In June, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced that his organization’s unions’ funds would invest $10 billion over the next five years in infrastructure projects. Since then, the federation’s construction-worker division has put $200 million of pension money into to retrofitting buildings, while the retirement funds of California teachers and other public employees have committed between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion to infrastructure projects in the state. (Bound by their fiduciary responsibility to the retirees, the funds’ trustees must be confident that the projects will generate revenues, through tolls, fees, and the economic growth that such projects engender.)Gotta point out that "fiduciary responsibility" has been defined by judges and legislatures in a very bad way - so that the managers of retirement money can take wild speculations and have lost a lot of money - and been protected from consequence. In other news, Mike Moore is clowning away. People died for our rights to vote. Women's voting rights demonstrators were beaten to unconsciousness in jails. Medgar Evers was shot in the back for registering voters in Mississippi. When the FBI dredged swamps in Mississippi looking for the bodies of three murdered civil rights workers , they found eight additional bodies - including a 14 year old still in his CORE T-shirt. Go to hell, Mike. And take your book sales tour with you.
Criminal InJustice† is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.Bread and Water by Nancy A. Heitzeg
"All sorrows are less with bread." ~ Miguel de Cervantes, Don QuixoteThere is no freedom and little comfort for the incarcerated. In a world of such constrained choice, even the most basic pleasures are magnified. Food, even the often horrific fare served in prisons and jails, takes on special significance.
"Better food is not one of the reasons I want to be on work duty, it's the only reason," said Michael, who works in the laundry room. He did not want to give his full last name because he was about to be released and would be looking for work.... The inmates at the County Jail get to fill out an order form for the "commissary" once a week. If they have money in an account, which can be deposited by friends and family, they can order anything from chips to instant soup and chocolate. Michael, who misses chocolate and fast food more than anything, rarely has money for the commissary but sometimes he fills out the order form anyway, just so he can daydream about the sweet and salty flavors that could be exciting his taste buds.Food becomes a rare source of imprisoned pleasure, both on a daily basis and in those Last Suppers, offered to those about to die. Occasionally, it takes on great political import, as recently revealed by the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers, whose refusal to eat at all marks just how dire their situation has become. Of course for prison officials, food becomes a tool for punishment, and in an era of increased concern over correctional costs for 2.4 million inmates, food is considered more luxury and less necessity. The criminal legal system politics surrounding food, nutrition, and prisoners are profound, and can be viewed from multiple angles, including privatization and profiteering, nutrition as a central component of physical and mental health, and the administration (and denial) of food as punishment.
Rick Perry, whose star in the Republican party has been falling of late, has released his... umm... tax plan. It's a flat income tax of 20% (individual and corporate), with a personal exemption of $12,500. That's the stupid part of the plan. Here's the nefarious part of Rick Perry's plan (and really, all the other Republicans' plans too): he would eliminate the Paris Hilton tax (aka the estate tax) and the capital gains tax. A year or so ago, I pointed out how the capital gains rate is essentially the rate of taxation for the uber rich, and how while we were bickering about the upper income tax bracket, the ultra wealthy were laughing all the way to the bank with their super low capital gains rates. Let me refresh your memory.
Here is the percentage of their income the 400 richest tax filers pay in this country.
Bank of America moved some derivatives from its Merrill-Lynch subsidiary to its depository bank and the so-called "progressive" blogs became very upset. One problem with their reporting is that apparently none of the "Progressive" financial experts understands what"notional" means so they really over-state how much money is at risk. But more importantly, they don't seem to understand what the Dodd-Frank law does. Contrary to what Yves Smith or Susie Madrak or any of the many others who wrote the same story say, the taxpayers and the FDIC are definitely not accepting additional risk - at least under the circumstances described in the Bloomberg article. The Democratic Party and the Obama administration, over bitter opposition from the Republicans and Wall Street changed the law to make stock and bond investors and corporate management liable when systematically important financial companies fail. Dodd-Frank is far from perfect, but there is a reason the Republican representatives of Wall Street hate it so much.
I have been waiting for someone to clearly come out and state the obvious especially in light of the President's winning streak this week.
