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Thu May 28, 2015 at 07:00 PM PDT

Gangster Capitalism in China

by arendt

I must recommend the very readable paper, China’s Communist-Capitalist ecological apocalypse. While the paper is 45 pages long (with at least five pages of pictures of the pollution, collapses of substandard, but brand new, structures, and  guilt-edge waste), I couldn't put it down. And, when I was done, I had learned a lot.

Before this article, by Richard Smith of the Institute for Policy Research and Development in London, my only knowledge of Deng Xiaopeng's neoliberal hijacking of Chinese communism came by way of David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism. This article has the benefit of eight years more history and a deep knowledge of Chinese politics.

Below the deadly orange cloud of Beijing smog, I will give the allowed four paragraphs of quotes. (Cut me some slack on the four paragraphs. It's a 45 page article.)

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Reposted from Libby Shaw by Libby Shaw

When I heard about the Amtrak train wreck outside of Philadelphia on Tuesday night my heart stopped for a few seconds. My son lives in Washington D.C. His girlfriend's family lives in NYC. I have family and friends in NYC and friends in Delaware.  My husband has colleagues in Philadelphia and NYC. Most of all of those whom we know will take the train when traveling up and down the east coast.

Two months ago we visited our son in Washington, D.C. We took Amtrak to Wilmington, DE to visit friends near the University of Delaware. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride as well as our warm and interesting conversations with the conductors and the passengers. We live in Houston, a city in which our U.S. Rep (R-natch) has been fighting rail here tooth and nail. If he's not fighting rail some other Republican is on some level. My husband and I love rail travel because we've ridden high speed trains all over France, where his family lives. We are beyond frustrated that Texas and the U.S., for that matter, is so far behind our European and Asian counterparts.  

So, the other night while I was tweeting about Jeb's gaffe on Iraq suddenly, not even twenty four hours after the train wreck, I saw the tweet House Cuts Budget for Amtrak.  At first I thought it was a sick snark.  So, I clicked on the link and saw to my amazement that this was no snark.  A Twitter frenzy soon erupted about the cuts.  Many tweeters were as incredulous as I.  All of us had seen the carnage on TV or online.  How could Congress be so awfully awful?

Just Hours After Deadly Train Crash Congress set to Debate Proposed Cuts to Amtrak Budget.

The deadly crash of an Amtrak train outside Philadelphia on Tuesday night was expected to put pressure on Congress to reexamine proposed cuts to Amtrak's federal subsidy.

But on Wednesday, just hours after the crash, the House Appropriations Committee backed a measure that would slash Amtrak's budget by $251 million, giving the rail operator $1.1 billion for the upcoming fiscal year.

In his February budget, President Barack Obama had asked for $2.5 billion for Amtrak, citing the need for investments in infrastructure and improvements along the Northeast Corridor.

When a reporter asked about the budget cuts to Amtrak given the gravity of the wreck, U.S. House Speaker barked back that the question was stupid and blamed speed for the accident. The train had taken a sharp curve at 106 MPH, 56 miles over the speed limit for that curve.  So far no one knows why the train's engineer failed to slow down before reaching the sharp curve. But we do know that Republicans in Congress have been hamstringing Amtrak with its much needed upgrades and safety systems for decades.  For example, why hasn't Amtrak straightened a 73 year old sharp curve or at least rerouted the tracks to make the path more safe?  The answer to the question is very likely b/c of lack of funding and complicated bureaucratic processes.

Amtrak says it was just months away from installing safety system  According to the New York Time's print edition headline "Hurdles Held Up Safety System, Railroad Says. Amtrak Cites Budgets."

Please follow me below the orange gerrymander (h/t to Meteor Blades) to learn how cuts by Congress, shortfalls and rules hampered the installation of a safety system that would have prevented Tuesday night's accident.

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Reposted from Words In Action by Words In Action

Mainstream thinking, not just Republican thinking, is consistently wrong. Justification and support for the Iraq War? WRONG. Catastrophically wrong. Multi-generational even. Centennial even. An amazingly catastrophic mass lapse of establishment "reason" indeed.

