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.

 

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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“.

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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

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