Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Why the wealthy of America are responsible for underwriting ‘entitlements’

In Around the web on July 30, 2011 at 9:17 am


From MOSHE ADLER
Truthdig
Thanks to John Lovejoy

What we should be talking about when we talk about the debt ceiling is the proper role and size of government. Instead, we are asking whether the government spends too much on programs that alleviate the pain that is the result of government policies in the first place. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps are all good programs, but all are meant to deal with the consequences of the income inequality that the government makes possible by the laws it passes. Income security programs make up 65 percent of all government expenses, and from this we are asked to conclude that the government is mainly in the business of serving and taking care of common people. But the most profound actions that the government takes, passing laws that make the rich rich, ostensibly cost no money and, because we play along, enforcing them supposedly has no cost.

Any agreement by Congress to cut the income security programs while leaving the main beneficiaries from our government—the rich—untouched, would be unconscionable. If Congress does not reach an agreement, and the deficit remains unfunded, this will give the president an unprecedented opportunity to expose who the government really serves, because it will be up to him alone, no agreement from Congress would be necessary More…

Don Sanderson: Some random thoughts

In Around Mendo Island, Mendo Island Transition on July 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

Our modern society appears to be saturated with fear, which is quite reasonable it seems to me. On the far right, the Tea Party and its wealthy supporters are attempting to build barriers to keep the world out. On the left, we are more inclusive, but are also searching for ways to shield ourselves. Yet, on both ends and in the middle, we are attempting to escape while taking at least the rudiments of our lifestyles with us. I reflect on so-called transition towns. Can you think of such a community, say a possible Ukiah, without electricity and or natural gas? We can’t live long without water, but without electricity the city’s wells would cease to function – as would its sewer system. Would we carry our water from Mendocino Lake or the river? How would we cook our food, if we can find any, with fire wood? How would we cut it without a chainsaw? How would we burn it in our houses as mostly are presently constructed? How would we haul it out of the woods? From where will we get our clothing and shoes when they wear out? If you think these would be difficult, think of attempting to survive in San Jose.

So, we depend upon high tech engineers to develop solar, wind power, and biofuel solutions.  But, the development and maintenance of such depends upon cheap, available fossil fuels and electricity in so many aspects. We, our modern lifestyles, are so locked into such expectations. Even the most radical of us can only dream of returning to earlier times maybe only a century past in much of the country when human and animal labor were preeminent and most communities More…

Here is who spent all our current debt

In Around the web on July 29, 2011 at 6:20 am

Republicans’ total: 312%
Democrats’ total: 64%– LESS THAN 1/4TH AS MUCH AS THE REPUBLICANS
…and Clinton left us with a surplus…

Keep the pressure on…

CONGRESS CONTACTS HERE
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Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors?… Complete story here
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Assange: ‘We are becoming the agents of perspective… burning the mass media to the ground.’

In Around the web on July 29, 2011 at 6:15 am


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The 6 Biggest Lies About the U.S. Debt and the Biggest Lie of All — Market Fundamentalism

In Around the web on July 29, 2011 at 6:00 am

From ARUN GUPTA
AlterNet

As Congress nears a vote on the various debt ceiling deals, let’s look at the lies and misinformation that got us into this mess

There is one simple truth about the discussion of the looming U.S. debt crisis: it is largely a compendium of half-truths, distortions, myths and outright lies.

For example, is it true that the U.S. debt is unsustainable, which is spurring the budget-cutting fever? Far from it. While U.S. debt is at one of its highest levels ever in terms of gross domestic product, the interest payments in 2011 on the  $14.3 trillion public debt will be a mere $386 billion. This is barely more than the $364 billion paid way back in 1998. In real terms, the U.S. economy has grown nearly 30 percent since then. Rock-bottom interest rates on U.S. government debt account for the low payments today, but the practical effect is that servicing the debt as a percentage of GDP is the lowest it’s been in decades.

Or what about hysterical headlines like “U.S. Debt Default Looms” (courtesy of NPR) unless Democrats and Republicans agree to raise the debt ceiling? They are completely untrue. Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says, if there is no agreement by Aug. 2 to allow the U.S. Treasury to borrow more funds, then “the government instead would choose among cutbacks on various expenditures such as state and local aid, medical aid, for war, for infrastructure. More…

Suppose that, with the collapse of our civilization, the world looks like this…

In Around the web on July 28, 2011 at 8:37 am

Afterculture.org

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

[...] Suppose that, by 2200, with the collapse of our civilization, the world looks like this:

  • Human population is back to 1800′s level of about one billion people, declining slowly by 1%/year (the reasons for this continuing decline are complex, and I may explore them in another article).
  • About 97% of the population is living as farmers, using a variety of catastrophic agriculture and permaculture methods. Cities are mostly abandoned and used as a source of materials for scavenging for one-off manufacture of essential products, since there is no oil to power industrial machinery to make new mass-produced goods.
  • A high quality of life has been achieved, due to the retention of knowledge about sanitation and disease prevention, and the abundance of scrap materials for building, making clothing etc. Most of our time is spent in leisure activities.
  • There are much lower chronic disease rates, due to less stress, less pollution, and improved nutrition. More…

Obama really believes in trickle-down economics. He believes that Wall Street are job creators. That’s the tragedy of all this. He’s a Wall Street Democrat, which we used to call Republicans.