I noticed that the MSM were complimentary about his Foreign Policy successes this week especially after Friday's announcement about Iraq but just scrolling through the LA Times I finally found someone who wrote something fair and positive about the President and all that he has achieved.
Why is Barack Obama’s presidency a tale of two situations? On the foreign-policy front, the administration has had a string of successes: Osama bin Laden killed; major Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen killed; and this week, of course, Moammar Kadafi killed. And on Friday, the president announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by year’s end. An unpopular war will be officially over for us soon. Terrorists and terrorist groups that threaten us are dead or on the run. Libya’s longtime strongman has been overthrown, thanks in part to Obama’s policy that had the U.S. and NATO working together. But here’s a question: If Obama has been so successful in foreign policy, why has he been so unsuccessful on domestic issues? Sure, unemployment fell in California last month, but it's nothing to write home about. Joblessness, foreclosures, poverty -– you know the numbers, and they're not pretty. Even his signature domestic achievement, healthcare reform, remains under attack by Republicans. They vow to undo it as soon as they control the White House again. So what’s the deal? It isn't that he's escaped criticism on foreign policy. Republicans -- heck, even some Democrats -- have been critical of Obama's moves. But what he's done has, in the main, worked. No, domestically the problem is that Obama's opponents have turned criticism into obstructionism. Unlike his foreign policies, Obama's efforts to fix the economy have been thwarted at every turn by Republicans...
You stood up for your principles and told us Bush=Gore back in 1999 and 2000 - but you assured the foolish people that Gore would win anyways. Remember? Because you have principles.
Dear Gore Voters or Those Frightened Enough to Vote for Gore: Thank you for your 20,000 e-mails. Please consider this letter my olive branch to you. [..] Nader has endured some brutal attacks. He is being blamed for the possibility that Bush may win. When packs of humans become desperate and consumed with fear, irrational things are said. Threats are made. I respect and understand those of you who are voting for Gore because you fear Bush may win. That, after all, is our common ground George Bush must not sit in the Oval Office. Yet, to say that "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" implies that if we weren't voting for Nader we would be voting for Gore. That simply is not true. If Ralph were not on the ballot, I think most of us would vote for another third party candidate, write someone else in, or just stay home. That's how disgusted the millions of us are.Well, as George W. Bush said, you really covered your ass on that one. Because, you know, you have principles - unlike us Obots and unprincipled pragmatists. We are so unprincipled that we don't think your "disgust" is more important than tens of thousands of Iraqi orphans and cripples. Maybe 100,000 civilian deaths, not to mention all the American men and women killed, maimed, and traumatized. But, hell "that's how disgusted the millions of us are". We think of those bodies floating down the street in New Orleans and we are too unprincipled to think: a small price to pay for Michael Moore's integrity. Voting for a protest candidate was worth it, and Mike, your understanding of political dynamics is so good you were able to confidently predict a Gore win anyways. You rock Mike - and thanks for still being here in 2011 to explain why President Obama doesn't measure up to your standards.
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announce new initiative to hire returning veterans & military spouses
Here's some big news I bet you didn't hear much about this week. On Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, announced a commitment by the American Logistics Association (ALA) and their 270 affiliate companies to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.
Full press release after the jump.
† The Criminal InJustice Series is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI.Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.California Prison Hunger Strike Ends, Conditions of "Immense Torture" Continue by: Victoria Law Imagine a concrete room no more than eight by ten feet. It has no windows, only a perforated steel door facing a solid concrete wall. Fluorescent lights stay on 24 hours a day. Now imagine being locked in that room. This is the reality for 1,111 people locked in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of California's Pelican Bay State Prison. The SHU comprises half of the prison. It is explicitly designed to keep prisoners in long-term solitary confinement under conditions of extreme sensory deprivation. Men are locked into their cells for at least 22 hours a day. Food is delivered twice a day through a slot in the cell door. They are allowed five hours a week of exercise in a cement yard the length of three cells with a roof only partially open to the sky. Prison administrators place men in the SHU either for a fixed term for violating a prison rule or for an indeterminate term because they have been accused of being prison gang members, often by confidential informants and highly dubious evidence. Prisoners who have been "validated" as gang members are released from the SHU into the general prison population only if they "debrief" or provide information incriminating other prisoners. Debriefing can be dangerous to both the prisoner who debriefs and his family on the outside. In addition, prisoners are often falsely identified as gang members by others who debrief in order to escape the SHU. One does not necessarily need to be a gang member to be sent to the SHU: jailhouse lawyers and others who challenge inhumane prison conditions are disproportionately sent to the SHU.
