HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » alwaysinasnit » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next »


Profile Information

Name: Dolores
Gender: Female
Hometown: California
Home country: USA
Current location: California
Member since: Thu Nov 30, 2017, 02:58 PM
Number of posts: 3,064

Journal Archives

Status of the Social Security Trust Fund, Fiscal 2020: Beware of Vicious Dog


The Social Security Trust Fund – officially the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund – closed the fiscal year 2020 at the end of September with a balance of $2.81 trillion, the second highest fiscal-year close, behind 2017, up by $6.8 billion from a year ago, and up by $10 billion from two years ago, according to figures released by the Social Security Administration. The Trust Fund has vacillated in the same range since 2016, after growing substantially over the past decade.

The balance is seasonal and peaks in June. The all-time peak was in June 2017, at $2.85 trillion. In June this year, the balance was $2.84 trillion. So far so good:

The Trust Fund invests exclusively in special issue Treasury securities, of two types: $2.797 trillion in interest-bearing long-term special issue Treasury securities and $14 billion in a short-term cash management security, called “certificates of indebtedness.” These securities are not publicly traded, and so their value doesn’t change from day to day with the whims of the market. The Trust Fund purchases them at face value, and the US Treasury redeems them at face value.

By contrast, a bond mutual fund that holds marketable Treasury securities must “mark to market” its Treasuries on a daily basis (producing a gain or loss).

By investing exclusively in Treasury securities that are not exposed to market whims, the Trust Fund follows the most conservative – meaning, low-risk – strategy possible.

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Mon Oct 19, 2020, 01:46 AM (0 replies)

The coronavirus vaccine will not be free: Americans have already paid for it -- twice

The government is paying vaccine development costs plus paying for production — with a hefty profit for the makers


If you are an American citizen, you have already paid for your novel coronavirus vaccine. Not only have you paid for this future vaccine, you have also paid billions for the research that went into discovering that vaccine. The pharmaceutical companies that accepted all that free money to do that research are going to make millions off your investment. You'll get a jab in the arm.

One of the leading candidates in stage III clinical trials is the Moderna NIH vaccine. In normal times with any other disease, the US government throws lots of money into early stage clinical research, which is then bought up by pharmaceutical companies who do the stage II and III clinical trials. When that drug comes to market, the Big Pharma companies then turn around and sell that drug to Americans at inflated prices. The pharmaceutical companies will argue they need to charge lots of money to recuperate the cost of developing the drug and so that they can pour money into finding new ones.

That sounds reasonable, except for the fact it was Uncle Sam who paid for some of the costs of developing the drug in the first place. The difference between normal times and COVID times is that in the case of the Moderna vaccine, the US government is footing the entire bill.

Moderna is part of Operation Warp Speed, which is a government program throwing literal billions at finding therapies and vaccines for COVID-19. Earlier this year the pharmaceutical giant received nearly a billion dollars for vaccine research and development. As part of their government contract they are obligated to state how much of their own money they are pouring into research. Only after public pressure did they finally release one small press statement in which they admitted that Uncle Sam is paying 100% of the cost of the vaccine development. Moderna has put forth absolutely zero dollars into developing this. Zilch. Zero. Nada.


Posted by alwaysinasnit | Sun Oct 18, 2020, 07:31 PM (0 replies)

A Supreme Court case decided over a decade ago may come back to haunt Judge Amy Coney Barrett


A Supreme Court case that was decided over a decade ago may come back to haunt Judge Amy Coney Barrett as America enters an impending post-election 2020 judicial nightmare; one in which the sitting president may deny a peaceful transfer of power.

Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. was argued in 2009 with the primary holding that a judge cannot hear a case that centers on the financial interests of someone who supported him substantially in his campaign for election. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority that “recusal may be constitutionally required even where a judge is not actually biased, if there is a ‘serious risk’ of actual bias.”

Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the majority for constitutionalizing the judge’s recusal decision “in a manner ungoverned by any discernable rule,” but wrote that “in the best of all possible worlds, [judges should] sometimes recuse [themselves] even where the clear commands” of the Constitution don’t require it.

“The question for Barrett, if it arises, will not be whether she personally believes she can be fair in deciding an election case but, rather, whether a reasonable person would conclude that her impartiality would be inescapably overborne by the flood of influences brought to bear on her,” wrote former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig in a column for the Washington Post.

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Sun Oct 18, 2020, 06:31 PM (7 replies)

Apache - Hank Marvin

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Fri Oct 16, 2020, 12:33 AM (0 replies)

Oldest Living CIA Agent Says Russia Probably Targeted Trump Decades Ago


On Aug. 18, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 1,300-page report characterizing the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives with officials of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign as an “aggressive, multifaceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.” The report detailed the longstanding relationship between Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, and a Russian intelligence operative named Konstantin Kilimnik, while also describing the links of other Russian intelligence figures to Trump family members, notably Donald Jr. and Jared Kushner, and to such Trump confidants as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, briefly the president’s national security adviser.

As to be expected, President Trump immediately denounced the report as “a hoax” (never mind that it was authored by a Republican-controlled committee), while his inner circle adopted their usual stance on such matters, either staying mum or decrying the committee’s work as a tired retread of last year’s Mueller report. The real scandal, the president declaimed, was the deep state “witch hunt” against him that spurred these investigations in the first place.

If this latest chapter in the four-year Russiagate drama is unlikely to change many minds, at least one person has examined the Senate’s findings with both great interest and alarm. His name is Peter Sichel and, at the age of 97, he is the last surviving member of the early CIA that faced off with the Soviets at the start of the Cold War.


“Most people have this idea that they came in and grabbed all those countries by force,” Sichel explained, “but that is not true. In almost every case, they worked within the structure of the prewar political parties and just gradually coopted them.”

