Author Archives: Kestrel
The gains that lawmakers are accruing highlight how lawmakers are generally wealthier than the public at large.
Calculations by The Hill found that about 47 percent of lawmakers — or 253 of 535 — had a minimum net worth of $500,000 or more in 2012. The actual number could be much greater, however, because lawmakers report their assets in sizable ranges.
The median household net worth in the United States was about $56,300 in 2013, according to a study from the University of Michigan. …
… While it’s perfectly legal for lawmakers to hold and trade stock, critics argue that it often can create the appearance of a conflict of interest when lobbyists from those companies work to shape legislation.
“Congressional stock holders have a greater return on investment than the average American,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen. “Either they are geniuses on the stock market or they know something that we don’t. I suspect the latter.”
Holman lobbied for passage of the STOCK Act, which forces the disclosure of stock trades made by Congress and some in the executive branch. He says the disclosure provisions were weakened before the bill was passed, but said the new rules might are likely having an impact.
“I don’t know how much active trading has gone on since the STOCK Act. I suspect it’s dampened it,” Holman said. “Members are going to be more cautious now.”
In the six Labor Days since President Obama took office, his appointees have gone to outrageous lengths to compel the 93 percent of the private-sector workforce who don’t belong to an organized labor union to become dues-paying members.
While the Labor Department and the National Mediation Board have each pushed hard to create rules that overwhelmingly favor union organizers over those employees who oppose unionization, it is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which has taken the most outlandish actions in their attempt to tip the balance toward primary Democratic Party funders in Big Labor.
Governments do not solve problems. They exacerbate them.
French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls dissolved their government this week, after another row within the party rank-and-file left the Socialists looking weaker than ever. With the government’s austerity path being publicly questioned and with popularity at an all-time low, those inside Élysée Palace are now relying on their new economy and industry minister — a former Rothschild banker — to get France’s economy back up and running.
Germany’s newest party, the Eurosceptic “Alternative for Germany” (AfD), has won its first seats in the state parliament of Saxony, according to preliminary results.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats won the vote with 39.5% according to exit polls.
The AfD, which says it is anti-euro (the currency), rather than anti-Europe, won around 9.6% of the vote.
Eurosceptic parties made large gains in the European elections in May.
The projected results from Saxony, a state in eastern Germany, indicate a much more successful showing at the ballot box than had been predicted.
… is that many people knew and, evidently, nobody spoke up. No body said that ‘this is wrong’.
Mexico’s largest crackdown in decades on illegal migration has decreased the flow of Central Americans trying to reach the United States, and has dramatically cut the number of child migrants and families, according to officials and eyewitness accounts along the perilous route.
Convoys of Mexican federal police and immigration service employees in southern Mexico have begun scouring the tracks of the infamous freight train known as “La Bestia,” or The Beast, that has long carried crowds of migrants on its lumbering route north. They have also set up moving roadblocks, checking the documents of passengers on interstate buses.
Associated Press journalists witnessed dozens of federal police and Mexican immigration agents storming the train as it came to an unscheduled stop in the post-midnight darkness Friday.
An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Mohamed Badie to life in prison after religious authorities rejected the death penalty, in one of many trials of Islamists since their removal from power.
A leading U.S. Ebola researcher from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has gone on record stating that a blend of three monoclonal antibodies can completely protect monkeys against a lethal dose of Ebola virus up to 5 days after infection, at a time when the disease is severe.
Thomas Geisbert, professor of microbiology and immunology, has written an editorial for Nature discussing advances in Ebola treatment research. The filoviruses known as Ebola virus and Marburg virus are among the most deadly of pathogens, with fatality rates of up to 90 percent.
“So although these approaches are highly important and can be used to treat known exposures, the need for treatments that can protect at later times after infection was paramount,” said Geisbert.
Some surprising discoveries about the body’s initial responses to HIV infection have been made by researchers. One of the biggest obstacles to complete viral eradication and immune recovery is the stable HIV reservoir in the gut. There is very little information about the early viral invasion and the establishment of the gut reservoir. “We want to understand what enables the virus to invade the gut, cause inflammation and kill the immune cells,” said the study’s lead author.
“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” the king said Saturday, Agence France Presse reported. His comments came while he was speaking at ceremony for new ambassadors.
Why has a federal civil-rights murder investigation arisen out of the tumult in a St. Louis exurb? There is only one plausible reason: Eric Holder is guilty of racial profiling.
To be clear, we are not talking here about whether there was justification for the shooting of a young black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, by a young white police officer, 28-year-old Darren Wilson. Was the shooting a legitimate exercise in self-defense by an officer under attack? Was it an overreaction for which Officer Wilson should suffer serious civil and criminal consequences? Such questions can only be answered by a thorough and fair investigation, the kind of due process owed to both the victim and the subject of the investigation — the kind that, as National Review’s editors point out, will be tough to mete out with political thumbs pressing on the scales.
San Diego police have confirmed that a break-in did occur at the campaign’s headquarters in the Mira Mesa neighborhood of San Diego on the night of May 27 or early in the morning May 28. The burglars broke thousands of dollars of equipment, including computers and phones.
U-T San Diego reported Friday that police are looking at two former campaign staffers as suspects.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/216308-demaio-staffers-suspected-in-campaign-burglary#ixzz3BygnvMBm
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According to JSS News and Europe 1, a source from the French security agency the Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence revealed that two Muslim girls, aged 15 and 17, were arrested in the Tarbes and Venissieux neighbourhoods a week ago, after authorities uncovered a plan to carry out a suicide bombing inside the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were indicted on August 22nd for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
The U.S. brewing and beer importing industry puts more than two million Americans to work. A recently analysis completed by the Beer Institute found that every one job inside a brewery supports another 45 jobs outside the brewery – among industries such as farming, can- and bottle-manufacturing, warehousing, shipping, distribution and retail.
It isn’t difficult to see how brewing creates demand for jobs outside the brewery. Agriculture – just one industry of the many that are involved in brewing – is a great example.
Every year, brewers and beer importers buy billions of pounds of barley malt from farmers in more than a dozen states. Those same brewers and beer importers buy 1.5 billion pounds of rice, corn and other grains used to brew beer, and another 119 million pounds of hops. It takes nearly 56,000 people to cultivate and harvest these brewing staples.
… that you lose the bright decent people that it needs.
And not future bailouts.
Fannie Mae, the large mortgage lender bailed out by the U.S. government, may be looking to have its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in what would be a historic move.
According to a recent job posting, Fannie (FNMA) is looking for an attorney, who among other things, would “provide advice and counsel on corporate governance and securities law matters, including Federal Housing Finance Agency, ‘34 Act, (and) ‘NYSE listing requirements.’”
Seeking a listing on the Big Board would be an audacious move for Fannie, which along with its counterpart Freddie Mac was put into conservatorship in 2008 after receiving nearly $188 billion in federal assistance —a move designed to forestall the looming financial meltdown. Shares of both Fannie and Freddie, which had traded on the NYSE, were subsequently delisted, and currently trade on the over-the-counter markets.
In a first-of-its-kind ruling that could make it easier for some immigrant women to win permission to remain legally in the United States, the Justice Department Board of Immigration Appeals has determined that Guatemalan women who fled their country due to domestic violence can qualify for asylum.