That's what the pretend-Leftists said when the president of the United States, in accordance with our treaty obligations and a United Nations resolution, decided to join a NATO air action to stop Libyan dictator Mommar Gaddafi from using his air power to violently suppress his country's democratic uprising. And today, the news came that Gaddafi has been killed in a firefight with the Libyan rebels. The President made these remarks on that occasion:
[This] is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility -- to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Qaddafi’s dictatorship. We look forward to the announcement of the country’s liberation, the quick formation of an interim government, and a stable transition to Libya’s first free and fair elections.
So the President is talking to the American people:
And so, right on queue, John McCain is shouting at the rain again:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday ripped again into President Barack Obama’s three-day bus tour that’s winding through two swing states, accusing his former foe of an unprecedented level of campaigning on taxpayers’ dollars.
982,967 donors. That's the number at which President Obama's campaign stood at the end of the third quarter of 2011. That is almost double the 552,000 number that the campaign had at the end of the last quarter. But what's really fascinating about it are the following facts for the quarter:
- 606,027 individual donors, 257,000 of them new donors.
- More than 766,000 donations, 98% of it in chunks of $250 or less.
- OFA and DNC raised $70 million, dwarfing their goal of $55 million.
OPM is a common Wall Street acronym meaning "Other People's Money". The theory of the free enterprise system is that people should get rewarded for taking risks that increase the common wealth. But the goal of the Republicans is a system where people get rewarded for being rich or for being connected. The former CEO of Lehman Brothers, Dick Fuld was paid ONE HALF BILLION dollars for taking risks with other people's money. He had no stake in the game. What Fuld did is something like if you were entrusted with a lot of other people's savings and spent a couple of years betting it at the casino - and taking a share out of any winnings. When the bets go sour, you walk away with what you took out. This is a radically new phenomenon - a paid professional manager, a bureaucrat adept at playing office politics, who rises to the top of a huge bureaucracy and then scoops up an enormous fortune with not only no stake in the business, but no liability for reckless or negligent work. An entrepreneur risks her time, her labor, her own money. A plumber who does a bad job can be sued for damages. But Fuld had no stakes in the game and the laws imposed no penalty. When the GOP candidates say they want to reduce regulation on Wall Street, what they mean is that they want to get rid of the new Dodd-Frank bill and its clawback provisions. The law says that if you run a financial company into the ground so badly that the government has to step in, the government can force you to return what you paid yourself. Many "liberals" attack Dodd-Frank as toothless - but there are reasons that GOP crony-capitalists hate it. And one of those is that it restores some of the risk to the risk/reward tradeoff for Wall Street OPM wizards.
President Obama put troops into northern African to rid the planet and the area around Uganda & Sudan of one of the most evil groups of terrorists you're likely to ever learn about. From a Christianity Today article from 2006:
Sixty years after Allied soldiers liberated the Nazi death camps, the world stands silent in the face of another holocaust—one so horrifying that U.N. officials call it "one of the worst human-rights crises of the past century."
The perpetrators commit atrocities with such malevolence that even the most irreligious people familiar with their acts describe them as "unrestrained evil." The targets of the butchery are children. They rape, mutilate, and kill them with a rapaciousness that staggers the imagination. Worse, they compel children to kill one another and their own families, fighting as "soldiers" in an armed force deliberately composed of children.
Perhaps the greatest atrocity is teaching these children that they spread this carnage by the power of the Holy Spirit to purify the "unrepentant," twisting Christianity into a religion of horror to their victims. It is spiritual warfare at its very worst, and it could not be more satanic.
Religion of Evil
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is one of the larger terrorist organizations in the world. It has killed more people than many other violent groups, yet few Westerners have ever heard of it, since nearly all its violence is perpetrated in the border region between Uganda and Sudan in East Africa.