It is too easy to blame Republicans and the mainstream media for the whole thing.Why? Because the truth, or rather the fraudulence, was there in plain sight the whole time for anyone who could and wanted to know it. The Democratic Establishment, including HRC, deliberately chose to ignore all that and adopt the language of the revenge-seekers, the military solution promoters, the warmongers, the war profiteers. They gave obviously, disastrously wrongheaded thinking respect and currency in mainstream dialog. Either because of colossally bad judgement and/or outright cowardice. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. And we have paid dearly and will continue to do so for decades.

Quoting Chris Matthews, "How could we let a man of limited rhetorical skill lead us into war?", one commenter noted, "What do you mean WE white man?"

Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC, Her Royal Clinton) was (and still is) just such a person. Many, many people are willing to give her (and themselves???) a pass for her disastrous role in cowing to the establishment groupthink, a very prominent, public role. UM, NO! If she were otherwise an iconoclast, someone who routinely thinks outside the box, someone who actually is, as some insist, "her own person," giving her a pass might not be entirely misguided. Given that she is a mainstream groupthinker, perhaps ever since her traumatic experience with HillaryCare twenty-three years ago, neither she (nor Kerry before her), deserve any such pass. They consistently drink from the Beltway Kool-Aid, and it is an unfolding disaster and a gathering shitstorm for the middle class, the biosphere, world peace and national security all at the same time.

Consider also beltway economic logic lo these past few decades, essentially Reaganomics, which has

1) effectively made un- and under- employment an accepted staple, full employment a bygone aspiration,
2) led to slashing the value of the minimum wage by two-thirds and decimated the middle class, the majority of workers today, while
3) simultaneously diverting 95% of the proceeds from productivity to the 1%, all with a straight face, as if this is acceptable, normal, even, to some people, desirable, even evidence that the rising tide is lifting all ships. WTF?

And some of these people are numbers, money people. Mainstream Democrats have told me our new Gilded Age is a good thing because rising tide. When 95% of the ships rise on 5%, 1% rise on 95%? Our poor people live well you say? This is good how? This is acceptable why? Establishment economic groupthink and its followers are to be endorsed and supported why?

(In fact, Bernie Sanders recently reported from some source that it is now 99% of gains that go to the 1%. So, in the other common analogy, it turns out growing the pie is NOT helping everyone. Not only are people getting less of the original pie, they are getting almost none of the new pie. And the establishment isn't blinking over that, either.)

How do I know that people aren't blinking over 1% getting 99% of the economic gains in our society?

First, because many believe that the fact the 1% is getting that 99% is not because of three decades of stacking the deck but because the 1% EARNED it. That because many of them work hard they deserve whatever they can get their hands on before the money is distributed. They believe that any significant (not token) effort to level the playing field is unfair and/or dangerously disruptive to markets. They believe that protecting TBTFB and the Wall St. Mob is more important than fixing the system that wiped out millions and millions of people. They believe that any effort to broadly distribute the gains is not a matter of distributing those gains in a fairer, healthier manner for all but of re-distributing the money that the 1% EARNED. Charity. Charity they may endorse, but charity nonetheless. As in no one else works hard and deserves more of the money up front, before it is appropriated by the speculators, er, "job creators." As in none of it is actually OUR money pre-appropriated by legalized theft. BULLSHITE.

Second, because they consider HRC a viable candidate for the Democratic Party, for the political organization that is the only bulwark in this society for democracy. They think that someone 1) thoroughly entrenched in the business and political establishment, 2) thoroughly versed in its fraudulent, self-serving language on how the economy (of the 10%) "works" (best with limited to no regulation), 3) completely bought to protect the status quo from any but the most incremental (insufficient) change that will never keep up with the ongoing rigging of the system (e.g., TPP), 4) who hasn't championed a substantive economic advance for the 99% since HillaryCare, especially not without simultaneously giving credence to other, far more impactful, offsetting regressive ideas and policies. [Ditto for her ideas on defense and national security. She is THOROUGHLY enmeshed in MIC groupthink, which is a security disaster, a foreign policy disaster, and a crony disaster capitalism disaster.]

How many ways does the establishment and one person that thoroughly epitomizes it have to be wrong to be the WRONG candidate for a supposedly "Democratic" Party? How far from not only not promoting but actually destroying democracy does one person have to be in order to be the WRONG candidate?

