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demwing

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Venice, California
Current location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Member since: Fri Jul 2, 2004, 04:55 PM
Number of posts: 13,555

Journal Archives

RIP John Belushi

today marks the 33rd anniversary of the death of John Belushi, who died in 1982 at the age of 33. Take a moment to remember this legend of comedy, and post your own favorite video:

https://m.

CONGRATS TO THE GROUP

We hit a milestone today with our 4,000 post!

Thank you 4,000 times!

Picking Sides

The other day I did my shopping, and yeah, I went to WalMart.

I know it's a shit place for Americans to shop, but it's the best place for a poor dad like me to buy groceries in my town.

I weighed the effect on the economy, and I weighed the effect on my family,

Then I picked a side.

So I was outside the devil's own store, waiting for a ride home from a friend, my cart full of groceries, when a man came ripping out the front door, a WalMart employee literally riding his back. They struggled right in front of me, and as the WalMart employee lost his grip, his captive made a break for it...

I knew he was a shoplifter. i also knew that if I pushed my cart a little to the right, I'd be in front of him. He'd go down, and the WalMart mountie would get his man.

So I picked a side.

I did nothing and the man escaped. I justified it to myself by telling myself that WalMart could easily absorb the cost, and that I really didn't give a damn if the Walton's lost out.

I have a feeling that as times get tougher, so will our choices. We will all eventually have to pick a side--corporatist or populist--and maybe sacrifice our short term interests (like my food budget) for our long term survival.

We will also have to ask if stealing from the Walton's is just petty theft, or if it can possibly be a measure of populist revolt? Consider the Boston Tea Party. All that tea in Boston harbor belonged to someone, and the only reason we remember the conspirators as patriots instead of as thieves is because we eventually won that war, and wrote that history.

How do we convey that message to a country, without looking like we are just empowering criminals?

How do we pick a side, and have America side with us?

A VERY Young Jon Stewart interviews George Carlin

Where's the ethical balance of America's scales of justice?

Thursday, February 5, 2015 | by Jim Hightower



Is it really "fair and balanced"? I don't mean the ridiculous Fox TV channel, whose right-wing ranters mock their own PR slogan – but, rather, a network that actually matters in our society: America's legal system.

To check the balance of the scales of justice, look at how the system treats the very rich… and the poor. As we've seen, Wall Street barons have grossly fattened themselves by running frauds and scams that wreaked trillions of dollars in damages to working families, homeowners, and taxpayers – yet not a single one of them has been indicted or even seriously pursued by the law. More recently, such corporate profiteers as JPMorgan Chase have paid billions of dollars in fines for serious criminal acts, but the executive criminals who pulled these capers have skated free without ever being charged.

Now, meet Gina Ray, who is neither a CEO nor a serious offender, but a hard-hit, low-income American. She's one of hundreds who're being jailed, not by the police, but by a growing network of corporate fee-chasers empowered by state legislatures to fine and imprison poor people who've committed minor infractions. Ms. Ray, an unemployed 31-year-old in Rural Alabama, got caught-up in this privatized probation system over a speeding ticket. Her problem mushroomed, and she was unable to pay, so the corporatized legal system locked her up and hit her with company fees for each of the 40 days she was behind bars. Her original $179 ticket has now surpassed $3,000. She was not told that she has a right to a court-appointed lawyer or offered any alternatives to more fines and jail. "We hear a lot of 'I can't pay the fee,'" says one of the private prosecutors, adding chillingly that, "It is not our job to figure that out."

http://jimhightower.com/node/8542#.VNTsgC7_hlM


That last sentence gave me a waking nightmare: "It is not our job to figure that out."

1. Private Prosecutors have no place in a Democracy
2. I'll tell you what else is not "your job to figure out"... innocence and guilt.

It is impossible to have a justice system that derives financial benefit from the guilt of the accused. When that happens, there is no justice - just profit.

Listen to Hightower lay it down in his own voice:
http://jimhightower.com/sites/jimhightower.civicactions.net/files/3-23_r_show.mp3


Let’s Not Morph Obama Into Elizabeth Warren Quite Yet...

He’s not suddenly Paul Krugman: Let’s not morph Obama into Elizabeth Warren quite yet

BILL CURRY | SALON
SUNDAY, JAN 25, 2015 07:00 AM EST

"Populist State of the Union with a fiery tone has liberals excited. They'd be wise to remember Obama's true nature"



What should we make of this new Obama? Are he and his new agenda for real? For liberals, these are tender questions. When Obama first appeared, their response was almost worshipful. Even today, many liberals treat Obama’s progressive critics as apostates. Given their deep investment in him, the vitriol of Tea Party attacks and the looming specter of GOP rule, it’s easy to understand why. But it’s crucial now for his liberal critics and defenders alike to see him as he is.

