Archive for category Capitalism

When Your Society Fails, Does It Make a Sound on the Radio?

rush 1I guess we’ll see. I’d be very surprised to see the rest of the “news” spewers like Limbaugh, even mention that an influential, local right wing radio host from Wisconsin has realized his job hasn’t exactly been helping his society at large.

Charlie Sykes is finally, man enough to admit he, and those like him created Trump, but it goes much deeper then that, because an entire generation of Americans have been hidden from any kind of interesting debate, in favor of a verbal wresting match where any earnest man always gets disqualified from even participating by the corporate interests who own our airwaves. Sometimes the paid talkers get bored and let somebody on who can actually bring facts into the conversation, before they turn his mic off, or try to make him lose his composure.

This obvious controversy has been let out of the box much too late for Fox-like-viewers to have their minds changed in the midst of a train wreak election, but I guess we can hope for a scrap of justice to fall our way. It got reported on by the media-omnipresent “Talking Points Memo”. (sarcasm).

Conservative Pundit Owns Up To Role In Trump’s Rise: We ‘Created This Monster’

Don’t miss the important part of the TPM article. Charlie Sykes really seems to be tiring of his miserable, influential, corporate job. This part of an interview with him is SPOT ON!

darcy tweet 2

Nothing will happen. We live in an oligarchy.

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David Dayen on the ‘Fraudclosure’ Crisis

After the Bush administration presided over the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, American households lost about $16.4 trillion of net worth. The value of real estate alone dropped by $6 trillion.

Instead of making the big banks eat these losses, our government decided to let the middle class pay for Wall Street’s mistakes – even if it meant circumventing the law. “Rocket dockets” (up to 1,000 cases per day) and “robo-signing” (the mass production of false affidavits) enabled the biggest robbery of all time. Some homeowners faced court-ordered foreclosure even though they never took out a mortgage!

David Dayen has laid it all out in a new book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud

Fraudclosure
Example of “robo-signing”

Sorry you lost your home: Americans deserve more than an apology for the foreclosure fraud epidemic (Emphasis added)

Political analysts still manage to wonder why people are angry in a time of economic recovery, without ever even hinting recognition of the scarring impact of the foreclosure disaster. More than 9.3 million American families gave up their home between 2006 and 2014, either in a foreclosure or a short sale or some other transaction. That translates to about 14 million people, all of whom have family and friends and colleagues who at least know of the pain caused by the foreclosure crisis. There have been more since then.

It didn’t have to turn out that way. All of the losses didn’t have to be placed upon homeowners. Somebody could have been held responsible. We could have enforced the simple rule that you can’t take a person’s home with false evidence. This bare minimum would have engendered some faith that the system works, that justice still burns somewhere in America.

“Somebody could have been held responsible.” Instead, the Obama administration looked the other way during the “fraudclosure” crisis. They did the same thing on U.S. war crimes, on CIA torture, and on widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans. Only the truth-tellers went to federal prison, never the criminals.

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Can We Talk?

Convince me

As Joan Rivers used to say, “Can we talk?” Because the corporate media coverage of the presidential race is barely mentioning the issues that affect you and me.

Lately all over cable TV they are vociferously debating whether Donald Trump is paying enough respect to the family of a U.S. Army captain who died heroically 12 years ago during Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq (that Hillary voted for as a senator), after the father of said fallen warrior aimed a gratuitous insult at the notoriously thin-skinned Trump in a partisan DNC speech.

Most likely, this is a picture of the 2016 presidential campaign for the next 100 days. Hillary using surrogates to get Trump to say something that dominates the news cycle, or trying to get Trump to lose his temper during a debate. Anything Trump says is automatically news. Hillary has not held a press conference since last year.

What could the candidates talk about? Well, here is one suggestion. There is another recession coming, sooner rather than later. How will Hillary and Trump deal with the consequences?

Get out your wallets, America: It might not be long before we’re bailing out “too big to fail” banks again

Instead of ending the world of banks that are “too big to fail” and preventing banks from operating in ways that could again sink the economy, we have guaranteed them that the taxpayers are ready and waiting when they make another catastrophic mistake.

The Dodd-Frank regulations are not completely written yet, and probably won’t be in effect when the Wall Street billionaires crash our financial sector again. Is the American middle class about to take another big hit? Can somebody offer a plan to help us? We haven’t even recovered from the last time.

Hillary is going to have to offer much more than her current “OMG Trump!” campaign.

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When Bad Arguments Die

Cenk Uygur debates Ed Butowski at Republican Convention

Cenk Uygur debates Ed Butowski at Republican Convention

This particular one died on a live “Young Turks” stream at the Republican Convention. It was my favorite part of the whole week.

