help Coignard up off the bench. But he almost immediately tackles her. At the 10:30 mark of the tape, Coignard is facedown on the ground and Derr appears to have her arms pinned behind her back.

Derr quickly gets off her back but Coignard remains on the ground. At this point, Derr appears to have his gun drawn. At 10:50, the second officer, Gene Duffie, arrives in the lobby. Coignard gets back up. At 11:05, a third officer, identified as Grace Bagley enters.

Three seconds later, Coignard runs toward Derr. Longview Police Chief Don Dingler says she was wielding a butcher knife, although it is hard to make out in the video. (Dingler also say that Coignard had the words “I have a gun” written on her hand.) According to police, Officer Duffie first deployed his Taser but it had “no effect.” But about a second after Coignard began charging it appears that shots were fired. Derr fired at Coignard three times and Bagley, who had been on the scene less than five seconds, fired twice.

Coignard immediately fell to the ground. Medical attention did not arrive for nearly six minutes. It doesn’t appear that any of the officers attempted CPR during that time.

In an interview with ThinkProgress last Sunday, before the tape was released, Robertson raised questions about the circumstances of Coignard’s death. “I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us,” Robertson said.

The post Surveillance Video Raises Questions About 17-Year-Old Girl Fatally Shot By Cops At Police Station appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Attorney General Nominee Will Not Support Marijuana Legalization

Bad news for marijuana fans.

The post Attorney General Nominee Will Not Support Marijuana Legalization appeared first on ThinkProgress.

shutterstock_207279334

CREDIT: Shutterstock

On day one of her confirmation hearing to become the country’s next Attorney General, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch took an explicit stance against marijuana legalization.

When asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) if she supports legalization, Lynch responded “No I do not.” When Sessions probed her on President Obama’s position on marijuana, Lynch continued, “I can tell you that not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as Attorney General.”

The Justice Department’s current policy, as Lynch notes, does not extend to full legalization. Nevertheless, the department has taken significant steps to roll back prosecutions of marijuana users (and even, in some cases, distributors) who comply with state law. Fully legalizing marijuana would require an act of Congress (although the Obama Administration could take even more significant steps in that direction by rescheduling the drug).

Current federal law states that marijuana use is a federal offense, despite state efforts to legalize and decriminalize it. In recent years, there has been a push for pot’s medicinal use. More than 75 percent of all doctors say they would prescribe marijuana for health purposes. And nationwide, activists contend that decriminalizing and legalizing possession will benefit African-Americans who face racial disparities across the criminal justice system. According to the ACLU, black people are 3.73 more likely to be arrested than white people who use cannabis.

Lynch’s stance counters growing support for marijuana legalization nationwide. More than 50 percent of Americans favor legalization, including a growing contingent of law enforcement officials. Indeed, Police Chief Cathy Lanier of D.C., believes a policy shift will actually make officers’ jobs easier by allowing them to concentrate on public safety.

Watch Lynch’s exchange below:

The post Attorney General Nominee Will Not Support Marijuana Legalization appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Scotland Just Announced An Indefinite Ban On Fracking

The fracking ban is said to allow for time for the government to conduct public opinion polling and conduct a public health assessment on the controversial process.

The post Scotland Just Announced An Indefinite Ban On Fracking appeared first on ThinkProgress.

shutterstock_217438459

CREDIT: shutterstock

The Scottish government has announced that it will place a temporary ban on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing reportedly told the country’s parliament that the ban would allow for time for the government to conduct a public health assessment on the process. The decision and rationale closely resembles that of former New York Governor David Paterson, who in 2008 imposed a moratorium on fracking in the state pending a full-scale public health study. That moratorium lasted six years, and ended with current Gov. Andrew Cuomo banning the practice.

Fracking is a technique used by drilling companies to make oil and gas flow more easily out of the ground. It involves blasting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals underground to crack, or “fracture,” underground shale rock, thereby releasing oil and gas to flow back to the surface.

Ewing reportedly said that banning the practice temporarily would give time to hear both sides of the issue — an issue which, at least in the U.S., has been fraught with emotion. Opponents of the technique say there is not enough science on the long-term public health or environmental risks of fracking, and that the process contributes to accidental releases of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Advocates say the process is safe, and that it boosts the economy.

“I want to ensure that the voices of the communities likely to be most affected are heard, and are heard in a more formal and structured way,” Ewing said, the Scottish newspaper The Herald reported. “Given the importance of this work, it would be inappropriate to allow any planning consents in the meantime.”

According to The Herald, a recent survey of 1,000 Scots found that 40 percent were against fracking, while 25 percent were in favor of it. Approximately 11 percent said they would be in favor of fracking, but “not in my backyard”, while nearly another 25 percent said they were not sure whether the process should go forward.

Scotland describes its approach to energy policy as one that encourages economic growth while aiming to gradually reduce its carbon emissions. “Energy use is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions, emissions which threaten the sustainability of our planet,” a government document describing Scotland’s energy policy states. “Energy policy can contribute to economic growth while at the same time helping ensure that growth is sustainable.”

The country has worked toward achieving that policy by investing heavily in renewable energy, most notably the wind and wave industries. Just a few months ago, Scotland’s branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that the country’s wind turbines generated enough electricity this past October to power 3,045,000 homes in the U.K. — more than enough for all the homes in Scotland. The country is also in the process of building what it hopes will be the world’s biggest tidal array, which when completed is projected to provide enough electricity to power 175,000 homes.

Despite its goals, however, Scotland is not solely a renewable energy economy. Quite the contrary. In fact, Scotland is the EU’s largest petroleum producer, its economy largely fueled by offshore drilling in the North Sea.

Scotland also routinely misses its yearly emissions reductions targets, though that’s likely because the country’s targets are unprecedentedly ambitious. Indeed, Scotland has reduced its carbon emissions by 26.4 percent since 1990, and maintains that it is on track to achieve a 42 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The U.K. as a whole is hoping to replace a fifth of its aging coal and gas plants with renewable energy by 2020, and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

The post Scotland Just Announced An Indefinite Ban On Fracking appeared first on ThinkProgress.


PoliticusUSA Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:05 GMT  

Desperate Republicans Are Trying To Recruit Elizabeth Warren To Run Against Hillary Clinton
Republicans are so worried about Hillary Clinton that they are trying to recruit Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to run against the former Secretary of State.

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SCOTUS, Interrupted: Wolf PAC Takes Citizens United Repeal To The States
Enter Wolf PAC. A grassroots effort spawned by the enormously popular Young Turk Network, Wolf's mission is boldly simple. Per the group's website, "We must reverse Citizens United, Restore our Democracy, and Save the Republic."

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Attorney General nominee defends Obama immigration changes
Confronting skeptical Republicans, attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch pledged a new start with Congress and independence from President Barack Obama Wednesday, even as she defended the president's unilateral protections for millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

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Paul Krugman Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:05 GMT  

Whitewashing the Crazy, Fed Edition
What the anti-Fed people have really been saying.
Thinking About the New Greek Crisis
Notes on the precipice.
The Tyranny of Greece Over Germany
Did bad luck produce perverse policy?

Media Matters for America - Latest Items Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:05 GMT  

MSNBC's Chris Hayes Highlights Conservative Media Criticism Of Sarah Palin Following Iowa Speech

From the January 28 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes:


Right Wing Watch Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:05 GMT  

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/28/15

http://blog.buzzflash.com/rss.xml Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:11:05 GMT  


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liberal adj.
  • Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
  • Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
  • Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.




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