WASHINGTON -- Progressive unrest over free trade policies is shaping up to be a major issue in the contest for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, if a strongly worded letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to the top Obama administration trade official is any sign. read more
French economist Thomas Piketty said the world's richest man loves everything about his 2014 book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, except for the part about how the rich should pay more in taxes. Microsoft founder Bill Gates told Piketty he believes he can spend his money in "more efficient [ways] than the government," the author said. In his book, Piketty argues for a global tax on wealth to help offset growing levels of inequality.
President Obama is preparing a major push on a vast free-trade zone that seeks to enlist Republicans as partners and test his premise that Washington can still find common ground on major initiatives.
It also will test his willingness to buck his own party in pursuit of a legacy-burnishing achievement. Already, fellow Democrats are accusing him of abandoning past promises on trade and potentially undermining his domestic priority of reducing income inequality. read more
In a deal hammered out Tuesday evening, the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees agreed on a budget bill that includes a measure curbing Justice Department enforcement efforts in states where medical marijuana is legal. The measure, in the form of an amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California), passed the House back in May. The bill also includes similar language barring the use of Justice Department funds to interfere with hemp research authorized under the already approved Agricultural Act of 2014. The hemp industry hasn't responded yet, but medical marijuana supporters are pleased. read more
Steven Rosenfield, AlterNet: Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, one of two co-chairs apppointed by President Obama to head a commission on ways to demilitarize local police, is known for leading repeated bloody and abusive crackdowns on protesters when he was Washington, D.C.'s chief a decade ago, according to a civil rights attorney who won millions in damages for hundreds of citizens attacked by D.C. police. read more