In Around the web on July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

From AMY GOODMAN
Democracy Now

Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling in Order to Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

We’re joined by economist Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and author of “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire.”…

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the massive government bailout of the banking industry. On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office issued an audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs. It revealed the Fed provided more than $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the audit by saying, quote, “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

To talk more about the debt debate in Washington, as well as the overall economic crisis here and in Europe, More…

‘I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me’

In Around the web on July 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

From TIM DeCHRISTOPHER

[DeChristopher's civil disobedience, courage and story in defence of the planet, needs to be repeated one million times by me, you and anyone who cares that each passing hour draws humanity and all other species nearer to a cold, cruel, unfair, avoidable, big-business devised end of life as we know it. ~John Lovejoy]

Tim DeChristopher, who was sentenced on July 26 to two years in federal prison for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008, had an opportunity to address the court and the judge yesterday immediately before his sentence was announced. This is what he said:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the presentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to “get to know me.” He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I’m not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross’s report. While reading Mr Huber’s critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations, More…

Domestic Terrorism — Every single one from the Right Wing

In Around the web on July 27, 2011 at 9:10 am


From DAVID NEIWERT
Crooks and Liars

Terrorism directed at ‘liberal’ and ‘government’ targets since July 2008: An interactive map UPDATED here

Since all those isolated incidents involving terroristic violence directed at “liberals” and the “government” keep adding up into a serious trend, we’ve decided it’s time to start keeping systematic track of the problem — especially because mainstream media seem intent on refusing to recognize the trend.

Here’s the text for the 20 23 24 events we’ve enumerated so far:

July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

December 2008: A pair of “Patriot” movement radicals — the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure” — threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime. More…

Janie Sheppard: Ben Cunningham’s Coit Tower Mural Revealed

In Around Mendo Island on July 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

Making a special trip to San Francisco was worth it to see muralist Ben Cunningham’s 9’ by 23’ fresco, “Outdoor Life.” Cunningham is the artist who painted the mural in the Ukiah Post Office, which is currently under a death sentence, thanks to ill-conceived, purported cost-saving measures by the Postal Service.  Public art is endangered nationwide; to save it we first have to know it is there. Hidden treasures must be revealed.

Ben Cunningham’s mural in Coit Tower is a revelation; most of the time it remains unseen; thus the special trip. The picture above is only part of the mural.  Because the mural is in a very tight space and goes around a door, I could capture it only in segments.

So, from left to right, here are the segments:

More…

Up To Us

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on July 26, 2011 at 7:40 am

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

To the Editors (AVA, UDJ):

Up To Us

Floods, drought, natural fires, hurricanes, violent storms, massive species extinction, infrastructure collapse, terrorist attacks, food riots, starvation, economic disaster, peak oil, climate change, water shortages, food shortages, soil depletion, wars, rumors of wars, entitlement slashing, and political ineptitude seem now to be reaching critical mass. Will technology save us? How about ideology? Don’t want to think about it?

Here on Mendo Island, it’s much easier to just go to the beach, or drift off in a purple haze of giggly weed. Surely someone is going to figure all this out and save us. Someone? Anyone? Where are you?

Nope, up to us… up to you… and up to our local communities. We will get through this with local mutual aid or we will not get through this at all.

The world economy and corrupt politicos are bringing us down. Local economies and community-level solutions can bring us forward to a simpler, saner, sustainable living.

Here are some ideas and inspiration to google: shareable, resilience circles and transition towns.
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The system was not built to handle a takeover of the system by an unreasoning cult

In Around the web on July 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

From DAVID ATKINS
digby

Jonestown D.C.

It is easy to get caught up in every rivulet of the default crisis as we approach the inevitable cascade of market panics followed by shock doctrine cuts to social services. It is easy to find fault with the Administration for its many flaws in handling the situation, and with Congressional Democrats as well.

But it’s also important to remember the big picture. The big picture is that America is being held hostage by a conservative movement that behaves much more as a bizarre religious cult, than a legitimate political entity. It is perhaps the most dangerous cult to have ever held sway over a major nation-state in modern times.

It is a cult founded on a number of dogmatic beliefs that have no basis in reality. These are people who believe that the inflection point of the Laffer Curve is somewhere in the low single digits, and that cutting taxes to insanely low levels will magically lead to revenue increases. These are people who believe that government itself is basically unnecessary but for a private property protection scheme, and that the unfettered market will provide all that society needs, and will dole out the appropriate price for all goods, wages and services with zero inflation through the magic of the market. These are people who believe it is impossible for humans to affect the climate, and that it is better for humans to attempt to magically adapt somehow More…

Share or Die

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 26, 2011 at 6:40 am

From NEAL GORENFLO
Shareable

Share or Die is the first collection of writing from Generation Y about post-college work and life in the 21st Century.

America stands at a precipice; limitless consumption, reckless economics, and disregard for the environment have put the country on a collision course with disaster. It’s up to a younger generation to rebuild according to new forms of organization, and Share or Die is a collection of messages from the front lines. From new growth in urban Detroit to backyard gardens, young people are finding ways to produce and share resources differently.

Editor’s Preface:

About six months ago, a weather-beaten, middle-age man asked me for money on the platform of the Mountain View Caltrain station.

I gave him three dollars. He thanked me, and asked what I did for work. I introduced myself, learned his name (Jeff) and we shook hands. I pulled out a card from my computer bag, and handed it to him as I told him that I publish an online magazine about sharing.

Jeff lit up, “Oh I get that, when you’re homeless, it’s share or die.”

That got my attention and I asked him to explain. Jeff said that a year earlier, his girlfriend drank herself to death alone in a motel room. More…

Book Review: The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg

In Around the web, Books on July 25, 2011 at 8:22 am

From FRANK KAMINSKI
Mud City Press
via Energy Bulletin

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality By Richard Heinberg

While “experts” assure us that the economy is slowly emerging from recession, a growing camp of well-informed dissenters thinks not. The scant evidence of recovery, insists this group, is not an anomaly but the sign of a profound sea change. The End of Growth, one book unequivocally calls it, next to a cover image of a burst balloon and a pin. The book’s author, Richard Heinberg, makes his case by far the most eloquently and comprehensively—and though it may be a decidedly unwelcome one for those now struggling, that doesn’t detract from its validity.

