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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get the big money out of our politics

While I believe corporations should have a way to stand up for their interests, what the policy decisions of the last 30 years have resulted in is a situation where corporate money is seemingly behind every decision that is made, to the benefit of large corporations and the ultra-rich and against the middle class.
Are you tired of being robbed? Then get involved.
I strongly encourage you to read the article at this link at Huffington Post and to watch the video below. Let's see if that doesn't fire you up.

I would also strongly urge you to go to their website and get involved. You can sign the petition here as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Link Day

I'm just sharing some links, with comments, to articles and videos that I've found to be well written and informative in the last few days.  I hope you get something out of these as well.

First is this link from a Washington Post  article by Eugene Robinson regarding the results of a recent study by a scientist that the skeptics (more like deniers looking for any excuse to disagree) had been relying on.  Here's a salient quote from that article:
"When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find," Muller wrote. "Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that."
I also agree with the author regarding how much this article will change the minds, or more appropriately the position, of the political far right.
"But Muller's plain-spoken admonition that "you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer" has reduced many deniers to incoherent grumbling or stunned silence.Not so, I predict, with the blowhards such as Perry, Cain and Bachmann, who, out of ignorance or perceived self-interest, are willing to play politics with the Earth's future. They may concede that warming is taking place, but they call it a natural phenomenon and deny that human activity is the cause."

This Politico opinion piece by Joe Scarborough, who is a Republican and a former U.S. Representative (though I'm sure the far right calls him a RINO, especially since he has a show on MSNBC), that fairly points out one of the constant issues in our political dialogue -- lying to make your point.  While I don't entirely agree with Joe's use of examples, I most certainly agree with his point.  To say that since Democrats supported Clinton's agenda of regime change in Iraq, they can't disagree with Bush actually doing it, is disingenuous but it's still a good article.  Here's the opening line of that piece to give you an idea what issue he's specifically talking about:
"Republicans spent the past decade being shocked and stunned by Democrats who dared to question their president’s motives for going to war in Iraq."
For those who still don't understand the rage of the middle class, maybe this Politico piece will help. And even this piece soft pedals the issue to some extent, but it is a fine article about the influence of money in our political system.

This excellent article from The Daily Beast reminds us that the NeoCons are still out there and that their motives and money influence and scare factor are still there.
"They’re back! The neoconservatives who gave America clueless, unpaid-for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus a near doubling of military expenditures, during the Bush years have risen from their political graves. Someone, maybe a media tiring of President Obama’s interminable plight, pulled the stake from their heart. Now they’ve returned to the op-ed pages, the talk shows, the think-tank discussions, and the advisory ranks of Republican presidential candidates."

Finally, I'm remiss in not consistently watching the best show on television, "Charlie Rose."  What follows is classic Charlie Rose, a half-hour, in-depth discussion on an important topic, in this instance the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Unfortunately, they don't have embed links there.  So you'll have to follow this link to watch the video.  The whole 24 minutes is very much worth watching and listening to but in particular listen to Chris Hedges starting at the 20:20 mark and see if you agree with me that it's as well said as I've heard regarding the absence of the liberal media and how he describes the Tea Party being different from Occupy Wall Street.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Semper Fi, Shamar Thomas

As a Marine, I couldn't be prouder.  Another honorable face of the Occupy Movement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More thoughts on the Occupy Movement

Above is an excellent interview with Ellen Schultz regarding another way large corporations are ripping off the middle class.

The Clueless Generation article in The Daily Beast.  I disagree with his premise in part.  He states that the Baby Boomers had it so good that they don't understand the current plight of the middle class.  As someone who's at the end of the Baby Boomer Generation, I and many like me can attest to feeling affected all along the 30 year ride of policy changes that got us here -- rise in education costs, deregulation, runaway debt and a flattening of wages to name just a few.  This didn't happen overnight.

Opinion piece by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich addressing the seven biggest economic lies
I don't know how many times we've stated these exact statistics and truths but they haven't sunk in enough yet.  So we'll keep on pointing them out.

