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Bugger the Bankers! official video

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Written by laudyms

March 25, 2014 at 9:37 am

Congress defaults, Obama struts, innocents will die

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  Watching the British House of Commons and Prime Minister debate the situation in Syria and decide their course in full public view puts our own withdrawal from any form of democracy in stark contrast.

Congress continues to default on their sworn duty, lazes on vacation and relies on former actions taken to avoid responsibility. Members refuse to take their role in Constitutional government seriously, while the Executive has assumed dictatorial powers.

Any attack on Syria (vile as it may be) without Congressional action  is an act of War, and clearly illegal. The fact that former presidents have made similar moves changes nothing. There is no clear objective in Syria at this time beyond Obama’s face saving, which only makes the situation more craven and self-serving.

NO TO WAR IN SYRIA

Written by laudyms

August 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

You think you have free speech? just try to use it…..

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Bank of America
by jonathanturley      6/26/13

banksters

Jeff Olson, 40, is facing a potential 13-year jail sentence for perhaps the world’s most costly sidewalk art. A former aide to the U.S. Senator from Washington, Olson used water-soluble statements like “Stop big banks,” and “Stop Bank Blight.com” outside Bank of America branches last year to protest the company’s practices. He eventually gave up his protest but prosecutors later brought 13 charges against him. Now a judge has reportedly banned his attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial.” It appears someone associated with Bank of American could finally go to jail, but it will not by the bank officials in the financial scandal. It is the guy writing slogans in chalk in the sidewalk.

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Jeffrey Sachs on the American Corporate State

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The Economist   Nov 12, 2011          

Homeward bound

How to turn America around

The Price of Civilisation: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity. By Jeffrey Sachs. Random House; 336 pages; $27. Published in Britain as “The Price of Civilisation: Economics and Ethics after the Fall”. Bodley Head; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

JEFFREY SACHS is an American economist best known for his prescriptions for economically diseased poor countries. The country he now considers most in need of his diagnostic gifts is his own. “Something has gone terribly wrong in the US economy, politics, and society in general,” Mr Sachs writes in “The Price of Civilisation”. American politicians are the stooges of corporations, he says. And American voters have been tranquillised into obesity by saturation advertising.

Such sentiments would appear unremarkable if spouted by an Occupy Wall Street protester. But Mr Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, is a respected, mainstream macroeconomist. Mr Sachs catalogues the familiar problems that beset the American economy: unemployment stuck at 9%, an exploding budget deficit, America ceding technological leadership to China, poorly educated American children.

But this is not principally a work of economics. Mr Sachs blames America’s problems on politics. In the 1960s, southerners began to desert the Democratic Party and Republicans began to build an insurmountable congressional barrier to more activist government, which Mr Sachs deeply regrets. He despises Barack Obama’s Democratic Party almost as much as he does Ronald Reagan’s Republicans: “On many days it seems that the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that Big Oil owns the Republicans while Wall Street owns the Democrats.” He is particularly scathing of the “revolving door” between Mr Obama’s administration and Wall Street.

The convergence between the parties, says Mr Sachs, has led to policies that systematically favour capital over labour, keep tax rates low on footloose multinational corporations and starve government programmes that benefit the poor and the unemployed. This, he claims, flies in the face of popular will: he cites polls that find the majority of Americans favour more activist government and higher taxes on the rich.

Mr Sachs’s analysis can be doctrinaire and one-dimensional, but it is almost always grounded in solid economics. Capital, he argues, has prospered more than labour during the era of globalisation. And America’s per head GDP is inflated by spending on an inefficient health-care system and the armed forces. Mr Sachs’s prescriptions are also admirably precise: the federal government should spend an additional 0.5% of GDP on worker training and the same again on early-childhood development; the top tax rate should be raised to 39.6%, which, neatly enough, he says, would raise the equivalent of 0.5% of GDP……….

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Serious health risks associated with GM food

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Institute for Responsible Technology    December, 2011

Genetically modified foods…….. Are they safe?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think so. The Academy reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.

Before the FDA decided to allow GMOs into food without labeling, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.

 

Since then, findings include:

  • Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
  • Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
  • More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
  • Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
  • By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
  • Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
  • Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
  • Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
  • The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
  • Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.

Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.  This could mean: Read the rest of this entry »

Globalization and Debt: a return to slavery?

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 Taibbi: “Orwellian” SEC May Have Been Hiding Big Wall Street Crimes
By Sarah Seltzer | AlterNet

 

Shock Doctrine in Practice: The Connection Between Nighttime Robbery In the Streets and Daytime Robbery By Elites

By Naomi Klein / The Nation   When you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance.

