phantom power's Journal
(I am assuming that the Occupation will be happy to have this copied in its entirety at every opportunity)
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
* They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
* They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
* They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
* They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
* They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
* They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
* They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
* They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
* They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
* They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
* They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
* They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
* They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
* They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
* They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
* They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
* They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
* They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
* They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
* They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
* They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
Of course we also see this priority system in govt budgets, where the business of war (also about killing people) is the only budget item off limits for "deficit reduction," but any govt program involving helping people is "fat that needs to be cut"
The current field of Republican contenders for president are hard at work to prove they don't. The best government, they insist, will leave you alone to repair your own ruptured kidney while your neighbors bring you casseroles and cigarettes. In recent weeks, leading Republicans have made plain they don't believe in government-run health care (lo, even unto death). They don't believe in inoculating children again HPV (lo, even unto death). They don't believe in government-run disaster relief (ditto, re death), the minimum wage, Social Security, or the Federal Reserve. There is nothing, it seems—from protecting civil rights to safeguarding the environment—that big government bureaucracies can't foul up.
But there is one exception: killing people. These same Republicans who are dubious of government's ability to do anything right have an apparently bottomless faith in the capital-justice system. Everything is broken in America, they claim—except the machinery of death.
The exonerations are not just in Texas but nationwide, and they reflect the pathology of a broken system, not the wonders of a system with the capacity to self-correct. When Rick Perry is claiming that the system "works," he is either suggesting that it is without flaw or that when it comes to African-Americans or criminals, a few mistakenly executed innocents are an acceptable price to pay.
If you believe, as do the GOP presidential frontrunners, that government bureaucracies lead inexorably to error, cover-up, and waste, then there is no better place to start looking than the capital punishment system, which sentences and executes defendants in ways that are sloppy, racist, and corrupt. At any rate, a government bureaucracy that oversees education or health care deserves a far higher degree of regard—and far less sneering scrutiny—than a government bureaucracy that administers careless death.
Hundreds of villagers in eastern China have been demonstrating against pollution they say is caused by a solar panel factory. Some protesters have stormed the compound and overturned vehicles.
The government of Haining city said Sunday that more than 500 villagers in the city in Zhejiang province gathered in front of the Zhejiang Jinko Solar Co. Ltd. on Thursday demanding an explanation for the alleged pollution.
It says some protesters charged into the factory compound, overturned eight company vehicles and destroyed its offices. It says on Friday, protesters damaged four police vehicles.
The government says it has asked the factory to suspend production. It says that local leaders will soon meet with village representatives.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...
Posted by phantom power in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Nov 09th 2010, 10:10 AM
The vector worked, and works, like this:
(a) (Rush Limbaugh) teaches his millions of followers that everything the president says is a priori a lie;
b) The mainstream media that acts as if anything his millions of followers believe is a priori deserving of respect as heartland folk wisdom (note the cover article lionizing Limbaugh in this week's Newsweek);
(c) The president unilaterally renders himself constitutionally incapable of breaking the chain between (a) and (b), such that, (d), the assumption that Obama raised taxes when he really lowered them becomes hegemonic for a majority of the electorate, and even a large plurality of Democrats.
Q.E.D.: Governing has become impossible.
When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins. When it becomes "uncivil" to call out liars, lying becomes free.
How to make a hand turkey!
Posted by phantom power in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Oct 23rd 2009, 02:11 PM
Another great NPR program. It reminded me of a related question I've been pondering: how did other countries get universal/govt-funded health care? What's their history?
Soon, Blue Cross coverage was available in almost every state, though not many people bought in. The modern system of getting benefits through a job required another catalyst: World War II. Thomasson says that if the Great Depression inadvertently inspired the spread of employer-based health insurance, World War II accidentally spread the idea everywhere.
"The war economy is an entirely different ballgame," Thomasson says. The government rationed goods even as factories ramped up production and needed to attract workers. Factory owners needed a way to lure employees. She explains that the owners turned to fringe benefits, offering more and more generous health plans.
The next big step in the evolution of health care was also an accident. In 1943, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that employer-based health care should be tax free. A second law, in 1954, made the tax advantages even more attractive.
Thomasson cites the huge impact of those measures on plan participation. "You start from 9 percent of the population in 1940 to 63 percent in 1953," she says. "Everybody starts getting in on it. It just grows by gangbusters. By the 1960s, 70 percent
Read/Listen more here:
Posted by phantom power in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Oct 23rd 2009, 02:03 PM
I caught most of this on NPR the other day. Very good. I'd like to read her New Yorker article too.
Jane Mayer, a political journalist based in Washington, D.C., is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she covers politics for the weekly magazine. In the October 26 issue, Mayer examines the ethics and controversies surrounding the CIA's covert drone program, in which remotely controlled, unmanned planes target terror suspects in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Mayer writes that unlike the military's publicly acknowledged drone program in Afghanistan and Iraq — both official war zones — the CIA's campaign doesn't operate in support of U.S. troops on the ground. Instead it's a secret program, run partly by private contractors, that amounts to "targeted international killings by the state," in the words of one human-rights lawyer. Because of its covert status, there's "no visible system of accountability in place," Mayer writes, and a sharp increase in the number of reported drone strikes has raised questions about whether the moral costs and the political consequences have been adequately considered.
Before joining The New Yorker, Mayer worked at the Wall Street Journal, where she served as the publication's first female White House correspondent. She is also the author of the best-selling 2008 book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals.
Listen to the NPR program here:
of our energy sources. For example, being a pro-nuke, it's my responsibility to own things like Chernobyl and TMI, and Navajo cancer rates.
