The biggest economic news of the year came almost without notice: China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy, according to the scorekeepers at the International Monetary Fund. And, while China’s geopolitical status is rising rapidly, alongside its economic might, the US continues to squander its global leadership, owing to the unchecked greed of its political and economic elites and the self-made trap of perpetual war in the Middle East…
With rising economic power has come growing geopolitical clout. Chinese leaders are feted around the world. Many European countries are looking to China as the key to stronger domestic growth. African leaders view China as their countries’ new indispensable growth partner, particularly in infrastructure and business development.
Similarly, economic strategists and business leaders in Latin America now look to China at least as much as they look to the US. China and Japan seem to be taking steps toward better relations, after a period of high tensions. Even Russia has recently “tilted” toward China, establishing stronger connections on many fronts, including energy and transport.
Like the US after World War II, China is putting real money on the table – a lot of it – to build strong economic and infrastructure links with countries around the world. This will enable other countries to boost their own growth, while cementing China’s global economic and geopolitical leadership.
Like the US after WW2, China has suffered no injury to productive capacity, as well.
Thanks, Daily Kos
Thanks, The Daily Kos
Republicans only enjoy a little pr∅n
A widening scandal over the exchange of emails containing pornography by current and former members of the attorney general’s office has gripped the Pennsylvania capitol all week.
Pennsylvania’s state supreme court chief justice demanded information on whether any judges were part of the exchanges. Governor Tom Corbett, who was attorney general when the emails were exchanged, was forced to defend his management of the office as he campaigns for a second term.
And on Thursday, two top officials who followed Corbett from the attorney general’s office into his gubernatorial administration resigned…
Their departures came a week after Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office identified them as being among eight ex-employees who sent or received hundreds of pornographic images or videos in emails that were discovered during Kane’s review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse prosecution.
All eight men, who also include state police commissioner Frank Noonan, worked under Corbett while the latter was the state’s elected attorney general from 2005 to 2011. Corbett had requested details on the emails in question before determining if the four men employed in his administration should keep their jobs.
Kane is a Democrat who took office last year. Corbett, a Republican, is in the closing weeks of an uphill re-election campaign against Democrat Tom Wolf.
I doubt either of the two sleazy political parties we’re stuck with has a commanding lead over the other when it comes to morality or dedicating all their political time to working for the citizens who elect them. Still, the Republican tradition of holier-than-thou campaigning, moralizing about anyone and everyone who might come from anywhere other than fundamentalist Christian culture is contemptible in repeatedly being caught in lies about their so-called family values.
It’s more established in exception than in standards of practice. Pretty much everyone expects their deeds to contradict their words.
“Just make the check out to cash!”
The campaign manager for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican locked in a tough re-election battle, resigned late Friday in fallout from a scandal stemming from his time with the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign.
McConnell is facing Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in a race Republicans view as important if they are to secure control of the Senate.
While denying any wrongdoing during his time working for Paul, Jesse Benton said blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Benton was the spokesman for the libertarian Paul’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign when, during the Republican primary season, a supporter of a rival candidate was secretly paid by a Paul staffer to publicly switch sides.
Former Iowa Republican state Senator Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty this week to concealing $73,000 he was paid to endorse Paul over U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann.
McConnell has dropped Benton like the hot potato he obviously is.
Maybe handling a smooth job of bribery was one of the qualities that appealed enough to McConnell to choose him as campaign manager. Lots of money floating around the political career of a bought-and-paid-for hack like Mitch McConnell.
Back in 1876, the city of St. Louis made a fateful decision. Tired of providing services to the outlying areas, the city cordoned itself off, separating from St. Louis County. It’s a decision the city came to regret. Most Rust Belt cities have bled population since the 1960s, but few have been as badly damaged as St. Louis City, which since 1970 has lost almost as much of its population as Detroit.
This exodus has left a ring of mostly middle-class suburbs around an urban core plagued by entrenched poverty. White flight from the city mostly ended in the 1980s; since then, blacks have left the inner city for suburbs such as Ferguson in the area of St. Louis County known as North County.
Ferguson’s demographics have shifted rapidly: in 1990, it was 74 percent white and 25 percent black; in 2000, 52 percent black and 45 percent white; by 2010, 67 percent black and 29 percent white.
By contrast, consider the city: After decades of methodically building political power, blacks in St. Louis City elected a black mayor in 1993 and black aldermen or alderwomen in nearly half the city’s wards, and hold two of three seats on the powerful Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which must approve all city contracts. Well-established churches, Democratic ward organizations and other civic institutions mobilize voters in black wards. But because blacks have reached the suburbs in significant numbers only over the past 15 years or so, fewer suburban black communities have deeply ingrained civic organizations.
