Donald Trump stands on the 14th fairway during a pro-am round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Trump is worried that wind turbines will spoil the view from his new golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Last summer, Bill talked with Scottish documentary filmmaker Anthony Baxter about his award-winning film You’ve Been Trumped! which chronicled Donald Trump’s aggressive efforts to build “the greatest golf course in the world” across ancient sand dunes in Scotland. Despite protests and lawsuits from the local community, Trump got his way: the golf course was built in 2010, uprooting family farmers nearby and infuriating conservationists who worried about the environmental impact of the project on the pristine coastline.
Now Trump is fuming. The Scottish government announced this week that eleven giant wind turbines will be built just off the coast of the state-of-the-art golf course in what the billionaire calls a “ridiculous proposal” that will, in his view, be “the destruction of Aberdeen and Scotland itself.” In a statement, he vowed to put all future phases of his project on hold, including the construction of a hotel, unless the plan is scrapped. “We will spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed. All over the world they are being abandoned, but in Scotland they are being built.”
Although the offshore wind industry is relatively nascent — there are about 55 or 56 turbines currently in operation — it’s actually the world’s fastest growing source of energy. Just today, Grist reported that the Massachusetts wind energy company Cape Wind announced a $2 billion backing deal with a Japanese bank that “catapults them to a commanding lead in the race to be the first offshore wind project in the U.S.” If the company begins construction this year, customers from Buzzards Bay to Provincetown could be turning on their lights courtesy of Cape Wind’s clean power by 2015. The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal to produce 54 gigawatts from offshore turbines by 2030 — enough to power 10 New York Cities. MORE
Star attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies, who appeared in the Supreme Court today arguing in support of same-sex marriage, first discussed their legal challenge with Bill in 2010 on Bill Moyers Journal. The two have argued before the high court many times before but from opposite ends of the political spectrum, most famously during Bush v. Gore in 2000, when Olson represented soon-to-be-President George W. Bush, and Boies, his opponent. Despite ideological differences, the two say they are good friends and “respectful adversaries.”
In this web extra video from the 2010 interview, they debate the legal arguments and the consequences of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, which Olson argued and won before the Supreme Court. That decision’s impact was felt during the most recent election cycle, when unprecedented sums were spent on political campaigns.
Jamie Dimon, Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Earlier this month, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued its report on the JPMorgan Chase “London Whale” debacle and subsequent cover-up of $6.2 billion in derivatives trading losses. Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan pointed a finger not only at the bank but also said that regulators — notably, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — fell down on the job.”
Last week, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Sheila Bair told Bill, “I think it underscores how even in banks that are viewed as very well-managed, there can be major management breakdowns. These actively traded derivatives can generate very, very large losses in a very short period of time [because of] how volatile they are. I think this is all problematic and should inform some future regulatory choices.”
But it seems some members of the House Agriculture Committee aren’t paying much attention to their colleagues in the Senate. They have brought seven bills to the House floor that will weaken federal regulation of derivatives trading. The bills take aim at Title VII of the Dodd-Frank bank reform act — even though Dodd-Frank has not been fully implemented yet.
Why is a farming committee concerned with derivatives? As David Dayen reports in Salon, since the mid-19th century “farmers used derivatives to achieve stability over future prices.” Although derivatives have evolved since the 1850s, futures traders still use them for commodities such as corn and cotton. MORE
This blog post original appeared on the Colorlines blog.
Trader Fred Reimer works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks rose strongly this week ahead of a decision by the Federal Reserve about whether to push ahead with aggressive measures to boost the economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
As the New York Stock Exchange reached an all-time high this month, you’d think that the good times were back. But that would be incorrect. What happens on Wall Street has very little to do with what’s going on in the real economy. Corporate profits have never been higher, but — excluding the highest earners — real wages are at a 40 year low. With this fundamental disconnect — and political gridlock in Washington — it’s unlikely that our economy will return to health anytime soon.
The good news is that in thousands of communities across America, people are working together to bring about what may be the beginning of a new national economic contract. Where Washington and Wall Street are falling down citizens are banding together, not just to ameliorate the suffering caused by national stagnation, but to launch innovative economic initiatives that might create a brighter, fairer future for everyone. MORE
Health care workers on strike. (Credit: SEIU1199NW)
“Providence Health & Services is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves — especially for those who are poor and vulnerable.”
