Posts filed under ‘We the People’
This, from San Francisco:
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“.
Hey “Liberal Media,” let’s blow this up:
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.”
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 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.
What I wonder is, what’s our breaking point when it comes to being kicked around and treated like cattle by the corporatocracy?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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.
I wish it were that Washington worked for We the People instead of the corporatocracy.
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
Man, this is just mean and hateful. What’s next? An officially sanctioned caste system?
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.
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].
The red line is the share of income going to the 1%
The blue line is union membership.
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.
I swear, guys like Bloomberg are legends in their own mind, divorced from reality, living in billion dollar bubbles.
Talk about dumbed down. Geezus. I’m thinking he might be delusional.
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.
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.
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
This is so wrong:
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.
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.
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:
Oh, and don’t forget, the players got nothin’.
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.
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:
January 25, 2014: Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train
But, according to the Obama administration: Oh well!
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
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.
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.
If anyone sees any coverage of this in the U.S. media, please let me know.
Thanks in advance.
Check out this chart:
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
Caving to Pressure from the Corporatocracy, the Oregon Legislature Refuses to Ban Toxic Chemicals From Children’s Clothing
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.
What a no-brainer of a law, but here we have politicians explicitly working against the interests of their constituents. Because? $$$$$$
‘Which Side Are You On?’ is a song written by Florence Reece in 1931. Reece was the wife of Sam Reece, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. In 1931, the miners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle with the mine owners. In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men (hired by the mining company) illegally entered their family home in search of Sam Reece. Sam had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to ‘Which Side Are You On?’ on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home. She took the melody from a traditional Baptist hymn, ‘Lay the Lily Low’, or the traditional ballad ‘Jack Munro’.
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: <—- <—-:
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…
Republicans will say this proves Americans are lazy, spoiled brats and they need to have their support systems yanked out from under them so they’ll man up and take responsibility for themselves. Big babies:
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 3-8 among 2,001 adults, finds majorities say it is more important to maintain spending on Social Security and Medicare and programs to help the poor than to take steps to reduce the budget deficit. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) say it is more important to maintain current Social Security and Medicare benefits than to reduce the deficit, while 59% prioritize keeping current levels of spending for programs that help the poor and needy over deficit reduction.
There is greater public support for cutting military spending in order to achieve deficit reduction. About half of Americans (51%) say reducing the deficit is more important than keeping military spending at current levels, while 40% say deficit reduction is more important.
In other words Washington, don’t reduce the deficit on our backs.
Way to go Americans!
Speaking of big babies, maybe D.C. should look into fixing this little ditty as a way of bringing in more money: Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion.
The only thing the USA! USA! USA! is #1 in is the number of people incarcerated and the number of people with adult-onset diabetes:
America has become a RINO: rich in name only. By every measure, we look like a broken banana republic. Not a single U.S. city is included in the world’s top 10 most livable cities. Only one U.S. airport makes the list of the top 100 in the world. Our roads, schools and bridges are falling apart, and our trains—none of them high-speed—are running off their tracks. Our high school students are rated 30th in math, and some 30 countries have longer life expectancy and lower rates of infant mortality. The only things America is number one in these days are the number of incarcerated citizens per capita and adult onset diabetes.
he destruction of labor has been so comprehensive that first-world nations now offshore their jobs to the U.S. In other words, we’ve become the new India. Foreign companies now see us as the world’s cheap labor force, and we have the non-unionized South to thank for that. Chuck Thompson, author of Better off Without Em, writes, “Like Mexico, the South has spent the past four decades systematically siphoning auto jobs from Michigan and the Midwest by keeping worker’s salaries low and inhibiting their right to organize by rendering their unions toothless.” Average wages for autoworkers in the South are up to 30 percent lower than in Michigan.
In Sweden, the minimum wage is $19 per hour and workers enjoy a minimum of five weeks paid vacation every year. In the U.S. the minimum wage is a tick above $7 per hour and workers can expect no more than 12 days of annual vacation. So guess what? IKEA has set up a factory in Virginia. Volkswagen has set up in Tennessee, and the likes of Hyundai, KIA, BMW, Honda, and Toyota have all set up in the South to take advantage of the world’s latest cheap labor source. Moreover, the profits of these foreign companies goes toward stimulating their economies instead of ours.
The Republican effort to turn non-union workers against union workers — and to thus let the destruction of unions go essentially unchallenged — has been just fab-u-l-ous for the corporataocracy. For workers? Not so much.