Banks Hire Uniformed Police in Banks

PoliceInBanks1

The linking of banks with off-duty police in full uniform is a perilous development for our freedom. Corporations and public security join forces to potentially oppose the will of the people. What’s happening to our freedom and democracy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/17/nypd-for-hire-cops-moonlighting-banks/print

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Targeting Ads Across Platforms

TargetingAdsAcrossPlatforms1

Scary to contemplate how advertisers now can target ads on multiple devices of the same user. Oy.

http://www.tvkim.com/watch/2556/kims-picks-how-ad-tracking-follows-you?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=notd&utm_content=2012-12-14-article_9-title

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Madoff, Wilpon, and the Mets


The intriguing and mysterious saga of the Wilpon and Madoff families. I’m not sure what happened here, but the story is gripping. If Wilpon knew so little about investing (which may well be the case), that’s one more confirmation how con-men can push the buttons of anyone in their narcissistic drive for money and power.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/30/110530fa_fact_toobin?printable=true&currentPage=all

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Political Turbulence and the Coming World Transformation

I just saw Rachel Maddow’s program this evening. Did you know the extent to which Democrats have been winning unexpectedly in heavenly Republican districts? Obviously there’s the stunning victory in New York 26, but there’s much more going on.  Democrats are winning everywhere: for Jacksonville mayor, for Tampa mayor, in New Hampshire for a state senate seat, and in Wisconsin for a state assembly seat.  In a 50-50 Maine state senate district, the Democrat won by over 40 percentage points. In Ohio a Republican state senator who voted for the union busting bill resigned after relentless criticism for that vote. In Alabama, a state senator flipped from Republican to Democrat. The Republican governor of Florida (Rick Scott) has a 29% approval rating, while Republican John Kasich in Ohio is cratering in the polls and Republican Scott Walker is doing poorly in Wisconsin. In Ohio a poll showed an 18% lead for the opponents of the union busting bill.

What’s going on? I don’t think I’ve ever seen this quick of a political turn-around? This is more dramatic than what happened after the government shut-down in 1994-95. Now you never know what will happen down the road, but what were the Republicans thinking? Their strategy makes no political sense. It’s as if the end of the world were coming, and the Republicans tried to grab as much stuff as they possibly could before all hell broke loose. Busting unions, destroying Medicare, eviscerating social programs, offering tax-give-aways to the super-rich and corporations, gutting the environment, criminalizing abortion, and much more does not seem to be working out so well for them politically.

Honestly, I can’t make sense of what they’re thinking politically. It’s totally illogical and just plain bizarre. They could have caused a lot of damage and still maintained some semblance of political viability, but they chose instead to take a wrecking ball. The only thing that I can postulate is that Republicans were not thinking politically, but were instead doing the bidding of a few very powerful super-rich people such as the Koch Brothers. In other words,, Republicans had marching orders and happily walked the plank. Somehow, I guess, they think that these guys will rescue them or do something.  I’m not sure, but that’s all I came come up with.

They are handing the 2012 general election on a silver platter to the Democrats. Why?????  Do you have any ideas out there? It makes no sense. I’m perplexed.

Now, that said, I am concerned for our country. Yes, I want far-right-wing crazies, nut-jobs, and loony-tunes to lose, but our country needs at least two viable competing parties. Without that either party will probably mess things up even more. I can’t imagine that Democrats will know what to do with the massive majorities they might win in next election if things go as they seem to be going. We need two real parties with serious ideas that must compete with the serious ideas of the other party. Right now the Republicans are nuts, like invading locusts destroying everything in their paths, while Democrats are gleefully watching the self-destruction, but they don’t have any real ideas. Now Obama, I believe, has a vision, but the Democrats as a whole are pretty much empty.  So where does that leave us as a country?

What I wish for are two parties: one which is expansive, trying to move the nation forward by advocating expenditures that will improve our quality of life and develop a new strategy to keep our economic global prominence; and another party that stands for fiscal responsibility that creatively figures our ways to save money, keep taxes reasonable, and act as good managers and stewards of our resources.

