Posts filed under ‘We the People’
The electricity has been off at my house for roughly three hours today. (That’s what it’s like in Baghdad.)
This is Al waiting for it to come on:
Xcel’s gas was out at my brother’s house for roughly 48 hours over the weekend. The temps were in the below zeros.
Xcel doesn’t want to invest in infrastructure and nobody’s saying it should. It wants to steer its profits to the execs and shareholders and our tax laws are structured such that they can; they encourage them to do that (thanks bought-and-sold congress).
Meanwhile, Al and I wait…
Pray tell I’ll have time to look into the subsidies I’m paying for this piece of shit “public utility.”
Love how that label has stuck.
What a lie.
December 10, 2013 at 8:30 PM
Here’s a shocking article about how austerity cuts are affecting the health of folks in the U.K.:
Malnutrition a Public Health Emergency, Experts Warn
Malnutrition is something most of us associate with the third world or even the world of Dickens. But new figures show hospital admissions in England have nearly doubled in the last five years.
A group of scientists and public health experts is warning the rise is evidence of a “public health emergency” which could be linked to changes to benefits.”
They cite government statistics that show there were 5,500 hospital admissions for malnutrition between 2012 and 2013 compared to just over 3,000 in 2008.
They also point to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that found families were buying cheaper more unhealthy food.
This has all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late.
Letter to the British Medical Journal
In a letter to the British Medical Journal, David Taylor-Robinson from the University of Liverpool and six other academics warn: “This has all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventive action.”
They say they are particularly worried about the number of children with malnutrition because it can cause cardiovascular and other chronic diseases in adulthood.
They believe the rise in cases of malnutrition, and the increase in the use of food banks, could be linked to welfare reform.
So, that’s austerity, U.K-style.
Meanwhile, this is what’s happening here in the U.S.:
Meanwhile, there may be no way to prevent Congress from allowing 1.3 million people to lose their unemployment benefits, or reversing the sharp cuts to food stamps, which are one of the most destructive forms of austerity. (In fact, Republicans demand much, much greater cuts to food stamps.)
As the CNN report says, the ostensible reason to cut spending and/or raise taxes is to keep the budget deficit low. But government borrowing costs are still near historic lows, and the budget deficit is plummeting like a stone. Meanwhile, unemployment is still high, inflation is still low, and hysteresis is turning unemployment into long-run structural damage.
Overall, the austerity binge has cost the economy about 3 million jobs at this point. Put simply, this is insane, and there is no sign Congress will stop it anytime soon.
I volunteer at a food bank. Food banks in the area just held their big annual food drive. We collected something like 6,000 pounds less than we did last year. Last year we collected roughly 13,000 pounds less than the year before that. At some point, food banks are going to get crushed under the weight of so many starving people and hey, maybe then we should get together with the U.K. and have a malnurishathon.
Geezus. I think it’s immoral to cut services to the poorest, most desperate segments of a society.
USA, USA, USA!
December 4, 2013 at 12:42 PM
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
I wouldn’t be surprised if this were to happen under a Republican but under Mr. Constitutional lawyer Obama? It’s a disgrace. Maybe it’s just me but I expect Democrats to have higher standards — standards that tilt toward We the Little People and away from the corporatocracy and the rich having all the freakin’ advantages.
This is just fucking infuriating.
SEC Drops Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending From its Priority List
Missing from the Security and Exchange Commission’s list of regulatory priorities for the coming year is any plan to consider whether public companies should disclose their political spending, a setback for investor advocates who rallied behind the cause.
A “set back for investor advocates?” How about a set back for people like you and me who donate $10, $15, $20 and want to know what we’re up against?
Last year around this time, when the SEC released its 2013 to-do list, it signaled that it might consider formally proposing a rule to require the spending disclosures. But the item slipped off the 2014 agenda released this past week without any formal explanation.
Geezus. Don’t get me started.
December 2, 2013 at 8:41 PM
Only for those with unfathomable incomes:
(Image via Lamborghini.com)
After its March debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini’s completely over-the-top Veneno supercar made its official public debut on Sunday. To make sure the setting matched the car, the event was held on an Italian aircraft carrier, docked in Abu Dhabi.