From this excellent Vanity Fair article on Elizabeth Warren:"In those speeches, sometimes using slides filled with numbers and graphs, she would, as she did at a speech in Manhattan in early June, outline the impact on middle-class Americans of rising health-care costs, burgeoning debt, and the depletion of not only their savings but also, with the rise in joblessness, their confidence. She spoke of “the Wild West” conditions deregulation had created, where banks could sell virtually any product they wanted, on any terms: mortgages they knew consumers could not pay off, credit cards whose rates they could raise at whim, products that came with a mind-boggling array of penalty fees, many of them not fully disclosed. But it was her final remarks that brought down the standing-room-only house in June. “We cannot run our country without a strong middle class. We cannot run a democracy without a strong middle class,” she said, her voice quavering slightly. “If we hollow out the middle class,” she said, “then the country we know is gone.”

Did you know that Warren was originally a Republican?  (You must read this Vanity Fair article)  But to quote the article again:
It was in 1979 that Warren had her Damascene conversion—the experience that would lead her to become the nation’s top authority on the economic pressures facing the American middle class, and trigger her passionate advocacy. In 1978, Congress had passed a law that made it easier for companies and individuals to declare bankruptcy. Warren decided to investigate the reasons why Americans were ending up in bankruptcy court. “I set out to prove they were all a bunch of cheaters,” she said in a 2007 interview. “I was going to expose these people who were taking advantage of the rest of us.” What she found, after conducting with two colleagues one of the most rigorous bankruptcy studies ever, shook her deeply. The vast majority of those in bankruptcy courts, she discovered, were from hardworking middle-class families, people who lost jobs or had “family breakups” or illnesses that wiped out their savings. “It changed my vision,” she said.

The only way we're going to change things for the better is to continue the momentum of the Occupy Movement by being angry and unafraid to stand up for the truth, and then to vote.  The moderates and the liberals outnumber the right in this country; and if we all show up at the polls, it doesn't matter how much they lie and how much they spend or who's on the dole.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apparently we're just a country full of lazy whiners

If this were being used to applaud someone who's overcoming a rigged system, that would be one thing; but it's being used to tell people who are speaking up against a rigged and unfair system that they're just a bunch of lazy whiners. The fact that any child in this country (the country that was established for and by the people) has to go to these extremes just to break even is not something IMHO to be applauded. It serves to continue to enable those who take our money in tax breaks, bailouts, etc, and reward us with crappy, low-paying jobs
If we, the 99%, had that attitude about things, then the Wall Street banks would not have gotten their bailouts and the system would've crashed. Then anybody who was hurt from that crash through no fault of their own , it would've been their fault because they're just lazy losers? There are good elements in that piece but overall it's basically calling everybody who complains about unfairness is a lazy whiner. Bullshit.
What about the people who worked hard, saved their money, invested wisely, didn't go into debt but yet lost their retirements in the crash?  That was their fault too?  
So the young mother of two who decides to leave her abusive husband, she should stop her whining and stay?  If she leaves and can't find a job that will pay enough for her to put a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, that's her fault because she's just lazy and looking for a freebie?  It has nothing to do with the fact that the median income in this country has hardly risen in 30 years while the cost of everything necessary to survive has gone up at a much higher rate?  It has nothing to do with the fact that the biggest corporations in this country are paying less taxes than ever before, are making much larger profits than ever before and yet not creating new jobs with the tax breaks we're giving them?  It has nothing to do with the fact that Wall Street owns the Government of the United States, the government that's supposed to be "by and for the people."
Did you know that now corporations can spend money on elections just as if they were people?  But if you're a corporation, you can hide behind your corporate status and not be held libel for the decisions made by the people who make up that corporation.
As William Buster says in this interview with Charlie Rose, (sorry, there's no embed but I highly recommend you watch) "Occupy Wall Street has been depicted as anti-business.  We're not.  We're not anti-business, we're not anti-banks, we're not anti-government...we're anti-corruption and we're anti-systemic corruption."
I always get a kick out of the right always using personal attacks on the messenger without even trying to understand the message...whatever garbage Fox News puts in front of them, they swallow.  They use things like the note above to try and divide us.  If you want to know what class warfare is, that's as good an example as I can imagine.
This quote from the Vanity Fair article on Elizabeth Warren (that I'll do a post on shortly)  may sum it all up as well as any, “There’s been such a sense that there’s one set of rules for trillion-dollar financial institutions and a different set for all the rest of us. It’s so pervasive that it’s not even hidden.”