August 28, 2011
Fascism, Democracy, and the Workplace
Yellow Journalism At Its Worst
I recently read an article on Alternet by Adele M. Stan entitled 5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution -- 'Cuddly' Libertarian Has Some Very Dark Politics, the byline of which reads "He's anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-senior-citizen, anti-equality and anti-education, and that's just the start." I read it with an open mind wondering if perhaps I should rethink my support of Dr. Paul for president, but it turns out the article is one of the worst pieces of poorly-researched yellow journalism I've seen this side of Fox News. It is clear that Addie Stan failed to do even the most basic fact-checking before rolling out a bloated party-line attack ad. The half-truths, confabulations, and outright lies contained within it irritated me enough that I posted the following response:
THINGS THIS ARTICLE MISREPRESENTS:
Ron Paul is NOT anti-woman. Dr. Paul is a licensed physician who practiced obstetrics and gynecology prior to entering politics, assisting in the delivery of more than 4,000 babies over the course of his medical practice. He does personally hold socially conservative Christian values and believes that life begins at conception, but unlike many others in the Republican party he believes the federal government has no right to impose his socially conservative values on the entire nation. Dr. Paul consistently opposes a federal ban on abortion and believes quite reasonably that the question should be left up to the states (video here and here). Dr. Paul voted against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, a bill designed to criminalize the transportation of pregnant minors across state lines with the intention of the minor obtaining an abortion. Dr. Paul voted against the misleadingly titled Population Planning Bill, a bill designed to forbid dispersal of aid funds to international women's health groups that also perform abortions even though they are already prohibited from using those funds to cover abortion services. Dr. Paul also voted against the equally misleadingly titled Child Custody Protection Act, another bill intended to prohibit the transportation of a minor across state lines to avoid parental notification laws and obtain access to abortion services. Those are pretty progressive politics for a socially conservative pro-life Christian.
Ron Paul is NOT anti-gay. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell proclaimed, "[w]ithout Ron Paul in this race, we would never hear one sensible thing said about marriage equality on the presidential debate stage... and no American politician is in a position to change more minds about marriage equality than Ron Paul. He is not speaking to the converted; he is speaking to conservative Republicans, he is speaking to evangelical Christians, he is going into the halls of the staunchest opponents of marriage equality in this country and he is telling them a truth so clear and so powerful that he is surely changing minds." Dr. Paul opposes a federal ban on gay marriage, and believes "[a]ll voluntary associations, whether they're economic or social, should be protected by the law." In fact he doesn't just believe it, he expressed it on Fox News at a Republican presidential debate broadcast when he would have had much to gain politically from pandering to evangelical homophobia. Dr. Paul voted against the Same-Sex Marriage Resolution, a 2006 joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment providing that marriage in the U.S. consists only of the union of a man and a woman and that federal and state constitutions can not be construed to require marriage or legal incidents of marriage be conferred in other unions. Dr. Paul voted to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. When interviewed by arch-conservative John Lofton on his evangelical right-wing radio program The American View, Ron Paul eloquently defended a position of tolerance for people of all sexual orientations in a situation when it would have been politically beneficial for him to confirm the bigoted views of the listening audience. LOFTON: "Let's shift gears here to another topic: Homosexuality. Do you believe it's a sin?" PAUL: "I'm not as judgmental about that, probably because of my medical background." LOFTON: "Do you believe that God says it's a sin?" PAUL: "Well, I believe a lot of people understand it that way, but I think everybody's God's child too, so I have trouble with that." Repent America, an evangelistic organization in the extreme theocratic right wing that is "focused on the public proclamation of the Gospel to further the Kingdom of God") have even used this interview in attack ads against him because he does not believe homosexuality is a sin.
Ron Paul is NOT anti-black. Nelson Linder, President of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, a member of Dr. Paul's constituency who has known Dr. Paul for 20 years, unequivocally dismissed charges that the Congressman was a racist and stated that the reason he was being attacked as a racist in the press was that he was a threat to the establishment (audio). Ron Paul is the only candidate from the two major parties who has consistently opposed the "War on Drugs," which the NAACP has rightfully denounced as the last bastion of institutionalized racism in America. Dr. Paul is the only candidate from a major party who has vowed to issue a Presidential pardon to all nonviolent drug offenders (1:38 into this video), the disproportionate majority of whom are disadvantaged minorities unfairly targeted by law enforcement for the color of their skin (A black man's view on Ron Paul being racist: Part 1, Part 2).