Only nine units of the Veneno Roadster will be built, starting in 2014, and each will cost €3.3 million euros ($4.5 million), before taxes.
So what do you get for all that money? A somewhat absurd-looking car that comes with 750 horsepower, enough to go from 0 to 62 mph in under three seconds. You do not get a roof, but we believe Lamborghini when it promises “an intense driving experience.”
Ah yes. The 1%-ers have a new toy!
December 2, 2013 at 2:24 PM
I think Tony Rohr is a “working class hero” in the purest sense. I hope he’s had a flood of job offers since walking away from Pizza Hut and I hope some of them are attractive enough to make him turn down this disingenuous, kiss ass offer obviously generated by public pressure:
Indiana Pizza Hut Manager Offered Job Back After Firing for Refusal to Open on Thanksgiving
Pizza Hut has offered to rehire the manager of a northern Indiana restaurant who was fired over his refusal to open up on Thanksgiving Day.
Pizza Hut’s corporate office issued a statement Wednesday saying it respects an employee’s right to not work on the holiday and that the store owner has agreed to reinstate [Tony] Rohr.
“This was clearly an unfortunate situation, and we are very upset by what has transpired in Elkhart,” the company statement said. “While the choice as to whether a restaurant should be open or closed on a holiday is handled at the local level by our independent franchisees, we feel strongly that this situation could have been avoided.”
Rohr said he hasn’t decided yet whether to accept the job offer.
November 28, 2013 at 9:14 PM
This is the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This is what Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Oil) is working on in D.C.:
This week, the House will vote on a bill [introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn] that could impose a $5,000 fee on any person who opposes a proposed drilling project. The bill, also known as the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, will make it easier for oil and gas companies to drill on public lands…
Should the bill become law, onshore drilling permits will automatically be approved if the Department of the Interior (DOI) does not act on the permits within 60 days. It will also require any individual who wishes to oppose a proposed drilling project to pay $5,000 to file an official protest.
Imagine the Founding Fathers writing an amendment that read something like this:
Congress shall require that a $5,000 fee be paid by any member of We the People who object to an oil and/or gas company drilling wherever it wants.
You go Doug. You probably wear a flag pin on your lapel too, huh?
November 19, 2013 at 10:32 AM
What happens when we stop teaching U.S. history in elementary school:
(Image via Atheistican on Twitter)
November 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM
Blocking the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP) is the most important fight We the People must win — along with blocking the Keystone XL pipeline — in the next year.
(Image via BillMoyers.com)
Learn more about the TPP here. It’s a very big deal. In essence, it gives the corporatocracy control of our government.
November 12, 2013 at 7:08 PM
I was getting ready to post my Tweet of the Day when I inadvertently took a detour through this paragraph:
…[A] slew of other laws passed in the two years following the 2010 right-wing electoral romp. Among them: Michigan banned safety regulations covering repetitive motion. Florida banned local paid sick leave mandates. Wisconsin banned compensatory and punitive damage suits over employment discrimination. New Hampshire made it easier for companies to classify workers as “independent contractors” lacking the legal rights of employees. Maine allowed employers to apply for employees to be considered disabled, and to determine what fraction of the minimum wage to pay employees classified as such.
Now, here’s that tweet:
October 31, 2013 at 10:23 AM
As I’ve said before, if I lived in Virginia, I might have to sit out this year’s gubernatorial election set for November 5. Two wholly owned corporate ass kissers are running. One, the so-called Democrat — Terry McAuliffe — is backed by the Clinton machine which gives us a glimpse into what a Hillary Clinton presidential reign might look like. I.e., great for the corporatocracy but for We the People? Not so much:
(Image via Terry McAuliffe on Twitter)
If you want to see how grossly money can distort democracy, just go to the state of Virginia, where there are no limits on how big a check can be written for statewide office. Groups and individuals from outside the Old Dominion are taking full advantage, pouring millions into a governor’s race they see as a dry run for the tactics they’ll use in the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential race – sort of the way the Spanish civil war turned out to be a testing ground for many of the deadly weapons of World War II.
The Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, has been in training for years as courtier to the rich. He has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the Democratic National Committee, which he chaired for four years, and the campaigns of his – Best Friends Forever – Bill and Hillary Clinton, who now are shaking down donors for him. Along the way, according to The Washington Post, this gregarious bagman used government programs, his huge Rolodex of political connections, and wealthy investors from both parties to enrich himself. He organized a company to build electric cars and promoted it to investors with a prospectus featuring photographs and ample references to his Clinton ties. He even got the former President to show up at the opening of the plant in Mississippi, along with that state’s former Republican governor, Haley Barbour, who made his fortune as a lobbyist in Washington for the tobacco industry
But Cuccinelli is in no position to talk. The candidate was drawn into that Virginia money scandal in which Jonnie R. Williams, Sr., CEO of Star Scientific, a company that manufactures dietary supplements, showered lavish presents and perks on the current governor and his wife. Cuccinelli also received a sprinkling of Williams’ largesse. He recently donated the value of what he says he got — $18,000 – to charity.
What’s more, his donor list includes considerable checks from big tobacco and big coal, including Murray Energy Corporation, which has often been fined for endangering the health and safety of its miners. Last year, its boss, Bob Murray, was discovered insisting that employees contribute time and money to his favorite anti-regulatory candidates – including Mitt Romney – or else.
Now Cuccinelli’s touting a major tax cut for the rich, with a plan that, according to the liberal Center for American Progress, would give 47% of a proposed tax reduction to the top five percent of Virginians. The state would lose nearly a billion and a half dollars in revenues so the rich can be even richer.
What a choice huh?
I wish I could take my head off and set it down for a while.
October 17, 2013 at 7:53 PM
I’ve got to start keeping track of the infrastructure failures that are occurring all across the United States; everything from water main breaks to computer glitches. I read about them here and there almost every day. They seem small on their own but together, they add up.
Our country is falling apart. Literally. The thing is, the failures aren’t happening in areas where rich white people live so we aren’t hearing about them.
Case in point. This is an emergency:
Power Outage Shuts Down Food Stamp Program In 17 States
SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – Food stamp recipients in 17 states lost access to the electronic system used by stores to verify their benefits on Saturday, leaving many unable to buy groceries, the company that manages the system said.
People enrolled in the government food assistance program use plastic vouchers similar to debit cards. Starting at about 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), some of those cards stopped working, Xerox spokesman Kevin Lightfoot said.
A power outage that started the problem was fixed within 20 minutes, Lightfoot said, but shoppers continued to run into difficulties throughout the day. By early evening, the problem still had not been fixed.
States States experiencing problems included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois,Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio,Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, Lightfoot said.
My food bank-volunteer-self knows this is going to hurt so many people in so many ways. The ripple effect will be tremendous lest it’s fixed tonight. Get that “electronic system” up and running ASAP! Oh, wait, the government’s shut down. Shi*t.
October 12, 2013 at 8:28 PM
According to the latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, there are 98,700 “ultra high net worth” individuals in the world, defined as those with a net worth of over US$50 million.
That number is up 14,200 from last year, and the report reasons that this shows that the world’s economy is working out well for the ultra rich.
So where do this global elite — roughly the world’s richest — live? Mostly in one country. The United States (see a larger version here):
(Image via BusinessInsider.com)
When they say the division of wealth is as unequal here in the U.S. as it’s been since the Roaring 20s, they mean it.
October 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM
I invite these poor suffering Senators to hang out with me on any given Friday at the food bank where I volunteer. A boxed lunch sounds so fresh compared to what the people I see get.
How about some canned chili made with mystery meat that’ll last for a million years and oh, I don’t know, some canned green beans from who-knows-where? And let’s have some soggy brownish government-issued canned peaches for dessert.
Sounds yummy huh?
Catered meals? Really? That’s what you’re used to?
October 7, 2013 at 8:25 PM
Over the weekend the Pentagon ordered “almost all furloughed civilian employees back to work” despite the government shutdown.
Ah yes. “Essential services” as in wars and drone attacks.
As for the health and wellbeing of We the People?
As an aside, there’s this: Owner Made a Billionaire Feeding U.S. War Machine.
Interesting, isn’t it, who suffers and who doesn’t?
October 7, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Fox “business news” reporter Stuart Varney yesterday on AM 560’s The Big John & Amy Show:
HOWELL: Do you think that federal workers, when this ends, are deserving of their back pay or not?
