«

»

Jan 25 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial: A Hidden Threat in the Farm Bill

The mammoth farm bill is reportedly near a conference compromise in Congress, bristling with more tragic cuts in the food stamp program for the needy and a revision of lucrative commodity subsidies for mostly big farmers. Running below the radar is a dangerous, broadly written amendment that would threaten states’ current powers to enact their own agricultural standards – standards that can extend far beyond farmyards to consumer, worker and environmental safety. [..]

The National Conference of State Legislatures has properly urged rejection of the amendment because it would pre-empt assorted local agricultural policies vital in protecting “our farmland, waterways, forests and most importantly, the health and welfare of our constituents.” The group warned that existing laws on invasive pests and livestock disease and standards of seed and food protection would be open to challenge, abrogating states’ rights guaranteed under the Constitution. States vary, with some requiring the labeling of farm-raised fish, the banning of specific pesticides, and cross-border protections against Dutch elm disease and other threats.

John Nichols: Who Backs the TPP and a ‘NAFTA on Steroids’? Nobody Even Slightly Progressive

If President Obama uses his State of the Union address to launch a major push for “fast-track” authority to bypass congressional input and oversight on a sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, he will need new allies to generate support around the country. [..]

In fact, if Obama decides to ramp up his advocacy for a free-trade strategy that progressive Americans tend to see as a threat to workers, farmers, the environment, human rights and democracy, he won’t be able to count on many traditional allies to stir up grassroots support in the states. That’s one of the reasons there remains considerable uncertainty about whether the president really will-in a speech that is expected to focus on income equality-spend substantial time talking up a trade agenda that has drawn broad opposition from House and Senate Democrats and so much of his base.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Crime Doesn’t Pay? JPMorgan Chase Begs to Differ

What do you give a Wall Street CEO who has presided over a decade of fraud and criminality, who directly supervised a unit that lost $6 billion through incompetent and illegal trading, and whose reign of crime and mismanagement has cost his institution $20 billion in the last year alone — a figure that undoubtedly would’ve been much larger in a less morally compromised regulatory environment?

If you are the Board of Directors of JPMorgan Chase, you give him a raise.

Let’s not mince words: Jamie Dimon’s bank is, as we said last May, the scandal of our time. The crimes committed during Dimon’s time in senior management include bribery, mortgage fraud, investor fraud, consumer fraud, credit card fraud, forgery, perjury, violation of sanctions against Iran and Syria, violation of laws prohibiting the bilking of active-duty service members … shall we continue?

The Captain and Tennile are getting divorced. But when it comes to the Board and Jamie, love will keep them together.

Robert Naiman: Vermont’s Senator Sanders Is Right: Use War Money to Take Care of Veterans

Sometimes Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders does something that reminds us that it does actually matter that he’s an Independent in the best sense of the word: thinking for himself, not accepting the DC “conventional wisdom” that often defines the limits of reform.

Now, Bernie’s done it again, proposing to use war funding to pay for veterans’ benefits, with the most politically salient feature of his proposal being its reversal of the military pension cuts included in the Ryan-Murray budget deal. [..]

Economists Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have long argued that we fundamentally undercount the cost of war if we exclude the cost of caring for veterans afterwards. The future cost of caring for veterans is a fundamental cost of war, and honest budgeting would include it in accounting for war cost.

Kimi Naidoo: Message to World Elites: Don’t Bet on Coal and Oil Growth

A mind-boggling sum of about US$ 800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. That’s roughly 10% of the total capital invested in listed companies. The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at US$ 5.5 trillion.

By keeping their money in coal and oil companies, investors are betting a vast amount of wealth, including the pensions and savings of millions of people, on high future demand for dirty fuels. The investment has enabled fossil fuel companies to massively raise their spending on expanding extractable reserves, with oil and gas companies alone (state-owned ones included) spending the combined GDP of Netherlands and Belgium a year, in belief that there will be ongoing demand for dirty fuel.

Michelle Chen: Capitalists for a Higher Minimum Wage

A Silicon Valley multimillionaire and conservative pundit wants to give his state’s poorest workers a raise. Huh?

Entrepreneur Ron Unz, known for his reactionary views on immigration (along with controversial commentary on race, crime, IQ and social policy), is campaigning for a state ballot measure to lift California’s minimum wage to $12-well above the $10 minimum currently set to take effect in 2016 (and a giant step above the federal wage floor of $7.25).

Some progressives might be puzzled that Unz, who in the late 1990s famously pushed a ballot measure to scrap bilingual education programs in California, has taken on this populist fight, albeit with an odd neo-Fordist air.

Of course, the Right’s resistance to this has never been realistic; empirical research shows that lifting the federal minimum wage could boost earnings for a third of the country’s workforce and drive broad economic growth. The opposition is mostly ideological, based on overblown charges that high labor costs will harm employers, along with the business community’s general antipathy toward state regulation of wages.

1 ping

Comments have been disabled.