Posts filed under ‘We the People’

Americans Drastically Underestimate the Number of Poor People in Their Country

I find this graph interesting in two ways.  (1) Look at the top right image.  That reflects the income strata in Germany.  Notice how it is weighted at the middle-income level.  (2)  Now look at the bottom right image.  That reflects the income distribution in the United States.  Notice the huge number of poor and the relatively small middle-income.  To the left of both of these images is how people in Germany and the U.S. think income in their country is distributed. Look how out of kilter what Americans think is to the reality.

I like the reality in Germany best.  That’s roughly the way the U.S. was in the 1950s and ’60s.

Middle Class in Germany

(Image via FT.com)

(Via — Subscription Required)

August 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM 2 comments

Hey America — The Police Work For Us and Let’s Not Forget That

(Image via NormStamper.com)

(Image via NormStamper.com)

This has got to be the quote of the week, if not the year, from Norman Stamper, the former Chief of Police in Seattle who says his use of force during the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations there was “the worst mistake” of his career:

I’m just very, very disappointed and troubled that lessons that we learned in Seattle have not been embraced by American law enforcement in general, by these police departments that are facing mistrust and distrust in their communities in particular. If anything, the police in America belong to the people, not the other way around.

 

More…

Seemingly simple I know but so true.  We the People pay the police to protect us.  They work for us.  They are our “civil servants.”  They’re there to protect CIVILians.  Let’s not forget that Americans.

I’m beginning to think we have.

 

 

August 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM Leave a comment

Equipment Meant for War Going to Local Police Departments

When you’re a hammer, everything’s a nail.  When you’re a tank, everyone’s a terrorist:

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

More…

Military Weapons to Cops via nyt.com

(Image via NYTimes.com)

August 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM Leave a comment

The American Military Industrial Complex is Smiling Tonight!

I read something a few weeks back about how ISIS in Iraq has commandeered a huge amount of military equipment we paid for with Our Tax Dollars during the 2013 invasion. The supposed “training” of the Iraqi army George W. and Co. said they were doing was a farce and when ISIS emerged, the so-called army cut and ran, leaving billions of dollars of weapons (like humvees at $200,000 a pop) lying around. So now we’re bombing Iraq again and the the billions of dollars of military equipment we paid for are being blowing up by the people we paid to build them in the first place.

Aye yie yie.  I’m sure the military industrial complex is drinking up a storm tonight but I’m SMFDH.  Our tax dollars down the shit hole, again:

Humvee via wikipedia

(Image via Wikimedia)

When President Obama announced US airstrikes in Iraq, most observers understood that the US would be bombing members of ISIS. What many did not know was that, in a twist of such bitterly symbolic irony that it could only occur in the Middle East, the US would also be bombing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American military equipment.

Here’s why: in the decade since the 2003 US-led Iraq invasion, the US has spent a fortune training and arming the Iraqi army in the hopes of readying it to secure the country once America left. That meant arming the Iraqi army with high-tech and extremely expensive American-made guns, tanks, jeeps, artillery, and more.

But the Iraqi army has been largely a failure. When ISIS invaded northern Iraq from Syria in June, the Iraqi forces deserted or retreated en masse. Many of them abandoned their American equipment. ISIS scooped it up themselves and are now using it to rampage across Iraq, seizing whole cities, terrorizing minorities, and finally pushing into even once-secure Kurdish territory. All with shiny American military equipment.

So the US air strikes against ISIS are in part to destroy US military equipment, such as the artillery ISIS has been using against Kurdish forces.

More…

If it weren’t for the military equipment the U.S. walked away from, ISIS wouldn’t be near as powerful and we might not be re-inserting ourselves into that country 11 years after I stood on the protest line doing what I could to stop it because I knew it would be a disaster.  But, voila, here we are.

That said, guess who’s on the corporate media? The people who want to make more war.

Geezus.

