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[sticky post]Senate passes JOBS Act, with tweak - Seung Min Kim - POLITICO.com


The Senate on Thursday approved a package of bills that relaxes federal regulations to help boost small businesses and startup companies as the economy continues to recover.

Senators passed the JOBS Act on a 73-26 vote Thursday, two weeks after the House voted 390-23 to approve it. The measure is backed by President Barack Obama in a rare, election-year agreement in a polarized Washington.

But Democrats and several Republicans successfully changed the bill in a way they said would provide more stringent safeguards for investors. That means it now heads back to the House, instead of to the president’s desk for his signature.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was “grateful” for the vote and called on the House to swiftly pass the bill when it hits the floor early next week.

“We are heartened by the important investor protections added to the crowdfunding provision,” Carney said, “and will be vigilant in monitoring this and other elements to ensure the overall bill achieves its goal of helping entrepreneurs while maintaining protections for investors.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74363.html#ixzz1xjUZhUDt

Senate passes JOBS Act, with tweak - Seung Min Kim - POLITICO.com

Citigroup hasn’t paid taxes in 4 years, got $2.5 trillion from feds

Chris has gone on at length about the corporate “welfare queens” on Wall Street and the right (they’re almost always Republican) who took billions in federal bail out money in late 2008 and early 2009, and now turn around and tell the rest of us that we need to tighten our belts by cutting Medicare and Social Security, and increasing the age of eligibility for each program.

Just like the Republican wars, there’s always money to be found when corporations need a bailout.  But when American citizens need the support of their government, such as when they reach 65 and (hopefully) are able to retire, suddenly the money’s all gone (until the next war).

Citigroup is a perfect example.  Remember how shortly after the bailout Citi wanted to raise salaries as the entire country was losing jobs?  And how Citi wanted to pay one energy trader $100 million in 2009, in the midst of the crisis? And how later in 2009, Citigroup increased the salaries of its executives?  At the same time Citigroup just couldn’t say “no” to its employees, it jacked up interest rates exorbitantly on its own credit card customers.  See, it’s never a problem asking you to pay more.

From Senator Bernie Sanders, writing in the Huffington Post, we learn that Citigroup hasn’t paid federal taxes in four years.

In 2010, Bank of America set up more than 200 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands (which has a corporate tax rate of 0.0 percent) to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It worked. Not only did Bank of America pay nothing in federal income taxes, but it received a rebate from the IRS worth $1.9 billion that year. They are not alone. In 2010, JP Morgan Chase operated 83 subsidiaries incorporated in offshore tax havens to avoid paying some $4.9 billion in U.S. taxes. That same year Goldman Sachs operated 39 subsidiaries in offshore

50 Years Later, the Untold History of the March on Washington & MLK's Mo...
Don't Vote Republican!

Massachusetts’ Clean Economy Sees Massive Growth, Now Hosts 71,000 Jobs In Cleantech
Massachusetts’ Clean Economy Sees Massive Growth, Now Hosts 71,000 Jobs In Cleantech

Government investment and support for clean, renewable energy development is paying off handsomely in Massachusetts, where the clean energy economy grew 11.2% between July 2011 and July 2012. The state’s fast-growing clean energy sector now employs 71,523 people at 4,995 clean energy businesses across the state, according to a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) report released Aug. 16.

“I have said from the beginning of this Administration that, if we get clean energy right, the world will be our customer,” Governor Deval Patrick, who’s serving his second term in office, stated in a press release. “This past year’s 11.2 percent increase in clean energy jobs means that we are getting it right and the world knows it.

“Investing in our nation-leading clean energy agenda is the right thing to do for our environment, our energy independence, our public health and our economic vitality. We owe it to our future to keep this momentum going strong.”

Investing in Clean Energy Paying Off for Massachusetts

The 11.2% economic growth rate for Massachusetts’ clean energy sector is well above that of even rapidly industrializing countries, such as China. The 71,523 people employed at clean energy businesses recorded by MassCEC in its latest annual report are working in jobs directly related to the state’s clean energy sector. Signs indicate the growth will continue:

“Employers surveyed are optimistic about the coming year and expect to hire more workers in 2013,” MassCEC states in its press release. “Clean energy continues to maintain its place as one of the Commonwealth’s marquee industries, with 1.7 percent of the total Massachusetts workforce.”

