Posts filed under ‘Corporatocracy’

The Next Time You Hear Someone Fearmongering About Cutting the Defense Budget…

Think of this mind-blowing little factoid (my Tweet of the Day):

Tweet of the Day 2-6-14

And don’t forget, we’re talking Our Tax Dollars here.

February 6, 2014 at 5:18 PM Leave a comment

While the NFL Counts its Super Bowl Cash, New Jersey Taxpayers Are Left With a Big, Big Bill

NFL Logo via Wikipedia

Another example of the power of lobbyists:

As the NFL packs out of town, with their self-proclaimed all-American extravaganza, we should say good riddance, and make sure they don’t come back with their big money, big everything, big game.

Because you, New Jersey taxpayer, are on the hook for the league’s big party for itself.

[...]

–  The NFL pays nothing for security. It’s right there in the bid contract, which was obtained by The Star-Ledger. So who pays for the 700 state troopers who patrolled the game and circled overhead in two choppers? Or the New Jersey National Guard in their Humvees, who guarded the rail lines and stadium perimeter? Or the local police from a few dozen towns from New Milford to Millville.

[...]

–  The NFL bid contract forbids host states from collecting sales tax on ticket sales, parking, luxury box sales, etc. It keeps 100 percent of the revenue, so there was no state tax benefit to offset our costs.

[...]

With their military flyovers, stars and stripes electronic banners and armed forces color guards, the NFL constantly wraps itself in the American flag.

But as a nonprofit corporation, they pay no federal taxes. Nothing for defense. Nothing for veterans’ benefits.

The NFL is a nonprofit corporation?  How did that happen? Lobbyists.

What a nice gig for NFL owners:

Let’s put that in perspective: The cost of each of the 109 luxury boxes the league sold at MetLife for Sunday game was $400,000. Do the math. That’s $43,600,000, for a sliver of the stadium.

More…

Ah.  Mazing.  The 1% have managed to set things up very, very nicely for themselves indeed.

February 6, 2014 at 5:10 PM Leave a comment

Fracking Has Consumed Almost 100 Billion Gallons of Clean Water in Two Years

Fracking Well Heads via Wikipedia

(Fracking Well Heads via Wikipedia)

From USAToday:

Report: Fracking Raising Aater Supply Worries

The USA’s domestic energy boom is increasing demands on water supplies already under pressure from drought and growing populations, a new report says.

The water-intensive process used to extract oil and gas from shale underground — known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking — has required almost 100 billion gallons of water to drill more than 39,000 oil and shale gas wells in the U.S. since 2011, says Ceres, a green investment group.

More than half of those wells — 55% — were in drought-stricken areas, and nearly half were in regions under high or extremely high water stress, such as Texas, the report says.

More…

Yeah, you read that right.  Fracking has consumed “almost 100 billion gallons of [fresh] water” in two years and belched it out as chemical-laden toxic crap.

What?  Hello!

 

February 6, 2014 at 4:21 PM Leave a comment

Police State America: Iowa Family Terrorized by Local Police

Family Terrorized via washingtonpost.com

(Image via WashingtonPost.com)

Watch this video, taken from a police raid in Des Moines, Iowa. Send it to some people. When critics (like me) warn about the dangers of police militarization, this is what we’re talking about. You’ll see the raid team, dressed in battle-dress uniforms, helmets and face-covering balaclava hoods take down the family’s door with a battering ram. You’ll see them storm the home with ballistics shields, guns at the ready. More troubling still, you’ll see not one but two officers attempt to prevent the family from having an independent record of the raid, one by destroying a surveillance camera, another by blocking another camera’s lens.

From the images in the video, you’d think they were looking for an escaped murderer or a house full of hit men. No, none of that. They were looking for a few people suspected of credit card fraud. None of the people they were looking for were inside of the house, nor was any of the stolen property they were looking for. They did arrest two houseguests of the family on what the news report says were unrelated charges, one for a probation violation and one for possession of illegal drugs.

Go here to watch the video.