<snip>

Obama’s failure to reconcile words to deeds detracts mightily from the grab bag of ideas he offers under the catchy title “middle class economics.” As noted, these policies could really improve people’s lives. But while he’s out thumping for them, he’s in hot pursuit of what he hopes will be his last coup, approval of the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership. It’s such a popular idea he chose not to breathe its name in his speech. What he did say was worth sampling if only to savor its cleverness: “China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. We should write those rules… That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.”

He doesn’t want another free trade fiasco like that awful NAFTA, just “trade promotion authority to protect American workers.” Surely we can all be for that.

Nearly all left-leaning Democrats oppose the TPTP: Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Bob Reich, Elizabeth Warren. One can’t imagine Obama changing his mind on it any more than one imagines him asking any of them to help craft his new populist agenda. As he likes to reassure his donors, “I’m a market kind of guy,” meaning he comes as close as a Democrat can to being a market ideologue. And yes, there is such a thing.


http://www.salon.com/2015/01/25/hes_not_suddenly_paul_krugman_lets_not_morph_obama_into_elizabeth_warren_quite_yet/


more at link....

The Hightower Lowdown - The Trans Pacific Partnership

January 2015, Volume 17, Number 1
Written by Jim Hightower



During the past six years, the officials and trade specialists of the 12 countries have huddled in 24 rounds of intense, deeply secret negotiations, and now they're ready to spring their scheme on the unsuspecting public. This year--possibly in March--Obama will hold a flashy press conference, launch a major PR campaign, and begin arm-twisting and horse-trading to try winning congressional ratification of the TPP coup.

I have no clue why he is doing this to us, but I do know that we must defeat his raw deal of a trade bill. And we can, in large part because its contents are butt-ugly--but we have a job ahead of us to make sure that the American people see those contents. The danger posed by TPP's package of corporate favors can be summed up in a line from Bruce King, the former governor of New Mexico. He was a good guy, but he was given to mangling metaphors and goofing up literary references. One day, a couple of staffers urged him to support a particular bill, but Bruce thought it sounded pretty dicey, so he backed away, saying: "I don't know, boys--I'm afraid we're about to open a big box of Pandoras."

Goofy, yet well-put! Let's peek at a few of the Pandoras in the TPP box:

http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/3851#.VMWUYdLF_To


See that Pandora's Box at the link above...but do not miss this lowdown!

Starting with the WTO and NAFTA, and drawing the money line through to the TPP, Hightower exposes the ongoing corporate coup d'etat, and absolutely goes ballistic on the Clintons, the Bushes, AND Obama for "stealthfully negotiated international trade deals during the past two-plus decades that have fabricated, piece by piece, what now amounts to a privatized world government. It's a secretive, autocratic, plutocratic, bureaucratic government of, by, and for multinational corporations."


Elizabeth Warren Stands Up: Antonio Weiss Goes Down

Warren’s grounds for objecting to Weiss were straightforward: his experience was no fit for the requirements of his proposed Treasury role. On top of that, he had been involved in and therefore profited from acquisitions called inversions that Treasury opposes because they reduce the taxes paid by the acquirer, which uses the acquired company to move its headquarters to a lower-tax jurisdiction.

Today (1/12/15) Weiss withdrew as a candidate for the Treasury position...

...

Having someone with that background as a well placed insider made it abundantly clear how serious the Administration was about cleaning up crisis-related abuses. Having Antonio Weiss, even in a lesser role at Treasury, will, as it did with Lee Sachs, inhibit any investigation into areas that relate to the work he did at Lazard. That’s a feature, not a bug. Having Antonio Weiss in Treasury in any capacity sends a powerful signal that Obama remains deeply committed to advancing the pet needs of major financial firms.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/elizabeth-warren-takes-scalp-antonio-weiss-withdraws-nomination-3-position-treasury.html


3rd way "Dems" ask us whether America is ready for Economic Populism, but that question is a red herring. America has ALWAYS been populist, and populism is the foundation of the Bill of Rights. The real question is whether the Party Leadership can be made to embrace that populism, and if not, can they be made to get the hell outta the way?

Despite the fact that Weiss will still have a role, he will NOT have any teeth. This is a solid victory for representative government. Whether the party is ready or not, Warren and Sanders are setting the agenda by force of personality and perseverance, and strengthening our populist foundation, one plank at a time.




REQUEST: I propose each group have a "Host Hotline"

or some other named feature, where group members can contact the group hosts as a collective. All incoming messages to the Host Hotline can be viewed by all of the hosts for that group, and be responded to by any/all of that group's hosts. Most importantly, the response from any host will be seen by all of the hosts for that group.

This will allow group hosts to present a unified message, and give group founders the ability to ensure a group's integrity.

thanks

Come Together (Joe Cocker from "Across the Universe")

this is what I think of when I think of Joe Cocker (RIP) ...


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