The limits-to-growth debate began in 1972 with the MIT report of the same name. That seminal study concluded that without preventive action, sometime early this century the global economy would collide catastrophically with hard ecological limits. No one acted, and now the economy is, in Heinberg’s judgment, trapped in a rut from which there’s no escape. Heinberg is a leading authority on one critical natural limit precluding further growth, that of oil supply—on which his The Party’s Over is a standard reference. In this new book, he argues that industrial economies are on the eve of a great contraction… Full book review here
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Miss USA 2011: Should Evolution and Math Be Taught In Schools?

In Around the web on July 25, 2011 at 8:10 am



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Mendo Island Action Center: Vote Yes on Libraries — Measure A

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on July 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

From VOTE YES ON LIBRARIES

The countywide “Vote Yes on Libraries” campaign committee announced the start of its active organizing to make sure our county libraries have proper funding. It requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass the initiative, called “Measure A” on the fall ballot, so “Vote Yes on Libraries” groups are forming in every community within the county.

The money raised by the initiative cannot be used for any other purpose because state law, and the ordinance itself, says the monies raised “shall be used exclusively for preserving existing libraries, reversing the deterioration in services…upgrading facilities, services and collections…”  When approved, Measure A will keep all branches open five days per week and restore and expand the children’s reading programs.

“Libraries contribute to the health and vitality of our community. This is an investment in the future. The one-eighth cent increase in the sales tax will be 13 cents for every hundred dollars spent on taxable items which will cost the average household less than $2 per month,” said Valerie Frey of Fort Bragg, the president of the Yes on Libraries Steering Committee.

The library system is in jeopardy. Measure A will provide the money ($1.3 million annually) to solve its problems. Soon whole branches may have to be closed. Already library hours More…

The Internet is my religion

In Around the web on July 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

From JIM GILLIAM
PersonalDemocracy.com

Via Shareable

In this talk at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum, startup founder and grassroots activist Jim Gilliam speaks about his born-again Christian upbringing, and his crisis of faith after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the death of his mother. Through this crucible he emerged with a refound faith—in what people are capable of accomplishing when they work together and raise one another up. In this moving video, Gilliam speaks about the network of activists and supporters he built online, and the redemptive power of community and human decency.


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Mendo Food Sovereignty?

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on July 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

Thanks to Janie Rezner

Sedgwick, Maine has done what no other town in the United States has done. Earlier this year the town unanimously passed an ordinance giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.”

This is WITHOUT government regulation.

This includes raw milk, locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can imagine. It means that farmer and patron agree to enter into private agreements with one another, and settle any disputes that arise personally and civilly.

It is the way things used to be done before Americans sacrificed their freedoms to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Food sovereignty ordinances are what must be in place to enable an explosion of local food production. This is only the beginning!

Learn about the international principles developed by Via Campesina in this entry from Wikipedia

Via Campesina’s seven principles of food sovereignty include:

  1. Food: A Basic Human Right. Everyone must have access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain a healthy life with full human dignity. Each nation should declare More…

Republicans are anarchists and fanatics

In Around the web on July 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

From ANDREW SULLIVAN
The Daily Beast

The Republican refusal to countenance any way to raise revenues to tackle the massive debt incurred largely on their watch and from a recession which started under Obama’s predecessor makes one thing clear. They are not a political party in government; they are a radical faction that refuses to participate meaningfully in the give and take the Founders firmly believed should be at the center of American government. They are not conservatives in this sense. They are anarchists.

Their fiscal anarchism has now led to their threat to destabilize and possibly upend the American and global economy because they refuse to compromise an inch. They control only one part of the government, and yet they hold all of it hostage. I cannot believe they are prepared to allow the US to default rather than give an inch toward responsibility. Except I should believe it by now. Everything I have written about them leads inexorably to this moment. Opposing overwhelming public opinion on the need for a mixed package of tax hikes and spending cuts, drawing the president into a position far to the right of the right of his party, and posturing absurdly as fiscal conservatives, they are in fact anti-tax and anti-government fanatics, and this is their moment of maximal destruction.

More…

Why the Wealthiest Americans Are the Real ‘Job-Killers’

In Around the web on July 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

From JOSHUA HOLLAND
Alternet

The top 1 percent takes in more than twice the share of national income today than they did 30 years ago, and that’s a big reason why consumers are tapped out

That the wealthy are “job creators,” and therefore have interests that must be defended by the public at large, is a talking-point that, however facile, is so popular it slips effortlessly from the lips of conservatives every day.

It can be deployed for any purpose – not only in calling for more tax breaks for the rich, but also when opposing public interest regulation, consumer litigation and worker protections. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, even used it to deflect attention from the “gay rehabilitation” services her clinic allegedly offers. When asked about it by ABC News, Bachmann merely acknowledged, “we do have a business that deals with job creation.” When pressed, she stuck with it: “As I said, again, we’re very proud of our business and we’re proud of all job creators in the United States.”

It’s also complete nonsense; the opposite of the truth. Sure, the wealthy create a few jobs – people who offer exclusive services or sell them high-end goods. But the overwhelming majority of jobs in this country are “created” by ordinary Americans when they spend their paychecks… Full story here
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Todd Walton: Aliens From Outer Space

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on July 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

“Chances are, when we meet intelligent life forms in outer space, they’re going to be descended from predators.” Michio Kaku, famous theoretical physicist

So this morning I was listening to a radio interview of a reporter for the New York Times, and she laid out clear and irrefutable evidence of how the crooks took over our government and the banking system and didn’t even try to hide what they were doing—massive theft in broad daylight, so to speak. This radio interview was not on some lunatic fringe radio show hosted by a conspiracy theory fruit bat. No, this interview was on National Pentagon Radio and was listened to by millions of Americans; and the conclusion of the New York Times reporter and of the mainstream radio guy interviewing her was that, yes, the bad guys stole trillions from us and continue to steal trillions from us, but, well, so, let’s just hope and pray that the amoral scumbags will have a change of heart and give back a little of what they stole from the hundreds of millions of people whose lives they’ve destroyed.