So, a bank somewhere may have been ripped off via a couple two-bit fraudsters so the police, acting on their behalf, do this?  I see.

 

February 5, 2014 at 4:25 PM Leave a comment

Caving to Pressure from the Corporatocracy, the Oregon Legislature Refuses to Ban Toxic Chemicals From Children’s Clothing

Chemicals via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is the kind of insanity that occurs when politicians can be bought or sold via campaign contributions:

An effort in the Oregon Legislature to phase out arsenic, cadmium, mercury, Bisphenol A, formaldehyde and other potentially toxic chemicals from some children’s products looks on track to fail after intense lobbying from the chemical, toy and business industries.

An amendment in the works for Senate Bill 1569 would require the Oregon Health Authority to maintain a list of 66 “high priority chemicals of concern for children’s health” and would require manufacturers to disclose children’s products that contain the chemicals.

But gone is the third part of the bill that would have required, with some exceptions, a five-year phase-out of the listed chemicals in the products.

The new version of the bill is a bitter disappointment to phase-out advocates, especially after the Oregon House comfortably passed the bill last year with bipartisan support.

More…

What a no-brainer of a law, but here we have politicians explicitly working against the interests of their constituents.  Because?  $$$$$$

February 5, 2014 at 12:48 PM Leave a comment

Whole Foods: You’re Vicious and Cruel

This.  Is.  So. Heartless.

Whole Foods Logo

Whole Foods workers in Chicago walked off the job Wednesday in support of a co-worker they say was wrongly fired after staying home with “her special needs son” during last week’s polar vortex.

“We’ve been fighting for this new attendance policy that allowed for those kind of emergencies for almost a year, and we had just won it, and so she thought it’s no big deal,” Whole Foods employee Trish Kahle told Salon before going on strike. “And then when she came back to work she was fired.” Whole Foods did not respond to a Tuesday evening inquiry regarding the termination of the employee, Rhiannon Broschat. Organizers say Broschat missed work because she had no one to care for her son when public schools shut down due to the extreme weather January 28.

More…

Bravo to those striking employees.  They get it that what’s happening now isn’t worker pitted against worker or one race pitted against another, as Republicans would have us believe, but the corporatocracy pitted against all of us (as well as the planet itself).

February 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM Leave a comment

Protest in Front of the White House Against Keystone XL Pipeline Today

I guarantee you won’t see this on the corporate media tonight:

Happening today at 6:33 p.m. ET:

No to KXO via andrewnazdin on twitter

And there’s this tidbit about We the People having the right to assemble:

Cops rage at KXL protest 2-3-14

February 3, 2014 at 7:12 PM Leave a comment

Say Goodbye to the Great Barrier Reef

I’ll say it again:  I’m going to die at the right time.  I knew the planet when it was relatively clean.  Good luck to today’s kids.  They’re going to need it.  Oil/gas and coal companies (oh, and Monsanto) are destroying the only home we know, thanks to politicians who are owned by the corporatocracy.

Barrier Reef via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park — a supposedly protected natural area containing thousands of reefs, which together are visible from space and attract nearly $6 billion a year in tourism — is a pretty terrible place to dump loads of silt. But it’s happening: The federal agency that governs the reef approved plans to dump up to 3 million cubic meters of silt that will be dredged from the marine park to help carve a superhighway for tankers ferrying coal to Asia.

It’s the final piece in Australian Prime Minister (and known climate denier) Tony Abbott’s already-approved master plan to dredge the shipping lane, expand an existing coal terminal, and extensively mine the northeastern state of Queensland for coal.

Reuters reports that backers of the coal export project, including two Indian firms and the heiress to an Australian mining empire, hope to deliver an estimated $28 billion of coal to Asian markets once it’s complete.

More…

More here:

Dumping of Dredge Spoil Approved by Great Barrier Reef Authority

Australia Permits Coal Port Dredge Dumping Near Barrier Reef

Greed.  Period.

Oh, and to everyone who has a kid under 40:  Get out there and make noise if you care what their life will be like when they’re your age, not to mention your grandkids.  Geezus.