 

Debt: The First Five Thousand Years

By David Graeber

Anthropologist David Graeber argues that it is only with a general historical understanding of debt and its relationship to violence that we can begin to appreciate our emerging epoch. Here he begins to fill in our historical knowledge gap

 

Americans Don’t Realize Just How Badly We’re Getting Screwed by the Top 0.1 Percent Hoarding the Country’s Wealth

By David DeGraw | Amped Status

 


Written by laudyms

August 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

Anarchy and Austerity: Why London Won’t Be the Last City to Burn

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Derek Thompson 

The Atlantic  Aug 10, 2011

The Great Recession gave birth to a lost generation across the world, where youth unemployment rates stretch into the 20s, 30s and even 40s. Those millions have responded with violence.

………… The theft and violence and street crime and lawlessness in London is shocking. But it’s not unique. Around the world, the burden of unemployment falls hardest on the young, who often respond with violence. The average jobless rate between 18-29 years was nearly 20% last year in OECD countries, the Wall Street Journal has reported. High unemployment was a factor in protests in Spain, uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

The connection between joblessness and violence comes to life in a timely August research paper Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2009, which found “a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability.” Authors Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth examined the relationship between spending cuts and a measure of instability they termed CHAOS — “the sum of demonstrations, riots, strikes, assassinations, and attempted revolutions in a single year in each country.”

Their conclusion: Austerity breeds anarchy. More cuts, more crime. This clickable graph helps to tell the story……

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Written by laudyms

August 11, 2011 at 8:28 am

Does an Old EPA Fracking Study Provide Proof of Contamination?

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by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica   Aug 5, 2011      Thewashingtoncurrent.com  

This post has been updated with the industry’s response.

For years the drilling industry has steadfastly insisted that there has never been a proven case in which fracking has led to contamination of drinking water.

Now Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization engaged in the debate over the safety of fracking, has unearthed a 24-year-old case study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that unequivocally says such contamination has occurred. The New York Times reported on EWG’s year-long research effort and the EPA’s paper Wednesday.

The 1987 EPA report, which describes a dark, mysterious gel found in a water well in Jackson County, W.Va., states that gels were also used to hydraulically fracture a nearby natural gas well and that “the residual fracturing fluid migrated into (the resident’s) water well.”

The circumstances of this particular well are not unique. There are several other cases across the country where evidence suggests similar contamination has occurred and many more where the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing have contaminated water supplies on the surface. ProPublica has written about many of them in the course of a three-year investigation into the safety of drilling for natural gas.

But the language found in the EPA report made public Wednesday is the strongest articulation yet by federal officials that there is a direct causal connection between man-made fissures thousands of feet underground and contaminants found in well water gone bad. The explanation, presented in the EPA’s own words , stands in stark contrast to recent statements made by EPA officials that they could not document a proven case of contamination and a 2004 EPA report that concluded that fracturing was safe.

“This is our leading regulatory agency coming to the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing can and did contaminate underground sources of drinking water, which contradicts what industry has been saying for years,” said Dusty Horwitt, EWG’s senior counsel and the lead researcher on the report.

A spokesperson for the EPA would not directly address the apparent contradiction but said in an email that the agency is now reviewing the 1987 report and that “the agency has identified several circumstances where contamination of wells is alleged to have occurred and is reviewing those cases in depth.”

The contamination debate has intensified as tens of thousands more wells are being drilled in newly discovered shale gas deposits across the country. The EPA and some scientists have long warned that when rock is hydraulically fractured, there is an increased risk of contaminants traveling through underground cracks until they reach drinking water. Many geologists have countered, however, that migration over thousands of feet is virtually impossible.

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Corporate efforts to control State legislatures exposed!

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July 13, 2011        The Center for Media and Democracy has obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by corporations through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. We have analyzed and marked-up those bills and made them available at  ALEC Exposed.

Tell the IRS to investigate!

ALEC Exposed (A Project of CMD)

About ALEC Exposed

An open letter from CMD’s Executive Director, Lisa Graves

In April 2011, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. met behind closed doors in Cincinnati about their wish lists for changing state laws.  This exchange was part of a series of corporate meetings nurtured and fueled by the Koch Industries family fortune and other corporate funding.

At an extravagant hotel gilded just before the Great Depression, corporate executives from the tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, State Farm Insurance, and other corporations were joined by their “task force” co-chairs — all Republican state legislators — to approve “model” legislation. They jointly head task forces of what is called the “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC).

There, as the Center for Media and Democracy has learned, these corporate-politician committees secretly voted on bills to rewrite numerous state laws. According to the documents we have posted to ALEC Exposed, corporations vote as equals with elected politicians on these bills. These task forces target legal rules that reach into almost every area of American life: worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, taxes, health care, immigration, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The Center obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by companies through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. Those bills, which the Center has analyzed and marked-up, are now available at ALEC Exposed.