What’s happened? Where are these parties? I consider myself a progressive independent, a strong supporter of Obama, who has no alternative but to vote Democrat in light of the madness that currently passes for Republican policy.  But that’s not what I want. I want a Democrat party that stands for something meaningful and hopeful and a Republican party that recognizes itself as a solid citizen watching over expenditures carefully and supporting change while also understanding the value of tradition. Instead, the Democrats just kind of float along living in FDR’s shadow, while the Republicans have gone off the deep end. Where is the imagination and creativity? Where is honor and responsibility. It exists with a few individuals, but it’s absent from political groups as wholes.

This is a wild time. Maybe we have to go through it as a country, but we are sure facing tremendous uncertainty and volatility unlike anything I can remember and really know about historically, at least since the Civil War. This is, I think, part of the great shift happening at a global level. We are entering a new period of history and consciousness, watching the collapse of old systems (including political ones) while new ones emerge.  Perhaps we should not get caught up in the day-to-day, political and social earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but look through and beyond that to the world that is coming–for us and the globe. Perhaps nation-states will disintegrate as new forms of governance emerge that act at both global and local levels. A lot of people focus on up-and-coming countries like China, but perhaps we need to look toward the new structures that are emerging that have nothing to do with nations or political parties, but with movements–such as environmental activism or freedom movements in the Middle East or micro-financing or the post-religious “spiritual but nor religious” phenomenon or whatever –that are creating systems that we can’t even really seen just yet.

I have for a long time sensed a global shift and world transformation bubbling up from the depths, but experiencing it is completely different from envisioning it.

Any thoughts out there in the blogosphere and web world?

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Right-Wing History Re-Writes

If you don’t like history, simply rewrite it and persuade people that lies are true. That’s the conservative method of attaining political victory.

http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/150937/the_right’s_’big_lie’_strategy:_when_losing,_simply_rewrite_history/?page=1 (via Dianne Bazell)

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Changing the Minds of Climate Change Deniers

It’s occasionally possible for the facts to change the minds of climate change deniers. The politicization of this issue in the U.S.. as well as the anti-intellectual and anti-scientific basis of American evangelical Protestants and the power of corporate interests, has made the U.S. one of the only places in the world to have such a substantial number of people who deny the clear conclusions of science.  In the U.S., this follows the pattern of denying other scientific assessments, including evolution, damage to the ozone layer, the use of marijuana, the age of the earth, the dangers of nuclear power. and much more.
http://www.slate.com/id/2293607/pagenum/all/ (via Dianne Bazell)

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The Case of Thomas Drake: Are We Living in a Police State?

This is scary. The U.S. now finds itself in the position of teetering between anarchy and fascism. We are busy prosecuting NSA whistleblowers, while letting bank executive crooks and perjurers go scot free. They live lives in the lap of luxury after stealing and cheating, while those who question fraud and waste in the NSA have their lives ruined. There is something wrong with this picture.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/23/110523fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all

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Goldman Sachs: Crooks and Perjurers

We prosecute NSA whistleblowers, while we let major scam artists and criminals go free.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-people-vs-goldman-sachs-20110511?print=true

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Current TV Booted Off Air in Italy by Murdoch Minions

This illustrates the great danger of media monopolies. Because Al Gore hired Keith Olbermann, Murdoch’s News Corp. will keep Current TV off the air in Italy. A conservative media power blows off a progressive upstart. And once again corporations show us who has the real power in the world.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/19/al-gore-rupert-mudoch-news-corp

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Immigrants are the Core of Who We are in the US

I could not agree more with Reverend Wallis.  As the recent dismissal of  Chipotle employees (in Washington, D.C.) demonstrates (because the company was afraid of their legal status), our immigration system is broken. Reverend Wallis is right when he notes that our country would grind to a halt without Latino/a immigrant workers. We would simply not function as a country without them. These are hard-working people with the kind of drive and energy that is at the core of the prosperity and dynamism of the U.S. The xenophobia and fear that characterizes so much of our national discourse on this topic is not only economically and morally harmful to us, but it diverts us from the real problems we face.

