Wednesday, December 10, 2014

So, banks are too big to fail, but, pensions are becoming too small to live on.

December 10, 2014
By John W. Schoen

...Last year, the PBGC (click here) reported that its program backing multiemployer plans was $5 billion in the red. It projected that—unless Congress acted—there was "about a 35 percent probability" its assets would be exhausted by 2022 and "about a 90 percent probability" by 2032.
Single-employer pension plans are covered by a separate PBGC program that is on a much more solid financial footing.
Proponents of the proposed PBGC reforms argue that they will help prevent more multiemployer plans from going under and that retirees are better off with smaller monthly payments than none at all.
"We have a plan here that first and foremost works for the members of the unions, the workers in these companies, and it works for the companies," said George Miller, D-Calif., who was involved in talks with Republicans over the pensions provisions.
But critics contend that the issue is too complex to be resolved with a last-minute rider to a $1.1 trillion spending bill....

There are many in the USA that would like to see the Bush administration prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

By John Heilprin
Dec. 10, 2014

GENEVA (AP) — All senior U.S. officials (click here) and CIA agents who authorized or carried out torture like waterboarding as part of former President George W. Bush's national security policy must be prosecuted, top U.N. officials said Wednesday...

With this document from the US Senate the Attorney General may be able to proceed, however, he would be the only that can address the potential of such a court. No doubt the US Supreme Court would be involved along the way. It would be best of the prosecutions were conducted in the USA rather than the world court. It would make a stronger impression upon the country if that was carried out here. The World Court, if acting alone, would be viewed as a runaway international exercise the USA should never subscribe to. 

I suggest the USA be given a nudge in the direction of taking action. It would be incredible if The World Court and/or any United Nations action could move the USA to prosecutions. It would be a joint effort and it would not be simply US Democrats seeking revenge or some strange idea as that. If the global community could find an instrument to make it clear the USA has an obligation to indict and try criminals of this nature it would serve as a greater wake up call. If the urging came from allies as well as the greater international community it would carry even more brevity.

Cheney has been the guest of nearly ever program on FOX for the past 24 hours. He must feel the devil's fire lapping up against him by now. The only reason he has been at the forefront of the release of the findings is because propaganda works or should I say has worked for the right wing extremists.

Cheney must be having some regrets, because, as he was speaking at FOX he stated, of course, he and George Bush knew everything that existed in the proceedings of the CIA. Including Bush in his statements creates a comrade to the torture. Maybe since he was Vice President it would mean he didn't carry the burden. But, Richard Cheney needs to speak for himself. If or is it when prosecution goes forward he'll realize he has very few friends, including the former president.

The Bush administration's indictment and prosecution would have to be conducted before any impeachment. The impeachment of these men would be a side proceedings and not the main justice sought.

I will say this much, these men were extremely in capable in their capacities during the years following September 11th. They were set on building enormous infrastructure to protect the American people which included the torture of individuals found to be involved in the attacks. I never believed for one minute the spending for more and more intelligence was necessary so much as a political directive to be sure the duo would win a second term.

The Washington Post wrote about the investigation into the intelligence infrastructure that grew in the USA following the attacks under the Bush White House. It was incredible to realize nearly every neighborhood in the country had some kind of person working in the surveillance of the USA. I got the clue from that Washington Post investigation that the only sure way for the White House to prevent another 911 was to spawn vasts amounts of infrastructure to catch the next attack. In contrast, New York City's police department set up a monitoring system that would require no one else in the country to assist in protections for the city. That network of infrastructure does not dominate the New York Experience or require intricate infrastructure. According to NYC it works, too.

Prosecution of these people won't happen unless there is significant pressure from the global community in what ever it takes. And I mean that. The nations of the world need to decide how to proceed and bring about a resolve to do so. The world needs these prosecutions. It was a horrible eight years and all one has to do is realize Iraq is in complete disarray with little to no hope of finding a civilized front for any religious or ethnic differences. For God Sake, the Ba'athists have created their own genocide machine. 

The world's sanity needs to be reset. But, more than the world the USA needs to find a clear way forward that will end such problems in the future. I promise you and the world will witness it themselves, the political right wing in the USA thinks nothing of killing or torture or war. They embrace it and never stop to realize the consequences as manifested in the former Iraq today.