VARNEY: That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? This is President Obama’s shutdown. He is responsible for shutting this thing down; he’s taken an entirely political decision here. No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.
This is their mindset folks. They’re cruel and vindictive and they want to take it out on We, the Little People.
October 3, 2013 at 5:30 PM
Ah yes, fickle Republicans strike again. Ethics? Morality? Character? Doing what’s just plain right to help their fellow humans? Nah. It’s all about what will get them re-elected:
(Image via Wikipedia.com)
Colorado House Republicans Unanimously Support Flood Relief, Unanimously Opposed Sandy Aid
As historic floods of “biblical” proportions continue to ravage Colorado, President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Sunday — a move that was encouraged by a bipartisan letter last week from the state’s nine-member Congressional delegation. But the four Republican Congressmen who are now supporting disaster relief for their own state were among those voting earlier this year against the emergency aid funding for Superstorm Sandy victims on the East Coast.
Colorado Republican Reps. Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton joined their delegation in asking the president to send emergency funds to help their constituents combat and recover from the more than 14 inches of rain that have flooded Colorado this month.
The next time you hear a Republican say he or she wants to “cut the deficit” laugh and tell them about this. What they bloviate about to their Fox & Friends has nothing to do with their convictions. It has everything to do with sticking one’s finger in the air and deciding which way the wind is blowing.Turning that upside down, both of Colorado’s Democratic senators voted for Sandy relief earlier this year, despite the fact that that that relief didn’t go to their state. Hello!
In a 62-36 vote, the Senate on Monday approved legislation providing $50.7 billion to help New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Hurricane Sandy.
All 36 “no” votes came from Republicans.
September 19, 2013 at 7:48 PM
This is great but think about it for a minute: Waiters in Utah make $2.13 an hour? What? That’s criminal.
I would think such a religious state would be way more compassionate.
Waiters in Utah make 2.13/hr. Went around Orem to some of the diners late one night, been wanting to do this idea for a while, finally pulled it off with Stuart’s help. Hope you liked this, thanks for watching. – Andrew Hales.
September 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM
Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.
What a bunch of crap.
Show me another country who’s launched significant
humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.
I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe. I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.
Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality. Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:
(Babies deformed by Agent Orange via Wikipedia)
- 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
- 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
- 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
- 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
- 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
- 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
- 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
- 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
- 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
- 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
- 2003: Iraq.
- 2011: Libya.
- 2013: Syria
September 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM
Here’s a tweet Bill Gross, the founder of the investment firm PIMCO, sent out this morning. That he would have no problem tweeting — i.e., stating publicly — that the opinion of the American people doesn’t matter, shows just how ensconced in the 1% he is. Truly ghastly and horrifyingly revealing.
Time to get the cake out.
September 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM
From the good ol’ Onion:
September 5, 2013 at 3:59 PM
I think I listened to every hearing and every speech anyone ever gave in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and I’m telling you, listening to John Kerry and Chuck Hagel “testify” before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon has been like a dagger to the heart. Are we really going to do this again?
This isn’t child’s play:
I never thought I’d agree with Erick Erickson on anything but this is exactly my fear, i.e., what happens the day after? If we send missiles into Syria to “punish” Assad it’s just that — punishment — but if he retaliates will we see that as punishment for what we did? Hell the f**k no. It’ll be full-blown war:
September 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM
There will be no British support for a punitive strike against Syria:
British MPs have voted to reject possible military action against the Assad regime in Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons. A government motion was defeated 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes.
Prime Minster David Cameron said it was clear Parliament does not want action and “the government will act accordingly”. It effectively rules out British involvement in any US-led strikes against the Assad regime.
Gee, how civilized. They aren’t going to let their Prime Minister go off half cocked without letting the people speak.
Mr. Constitutional Law Professor Barack Obama won’t grant we Americans that privilege — because we would probably say no too insofar as I saw a poll the other day showing only 9% of us want anything to do with Syria — but maybe he’ll do something like this:
August 29, 2013 at 5:14 PM
(Image via Wikipedia)
Here in the good ol’ US of A Congress is supposed to declare war and, ahead of the administration “punishing” Syria for supposedly using chemical weapons on its own people, many think the Obama administration should wait for congressional approval before he makes any moves. By taking the issue to congress, the administration would effectively be getting the approval of We the People — or not — through the folks who represent us in D.C.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work anyway but over the last 20, 30 years, presidents have circumvented that pesky, democratic rule because they might not have gotten what they wanted and Obama’s prepared to do the same.