The only reason this can happen is because the establishment of the Democratic Party and its blind partisan supporters are brainwashed by the same establishment groupthink of the Republicans, Wall St. and the executive and investor classes, the groupthink that sees and justifies everything through the lens of producing enormous profits for a small number of people, a very bad thing for civilization and the biosphere, which is casually justified as being inevitable and normal:

Iraq War. Check.
Pass Patriot Act to gut the Bill of Rights. Check.
Military Commissions to further gut due process. Check.
Pass energy legislation to unleash fracking hell. Check.
Pursue compromise with scorched earth Party, wasting the opportunity of a generation. Check.
Fail to prosecute war crimes, adopt neocon policies and practices. Check.
Bail out the banks, not the mortgage holders. Check.
Allow the banks to essentially use bail-out funds for bonuses. Check.
Let the credibility of Wall St. go completely unchallenged. Check.
Let the banks who created the worst crash in 80 years run Scott Free. Check.
Allow robo-signing to defraud victims. Check.
Slap hand of Ratings Agencies. Check.
Ignore all the blatantly fraudulent subprime-backed securities sold.
Ignore the tens of trillions of dollars of toxic derivatives sold.
Allow rampant, dubious foreclosures. Check.
Leave derivatives un-regulated, check.
Allow TBTFB to grow exponentially, check.
Allow profits to be privatized, risk to be socialized. Check.
Shared responsibility with the victims. Check.
Follow through on Afghanistan surge even while the economy is in turmoil. Check.
Pre-empt public option, truly affordable univeral healthcare. Check.
Attempt Grand Bargain? Check.
Fail to modify filibuster rules for five years of obstruction? Check.
Limit modification of filibuster rules to appointments? Check.
Fail to make much use of new filibuster rules until eve of loss of the Senate? Check.
Sequestration? Austerity? Check. Check.
Attempt Chained CPI cut to safety net? Check.
Records numbers of additional drillable acres in ever more fragile habitats? Check.
Fail to pursue aggressive student loan relief for graduates in a market ruined by the establishment? Check.
Continue to aggressively pursue, lock-up minor drug offenders? Check.
Continue to aggressively pursue ICE raids, deportations? Check.
Continue to ratchet up terrorism fear-mongering while antagonizing recruitment populations, increasing blowback? Check.
Mass surveillance? Check.
Militarize police forces nationwide? Check.
War on Whistleblowers, blank check for exposed wrongdoers. Check.
Pursue TPA while demonizing Democratic opponents? Check.
Pursue TPP power grab for the .1% as a "trade" policy, even at the risk of having a chilling effect on Climate Change mitigation, again, while demonizing those speaking truth to power? Check.

How many ways? Endlessly. One bad establishment groupthink decision after another. Pile 'em high. No matter how horrendous. Wrong as DICK CHENEY. As predictable and certain as death and taxes is the force of wrong-headedness and treachery in this establishment.

Better than the Republicans? On economics, defense, national security, civil rights of dissenters; hardly. Enough to matter for the health of the 90%, democracy, the biosphere and world peace? NO FUCKING WAY. NO FUCKING WAY.

All while beating up on those who are consistently right. All while driving away more than 70% of the voting populace, the interpretation of and response to which: WRONG and WRONG.

Fact is, the Democratic establishment is in no position to criticize the Republican establishment for 47% attitudes or its ability to judge whether or not the Iraq War is a good idea. They sup from the same establishment groupthink that assumes the 47% are lazy and imbibe the same blowback-inducing kool-aid; they too are unconscionably mindless and consistently WRONG.

"What do you call a dying middle class?"

You call a dying middle class:

Irrelevant and/or "recovered."
Quaint. A veritable unicorn, like democracy.
Time for more cooperation with Wall St., the MIC, and the executive and investor classes. More trickle-down, lower paying, part-time jobs. Trust us.
Time for more concentration of income, wealth and power.
Time for incremental bandaid "solutions" to shut up whiners, AKA the 90%.
Time to elect another neoliberal dynasty member.
Time to smell the inevitability and give into increasing decline.

Never is the question asked: is our establishment and its supporters learning?

The answer quite clearly is NO.

