[* Editor's note: CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have been simultaneously covering the Pope's visit (almost 24/7) — which has become hyper-redundant as these cable news channels compete for ratings. And everybody has already heard about House Speaker John Boehner’s early retirement, and what that could mean. That news alone used up 100% of the Washington Post's newsletter today. So I'm posting a hodgepodge collection of other tid-bits today.]
But first ... do you notice the conflicting headlines from the New York Times newsreader below? This isn’t an anomaly, I see this all the time (and at other newsreaders). One article will always says things are “great” and while another will say things “suck”.
New York Times: Caterpillar to Cut Up to 10,000 Jobs, Citing Falling Demand. Zerohedge: How GDP Metrics Distort Our View of the Economy Zerohedge: "Perhaps Caterpillar should come up with a new economic term to describe the true state of global manufacturing." So I guess that it just goes to show that "growth" doesn't necessarily mean more jobs.
Huffington Post: "Pope Francis may want to use his New York visit to address what he has called the "monopolizing of the communications media," which he described as an "ideological colonialism" that "would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity." As Bill Moyers has reported in depth [Big Media Dumbs Down Democracy], media consolidation represents a threat to the public's ability to know — a fundamental requirement for democracy. [These 6 corporations control 90% of the media in America]
National Geographic: The oldest decapitated head in the New World was found. The skull belonged to a young man and was buried in Brazil about 9,000 years ago, with severed hands covering its face in a mysterious pose. But now that Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bought the National Geographic, I wonder how old the Earth will be.
Washington Post: For years, U.S. drug treatment centers saw few heroin addicts. But that started changing in the mid-2000s and took off a few years later after a government crackdown on opioid painkiller abuse. Unable to get pills, many addicts turned to heroin, the painkillers’ chemical cousin ... Just as U.S. authorities were cracking down on painkillers, Mexican cartels were figuring out how to make high-quality powder heroin — now a white powder. These days heroin is called "Girl" on the streets, and good heroin is described as "Fire", and sells for about $10 a cap.
My note: There are a lot of people dealing with severe pain due to medical issues, but many times find it difficult to get doctors and dentists to prescribe the effective opium-based medications for fear of being flagged (and /or fined and arrested) by the authorities. That totally sucks. The article says "many addicts turned to heroin", but many people suffering great pain might also. Here's related post titled Kingpins: OxyContin, Heroin, and the Sackler-Sinaloa Connection
Mother Jones: An Indonesian lawmaker came to a Trump campaign event and met him wearing the Indonesian House pin. Trump asked him, "Do they like me in Indonesia?" With a smile, the Indonesian lawmaker responded, "Yes, highly". Now Indonesian authorities are giving the Indonesian lawmaker heat, saying he answered Trump’s question as an Indonesian lawmaker. And in addition to wearing the official legislative pin, the Indonesian lawmaker is under fire for showing up at the Trump campaign event with a Swiss-made Richard Mille watch on his wrist — believed to cost about $140,000, even though Indonesian lawmakers earn about $55,000 annually. Do you think Trump gave that Indonesian lawmaker a watch in exchange for negotiating a terrific deal? After all, a donor bought a Rolex watch for Virginia Governor McDonnell — and he was sentenced to prison, but remains free pending an appeal granted by the Supreme Court.
Here's some nice photos of the Pope's visit to D.C. — Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas (all Catholics) didn't attend Pope Francis’ speech to Congress yesterday.
Per the HuffPo Hill newsletter yesterday: "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he disagrees with Pope Francis' call to fight climate change and thinks the pope should not delve into the issue because he is not a scientist. However, the Pope holds a degree as a chemical technician and worked as a chemist before becoming a priest.
Lena Dunham (the HBO “Girls” star) asks Hillary Clinton if she considers herself a feminist. “Yes, absolutely,” she responds. Clinton also talked about rejecting two marriage proposals from Bill before agreeing to marry him. “I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the wake of Bill’s force-of-nature personality.”
Economic Policy Institute [No, despite GOP claims, those on disability aren't gaming the system — and they don't account for the declining labor force participation rate.] "The American Institutes of Research (AIR) has a new report by Michelle Yin and Dahlia Shaewitz showing that the labor force participation of Americans with disabilities fell from 25 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2014."
Per the Washington Post newsletter yesterday:" Elizabeth Warren and Democracy for America will endorse Kamala Harris in the California Senate race today." Elizabeth Warren (from Massachusetts) is endorsing at state senator all the way on the opposite side of the country, but she hasn't endorsed Bernie Senator Sanders from her neighboring State of Vermont.
Associated Press: “Marco Rubio would give businesses a 25 percent tax credit for providing at least four weeks of paid family leave. It would be limited to 12 weeks of leave and $4,000 per employee."
My note (And tell me if my math is wrong): Rubio's tax plan cuts the corporate tax rate by 8.75% (a 25% credit on a 35% corporate tax rate). If a company has $100 million in revenues, that saves them $8.75 million in taxes. If the company has 100 employees, that equals $400,000 MAXIMUM they’d pay out for paid family leave --- so a company can spend $400,000 to save $8,750,000. What a deal!
Not to mention, that's $8,750,000 less in tax revenues for the government to operate with, maybe forcing cuts to government programs that those very people on family leave might need.
But here’s the biggest rip off –> A hedge fund could rake in $1 BILLION a year — but only have 1 secretary and 1 receptionist who might use $4,000 each for family leave — and yes, because of the number of employees, the GOP also likes to classify hedge funds as "small businesses" just to give them massive tax cuts.
The Republicans constantly twist and contort the words in their tax plans to always cut government spending and give tax breaks to the rich --- but sometimes under the guise that they are giving something to the poor and middle-class.
From Bernie Sanders' newsletter today:
- The newspapers tell us that "official" unemployment is 5.1 percent. Real unemployment however, including those people who have given up looking for jobs and people who are working part-time when they want to work full-time, is 10.3 percent.
- And the youth unemployment rate is off the charts. For high school graduates between the ages of 17 and 20 years old, the real unemployment rate is 33.8 percent for white Americans, 36.1 percent for Hispanic Americans, and 51.3 percent for African Americans.
- The fastest and most effective way to create a large number of good paying jobs is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure — roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems, waste water plants, etc. We can also create good paying jobs by hiring the teachers and pre-school educators we need to make sure our young people get a high-quality education.
- We must end our disastrous trade policies, which are resulting in the outsourcing of jobs. That is why I am vigorously opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
- We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Nobody who works 40 hours a week in our country should live in poverty. Over a period of a few years the national minimum wage should be $15 per hour.
- We must end the disgrace of women earning 79 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as a man.
- We need to end the scandal in which millions of Americans work 50 to 60 hours per week but receive no overtime pay. People who work overtime must get time and a half.
* Bernie Sanders recently introduced the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015. ---> Naked Capitalism: A Physician Substantially Tied to the Pharmaceutical Industry is Nominated to Run the FDA ---> And a related post about Jeb Bush's war on regulation.