Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya

Democratic Party Reverses 2008 Restrictions on Lobbying and Corporate Influence…

 

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From Shadowproof

 With former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set to have a fundraiser with a lobbyist for the NRA, the topic of money and politics has come back to center stage. Clinton has tried to use Senator Bernie Sander’s positions on gun control to paint herself as more progressive, despite in 2008 using then-Senator Barack Obama’s positions on gun control to show him to be too progressive.

But Clinton is not the only one revising 2008 positions. The Democratic National Committee announced it will be reversing restrictions introduced by presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 that banned donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees. Hope and change (back).

Of course, to say “announced” is not accurate. The lifting of the restrictions on lobbyists and corporate PACs was, according to The Washington Post, “quietly introduced at some point during the past couple of months.” The DNC has reportedly already named a finance director for PAC donations and lobbyists have already been solicited to make party contributions.

Is this the most transparent party in American history?

Fukushima — Japan Prime Minister: ‘If you love your country, let nuclear go.’

 

radiation“Radiation” by Ivan Khomenko aka IvanKhomenko / Hamen

From The Ecologist

‘One quarter of the country’s population would have had to flee if all the fuel had escaped at Fukushima. We came that close. If 50 million people had had to evacuate Japan, as a state our very survival would have been questioned.’

Nuclear power is a uniquely hazardous technology that can destroy entire nations, Japan’s prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has warned British MPs. The lessons from such catastrophes must be heeded in other countries that believe that nuclear fission can be harnessed safely, writes Linda Pentz Gunter – or they, and the world, will reap the whirlwind.

It’s widely agreed here in the rapidly Disuniting States of America that the most notorious of the Republican presidential candidates have not only abandoned, but torn up the rulebook of acceptable behavior. Lies, taunts, profanities all have become the norm.

But what if one of those candidates promised, if elected, to risk the death or permanent exile of a quarter of the country’s population? That would surely evoke the well-used slur of the Right: ‘unpatriotic!’

And insane, you say. Except that being certifiably unhinged doesn’t seem to be a disqualifying factor in US presidential campaigns these days. Still: purposely putting your electorate at risk when other choices are open to you certainly smacks of treachery.

The Cruelties of Capitalism…

 

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From This Can’t Be Happening

London – The many criticisms of capitalism leveled over a century ago by Karl Marx, the co-author of the Communist Manifesto, may prove to be more right than wrong.

Evidence both anecdotal and empirical of many of Marx’s observations abounds across London, the city where the German-born Marx, who held a doctorate in philosophy, lived for three decades before his death in 1883.

Income inequity – an element of the capitalism Marx criticized – is at historic high in Britain as in the US.

The richest ten percent in Britain live 100 times better off than the poorest, according to a report published last year in the Guardian newspaper.

In London, the richest capital city in Europe, 41 percent of children live in poverty, according to statistics listed in a Museum of London exhibit.

That Guardian report placed average household wealth for Britain’s top ten percent at the equivalent of $1.3-million-U.S. dollars compared to the equivalent of $13,531 for Britain’s poorest.

Marx stated that the accumulation of wealth “at one pole is, therefore, at the same time, accumulation of misery.”

A Privatization Horror Story…

Governor Rick Scott speaking at CPAC FL in Orlando, Florida.

From Thom Hartmann
TruthOut

Conservatives and libertarians have been saying for a long time that if we just get rid of government and replace it with the private sector, everything will run a whole lot better.

The idea is that since the main goal of all private corporations is to make money, they’ll be much more willing than the government is to cut costs and eliminate waste.

The result, conservatives and libertarians say, will be more efficient, responsible and responsive services.

That’s the theory, at least.

The GOP Death Panel…

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From THOM HARTMANN

The death panels are real and they’ve been found! Back in 2009 when the healthcare debate was at its most crazy, Republicans warned us that once Obamacare was passed, government officials would get to ration health care, and as a result, have control over the life and death of millions of Americans. They called the group of bureaucrats who supposedly got to make these decisions “death panels.”

The idea of death panels had actually been swirling around the right wing media echo chamber for a while, but it really crossed over into the mainstream when Sarah Palin talked about it in an August, 2009 Facebook note. Palin said that if the healthcare bill became law, people like her disabled son would “have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats [could] decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

Banks Are Obsolete: The Entire Parasitic Sector Should Be Eliminated…


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From Charles Hugh Smith

Replace parasitic middleman Banks, Wall Street and the Federal Reserve with democratic Credit Unions and our beloved Post Office, and save $1.25 trillion a year…

Technology has leapfrogged the banking sector, rendering it as obsolete as buggy whips. So why are we devoting 9% of our economy to an obsolete parasite?Financial sector profits now total a staggering 4.5% of GDP (gross domestic product), while the expenses generated by financial churning account for another 4.5% of the economy.