Hiring someone who
1) is only now getting wise to the fact we have a rigged system (and even then only because there is a hue and cry and she is running for office, not through any interest or insight of her own),
2) will never go after the establishment culprits on Wall St. or in the executive and investor classes,
3) will never pursue truly meaningful regulatory reform and/or enforcement against the business and finance establishment,
4) will not attack the fraudulent, WRONG groupthink concepts at the root of this disaster economy,

is worse than stupid. It's irresponsible. It is a betrayal to our descendants. Betrayal heaped on betrayal of a Party that built the greatest middle class ever and is now conspiring to systematically destroy it and democracy it purports to love, by giving ever greater wealth and power to a few.

And to think that the poor are singled out for bad judgement and decisions.

If this Party rank & file knows what is good for it, it will 1) reject the insane idea that HRC is a solution, 2) pull out all the stops to elect Bernie Sanders, 3) hoist him and a gaggle of like-minded representatives into power in '16, and get on with the business of promoting a democratic civilization.

Is Sanders perfect? No. Is he pure? No. Is he a messiah? Hardly. Except in comparison to HRC. In comparison to people like HRC, Obama, Rahm, Chuck and the rest of the serious establishment groupthinkers cum self-serving oligarch lapdogs, Sanders and Elizabeth are fucking demi-gods.

On a related topic, establishment supporters may want to get on the TPP thing. One way is to NOT give HRC a pass. Consider it her 3AM WAKE-UP CALL. Because if it goes through, it is going to be as big a disaster as the election of George W. Bush for the 90%. No better test of her credibility on challenging the establishment groupthink: clear, unequivocal rejection of disastrous 1% power grab masked as "trade" policy.

Another case in which the establishment groupthink is WRONG and HRC is AWOL.

I've spent the last twenty-three years voting for people who forfeited the economy to the 1%, bargaining that they could get my vote for one or two social issues. Social issues I have fought and marched for anyway. Well, I'm not making that bargain anymore. Other people may be willing to sacrifice the lower and middle classes and a free, open democratic society itself for an advance here and there on a given social issue, but I no longer am. I'm done with that loser's divide and conquer gambit. United on the platform we stand, divided on pet issues we fall. Either the Party recommits itself unwaveringly to economic justice for the 99% or it holds NO INTEREST to me and gets none of my support. It's not that I don't care about social issues, it's that I refuse to be played while I watch 90% of the economy suffer and democracy be treated like a unicorn. I'm having none of it. You want LGBT rights? Get Bernie in the WH. You want reproductive rights? Get Bernie in the WH. No credible champion for economic justice for the 90%? No vote. Period. You think HRC is an easier sell (I don't)? Tough. Time for the establishment supporters to suck it up, set aside their WRONG attitudes and EARN the votes of the DFHs who have consistently been RIGHT. It was acceptable until we stopped accepting it, and more and more of us no longer accept it. Get Bernie in the WH. Period.

The establishment routinely, arrogantly DECLARES WAR on the progressive Left. This is a counter-declaration. Put up for the Democratic Party platform--the entire platform--or STFU on our votes. And that's just for starters. END OF DEBATE.


On a related topic, THIS.
Poll

I believe

5%3 votes
5%3 votes
1%1 votes
1%1 votes
9%5 votes
0%0 votes
69%36 votes
5%3 votes

| 52 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss
Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

A simple tweetpic essay.




Putting the final touches on chalk art at Oscar Grant Plaza before the march arrives. The March in Solidarity Against Police Terror, called by ILWU Local 10 and community organizations united against murder by police, left the Port of Oakland as scheduled at 10:00 AM and arrived at Oscar Grant Plaza outside of City Hall in downtown Oakland at 11:30 AM.



The pre-march rally at the Port of Oakland. Mollie Costello, of the Alan Blueford Center for Justice, revs up a crowd that reached nearly one thousand people.

Out of the Port, into West Oakland.



The post-march rally at Oscar Grant Plaza. I'm in there! One of more than a thousand.





More tweetpics and tweetvideos below.

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Reposted from greywolfe359 by greywolfe359

I was born in 1979. It's a year that many economists have now found to be a turning point. From the end of the Great Depression until the year I was born, American productivity and prosperity increased steadily over time. Wealth, productivity and wages followed the same basic trend upward. Then, in 1979, something happened. Wealth and productivity continued to climb. But real wages, adjusted for inflation, have stayed flat for 90% of us. This is the single biggest issue of our time and if we don't fix it we aren't going to fix any of our other problems either. Can we bring hope and renewed prosperity to Baltimore if 99% of all our growth in wealth is sucked up by Wall Street? Can we restore it anywhere without changing that single basic fact?

