President Barack Obamas call to raise the minimum wage has long been met with resistance from congressional Republicans, but Rep. Joe Barton R-Texas took things a step further by suggesting the minimum wage be done away with entirely.\”I think its outlived its usefulness,\” Barton told National Journal in a story published Thursday. \”It may have been of some value back in the Great Depression. I would vote to repeal the minimum wage.\”The story didnt include any specifics on why Barton felt the minimum wage had lost its value, and a request to his office for further explanation wasnt immediately returned.Bartons comments came one day after Obama delivered a highly-discussed speech on income inequality and poverty, in which the president renewed his push for a higher minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, which amounts to roughly $15,000 a year.Obama said that despite working around the clock, individuals who work in the fast-food and retail industries, as well as nurses, continue to live at or barely above poverty.\”That’s why it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office,\” he said.During his State of the Union address this year, Obama unveiled a proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour. He has since thrown his support behind an increase to $10.10 an hour under a bill introduced by Senate Democrats.
If you ever happen to come across a Republican on television these days, chances are that you will hear the name Ronald Reagan. Recent Republican debates are the perfect example of the love fest that the current Republican party has for Reagan as each candidate name drops the former president at every turn. If you only listened to conservatives you would think that Jesus Christ was the only person above Reagan on the totem pole of conservative love. They talk about his love of low taxes, less government and conservative family values.The problem is that when you step out of the conservative dream and come back to reality, you find that not only was Ronald Reagan a bad president, but he was one of the worst presidents weve seen in modern times. Reagans policies have destroyed the United States for three decades, and for the eight years he was in office, here are eight reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime.
(NEWSER) – Pope Francis\’ blistering attack yesterday on the \”tyranny\” of unchecked capitalism in general and trickle-down economics in particular marks a fundamental shift in church thinking, writes Emma Green at the Atlantic. A half-century ago, the church largely condemned communism and embraced democracy, along with its underlying free-market system. The pope made clear yesterday that those days are long gone. \”This is more than just a lecture about ethics,\” writes Green. \”It’s a statement about who should control financial markets.\” And Francis clearly believes \”the global economy needs more government control—an argument that would have been unthinkable for the pope just 50 years ago.\”
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From Little Britain\’s Vicky Pollard to the Jeremy Kyle Show to toxic documentaries on \’feckless scroungers\’ – writer and broadcaster Owen Jones argues that this growing strain of malevolent British TV programming denigrates the working class. Increasingly, it seems that poor and everyday…
Walmart\’s been caught trying to make a top-down social media strategy look like a grassroots action by hundreds of hourly workers—the retail giant is astroturfing, in other words. See, a social media \”Thunderclap\” lets hundreds of people post to Twitter or Facebook at the same time, increasing the likelihood that a topic will trend or at least start to break through the noise. A Thunderclap touting Black Friday as Walmart\’s Super Bowl was identified as being from \”a proud associate.\” But it turns out that proud associate was Umang Shah, Walmart\’s director of social strategy.
Outed by Eric Ming as the originator of the Thunderclap, Shah argued that \”proud associate\” wasn\’t deceptive because:
When John Kerry succeeded Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in February, Clinton’s emotional departure from the State Department received blanket media coverage. Kerry’s arrival received next to none.
“So here’s the big question before the country and the world and the State Department after the last eight years,” Kerry said in a speech to State Department employees on his first day on the job. “Can a man actually run the State Department? I don’t know.”
As the crowd roared with laughter, Kerry pushed the joke too far.
“As the saying goes,” he said, “I have big heels to fill.”
Nearly three weeks later, Kerry’s first foreign-policy speech as secretary, an hour-long defense of diplomacy and foreign aid, was a flop. The Washington Post gave it 500 words. The New York Times ignored it. (He was also accused of accidentally inventing a new country called “Kyrzakhstan,” an apparent conflation of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.)
The nearly universal expectation was that Kerry’s tenure would be overshadowed by his predecessor’s, for a long list of reasons. For starters, he was arriving in Foggy Bottom when the country seemed to be withdrawing from the world. Exhausted by two long wars, Americans were wary of ambitious new foreign engagements—certainly of military ones, but of entangling diplomatic ones, too. Barack Obama’s administration, accelerating a process that had begun in the early 1960s under President Kennedy, was centralizing foreign-policy decision making in the White House’s National Security Council, marginalizing the State Department. Kerry hadn’t even been Obama’s first choice for the position, getting nominated only when the candidacy of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice was derailed by her tenuous association with the Benghazi-consulate tragedy in 2012. (Rice ended up running the National Security Council.) The appetite for risk taking in the White House is never high, but after the Benghazi imbroglio, it was particularly low. Finally, Kerry, a defeated presidential candidate, was devoid of the sexiness that automatically attaches to a figure, like Hillary Clinton, who remains a legitimate presidential prospect. The consensus in Washington was that Kerry was a boring if not irrelevant man stepping into what was becoming a boring, irrelevant job.
Just before the sun rose on Geneva on Sunday, international negotiators emerged to announce Iran and world powers had reached a deal to curb Iran\’s nuclear program for six months while the two sides work out a permanent, more sweeping solution.
Today, the deal is being called historic. USA Today says it may be President Obama\’s most unlikely and most meaningful foreign policy victory during his time in office.
In short, it is the first time in about a decade that Iran has agreed to halt some of its nuclear activities. Also, this is the most tangible outcome of a newly thawed relationship between the U.S. and Iran. Remember, the two countries have had no formal ties since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. That all changed when Obama and Iran\’s new, moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, exchanged letters in September.
What are future historians going to call this age? Probably not the Era of Good Feelings, which is what we still call the Monroe-era embrace of small-r republicanism. (It was awfully brief.) The Gilded Age has been taken, although we’ve often heard that we’re living in a New Gilded Age.
Lately, I’m wondering if we’ve morphed even beyond that. We know the 1 percent have been partying in contemporary America as never before. And we know the workers at the bottom have been getting hammered. But this week we seem to have entered a phase when it’s OK for the corporations doing the hammering to drop any pretense that they’re supposed to be doing the opposite. It’s quite a moment.
A Walmart store in Canton, Ohio, has been getting some unwanted attention because an employee surreptitiously publicized a store food drive. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill holiday-season food drive. It is not intended for Canton’s destitute. It’s for the store’s own employees. Signs attached to storage containers in an employee-only area of the store, photographed by the employee, ask other employees to “donate food items here so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.” “Associates in need.” Wow.
This is just one store, but corporate HQ has now involved itself, with a company spokesman attesting that this program shows the spirit of intense bonhomie that pervades the store and indeed the entire corporation. It’s just for workers who may have lost a home in a fire or “something else you can’t plan for,” the spokesman said.
Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Committee published a video on their Youtube page highlighting a portion of the committee questioning Roberta Stempfley, acting assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cyber-security and Communications, who confirmed at least 16 attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s portal Healthcare.gov website in 2013.
SEATTLE AP — Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history.Kshama Sawants lead continued to grow on Friday, prompting 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin to concede.Even in this liberal city, Sawants win has surprised many here. Conlin was backed by the citys political establishment. On election night, she trailed by four percentage points. She wasnt a veteran politician, having only run in one previous campaign.But in the days following election night, Sawants share of the votes outgrew Conlins.\”I dont think socialism makes most people in Seattle afraid,\” Conlin said Friday.While city council races are technically non-partisan, Sawant made sure people knew she was running as a socialist — a label that would be politically poisonous in many parts of the country.