MassCEC found that the state’s clean energy sector is a diversified one, with businesses involved in construction and manufacturing to research and development. In its “2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report,” MassCEC also “identified a large number of companies that don’t necessarily identify themselves as clean energy companies first, but directly engage in activity related to the clean energy sector — showing that clean energy penetrates numerous sectors of the Massachusetts economy.”

“This report is proof that Massachusetts’ innovation economy is succeeding,” said incoming MassCEC Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton McDevitt, who begins her term on August 20.

“The report affirms Massachusetts’ role as a national and global leader in clean energy development and deployment, and a success made possible by our talented workforce, world-class academic and research institutions, and Governor Patrick’s vision for a clean energy future in Massachusetts.”

For the report, a clean energy business “is defined as an employer engaged in whole or in part in providing goods and services related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation, and carbon management. Clean energy workers are defined as spending at least a portion of their time supporting the clean energy aspects of their businesses.”

Prepared by BW Research Partnership on behalf of MassCEC, the Massachusetts “2012 Clean Energy Industry Report” includes breakdowns of companies and employment by technology sector and geographic region, as well as information on workforce trends.

This piece was originally published at CleanTechnica and was reprinted with permission.

Watch a documentary that CAP produced on the boom in Massachusetts’ clean economy:

Farm bill divides Midwestern and Southern farmers - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate passage of a half-trillion dollar farm and food bill depends in part on resolving a dispute over subsidies between Southern rice and peanut growers and Northern corn and soybean producers. But that regional divide was less in evidence Wednesday, as senators narrowly voted to maintain price supports and quotas for sugar producers ranging from Florida to Montana.

Senators traditionally put their partisanship aside on farm bills, and this year is no different. But the five-year farm policy bill also makes dramatic changes in how farmers are protected from financial and natural disasters and, as in all major changes, some see themselves as losers. In this case, it's the Southerners.

The bill ends $5 billion a year in direct payments to farmers whether or not they actually plant a crop and programs that reward farmers when prices fall below a targeted level.

Instead, the government would offer a new "shallow loss" program to aid farmers when revenues fall between 11 percent and 21 percent below five-year moving averages and would put greater emphasis on subsidized crop insurance. Farmers' regular crop insurance would pay for losses above 21 percent.

Corn and soybean growers, which are more subject to natural disasters and rely on crop insurance, welcome the change. Rice and peanut growers, more affected by price fluctuations, say that for them the new safety net is inadequate.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said she is talking to the Southern growers and was "confident that by the end of this process, we will come to the middle." But she said that might not come until the House and Senate meet to iron out differences on their bills.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates this new shallow loss program could save taxpayers some $8.5 billion over the next five years compared with the current subsidy system. The entire bill, which also covers conservation and research programs, would reduce spending by $23.6 billion over the coming decade.

More than 200 amendments have been proposed to the bill, and in the first vote Wednesday the split was between sugar growers — both beet growers in the north and sugar cane growers in the South — and food and beverage companies and consumer groups who object to the depression-era sugar program that supports prices and protects growers from foreign competition.

The growers won, on a 50-46 vote to defeat an amendment to repeal the program. The farm bill does not touch the program, but opponents said it artificially restricts supplies, forces businesses and consumers to pay more for sugar products and only benefits about 4,700 generally well-off growers. Defenders of the program said it creates a stable marketplace for producers, that U.S. sugar prices are below those of other developed countries and that the program runs at no cost to taxpayers.

Fifteen Republicans joined 35 Democrats in voting against the amendment.

The Senate also voted 65-33 to defeat an amendment by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have drastically cut spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, and turned funding authority for the program over to the states.

Food stamps make up about 80 percent of the cost in the $100 billion-a-year bill. The Senate bill would cut the program now serving about 46 million people by $4 billion over the next decade — largely by targeting abuses. The Republican-controlled House would like to see a far bigger cut, mainly by tightening eligibility for food stamps.

Republican Sen. John Boozman, whose state of Arkansas is the nation's largest rice grower, said the Senate bill "will have a devastating impact on Southern agriculture." Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the national leader in peanut production, complained it "shoehorns all producers into a one-size-fits-all policy" that would force farmers to switch to crops that enjoy better coverage for losses.