The 1980s introduced us to trickle down economics. Trickle down economics are an abysmal failure for everyone except the top 1%. But even Democratic presidents and Congresses have failed to halt their spread. Clinton and Obama may have put the brakes on trickle down trends (tapping those brakes ever so slightly less they offend the people who fund their campaigns) but no one has been serious about not only stopping the evisceration of the middle class but reversing the trend.

Until now.

Poll

Which candidate would actually stand with workers and stand up to Wall Street?

76%103 votes
4%6 votes
12%17 votes
5%8 votes

| 134 votes | Vote | Results

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Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 10:32 AM PDT

A Photo from Baltimore.

by jpmassar

Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

Photo:



Reflection:




There is nothing wrong with families framing their struggle solely in terms of their child who was killed; similarly, there is nothing wrong with the community framing their uprising within the context of police murder after police murder with nothing but an increasingly armed and hostile police force killing more young black men on the horizon...
Reality:



Discuss

Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 10:14 AM PDT

The Failure of Privatization

by T C Gibian

Reposted from TCG by Ojibwa

Sell Yosemite! Dump the Post Office, the prison system, education, Social Security!!  Conservatives have been pushing this agenda for decades, insisting that private ownership would increase efficiency, but would it?

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Reposted from joe shikspack by joe shikspack

Back in 2013, in the aftermath of his murder of Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son, when Mr. Obama was trying to justify his arrogated powers to incinerate people with his fleet of flying death robots, he made certain assertions about the process by which he and his merry minions selected victims [bolding mine]:

First, there must be a legal basis for using lethal force, whether it is against a senior operational leader of a terrorist organization or the forces that organization is using or intends to use to conduct terrorist attacks.  

Second, the United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons. It is simply not the case that
all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.

Third, the following criteria must be met before
lethal action may be taken:

1) Near certainty that the terrorist target is present;

2) Near certainty that non - combatants will not be injured or killed;

3) An assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;

4) An assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S.
persons; and

5) An assessment that no other reasonable alternatives exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.

Further on in the document Obama states:
These decisions will be informed by a broad
analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in
plots threatening U.S. persons.
Fast forward to 2015.

From recent news coverage:

The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity. ...

Conceding that the operation was not ordered against any individual targets, Earnest said the administration only discovered later that the compound was occupied by Weinstein, La Porto and another American named Ahmed Farouq, who the White House says was a “leader” of the terrorist group.

Farouq was not, however, the target of the operation. The drone strike was not targeted at known al-Qaida members; instead, it was directed against anyone in the vicinity of what the US believed was a compound being used by the terrorist group.

Here's one of today's headlines:

White House admits: we didn't know who drone strike was aiming to kill

Here's a little additional information:

The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. ...

The two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death, he confirmed.

What we have here is very strong evidence that at best Mr. Obama is operating in bad faith with the American people and at worst he is a devious liar.

The standards that he proclaimed in the document entitled "U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities" are nothing but a sham.

To wit: Obama did not know that the persons he incinerated posed "a continuing, imminent threat to US persons," Obama did not know to a "near certainty that the [or any] terrorist target [was] present," and one can only hope that he isn't lying that he did not know to a "near certainty that non - combatants will not be injured or killed."

Further, since Obama had no idea of who he was incinerating, it would be impossible to know whether they could have been captured, that the relevant authorities would not have cooperated in "effectively addressing the [unknown] threat" that the unknown persons posed, nor could Obama have known of any other reasonable alternatives existed.

There's good reason to wonder if Obama ever really knows who is present when he sends his flying death robots. Amy Goodman points out on Democracy Now:

Despite hundreds of hours of surveillance, the White House said it had no reason to believe the U.S. and Italian hostages were being detained in the al-Qaeda compound targeted during the operation.
It appears that the methods by which Obama collects information in order to verify to a "near certainty that non - combatants will not be injured or killed" is horribly unreliable and hence amounts to a violation of his stated standards. Frankly, if the intelligence that Obama collects "hundreds of hours of" is this poor, then there would seem to be no reasonable basis for his flying death robot attacks at all.

Regardless of whether use of the intelligence was negligent, it is quite plain that no "broad analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in plots threatening U.S. persons," was ever conducted, since of course, there was no intended target.