Except for Native americans, we are all immigrants, including my grandparents who came to this country from Russia and Poland. The Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) is one of our greatest symbols, representing the most deeply held values of our people. Let us not react to our anxieties and hatred, but let us live out our dreams and hopes. That is the meaning of every great moral and spiritual tradition.

http://blog.sojo.net/2011/05/19/chipotle-firings-one-story-of-a-broken-immigration-system/#disqus_thread

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Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of Health Care as a Human Right

I could not agree more with Bernie Sanders. It’s also practical if we want our country to be able to compete effectively in the world. Right now our companies are saddled with huge costs, and patients face obscenely high payments and inadequate, uncertain coverage.

I think there is a deeper issue here as well. Giving everyone access to basic health care means they many more individuals will have the opportunity to embark on building start-up companies and on accepting higher risk jobs without fear of losing their health insurance coverage. I see universal coverage as an issue of freedom. When you don’t have to stay in a job in order to have your health problems covered, then you are free to take on careers and jobs that are more meaningful and rewarding. Universal health care adds to our liberty, because it gives us more choices and more mobility.

I wonder sometimes whether opposition to universal coverage stems from a fear of allowing people too much freedom. Universal coverage would take leverage from those in power (in corporations and in government) and put it into the hands of working people and our creative class. Denying individuals this opportunity concentrates power in the hands f those who already have it.

Thus, there are ethical and politco-spiritual dimensions here: ethical in that a civilized society needs to insure basic health care for its citizens; and politico-spiritual in that universal health coverage increases the level of human freedom, putting more decision-making power into the hands of more people. Universal health care coverage is a global, transformative movement of the human species toward greater freedom and independence.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/may/10/healthcare-congress

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Secret Mercenary Force Set Up by Blackwater Founder for UAE

Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater (now XE) is now working on building a mercenary force of mostly Latin American soldiers that will work on behalf of the UAE in order to put down internal revolts, defend pipelines, and combat terrorism. No Muslims need apply, because the leadership and Prince is convinced that Muslim soldiers will not shoot other Muslims.  Prince is also associated with Christian dominionism. Meanwhile, is this legal? Can an American citizen hire out a mercenary force on behalf of a foreign nation without permission of the U.S. government? At the least, this will not make the United States look very good to the Arab/Muslim world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

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Corporate Bullies and How to Deal with Them

Why do we in the U.S. let corporate giants bully and abuse us? Richard Wolff proposes a solution:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/may/09/economics-us-taxation/print

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Seabrook Nuclear Power Backup Fails

Not too confident in our nuclear power safety procedures. I might feel differently about nuclear power if we as a nation actually took regulation seriously. But we don’t. And this is the consequence. Serious regulation would actually allow us more energy options.
http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-13/news/29540672_1_nrc-nuclear-plants-vermont-yankee

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European Corporations Treat U.S. Homeowners and Workers Like Slumlords

In Europe, corporations treat workers with some respect, but in the good, old USA, those very same corporations act as slumlords and bully workers. This shows how important government actually is in protecting our standard of living.  Who else will protect working people?

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-meyerson-europeans-20110515,0,3990894.story

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Record Profits for Insurance Companies while Patients Postpone Care

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Coca-Cola Green: Not Really

Coca-Cola and other big corporations prefer to talk the talk rather than walk the walk:
http://www.grist.org/scary-food/2011-05-03-coke-bpa-and-the-limits-of-green-capitalism

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Nuclear Power Regulation Ineffective in U.S.