The bill's two main sponsors, Stabenow and Agriculture Committee ranking Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas, defended their approach.

"People can always disagree with economists," Stabenow said on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers." ''But I guess what I would say is what we have put in place ... it's fair for every commodity."

"This is a different year, this is a year we have to change," Roberts said in the same interview, adding that was made clear to all the commodity groups.

But rice and peanut farmers argue that the crop insurance and the new shallow loss or Agriculture Risk Coverage programs are better fitted to crops such as corn, where natural disasters such as floods and droughts can cause far greater fluctuations in yields. Many rice farmers, who irrigate their crops and have more consistent yields, don't have crop insurance to protect them from yield loss, but they do have to cope with large swings in prices and high production costs.

Linda Raun, who runs a 1,000-acre rice farm southwest of Houston and chairs the USA Rice Producers Group, said direct payments have been their only safety net in the past. Without price protection, banks won't lend them money, she said. "We've got to have a farm program that allows us to become bankable."

Raun said production costs amount to about $1,000 an acre for rice. Because of a reliance on foreign export markets, prices can change rapidly. Currently prices for southern rice are not that good, unlike the strong prices enjoyed by corn and soybean growers.

A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Policy Institute at the University of Missouri in Columbia does show that rice and peanut growers who are the main beneficiaries of direct payments would lose more than 60 percent of their government support over the next decade under the new system.

But the same report also found that the shallow loss program was generally equitable among the major crop groups.

Southern senators are seeking to negotiate changes to the bill that would allow a choice between the Senate's current crop insurance and revenue protection programs and some modified form of existing target price program that compensates farmers when prices dip below a certain level and which is preferred by the rice and peanut growers. The bill already has a separate revenue insurance program tailored to the needs of cotton farmers.

If that fails, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has made clear that the yet-unwritten House bill will include an alternative to meet the concerns of those Southern planters.

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Farm bill divides Midwestern and Southern farmers - Yahoo! News

Rob Cox: Why Shareholders are Opposing Corporate Political Spending - The Daily Beast
Rob Cox: Why Shareholders are Opposing Corporate Political Spending - The Daily Beast

Olmos Foundation

Some unknown but alarming number of ultra-rich Americans are now basically totally delusional and completely divorced from reality. This is now an inescapable fact, confirmed by multiple media accounts of billionaire thought and an entire special issue of the New York Times Magazine.

Here’s a brief list of insane things that are apparently common knowledge among the billionaire class:

  • That President Obama and the Democratic Party have treated wealthy finance industry titans maliciously and unfairly.
  • That the fact that they are perversely wealthy and growing richer during a period of mass unemployment and staggering debt is a sign that the economy is functioning correctly.
  • That poor people, and not the finance industry, are responsible for the financial crisis and subsequent recession.
  • That the ultra-wealthy are wealthy because they are smarter and work harder than everybody else, and that they are resented for their success.
  • That the ultra-wealthy in general, and finance industry executives in particular, are the victims of widespread prejudice akin to that faced by ethnic minorities.

There can be no reasoning with people this irrational. Any attempt to do so will fail, as Barack Obama, whose main goal is to maintain, not upend, the system that made these people so disgustingly wealthy, is learning. It’s growing harder and harder to pretend that the fantastically wealthy have a sophisticated understanding of politics — or math, or economics, or cause-and-effect.The Times Magazine has the story of the Obama campaign’s difficulty in matching its record 2008 contributions from the finance sector. It contains this now surely infamous passage, a true marvel of that classic rich guy cocktail of self-pity mixed with self-regard:

One of the guests raised his hand; he knew how to solve the problem. The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich? Around the table, some people shook their heads in disbelief.

The problem with inequality in America, you see, is apparently that it has led to rhetorical attacks on the winners of the class war. Greg Sargent wrote, in response to this story: “One wonders if there is anything Obama could say to make these people happy, short of declaring that rampant inequality is a good thing, in that it affirms the talent and industriousness of the deserving super rich.”

I’m not sure even that would help, because there is already another presidential candidate who likely believes that. In the same issue of the Times Magazine, we have the story of Edward Conrad, a retired Bain Capital executive who is about to release a book (presumably against the wishes of his friend and former colleague Mitt Romney) arguing “aggressively” that massive wealth disparity is an unalloyed Good Thing. In fact, Conrad thinks “the wealth concentrated at the top should be twice as large.” (Paul Krugman does not think much of his argument.)