Software and existing non-Wall Street/too-big-to-fail institutions could replace the entire Wall Street/banking sector and drop costs to .5% of GDP, saving us 8+% of our GDP ($1.25 trillion) that is currently siphoned off by parasitic middlemen. The banking sector is Exhibit A in the Middleman-Skimming Economy (February 11, 2014).

The pull of habit and propaganda is so strong that most people haven’t even recognized that software and the Web can replace the entire financial/banking sector for a fraction of the cost of the current parasitic system,

5 billionaire authoritarians who are making life miserable for ordinary Americans…


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From Salon

Here is how it works these days: You start hearing about a big, national problem and then it becomes a drumbeat. First there are a few articles and columns mentioning that such-and-such is a problem. Then a number of articles appear, then a “study” from a “think tank” confirms the problem and sounds the alarm about how terrible it is, and then just as the issue seems to be the only thing you are hearing about a solution is presented. Of course, the solution always involves taking something away from you and giving it to some company or industry standing in front of a billionaire or three. The right question to start asking when you hear about these “problems” is which billionaire is driving this.

Here are five-plus examples of billionaires who use their money to try to get us to think what they want us to think in order to enact a right-wing economic agenda.

1) Pete Peterson’s deficit/debt scare campaign and his ongoing effort to gut Social Security and other entitlements.Leading every list of billionaires pushing an issue is billionaire Pete Peterson and his forever war on government doing things to make our lives better, especially Social Security. Peterson leads the list because of reports of his pledge to spend $1 billion on his pet issue.

Have you ever heard anywhere that the budget deficit and national debt are a problem?

Monopoly Capitalism’s Poster Children…


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From Michael Hudson
Thanks to Todd Walton

G: Professor, we’re based here in Ireland which is a country, as we both know, currently in economic ruin at the moment. Unemployment is at 14%, graduate unemployment is probably double that. Where did it all go wrong for Ireland?

Prof. H: Your unemployment is intentional policy by the Irish leadership, of both parties. None of this unemployment is necessary. It doesn’t have to be this way. The government was suckered in to paying the debts for its corrupt bankers.
The problem is that even when you Irish did – as you should have done – and voted out the party in power, the incoming party has the same policy as the former one. It’s much like the United States, where we voted out Republican George Bush, and then got an even more Republican Democrat – Barack Obama. They all promise change, and then follow the financial sector’s directions.

So the underlying problem is that there is no body of theory or policy in Ireland to show that there is an alternative to this unemployment. There’s a belief, a Thatcherite belief that There Is No Alternative, and of course there is an alternative! You shouldn’t have paid uninsured bank depositors and bondholders, and you should not have to pay the European Central Bank, the I.M.F. or the other parties that misinformed you by telling your leaders

The Great American Class War: Plutocracy vs. Democracy…


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From BILL MOYERS
Truthout

I met Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1987 when I was creating a series for public television called In Search of the Constitution, celebrating the bicentennial of our founding document.  By then, he had served on the court longer than any of his colleagues and had written close to 500 majority opinions, many of them addressing fundamental questions of equality, voting rights, school segregation, and — in New York Times v. Sullivan in particular — the defense of a free press.

Those decisions brought a storm of protest from across the country.  He claimed that he never took personally the resentment and anger directed at him.  He did, however, subsequently reveal that his own mother told him she had always liked his opinions when he was on the New Jersey court, but wondered now that he was on the Supreme Court, “Why can’t you do it the same way?” His answer: “We have to discharge our responsibility to enforce the rights in favor of minorities, whatever the majority reaction may be.”

Although a liberal, he worried about the looming size of government. When he mentioned that modern science might be creating “a Frankenstein,” I asked, “How so?”  He looked around his chambers and replied, “The very conversation we’re now having can be overheard. Science has done things that, as I understand it, makes it possible through these drapes and those windows to get something in here that takes down what we’re talking about.”

That was long before the era of cyberspace and the maximum surveillance state that grows topsy-turvy with every administration.  How I wish he were here now — and still on the Court!