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Cartoon: The populist menace

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Every seed free, every garden thriving!!

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VANDANA SHIVA on SUSTAINABILITY

Written by laudyms

March 15, 2015 at 8:56 am

U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy- Princeton Study

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Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

By Brendan James  April 18, 2014    TPM

A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

TPM Interview: Scholar Behind Viral ‘Oligarchy’ Study Tells You What It Means
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month’s ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

“Ordinary citizens,” they write, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren Speech- fighting for working people

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Senator Elizabeth Warren addressed the AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages Jan 7, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

2014 “Noam Chomsky”: Why you can not have a Capitalist Democracy!

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70% of Americans have no impact on government and are enslaved by Plutocrats who run our rigged system

Congratulations chumps! You are now on the hook for $303 Trillion in Derivatives

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wage slave

Congratulations chumps! You are now on the hook for $303 Trillion in Derivatives

Daily Kos 12/15/14

Before Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999, Wall Street was on the hook for bad bets with derivatives. During the real estate bubble the taxpayer was on the hook for these casino chips.

Then came the 2008 meltdown and Dodd-Frank was pushed through. The taxpayer was off the hook for six years. But now Congress rolled over for Wall Street and the taxpayer is on the hook again…..

Did Wall Street Need to Win the Derivatives Budget Fight to Hedge Against Oil Plunge?

naked capitalism 15 Dec 2014

Conventional wisdom among banking experts is that Wall Street’s successful fight last week to get a pet provision into the must-pass budget bill (or in political junkies’ shorthand, Cromnibus) as more a demonstration of power and a test for gutting Dodd Frank than a fight that mattered to them. But the provision they got in, which was to undo a portion of Dodd Frank that barred them from having taxpayer-backstopped deposits fund derivative positions, may prove to be more important than it seemed as the collateral damage from the 40% fall in oil prices hits investors and intermediaries….

 

Cromnibus Pension Provisions Gut Forty Years of Policy, Allow Existing Pensions to Be Slashed

naked capitalism 15 Dec 2014

The Kline-Miller amendment allows multi-employer pension benefits to be cut. Shouldn’t Warren Democrats be against that? ….

Wal-Mart is concentrated neoliberalism

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Shopping ’til we all drop at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is concentrated neoliberalism. From working to weaken government at the same time it gorges on government subsidies, to exploitation of its workforce, to moving production to the places with the lowest wages and weakest laws, to underpaying taxes, the workers who walked out on Black Friday have no shortage of targets.

Some of the latest findings in a just released report reveal that Wal-Mart dodges $1 billion a year in taxes and is the recipient of an estimated $6.2 billion a year in indirect subsidies through social-welfare programs such as food stamps. A separate report also just published documents the poverty of Wal-Mart workers, many of whom regularly skip meals because their pay is so low……..    read more here