That’s when I heard someone say, “Aliens from outer space,” and that someone was yours truly. Seriously folks, how else can we explain this? This being the takeover of our government and the takeover of several European governments by a bunch of amoral scumbags, More…

Will Parrish: ‘Destroying The Beauty Of Our Place’

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on July 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

From WILL PARRISH
TheAVA
Laytonville

Last week’s People Who Belong To The Land was the first part regarding opposition by members of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians to the enormous Spanish wine corporation Codorniu’s proposal to deci­mate one of their sacred sites, located just outside the northwest Sonoma County town of Annapolis.

The land in question is located amid a complex of 3 documented ancient village sites that the Kashia inhab­ited prior to the arrival of European and Euro­american colonizers. Until recently, the Native inhabitants of the area still used this land to continue to practice their tra­ditional way of life, as you will read below.

The land is mainly a redwood forest, slowly recover­ing following several clearcuts across the past 150 years. Codorniu wants not just to clear-cut more than 150 acres of this land, but also rip out the roots and virtually drench the resulting barren land with chemicals so as to destroy the remaining microbial life. As part of that process, the wine industry giant would deep-plow the ground More…

Weapons of Mass Exploitation

In Around the web on July 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

From DR. RAVI BATRA
Professor of Economics at SMU
Truthout

About eight years ago, there was frenzied and furious talk about WMDs, or weapons of mass destruction. Both the frenzy and the fury came from President George W. Bush and his administration, prior to the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and soon thereafter. The president’s poll ratings had soared in the aftermath of the quick American victory in Afghanistan, which was the base from which al-Qaeda had launched 9/11. In order to keep his poll numbers up, the president and his officials were in a hurry to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. There was a frenzy of claims that Saddam possessed WMDs including chemical arms and nuclear weapons. But when none were found, the officials were furious that Saddam, so to speak, had deceived them. They were also furious at their critics who wondered aloud if the entire WMD claim was actually a fabrication.

The Iraq invasion turned out to be a colossal mistake in terms of lost lives and heavy expenditures that sharply raised the federal budget deficit. However, few realize that the Bush administration made a far bigger mistake in using what may be called Weapons of Mass Exploitation or WMEs, which have all but decimated the US economy and continue to do so.

A WME is a short-term financial palliative that makes the rich richer but postpones economic troubles, while seeming to cure the problems of unemployment More…

Listen Up, President Obama! FDR’s story of how they beat the Great Depression with Common Sense

In Around the web on July 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

FDR’s Speech at Forbes Field, Oct. 1, 1936
Thanks to Sierra Voices

ROOSEVELT: Mr. Chairman, Governor Earle, my friends of Pennsylvania:

A baseball park is a good place to talk about box scores. Tonight I am going to talk to you about the box score of the Government of the United States. I am going to tell you the story of our fight to beat down the depression and win recovery. From where I stand it looks as though the game is pretty well “in the bag.”

I am convinced that when Government finance or any other kind of finance is honest, and when all the cards are on the table, 4 there is no higher mathematics about it. It is just plain, scoreboard arithmetic.

When the present management of your team took charge in 1933, the national scoreboard looked pretty bad. In fact, it looked so much like a shut-out for the team that you voted a change of management in order to give the country a chance to win the game. And today we are winning it.

When the new management came to Washington, we began to make our plans—plans to meet the immediate crisis and plans that would carry the people of the country back to decent prosperity. More…

America Held Hostage: Day 216

In Around the web on July 21, 2011 at 8:09 am

From MARK SUMNER
DailyKos

America starts this day still facing the continuing threat of fiscal destruction by Republicans who think of rigid adherence to ideology first, second, and always.

Why day 216? Because it’s been 216 days since the Bush tax cuts were extended. You remember the tax cut extensions, don’t you? That was the last artificial line in the sand created for no reason other than to give the GOP a cause to extract concessions from the president and to shift tax burden from the rich to the poor. In other words, it’s now been 216 days since this same group of hostage takers were last appeased. It’s been 216 days since we gave them exactly what they wanted and made this next round of the drama a dead certainty. It’s been 216 days since we signed on as partners in the very thing that’s creating the debt.

While we wait another another year and a half for the tax extension issue to roll around again and hope that next time Democrats can muster the courage to not scream “how high?” when the Republicans shout “jump!” we can at least not make things worse. We can make a start toward actually addressing the debt problem caused primarily by the costs of the war and the cuts in taxes by not rewarding the GOP for their debt ceiling strategy. We can insist that this president get what George W. Bush got seven times and what Ronald Reagan got 16 times: a clean bill raising the debt limit.

If we don’t, if the Republicans gain even the slightest thing by pulling this stunt, then that clock might More…

Dave Pollard: If the collapse of industrial civilization cannot be prevented, what should we do now?

In Around the web on July 20, 2011 at 11:01 am

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

[...] In a way, much of what I’ve written on this blog is an attempt to answer that question [what should we do now?], without being too presumptuous, and appreciating that there is no one right answer to it. My answer: Liberate myself, from civilization’s bonds and destruction, before it collapses on top of me.

Here’s what I’m doing to that end:

1. Understanding what is really going on now

The newspapers and the other media, including most of the independent and progressive media, are of little help in this regard. Here’s what I have written before about more useful reading:

Our world (like all ecological and social systems) is inherently, staggeringly and wonderfully complex, but everything we are taught about the world and how it works (in schools, and in the mainstream media) is reduced to simplistic, mechanistic terms. We continue to believe that “the environment” (something that is portrayed as somehow apart from us) is just facing “problems” that need “solutions” (political, economic, scientific, technological, or spiritual). In complicated systems (like your car), “problems” can be fixed. But in complex systems More…

Was Fukushima Radioactive Beef Exported?