 

 

 

August 8, 2014 at 6:19 PM Leave a comment

Hey Illinois, Want Your Government to Shut Down? Vote Republican! Vote for Bruce Rauner!

It’s amazing to see a candidate for governor, in this case Illinois, talking about firing people en masse and shutting down the government instead of talking about working to take care for its citizens and making life better for them.

Republicans are “out” about this now.  No qualms.  If voters elect them, don’t be shocked when they make it so government doesn’t work.  That’s their goal. They want to turn everything over to the corporatocracy.  And guess who’ll suffer.  We the People.

In a newly surfaced video, Illinois’ Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner suggested if elected governor, he will fire public employees and potentially shut down the government to address his state’s fiscal challenges.

The video, circulated today by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, shows Rauner addressing the Tazewell County Republican dinner in March. In remarks to that group, Rauner said: “We may have to go through rough times. We may have to do what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers. Sort of have to do a do-over and shut things down for a little while. That’s what we’re gonna do.”

More…

August 4, 2014 at 5:38 PM Leave a comment

Don’t You Dare Ask for an Increase in the Minimum Wage, You Peasants

This, from San Francisco:

Water Ipad

(Image Paul Carr / Pando.com)

Walking home from Pando’s office a few nights ago, I noticed this giant new billboard…

Its message — that minimum wage increases will lead to service workers being replaced by apps — is continued on an accompanying website — BadIdeaCA — which claims to be “holding activists accountable for minimum wage consequences.”

So who the hell pays for billboards threatening waitstaff with redundancy if they demand a living wage? A bit of digging and clicking reveals that the campaign is backed by Employment Policies Institute, the conservative lobbying group which regularly campaigns on behalf of the restaurant industry.

Followers of Pando’s Techtopus coverage might remember the Institute for one of its key advisers, Kevin Murphy, aka “the man Silicon Valley’s CEOs turn to when they want to justify screwing workers“.

More…

July 21, 2014 at 8:54 AM 1 comment

Dunkin’ Donuts Bucks The Styrofoam Kids Club at its Peril

Dunkin Donuts Coffee Cup

A grade school club that began on the wooded Brookline campus of the Park School has spawned a nationwide campaign urging Dunkin’ Brands to stop using styrofoam.

Last school year, a group of Park School fourth and fifth graders (now headed to fifth and sixth) formed the Kids Styrofoam Club during recess. They subsequently launched a petition that asks the company to eliminate styrofoam from its Dunkin’ Donuts stores by Earth Day of next year. The same petition has now garnered 250,000 signatures on Change.org.

The club and its faculty advisor will deliver the petition to Dunkin’s Canton headquarters Friday morning. The middle schoolers from the independent school are also scheduled to meet with Dunkin’ staff after they drop off the petition.

[...]

Dunkin’ stated during 2012 that it was exploring ways to “roll out an alternative cup that meets our cost, performance and environmental criteria in 2-3 years.”

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Dunkin’ Brands, are you serious?  (No you’re not.)  Hundreds of outlets in my town use recyclable cups.  This isn’t all that hard.  It shouldn’t take you “2-3 years” to get it together on that.  Call me.  I’ll show you around.

That said, BRAVO TO THE STYROFOAM KIDS CLUB acting up.  They aim to get things done, unlike corporate IDon’tGiveAShitLazyAsses like ah, Dunkin’ Brands.

July 17, 2014 at 8:14 PM Leave a comment

They’re Putting a Pipeline Under Rockaway Beach

Hey “Liberal Media,” let’s blow this up:

(Image via Google.com/Maps)

 

A Massive Rockaway Gas Pipeline Is Being Built Right Under Our Beaches

A year and a half after Hurricane Sandy swept surging seas over the Rockaway spit, the neighborhood is finally beginning to claw its way back to a normal summer. Fort Tilden beach, closed to the public last summer season due to dangerous debris left by the storm, has finally reopened. And what better way to celebrate the partial recovery from a climate-change-fueled Superstorm than by laying a high-pressure fracked-gas transmission pipeline right under the beach?

