It was another month of the US economy creating jobs. Shitty jobs.
The hilariously corrupt relationship between Jerry Jones and Chris Christie would be described in the most lurid terms by the US press if it were occurring in Russia. Jones is, without doubt, an oligarch, and Christie is his political ally, what in the Russian political system is called a silovik — which in that system also connotes a background in the security services, military, or secret police, who share that background with Putin. The analogy is not perfect in Christie’s case, but he was a prosecutor, so he represents the other half of the classic Law & Order dichotomy. But the prosecutors, it turns out, are cheaper to buy than the cops.
The above image is a copy of a check for nearly $975 million that the ex-wife of oil company parasite Harold Hamm rejected in a divorce settlement. Is there anything more repulsive than the faux-feminist argument that Hamm’s ex-wife deserves more of the money? One thing, actually: the argument that Harold Hamm himself belongs anywhere other than a jail cell. Neither of them deserves the ill-gotten proceeds of their pillage. They are a blot on society.
Bloomberg reports on the shrinking retirement savings of the average American, as crappy 401(k)s have almost entirely displaced traditional pensions. Meanwhile, retirement payouts for executives are so obscenely out of line with the retirement savings of workers that the inequality even dwarfs the yawning disparity in yearly pay. For its example, Bloomberg points to the case of Gregg Steinhafel, the CEO of Target who departed in the wake of the company’s embarrassing data breach. Steinhafel’s payout from the company is $47 million, or 1,044 times the average balance of workers in the company’s 401(k) plan — and many part-time workers at Target are not even eligible to participate in the 401(k).
Bloomberg’s Julie Bykowicz today has a primer on the contrasting agendas of the various funders of the right-wing majority in Congress. The Chamber of Commerce was the biggest winner of the most recent cycle. It is worth noting that they are the right wing of business — distinct from the more mainstream Business Roundtable — but the Chamber’s priorities include the easing of some immigration restrictions, support for the Export-Import Bank, and more infrastructure spending, all of which are opposed by elements even further to the right. The infrastructure spending is the focus of this Bloomberg commentary, which it contrasts with the Koch brothers and their various toy organizations. The Kochs’ ideological idiocy (David Koch is quoted here as saying that he is worried inflation will ensue if the budget is not balanced; unhinged billionaires like him see no need to recognize reality before distorting politics with their money) sets up a confrontation between so-called “grassroots conservatives” (who are foot-soldiers in the Koch Astroturf operations) and the Chamber, in a way that makes the Chamber look “reasonable” — thereby pulling politics in general even further to the right.
Also highlighted here are some special interests, such as the coal industry and Sheldon Adelson, the latter of whom also plays in politics with his money, though he is more straightforwardly and hilariously corrupt; if he were Russian, he would be correctly termed an “oligarch”; no rational social system would have a place for someone like him outside of a prison cell.
Somebody tie the rope and hang this fucker.
You may be asking yourself, “What sort of prick gets spa-treatments for a 3-year-old?” Well, today’s New York Times has pictures.