We lost this time

email from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), 12/18/14

Washington is rigged for those who can hire armies of lawyers and lobbyists. Last week, we got a close look at what really goes on.

House Republicans slipped a provision into the must-pass, omnibus budget package in a secret, closed-door deal. Citigroup lobbyists literally wrote the provision to weaken the new rules on Wall Street and make it easier for the biggest banks to get bailed out again in the future. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon personally called up members of Congress to lobby for their votes. Continue reading

The U.S. and Cuba

email from president Obama, 12/18/14

Yesterday, after more than 50 years, we began to change America’s relationship with the people of Cuba.

We are recognizing the struggle and sacrifice of the Cuban people, both in the U.S. and in Cuba, and ending an outdated approach that has failed to advance U.S. interests for decades. In doing so, we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Continue reading

A black hole for our best and brightest

by Jim Tankersley, Washington Post, 12/17/14

Wall Street is expanding, and the economy is worse off for it.

…In 2012, economists at the International Monetary Fund analyzed data across years and countries and concluded that in some countries, including America, the financial sector had grown so large that it was slowing economic growth. Using a different methodology, the most prominent researcher on the size and economic value of Wall Street, a New York University economist named Thomas Philippon, estimates that the United States is sinking nearly $300 billion too much annually into finance….

read the whole article at Washington Post

State grants should result in creation of jobs

editorial, Daily Local News, 12/16/14

In a perfect world, there would be no need for corporate welfare — no grants or loans paid by taxpayers to entice private companies to open new plants, offices or stores in particular communities.

Isn’t that why they call it the private sector? It’s supposed to run on private capital, right?

Well, the real world of economic development is far from perfect.

Elected officials hand out grants and loans that are supposed to help businesses create jobs in various communities.

But does such corporate welfare work?,,,

keep reading at Daily Local News

A ‘different kind’ of governor, Wolf pays his way

By Peter Jackson, Associated Press, Times Leader, 12/13/14

HARRISBURG — Tom Wolf, who promised in his election campaign to be “a different kind of governor” for Pennsylvania, is raising some eyebrows as he begins to demonstrate what that means.

The businessman-turned-politician disclosed this week that he will break with tradition and finance the transition from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration to Wolf’s new Democratic one by soliciting contributions from private sources.

Wolf’s transition team announcement was the latest decision to rattle the status quo in Harrisburg. He also won’t take a salary, live in the governor’s mansion or allow anyone in the executive branch to accept gifts….

keep reading at Times Leader

Sen. Elizabeth Warren vs. CityGroup

Click here to watch Senator Warren (D-MA) denounce CityGroup’s influence to keep US taxpayers on the hook for future bailouts of megabanks.

“We should break them up because they have too much political power” — President Theodore Roosevelt (at 7:28)

“Washington already works really well — for the billionaires and the big corporations and the lawyers and the lobbyists. But what about the families who their homes or their jobs or their retirement savings…?” — Elizabeth Warren (at 8:57).

SCIENCE DENIERS TAKE OVER THE U.S. SENATE

excerpt from Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection newsletter, November/December 2014, p. 4:

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is expected to take
over the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee.
She says the climate is changing (hard to deny
when you live in Alaska), but blames it on a
volcano in Iceland which scientists fact checked as
nonsense. James Inhofe, who has written a book
on climate change called “The Greatest Hoax” and
says that only God can change the climate, will
likely become chair of the Senate Environment and
Public Works Committee, and fellow denier Ted
Cruz will likely chair the Committee on Science and
Technology.