Supreme Court appears split in Obamacare arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed bitterly divided during heated arguments over the fate of President Obama’s health care law.
As expected, the court’s four liberal members voiced strong support for the administration’s position. But the administration must almost certainly capture the vote of either Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. or Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to prevail.
The chief justice said almost nothing.
Justice Kennedy asked questions suggesting that he was uncomfortable with the administration’s reading of the statute. But he added that the challengers’ reading posed problems, too. “Your argument raises a serious constitutional question,” he told their lawyer.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued for the Obama administration, facing Michael A. Carvin, who represented the plaintiffs in another challenge to the law that reached the Supreme Court in 2012.

Michael A. Carvin, who was hired to argue in front of the Supreme Court against the subsidies of the Affordable Care Act, represented the plaintiffs in the 2012 challenge to the law’s individual mandate.

The court’s decision, expected by late June, will determine whether roughly seven million low- and middle-income people in some three dozen states will continue to receive subsidies to help them buy health insurance.

Should the court rule that the subsidies were not authorized by the health care law, most of those people would no longer be able to afford insurance. And insurance markets in those states could collapse, imperiling the health care law itself….

By ADAM LIPTAK – New York Times –

Oil prices sink further, dollar hit by wage data

Oil prices tumbled again Monday, while most Asian stock markets also retreated after a sell-off in New York at the end of last week in response to data showing weak US wage growth.

The news on wages, which overshadowed another forecast-beating rise in job creation, pushed the dollar down against the euro because it complicates the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates.

Sydney fell 0.78 percent, or 42.9 points, to close at 5,422.7 and Seoul closed 0.19 percent lower, or 3.75 points, at 1,920.95.

Shanghai — which has surged more than 50 percent over the past year — slipped 1.71 percent, or 56.09 points, to 3,229.32….

Crude prices have lost more than half their value since the middle of last year, with weakness in key markets China and the eurozone adding to the supply and demand crisis.

Wall Street provided a negative lead for stock markets after figures showed US wages grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in December, barely keeping up with inflation and indicating consumer spending power remained low….

Traders latched on to the data, ignoring the fact that unemployment fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest level in six and a half years, while 252,000 new posts were created in December to cap the best year for job creation since 1999.

“Despite the robust US jobs data, markets chose to focus on the weak wages growth and the likelihood that it will keep the Fed Reserve ‘patient’ about any rate hike,” United Overseas Bank said.

Economists took the report as allowing the Fed to delay raising interest rates. This dented speculation of an increase in April and made the dollar less attractive to investors.

“This tug of war between deflation and expectations of the first rate hike in many years by the US Fed is likely to result in intense volatility,” Nader Naeimi at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, told Bloomberg TV….

From Yahoo News –

Why Rockefellers Aim at Destroying Farmers Worldwide?

For the better part of the past century Western pop culture has systematically denigrated and devalued what should be the most honored profession of all. Those who labor with the land, day-in and day-out, to deliver the food that we eat have assumed a social status too often similar to the dirt of the soil they till. No one stops to ask a simple question: What do we do when we have killed off all our farmers?

Some of the more naïve city-dwellers would retort with little reflection, “But we have industrialized food production; we don’t need manual farm labor today.”

Indeed, the numbers are impressive.

Let’s take my homeland, the United States of America. In 1950, a time of general prosperity and strong economic growth, the total US population was 151,132,000 and the farm population was 25,058,000 making farmers just over 12% of the total labor force. There were 5,388,000 farms with an average size of about 87 hectares [215 acres]. Forty years later, in 1990, the year the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended, the USA had a total population of 261,423,000 of which the farm population numbered just under three million, 2,987,552, making farmers a mere 2.6% of the total labor force. The number of farms had shrunk to only 2,143,150, a loss of 60%, but because of industrial concentration, average size was 187 hectares [462 acres].

What we are told, those of us whose relation to meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables ends at the supermarket, is that this is a great progress, the liberation of almost 23 million farm workers to get city jobs and live a better life.

It isn’t that simple.

We are not told the true effects on food quality that has been created by the mechanization and industrialization of food production in America since the Harvard Business School, on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, began what they termed “agribusiness,” the conversion of our food supply into a pure for-profit vertically integrated business modelled on the Rockefeller oil cartel.

The raising of hogs, dairy cows, beef cattle, chicken all became industrialized gradually after the 1950’s in the USA. The baby chicks were confined to spaces so tiny they could barely stand. To make them get fat faster, the owners would pump them full of antibiotics and feed them a diet of GMO corn and soya meal. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are for use on livestock and poultry, not humans. The majority are given to animals mixed in their food or water to speed growth. After all, time is money.

The traditional family farmer, of the sort my late grandfather was in North Dakota prior to the First World War, was driven largely from the land by USDA Government policy, policy that favored industrialization regardless of the quality of food nutrient that resulted. Tractors became computerized, mammoth machines driven by GPS. One such tractor could work remotely and do the work of many farmers of old.

The result was financially fabulous….for the industry owners—ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, for the packagers like Kraft Foods, Kelloggs, Nestle, Unilever, Toepfer, Maggi. The American Rockefeller-Harvard “agribusiness” business model was globalized, beginning with the GATT negotiations of the Uruguay Round of trade liberalization in the late 1980s where the EU dropped much of its traditional protection of domestic farmers in favor of free trade in agriculture products.

During the late 1980’s as the Uruguay Round of GATT trade negotiations was about to give US agribusiness giants what they wanted—freedom to rape the EU and other protected agriculture markets with their highly efficient products, to destroy millions of EU farmers who had farmed with a passion for generations, I went to Brussels to make a background interview as a journalist with a high-level EU Commission bureaucrat responsible for agriculture. He was an apparently well-educated, multi-lingual bureaucrat, Danish-born as he noted. He argued in defense of free trade by declaring, “Why should I pay taxes from Denmark so that Bavarian farmers on their tiny plots of land can remain in business?”

The answer, which I kept to myself then, was simply because the traditional family farmer is uniquely suited to mediate with nature and us to produce food that is healthy for humans and animals to eat. No machine can replace the personal dedication or passion that I have seen again and again in every farmer I have met who truly cares about his livestock or crops.

Now the very same very rich and very loveless people, I call them the American Oligarchs, are systematically doing everything to destroy the human food quality. Clearly in my view, they are doing so with a goal of mass population reduction. There is no other reason the Rockefeller Foundation would spend hundreds of millions of (tax exempt) dollars to create GMO techniques, to support Monsanto and other chemical giants like DuPont, clearly knowing they are slowly poisoning the population to an early death.

By William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook –