Koch Brothers’ Web of Influence

This provides an excellent overview of the Koch brothers’ industrial empire and their influence over U.S. politics.
www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/3120/

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Wachovia Launders Drug Money

Not only do big banks screw homeowners over, invest in high-risk securities, treat regular people like chattel, and suck up taxpayer money, but we now learn that they launder drug money. Yes, further deregulation sounds like a great idea.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/03/us-bank-mexico-drug-gangs (via Dianne Bazell)

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Video of a Woman Evicted from Her Home and Handcuffed

Here watch a video of a woman taken from her home: another illustration of the abuses of our system of foreclosure and the mega-banks such as Bank of America. Is this really America?
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/video-this-is-not-america

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Corporations Own Us–Lock, Stock and Barrel–But We are Ultimately More Powerful

The American Petroleum Institute plans to contribute directly to political candidates.  Ah, a new way to buy our political system.  I guess American no longer own our own country anymore.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/24/api-direct/

And here’s Paul Krugman’s take on corporatizing of both Iraq and Wisconsin

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html

In the meantime, we talk a lot about bullies in schools, but what about these bullies from the Chamber of Commerce who hack activist computers?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/chamberleaks-malware-hacking/

Through all this, we need to remember that we have the choice to accept this or not. The corporate interests seem all-powerful, but that’s only because we the people allow them to do what they do. We could change that tomorrow if we so chose. We have the capacity to through peaceful means to stop the madness in its tracks.¬† How? By voting, by contacting our elected representatives regularly, by speaking out publicly, by refusing to shop (where reasonably possible) with companies that engage in autocratic and harmful behavior, by frequenting local establishments that are friendly to the environment and workers, by protesting on the street or on the web, and (most of all) by living according to our own beliefs and our own souls–not according to the manipulations of corporate media machine’s. Often we (including me) are rats in a maze running around following the expectations of a consumption-driven economy, but we can choose to follow our own paths and live our own lives however we want. There is nothing that we cannot change collectively if we follow our authentic selves and share that with others. It seems simple and polyannish, but it also happens to be true. Instead of succumbing to anxiety and fear (which corporate interests feed off of), we simply need to tap into courage and step into genuine freedom.

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State Banks

Here’s more on how state banks can heal state budgets and provide liquidity for strapped homeowners:
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/5423-local-economies-an-alternative-solution-to-the-budget-crisis

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Bank Criminals Get Off–Only Regular People Get Punished

The pillaging of the middle class continues: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/opinion/14krugman.html?_r=1

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Fox Not News

How is Fox News called “News”?¬† Its purpose is not news, but spreading corporate ideology.¬† Calling it news is Orwellian.¬† Fundamental dishonesty is a core element of morality, and what Fox promotes is counter to basic ideals of integrity.

And Media Matters reports how Fox lied about the Wisconsin situation:
http://mediamatters.org/print/research/201103020013

And now we find that the head of Fox news, Roger Ailes, asked an employee to lie:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/nyregion/25roger-ailes.html?hp

Prime Minister’s Harper’s attempt to repeal the Canadian law that prevents false and misleading news information is rejected.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/fox-news-will-not-be-moving-into-canada-after-all_b_829473.html

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How to Fight the Power of Corporate Wealth

Take your money out of the bank! ¬†That hits them in the way they understand best. ¬†Plus it’s peaceful, and you can do it very quietly.
<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/11/955214/-Were-Going-To-Destroy-A-Bank>http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/11/955214/-Were-Going-To-Destroy-A-Bank

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Wealth and the Middle Class

What’s happened to the middle class?¬† That’s the question we need to ask in light of the bailouts and the crushing of workers’ unions in Wisconsin.¬† Does work matter any more or only shuffling paper?¬† Those of us committed to spiritual exploration need to recognize that the exploration of meaning and purpose in life requires that people are not always in survival mode. Spiritual truth is also connected to justice.

David Koch and Rupert Murdoch battle the middle class through Fox and the Wall Street Journal
http://www.alternet.org/story/150047/rupert_murdoch_and_david_koch_collude_against_wisconsin_workers?page=entire

The Wisconsin battle is part of a 150-struggle to break unions, now with the Koch Brothers leading the charge: http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/gov_walker_does_something_big_20110304

Bob Herbert discusses the financial crises facing ordinary, working, middle-class Americans:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/opinion/26herbert.html

This essay argues that we need to increase upper income tax brackets in order to prevent the concentration that would destroy democracy in this country.  While I do not agree with the authors (and others) that decreasing government waste is not an important issue and that we need to figure out how to make medicare work more efficiently (social security is in fact basically sound), I cannot fathom why we keep lowering tax rights on the wealthy.
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/022411.html

Robert Reich makes a similar argument:  http://robertreich.org/post/3591689800

Ellen Brown argues that a state bank would solve many of Wisconsin’s and other states budget/pension issues–of course, that presumes that Walker and others are actually concerned about the budget rather than crushing labor http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/wisconsin.php

In the meantime, the percentage of underwater mortgage are on their way up:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_underwater_mortgages

Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO lauds the 14 Wisconsin Senators who stood up for workers’ rights:¬† http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-trumka/todays-heroes-the-wiscons_b_831749.html

More and more cities are broke:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/magazine/06Muni-t.html?_r=1 (via Dianne Bazell)

Jackob Hacker and Paul Pierson, in their book, “Winner Take-All Politics,” discuss the rising inequalities in the US economic system: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/inequality-and-political-power/?scp=8&sq=middle%20class&st=cse (via Dianne Bazell)

Robert Reich argues that the real issue is not jobs, but wages:  http://robertreich.org/post/3638565075

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Arizona Bill Would Ban Foreclosues Without Full Title History

A positive development that would diminish the overwhelming power of banks in the housing loan industry:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-23/arizona-bill-would-void-home-foreclosures-without-complete-title-history.html

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Koch Brothers Buy Wisconsin

This article discusses the enormous amount of money the Koch brothers invested in the Wisconsin governor’s race: ¬†http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/02/9964/cmd-special-report-scott-walker-runs-koch-money

And this was before the prank call!!

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Why Isn’t Wall Street in Prison


No one from Wall Street ends up in prison.  Why?  Because the the politicians and government bureaucrats are bought off.  This analysis of Matt Taibbi says it all.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216?print=true

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Corporate and Para-Police Spying on Environmental Activists


You would think with all the really dangerous terrorists running around, we would be focusing on them rather than on people who are actually trying to improve the planet.  The vast majority of enviro activists are peaceful or engaging in civil disobedience.  Why are we engaging in this madness?  Do corporate interests own us lock, stock, and barrel?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/15/activism-protest

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/14/energy-firms-activists-intelligence-gathering

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California Aid Program for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

This is what more states and the federal government should be doing.¬† Unfortunately, many people don’t want to help out, because they believe that homeowners should take responsibility for their poor judgement.¬† However, government failed to protect home buyers from predatory banks and loan agencies, while massive foreclosures are driving down prices for everyone (not just those facing bankruptcy).¬†¬† Therefore, we have both moral and practical reasons to support this kind of aid to those facing the trauma of losing their homes.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-keep-your-home-20110210,0,2404099.story

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Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Allowed to Grow Anywhere

For those of us who care about seed integrity, and its relation to human and planetary health, this is not good news.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/business/28alfalfa.html?hp

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CIA: Mistakes Lead to Promotions Anyway

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“How to Build a Progressive Tea Party”

Here’s an idea.¬† When government officials say we have to cut this or that service, what about the corporations and multi-gazillionaires who aren’t paying their taxes through off-short hide-aways or other loopholes?¬† When a state says, we can’t support this 50 million K program, what about a company that owes 50 million and hasn’t paid it?¬† Why is it that most of us shlubs pay our taxes, but corporations and the mega-rich don’t pay theirs?¬† In Great Britain, an organization called UK Uncut has created a sensation by staging protests and sit-ins at stores whose parent companies have not bothered to pay their taxes.

I don’t see this as solely ¬†a liberal thing at all.¬† We should all have to play by basic rules that the law fairly applies.¬† That’s also a deeply conservative value.¬† Maybe tea party fans could join in too.¬† If an entity or person is not paying what they owe, then we have the right to pressure the government into making sure that they do.¬† This is inspiring.

http://www.thenation.com/article/158282/how-build-progressive-tea-party?page=full

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Outsourcing

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_overseas_hiring

If we want to alter this trend, the US will have to improve its educational levels and make sure that corporations pay their fair share of taxes (which they are not because of loopholes).

The decline of educational quality in the US is part of the reason for this.

The other is cheap labor in developing countries.  Corporations are able to take advantage of this labor without suffering financial consequences in the US.  However, corporations should contribute sufficiently to the national community that makes it possible for them to exist and thrive.  Otherwise we will not be able to maintain our standard of living and quality of life.

The rise of transnational actors like multinational corporations and the decline of the power of nation states has negative consequences such as this, but it also promises new kinds of structures through which humans will govern themselves.  Corporations have their own interests, and communities have theirs.  Just as corporations protect themselves, communities will have to do the same.  Corporations are driven by economic goals, but communities have moral concerns.  This divergence in interest will inevitably force communities to find others ways of asserting themselves, as national governments find themselves unable to act.  These communities may exist as places, but they may also form as virtual entities.   Instead of looking at a global map with nations, we may be beginning to see the emergence of another kind of map with different governing entities.

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Sinai and Human Authority

Jews believe that at Sinai the Source gave human beings the authority to make their own decisions and run their own affairs.

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Social Networking and the Movement of Money and Power

With global social networking, money and power move much more effectively and faster horizontally than they do vertically in traditional structures.

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Triumph of Social Networking in Politics

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37468.html
I’m most interested here in social networking and its synergy with media. The triumph of social networking activists on both the left and the right shows the diminishing power of long-established political institutions and traditions. Money and power move faster horizontally than they do vertically. Fast-growing social networking promises just as fundamental changes for other institutions as well: business, education, religion, media, newspapers, publishing, transportation, environment, etc. Organizations that do not transform themselves in fundamental structural ways will find themselves replaced by others that understand the new dynamics.

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