At this very moment, work is underway on the Rockaway Lateral Project, a giant 26-inch diameter pipeline that will bring 647,000 dekatherms per day of fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, under high pressure, beneath the beach, under a golf course, under the Marine Parkway Bridge, through Floyd Bennett Field, and into a new meter and regulator station in an old hangar at the airfield before connecting to distribution lines running up Flatbush Avenue into Brooklyn.

[...]

Ordinarily, it’s pretty hard for gas companies to lay pipe through taxpayer-protected parkland. But less than a month after Sandy, ethically embattled and all-around-reasonable guy Rep. Michael Grimm pushed a law through Congress granting an energy company the right to do just that.

[...]

Of course, with the approval process concluded and construction virtually underway, the Rockaway Lateral looks like a done deal. Even the CARP activists who fought long and hard against it consider the pipeline inevitable at this point. But this summer, a new group calling itself No Rockaway Pipeline has popped up on the beaches and on social media, distributing flyers that declare their intention “to take over the beach and stop the Rockaway Pipeline for good.”

More…

Meet Michael Grimm.

 

July 15, 2014 at 9:36 PM 2 comments

How About Flying Paris to New York Sitting on a Bicycle Seat?

A few years ago I saw a cartoon showing what was billed as the future of air travel with people — depicted as cattle — sitting in a crowded airplane practically on top of each other.  The implication was that the airline industry would continue to find ways to wring the most profit out of We the Peons as possible, never minding our discomfort or the absurdness of it all.

Welcome to the future. It’s even worse than that cartoon:

Airbus bicycle seats

Airbus Operations, the aircraft manufacturer, has requested a patent for a bicycle-like seat to squeeze in more passengers per plane. (Airbus Operations via LATimes.com/Business/Travel)

Airbus Seeks Patent for Bicycle-Like Airline Seat

How far will the airline industry go to squeeze in more passengers per plane?

The question arises after France-based Airbus Operations submitted a patent in Europe for a new passenger seat that resembles a bicycle seat with a small backrest. It has no tray table, no headrest and very little legroom.

As explained in the patent application, the invention is meant to reduce the bulk of a typical airline seat, thus allowing an airline to pack more passengers onto a plane and, presumably, increase profits.

“In effect, to increase the number of cabin seats, the space allotted to each passenger must be reduced,” the patent application states.

Each of the bicycle seats is fastened to a vertical bar, and the seats retract to increase space when not in use.

More…

What I wonder is, what’s our breaking point when it comes to being kicked around and treated like cattle by the corporatocracy?

 

July 15, 2014 at 5:40 PM Leave a comment

Jamie Dimon Has Cancer: Oops, Turns Out He’s a Human Being Just Like the People He Spent His Life Ripping Off

Breaking news about Jamie Dimon, yeah, that Jamie Dimon:

Jamie Dimon via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

 

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

You can buy the best care the world has to offer (supplemented by our tax dollars) but hey Jamie, welcome to life down here on the ground.

Good luck.

July 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM 1 comment

Police and Soldiers in Peru May Now Kill Civilians Protesting Environmental Degradation Due to Mining

I suppose we’d all better get used to this because it’s probably coming to a country near us as governments are increasingly controlled by the corporatocracy.  Corporations don’t want to hear from We the Peons about how they’re destroying the planet.

If this is what a mining company was doing to forests in my area, I’d want to protest too but not at the risk of being killed by my local police department.

Illegal gold mining has led to acres of rainforest in Peru’s Madre de Dios region being destroyed via Independent.co.uk

Illegal gold mining has led to acres of rainforest in Peru’s Madre de Dios region being destroyed. (Image via Independent.co.uk)

Five years after more than 30 people died in a bloody battle between police and environmental protesters in Peru, police and the armed forces have been granted a “licence to kill” demonstrators.

The move has sparked fears among human rights groups that there will be no reprieve for any excessive use of force as the mining industry continues to push into indigenous lands in Peru.