In Around the web on July 20, 2011 at 8:19 am

From BLOOMBERG

Japan’s government said it can’t rule out the possibility beef contaminated with radioactive material has been exported, as consumers and lawmakers accused authorities of negligence on food safety.

The government yesterday imposed a ban on beef shipments from areas near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after finding 637 cattle were fed hay containing radioactive cesium. Supermarkets including Japan’s biggest, Aeon Co., said the beef was sold in Tokyo and other cities.

“We cannot completely rule out the possibility” contaminated beef was also sold abroad, Yuichi Imasaki, the deputy director of the farm ministry’s meat and egg division said by phone today. “The chances are very low” because most countries have tightened rules on Japanese beef imports or banned them, he said…

The U.S. has not allowed beef imports from Japan since April, 21, 2010, because of the possibility they may harbor foot-and-mouth disease, Matt Herrick, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, said today in an e-mail…

Products including spinach, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tea, milk, plums and fish have been found to be contaminated with cesium and iodine as far as 360 kilometers (225 miles) from Dai- Ichi… Full story here
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Debt Ceiling Holy War: Why Do Conservatives Have Unshakable Faith in Ideas That Are Totally, Demonstrably False?

In Around the web on July 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

From CHAUNCEY DeVEGA
Alternet

The Republican Party is holding the U.S. economy hostage. While the American people overwhelmingly support a solution to the debt ceiling impasse that includes a mix of tax hikes on the rich and cuts to the federal budget, the Tea Party GOP is deaf to their concerns. Moreover, even though President Barack Obama is willing to make painful concessions on entitlement spending—a move that hands the Republican Party a practical win—the Tea Party GOP remains intractable in its refusal to support even the most minimum of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

The American people, the world’s financial markets and the pundit classes remain perplexed by the Republican Party’s dangerous brinkmanship. Why would they risk financial armageddon? What is the practical gain to be had from such irresponsible behavior? Is this a ploy to undermine the Democrats before the 2012 election?

Observers remain befuddled because they have failed to connect the dots between the Republican Party’s intransigent stubbornness and a populist brand of conservatism where the world of facts has been made secondary to the intoxication of faith…

Full story here
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Portable House, Simple Life

In Around the web on July 19, 2011 at 6:59 am

 

From PEAK MOMENT TELEVISION

Embarrassed by her middle class affluence after a visit to Guatemala, Dee Williams grabbed her hammer, built a tiny house on wheels, downsized to less than 400 possessions, and parked her house in a friend’s yard. Her living arrangement then blossomed into a multi-generational family / community. Dee shows us her warm and comfy 7×12 foot house, how she meets city codes, and some unusual ways this life has affected her.
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Obama Campaign Raises Record Sums from the Wealthy

In Around the web on July 18, 2011 at 8:23 am

From PATRICK MARTIN
Information Clearing House

Proving that President Obama is the first choice of Wall Street and the American super-rich, his reelection campaign announced Wednesday that it had broken all previous records for fundraising, raking in $86 million during the second quarter of this year.

The $86 million total dwarfed the previous record for presidential reelection fundraising, the $50 million raised by George W. Bush in the third quarter of 2003. It was far above the $60 million target set by Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina.

Obama for America, the official name of the reelection effort, raised $47 million, while the Democratic National Committee collected $38 million, largely from fundraising events featuring the president, where big donors are allowed to give up to $30,800 apiece. Individual donations to Obama for America are limited under federal election laws to a maximum of $5,000.

By comparison, the leading Republican fundraiser, former Massachusetts governor and investment banker Mitt Romney, raised $18.25 million in the April-June quarter. The total raised by all the Republican presidential hopefuls who have filed reports with the Federal Election Commission came to only $36 million, less than half Obama’s haul… Complete story here
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You win a class war by fighting a class war

In Around the web on July 18, 2011 at 7:52 am

From CHRIS BOWERS
DailyKos

As you read this, rich and powerful people in Washington, DC are trying to determine not whether they should cut programs designed to help low and middle-income Americans, but by how much they should cut those programs. The rich and powerful people in DC are making these cuts in order to pay for tax breaks they recently gave to rich people and large corporations. Additionally, the cuts are being made at the behest of the lobby organizations and media operations owned by rich people and large corporations.

If that isn’t a class war, I don’t know what is. For the past 40 years, the outcomes of the political battles in this war have almost always approximated the forthcoming debt ceiling deal. Stuff for low and middle-income people gets cut. Stuff for big corporations and the wealthy gets protected.

In this depressing environment, it feels good to see ads in the Wisconsin recall elections that are fighting the class war in the other direction, on behalf of low and middle-income Americans and against the wealthy…

Several organizations have been running ads like these against Republicans in Wisconsin, such as the ad of Wisconsin protesters by Democracy for America and the PCCC that got big play back in the spring. More…

SOS From Fukushima: Please help us save our children… We are afraid of a horrible future if something is not done quickly to protect the lives of our children. We beg you to please speak of our situation to the whole world.

In Around the web on July 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm


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5 Protests That Shook the World (With Laughter)

In Around the web on July 16, 2011 at 8:52 am

From YES! MAGAZINE

Great moments in “laughtivism” from Yes Men Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, the guys who duped the BBC, embarrassed Dow Chemical, and mocked Halliburton.

Some say that laughter helped bring down the Soviet Union, by making “­Brezhnev” rhyme with “ridiculous.” At the Yes Lab, we help activists cook up funny antics and escapades to change public opinion—with laughter. We’ve used humor as a weapon to avenge corporate wrongdoing for more than a decade, ever since we started dressing up as phony PR men, comic strip heroes, and government officials.

That’s because we know humor is powerful: people have used jokes and hoaxes for centuries to humble the bad guys and inspire the good ones. Here are some of our favorite moments in “laughtivism.”