January 31, 2014 at 7:58 PM Leave a comment

Did You Hear? JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon Got a Roughly 100% Pay Raise on Friday

Jamie Diimon via Donkey Hotey on Flickr

(Image via Donkey Hotey on flickr)

 

 

 

On Friday, the board of directors of JPMorgan Chase voted to give CEO Jamie Dimon a raise. Not just a cost-of-living increase, but almost a doubling of his compensation. In Dimon’s case, this means his compensation jumped from $11.5 million to $20 million.

More…

January 27, 2014 at 2:12 PM Leave a comment

Iceland to Banks: You’re Too Big to Save

We here in the U.S. (and in most of the world) have been told repeatedly that if we don’t bail out or prop-up the too-big-to-fail banks, it will spell financial doom for all of us.

Yeah?  Then why is Iceland, which told the banks to go f*ck themselves, thriving?

Sudureyri Icdeland via wikipedia

(Sudureyri Iceland via Wikipedia)

Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save.

Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal.

While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime MinisterSigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high.

“Politicians always have something to worry about,” the 38-year-old said in an interview last week. “We’d like to see unemployment going from where it’s now — around 4 percent — to under 2 percent, which may sound strange to most other western countries, but Icelanders aren’t accustomed to unemployment.”

[...]

Of creditor claims against the banks, Gunnlaugsson says “this is not public debt and never will be.”

More…

I looove that guy!

(The unemployment rate in the U.S. is roughly 6.7% which, of course, doesn’t count people who’ve given up looking for jobs, which is so ridiculous.)

 

January 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM 4 comments

The .001%ers are Wringing Their Hands at Davos

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 1-23-14

January 23, 2014 at 9:18 PM Leave a comment

What if Al Qaeda Poisoned 300,000 Americans?

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 1-21-14

The corporatocracy keeps us in a state of fear (they can control us that way), but they keep us in a state of fear of things that are less likely to harm us than it.

January 21, 2014 at 9:29 PM Leave a comment

Think “Animal Planet” is About Animals? Think Again

Have you ever watched “Animal Planet” and had the feeling that what you were watching wasn’t, at its core, about animals?  Me too.

Animal Planet via Wikipedia

Here’s an article Mother Jones published today about that very issue:

Drugs, Death, Neglect: Behind the Scenes at Animal Planet  –  Our Exclusive Investigation Reveals How Animals Suffer on the Network’s Top Reality Show.

Which leads me to my quote of the day, even though I don’t have a quote of the day category here on ye ol’ blog:

“We’re not looking to be a natural history channel,” Animal Planet group president Marjorie Kaplan told the New York Times in 2008. “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination.” The network recently aired two documentary-style programs purporting to present evidence that mermaids are real.

More…

I don’t look to Animal Planet to be “a natural history channel” but I do look to them to be a channel that cares about animals.  Read the Mother Jones article.  Not only don’t they care about animals, they’re willing to kill them in order to add drama to their shows.

I guess we should take them at their word:  “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination” and here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., killing animals is entertaining.  Check your local listings.

 

January 21, 2014 at 9:05 PM Leave a comment

Get to Know the Term: Climate Apartheid

When the effects of climate change really take hold, when masses of people are crossing borders trying to escape heat and drought and floods in order to find food and eek out a meager existence and when countries are fighting each other over scarce resources, you and I don’t be able to pack our millions into a suitcase and go live in an artificial shangri la away from the seething 99%, but the super-wealthy will, and those places are already being built.

New, Privatized African City Heralds Climate Apartheid:  Nigeria’s Eko Atlantic augurs how the super-rich will exploit the crisis of climate change to increase inequality and seal themselves off from its impact.

t’s a sight to behold. Just off Lagos, Nigeria’s coast, an artificial island is emerging from the sea. A foundation, built of sand dredged from the ocean floor, stretches over ten kilometres. Promotional videos depict what is to come: a city of soaring buildings, housing for 250,000 people, and a central boulevard to match Paris’ Champs-Élysées and New York’s Fifth Avenue. Privately constructed, it will also be privately administered and supplied with electricity, water, mass transit, sewage and security. It is the “future Hong Kong of Africa,” anticipates Nigeria’s World Bank director.