And now we learn that the White House is “livid” that British Prime Minister David Cameron had the temerity to take the issue of the military involvement of his country to the representatives of the people of Britain because well, because Obama’s a constitutional law expert who apparently doesn’t have much regard for the Constitution. Ours or Britain’s:
Barack Obama could take military action against Syria without waiting for British support, senior Obama administration officials said, as David Cameron faced waiting until next week for a Commons vote sanctioning any air strikes.
The abrupt halt in British momentum towards military action left the diplomatic choreography in chaos and US officials “livid” with the British, according to Western diplomatic sources at the United Nations in New York.
“Britain is important diplomatically, but not required, and not required militarily. The White House could move ahead without the British,” Mr Pavel added.
Mr Obama’s dilemma over whether to act without direct British support follows Mr Cameron’s embarrassing climb-down on Wednesday over whether a Commons vote would be required to sanction UK military involvement.
“The Americans are livid with us,” said one Western diplomat, who added British officials were astonished that the Prime Minister could have made such an “enormous miscalculation” amid such high stakes.
Bravo to Cameron and shame on Obama. We the People are going to have to pay for the strike and We the People will be sent to fight and die in a war if things get out of hand. We should be allowed to weigh in. Cameron did the right thing and Obama’s a dick for being pissed.
August 29, 2013 at 3:58 PM
The March on Washington happened on August 28, 1963,
(Image via CapitolHillHistory.org)
and oh my god, I can’t believe we’re going to have to do it again 50 years later.
Here’s a little slice of what African-Americans are up against every day in the good ol’ U.S. of A., not to mention fighting anew for the right to vote, thanks to George W. Bush’s Supreme Court and the Republican party:
August 23, 2013 at 6:29 PM
(Image via SummitCountyVoice.com)
Another reason why we have to get this whole fracking thing under control before we go any farther:
Don Feusner ran dairy cattle on his 370-acre slice of northern Pennsylvania until he could no longer turn a profit by farming. Then, at age 60, he sold all but a few Angus and aimed for a comfortable retirement on money from drilling his land for natural gas instead.
It seemed promising. Two wells drilled on his lease hit as sweet a spot as the Marcellus shale could offer – tens of millions of cubic feet of natural gas gushed forth. Last December, he received a check for $8,506 for a month’s share of the gas.
Then one day in April, Feusner ripped open his royalty envelope to find that while his wells were still producing the same amount of gas, the gusher of cash had slowed. His eyes cascaded down the page to his monthly balance at the bottom: $1,690.
Chesapeake Energy, the company that drilled his wells, was withholding almost 90 percent of Feusner’s share of the income to cover unspecified “gathering” expenses and it wasn’t explaining why.
“They said you’re going to be a millionaire in a couple of years, but none of that has happened,” Feusner said. “I guess we’re expected to just take whatever they want to give us.”
I’m going to fast forward to the last two paragraphs. The article is quite long and I’m leaving a lot out:
Even if a gas company were found liable for underpaying royalties in Pennsylvania, it would have little to fear. It would owe only the amount it should have paid in the first place; unlike Oklahoma and other states, Pennsylvania law does not allow for any additional interest on unpaid royalties and sets a very high bar for winning punitive penalties.
“They just wait to see who challenges them, they keep what they keep, they give up what they lose,” said Root, the NARO chapter president. “It may just be part of their business decision to do it this way.”
This is outrageous. As usual, the oil and gas companies’ lobbyists — with the help of local, state and federal lawmakers — have paved the way for a very good life for them. As for We the People? Not so much.
August 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM
There was a march against Chevron and fracking in Richmond, California today:
(Image via JoshuaKahnRussell on Twitter)
The police, who we pay, with our tax dollars, protected Chevron:
(Image via MrDavyD on Twitter)
Look at those Darth Vader-like guys.
This is what the militarization of America’s police force looks like.
August 3, 2013 at 7:16 PM