1. Abbie Hoffman incites a money grab.

In 1967, Abbie Hoffman and members of the Yippies, a radical activist group, threw 300 one-dollar bills from the New York Stock Exchange balcony onto the trading floor. According to Hoffman, as brokers grabbed for petty cash, trading ground to a halt. The famous stunt mocked the unregulated greed that still pervades Wall Street.

2. Let’s kill dissent—just kidding.

In 1702, More…

A Nation of Psychotics, Zombies, Parasitic Shrinks, and Drug Scams

In Around the web on July 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

From ALJAZEERA

[Our culture has become zombified by legal and illegal drugs, whether they be prescripted, alcohol, television, the internet, or marijuana, we are sleepwalking through our lives while the rich pillage our democracy and rifle through the pockets of the elderly... -DS]

Antipsychotics are the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States

Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.

Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses More…

Why oil is killing the American farm

In Around the web on July 15, 2011 at 8:48 am

From LINDSAY CURREN
Transition Voice

After an assortment of documentaries in recent years on America’s industrial food system — Food, Inc., Fresh, The Future of Food, King Corn, Super Size Me, Vanishing of the Bees — you might wonder what another can possibly add to the conversation.

Most observant, open-minded and thinking persons get it by now that our corn fed, fossil fuel heavy, confinement livestock operations produce, in the most efficient way possible, cruddy foods that make us fat and destroy the very land we depend on for more food.

The grapes of wrath

The conflict, or so we’re told, is that in spite of a few organic farmers here and there making a go of it, industrial farming is the only way to feed America. Choosing otherwise — a niche fetish for the elite we’re also told — doesn’t profit and costs too much for consumers.

It seems those spouting that line are still refusing to listen to renegade farmer Joel Salatin, whose passion for sustainable farming is matched only by his commercial success, and by his advocacy against governmental regulations that hamstring efforts to get into the market.

Salatin’s fervent view of deregulation would seem a natural fit for old-school conservatives (the authentically small government types). More…

Todd Walton: Another Year

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on July 15, 2011 at 7:34 am


Mike Leigh

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

“The backers accept that they don’t know what they are going to get.” Mike Leigh

According to the on-screen credits that introduce Mike Leigh’s latest movie Another Year (available on DVD), the backers included agencies of the British government, including the national lottery. So…not only do the Brits have excellent and free healthcare, but their government provides money for cutting edge artists (be still my heart) to make major motion pictures about people so real that Marcia and I have been talking about Another Year for days on end, as if the characters in the movie actually came here and spent several days with us, getting drunk and driving us batty with all their imperfections and beauties and sorrows and strengths and frailties attendant to being human, as opposed to being cartoon characters.

The Sunday following our viewing of Another Year, I leafed through the Pink section (movies, music, theater, dance) and Insight section (books) of the San Francisco Chronicle and felt painfully embarrassed, as I often do, by our so-called culture. Books so badly written (my teeth ache thinking about them) fill the bestseller lists and garner slobbering reviews of such transparent falsity there can be no question this nonsense was planted by the publishers, those New York-based mouths of multinational corporations that would never knowingly publish More…

Cheese Board Collective: 40 Years in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

In Around the web on July 14, 2011 at 9:01 am

From SARAH HENRY
Civil Eats

Exploring alternative ways to work in the food industry is a hot topic. Recently in San Francisco a sold out Kitchen Table Talks, a monthly panel showcasing local food folk, featured a discussion about successful edible enterprises that haven’t started the conventional route.

Two of the four panelists hailed from Berkeley. Three Stone Hearth‘s Jessica Prentice, whom I’ve previously profiled on Berkeleyside, talked about her cooperative kitchen model. Cathy Goldsmith represented The Cheese Board Collective. (San Francisco business reps in the mix: Caleb Zigas, who runs the kitchen incubator program La Cocina and Anthony Myint, the restauranteur behind Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth, both eateries give big chunks of change to charity.)

Beyond the obvious culinary connection each business is unique. What they have in common? A desire to build community—of workers, artisans, and customers—around their real food ventures.

Case in point The Cheese Board Collective, which has served as an anchor institution in what’s known as Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto for more than 40 years…

Complete article here
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Will Parrish: People Who Belong To The Land

In Will Parrish on July 14, 2011 at 7:38 am


Violet Parrish Wilder & Vivian Parrish Wilder; The Artesa Site

From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville
Anderson Valley Advertiser

According to Violet Parrish Chappell, 82, traditionalist and historian of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, her people’s name – their real name, not the arbitrary handle imposed by the white man’s society in the 1870s – has always been Wina∙má∙bake ya: “People Who Belong To The Land.” To be exact, the land to which the Wina∙má∙bake ya belong spans the coast and hills at the mouth of what is today known as the Gualala River, located just outside the town of Gualala, reaching as far south as the area below the mouth of the Russian River, also extending roughly eight miles inland.

The name reflects the integral relationship of the Kashia to their landbase. It is a relationship that manifests in ritual and religious practices, as well as materially in traditional land stewardship practices developed over the course of exceptionally long land tenure. Unlike the people of European origin who have supplanted them in the area, the Kashia long ago attained an intellectual apprehension that they are part of the natural order, rather than apart from or superior to it.

According to the traditional Kashia worldview, whatever happens to the land also invariably happens to the people.

This perspective is worth bearing in mind, because one of the greatest instances of harm ever wrought on the Kashia’s ancestral land is on the verge More…

Bill McKibben: The Time Has Come

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 13, 2011 at 9:12 am



From BILL McKIBBEN

Let’s do this.

Beginning in mid-August, and stretching for two weeks into the Labor Day weekend, you’re invited to Washington D.C. to participate in sustained direct action against the expansion of the Canadian tarsands. Yes, it’s likely to be hot and humid. And yes, it’s possible that you’ll be arrested. But it’s also possible you’ll make a big difference.