[...]

Eko Atlantic is where you can begin to see a possible future – a vision of privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms. Protected by guards, guns, and an insurmountable gully – real estate prices – the rich will shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising. A world in which the rich and powerful exploit the global ecological crisis to widen and entrench already extreme inequalities and seal themselves off from its impacts – this is climate apartheid.

Prepare for the elite, like never before, to use climate change to transform neighbourhoods, cities, even entire nations into heavily fortified islands. Already, around the world, from Afghanistan to Arizona, China to Cairo, and in mushrooming mega-cities much like Lagos, those able are moving to areas where they can live better and often more greenly – with better transport and renewable technologies, green buildings and ecological services. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the super-rich – ferried above the congested city by a fleet of hundreds of helicopters – have disembedded themselves from urban life, attempting to escape from a common fate.

More…

Here’s a video of “Eko Atlantic:”

<iframe width=”430″ height=”242″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/glYH_9lO0-0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

(Video via.)

This planet is going to be an awful place to live in about 50 years, maybe less.  I think of the children I know, who are two and three years old, and I dread the future for them.

January 21, 2014 at 4:36 PM 2 comments

More Oil Spilled From Trains in 2013 Than in Past Four Decades

(1)  The corporatocracy is out of control and, (2) what price are we willing to pay to maintain our dependence on oil (never mind what fracking’s doing to us).

Oil Train via Wikimedia Commons

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows.

Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom.

More…

 

 

January 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM Leave a comment

Alexander Graham Bell Would be Disgusted

Here we are, the United States, the country that introduced the telephone to the world, and we can’t manufacture telecommunications equipment anymore.

First Telephone via wikipedia

Alexander Graham Bell’s Prototype Telephone Centennial Issue of 1976 via Wikipedia

 

The U.S. telecommunications industry has lost its ability to manufacture advanced telecommunications products needed by the U.S. military, according to a government committee comprised of the senior-most members of the President’s cabinet.

The U.S. position in the global telecommunications equipment market is “diminishing,” according to the Defense Production Act Committee’s Telecommunications Industrial Capability Study Group.

U.S. manufacturers of telecom equipment have been battered by the consolidation of global carriers, “market-impacting foreign-government policies and low labor costs in foreign markets,” says the committee made up of the top leaders from 17 federal agencies. “As a consequence, U.S. manufacturers face increased competition from overseas vendors and reduced profit margins.”

The shift of the U.S. telecommunications hardware industry offshore “has left the U.S. with only one domestic firm in the top tier, a few medium-sized manufacturers (annual sales exceeding $500 million), and several small vendors,” says the DPA Committee, which is operated by the DOD’s Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy Office. “The U.S. no longer has a wireless equipment vendor capable of producing at scale.”

The result is the United States is “losing its capabilities in key equipment sectors.” There are only a few American companies left for federal agencies and universities to partner with on research and development projects aimed at developing new telecommunications technologies. And the options “to successfully translate domestic innovation into U.S. telecommunications equipment are increasingly limited,” says the group.

More…

January 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM Leave a comment

Addicted to Money

Wall Street Bull via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Here’s a fascinating confessional from a former Wall Street trader about his addiction to money and about how the perception of what a bonus or a salary should be is so out of whack in that world:

After graduation, I got a job at Bank of America, by the grace of a managing director willing to take a chance on a kid who had called him every day for three weeks. With a year of sobriety under my belt, I was sharp, cleareyed and hard-working. At the end of my first year I was thrilled to receive a $40,000 bonus. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to check my balance before I withdrew money. But a week later, a trader who was only four years my senior got hired away by C.S.F.B. for $900,000. After my initial envious shock — his haul was 22 times the size of my bonus — I grew excited at how much money was available.