It's not like this, "let's blow some stuff up and see who we kill," is something new for Obama, though:

Secrecy, misdirection and lies have shielded much of the public from the realization that US drone strikes have killed countless civilians in the past decade

For years, the vast majority of drone strikes victims have never been positively identified as terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has the most comprehensive data on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, published a study last year showing only 12% of victims were identified as militants and only 4% were identified as members of al-Qaida. This study is backed up by the excellent reporting by McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, who gained access to years of classified CIA reports to show that the vast majority of drone strike victims were not high level terrorist operatives like the administration claimed.

And we know the government thinks it can kill US citizens overseas without a trial or even a finding by any independent body. Despite a clear public interest in knowing about such an extreme claim to power, the Justice Department has fought to keep its supposed legal authority for drone strikes on Americans completely secret.

When will there be accountability?
Unfortunately, members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee have been the biggest cheerleaders of drone strikes, rather than their biggest skeptics. ... If there’s ever going to be accountability for the CIA and military drone program, we need a fully independent commission, divorced from the intelligence committees. Without it, this controversy will just fade back into the background, where it will stay hidden under the government’s ever-expanding veil of secrecy.
Obama has irresponsibly used the vast powers that come with the office of President. His use of the fleet of flying death robots under his command is both a crime and a national disgrace.

To use an idiom that the President is known for, it is time for Americans to step up and take away the car keys.

Discuss

Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 05:33 PM PDT

Campaign Cost Reform?

by stancutler

Reposted from Two Democratic Conventions by stancutler

Regulating the money contributed to election campaigns, Campaign Finance Reform, is a failed approach. Can the problem be approached from the cost side? Rather than trying to limit contributions, wouldn't it be more effective to cut the costs?

Poll

Regarding campaign cost reform,

14%1 votes
28%2 votes
0%0 votes
57%4 votes

| 7 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

In case you missed it, the billionaires' final solution to the problem of the American middle class (as created by FDR) has been underway since the 2008 crash.

For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries will be a rumor. They never happened. Today is history.

  - Amon Goeth in Shindler's List

Of course, three generations of the post-WW2 middle class cannot objectively be compared to the six hundred years of the Kracow ghetto; but it is one-third of American history. We are watching an entire economic class being thrown out of decent jobs, healthcare, and education while having their every button-push, utterance, and public appearance recorded. It is not a concentration camp; but it is an open-air panopticon prison/sweatshop. In short, it is "an historic event".
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Reposted from joedemocrat by joedemocrat

I'm tired of the war on the poor. I'm tired of running into people, including Democrats, who support the war on the poor. This is not a rebuttal to any Daily Kos diary. This is a rebuttal to what I've run into in real life.

In Missouri, Republicans have proposed a new law to prohibit SNAP program recipients from buying "junk food" and expensive food such as steak and seafood.  

This bill is not aimed at helping food stamp recipients eat healthier, low cost meals. This is a Republican ruse to cut the program. The Republican Party doesn't have any interest in the food stamp program except to cut it. The linked article from Politicus USA points this out:

Furthermore, the rationale for banning specific types of food is based more in right-wing mythology about the poor people eating lavishly off of SNAP (more commonly referred to by critics as “food stamps”) benefits than it is based on any objective reality.
In real life, someone I thought was a liberal Democrat is all in favor of this law. She has seen "first hand" the kind of junk food SNAP recipients buy. I didn't comment because I wouldn't have been nice. The people who did made neutral comments such as "there are two sides of the food stamp debate" and "cooking is a skill."
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Reposted from Senator Bernie Sanders by Libby Shaw

The good news is that the economy today is much better than it was six years ago when George W. Bush left office. The bad news is that, despite these improvements, the 40-year decline of the American middle class continues. Real unemployment is much too high, 35 million Americans continue to have no health insurance and more of our friends and neighbors are living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country.

Meanwhile, as the rich become much richer, the level of income and wealth inequality has reached obscene and unimaginable levels. In the United States, we have the most unequal level of wealth and income distribution of any major country on earth, and worse now then at any other time since the 1920s. Today, the top one-tenth of 1 percent of our nation owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and one family owns more wealth than the bottom 42 percent. In terms of income, 99 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent.

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