Here’s the deal. A group of big oil companies has proposed one of the worst plans the continent has ever seen: a huge pipeline taking oil from the tarsands of Alberta all the way to Texas. Along the route there’s been powerful opposition from indigenous leaders, and from farmers and ranchers.

But this is a project with global impact. The tarsands of Canada are the second biggest pool of carbon on the planet, after Saudi Arabia’s oil wells. If you could burn all the oil in them, you’d increase the planet’s co2 concentration by 200 parts per million.  If we keep developing them, as the world’s leading climatologist James Hansen said recently, it’s “essentially game over” for the planet’s climate. Which is why a group of indigenous leaders, scientists, and environmentalist on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border this month asked citizens to come to Washington for what may turn into the biggest civil disobedience action in the history of the climate debate.

Day after day we’ll assemble outside the White House in peaceful ranks. More…

Gene Logsdon: Why Do Humans Congregate In Big Cities?

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on July 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

One of life’s mysteries for me is why country people have inevitably migrated to the cities in every civilization that I have studied. In the United States, where there has been little of the kind of violent upheavals that send third world countries into instability, the reasons for migration to cities seem especially specious to me. Some say we move because rural life is boring or stifling with puritanical overly-conservative life styles. Actually agrarian society has often been shockingly wide open as I tried to point out in Mother of All Arts. What happened to me just yesterday seems appropriate. I was parked along the edge of a country road jawing with a couple who were harvesting wheat. A very long-haired individual, naked to the waist, came flying by on a motorcycle, tresses trailing in the wind. Trying to be funny, I opined: “Well it must have been a man because it wasn’t wearing a bra.” One of the farmers replied, rolling her eyes: “That’s a dangerous conclusion to reach around here.”

Others move to town because they want to escape what they consider the hard work of farming. That is no longer all that true either and I wonder if it ever was. Millions of factory and construction workers perform harder physical work than most farmers do today or ever did. A friend likes to tell how thrilled he was to get off the farm 70 years ago because he had to work there every day milking cows, no weekends off. More…

The Life and Death of Richard Brautigan

In Around the web on July 13, 2011 at 8:50 am

From LAWRENCE WRIGHT
Rolling Stone (April 1985)

His friends remembered when Richard became famous. It was the year the hippies came to San Francisco. Richard had published one novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur, but it had sold miserably 743 copies and his publisher, Grove Press, had dropped its option on Trout Fishing in America. Donald Allen was the West Coast representative of Grove and the editor of the Evergreen Review, which had introduced the Beat Generation. Allen had a small nonprofit press called the Four Seasons Foundation, and he decided to publish the book himself. Allen sold 29,000 copies of the book before Delacorte bought it. Eventually, 2 million copies were sold.

It was the kind of book that captured the spirit and sound of a generation. Soon there was a commune and an underground newspaper and even a school named after Trout Fishing in America. His short stories and poems appeared regularly in Rolling Stone, often beneath a photograph of him in his broad-brimmed hat. His face became a hippie icon. “For three or four years, he was like George Harrison walking down Haight Street,” remembered Don Carpenter, a novelist and scriptwriter and a longtime friend of Richard’s. His image infuriated what Richard called the East Coast literary mafia.

The old Beats looked at Richard with envy and surprise. The Beats were out of fashion, and Bunthorne was all the rage and he was rich, too, thunderously rich More…

Japan Health Official does not believe Fukushima Radioactive Beef “will cause problems”

In Around the web on July 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

From CNN

A Japanese health official downplayed the dangers Tuesday after cesium contaminated meat from six Fukushima cows was delivered to Japanese markets and probably ingested.

Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food-safety, said he hoped to head off any overreactions.

“If we were to eat the meat everyday, then it would probably be dangerous,” Hosono said at a news conference Tuesday. “But if it is consumed only in small portions, I don’t think it would have any long-lasting effects on the human body.”

The meat, delivered late last month, has made its way to consumers and most likely has been ingested, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Monday evening. This was preceded by another recent discovery of radiation in the meat of 11 cows delivered to Tokyo from the same farm.

The discovery was made when Tokyo’s office of health and welfare investigated six deliveries made at the end of June from a Fukushima farm. So far, radiation has been confirmed from three out of the six cows. In one case, radiation reached 3400 Becquerels, which is about seven times the limit set by the government…

Complete story here
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Thanks President Reagan… your economics suck!

In Around the web on July 12, 2011 at 8:04 am


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See also: REPUBLICANS ran up the debt and now THEY don’t want to pay the bill
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The 10 Essential Rules Of Liberty

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 12, 2011 at 8:02 am

From BRANDON SMITH
Information Clearing House

There is nothing worse in this world than an enslaved man who naively believes himself free, except, perhaps, trying to explain to that same man his predicament. You can lay truth after truth before his feet. You can qualify your every position with cold hard irrefutable data. You can plead and scream and raise veritable hell, but before he will ever listen, he must first become aware of his own dire circumstances. As long as he views himself as “safe and secure”, as long as he imagines his chains to be wings, he will see no reason to question the validity of the world around him, and he will certainly never invest himself into changing his own deluded destiny.

Unfortunately, there are many such men crawling and scraping about here in what was once a land graced with a self sufficient and independently minded public majority. The great lie that has been perpetuated in this country over the past several decades is that we can defer our responsibilities of vigilance and place our well being and our futures into the hands of others for the sake of “collective efficiency”, or leisure. We have been conditioned to live in a state of constant indifference, a society which prizes compromise over principle and steadfast resolve. More…

Keith Olbermann Issues Blistering Warning To Obama Over Potential Cuts To Social Security And Medicare (VIDEO)

In Around the web on July 12, 2011 at 7:45 am

From KEITH OLBERMANN
Current Countdown

Keith Olbermann tore into President Obama for contemplating a compromise with the Republicans over the debt ceiling that includes cuts in Social Security and major changes to Medicare.