Over the next few years I worked like a maniac and began to move up the Wall Street ladder. I became a bond and credit default swap trader, one of the more lucrative roles in the business. Just four years after I started at Bank of America, Citibank offered me a “1.75 by 2” which means $1.75 million per year for two years, and I used it to get a promotion. I started dating a pretty blonde and rented a loft apartment on Bond Street for $6,000 a month.

[...]

I wanted a billion dollars. It’s staggering to think that in the course of five years, I’d gone from being thrilled at my first bonus — $40,000 — to being disappointed when, my second year at the hedge fund, I was paid “only” $1.5 million.

More…

 

 

January 19, 2014 at 5:54 PM Leave a comment

John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s “Democratic” Governor, is Eating Out of ALEC’s Hand

John Hickenlooper via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

This morning I came across this:

ALEC Plans Massive Environmental Attack for 2014

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a big year ahead of them, as they attempt to dismantle a slew of environmental protections from state to state.  More specifically, the corporate front group is hoping to pass dirty energy friendly legislation to ease the rules for electric utilities.

From state to state, ALEC is drafting legislation that would cut renewable energy, increase dependence on coal and dismantle energy efficiency standards.

More…

And then I remembered reading about this a few days ago:

[Colorado's "Democratic"] Governor Hickenlooper has chosen Glenn Vaad, a former state representative from Weld County, as the newest of the three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC).  Mr. Vaad is no friend of clean energy for Colorado—his voting record allied primarily with the fossil fuel industry at the expense of Colorado’s clean energy economy.   Mr. Vaad is also a former high-ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful corporate lobbying group whose members include Koch Industries and others pushing state legislatures to turn back the clock on adoption of renewable energy in Colorado and elsewhere.

More…

If a so-called Democratic governor is appointing “former high-ranking” members of ALEC to state boards — any board — we’re doomed.  Seriously.  It illustrates the fact that this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats anymore — they’re all being corrupted — it’s about the corporatocracy and the monied class against the rest of us.

January 19, 2014 at 12:47 PM Leave a comment

Is Today the Day the Internet Died?

Internet via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Unless this ruling, which was handed down this morning, is overturned, Internet providers will begin charging for Internet connections by website, like in cable television packages.  I.e. by (1) the number of channels websites one can access and (2) the desirability/popularity of those channels websites.

This is a very big deal:

The DC Circuit Court has issued a ruling in Verizon v. FCC that is likely the shape the very nature of the internet. At the heart of the case is how the companies that provide internet to consumers can control that flow of information. In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission put forth an order that required “network neutrality,” meaning that internet providers had to treat all packets delivered on the internet as equal. Today, a court ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to impose net neutrality on high-speed internet providers.

Without a net neutrality requirement, service providers could turn internet connections into a toll road, charging companies like Netflix or Google extra money to deliver their packets with a higher priority than others. This, in turn, could also slow down the loading of sites that couldn’t or refused to pay. The biggest fear is a “cable-ization” of the internet, where certain internet providers only provide service to certain sites, in much the way that cable channels are packaged and sold separately.

More…

FreePress has a petition to urge the FCC to fix (as in stop) this.

January 14, 2014 at 4:32 PM Leave a comment

Imagining a Real Liberal Media in the United States

Light Bulb Sarcastic via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how the cable “news” networks cycle through so-called news stories roughly every eight, ten, 15 minutes and repeat themselves ad nauseam all day (unless there’s “breaking news” of course, like a high-speed police chase or an apartment fire)?

And maybe its just me but have you noticed how the right constantly screams about how liberal the U.S. media is?

Imagine how this country would change if the media really was liberal and they repeated this kind of thing every day, all day:

–  Giving Employees Paid Sick Leave is Good for Business: A large majority of employers in Connecticut — where paid sick leave has been mandatory since January, 2012 — “reported that the law did not affect business operations and that they had no or only small increases in costs.”

–  The NSA’s Sweeping Surveillance Programs Don’t Stop Terrorism:  On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs.  Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism. Two weeks after the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were published, President Obama defended the NSA surveillance programs during a visit to Berlin, saying: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”

[,,,]

However, our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA “bulk” surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading.  An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.