So reads the Providence website. But ask the members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW what they think of the five-state health care giant’s commitment to vulnerable workers, and they paint a very different picture.
More than 700 union workers went on strike in Olympia, Washington, to protest the nonprofit’s unilateral decision while at the bargaining table to switch employees from an affordable health care plan to a high-deductible plan. These workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital — which include everyone but the doctors, registered nurses and social workers — and the Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice earn an average of $31,000 annually. MORE
Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by J. Glover courtesy of Wikicommons.
The movement to connect more people to high-speed Internet services scored a win in Georgia last Thursday. It’s a victory that should resonate in every U.S. community that is struggling to give people better Internet access.
A coalition of Georgia mayors, counties and local activists overcame an industry-backed bill that would have prohibited municipalities from building their own broadband networks. MORE
Americans wait in line at a food bank in a scene from American Winter.
A Patriotic Fix for America’s Hunger Epidemic By Michael Shank
“One nation, underfed.”
That’s the tagline for the new film out by Participant Productions, entitled A Place at the Table, which looks at America’s growing hunger epidemic. Participant Media, which produced Lincoln, The Help and Food Inc., does not disappoint with its latest take on what America must tackle. And in light of the March 1 sequester cuts to social programs, the film’s timing couldn’t be more appropriate.
Table’s statistics are overwhelming, but they are intended to overwhelm. Whether it’s the 50 million Americans who are living in food-insecure households (which means they are struggling with hunger), or the fact that 1-out-of-2 kids in America will, at some time in their childhood, have to rely on federal assistance for food. This is happening in the richest country in the world, and the problem is only getting worse. Under President Reagan there were 20 million Americans living with food insecurity. We’re well over double that figure now.
Table’s stories will overwhelm too. Whether it’s the 5th grader who is so hungry that she envisions her teacher as a banana and her fellow students as apples, or the single mother of two who finally gets a fulltime job only to realize that she is no longer food stamp eligible, a loss of $3-per-day that puts her family into serious food insecurity. That means her kids no longer have breakfast or lunch at daycare, and her youngest is already developmentally disabled due to improper nutrition. Lest we think she’s living large off her new job, food stamp eligibility ended once her salary passed $23,000, a figure hardly sufficient to pay for rent, utilities, insurance and transport, let alone food. (Most Americans are surprised to learn that the parents of hungry children typically have fulltime jobs.) Those who think food stamps breed dependency are wrong. As a child, raised singly by my mom after my dad died early, I too depended on food stamps. For many of us, they are critical lifelines of support while we get back on our feet. MORE
Over the weekend, a YouTube video breaking down income inequality in America went viral. As a reader of BillMoyers.com, you may have been aware that the disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.
The gap is a lot larger than many informed Americans realize.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accompanied by fellow House Democrats, leads a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 23, 2013, to discuss the reintroduction of the Violence Against Women Act. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
In the wake of last November’s election, many pundits credited Obama’s victory to the record number of single women who turned out and voted for him. Nearly a quarter of all voters were single women and they voted for Obama over Romney by an overwhelming margin of 36 points. Add to that the unprecedented number of women elected to serve in the 213th Congress and many were calling the 2012 election a “historic moment for women.”
Last week, some of that political power made an impact in the halls of Congress. In a surprising turn of events, the House of Representatives renewed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and sent it to the president to sign. The law, first enacted in 1994, had been renewed twice without controversy, but during the last Congress, House Republicans objected to a new version, passed by the Senate, that included gay, transgender, immigrant and Native American women in the language of the bill.
At the start of the 113th Congress, many felt pessimistic about the VAWA’s chances of being renewed. It looked like the bill would continue to languish in the House. But on Tuesday, Republican leaders — likely in a move to gain ground with women voters — agreed to allow a vote on the Senate version of the bill and it passed the Republican-dominated House by a vote of 286-138. MORE
President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin Luther King, Jr. on Aug. 6, 1965 upon signing the Voting Rights Act. Credit: Yoichi R. Okamoto, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case with the potential to dismantle the Voting Rights Act. The landmark law, passed nearly 50 years ago and reauthorized by Congress four times, made various forms of voter discrimination in the South, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, illegal. The central issue of the case is whether Congress should continue to review new voter laws in certain states to ensure discrimination is not taking place. MORE