Ron Paul is NOT anti-senior citizen. Dr. Paul voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, a bill designed to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices for drugs for people enrolled in Medicare part D. Dr. Paul voted for the Social Security Benefits Tax Relief bill, a bill that lowers the percentage of Social Security benefits subject to taxation. Dr. Paul voted for the Social Security Lock Box bill, a bill that implements procedural safeguards that make it more difficult to allocate Social Security surpluses for other programs. Dr. Paul voted for the Social Security Account Protection bill, a bill that provides 90% of any federal surplus for Social Security. Dr. Paul IS for a strict interpretation of the constitutional limitations on the power of the federal government, including the power of the federal government to raise revenue and regulate interstate commerce. Dr. Paul is also one of two members of Congress who refuses to accept a Congressional pension.
Ron Paul is NOT anti-equality, and to even begin to claim it without a shred of evidence is patently absurd on the part of the author. Even a cursory glance at his voting record over his twelve terms in Congress clearly demonstrates that his highest priority as a legislator is limiting the power of the government to violate the civil rights and liberties of all Americans. For specific refutations, just read the preceding paragraphs refuting the spurious claims of misogyny, racism, and homophobia.
Ron Paul is NOT anti-education. Dr. Paul voted for the College Student Relief Act of 2007, a bill that lowers interest rates on student loans. He voted for the Academic Achievement for All Act, a bill allowing states to receive K-12 federal education funds in the form of block grants. He voted for the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999, a bill allowing all states to apply for waivers from federal education regulations previously required in order to obtain funding for disadvantaged students, technology assistance, teacher training, and vocational education. He voted for the HELP Scholarships bill, a bill that would allow states to provide scholarships for children of low-income families to attend private schools of their choosing. These are not the actions of a legislator with an anti-education agenda.
Ron Paul is NOT in league with Christian Reconstructionist theocrats who would make laws respecting an establishment a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Dr. Paul voted against the National Day of Prayer Resolution, a concurrent resolution to "recommend that United States' leaders call for national days of prayer and urge all Americans to seek God through humble prayer and fasting."
THINGS THIS ARTICLE REPORTS ACCURATELY:
Ron Paul IS anti-war. He has consistently opposed interventionist foreign policy and American imperialism since the very beginning of his political career, as can immediately be confirmed by looking at his voting record. Then listen to what he himself has to say on the topic.
Ron Paul DID oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for exactly the reason quoted in the article: "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society." Dr. Paul DOES NOT oppose civil rights and fully supported the Act's repeal of Jim Crow laws, but he was deeply disturbed by the expansion of the power of the federal government over the behavior of private individuals.
Ron Paul DID co-sponsor a bill to overturn Roe v. Wade, for the same reason he voted against a Constitutional ban on abortion: he believes it to be out of the jurisdiction of the federal government.
A number of UNATTRIBUTED newsletters with Ron Paul's name in the title did come out in the early 1990's containing baldly racist and homophobic material. His response to that material is telling : "The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts." This can easily be confirmed by looking into publications and recordings directly from Ron Paul himself from both before and after the newsletters in question, including the following three-part recording of an educational program about juror's rights from 1989, in which Dr. Paul expresses his reading of and admiration for staunch abolitionist Lysander Spooner while simultaneously defending the principle of jury nullification of unjust legislation: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Ron Paul DOES support an end to the federal government levying taxes to provide social assistance programs, based on a strict interpretation of the role of federal government, because of his fundamental agreement with Thomas Jefferson "[t]hat to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical." (A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, Chapter 82 (1779). Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904, Vol. 1, pp. 438–441.)
Ron Paul DID deliver the keynote address at the 50th anniversary of the John Birch Society. Dr. Paul used this opportunity to speak out against imperialist American foreign policy, the war on our own people called "The War on Drugs," the overarching reach of the federal government into our personal life, and the devaluation of American currency. Incidentally, Ron Paul is not nor ever has been a member of the John Birch society.
THINGS THIS ARTICLE FAILS TO MENTION:
Ron Paul voted against the USA Patriot Act, and against every single one of the Patriot Act extension or reauthorization bills. Dr. Paul also voted for a movement to amend the Patriot Act to eliminate provisions that violate the civil liberties of American citizens.
Ron Paul repeatedly speaks out against the use of torture and government assassination of enemies of the state (more documentary evidence: 1, 2, 3). Dr. Paul voted to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He also voted for the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, a bill which was designed to increase the oversight and accountability of the intelligence community and mandate that no person in the custody of an element of the intelligence community shall be "subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations." Though I have no documentary evidence to support my theory, I believe his opposition to torture may be predicated by his experience as a flight surgeon in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Dr. Paul voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which specifies that enemy combatants are not able to invoke rights under the Geneva Convention and prohibits courts, justices, or judges from hearing or considering writs of habeas corpus or any other action filed by or on the behalf of detained enemy combatants.
Ron Paul voted for the Reporter's Source Confidentiality Guidelines, a bill that prohibits the federal government or a communications service provider from requiring a reporter to disclose writings, recordings, photographs, or the identity of a source without due process of law.
Dr. Paul voted against the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, a bill that expanded the definition of "agent of a foreign power" to include a person who is "reasonably expected to possess, control, transmit, or receive foreign intelligence while such person is in the U.S.," allowed the President to authorize surveillance without a court order, allowed the Attorney General to authorize emergency electronic surveillance prior to obtaining a court order, and prohibited a court from imposing a penalty on any person for an activity relating to an element of the intelligence community between the period of September 11th, 2001 and 60 days after the enactment of this act, whether or not such an act was found to be criminal.
Ron Paul voted for the Patients' Bill of Rights, a bill which authorizes cooperative partnerships between employers and insurers, creates tax-free medical savings accounts, and expands the size of health insurance pools in order to provide alternative means of giving healthcare coverage to uninsured employees.
Ron Paul voted for the Backup Paper Ballots bill, a bill that provides grants to state and local governments for making backup paper ballots available in the November 2008 election to prevent irregularities in balloting due to errors or tampering with electronic voting machines.
Ron Paul voted for the Prohibiting Funds From Being Used in Contradiction to the War Powers Resolution bill, an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that prohibits any funds made available by that act from being used in violation of the War Powers Resolution.
Ron Paul voted against the Ending Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Rigs that Meet Certain Safety Standards resolution, an amendment that exempts applicants from the moratorium against deepwater drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf if they meet specific requirements.
Ron Paul voted against the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001, a bill that would prohibit all forms of human cloning regardless of purpose, even for important medical advancements.
Ron Paul opposes federal regulation preventing Americans from purchasing raw, unprocessed, and organic foods. Dr. Paul introduced the Raw Milk Freedom Bill, HR 1830, to protect the freedoms of small producers and their customers against abuses by the FDA.
The article would more accurately be titled "Reasons Progressives Should Treat Adele M. Stan with Extreme Caution." The author clearly has not engaged in sufficient fact-finding prior to publication; Ms. Stan makes spurious claims and engages in ungrounded ad hominem attacks against Dr. Paul based on rumors and innuendo which evaporate when subjected to proper scrutiny. It's certainly good advice that all concerned citizens should always exhibit extreme caution when selecting elected representatives, including Ron Paul. The best place to begin is to look at his voting record, and then perhaps you should listen to what the man actually has to say from his own mouth, rather than what third parties say he has to say. There is not a single member of either Chamber of Congress who has been a more resolute defender of civil liberties and the rule of law than Dr. Ron Paul. His record speaks for itself.
Say hello to Zachary Sneddon!
I've long been wanting to make the Punk Patriot brand more "open source." This is a good way to do it. Zachary and I see eye to eye on a lot, and I'm glad to have him on board as a fellow Punk Patriot.
August 23, 2011
What if we started spending money on Green Energy instead of Oil Wars?
I posted on my facebook profile a link to an article in Reuters about how 15% of Americans are on foodstamps, and how wages are so low, and the cost of living so high, that many people cannot afford to live without them.
One of the responses was thus:
" Can you just imagine if gas prices dropped to less then $1.18 a gallon how that would stimulate the economy and create thousands of jobs because we all would have more disposable income. We wouldn't need to be a food stamp nation then would we?????"
Here's the thing:
Gasoline prices are never coming down. Ever. This type of thinking doesn't even begin to tackle the actual problem. Yes, it's true that the increase in the cost of living is largely due to increases in energy prices. And by "energy" I mean "petroleum."