That helps explain why majority-black Ferguson has a virtually all-white power structure: a white mayor; a school board with six white members and one Hispanic, which recently suspended a highly regarded young black superintendent who then resigned; a City Council with just one black member; and a 6 percent black police force.
Jeff Smith begins and ends the article as published pushing for consolidation of these artificial suburbs. He believes this will benefits residents economically as well as politically. White power over Black workingclass transforms into Green Power for everyone.
I lived through that whole discussion middling days in the civil rights movement and all it produced was a few Black bureaucrats, damned little Green for everyone else.
Meanwhile, Mike suggested the Washington POST analysis of the same topic – where a troika of authors found the realpolitik included unintended consequences in a tag team with racism. A solid piece of research, sound data.
Neither article explained the perceived role of the Democratic Party, differences between St, Louis City and North County suburbs like Ferguson – but, since Smith’s article points out the racist history of municipal and local craft unions, continued exclusion of Black workers, white-dominated political campaigns they sponsor, it seems as likely to me that outside of the city of St. Louis the Democrat Party functions like Reagan populists. Perfectly willing to accept the racist status quo.
Voters in Ferguson have two alternatives. They can go the route apparently embraced by Black voters in St. Louis and fight for a decade or so for a grassroots effort which ends up with a Democratic Party organization mirroring the population – or they can organize an independent party that reaches out to Progressives to unite in bringing grassroots representation to Ferguson.
Both highways have the same tough obstacles to overcome – starting with the inevitable unsophisticated American voters. Both strategies risk demagogues who never can pass up a populist chance to be The Leader. But, over these past fifteen years, ain’t anyone else getting off their rusty dusty to change the white power structure in Ferguson. At least, not so’s you’d notice.
A Travis County grand jury Friday indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.
Grand jurors charged Perry, 64, with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony. The first charge carries a punishment of 5-99 years and a fine of up to $10,000. The second charge is punishable by 2-10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
The indictment stems from Perry’s threat last summer to withhold $7.5 million in state money from Lehmberg’s office unless she step down – a threat he later carried out by vetoing an appropriation in the state budget.
Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Perry, said blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
The special prosecutor in the case, San Antonio attorney Michael McCrum, said he was confident with the strength of the charges filed against Perry.
“There has been an immense amount of work that has gone into my investigation up until this point,” he told reporters after announcing the indictment. “I have interviewed over 40 people who were related in some way to the events that happened.”
RTFA for all the political brouhaha that immediately followed Perry’s indictment. Everyone knows what sort of opportunist power-hungry liar Rick Perry is. Given the accepted level of corruption in the Confederacy, no one expected him to be indicted.
Funs and games ahead, folks.
Like any politician skewered by Colbert, Pearce has now passed beyond the deer-in-the-headlights stage and has his minions running hither and yon – trying to soften the effect of Colbert and his army of fans who laugh at what passes for a conservative in 21st Century America.
Thanks to Steve Terrell
Seems a reasonable conclusion to me. Using prisoners to experiment on for better ways to kill them.
A two-year investigation into U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm’s campaign finances resulted in his indictment on Monday — on federal charges of cheating the government out of taxes on his restaurant.
Grimm was slammed with a 20-count indictment charging he fraudulently underreported the wages he paid his workers at Healthalicious on the Upper East Side and concealed the eatery’s actual income…
Grimm, 44, is also charged with obstruction and perjury for allegedly lying about his involvement in the business in a sworn deposition…
The feds said Grimm ran the day-to-day operations of the restaurant between 2007 and 2010, and “engaged in schemes to fraudulently under-report the wages he paid his workers — many of whom did not have legal status in the United States — and fraudulently under-report the true amount of money the restaurant earned to both federal and New York State tax and insurance authorities.”
He pulled off part of the scam by paying a “large portion” of employees’ pay in cash, “thereby lowering the restaurant’s payroll tax costs,” the feds said.
In all, prosecutors said, he hid more than $1 million in Healthalicious sales and wages…
FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos noted that…“As a former FBI agent, Rep. Grimm should understand the motto: fidelity, bravery and integrity. Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn. Rep Grimm lived by a new motto: fraud, perjury and obstruction,” Venizekos said…
Last week, Grimm’s lawyer said the investigation into his Republican client was politically motivated and predicted he would be vindicated of whatever the charges were…
Grimm made headlines in January after threatening a New York 1 reported who’d asked him about the investigation.
In the exchange, which was caught on camera, Grimm said, “Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.”
A real class act – Congressman Grimm. As an ex-Marine, an ex-FBI agent, you’d think the concept of standing up for law and order might have made an impression on him. Though his behavior towards the press – and not so incidentally ordinary working people in his employ – makes it seem that exploitation is more in his line.