Me thinks this is a problem. The overall income distribution problem is laid out nicely here with all the stats you could possibly want. I have a feeling all those poor saps who are only in the 1-9% wealth bracket are the ones who immediately become a lobbyist after leaving in order to gain the money to be in the really exclusive top 1%!
20 Jan 2014
16 Dec 2013
…shocker, it’s likely illegal! Nice to see someone with power do the right thing.
Judge: NSA spying ‘almost Orwellian,’ likely unconstitutional
In a stinging rebuke to President Barack Obama’s surveillance policies, a federal judge on Monday branded the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone data “almost Orwellian” and likely a violation of the Constitution.
Appeals Court Judge Richard Leon invoked Founding Father James Madison and the Beatles in a frequently scathing ruling. Leon, appointed by then-President George W. Bush, ordered the government to halt bulk collection of so-called telephony metadata and destroy information already collected through that program. But he suspended his order as the case works its way through the courts.
“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Leon wrote.
The judge also dealt a blow to the government’s argument that such surveillance programs — a source of controversy ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed their reach in a series of unauthorized disclosures — are necessary to thwarting terrorist plots.
“The Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature,” he wrote.
21 Nov 2013
The 2003 version of Samantha Power excoriates the 2013 version of Samantha Power…
It’s a similar course for lots of partisan Democrats. And occasionally the reverse for partisan Republicans. It really is amazing to see Michelle Bachmann and her ilk have bipartisan agreement with President Obama and Senator Feinstein on issues like Afghanistan and NSA spying.
12 Nov 2013
The problem is crappy private contractors, and there are tons of them, and most of them make their money in the “defense” industry (feel safer?). 3 folks in the Bay Area decided to just write their own health care exchange website using publicly available data built by the healthcare.gov folks. Try it out, it’s amazingly quick and easy.
‘We were surprised to see that it was actually fairly difficult to use HealthCare.gov to find and understand our options,’ says George Kalogeropoulos, who created the site along with Ning Liang and Michael Wasser. ‘Given that the data was publicly available, we thought that it made a lot of sense to take the data that was on there and just make it easy to search through and view available plans.’ Of course, it’s not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site, which even President Obama has acknowledged as a horribly botched affair. ‘It isn’t a fair apples-to-apples comparison,’ says Kalogeropoulos. ‘Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn’t connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we’re using the government’s data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.’ “The Health Sherpa makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to compare health care plans covered under Obamacare in 34 states,” writes Connor Simpson at Atlantic Wire. “The result is a simple, beautiful, remarkably responsive website that anyone could use.’”
10 Oct 2013
Where the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus Lives
“North Carolina’s Eleventh District had been gerrymandered after the 2010 census to become the most Republican district in his state….While the big story of the 2012 election was about demographics and a growing non-white population that is increasingly Democratic, that was not the story in the Meadows race. His district is eighty-seven per cent white, five per cent Latino, and three per cent black.”
Thanks JM for the link!
03 Oct 2013
I say that tongue-in-cheek, I’m not a big fan of “humanitarian intervention” which is usually just an excuse for more bombing of “the others.” Check out this short article, makes some great points.
“There have been fewer than 20 terror-related deaths on American soil since 9/11 and about 364,000 deaths caused by privately owned firearms.”
14 Aug 2013
“You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.”
27 Feb 2013
This article is a must read. I will give you the biggest shocker which is in the title, if you thought “Too Big to Fail” was bad, how about we can’t prosecute banks for helping drug dealers and suspected terrorists launder money because putting executives in jail could destabilize the company and therefore the economy. Oh that holy fucking economy reasoning. Taibbi is an amazing journalist and this piece is possibly his most important.
02 Jan 2013
Some things are just blatant!
I must note that the “northern states” are not a utopia of diversity either, the racism there is more subtle and just institutionalized. To paraphrase Chris Rock, racism isn’t over when exceptional black people advance into jobs like Jackie Robinson, Oprah or Barack Obama, it’s when substandard black folks get these jobs too (like a black George W. Bush!).