On a continent plagued with endless guerilla warfare, where war crimes are standard fighting fare, the LRA stands apart as an especially odious group. LRA crimes against humanity are so repulsive that its only former ally, the Islamic government of Sudan, jettisoned its relationship with the LRA to improve Sudan's international relations.
Introducing Ken Aden: The Next Democratic Congressman from Arkansas by Robert W. Phillips Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce to you Ken Aden, the next Democratic Congressman from Arkansas CD-3. Before you jump to any conclusions about Ken's chances to win in what has been described as "the reddest district in the United States", please take just a few minutes to learn a little bit about Ken, who he is, and what he's about. If you'll invest these few minutes of your time I'm sure you'll come away as interested, as excited, as hopeful as I am about having one of our own, Ken Aden, representing a district that hasn't elected a Democrat in nearly a half century. Governor Dean's 50 state strategy marching right into the heart of Republican land. A $7.75 per hour security guard who's ready to storm the halls of Congress.
This was last weeks weekly address The GOP has filibustered this bill in the Senate and refused to even allow a discussion in the House. Special tax breaks for executive jets are more important than fixing roads and schools for the GOP.
This is really a great speech.
Labels: open thread
Before we get too carried away with being convinced that Romney has the Republican nomination in the bag, let’s refresh our collective memory with where the Republican process was this time four years ago: 10/13/2007 Real Clear Politics Average: Giuliani: 30.2, Thompson: 19.5, McCain: 13.0, Romney: 11.2, Huckabee: 6.2Paul: 2.2.
Compare this to now: 2012 RCP Average 10/13/11: Romney: 22.7, Cain: 20.3, Perry: 13.7, Gingrich: 8.3, Paul: 8.2, Bachman: 4.8, Santorum: 2.0, Huntsman: 1.6.
Perry is in almost the exact same place McCain was 4 years ago at 13%. Thompson found the rigors of campaigning too taxing and dropped out. Giuliani didn’t win a single primary. McCain was never a good speaker; he bumbled around and looked awkward at times, and was never a great debater. Yet, he went on to win the nomination even though on October 13, 2007 John McCain was saying that climate change was real and that real action needed to be taken.
Criminal InJustice† is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.15 Years of Giving Voice to Women and Transgender Prisoners in California
--An interview with Diana Block, Pam Fadem, and Deirdre Wilson of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners
By Angola 3 News
On Sept. 26, the statewide prisoner hunger strike resumed after a postponement of almost two months to give the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) time to implement policy changes. The CDCR has reported that as of Sept. 28, almost 12,000 prisoners were striking and public support is needed in order for the strike to be most effective. An update posted October 7 at the “Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity” website stated that “medical conditions are also worsening for strikers throughout the state. We’ve received reports that after 12 days of no food, prisoners are once again losing severe weight and fainting. One hunger striker at Pelican Bay was denied his medication and consequently suffered from a heart attack and is now is an outside hospital in Oregon.”
The current hunger strike demonstrates once again that injustice fuels resistance, and California has a rich history of prisoners, former prisoners, and their supporters taking a stand. Among these freedom fighters is the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), self-publishers of a newsletter entitled The Fire Inside (archived here). CCWP will be celebrating its 15th year anniversary on October 14, with an event in San Francisco featuring longtime anti-prison activist and former political prisoner Angela Davis along with other speakers and performers.
Our previous coverage of the statewide hunger strike focused on the issue of solitary confinement, as well as statewide grassroots organizing against California’s prison system. In this interview with three members of CCWP, we examine the treatment of women and transgender prisoners in California and discuss how CCWP is fighting back.
Mitt Romney writes off Michigan & most of the Rust Belt at last night's debate - Obama campaign pounces
It's not like Mitt Romney was counting on Michigan for any sort of support already. As I said before, if Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination, he should probably just skip Michigan, after his New York Times editorial called "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" back in 2008:
It will be interesting to see if Romney dares to show his face in Michigan again after advocating for letting the Detroit auto companies die. If he does, I knew a few auto workers who will have a thing or two to say to him when he gets here.He doubled down at the most recent Republican debate in New Hampshire last night:
My -- my experience tells me that we were on the -- on the precipice and we could have had a complete meltdown of our entire financial system, wiping out all the savings of the American people. So action had to be taken.