I always respect it when pundits with right wing views debate with somebody who might ask them questions they feel uncomfortable with, rather then staying on safe ground at Fox “news”. Ed Butowski’s website lists him as an “internationally recognized expert in the wealth management and as a financial advisor”, although he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. He is a regular on Fox “news”, so that is something I suppose. (snark)

Cenk sits down with Butowski, and tells him to pick a subject, which turns out to be Bernie Sanders’s views on the economy. I’m pretty sure he thought he would be able to throw Cenk off, but I’d say the opposite happened.

It’s a fun interview to watch and civil, unlike anything you see on Fox. Enjoy!

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NPS Centennial = Corporate Takeover?

Arches NP Milky Way
Milky Way viewed from Arches National Park

“The national park idea, the best idea we ever had, was inevitable as soon as Americans learned to confront the wild continent not with fear and cupidity but with delight, wonder, and awe.”

–Wallace Stegner

2016 is the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service (NPS). But because of chronic neglect and under-funding from Congress, the NPS is set to adopt a very bad idea for our national parks: Corporate sponsorships sold to the highest bidder that run the risk of plastering our most treasured sites of America’s natural heritage with corporate branding and logos. Park employees would be directly engaged in soliciting funds from corporations.

This policy change came as a consequence of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which compels the NPS to increase private funding through “donor recognition.”

The NPS annual budget of $3 billion isn’t enough to catch up on an estimated $11.49 billion in deferred maintenance costs in our national parks. As National Park Foundation president and CEO Will Shafroth told the Washington Post, “The parks don’t have enough money to accomplish their goals.” Private and corporate donations are needed to fill the gaps.

The new rules, that will take effect by the end of the year, would “swing open the gates of the 411 national parks, monuments and conservation areas to an unprecedented level of corporate donations.”

The comment period has already closed on the order from NPS Director Jarvis that would allow parks to start selling “naming rights,” which would allow the highest corporate bidder to place their name or logo – like a Nike Swoosh or a Starbucks logo – directly on select spaces and areas of our national parks like park buildings, benches, auditoriums, and visitor centers.

Tell Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to pull the plan to commercialize our national parks. And let’s tell our congressional delegation to fund the parks in the federal budget. Some Utah national parks are now charging a $30 entrance fee.

More info:
Yosemite, sponsored by Starbucks? National Parks to start selling some naming rights
Donor Naming Rights in U.S. National Parks – Is Brouhaha Justified?
No, the U.S. National Parks Will Not Be Sponsored by Viagra

NPS centennial patch

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The Roast Wasn’t Funny To Me

bad night

I took a copy of this years White House correspondents dinner video over to my 95 year old mom’s house because I thought we might get a laugh out of it, and I like to cheer her up.

None of this years remaining candidates showed up except for Bernie Sanders. I can imagine why Donald Trump didn’t attend, because president Obama really handed it to him – for about five minutes – the last time he was there, and he wasn’t even running for president then, but you have to wonder why Hillary, Cruz and Kasich didn’t want to be at the premiere event of the season.

In a year when it looks like things are shaping up to only give the American voters a chance to vote for two candidates that, frankly, most Americans hate, all the jokes fell a bit flat to me.

I’m sure I was in a bad mood, but my mom and I really wanted Bernie to win, and were proud that Utah had stood up so strong for him. I couldn’t understand why Obama kept bringing up the word, democracy, with all of the voter suppression going on.

I get sort of emotional when I’m around mom, but I couldn’t help but tear up.

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New York Has Me Worried

new y

This was the last thing I wanted to wake up and read this morning. It looks like a lot of young people in New York, who would most likely be voting for Bernie Sanders, have missed the boat, due to restrictive laws on voting registration.

Restrictive Rules Leave New York Voters Shut Out of Pivotal Primary

I just happened upon this “Democracy Now” segment that was taped the day after the Utah caucuses caught the nation by surprise and gave Sanders an overwhelming victory here. I don’t think the extent of the failure in the Arizona election had been looked at yet. It’s great to see my favorite Utah politician standing up for my favorite national politician and stating Sanders’s obvious advantages over Hillary:

Of course Sanders went on to a long string of solid wins after Utah and Idaho, showing a strong momentum if there ever was one. Polls in Utah showed that even Republicans trust Sanders more then the current front runner in their party and, like Rocky says, he’s a shoe-in over Hillary against any Republican now running for the general election slot.

Anderson, of the “Justice Party”, is upset about a blatant hit piece on Sanders in “The Washington Post”, derived from a poorly conducted and carved up interview from a rag called the “New York Daily News”. He’s made a list of questions a tough journalist could ask Hillary. It’s obvious this won’t happen at “The [Bezos] Post”; a publication which recently did 16 negative articles on Sanders in 16 hours.

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Libertarians Work Things Out With Their Mother

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This Can’t Be Real; Is It?

Charles Koch

Is Charles Koch so worried about Donald Trump taking over the earth without his permission, that he actually said these things, or hired somebody to say these things?

Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right

I would suggest that Bernie Sanders and Charles Koch schedule a little fireside chat on national television. I’m sure Sanders would agree. It would knock Trump clean out of the national discussion for a month.

Nobody ever listens to my ideas.

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Why We Must Have a Revolution This Year

Not personal its business

Today we learned of the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which immediately prompted Tea-GOPers to threaten what amounts to a shutdown of the SCOTUS. President Obama responded by announcing his intent to nominate a new justice anyway.

Tonight there was another Tea-GOP debate, in which Donald Trump absolutely reamed John Ellis (Jeb!) Bush and Marco Roboto on the subject of George W. Bush’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq fiasco/war of aggression. If anybody’s interested, Iraq is one of several issues where Trump has positioned himself to the left of Hillary Clinton. So-called “free trade” is another. He is winning the race for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination.

Enough about the politicians! Last Wednesday something happened that’s more significant.

The past few years have been very good for United Technologies. The contractor does billions of dollars a year in business with the federal government. CEO Gregory Hayes pulled down nearly $10 million in 2014, and over $20 million the year before. On Thursday, the company reported $7.6 billion in profits, up from $6.2 billion the year before, and $5.7 billion the year before that. In October, United Technologies even expanded its stock buyback program to $12 billion. Spending the company’s money to purchase its own stock elevates the value of its share prices. United Technologies was so flush with cash that it could burn money to boost returns for its investors.

Surely this largesse would trickle down to its rank-and-file employees, right?

Not exactly.

On Wednesday, Carrier, the air conditioner manufacturing wing of United Technologies, told workers at its Indianapolis plant that it would be outsourcing their jobs to Monterrey, Mexico.

“Throughout the transition, we must remain committed to manufacturing the same high-quality products,” an executive can be heard insisting in a video of the announcement.

“Yeah, fuck you!” a member of the crowd responds.

“Please quiet down,” the official says. “This was an extremely difficult decision.”

“Was it?!”

“I want to be clear. This is strictly a business decision,” the corporate spokesman says on the video.

The only thing Americans can do is vote in unprecedented strength and elect Bernie Sanders to the presidency. It might be our last chance to save ourselves.

More info:
Watch Corporate America Turn A Room Full Of Workers Into Bernie Sanders And Donald Trump Supporters

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Why We Need To Get Serious About Our Campaign Finance and Communication Laws

Can somebody tell me how the public is being served on our airwaves? I thought there were laws about this sort of thing.

Les Moonves

The CEO at CBS, Les Moonvez, had this to say about that television station’s coverage of the 2016 race, at a UBS investment bank seminar:

…we have the superbowl and we have a year of political advertising that looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty phenomenal, you know, we love having all 16 Republican candidates throwing crap at each other, it’s great! The more they spend the better it is for us and uh… GO DONALD! Keep gettin’ out there and, you know, this is fun. Let them spend money on us and we love having them in there and we’re looking forward to a very exciting political year in 2016.

You can hear the quote at this link from BradBlog’s post on 12/11/2015. [at about 30:00 minutes in]

But let’s not let ABC or all the other outlets off the hook for downright bad coverage of the election, and the debates which haven’t included even one question about climate change from the moderators.

The real story of this election season, is how a self described “democratic socialist” has become the favorite of the American public. Bernie Sanders would easily win a contest with Donald Trump if the election were held today, but except for a couple of debates, he doesn’t exist on the public airwaves:

From Media Matters:

So in terms of stand-alone campaign stories this year, it’s been 234 minutes for Trump, compared to 10 minutes for Sanders. And at ABC World News Tonight, it’s been 81 minutes for Trump and less than one minute for Sanders.

NPR reported 20 seconds for Sanders on ABC World News.

Let “the invisible hand of the market” pick your president.

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Giant Woop!

wealthy landing

Competition among billionaires has actually landed a rocket on earth.

Almost 50 years ago, the United States sent men to the moon, landed them there, and brought them safely back to earth, just like president Kennedy envisioned, and less then ten years after he envisioned it.

Today, Billionaires are sending spacecraft into near earth, and landing them, with the hope that someday, we’ll be sending other very wealthy people into space for a sort of amusment park ride, and returning them safely to earth.

I don’t really have anything against Elon Musk, the Virgin guy, or the Amazon guy following their spacey dreams, but I think the government did pretty well in the past, and I’ll bet you it could have even come up with reusable rockets by now.

So…

Do we really need billionaires to create our future, or would a government, elected by the people, as it was in the past, work better to educate our kids without burying them in debt, and build the great innovations that can get us out of the mess the giant corporations have created for us?

Today, we have a handful of un-elected, plutocrat Kings telling our – sort of – elected leaders to ignore us.

Happy Holidays though. It’s actually – sort of – snowing in Utah for a change. You won’t have to worry about having a “White Christmas”, unless the rain melts it. :)

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