Seattle Passes Historic $15 Minimum Wage – Taegan Goddard’s Wonk Wire

This is an interesting development – to see the medium and long term effects.. more of the cake to the middle class… presumably more spending and a thriving economy…

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on Monday to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum.

New York Times: The vote, “after months of discussion by a committee of business and labor leaders convened by Mayor Ed Murray, will give low-wage workers here — in incremental stages, with different tracks for different sizes of business — the highest big-city minimum in the nation.”

“The vote, economists and labor experts said, accentuates the patchwork in wages around the country, with places like Seattle — and other cities considering sharply higher minimum pay, including San Diego, Chicago and San Francisco — having economic outlooks increasingly distinct from those in other parts of the nation. Through much of the South, especially, the federal minimum of $7.25 holds fast.”

Hillary Clinton: ‘Failure’ to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS – The Atlantic

As the campaign for Hillary for 2016 ramps up she’s getting more outspoken about her criticisms of Obama, and pointing out their differences… perhaps also trying to distance herself from her own responsibilities as Sec.State for four years.. which might also in part have been heavily dictated by the WH….

Bill Clinton is probably very supportive of these attacks on Obama….

And it might be good and necessary politics for Hillary…

The former secretary of state, and probable candidate for president, outlines her foreign-policy doctrine. She says this about President Obama’s: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

President Obama has long-ridiculed the idea that the U.S., early in the Syrian civil war, could have shaped the forces fighting the Assad regime, thereby stopping al Qaeda-inspired groups—like the one rampaging across Syria and Iraq today—from seizing control of the rebellion
. In an interview in February, the president told me that “when you have a professional army … fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict—the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

Well, his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, isn’t buying it. In an interview with me earlier this week, she used her sharpest language yet to describe the “failure” that resulted from the decision to keep the U.S. on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian uprising.


Elizabeth Warren Offers Democrats More Than a 2016 Candidacy—She Offers a 2014 Agenda | The Nation

She might become a Teddy Roosevelt of the 21st century.. She’s a strong fighter and a great communicator, and the timing is good..

Detroit—Elizabeth Warren says she is not running for president in 2016—despite the enthusiastic “Run, Liz, Run” chanting that erupted when the senator from Massachusetts took the stage at this year’s Netroots Nation conference. But Warren came to Detroit with the platform on which Democrats should be running in 2016.

And in 2014.

Warren is frequently described as a populist. And she can certainly frame her message in populist terms, as was well illustrated by the strongest statement of her Friday Netroots Nation address: “A kid gets caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank launders drug money and no one gets arrested. The game is rigged.”

This means Warren: Obama backs challenger to Hillary | New York Post

Not sure how reliable these sources are.. but Warren is a very crisp and combative politician compared to the more ineffectual Hillary… their new and respective books clearly highlight these differences from the very first pages..
Warren has a personal history of growing up in financial difficulties and might hit the right moment of public anger and support….. maybe with help from the Piketty-thing…

President Obama has quietly promised Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren complete support if she runs for president — a stinging rebuke to his nemesis Hillary Clinton, sources tell me.

Publicly, Obama has remained noncommittal on the 2016 race, but privately he worries that Clinton would undo and undermine many of his policies. There’s also a personal animosity, especially with Bill Clinton, that dates from their tough race six years ago. (..)

Obama has authorized his chief political adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to conduct a full-court press to convince Warren to throw her hat into the ring.

In the past several weeks, Jarrett has held a series of secret meetings with Warren. During these meetings, Jarrett has explained to Warren that Obama is worried that if Hillary succeeds him in the White House, she will undo many of his policies.

Time Bomb – POLITICO Magazine

There are a lot of essays written about the state of things this year – but it mostly boils down to a very simple challenge – government is bought by big money. The rest is just symptoms and consequences. A divided and polarized country for example. It’s in large part just orchestrated or at least amplified for political purposes.

Because American politics is both divided and ineffective, it’s easy to assume that divisiveness is the problem, and being nicer and more cooperative would make government work again. Especially on occasions like the Fourth of July, the temptation is strong to hold hands and call, earnestly, for bipartisan comity. Can’t we all just get along?

No, we can’t—even though much of our partisan division is superficial. The more basic problem is denial. Like a dysfunctional family writ across a continent, we Americans have learned to look away from some of our hardest problems, such as inequality and climate change, and, when confronted with them, wring our hands and pretend there’s nothing we can do—even when we pretend to be making a fuss about them.

Part of the reason for the denial is that doing something meaningful about these problems would deepen our conflict. It would reveal a country divided by material interests, not just partisan rhetoric and style. It would raise the stakes of politics. This is risky, but the chance might open the door to a more hopeful politics.

ISIS Already in Gaza Strip

Chances are that many groups and factions in the region are looking at the window of 2014-16 with Obama at the US helm as a great opportunity for power-grabs in the Middle East.. and act upon the constant threats against Israel…

Despite denials by Hamas, there is growing evidence that the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] — also known as "The Islamic State" — has begun operating in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority [PA] and Israeli security sources are convinced that followers of ISIS in the Gaza Strip are responsible for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel.

Hamas, they say, seems to be losing control over the dozens of terror cells belonging to ISIS and other jihadi groups.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Allies

At some point Europe will probably just think of 2016 and what lies ahead.. chances are that both a Clinton or a Jeb Bush will pay more attention to western allies.. and in some ways a more active diplomatic and political (but not necessarily military) role in geopolitics would demand a closer attention to the Atlantic relations..

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Allies
Why America’s friends in Europe are wishing for the good old days of George W. Bush.

The Obama administration has achieved a landmark heretofore considered impossible: they are making America’s allies homesick for the administration of George W. Bush. This week, news broke that Poland’s foreign minister was caught on tape earlier this year disparaging the United States. Radek Sikorski bitterly said Warsaw’s ties to Washington were “worthless,” then followed it up with some even saltier language. It’s actually a measure of America’s importance that the surreptitious recording caused a sensation, forcing Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to face a confidence vote in Parliament. The indiscretion will probably cost Sikorski his prospects for the job of EU foreign policy chief. But he’s not wrong about America.


The most depressing chart you will see today – The Washington Post

Some context is helpful… when people say “politics is always corrupt and crap”.. there is a big difference between 72% having confidence in the Presidency vs. 29% having confidence.. it’s two different societies almost.. at times with long-term effects on people’s individual priorities and values..


Check out this new chart from Gallup detailing the remarkably declining trust people place in the branches of government.

“Confidence in the presidency is now the lowest it has been under President Barack Obama, as is confidence in Congress and the Supreme Court, given their historical lows,” write Gallup’s Justin McCarthy.

(..) Today, no more than three in ten Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in any branch of government. Let that sink if for a minute.

BBC News – Pope Francis attacks ‘evil’ mafia in ‘Ndrangheta base

The new pope is really making enemies on all sides… going against the top rich and economic inequality, the Vatican Bank, and now the mobsters in the south of Italy on moral and religious grounds..

At some points there will be some repercussions from of all this.. or maybe the times are changing.. but he’s moving a bit too fast.. doing all at once..

Pope Francis has condemned the mafia’s “adoration of evil” at a mass in Calabria, the southern Italian base of the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate.

The Pope said the gangsters were effectively “excommunicated” – or banished – in the eyes of the Church.

Earlier, the Pope visited the jailed father of a three-year-old boy who had been killed in an apparent mob hit over an unpaid drug debt.

The Pope has repeatedly spoken out against organized crime and corruption.