The point I'm trying to make is... On the one hand, I am told that 750 acres of wetlands is an unconscionable price to pay for 1.8 gigawatts of electricity at 90% capacity factor, but on the other hand, if some environmentalists have reservations about 8500 acres of protected desert, for 0.8 gigawatts of electricity at maybe 70% capacity factor (assuming good use of thermal storage), well those environmentalists are clearly misguided and standing in the way of Progress!
And Feinstein, instead of being a hero for protecting desert ecosystems, must clearly be acting as a corporate shill because... why? because it's a solar project, and not some other kind of project?
GAOLONG, China -- The first time Li Gengxuan saw the dump trucks from the nearby factory pull into his village, he couldn't believe what happened. Stopping between the cornfields and the primary school playground, the workers dumped buckets of bubbling white liquid onto the ground. Then they turned around and drove right back through the gates of their compound without a word.
This ritual has been going on almost every day for nine months, Li and other villagers said.
In China, a country buckling with the breakneck pace of its industrial growth, such stories of environmental pollution are not uncommon. But the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co., here in the central plains of Henan Province near the Yellow River, stands out for one reason: It's a green energy company, producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world. But the byproduct of polysilicon production -- silicon tetrachloride -- is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards.
"The land where you dump or bury it will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in the place. . . . It is like dynamite -- it is poisonous, it is polluting. Human beings can never touch it," said Ren Bingyan, a professor at the School of Material Sciences at Hebei Industrial University.
I think I'll make this one simpler than last time.
The very diversity of the economic web is autocatalytic.
If this view is correct, then the very diversity of economic goods and services is a major driver of economic growth. Indeed, I believe that the role of diversity of goods and services is the major unrecognized factor driving economic growth. Jane Jacobs has made the same point in her thoughtful books about economic growth and economic diversity in cities and their hinterlands. Economist Jose Scheinkman, now chairman of economics at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues studied a number of cities, normalized for total capitalization, and found that economic growth correlated with economic diversity in the city. In a similar spirit, microfinancing of a linked diversity of cottage businesses in the third world and the first world seems to be achieving local economic growth where more massive efforts at education and infrastructure, Aswan dams and power grids, seem to fail.
--Stuart Kauffman, Investigations
Several connections with our ongoing topics of environment and energy suggest themselves. Discuss.
There is a reason that Moore's Law works for computation and not for other technologies. Computation (and data storage) is all about patterns. Patterns of logic gates. To make a computation device faster and cheaper, all you need to do is reduce the size of the pattern. I don't want to belittle the talent and hard work of all the engineers who have made Moore's Law happen for electronics over the last 30 years, but in a sense, the problem stacked in their favor. As long as you can come up with ways to make the logic gate patterns smaller, you get all of the famous benefits of increasing speed, reduced cost and reduced power usage.
Energy production is only peripherally affected by patterns. There is no Moore's Law for energy technologies. One of the biggest blunders of the 1990s was the erroneous assumption that Moore's Law was somehow going to apply to energy, commerce, the stock market, etc. The "Wired Fallacy."
Posted by phantom power in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Jan 02nd 2007, 02:37 PM
That seems to be the core of the argument for the pardon. That we all had to "move on" as quickly as possible. Why? What, exactly, was going to happen if Nixon faced trial?
Seriously, I don't understand the argument. I saw an interview with Ford a few days ago, where he said that he just "couldn't get anything done" because people kept asking him questions about Nixon. Huh? He was the president. Tell them all "I have other issues to attend to. Nixon will stand trial as a private citizen, and I am not part of that process." Presidents tell the press (and us) to get stuffed all the time, and often with far less justification.
The other argument was that a trial would be divisive. That's also bogus. The pardon was divisive too. The world continued to spin on it's axis.
At the temple there is a poem called "lost", carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read "lost," only feel it.
--from Memoirs of a Geisha
The following excerpt is actually an article by Chris Hayes, as quoted by Digby. The message here is that 1/3 of American voteres are not just uninformed about political issues, they aren't aware that "political issues" exist. The idea that various problems might have political solutions is essentially an idea that hasn't ever occurred to them.
Undecided voters don't think in terms of issues. Perhaps the greatest myth about undecided voters is that they are undecided because of the "issues." That is, while they might favor Kerry on the economy, they favor Bush on terrorism; or while they are anti-gay marriage, they also support social welfare programs. Occasionally I did encounter undecided voters who were genuinely cross-pressured--a couple who was fiercely pro-life, antiwar, and pro-environment for example--but such cases were exceedingly rare. More often than not, when I asked undecided voters what issues they would pay attention to as they made up their minds I was met with a blank stare, as if I'd just asked them to name their favorite prime number.
But the very concept of the issue seemed to be almost completely alien to most of the undecided voters I spoke to... So I tried other ways of asking the same question: "Anything of particular concern to you? Are you anxious or worried about anything? Are you excited about what's been happening in the country in the last four years?"
These questions, too, more often than not yielded bewilderment. As far as I could tell, the problem wasn't the word "issue"; it was a fundamental lack of understanding of what constituted the broad category of the "political." The undecideds I spoke to didn't seem to have any intuitive grasp of what kinds of grievances qualify as political grievances. Often, once I would engage undecided voters, they would list concerns, such as the rising cost of health care; but when I would tell them that Kerry had a plan to lower health-care premiums, they would respond in disbelief--not in disbelief that he had a plan, but that the cost of health care was a political issue. It was as if you were telling them that Kerry was promising to extend summer into December.
Liberals like to point out that majorities of Americans agree with the Democratic Party on the issues, so Republicans are forced to run on character and values in order to win. (This cuts both ways: I met a large number of Bush/Feingold voters whose politics were more in line with the Republican president, but who admired the backbone and gutsiness of their Democratic senator.) But polls that ask people about issues presuppose a basic familiarity with the concept of issues--a familiarity that may not exist.
(Link to original article, subscription only)
(Link to Digby's post)
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