Showing posts from April 19, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

Donald Trump inauguration bankrolled by corporate giants, The Center for Pubic Integrity
BREAKING: Supreme Court Rules AGAINST Trump. Millions Affected. Learn Progress
New Evidence that Syrian Gas Story Was Fabricated by the White House, Naked Capitalism
Trump to overhaul visa program for high-skilled workers, The Hill [Overblown in most of the mainstream press. This is actually a 'review' which means: 1) delay, 2) a chance for vested interested to wade in.]
Trump congratulates Erdogan on referendum result despite international concerns, CBC News
US military considers shooting down North Korea missile tests, sources say, The Guardian

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet

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["Donald Trump is a creep and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite when it comes to climate change." *RON*]
Bill McKibben, The Guardian, 17 April 2017

Donald Trump is so spectacularly horrible that it’s hard to look away – especially now that he’s discovered bombs. But precisely because everyone’s staring gape-mouthed in his direction, other world leaders are able to get away with almost anything. Don’t believe me? Look one country north, at Justin Trudeau.

Look all you want, in fact – he sure is cute, the planet’s only sovereign leader who appears to have recently quit a boy band. And he’s mastered so beautifully the politics of inclusion: compassionate to immigrants, insistent on including women at every level of government. Give him great credit where it’s deserved: in lots of ways he’s the anti-Trump, and it’s no wonder Canadians swooned when he took over.

But when it comes to the defining issue of our da…

House Republican lashes out at constituent for saying his salary was paid by taxpayers

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[The US corporatocracy speaks: 'Bullcrap, I pay for myself.' *RON*]
Aaron Rupar, ThinkProgress, 14 April 2017

As a U.S. representative, Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) earns a salary of $174,000 per year. He seems to be confused about where that money comes from, however.

During a town hall event earlier this week, the third term congressman said the notion taxpayers pay his salary is “bullcrap.”

“You said you pay for me to do this — bullcrap, I pay for myself,” Mullin, who reportedly owns multiple companies under the umbrella of Mullin Plumbing, said. “I pay enough taxes where before I ever got there, and continue to for my company and pay my own salary.”

As the town hall attendees began to express outrage, Mullin continued: “This is a service. No one pays me to go. I do it as an honor, as a service.”

Mullin, who served on the Trump campaign’s Native American Coalition, later posted a video on Twitter where he seemed to obliquely address the controv…

New Research Shows Greediest Charter School Operators Looting Taxpayers Via Real Estate Deals

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[They run K-12 public schools, but reap private fortunes. Charter Schools are the love-child of Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education appointed by Donald Trump. *RON*]
Jennifer BerkshireHave You Heard / AlterNet, 12 April 2017

(Editor's note: A new report by some of the nation's foremost experts on self-enrichment schemes by charter school operators has compared the worst offenders to Enron, the Texas-based energy company with close ties to then-President George W. Bush that imploded a dozen years ago. Jennifer Berkshire, who writes the HaveYouHeard education blog, interviewed one of the report's authors, the University of Connecticut's Preston Green, about these real estate deals and other taxpayer rip-offs.)

Jennifer Berkshire: Our Secretary of Education is visiting a Florida charter school that is best known for being started by rap-u-preneur, Pitbull. But a lesser known true fact is that the school’s powerful and politically co…

Nearly a third of food samples in CFIA testing contain glyphosate residues

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[Levels of herbicide exceeded acceptable limits in 1.3% of all foods, 3.9% of grain products among 3,188 foods tested. *RON*]

CBC News, 15 April 2017
Canada's food regulator has found traces of the controversial herbicide glyphosate in nearly 30 per cent of about 3,200 food products it tested, and residue levels above the acceptable limits in 1.3 per cent of the samples.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's report on testing of glyphosate is titled "Safeguarding with Science: Glyphosate Testing in 2015-2016, and was published on its website this week. used to kill weeds, but can also be used to dry grains and legumes before they're harvested.

Government and scientific agencies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe consider glyphosate safe for humans at certain levels, but scientists and environmentalists around the world are skeptical, with numerous research studies connecting it to cancer concerns.

The CFIA tested 3,188 dom…

Bad actors in the financial industry want the fiduciary rule weakened Rule should be implemented as-is

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["The financial industry wants the rule weakened because they profit handsomely from being able to legally fleece retirement savers." *RON*]

Economic Policy Institute, Press Release, 17 April 2017

In a comment submitted to the Department of Labor, EPI Policy Director Heidi Shierholz argues that there is no basis for revising the fiduciary rule at this time. Instead, DOL should implement the rule as planned and conduct a detailed review in three to five years to assess its impacts and determine if any revisions are needed based on data from the actual experience of implementation

The fiduciary rule requires that financial professionals giving advice to people saving for retirement act in the best interest of their clients, and not steer them into investments that pay a higher commission but offer a lower rate of return. The financial industry wants the rule weakened because they profit handsomely from being able to legally fleece retir…