The country is one of the world’s largest producers of silver, copper and minerals and the Peruvian Government has granted mining licences for huge parts of rural provinces.

Local communities worried about its effect on their farmland and way of life, as well as pollution in rivers, have come into conflict with authorities through years of protests.

[...]

Andrew Anderson, the deputy director of FLD, said: “Front Line Defenders has noted with deep concern a trend across the region of governments trampling over the rights of local and indigenous communities and of those defending them in their rapacious search for raw materials and profit.

[...]

Law 30151, which was adopted in January, states that members of the armed forces and the National Police are “exempt from criminal responsibility” if they cause injury or death through the use of their guns or other weapons while on duty.

More…

What a terrifying development.

And check this out: On Fifth Anniversary of Peru FTA Bagua Massacre of Indigenous Protestors, State Department Cables Published on Wikileaks Reveal U.S. Role.  Now, Obama Administration Seeks to Further Expand the Foreign Investor Privileges That Led to Amazon Standoff Via the Trans-Pacific Partnership Pact.

July 1, 2014 at 12:03 PM Leave a comment

Obama: Grow a Fucking Pair

This would be President Obama on Friday:

Obama vows to put no troops on the ground in Iraq, but airstrikes, boosted surveillance possible

President Barack Obama vowed Friday that the United States would not be “dragged back” into military action in Iraq as long as leaders in Baghdad refuse to reform a political system that has left the county vulnerable to a fast-moving Islamic insurgency.

The president ruled out the possibility of putting American troops on the ground in Iraq, but said he was considering a range of other options drawn up by the Pentagon.

More…

After a weekend filled with neocons who got the Iraq war wrong the first time around making guest appearances on the so-called liberal media saying we should essentially relaunch the war, this would be Obama today.  I guess he thinks they’ll like him now:

Obama tells Congress: U.S. will deploy up to 275 troops to Iraq

President Barack Obama told Congress on Monday the United States was deploying up to 275 military personnel to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the country’s embassy in Baghdad after militants seized control of the north of the country.

“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to lawmakers. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”

More…

What a fool.  The tribes in Iraq have been fighting each other for a thousand years.  If we put troops in who will remain until the “situations becomes such that it is no longer needed,” we’ll be there for a thousand more years.

ENOUGH!

Obama, grow a pair.  Make a speech to the American people about how we’re going to spend time, money and effort rebuilding the United States.
That said, Malia will be 16 in July.  She’ll be able to enlist in two years which I’m sure you’ll encourage her to do, right?

 

 

June 16, 2014 at 6:24 PM Leave a comment

What is a Temporary Worker?

This post at ProPublica struck me like a bolt of lightening:  Temp Worker Regulations Around the World.

The thing that hit me straight up the side of my head was the notion that many countries have defined what “temporary worker” means.  Ah, yeah.  That should be defined.  What’s “temporary?”

To some countries it means someone who works a year, to some it means three or five.  Yet the United States is mum on that, meaning that businesses everywhere define workers as “temporary” on infinitum and thus screw them out of raises and benefits.

This is happening, of course, because corporations own the U.S. government but seriously, what a simple concept.  What is “temporary?”  To fail to define that means “temporary” is permanent.

Here’s more.  The higher the bar, the better the protections.  The U.S. is the blue bar, third from left.

ProPublica re worker protections

(Image via ProPublica on Twittier)

Larger version here.

The United States has some of the weakest labor protections for temp workers in the developed world. Other countries have adopted regulations limiting the length of temp assignments, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work and restricting companies from hiring temps for hazardous tasks. Here, we map out how countries compare based on data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produces research on behalf of the world’s industrialized nations.

More…

I wish it were that Washington worked for We the People instead of the corporatocracy.