Was it perfect? No. Was it well-implemented? No, not particularly. Were there some institutions that should not have been bailed out? Absolutely.
Should they have used the funds to bail out General Motors and Chrysler? No, that was the wrong source for that funding.
The Republican party wants to kill jobs. They showed that again in yesterday's Senate vote when Republican senators voted unanimously to prevent the American Jobs Act from being even debated. Every last Republican who voted, voted to kill the measure. Of course, they were helped along by Democrats Tester (MT) and Nelson (NE).
But the president is not done. He is just getting started. This is the president, speaking in Pittsburgh, right before the Senate vote, that everyone knew the Republicans would be blocking.
Did you watch it? This is not a president weary of the outcome. This is a president confident in his plan, fed up with Congressional roadblocks, and reaching out to the American people. If he has to whip Congress into shape to create jobs for the American people, he will. If they won't, he will make the next election a referendum on the Republican attack on our economy.
Welly, well, well, well. Who whoulda thunk it?
Favorability rating: UP 11 points
Job approval rating: UP 6 points
Poor David Nir at Daily Kos just can't explain it. "I can tell you what changed in our cross-tabs," he says, "but I can't tell you why things changed." It's a complete mystery why the president could possibly be surging to him? I'ma go out on a limb and say four simple words:
The. American. Jobs. Act.
Pass it. Now.
I have been watching, but not necessarily closely following, the Occupy Wall Street protests. At least they've for the most part gotten their focus right, regardless of the rough edges, right? That's what I was thinking. Yes, Wall Street is the gigantic problem that caused the financial catastrophe. Not just now but over the past 30 years. Good, I thought. And then I saw this: the "occupy Atlanta" group preventing peaceful popular movement for change personified, John Lewis, from speaking.
It was a conservative camera crew that picked this up, and while I hate to give their work promotion, this is not an edited clip. It is the unadulterated sequence of events. So watch:
I guess misconceptions about a "leaderless movement" often correct themselves. It turns out that this "movement" is trying to follow the Tea Party model of anger direction - that of the anti-government kind. So much so that Occupy Atlanta, one of the offshoots of this movement deprived themselves of the opportunity to hear from someone who doesn't just know how popular movements are built, but is a giant of the civil rights movement. That's right. These nutcrackers would not let John Lewis speak. I guess he was out of turn.
Thursday's press conference by President Obama was nothing short of a thing of beauty. He smacked down right wing talking points, brilliantly made the case for the American Jobs Act, and vowed to keep up the pressure that is making Speaker Orange squeal. But he also explained something in that press conference that has gone rather unnoticed in the media universe. He broke down and disposed of a Professional Left whining point with surgical precision. I am sure you have already seen it, but if not, here it is again:
I want to draw everyone's attention to this one specific part that relates to the anger from the Left about the lack of criminal prosecutions against banks. You know, the "why won't he perpwalk the bastards in handcuffs" question. It turns out that we at the TPV had gotten it right all along. The reason you haven't seen a flood of criminal prosecutions on Wall Street is because what the banks did to cause a financial upheaval in this country was enabled and made legal - mostly by Republicans, but also by Democrats with financial deregulation. Here's the president:
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn't necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless. That's exactly why we needed to pass Dodd-Frank, to prohibit some of these practices.
... I think part of people's frustrations, part of my frustration, was a lot of practices that should not have been allowed weren't necessarily against the law, but they had a huge destructive impact. And that's why it was important for us to put in place financial rules that protect the American people from reckless decision-making and irresponsible behavior.
Sorry I have been a little absent over the last few days. I took a little bit of a break due to several things coming up in other parts of my life. Nothing bad though - just things that took a lot of my time. But I'm getting back to this now, and we should be hopping right along.
Thanks for hanging in there.
Martin Bashir of MSNBC completely nails it with his contrast between the extraordinary genius Steve Jobs and the extraordinary grifter, Sarah Palin (the transcript is below.)