Climate Change Clouds Philippines’ Dream of Rice Self-Sufficiency

Climate change will complicate the Philippines’ efforts to become self-sufficient in rice, the country’s economic planning secretary said Monday.

Arsenio Balisacan said preliminary data showed that 74% of the estimated damage from natural disasters in the country last year came in the farm sector, primarily affecting rice. The natural disasters include extreme weather caused by global warming, he said.

“We expect these extreme events and unpredictable phenomena to become the new normal,” Mr. Balisican told a workshop on efforts to address the impact of climate change in agriculture.

West Virginia Chemical-Spill Site Avoided Broad Regulatory Scrutiny

No government regulation!  Woo hoo.  A Libertarian paradise (unless you need to take a shower, drink water, wash your clothes, make dinner or wash your face).

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99
oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99

 

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99

 

 

 

 

January 13, 2014 at 9:04 PM Leave a comment

SCOTUS Could Rule as Early as Tomorrow on Sister Case to Citizens United

Tweet of the Day 1-13-14

This is what McCutcheon is all about:

Before the U.S. Supreme Court today, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. vigorously defended the current overall cap on political contributions as a tool that helps prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.

“Aggregate limits combat corruption,” Verrilli told the nine Supreme Court justices, arguing that should party leaders such as the speaker of the House or Senate majority leader solicit seven-figure checks there is an “inherent risk of corruption” and a “risk of indebtedness” to wealthy donors.

The so-called “aggregate” contribution limits are being challenged in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, named for its lead plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican activist from Alabama.

McCutcheon’s lawyers today argued that such limits, which are indexed to inflation and periodically raised, restrict his First Amendment rights.

If the court were to axe the current overall contribution limits, Verrilli predicted that “less than 500 people” could “fund the whole shooting match,” and then the government would be “run of, by and for those 500 people.”

More…

So, with Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people and the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting their political contributions, as well as those of “associations” and labor unions.  (But, of course, labor unions have nowhere near the money corporations do.)

With corporations free to pour money into campaigns, the last remaining barrier to the wealthiest of the wealthy buying elections could be knocked down if SCOTUS rules in favor of McCutcheon and removes barriers that apply to individuals.  I mean, how can you or I compete with someone who has the means to contribute $70 million in one election cycle?

We were screwed when the Citizens United ruling came down.  We’ll be really, really, really screwed if McCutcheon wins this one.

 

January 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM Leave a comment

Kallie Cart Practices Journalism, Holds “Freedom Industries” Gary Southern Accountable

Regarding that chemical spill in West Virginia:

Here’s the president of “Freedom Industries,” Gary Southern, speaking to the press on  Friday, January 10, 2014 after his company caused 300,000 West Virginians to be without potable water.

He isn’t the star here.  Kallie Cart is. Listen to her insisting Mr. Big Bad Boy Southern Corporate Asshole With a Let-Them-Eat-Cake attitude, tries to walk away because he had a really, really bad day.  Poor baby.  Never mind the thousands who will have to drag water to their homes to do basic things like make coffee in the morning, brush their teeth or rinse their baby’s bottle for who knows how long:

(Via.)

Follow Kallie Cart on Twitter here for updates on what will undoubtedly be long, long saga. I’m thinking Superfund site.

January 12, 2014 at 8:18 PM 1 comment

Walmart Nation: 1962 – 2006

Check out this GIF showing the spread of Walmart stores from the first one in Bentonville, Arkansas to  the stores literally blanketing the country.  Here’s a screenshot showing the growth circa 1983:

Walmart growth circa 1983 via mashable.com

(Image via Mashable.com)

Again, go here.

 

January 12, 2014 at 5:21 PM Leave a comment

Don’t You Just Hate Those Lazy Bums on Unemployment?

Here’s the GOP’s thinking in trying to make us all hate those lazy leeches on food stamps and unemployment insurance:

Tweet of the Day 1-12-14

For God’s sake people, let’s not fall for it.