-Thanks Jeffe for the image
12 Nov 2012
I loved this “New Rule” from one of Bill Maher’s recent shows.
“New Rule: The big banks have to stop figuring out ways for us to hate them more. [slide of Wells Fargo ad] This new Wells Fargo ad asks, “What is Wells Fargo doing to help the local economy? Answer: They’ve loaned money to small businesses.” Which sounds great until you remember, they’re a bank. That’s what banks do.
“It’s like Charmin running an ad that says, “We’re helping the local community by selling you something to wipe your a** with.”
I still see these ads all the time and every one reminds me of Maher’s joke. These banks stoop so low I wonder how much longer we will keep them in business.
06 Aug 2012
25 Jun 2012
I wanted to share this quote by Noam Chomsky about condemning the actions of the United States:
My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.
This is cited in Glenn Greenwald’s latest post and I wanted to highlight it here – it takes real courage to face up to people right in front of you.
This goes to all the loyal Democrats who think that because Obama is President that atrocities and war crimes are now okay. We need to confront crimes when we see them. Spying without warrants is still bad, kill lists are bad, bombing civilians is still bad, indefinite detention without criminal charge is still a crime, prosecuting whistle blowers remains bad, invading or occupying countries that never attacked you is still really, really bad.
21 Jun 2012
The only thing I might change about the video is to include how American’s are doing the brutality and torture and are also a victim of it. The images in the video portray the problems in the speech as only belonging to other countries or peoples. Yet it appears Americans (or English speaking folks) are the intended audience.
27 Apr 2012
When it comes to who wins the massive federal spending competition, it’s not even close. Most of your money goes to one thing: the very loosely named “Defense.” In 2012, under a “socialist, anti business, pacifist” (yeah, right) President, “Defense” was given $707 billion. Remember, that is for 1 year! For a little context, spending on housing was $67 billion, and education was $73 billion.
Some people like to confuse the issue of federal spending by bringing up Medicare and Social Security. Those are paid for separately, and should never be part of this conversation. That’s why in your paycheck, you have one line for “Federal Tax” and one for “Medicare” and “FICA” (aka Social Security). The pie chart shows how the “Federal Tax” is divided. And this is the tax that everyone gets so upset about, such as when people say lets raise the top federal tax rate from 35% to 38% on income above $250k (another annoying thing is people don’t realize that income up to $249k isn’t effected at all).
And even worse, if you count other reasonable things as “Defense,” such as veterans affairs, homeland security, and veterans health and pensions, the total number becomes over $1 trillion, again for just 1 year! Isn’t this how countries fail? While people are homeless, unemployed, underemployed and sick, the elites are polishing their fancy new toys.
03 Mar 2012
Wow, this is unbelievable. They call it “SinkEx” for Sink Exercise. The U.S. Navy blows up old warships with missiles and torpedoes, including an aircraft carrier, off the coast of California and Florida. Obviously this could cause lots of problems for the environment.
Check out the AP article here:
In the past 12 years, this has been done 109 times. Again, UNBELIEVABLE. While people struggle to meet their basic needs, the military shines its billion dollar toys, and blows up the old ones with million dollar missiles. The whole thing is repugnant. The Navy says its okay what they are doing because it gives them useful testing of their weapons. So…what is more important: sustaining life through a clean environment, or they possibly/maybe/could improve at blowing shit up?
Some reports I read just make my head spin in disbelief. Thanks to the reporters for exposing this story.
08 Feb 2012
CPI is double what it was in 2010. Remember to keep the inflation rate in mind when negotiating wage increases at work, or returns on investments.
2011 Consumer Price Index: 3.0%
2011 Producer Price Index: 4.8%
30 Jan 2012
You know when the Muppets are against you, you are in need of some serious soul searching.
05 Jan 2012
Police protect the bull, an inanimate object, while the rest of us are left to be beaten down by filthy rich individuals and corporations. This video is another great action by OWS to show the dirty underbelly of who gets protection and who gets the billy club.
31 Dec 2011
Nina Simone was an amazing talent and also a humanitarian. Props to Nina.
Happy New Year!