If we had spent as much money on developing renewable energies as we have on oil wars, we could have solved the energy crisis several times over. But we're so stupidly stuck in the old ways of doing things, we may end up sending our species back to the stone age. Petroleum has been a party since it was discovered, but the supply has been decreasing since it started coming out of the ground. Many scientists place Peak Oil, the point at which the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction before terminal decline is reached, at right about now. After this point is reached, it will begin to take more energy to extract the oil than you can get by burning it.
And here's a dirty secret: alternatives to petrol, like Solar and Wind, they require physical infrastructure. You gotta build solar panels out of stuff. You gotta build wind turbines out of stuff. That takes energy too. During this last hurrah of oil, we should be fanatically shifting to solar and wind power, to replace out current energy infrastructure with renewables. If we don't, we may not have the energy infrastructure in place to create the energy infrastructure we will need. Get it?
The only energy input the Earth has is the sun. This is referred to as solar income. Via the fossilization of massive swaths of ancient forests, petrol was created. Petrol was like being given an inheritance by a rich grandfather (who happened to literally be a dinosaur). Now, we're not going to get any more solar income than we ever had in the past. We should be investing that inheritance on the things we need to allow our technology to sustain itself on that solar income. Instead we've been pissing it away on cars, tvs, and cheap plastic toys.
We are at a crucial, and possibly terminal juncture in human history. If we as a species can gather the collective forethought to invest in a rapid and complete transition to renewable energy, and bring our civilization in line with the laws of biological economics, we can continue to flourish and grow and evolve. And so can our technology. In this scenario, we may even achieve that Star Trek future, where we live in peace and explore the infinite vastness of outer space for the rest of eternity.
But if we fail to make the transition to renewable energy during this brief window of time when we still have relatively cheap and abundant oil, there is no second chance. If we decide to do what is cheapest in the short term, the party is over. Thanks to petrol, we've been living beyond our means. Even our food supply is infused with petrol based fertilizers. We have been running up a literal energy bill, and when biology calls in their collections agents, it's not going to be pretty. I'm talking massive death tolls, famine, disease, decay, and our permanent decline as a species.
Forget that Star Trek future. We will be stuck here on earth, and our existence will be erased from the history of the universe when the sun burns out. Just another species of dumb ape, doomed to extinction by our foolish shortsightedness.
August 16, 2011
Support Cheri Honkala for Sheriff of Philadelphia!
Cheri Honkala is a formerly homeless single mother who for the past 25 years has been the foremost activist for the poor and homeless in America. She is now the first woman to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia and the first Sheriff candidate refusing to throw families out of their homes.
She needs our support NOW! Donate $20 today!
More Info: CheriHonkala.com
Capitalism: Abandoned Homes and Gardens Rot While the Homeless Starve
That is until this liberal bleeding heart interloper decides to start stealing food from the banks! That's the bank's property lady! We're supposed to be teaching the poor how much it sucks to be poor! We can't do that if you feed them! Hunger is a positive motivator to work for subminimum wages! You're screwing the whole thing up!
From the New York Times:
ATLANTA — As she does every evening, Kelly Callahan walked her dogs through her East Atlanta neighborhood. As in many communities in a city with the 16th-highest foreclosure rate in the nation, there were plenty of empty, bank-owned properties for sale.
She noticed something else. Those forlorn yards were peppered with overgrown gardens and big fruit trees, all bulging with the kind of bounty that comes from the high heat and afternoon thunderstorms that have defined Atlanta’s summer.
So she began picking. First, there was a load of figs, which she intends to make into jam for a cafe that feeds homeless people. Then, for herself, she got five pounds of tomatoes, two kinds of squash and — the real prize — a Sugar Baby watermelon.
THAT IS THEFT! You're stealing from the banks! They were going to let that food sit there and rot to teach poor people a lesson, but then you had to go an steal it! You're messing the whole thing up! Capitalism can only work if there's scarcity! If we suddenly find that things are plentiful, why... the banks wouldn't be able to control all the capital... and then... yada yada yada, we'd be eating babies and so on!
“I don’t think of it as stealing,” she said. “These things were planted by a person who was going to harvest them. That person no longer has the ability to. It’s not like the bank people who sit in their offices are going to come out here and pick figs.”
Of course, a police officer who catches her might not agree with Ms. Callahan’s legal assessment. And it would be a rare bank official who would sign off.
And they shouldn't either! How else are we going to teach the poor how much it sucks to be poor? It's bad enough we have charities and a hole-ridden social safety net for crying out loud...