It is all corruption. There is nothing the Republicans have done to protect citizens from exploitation by their cronies.

Dec. Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Congress (click here) will vote this week on a $1.1 trillion spending plan that would avert a U.S. government shutdown as Democrats agreed to roll back rules affecting banks, clean water and rest for truckers.
The deal was announced late yesterday after Democrats accepted Republican demands to undo some regulations including the banking provision, a big victory for Wall Street. It lets JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and other lenders keep swaps trading in units with federal backstops...
...While most of the government would be funded through September 2015, the Department of Homeland Security would be financed only through Feb. 27. Republicans want to the use the agency's spending bill to defund President Barak Obama's decision to ease deportation rules for millions of undocumented immigrants....

Until the final bill is written and passed there is no way of knowing what in particular is said about any of these provisions. From what I see now, most of the provisions are anti-American. 

...The Dodd-Frank Act (click here) divides regulatory authority over swap agreements between the CFTC and SEC (though the prudential regulators, such as the Federal Reserve Board, also have an important role in setting capital and margin for swap entities that are banks)....

Democratic votes will be needed to pass the bill and to that end they are stating many of the most damaging provisions have been averted. If these aren't the most damaging provisions, I'd hate to know what are.

...In addition to the Dodd-Frank measure on swaps trading, the new spending bill would allow exceptions to clean-water laws for agricultural refuse, and block funding for rules to tax and regulate marijuana in the District of Columbia....

...The provision would temporarily suspend rules that took effect last year while a study is conducted about the number of trucks driven on congested roads. Under the change, truckers would be able to work as many as 82 hours a week....

82 hours is insane. There are only 168 hours in a week, allowing for 8 hours rest per day, leaves 112 hours for living. If 82 hours of that is spent driving, there is 40 hours per week for commuting, shopping, being with the kids and some sort of family activities. It's crazy. They have taken a 40 hour work week into the personal time of truck drivers.

That doesn't even begin to address fatigue and safety on the road. One of the key factors Jeb Bush has in his crony bag of tricks for the election of 2016 is passing legislation to provide DRIVERLESS trucks on the road. We now see why, human beings actually have limited capacity to provide for truck operations 24-7.

According to "All Trucking. com, there are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to estimates by the American Trucking Association. The total number of people employed in the industry, including those in positions that do not entail driving, exceeds 8.7 million.

If truck drivers were replaced by "Drive by wire" the USA economy would enter a recession for the impact of the loss of income to all those people.

It never surprises me how Republicans cater to cronies only to allow the economy of the country to deteriorate. If there are drive by wire trucks, there will drive by wire taxis. Only when the US economy tanks again and again and again will Republicans understand how completely this disrespect the working people of the USA. Republicans like to paint themselves as the party of the small business. Where!!!! Because independent truck drivers and taxi owners are small business people.

Cars and deer can be a lethal combination. (click here) An increase in urban sprawl and more roads being built through wildlife habitats have displaced deer from their natural habitat, leading to a rise in deer-vehicle collisions, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I)
Deer migration and mating season generally runs from October through December, and causes a dramatic increase in the movement of the deer population. As a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year, so drivers need to be especially vigilant....

There are 200 deaths per year caused by deer and vehicle collisions. Deer won't be drive by wire savvy. The entire idea that driverless vehicles will solve all the problems on the road is sheer nonsense.

...The plan includes a proposal pushed by the National Rifle Association that lets gun manufacturers use lead to produce ammunition, and a labor provision exempting claim adjusters from overtime requirements during major disasters....

It is obvious now that the next two years will be nothing but an attempt to roll back all the gains Americans have made since President Obama took office. The Republicans are setting the chronometers to January 19, 2009. 

How does the USA ever find the justice to say "I'm sorry" to a man with 40 years of his life lost to a lie?

December 9, 2014
By Elahe Lzadi

Kwame Ajamu (click here) was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in the killing of a Cleveland money-order salesman. On Tuesday, Ajamu, now 57 and out on parole since 2003, wept after a judge cleared all charges against him.
“I’m so happy today that this battle had come to an end,” Ajamu said, according to Reuters. Cuyahoga County Judge Pamela Barker stepped down from her bench to give Ajamu a hug, the Associated Press reported.
The case against Amaju, formerly known as Ronnie Bridgeman, began to fall apart after a key witness recanted his testimony decades after the conviction....