It's time now to clear the air and today, we've marked two important stories: the tragic and sad passing of a true creative genius at the age of just 56 and, hopefully, the end of a charade that's been going on for three years. One individual represents the very best of American exceptionalism: brilliant, determined, creative. The other represents the very worst form of American opportunism: vacuous, crass, and according to almost every biographer, vindictive too.
He played himself to the very end, casually dressed, focused on producing product after product, that would transform culture, information, and our social interaction. Over the last three years, she created nothing, produced nothing, and served no one but herself.
And, while the vast majority of consumers have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the products he produced, imagine how her most ardent followers must feel today. They were misled into buying ghost-written and vain glorious books that attempted to create the illusion of leadership and character. They bought tickets to see a documentary that ignored fact and was a celluloid whitewash of her life. Even on the day that she confirmed that all of us knew, that she wouldn't be running for president, she still dropped a video asking for more donations. Amazing.
But, although the death of Steve Jobs coincided with Sarah Palin's announcement, it has been a helpful accident of fate, because it allows us to realize and commemorate the greatness of one individual's contribution and the utter futility of another's.
Three radical reform proposals for the US economy, two already in front of Congress, and one that should be simple.
- Crowdfunding: to take away the bank/stock-market monopoly on funding corporations. the idea is to let companies raise money directly - perhaps on the Internet - without paying banker commissions for becoming listed on a stock market. This directs money from Wall Street to productive business and breaks the power of Wall Street to determine who gets investments.
- The American Jobs act - to create jobs, to fix infrastructure, to help small business, to provide tax breaks to working people, to create an infrastructure bank, and to pay for it by eliminating a collection of grossly unfair tax breaks for Hedge Fund managers, executive jets, and oil companies. In front of Congress where the desperate efforts of the GOP to prevent a vote and the waffling of some conservative Democrats is a moral failure of the highest level. Please call.
- Treasury 401K - a no-fee 4% inflation protected 401K for workers based on Treasury Bonds. This proposal is a simple idea: to let ordinary workers purchase long term Treasury bonds at fixed rate (plus an inflation protection like investors get on TIPS bonds) instead of sending their retirement money to Wall Street where it is used to generate fees and to be the "dumb money" that makes "smart money" get richer. That is, there should be an option to allow workers who want to avoid the stock market to put some or all of their money into special 401K Treasury Bond Accounts. The government would reduce its cost of borrowing and dependence on volatile bond markets, the working public would have a safe place to invest retirement money, and less money would be forced onto Wall Street. Let Wall Street have to compete for 401K money.
When left wing critics use the term "neoliberal" they are, at best, amplifying the confusion caused by the use of "liberal" in Europe to mean what we call "conservative" in the United States -and more usually pushing a confused political analysis. European "liberal" parties claim to favor "liberalized market rules" (deregulation), free enterprise, small government, and other policies American think of as "conservative" while what we call liberal (see JFK's famous speech) is much closer to what is called "social democrat" in Europe. When economists from the International Monetary fund tried to impose market liberalization on developing nations in the 1980s, left wing critics called them "neoliberals" and that name was then applied more broadly to Reagan's Republicans and Thatcher's Conservatives and similarly aligned right wing "pro-market" political groups. But these groups are not really for free markets and small government at all. In the 1940s, segregationist Dixiecrats claimed to be against "big government" when they tried to stop the Federal government from protecting the civil rights of African Americans. The same line has been adopted by all sorts of other criminals who don't want the government to interfere with their criminal acts.For example, the Koch brothers don't want "big government" to prevent them from pouring benzene into rivers when it would cost them actual money to run their factories properly. On the other hand, they do want government to impose confusing and costly regulations that prevent wind turbines from competing with their coal plants. They hate big government regulating finance to prevent fraud, but they love $1 trillion a year in tax subsidies of the rich. Just like their tea party front men who want the government to "keep its hands off medicare", these "neoliberals" are for big intrusive, oppressive government that protects their privileges and steps on anyone who disagrees. Even the "neo" part is wrong, because you can find exactly the same hypocritical support for "free enterprise" from English right wingers of the mid 1800s. Those advocates of limited government cheered when the British Navy bombarded Chinese cities to stop the Chinese government from imposing burdensome regulations on English narcotraffickers (yes, that really happened , the Zetas must be envious).