Over the last few years, in cities from Oakland, Calif., to Clemson, S.C., well-intentioned foraging enthusiasts have mapped public fruit trees and organized picking parties. Volunteers descend on generous homeowners who are happy to share their bounty, sometimes getting a few jars of preserves in return.
There are government efforts to turn abandoned land into food, too. In Multnomah County, Ore., officials offer property that has been seized for back taxes to community and governmental organizations for gardens.
They are advocating for COMMUNISM! We can't let the Rooskis win the cold war! That's exactly what they are doing! Unless we have starving homeless, the terrorists, er, the communists have won!
But with more and more properties in foreclosure and large stretches of vacant lots available in some cities, a new, guerrilla-style harvest is taking shape.
Robby Astrove works with Concrete Jungle, a fruit-foraging organization in Atlanta that in 2009 began building a database of untended fruit and nut trees on commercial and public land. The group donates most of the food to agencies that feed the hungry.
[...] “It’s a beautiful idea,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a neighbor’s tree or a vacant lot or a foreclosure or whatever. It’s you and that fruit tree right at that precise moment when the fruit is ready and you need to make something happen.”
Yeah, it's totally okay to tresspass on bank property and steal from them. This "whatever it takes" attitude is exactly the kind of attitude these communist socialists have. Whatever it takes, no matter who they have to steal from! And quit stealing perfectly good food out of the dumpsters at the grocery store too! Sure, that food technically is still perfectly fine to eat, contained in hermetically sealed packages, and still has a week until it expires... but without artificially created scarcity capital markets cannot function! Do you want to destroy capitalism or something? I'll remind you that Capitalism is the greatest best freest system of economics since feudalism!
The point, she and other urban fruit foragers say, is to keep food from going to waste. Ms. Callahan, who works for the Carter Center and lived in Africa for eight years, has seen true hunger and cannot bear to watch food rot.
“If food is going bad on the vine,” she said, that says something about us as a society. “It doesn’t matter if the bank owns it. We should be more communal than that.”
COMMUNAL?! Sounds like COMMUNISM TO ME!
Although urban foragers see no harm in picking the produce, one would be hard-pressed to find a real estate agent or a banker who would officially encourage the practice.
Still, a ripe fig is a ripe fig.
Typical liberal namby pamby, wishy washy leftist tripe from the New York Times. We're in a class war against the poor here! Pick a side!
August 15, 2011
[Music] The Whole F**king Thing Is Coming Down
Hedge funds, derivatives, tea pot dome
wall street gambling, using your home
congress isn't gonna do a single fucking thing
because their campaign contributions all come attached to strings
The Democratic Party is a failing institution
what we need now is a real revolution
The United States is a global empire
The Factory owner is a fucking vampire
sucking wealth from the poor
committing wage theft
who will work for you when we've starved to death?
CHORUS: And the whole fucking thing is coming down x4
I work full time in a factory
but that doesn't mean I can afford to eat
I've got student loans, but no degree
so I'm gonna die working at a machine
No health insurance, we're all temporary hires
so if we get sick we'll just hurry up and die
wages so low we can't afford the rent
so we have to rely on the government
but the rich man doesn't want to pay his taxes
so the social programs, they'll all get the axe
we don't complain, we don't bitch
the only thing we've got left to eat is the rich
CHORUS: and the whole fucking thing is coming down x4
August 13, 2011
Bahrain: Shouting In The Dark
The untold story of Bahrain
Bahrain: An island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf where the Shia Muslim majority are ruled by a family from the Sunni minority. Where people fighting for democratic rights broke the barriers of fear, only to find themselves alone and crushed.
This is their story and Al Jazeera is their witness - the only TV journalists who remained to follow their journey of hope to the carnage that followed.
This is the Arab revolution that was abandoned by the Arabs, forsaken by the West and forgotten by the world.
August 12, 2011
Our Economy Is Run by Sociopaths
A study published in Psychological Science in November, for instance, found that people of upper-class status have trouble recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. People of lower-class status do a much better job.
"What I think is really interesting about that is, it kind of shows there’s all this strength to the lower class identity: greater empathy, more altruism, and finer attunement to other people,” Keltner said.
“One clear policy implication is, the idea of nobless oblige or trickle-down economics, certain versions of it, is bull," Keltner added. "Our data say you cannot rely on the wealthy to give back. The ‘thousand points of light’—this rise of compassion in the wealthy to fix all the problems of society—is improbable, psychologically."