Conrad also detests charitable giving and has developed a statistical method for finding a spouse, because he is a sociopath. Because he is very wealthy, he is very used to his ideas being taken seriously — even economists offer him (qualified) praise. He is utterly convinced that his book will convince every serious person that wealthy finance industry titans not only deserve their wealth, but make society a better place for all. He has basically taken what is a gut feeling among his class and turned it into a philosophy and an argument.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument — for Republicans — for nominating Mitt Romney was that he is of this class. The fact that he is more comfortable in a boardroom than a Pizza Ranch is actually a major asset, because the Democrats had, since the Clinton years, gradually won over much of Wall Street, helping them to erode the GOP’s massive Reagan-era fundraising advantages. Romney can win that money back. Our friend Ed Conrad even created a shell corporation for the sole purpose of secretly donating $1 million to Romney’s super PAC. The Sunlight Foundation shows in Figure 5 here that the share of finance money going to Democrats skyrocketed during Clinton’s first term, and rose again in 2008. Clinton rewarded his super-rich donors with extensive deregulation — and they rewarded him by shifting the majority of their donations back to the GOP. (Finance, naturally, likes to chase winners: They give more to whichever party seems to be on the upswing, as Obama learned in 2010 and will learn again this year.)

They are one of those industries that is used to getting exactly what it always wants from Washington, because they essentially own both parties. (As opposed to say, oil and gas, ally of Republicans, or the entertainment industry, ally of Democrats.) So Dodd-Frank made them very, very mad. But not just mad: Confused, hurt, betrayed. There is a psychosocial element to the response, clearly on display in the story of the rich people who wish for a speech about how they are not evil. They are essentially spoiled children who have just been lightly reprimanded for the first time that they can remember.

In Memoriam of Those Who Died for the Right to Vote | Facebook

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were Mississippi civil rights workers who were lynched in Neshoba County, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.

Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were lynched shortly after midnight on June 21, 1964, after they had investigated the burning of a church that had agreed to support a Freedom School. Chaney was a local Freedom Movement activist in Meridian, MS; Schwerner was a CORE organizer there from New York; and Goodman, also from New York, was a Freedom Summer volunteer. The three had just finished week-long training in Oxford, Ohio, regarding strategies on how to register blacks in the South to vote. The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner demonstrated the dangers faced by civil rights workers in the South, especially during what became known as "Freedom Summer", dedicated to voter education and registration.

In Memoriam of Those Who Died for the Right to Vote | Facebook

NYT's Preston Notes AZ Immigration Law 'Intensely Unpopular Among Latinos Nationwide,' But It's Very

There are politically motivated hearings every day on Capitol Hill. So why did the New York Times single out one in particular for coverage? Likely because it was led by liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer and exploting the Times' favorite cause, the defense of illegal immigrants.

Immigration-beat reporter Julia Preston, one of the paper's most reliably pro-amnesty reporters, authored Wednesday's "Fierce Debate on Arizona Immigration Law on Eve of Supreme Court Hearing."

A day before the Supreme Court was to hear arguments on an Arizona statute that expanded the immigration enforcement powers of local police, the author of the law defended it in a Senate hearing under sharp questioning from Democrats, saying it “removes the political handcuffs from state and local law enforcement.”

Russell Pearce, a Republican who is the former president of the Arizona Senate, ventured into hostile terrain in a hearing called by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration. Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, also a Republican, turned down Mr. Schumer’s invitation to advocate for the law at the hearing.


As it appears increasingly possible that the court will uphold at least some of the disputed provisions, Mr. Schumer called the hearing as a showcase for the Democrats’ opposition to the law, which has been intensely unpopular among Latinos nationwide. He announced that if the Supreme Court upheld part or all of Arizona’s statute in its ruling, which is expected in June, he would introduce a bill to expressly prevent states from enacting their own immigration enforcement laws.

Senate staff members said that proposal would have little chance of passage, but it could serve as a rallying point for Democrats to appeal to Latino voters during the summer as the presidential race is fully under way.