Obama has repeatedly offered to raise the age of Medicare eligibility, and has put Social Security cuts firmly on the table in his attempts to craft a deal with the GOP to raise the debt ceiling.

In a Special Comment on his Monday show, Olbermann spoke out strongly against any tinkering with Medicare and Social Security. He delivered what he called a “sermon” about what he called America’s “greatest accomplishment”: the social safety net that includes the two programs.

Olbermann then issued a stinging warning to President Obama about what might occur if he agreed to alter Medicare and Social Security:

“I cannot foresee what will happen politically if you craft a compromise to a manufactured political crisis … I cannot forecast if you have made yourself unelectable next year or if there’s just enough greed and self-serving amnesia to reduce such an attack on that safety net to a political blip More…

Mendocino County: Republic of Cannibis

In Around Mendo Island on July 11, 2011 at 7:56 am

From The California Report and KQED Public Radio

Feds Threaten Experimental Pot Program in Mendocino

It’s well known that some people who grow pot do so under the cover of state medical-marijuana laws, then sell it on the black market for bigger profits. In response, Mendocino County has started a novel program intended to license and monitor medical marijuana producers. But this attempt to regulate pot producers has put the county at odds with the feds.

New Memo on Medical Marijuana Policy

The Department of Justice issued a new memo to federal prosecutors clarifying its medical marijuana policy. Calling marijuana “a dangerous drug,” the memo threatened enforcement actions against those in the business of cultivating and distributing pot. What does this mean for California?

Fighting Back Against Pot on Public Lands

More…

James Houle: Dial a Nuclear Disaster — Fukushima and America’s Nukes

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on July 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

From JAMES HOULE
Obama-Watch.com
Redwood Valley

There are over 440 large commercial nuclear power plants operating in the world, mostly in the 30 post-industrialized countries. Many of the largest commercial plants have already exceeded their 40 year design lives but continue to operate, despite serious maintenance problems in many plants, and in the United States, with weakened inspection and regulatory controls. The Chernobyl disaster in 1989 and the Three Mile Island melt-down in 1986 illustrated the danger and astronomical long term costs associated with generating electric power by the seemingly simple task of boiling water when it is done in a highly radioactive nuclear reactor and then spinning this steam through a turbine to generate electric power. No big nuclear  power plants have been built in the post industrialized world since the late 1980s when it became obvious to all capitalists that the economics of nuclear power was very unattractive, the risks far higher than any profit-making electric power company could handle, and the disposal of radioactive waste products seemingly insolvable.

The Safety Myth in Japan:
Since the end of the Cold War, we have drowsed along and most of us are not informed about the threat that aging nuclear power plants pose. More…

Smart Meters: This is about as Big Brother as it gets

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web on July 11, 2011 at 7:42 am

From JERRY DAY
JerryDay.com
Thanks to Elaine and Ed

[The smart meter issue is where many on the left and right agree. -DS]

The new smart meters are watching you. They sense all kinds of goings on. They see when you turn something on or off. They see how many watts your toothbrush pulls. They send the record of that little event over wireless networks, bouncing through your neighbors’ smart meters all the way to the power company where they keep a record of your power consumption volumes and patterns every minute of every day and store that data on computers that you will never get to see.

That data shows when you are at home, shows when you are sleeping, shows when you are on vacation, when you have visitors, when you use a lamp, a power tool, some extra computers, and if you look like you’re running a business out of your home. It even senses when you bootleg energy off the grid.

Your smart meter shows a vivid profile of your personal living patterns and if you were home on the night of the murder.

This is not electrical metering. This is personal surveillance. This is a search without a warrant every day. This is your personal private life More…

Classic Maher: This is a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich which every day sees our laws and culture cater to rich people

In Around the web on July 10, 2011 at 9:18 am

When Clinton was President the rich paid a little more taxes and the government had money. Then Bush cut all those taxes and now we don’t. I know it’s hard to grasp because it involves subtracting…

Every election roughly half the population votes Democrat and half votes Republican. Now, I understand why the Republicans get one percent of the vote… the richest one percent. That other 49%?… someone will have to explain to me.

The facts about what the Republicans have done to the middle class are beyond reasonable doubt., yet their base refuses to see it.. The moneyed elite of America are dragging a bag filled with your future down the steps and your reaction is “hold on there, that looks heavy, let me give you a hand getting it into your trunk.”

Is it really that radical to suggest slightly trimming the tax break on corporate jets? It seems like a reasonable idea given that, A: people who buy corporate jets are filthy rich, and B:… I DON’T NEED A B!

This is a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich which every day sees our laws and culture cater to rich people… tax breaks, industry-written laws, bail-outs, deregulation… all of it goes to making the lives of the rich a little bit cushier. More…

REPUBLICANS ran up the debt and now THEY don’t want to pay the bill

In Around the web on July 9, 2011 at 5:57 am

From THOM HARTMANN

What our nation is faced with today is a mountain of debt run up mostly by 3 Republican Presidents – Ronald Reagan – and the two Bushes. And now today – that very same Republican Party is saying “no way” to Democrats who just want to pay off that pile of Republican debt. Think about it this way – the Republicans ran up a huge credit card bill, and now they’re refusing to pay for it. They took the good times - the stimulation to the economy from all that spending and the political benefits from all those wars – and now they don’t want to pay for it. If you or I did that with our credit card – and did it intentionally – we’d be in jail.

Here is why we are in debt. Before Reagan took office – our national debt was just under one trillion dollars and our top tax rate was 74%. But Reagan promised the nation good times – so he gave all his rich buddies tax cuts – and then put $2 trillion on the nation’s credit card. Reagan borrowed and spent – in just 8 years – more money than every president of the United States from George Washington to Jimmy Carter – COMBINED. And now the Republicans don’t want to pay the bill for Reagan’s debt. More…

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