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Mon Oct 5, 2020, 04:32 PM (3 replies)

Expert: Uber-funded ballot measure in California would create 'permanent underclass of workers'


Those who took high school civics may recall that our democracies lives on fractions. A majority vote — one-half plus one — is what it takes to pass a bill in most legislative bodies. The constitution requires a "supermajority," meaning two-thirds of a governing body, for only the most important and crucial matters: to override a presidential veto, or remove an officer via impeachment, say.

If two-thirds seems like a high threshold for a congressional body, what about seven-eighths? That's the super-duper-majority that would be required to overturn Proposition 22 — the Uber- and Lyft-funded ballot measure that will appear on California ballots this November — should it pass this fall.

You read that right: the astroturf ballot measure written by some of Silicon Valley's biggest corporations, which is written to keep these companies' contractors from achieving benefits or a stable, salaried job, would require a seven-eighths majority of state legislators in both state chambers in order to be overturned — such a difficult threshold to meet that experts say it would be effectively permanent.

The origin of Proposition 22

It all goes back to California's Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The impetus for AB5 was to make gig economy work into more stable and reliable work, and reduce worker exploitation; currently, driver-contractors like those who work for Uber or Lyft are not guaranteed health care of any other benefits if they work more than 40 hours a week, as they are legally contractors rather than employees.


If this passes here in California...

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Sun Oct 4, 2020, 03:36 PM (7 replies)

Here's why the presidential election could be upended if one of the candidates dies


The bombshell news, in the wee hours on Friday morning, that President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Trump adviser Hope Hicks had all tested positive for COVID-19 is sparking discussions about the presidential line of succession. And to make matters even more complicated, the U.S. is only a month away from a presidential election. Rick Hasen, an expert on U.S. election law and a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, asks the following question on his Election Law Blog: "what happens if a presidential candidate dies or is incapacitated before Election Day?"

And Hasen's answer is harrowing: "a mess."

Hasen, in his posts, notes that so far, President Trump has been asymptomatic (in fact, by the time of this posting, he reportedly has "mild symptoms." But what if Trump were to take a turn for the worse? COVID-19 can infect people in very different ways. Some people infected with COVID-19 never had so much as a sneeze, while others suffer severe respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues, and death.

"As a matter of national importance," Hasen writes, "we need to ask what would happen if one of the presidential candidates died or became incapacitated before Election Day."

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Fri Oct 2, 2020, 05:11 PM (2 replies)

'Appalling Betrayal': New Report Details Dozens of Trump Rollbacks Perpetrated Under Cover of Covid-


"Nearly 200,000 Americans are dead and more than 6 million have been infected with Covid-19 because of the administration's disastrous response, but Trump's top priority is showering giant corporations with deregulatory special favors," says Matt Kent of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

In the nearly six months since President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, he has rolled back at least 30 public protections, while proposing changes to at least 20 others, according to a report published Thursday by Public Citizen's Coalition on Sensible Safeguards.

The report—Pandemic Rollbacks: Slashing Safeguards During the Coronavirus—tracks dozens of regulatory rollbacks enacted or proposed by the Trump administration since March.


Noting that Trump "has directed agencies to press forward with his dangerous, unpopular, and corrupt deregulatory agenda as if it's business as usual," the report accuses the president of appearing "eager to take advantage of the crisis and ram through deregulatory policies while the rest of the country is distracted."


The article enumerates some of those rollbacks.
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Thu Sep 10, 2020, 07:17 PM (6 replies)

Is a second American civil war really possible?



If we are, indeed, on the brink of a second Civil War, it’s already being waged as a “cold war,” with the occasional armed skirmish being provoked by the so-called Alt-Right movement, which, as of summer, 2020, had murdered thousands of Americans since Tim McVeigh kicked off the modern “boogaloo” white supremacy era.

And, as in the past, this would be a war where the very, very rich—the oligarchs—pit Americans against each other, dividing us by class, region, race and religion simply to gain and hold more and more power and wealth.

This is not the first time we’ve faced such a crisis as a nation.

Each time, forces of massive accumulated or inherited wealth have nearly succeeded in taking full control of our nation, replacing a democracy, where the will of the people is accomplished through their elected representatives, with a form of government where most government functions reinforce the power, wealth and control of the morbidly rich.

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Tue Sep 8, 2020, 06:17 PM (39 replies)

'Touted as 'essential'... treated as disposable': Labor Day anger as migrant farm workers toil inside

‘Touted as ‘essential’… treated as disposable’: Labor Day anger as migrant farm workers toil inside wildfire evacuation zones


“For the workers, their hands were forced by a combination of circumstances as toxic as the ash that falls over the region’s famous vineyards.”

This Labor Day, immigrant and worker’s rights advocates are sounding the alarm in response to reports of migrant grape pickers, many of whom are undocumented, being forced to work in fire evacuation zones by California growers in a situation critics say demonstrates how some of those deemed “essential” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have been rendered “disposable” in the face of a record-setting heat wave and extremely dangerous conditions.

“What’s needed more than anything is an economic safety net in times of disaster so that people don’t have to accept perilous work and changes to immigration laws, so they don’t have to fear offers of help.”
Alleen Brown, reporter, The Intercept

While the threat of flames and smoke was strong enough in Sonoma County to provoke the relocation of area residents, “the county agriculture commissioner invited workers to continue laboring in the fields, doling out evacuation-area access passes to dozens of agricultural producers,” Alleen Brown reported for The Intercept.



edited to add
I live in Sonoma county and it is currently 103 degrees outside (at 3:32 pm).
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Mon Sep 7, 2020, 05:55 PM (2 replies)
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next »