June 13, 2014 at 7:01 PM Leave a comment

So-Called Democrats in Montana Refuse to Include the Words Climate Change in Their Platform

coal Mine via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Democrats in Montana who are (1) owned by the oil and gas industry or  (2) who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and are to immature to know it and too terrified to get therapy to overcome it have got to go:

BUTTE – While the Obama administration is churning out rules to limit greenhouse gases that cause climate change, Montana Democrats on Friday resisted placing the words “climate change” in their party platform.

“We can sit here and talk about what we believe here as Democrats,” said Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte, who argued against mentioning the costs of climate change in the platform. “I believe in the (coal) workers who work in eastern Montana, too.

[...]

A party platform committee considered the change, which would have said the party believes in protecting the environment rather than burdening future generations with the “extraordinary costs of climate-change-caused” effects, but voted against adding the climate change language.

More…

Short-sighted, uninspired, backward-looking idiots chained to the coal lobby:  A huge majority of Americans support regulating carbon from power plants. And they’re even willing to pay for it.

Do they have kids?  Grandkids?

We need LEADERS.

 

 

 

 

June 7, 2014 at 8:11 PM Leave a comment

Outrageous: Louisiana’s Republican Governor Signs Bill Blocking Lawsuits Against Oil and Gas Companies

Wow, what hutzpah and what a huge middle finger to all the people, animals, sea creatures and land damaged or destroyed by British Petroleum (BP) and oil companies past, present and future.  Talk about a corporatocracy.  This is just sickening. Talk about outrage overload:

BP Oil Spill via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia.)

Rejecting the advice of his own attorney general and dozens of legal scholars, Louisiana governor and potential presidential contender Bobby Jindal effectively blocked a New Orleans-area levee board from suing oil and gas companies for allegedly destroying the state’s coasts – and in so doing, may have also derailed state and local claims against BP for damages and tax revenue lost following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

[...]

Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, was also quoted in the statement distributed by the governor’s office, hailing the measure as a “huge victory for the oil and gas industry.”

The law, SB 469, essentially bars a levee district in New Orleans’ East Bank – the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, or SLFPA-E – from pressing forward in its lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies, which it blames for exposing New Orleans to catastrophic damage from hurricanes Rita and Katrina by cutting thousands of miles of pipes and canals through sensitive barrier islands and wetlands that otherwise would have protected the coastal city.

The lawsuit, filed last summer, sought to force energy companies to restore the wetlands, fill in the canals, and pay for past damages.

“We are looking to the industry to fix the part of the problem that they created,” SLFPA-E vice president John Barry told the Times-Picayune last year. “We’re not asking them to fix everything. We only want them to address the part of the problem that they created.”

More…

Impeach the bastard for crimes against humanity and nature.  Not only that, what, he wants to use taxpayer dollars to clean-up BP’s mess?  What, he probably doesn’t care about clean-up at all.

Everyone in the country, er, the world needs to know about this.  This is what politicians who are owned by oil and gas companies do.

 

 

June 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM 7 comments

New Trend? London Apartment Buildings Install Spikes to Keep the Homeless Away

Man, this is just mean and hateful.  What’s next?  An officially sanctioned caste system?

Spikes homeless london andrew horton twitter via telegraphcouk

(Image: Andrew Horton on Twitter via Telegraph.co.uk)

Metal spikes have been installed outside a block of luxury flats in London to deter homeless people from sleeping there.

But the installation of the studs has provoked criticism from some after a picture was uploaded to Twitter, the social networking site.

Users said the use of the studs meant homeless people were being treated the same way as pigeons, as similar metal spikes are used to deter them.

Andrew Horton, 33, of Woking, Surrey, took the picture of the inch long studs in outside the flats on Southwark Bridge Road as he walked to work on Wednesday.

Mr Horton said: “I can’t say for certain but it certainly looked like they were placed there to deter homeless people.

“It’s dreadful.”

David Wells said on Twitter: “These Anti homeless studs are like the spikes they use to keep pigeons off buildings. The destitute now considered vermin [sic].

More…

 

June 7, 2014 at 11:16 AM Leave a comment

Why Every Human Being on Earth Should Join a Union

Union

(Image via prwatch.org)

The red line is the share of income going to the 1%

The blue line is union membership.