Preston doesn't mention that the measure is broadly popular among all Americans. A new Quinnipiac poll noted: "The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn the 2010 health care law, voters say 49 -38 percent. And voters say 62-27 percent the Supreme Court should uphold Arizona's immigration law." Yet Preston continued to portray the popular bill as divisive:

Mr. Pearce, a fierce opponent of illegal immigration, wrote the statute, which passed in 2010. Caught in the uproar the law provoked among some voters, especially Latinos, he lost his Senate seat in a recall election last November.

Persistent questioning from Mr. Schumer put Mr. Pearce on the defensive at times, as the senator bore down on sections of the bill he said could lead the Arizona police to engage in racial profiling. The senator pointed to a training manual showing that the police were instructed to consider how a person was dressed and whether his vehicle was “heavily loaded” in developing a “reasonable suspicion” that he was an illegal immigrant.

The bitterness that the bill has provoked was on display. Dennis DeConcini, who was a Democratic United States senator from Arizona from 1977 to 1995, issued an apology to Latinos for the “harm” of the law. “I am embarrassed for my state,” he said.

Preston fails to label supporters of illegal immigrants as liberal organizations:

Around the country, immigrant advocate organizations were gearing up for protests and vigils. Immigrant groups in Los Angeles held a small rally on Tuesday in front of a federal court building downtown.

In a letter released Tuesday afternoon, religious leaders from a number of faiths called on President Obama to “reassert your authority” to stop states from enacting a patchwork of immigration laws, by working with Congress to pass a broad federal overhaul of the immigration system. Among those signing were Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

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#1 Illegal aliens are criminals,

Submitted by LAM SON 719 on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 12:37pm.

Illegal aliens are criminals, vote out every member of congress that supports the obama amnesty scam. America should not pay for this dirtbags, I don't care how long they have been here.

Non, je ne regrette rien. Vous, légionnaires, vous êtes soldats pour mourir, et je vous envoie où l’on meurt!

#2 Arizona's plight

Submitted by deadeyedan on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 1:47pm.

Arizona, a truly wonderful state, has been forced by lax federal enforcement of their own laws to put up with crippling expenses in its legal system and health care facilities.

Arizona has every right to defend itself, even if just because of the constitutional phrase "...will not permit of delay".

LIBERALISM - government of the people by the theories and for the ideologists

#3 So States cannnot enforce federal laws?

Submitted by c5then on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 2:03pm.

No State can enforce Federal drug laws? No State can enforce Federal banking laws? No State can enforce Federal Civil Rights laws? State police cannot arrest someone for violating a federal law?

The arguments against the Arizona law are laughable, at least they would be if the situation were not so dire.

The Constitution is CLEAR that the States are soverign entities that have only delegated some of their authority to the Federal Government. An authority that is delegated is still held by the original seat of that authority. A sheriff who delegates some of his authority to a couple of deputies, still holds that authority should he choose to exercise it. No one would argue that the sheriff could not enforce any of the laws that he has delegated to the deputies. That is exactly the argument that the side opposed to the Arizona immigration law is trying to make. They are arguing that if the Federal government chooses to not enforce some of it's own laws, the State is not entitled to step in and enforce it on it's own.

Part time Congress with term limits! - No more professional politicians. Let's start rebuilding the Republic! 

#4 O'bamanomics

Submitted by upcountrywater on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 2:55pm.

Unintended Consequences

My last tag line here..Video.. If I Wanted America to Fail.

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NYT's Preston Notes AZ Immigration Law 'Intensely Unpopular Among Latinos Nationwide,' But It's Very Popular Overall | NewsBusters.org

Department Of Justice Opens Probe In Bribery Allegations Against Walmart - Business Insider
Bloomberg is reporting the Department of Justice has opened a probe into bribery allegations exposed over the weekend by the New York Times.

David Welch, Thom Weidlich and Seth Stern report that federal investigators are looking into whether the retail giant violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by allegedly paying $24 million to local officials in Mexico to gain market share, citing  a person familiar with the probe.

Alisa Finelli, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment, Bloomberg said. John Nester an SEC spokesman, declined to comment earlier yesterday on whether the agency plans to investigate the Wal-Mart allegations.

According to governance specialists interviewed by Bloomberg, the investigations by the government and the company may prompt executive departures and U.S. penalties if it reveals senior managers didn’t take strong enough action.

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Follow Rob Wile on Twitter.Against Walmart - Business Insider