Regulators have cozy relationship with the nuclear power corporations and generally pass on doing their job:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/america-s-nuclear-nightmare-20110427?print=true

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JD Power Bank Survey

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Dems Strategize to End Big Oil Tax Breaks

Great idea, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/us/politics/09congress.html?_r=1

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Banks Continue to Bully Homeowners

This is an excellent survey of the many ways in which banks bully homeowners and decimate the middle class:
http://dailycensored.com/2011/04/20/beyond-foreclosuregate-it-gets-uglier/

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Problems with Off-Shore Oil Rig Regulation

This article illustrates the serious problems with oil rig regulation and the close relationship between oil companies and their regulators:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/us/politics/17regulate.html

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Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Natural Gas Inspectors

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Big Corporations and Big Government

An analysis of how big government and big corporations work hand in glove:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/the_new_corporate_world_order_20110419/

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Ryan Budget Has Guts, but no Courage

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Fox Goes Full Birther

Disgusting. Repellent. Racist. Xenophobic. Yet Fox has led the charge with its fake news.
http://mediamatters.org/research/201104200008

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Oil Price Rise

Oil companies make huge profts by limiting supplying and sending oil abroad for sale at premium prices:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-oil-refineries-20110429,0,1414360,full.story

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BP Oil Spill and Local Power

How local, not national, power effects will effect the most influence on environmental issues:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-wohlforth-bp-20110420,0,3704732,print.story

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No Prosecutions of Financial Crimes

This is one of the most demoralizing aspects of the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008. White collar criminals do not have to face the courts or prison because they are rich, powerful, and influential. This is the triumph of plutocracy that is now America. Via Dianne M. Bazell

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/business/14prosecute.html (via Dianne Bazell)

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Koch Brothers’ Thought Control

The Koch Brothers use their power to intimidate their employees to vote for their favored candidates:
http://www.thenation.com/article/160062/big-brothers-thought-control-koch

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Exxon 2nd to GE in Not Paying Taxes

Exxon comes in a close second to General Electric as tax deadbeats:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/12-1

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Fake News

Corporations are airing advertisements through media outlets as if they are legitimate news.
http://www.freepress.net/press-release/2011/3/25/fcc-fines-local-tv-stations-airing-fake-news

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GOP Pushes to Cut Environmental Regulations at State Level

A sad story that makes no rational sense, but the GOP effort is a nice pay-off to large corporations and campaign contributors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/science/earth/16enviro.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

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Debtor Prisons Back in Vogue

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On how Democrats and Republicans Worked Together to Destroy the Middle Class

The bipartisan destruction of the Middle Class:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_peasants_need_pitchforks_20110405/

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Wisconsin’s Radical Break

William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin wrote this op-ed on March 21 and then conservatives launched a witch-hunt by trying to rifle through his emails. All you have to do is express an opinion and talk about decency and living standards to qualify for harassment from corporate sponsored bullies.
www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/opinion/22cronon.html

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Shadow Budget

Or how to rip off tax payers by giving super-rich corporations and individuals massive freebies at no risk to borrowers:

www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-real-housewives-of-wall-street-look-whos-cashing-in-on-the-bailout-20110411

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Goldman Sachs’ Sleazy Behavior

More on Goldman Sachs and how it bet against bet against sub-prime mortgages without informing its clients. And once again no one pays a real penalty.
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/14/business/la-fi-crisis-probe-20110414

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That Great Wall Street Sucking Sound

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In South Africa Freedom is Limited by Multinational Economics

Naomi Klein is wrong on Israel (with her advocacy of boycotts) and often shaped by ideological arguments (without consideration for complexity and abstracted from life on the ground), but there are other times that she has profound things to say.

Below she writes a fascinating article, demonstrating the tremendous power of billionaires, corporations, and Neo-Liberal economic thought.  It makes me realize how hemmed-in Obama and any national leader is.  Trying to do anything that runs up against economic orthodoxy, now matter how reasonable or moderate, is virtually impossible, given the threat of stock market declines, currency and commodity collapses, and threats of investment withdrawals.  Governments do not control their societies or their national resources; corporations and powerful interests do.

http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2011/02/democracy-born-chains

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