(Via.)

 

June 5, 2014 at 10:07 PM 2 comments

Jail the 99%!

Tell me how it makes sense to throw people into prison because they can’t pay their bills.  Does being in prison make it so they can?

Ugh.  Just ugh.  There but the grace of god go I.

 

June 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM Leave a comment

Billionaire Mayor Who Crushed the Occupy Movement Touts a “Free Exchange of Ideas”

Ah yes, here we have former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, who crushed the Occupy Wall Street movement using brute, military-like force, waxing poetic about diversity.

I swear, guys like Bloomberg are legends in their own mind, divorced from reality, living in billion dollar bubbles.

Bloomberg Tweet fre Diversity

Talk about dumbed down.  Geezus.  I’m thinking he might be delusional.

May 29, 2014 at 6:10 PM Leave a comment

Chemicals Used in Fracking Must Be Absolutely Awful

Fracking Well Heads via Wikipedia

(Fracking well heads via Wikimedia)

Check out what corporate-owned Republicans in North Carolina are doing.  The chemicals used by the fracking industry must be terrifying if they’re going to this length to keep them secret:

As hydraulic fracturing ramps up around the country, so do concerns about its health impacts. These concerns have led 20 states to require the disclosure of industrial chemicals used in the fracking process.

North Carolina isn’t on that list of states yet—and it may be hurtling in the opposite direction.

On Thursday, three Republican state senators introduced a bill that would slap a felony charge on individuals who disclosed confidential information about fracking chemicals. The bill, whose sponsors include a member of Republican party leadership, establishes procedures for fire chiefs and health care providers to obtain chemical information during emergencies. But as the trade publication Energywire noted Friday, individuals who leak information outside of emergency settings could be penalized with fines and several months in prison.

“The felony provision is far stricter than most states’ provisions in terms of the penalty for violating trade secrets,” says Hannah Wiseman, a Florida State University assistant law professor who studies fracking regulations.

The bill also allows companies that own the chemical information to require emergency responders to sign a confidentiality agreement. And it’s not clear what the penalty would be for a health care worker or fire chief who spoke about their experiences with chemical accidents to colleagues.

More…

Amazing.  The citizens of North Carolina pay these guys’ salary but these state senators are blatantly and flagrantly working against the wellbeing of the very people who voted them into office and again, who pay them to ah, work for them not against them.  Thomas Jefferson must be twirling in his grave.

May 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM Leave a comment

If Banks and Oil Companies Can Write Off Their Expense, Why Can’t Teachers?

This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t.  They don’t have the

$5,000 bill

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is so wrong:

Tweet of the Day 5-10-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM 1 comment

Republicans Kill Minimum Wage Increase

GOP Dinasour

I hope headlines around the country tomorrow read like this:

Senate Republicans Block Vote on Bill Hiking National Minimum Wage

Senate Republicans Wednesday killed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage gradually to $10.10 an hour. They said it would cost employers too much and cut jobs.

More…

We’re not talking “liberal media” here, we’re talking facts.  The Republicans killed the bill.  Period.  I don’t want to see headlines like:  “Senate Fails to Approve Minimum Wage Increase.” I want to see headlines like the one above. Republicans killed the bill, the Senate as a whole didn’t.

 

April 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM Leave a comment

Teachers and Firefighters are Overpaid? Let’s Talk

The elites would have us believe teachers, firefighters and oh yeah, letter carriers, are overpaid.  But when was the last time we heard them scream about these guys:

Coaches overpaid

(Image via MSNBC.com)

(Via.)

Oh, and don’t forget, the players got nothin’.

April 7, 2014 at 6:56 PM Leave a comment

Rail Industry Blackmails Obama Administration, it Backs Down on New Safety Rules

Oil Train David Gubler on Wikimedia Commons

(Image David Gubler via Wikimedia Commons)

Geezus Obama, you’re a huge disappointment:

Nine days after announcing new regulations designed to improve oil-by-rail safety, the Department of Transportation quietly weakened the rules for testing rail cars and exempted shippers of bitumen from having to meet the new regulations.

