Taxes for Super Rich Drop Dramatically

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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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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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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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Universal Health Care in Vermont One Step Closer

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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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Mountaintop Removal Destroys Town

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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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Facebook Data and Advertising

Here’s the way Facebook is now mining your data to deliver targeted advertising to you:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-facebook-ads-20110417,0,1887797.story

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Sweden and the USA

This article by David Michael Green argues that Sweden is a much better county in which to live than the USA.

Of course, Sweden, that paragon of freedom, democracy, and equality, is now riven with conflict between Swedes and immigrant Muslims, turning antisemitic (I don’t think it’s the place for people like me with its distaste for MOTs),  and busy trying to extradite Julian Assange so that it can protect governments from that wicked scourge of (gasp)–transparency. Diversity is not exactly one of Sweden’s hallmarks.

Worshipping Sweden reminds me of a Euro-version of Edward Said’s “Orientalism”: the left romanticizing modern Norsemen in their quest for a homogenous Valhalla that doesn’t really exist.

Everything looks greener when you don’t live there.

Sweden, I’m sure, has wonderful attributes, but it’s not nirvana. I’ve always said that you don’t really belong to any group until you see its underside and still love it. That’s a grown-up way to view the world. The other is for children.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/06-2

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How the Super-Rich Avoid Taxes

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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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Collective Bargaining and Living Standards

This piece explains how and why collective bargaining raises living standards and is key to the existence of a prosperous middle class:
www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/in-states-without-collective-bargaining

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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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Taxing the Super-Rich

What’s part of the deficit solution? How about adequately taxing the super rich who now own the lion’s share of our wealth? The top 1% own about 35% of US wealth, and that number is increasing every year. Large corporations like GE pay nothing in taxes. This makes no sense and is transforming us into a poorer, divided  country, reminiscent of developing nations–except they’re generally on their way up. On our march back to the late nineteenth century, we are allowing radical free-market ideology to shatter a way of life that has taken a century to build.

http://robertreich.org/post/4344201496
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/they-only-have-400-votes

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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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Labor Rights Threatened Worldwide

Attempts to quash labor and worker rights are occurring globally:
www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/04/workers-rights-collective-bargaining

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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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Cutting Government Does Not Create Jobs

“Cutting government creates jobs.” A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Cutting government does not create jobs.

I certainly believe that government needs cutting in many places, but not because it creates jobs.  We need to do so that we don’t waste money and drive ourselves into long-term, irreparable debt. But doing so has nothing to do with creating jobs. That’s just ridiculous. Many of these attempts are really about destroying government and the good that it does. There are people whose ideology requires this, no matter the consequences. It’s an article of faith, not a way to live.

http://robertreich.org/post/4031113622

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Vermont Passes Single-Payer Health Insurance

An exciting development in a progressive state. Maybe Vermont can lead the nation. We desperately need some means for everyone to have access to reasonable health care.
http://www.reformer.com/news/ci_17695660

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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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Rev. Jim Wallis on Government Cuts

As a Jew, I thoroughly share the sentiments of Rev. Jim Wallis.  The TaNaKh and rabbinic tradition command us to take care of the poor and marginalized.  That why we are told not to plough the corners of our fields.  When the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis talk about caring for the needy, they refer to communities and governments.  The structures envisioned in those texts are governmental, and they *require* (not merely suggest) a society take the needy into account.  This tradition does not focus on voluntary acts and association, but on political structures that create a just society.  Those who try to convert these into free-market scenarios, which advocate economic commitments that are solely private, do not understand what the texts actually say.  Those who know the Hebrew and the history should start articulating the true nature of this tradition, which demands that governments protect those in need.

http://blog.sojo.net/2011/03/24/fast-pray-and-act-new-threats-to-the-poor/#disqus_thread

 

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Cutting Government Strategically

This is a good, little essay, emphasizing the importance of thinking about the purpose of government and then cutting strategically.
http://www.vpr.net/episode/50628/

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European Pessimism

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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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Don Banks on NFL Labor Talks

This is a devastating piece on this sports war between the rich and richer.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/don_banks/03/11/nfl.labor.front.ap/index.html

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Malaysia Gambles on Rare Earths and the Environment

A fascinating discussion of attempting to mine rare earths in an environmentally responsible way: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/business/energy-environment/09rare.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

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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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Gold Wars in Columbia

Old conflicts over coca morph into new ones over gold.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/world/americas/04colombia.html

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The Contentious Quest for Truffles in North Carolina

Trying to grow truffles in the US is an arduous, competitive, and uncertain business.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/us/04truffles.html?hp

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