Those in the upper-class tend to hoard resources and be less generous than they could be.
Now, some would argue that just because they are almost incapable of empathy, it doesn't mean that they are sociopaths.
But that's because they don't understand the definition of Sociopahty (aka Psychopathy):
From the DSM IV:
A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
* failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
* deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
* impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
* irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
* reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
* consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
And from the World Health Organization's ICD-10:
It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
Callous unconcern for the feelings of others and lack of the capacity for empathy.
Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.
Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
Incapacity to experience guilt and to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior bringing the subject into conflict.
Now watch these Goldman Sachs execs and Health Insurance execs testify before congress with these definitions in mind:
Recision: to drop an insured client from coverage
It's often more profitable for insurance companies to drag out the claims process, then drop clients and pay a $100-a-day fine while waiting for their clients to die, than to cover the claim.
Now, I just threw this post together in the half hour I've been drinking my coffee before leaving to go to work. With more time, I can dredge up even more poignant examples.
Our economy is run by sociopaths.
Dylan Ratigan tears the DNC and GOP both a new a**hole
Dennis Kucinich on Countdown w Keith Olbermann
"Our whole economy has been protecting an investor class at the expense of everybody else."
August 11, 2011
So first the context-- According to the Supreme Court, money is equal to free speech.
Public Citizen and the Story Of Stuff Project have teamed up today with a simple idea to protest this idea and get people thinking about how absurd that is:
Instead of using words, let's just use dollar signs to communicate!
People are visiting http://storyofstuff.org/dollarsordemocracy/ and reposting the following into their twitter feeds and facebook statuses:
#WeThePeople will #reclaim
Right now on twitter, the #WeThePeople & #Reclaim hashtags are trending worldwide!
It's genius. It doesn't actually SAY anything. Which I guess is really the point. Money isn't speech.
While this is a form of slacktivism, my hope is that it's a big first step for a lot of people who are only marginally aware of the issue.
For more info on Citizens United go to: http://storyofstuff.org/citizensunited/
Sign up for updates from Public Citizen here: https://secure.citizen.org/t/10694/signUp.jsp?key=5059
August 10, 2011
Default: The Student Loan Documentary
In the film “Network” the protagonist, Howard Beale’s makes a to arms: “First you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a human being goddammit-- my life has value!’ I want you to get up now, I want all of you to get up out of your chairs, go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!’”
If you’re like me, you’re a twenty something who has gone to college in the USA, and are currently trying to pay thousands of dollars of student loans, have been in forbearance on multiple occasions, and have paid in interest the value of some of your loans multiple times over. You probably have floating around in your subconscious an unfocused notion that you and everybody you graduated with, everyone you work with, is getting swindled.
Default: The Student Loan Documentary draws on the stories of individuals like you, expert testimony, and simply runs the raw numbers to bring that unfocused notion into crystal clarity.
This film takes the elephant in the room that has been invisible right in front of our faces, and highlights it with neon orange spraypaint. YES you are getting swindled! YES our higher educational system is broken. YES the USA is becoming a debtors prison. YES it really was easier to get a college degree and a good paying job when your parents were your age. What’s more YES there is something you can do about it!
Just as Howard Beal’s call to arms rallied a nation, Default: The Student Loan Documentary has the potential to be a flashpoint for an entire generation to organize around. It is my hope that this film it will spawn a generation-wide economic justice movement.
Check the trailer:
August 8, 2011
Why are we worried? Credit Ratings are bullshit!
"S&P's ratings express our opinions. They do not speak to the market value for security, the volatility of it's price, or its suitability as an investment." -Deven Sharma, Standard & Poors Credit Rating Agency
"Our credit ratings are just opinions." - Stephen Joynt, Fitch Ratings
"[Credit Ratings] are opinions, and they are just opinions." - Raymond McDaniel, Moody's Corporation
Sure, here they were testifying before congress on their AAA rating for subprime mortgages. But hey! They still said it! It's in the congressional record!
Credit Ratings are total bullshit! Why should we take them seriously when they downgrade US Treasury Bonds?
Inside Job -or- "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to Jail."
Cheri Honkala: "It will be the Green Party that Stopped Foreclosures in the USA."
Cheri Honkala of The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign is running for Sheriff of Philadelphia with the Green Party!
Donate to her campaign by clicking here!