Criminal InJustice† is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.Picture an Ex-Felon as a Law Abiding Citizen by Tracey D. Syphax Unless you’ve been under a rock the past 10 years then you should be well aware that the prison industry is the second largest employer in state government. It consists of over 10,000 employees and continues to grow as approximately 60% of inmates are arrested within 3 years after their release. Government officials and politicians have tossed the idea of recidivism around but no one seems to fully grasp the concept of helping these ex-felons become law abiding citizens or, as I prefer to call it, taking them From the Block to the Boardroom.
The Koch brothers were born rich. Their money allowed them to get richer by rigging the game. They pour poison into someone else's river - saving money on pollution control equipment - and profiting from it at the expense of people who used to swim or fish or sell services to tourists. They install governors who decide laws are for other people. When they break laws, the penalties are not anywhere near the profits they made breaking the laws. A 97 count indictment is something to be shrugged off if you own enough legal firepower. They can plead guilty to poisoning the environment and the people in that environment with benzene and to conspiring to cover up the crime and get away with a chump change fine thanks to connections, wealth and donations to the Republican party. They can even, apparently, make money selling to enemy nations. Each one of these makes them richer and more able to rig the game. And then they go into Rupert Murdoch's newspaper and complain about "crony capitalism" and "bloated government". It's as if Bin Ladin had complained about religious fanaticism. These are the people that Republicans claim are "the job creators". Indeed they create jobs for sleazeball corporate lawyers, tax accountants, lobbyists and propagandists- although at our expense - because the tax system allows people like them to pay taxes at ridiculously low rates thanks to a complex and hidden system of special tax breaks. So the American Jobs Act is now sitting in front of Congress, a start on putting people back to work and fixing our broken bridges, tunnels, and roads. And the Republican Congress won't even bring it up for a vote because it will make the Kochs and other winners of the rigged game, pay for their own executive jets without a special handout from Uncle Sam.
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.That's right folks, God told Sarah not to run. God must be on Barack Obama's side!
Or at least, the EU doesn't.
Oil from controversial and environmentally destructive tar sands is likely to be all but banned from Europe after a decision on Tuesday. The move also casts doubt on the future of other controversial energy sources such as shale gas.
So why is Glenn Greenwald oh-so-concerned about the President of the United States ordering the killing of the head of a group that has openly declared war against the United States? Well, you see, Al-Awlaki (as well as Khan) is an American citizen. And in Glenn's world (who is now an ideological identical twin of Ron Paul's), to kill a terrorist who happens to be an American citizen engaged in direct, open, declared war with the United States is violating their due process rights.
This, of course, presents some interesting and absurd ideas. Let's follow Glenn's thought. If the killing of Al-Awlaki is unconstitutional because of Constitutional protections of due process, isn't Glenn saying that only American citizens are granted the right to due process in our Constitution? Perhaps Glenn can tell us what part of the Constitution restricts the right of due process to American citizens only, or even makes a distinction in applying due process to American citizens vs. those who are not. And if it does not, does it then mean that the President has no authority or order the killing of anyone, even the leader of an organization that has declared open war with the United States? What about the president's power to conduct a war? Is that just smoke?
The last time I was in New York city on business, I stood in the sweltering heat on the subway platform on 42cd street, watching sewage leak through the ceiling as a rat investigated garbage on the tracks. Cut back and raise fares has been the motto of the NYC transit system since the 1970s if not before and the results are clear. Meanwhile the old Woolworth house is available for a mere $90million. Rolls Royces and Bentleys negotiate streets that are cracked and split, raw sewage spills out of old and overburdened sewage treatment plants into the Hudson and washes past Frank Geary's opulent new media palace in Chelsea. New York has always been a wild place, with big gaps between rich and poor, but the ongoing collapse of infrastructure at the same time as an explosion of opulence is something relatively new.
The American Jobs Act is waiting for someone in Congress to find time between fund raising from lobbyists, complaining, and renaming post offices to do something for the country. The bill will employ people to fix water and sewage lines, roads, and bridges. It will be paid for by making Hedge fund managers pay ordinary income tax on earning, just like transit workers, and by cutting corporate loopholes like a government subsidy for executive jets. And our Congress is having a hard time passing the bill. What is wrong with those people?