The bills that ALEC corporate leaders, companies and politicians voted on this spring now head to a luxury hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter for ALEC’s national retreat on August 3rd. In New Orleans, Koch Industries — through its chief lobbyist — and lobbyists of other global companies are slated for a “joint board meeting” to approve the bills with a rookery of Republican legislators who are on ALEC’s public board. Before the bills are publicly introduced in state legislatures by ALEC politicians or alumni in the governor’s offices, they will be cleansed of any reference to the secret corporate voting or who really wrote them.

With CMD’s publication of the bills, the public can now pierce through some of the subterfuge about ALEC, and see beyond the names of the bills to what the bills really do, alongside the names of corporations that lead or have helped lead ALEC’s agenda and accompanied by analysis to help decode the bills.

Many of the bills have obvious financial benefits for corporations but little or no direct benefit to the constituents that a particular legislator was elected to represent. Still, it may be tempting to dismiss ALEC as merely institutionalizing business as usual for lobbyists, except that ALEC’s tax-free donations are linked to it not spending a substantial amount of time on lobbying to change the law. ALEC has publicly claimed its “unparalleled” success in terms of the number of model bills introduced and enacted. But seeing the text of the bills helps reveal the actual language of legal changes ALEC corporations desire, beyond what can be known by the PR in their titles. ALEC says it has created a “unique” partnership between corporations and politicians. And it has.

It is a worrisome marriage of corporations and politicians, which seems to normalize a kind of corruption of the legislative process — of the democratic process–in a nation of free people where the government is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, not the corporations.

The full sweep of the bills and their implications for America’s future, the corporate voting, and the extent of the corporate subsidy of ALEC’s legislation laundering all raise substantial questions. These questions should concern all Americans. They go to the heart of the health of our democracy and the direction of our country. When politicians — no matter their party — put corporate profits above the real needs of the people who elected them, something has gone very awry.

As President Teddy Roosevelt observed in response to corporate money corrupting the democratic process a century ago, “The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth . . . . The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.”

–Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy

P.S. ALEC anointed the billionaire Koch Brothers as two of the first few recipients of its “Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award.” Smith argued that self-interest promoted more good in society than those who intend to do good. “Greed is good!” is how Oliver Stone translated this concept to fiction on screen.

On that score, perhaps, the award was apt, except that ALEC apparently ignores Smith’s caution that bills and regulations from business must be viewed with the deepest skepticism. In his book, ”Wealth of Nations”, Smith urged that any law proposed by businessmen “ought always to be listened to with great precaution . . . It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

One need not look far in the ALEC bills to find reasons to be deeply concerned and skeptical.Take a look for yourself.

Take Action! Send a letter today to ALEC’s corporate leaders telling them to DUMP ALEC!

See also:

How business lobbies bought all the laboratories of democracy

By Alex Pareene       – ALEC’s dream of a world where industry writes every state law

Matt Stoller: Who Wants Keep the War on Drugs Going AND Put You in Debtor’s Prison?

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June 24, 2011 Naked Capitalism

Matt Stoller is a current fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.  His Twitter feed is @matthewstoller.

More than a third of all states allow debtors “who can’t or won’t pay their debts” to be jailed.  In 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, judges have issued 5,000 such warrants.  What is behind the increased pressure to incarcerate people with debts?  Is it a desire to force debt payment?  Or is it part of a new structure where incarceration is becoming increasingly the default tool to address any and all social problems?

Consider a different example that has nothing to do with debts.  Earlier this year, a Pennsylvania judge was convicted of racketeering, of taking bribes from parties of interest in his cases.  It was a fairly routine case of bribery, with one significant exception.  The party making the payoffs was a builder and operator of youth prisons, and the judge was rewarding him by sending lots of kids to his prisons.

Welcome to the for-profit prison industry.  It’s an industry that wants people in jail, because jail is their product.  And they have shareholder expectations to meet.

Privatized prisons are marketed to international investors as “social infrastructure”, and they are part of a wave of privatization washing over the globe.  Multi-billion dollar prison companies are upgraded by analysts with antiseptic words like “prospects for global prison growth”, and these companies have built a revolving door and patronage machine characteristic of any government contractor.  Only, in this case, the business they are in is putting people into steel cages (or “filling beds” as they put it), and they don’t care how, why, or whether the people in those beds should be there.  They don’t care if you’re in prison for smoking pot, stealing cars, or being in debt.  They just want people in jail.

Here’s the 2010 10k of the Corrections Corporation of America (PDF), the largest operator of private prisons in the country.  It’s a pretty simple business model – more prisoners, more money.  Or, as the company writes, “Historically, we have been successful in substantially filling our inventory of available beds and the beds that we have constructed.  Filling these available beds would provide substantial growth in revenues, cash flow, and earnings per share.”

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