[...]

In a Feb. 25 press release, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said all of the right things:

Today we are raising the bar for shipping crude oil on behalf of the families and communities along rail lines nationwide —if you intend to move crude oil by rail, then you must test and classify the material appropriately.”

The industry quickly responded with a letter to Foxx letting him know that keeping families and communities safe might require them to shut down oil-by-rail shipping, which would  “have an immediate and significant negative economic impact on the nation”.

Apparently this got Foxx’s attention. And the Department of Transportation did the industry’s bidding and relaxed the regulations. This time there was no press release or PR blitz touting the change.

More…

I think this would commonly be known as blackmail.

Like I said, corporations are the government now.

I expected more of you Mr. Prez.  I expected you to stand up to these tyrants who think only in terms of profits at any cost, including the lives of We the People.

Oh, and in looking for a photo to add to this post, I came across these inconvenient facts:

April 2, 2014: Firefighter training inadequate for crude oil train fires, group tells Congress

February 27, 2014:  Rail cars used to ship oil are ‘unacceptable public risk,’ NTSB official says

January 25, 2014:  Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train

But, according to the Obama administration:  Oh well!

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/02/4035622/firefighter-training-for-crude.html#storylink=cpy

April 4, 2014 at 5:07 PM Leave a comment

Listen to Us Damnit! Huge We the People Rallies Today in Spain and Chile

People acted up against austerity today (i.e., giving money to banks and starving We the People) in Spain and Chile.  Don’t expect to see coverage of these events on your local TV (they don’t want to give us any ideas).

 

Anti-Austerity Protesters Join Forces in Spanish Capital

3-22-14 Dignity March Spain via revolution-News.com

(Image via Revolution-News.com)

Tens of thousands of protesters from across Spain converged in Madrid on Saturday calling for an end to EU-imposed austerity which has deepened poverty amongst the worst-off.

The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought tens of thousands to the capital, Reuters witnesses calculated, in support of more than 160 different causes – employment, housing, health and education and an end to poverty amongst them.

Banners urged the conservative government not to pay its international debts and to tackle unemployment of 26 percent.

More…

——————————————————–

Chileans Rally to Demand Promised Reforms

Tens of thousands of protesters have marched in Chile to press Michelle Bachelet to follow through on ambitious reforms she pledged before assuming the presidency less than two weeks ago.

The protest on Saturday in central Santiago, dubbed “the march of all marches”, was the first of Bachelet’s new term and the biggest political demonstration since huge student protests in 2011.

Organisers said at least 100,000 people were present, even without core groups of student protesters active in the past. Those activists said they would not take part because they were working with Bachelet on education reforms soon be sent to Congress.

The march underscored lingering frustrations in Chile, which has one of the region’s widest inequality gaps. It also raised expectations following four years of rule by the unpopular Sebastian Pinera.

Protesters said the march was a warning sign they would not go easy on Bachelet.

“This is not a protest against Bachelet or for her, it’s just an alert for the political class so they know people have demands,” said Oscar Rementeria, a spokesman for gay rights group, Movilh.

The 40 activist groups that helped fill the streets supported causes ranging from environmental protection to gay and indigenous rights.

More…

If anyone sees any coverage of this in the U.S. media, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

March 22, 2014 at 8:05 PM Leave a comment

When Trickle Down Stopped Trickling Down

Check out this chart:

Productivity v Wages via business insider

(Image via BusinessInsider.com)

The top, blue line is U.S. productivity/output per hour (1945 – 2013).  The bottom red line is median family real income.  Look at how productivity has kept going up but incomes have leveled off and then fallen since roughly 1980.  Americans have kept working — hard — but the corporatocracy, again, in roughly 1980, stopped increasing wages commensurate with that level of production.  The so-called trickle down stopped at just about the same time politicians started dangling that term in front of our face, like a carrot.