One political persuasion technique is called the Easy Yes question. The framing of the question is a two part process. The part of the question you want a negative response to opens the question, followed by a query meant to elicit a positive response. It’s all about presenting a voter with a choice and leading them to the choice you want them to make.
Here are three video clips from the TNT Network television showLeverage, which features a group of cons who help the little people fight back against big business and sometimes governments. In this episode the team of cons is trying to ‘win’ an election in another country to oust a dirty politician and eliminate an untouchable enemy in the process.
In the first clip Sophie, the grifter, teaches their chosen candidate how to persuade his audience.
Learns Easy Yes
I admit to being very skeptical of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration as it started, but as it has grown and added union support, I think it's starting to tap into a wide understanding that Wall Street cheats.Anybody who saw how Dick Fuld, the CEO of Lehman Brothers could walk away with more than 1/2 billion dollars for bankrupting his company and losing tens of billions of dollars of other people's money entrusted to his care knows that The Wall Street Economy is about one thing: insiders always win. The first step to breaking the Wall Street Economy is the American Jobs Act, a bill that is sitting in Congress right now while Congress is trying its best to ignore it.
The American Jobs Act:
- Adds tax breaks for working people
- Closes big corporate tax loopholes and the Hedge fund loophole
- Hires people to fix roads and bridges and subways and abandoned buildings
- Creates an investment bank that is accountable to the public and given the job of investing in building infrastructure.
- Removes some bureaucratic barriers that keep small business from competing against big business.
There are many complicated, hard to fix, big things that are wrong with our economy, but the American Jobs Act starts us on the way to a nation where it's just not acceptable that Hedge Fund managers get special tax breaks while ordinary working people have to endure subway stops with sewage dripping through the roof or where pensions are slashed and transit fares are raised so that oil companies get subsidized by the government. The nation does not need to subsidize corporate jets and sacrifice college aid to do so.The Jobs Act is written, stapled, and in front of Congress. Excuses won't find people jobs or help fix our bridges and train lines. The Jobs Act will. The Jobs Act is a first step - we need to either make Congress take that step or step aside as we get a new Congress.
Occupy Wall Street is a messy, confused movement. Many of the people who are rushing to support it are not people I support or admire but that's ok. One thing that it needs is more connection to voter registration. But we can help with that.
Sorry it's a little late, guys. I have been a little busy this weekend. But here comes the pragprogs:
- Chipsticks at The Obama Diary reports on the troubles for Koch brothers - you know, of the doing business with terrorist states kind.
- AdLib at Planet POV urges you to take action and sign the White House petition to fight voter suppression. I encourage you to do the same.
- Just as the New Hampshire GOP is cutting off women from family planning services, the Obama Administration has stepped up to protect it, reports ABL at the Angry Black Lady Chronicles.
- Smartypants has some things to show you about partners.
- Norbrook debunks the punditocracy's "enthusiasm gap" talking point.
On Monday, September 26th, prisoners at both Pelican Bay and Calipatria resumed their hunger strike to stop the torturous conditions of Security Housing Units (SHUs). Prisoners first went on hunger strike on July 1st for nearly four weeks, until the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) agreed to begin implementing some of the prisoners’ five core demands. The strike became one of the largest prison strikes in California history–stretching across a third of the California’s prisons (at least 13 State prisons), including more than 6,600 prisoners at its height. Inadequate responses for the CDCR sparked the renewed strike. which by September 28 had spread to more than 12,000 prisoners
Numbers released by the federal receiver’s office show that on September 28th, nearly 12,000 prisoners were on hunger strike, including California prisoners who are housed in out of state prisons in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma. This historic and unprecedented number shows the strength and resolve of the prisoners to win their 5 core demands and is a serious challenge to the power of the California prison system and to the Prison Industrial Complex in general. Prisoners are currently on strike in Pelican Bay State Prison, Calipatria, Centinela, Corcoran, Ironwood State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, and Salinas Valley State Prison. Throughout the last week prisoners at California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, Pleasant Valley State Prison, San Quentin as well as West Valley Detention Center in San Bernadino County were participating.
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