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Tue Feb 17, 2015 at 07:14 PM PST

Scott Walker loves unions

by freelunch

Scott Walker negotiated a 17% pay raise with a union that he asked the legislature to pass today. His GOP buddies laughed at him. Maybe they will laugh at him for some other things in the future.

Now, why would Scott Walker, fearsome enemy of unions, be such a pussycat with this union? Why did they get excluded from Act 10? Maybe because he was supported by them, maybe because he is all about Scott Walker and doesn't give a damn about whether there are public unions or not, as long as they support him. Walker is like Nixon in that way. He doesn't have opponents, he has enemies and he feels the need to destroy his enemies. Of course the GOP folks in the legislature already know that. Will they stand up to him, even on something like this or will they cave on everything whether it is good or bad for the state.

Discuss

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 03:46 PM PDT

Occupied Ferguson

by freelunch

I'm (sometimes) a grouchy old(er) white guy and there are many things that are making me grouchy these days. First, the DA and police chief are making grouchy old(er) white guys look bad, like fools and racists. I don't want to be associated with such a view of life. It also makes me grouchy right now is that the cops in Ferguson and St. Louis County don't live there. It's no surprise that the departments treat Ferguson as occupied territories and treat the taxpayers who pay their salaries as vermin. It's time to require every cop to live in the city or county they police.

Yes, this is partially about race, but it is mostly about alienation. Cops who live in the cities they protect and serve are part of those cities 24-7. Policing is not just a job for them, but a commitment to their cities.

In IT development companies, there is an expression "eat your own dog food." It means that you have to rely on your own company's work, trust what is done by the people who work with you. That is what needs to be done in cities everywhere. Make the cops rely on each other, not only when policing, but for daily living. A police department that does not have resident cops who are willing to rely on their fellow-officers to protect and serve is a police department that is a waste of taxpayer money.

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Judge Roger Vinson, the FISA judge who allowed the FBI to collect all phone records (Verizon for three months, but various folks have implied that he has allowed this to go on for a long time and from every carrier) must be impeached as must every other FISA judge who approved these fishing expeditions. His disdain for the Fourth Amendment shows a total lack of concern for our constitution and for the rights protected in it.

His court order shows no valid reason for his sweeping decision to allow the FBI to monitor every single phone call in the country (yes, this is Verizon only for this order, but be sure that the FBI requested these illegally broad orders from every single carrier).

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Once upon a time, the United States actually cared about those without jobs. Humphrey-Hawkins set a standard. We have not met it and we are going further away from it every day. It's time to get rid of unemployment insurance and replace it with jobs--guaranteed jobs that offer at least $12.50 per hour plus health care and day care benefits--not just for those who have been laid off, but anyone who wants a job and has not found a better one in the private sector. Come to think of it, we can get rid of welfare programs that way, too. The only problem will be that the employers who depend on getting rich on the backs of the underpaid poor might have to get honest jobs for themselves.

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Greater Wisconsin has one of the most annoying mailings I have ever seen.

They really needed to talk to some normal people before they decided on this.

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The Wall Street Journal notes today that there are many corporate executives who are basically being given bonuses for running their companies into the ground despite a law that forbids this behavior. An example:

Still, Lear sought $20.6 million in bonuses for key executives and other employees, including an eventual payout of more than $5.4 million for then-Chief Executive Robert Rossiter.

The Justice Department objected, arguing that the package violated a federal law intended to rein in pay for executives at companies that harmed investors and cut jobs before and during the bankruptcy process.

But a judge approved the payouts, accepting the company's arguments that the executives would deserve them if they met earnings milestones and steered Lear through a quick exit from bankruptcy.

The article tells us that executives are not rewarded for the outcomes of their companies. The paper with help from Valeo Partners found that they could identify the pay of 21 out of 100 of the executives who took their companies into bankruptcy. The not so surprising result?

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 12:59 PM PST

Bank too big? Make 'em shrink

by freelunch

The largest commercial banks in America, the ones that are too big to fail, each control between one and ten percent of total bank deposits. One way to make them less of a risk to banking and the economy is to limit how big they can be. There's no economic need for any bank to have more than one percent of total deposits. That one percent limit would be roughly $100 billion in deposits. The only business borrowers who are big enough to hit the lending limits of a bank with $100 billion in deposits or even $50 billion don't bother to borrow from banks any more. They use bonds and notes sold directly to institutional lenders to get their large loans taken care of.

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Governor Walker was supposed to present his budget for the 2011-2013 budget on Tuesday. The legislature gave him a pass, letting him get his homework in a week late.

What does the governor have in mind? Why has he been in such a panic to get the badly misnamed budget repair bill passed before he has to present his budget? Why haven't the Fitzgeralds been speaking about the upcoming budget?

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The BBC tells us that Gates cutting Pentagon budget by $78bn over five years. Well, that's not much, but it's a start.

The reaction:

"I'm not happy," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon told reporters. He said the cuts were greater than defence companies had been expecting.

Too bad. I don't need to think of defense companies first. It is not the job of any government to keep munitions manufacturers rich. Why is it that supposed budget hawks lose their nerve when it comes to the Defense budget? What makes them run and hide when cutting our Defense budget in half would not affect American security?

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How much should we spend on the Pentagon?

27%40 votes
19%28 votes
21%31 votes
18%27 votes
2%4 votes
0%1 votes
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4%6 votes
4%6 votes

| 144 votes | Vote | Results

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It's time to raise the top tax rate to 50% and the tax on unearned income, including inflation-adjusted capital gains, to 70%. Oh, we also need to replace all deductions with a much larger zero bracket.

Seriously. Low taxes are great for a short period of time, but the longer we have a substantial deficit -- because it is clear that neither the Democrats or the Republicans (even the Tea Party variety) will actually cut spending -- the more precarious the wealth of the rich becomes.

Our failure to tax ourselves enough is destroying the country and that is destroying the wealth of the rich. Sure, they have been gaming the system lately. The Gini coefficient has been working their way, but every single country that has ever had an incredible gulf between the rich and the poor has had huge social problems.

That would be spelled r-e-v-o-l-u-t-i-o-n.

Poll

When will the United States have a successful civil insurrection?

12%8 votes
12%8 votes
3%2 votes
3%2 votes
6%4 votes
1%1 votes
1%1 votes
4%3 votes
16%10 votes
4%3 votes
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1%1 votes
1%1 votes
4%3 votes
19%12 votes

| 62 votes | Vote | Results

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I looked but was surprised not to find a diary on this.

The Onion apparently gave space to Ron Johnson to tell us all about his views of the world -- and why he ought to be elected. Highlights:

But most importantly, Russ Feingold is a career politician who knows exactly where to find our nation's capital on a map.
Me? I don't have the slightest idea. If somebody asked me right now where Washington, D.C. is, I would say north, but that's really just a shot in the dark. I am literally clueless.

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Ten years ago, the GOP would never have stood for the attacks on a congregation trying to build a new house of worship. Both houses passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act unanimously and a slightly different bill that the House had passed earlier in the 106th Congress had 199 Republicans voting for and only 20 voting against the bill.

So, as loudly as the Republicans and craven Democrats rant about the community center that includes a mosque that will be near where the World Trade Center towers used to be, it's important to remind them that they supported the law that stops New York from doing anything special to keep this mosque from being built.

Poll

What most motivates the opposition to the center?

0%0 votes
0%0 votes
27%10 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes
44%16 votes
5%2 votes
16%6 votes

| 36 votes | Vote | Results

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