Interesting ahem, coincidence?  No, in retrospect, I’d call it a rather obvious distraction.

Larger version and more here.

 

March 22, 2014 at 3:21 PM Leave a comment

It’s No Wonder 99%ers Don’t Think The Economy Has Recovered

Polls consistently show that We the People don’t think the economy has recovered.  The Very Serious People in the media usually report that with a tone of bewilderment, as if they, gosh darn it, just can’t figure out why.  Well, hello, here’s why:

Wages and salary as a share of GDP via the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:

Wages & Salary

(Image via nytimes.com/blogs/economix)

 

March 16, 2014 at 9:38 AM Leave a comment

The War on Cancer: The United States Lost

Bad news:

C  A  N  C  E  R

Cancer Soon to Become #1 Killer in America

Here’s a depressing stat: Within the next 16 years, cancer will be the number one cause of death among Americans, according to a new report from the American Society for Clinical Oncologists (ASCO).

In their first report of its kind, ASCO dug into the prevalence of cancer in the U.S. and its projected rise, as well a number of pitfalls in our current medical system that will make treating all those cancer cases increasingly difficult. In fact, the report notes, the field of oncology is under such strain from skyrocketing medical costs and doctor shortages that the Institute of Medicine has called it “a system in crisis” in need of “urgent intervention.”

More…

Why do we have “skyrocketing medical costs” and “doctor shortages?”  I’m definitely not an expert on that but I would suggest unrestrained corporate greed might have something to do with “skyrocketing medical costs” and low wages and the high cost of a college education (not to mention medical school for crying out loud) might have something to do with it.

That said, due to the corporatocracy buying off the folks who are supposed to represent and protect We the Little People, we know there are chemicals in our soil, chemicals in our air, chemicals in our water, chemicals in our clothes, chemicals in our food, chemicals in our building materials and chemicals in our baby bottles.  There’s no end to the list.

I’m 61 and I’ve been lucky.  No cancer (other than some basal cell carcinoma on my nose from spending my teen years roasting in the sun).  Living 61 years — factoring in climate change — might be a thing of the past for today’s little ones.

Oh, and remember when Dick Nixon (R) declared a “War on Cancer?

We lost.  Our tax dollars went to “defense spending.”  Never mind that cancer has, and will, kill more of us than the boogeyman out there.

 

March 13, 2014 at 7:34 PM Leave a comment

The Guys Who Destroyed the World Economy Are Free But an 84-Year-Old Nun Isn’t

The “smartest guys in the room,” who destroyed the world’s economy are still strutting around, getting  multimillion dollar bonuses, but an 84-year-old nun who tried to bring attention to the danger of nuclear weapons has been sentenced to two+ years in prison:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 18 (UPI) — Three anti-nuclear activists, including an 84-year-old Catholic nun, received jail terms Tuesday for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee in 2012.

Sister Megan Rice received a 35-month term, and her co-conspirators, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, received 62-month terms, WVLT-TV, Knoxville, reported.

Sister Megan Rice on Facebook

(Image via Sister Megan Rice on Facebook)

Rice, 84, Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, were convicted of breaking into the Y-12 Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and considered among the most secure buildings in the world. They defaced a uranium-processing facility with human blood as an anti-nuclear protest.

More…

A “co-conspirator?”  Labels like that are reserved for We the Little People, as in 84-year-old nuns who want to save us from ourselves.  I guarantee the so-called liberal media will never refer to greedy bastards extraordinaire like Jamie Dimon that way.

February 18, 2014 at 8:56 PM Leave a comment

If There Were Only 100 People on Earth…

Interesting graphic over at BusinessInsider breaking down the state of the world’s population by illustrating it as if there were only 100 people on Earth.  For example:

100 People on Earth via BusinessInsider.com

(Image via BusinessInsider.com)

See the whole thing here.

February 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM Leave a comment

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