January 12, 2014 at 2:36 PM Leave a comment

About That Chemical Spill in West Virginia

Chemical Spill image via Wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I presume you’ve heard about the horrible chemical spill in West Virginia (who knows what with Chris Christie and “Bridgegate” sucking all the air out of the atmosphere).

As it turns out, 300,000 people are affected.  Here are the gory details:

1. No one knows when water will be safe to drink again.

2. No one knows when the leak started or how much has leaked into the Elk River.

3. The water company has had no contact with Freedom Industries, the company that manufactures the spilled chemical.

4. There is no standard process for testing the toxicity of the spilled chemical in water.

5. It’s unclear just how dangerous the diluted chemical is to drink or breathe.

6. The chemical may have leached into the soil.

Details on each category here.

And then there’s this depressing headline.  People have been told not to use water for anything other than flushing their toilets:

Walmart Calls Police 1-10-14

More here.

January 10, 2014 at 6:46 PM Leave a comment

Republicans Kick a Million+ Lazy Ass Americans Off Their Unemployment Insurance

Got that?  Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.

Dear god of the universe:  If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this<—-  <—-:

—->  —–>

GOP not working-

And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…

 

December 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM 2 comments

No to Fast Track and No to TPP

If you think NAFTA was a bad idea and that it has had a disastrous effect on We the People in the United States (and the world), you’ll hate the TPP, the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Obama and his corporate buddies are negotiating a deal (the TPP) behind closed doors and in virtual secrecy that will benefit corporations and screw We the People (of every country).   Over and above that, Obama wants congress to grant him “fast track” so he can sign whatever comes of the talks without any input from our representatives, the very people who are responsible for drafting and signing trade agreements.

The TPP is essentially a corporate takeover of the planet.

This is a very big deal.  It will pop up early next year and again, We the People must fight back against this global takeover (more on that later); we must make the people in congress who supposedly represent us say no.

The fear is they’ll go along with Obama because they too are owned by the corporatocracy.

When is enough, enough?

December 27, 2013 at 9:38 PM Leave a comment

Exxon Hates Your Children

Tongue-in-cheek but dead serious:

(Via:  ExxonHatesYourChildren.com)

 

December 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM Leave a comment

GOP Rep. Joe Barton Sold His Soul to the Fracking Industry

Fracking Money to congress via Mother Jones

(Image via Mother Jones)

The growing fracking industry is “yielding gushers” of campaign donations for congressional candidates—particularly Republicans from districts with fracking activity—according to a new report from the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The report, “Natural Cash: How the Fracking Industry Fuels Congress,” examines data compiled by MapLight covering a period spanning from 2004 to 2012. In that time, CREW finds, contributions from companies that operate hydraulic fracturing wells and fracking-related industry groups rose 180 percent, from $4.3 million nine years ago to about $12 million in the last election cycle.

[...]

Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, was head and shoulders above his fellow candidates in donations from the fracking industry. Barton accepted more than half a million dollars—$100,000 more than any other candidate. In the past, he chaired the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and he sponsored legislation in 2005 to exempt the fracking industry from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

More…

Check out Barton’s Wikipedia page.  Scroll down and read the paragraph titled:  “Barton Family Foundation.”  What a piece of work this guy is.  He probably thinks of himself as a good Christian too.

December 27, 2013 at 9:03 AM Leave a comment

American Corporations Show the World Their Hideous Level of Greed

Bangladesh factory collapse via Wikipedia.org

(Image via Wikipedia)

One year after the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh, many retailers that sold garments produced there or inside the Rana Plaza building that collapsed last spring are refusing to join an effort to compensate the families of the more than 1,200 workers who died in those disasters.

The International Labor Organization is working with Bangladeshi officials, labor groups and several retailers to create ambitious compensation funds to assist not just the families of the dead, but also more than 1,800 workers who were injured, some of them still hospitalized.

But to the dismay of those pushing to create the compensation funds, neither Walmart, Sears, Children’s Place nor any of the other American companies that were selling goods produced at Tazreen or Rana Plaza have agreed to contribute to the efforts.

More…

December 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM Leave a comment

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