tagged w/ Public
Rick Scott following in lockstep with the GOP's unyielding desire to KILL anything public has signed more bills into law (Regressive Conservatism laws) to help in the annihilation of the Public Education System. First expanding the voucher system which allows more students to flee poor performing Public Schools and with the help of the government (our tax money) enter private schools. This is a KILL THE SOCIAL SAFETY NETS and privatize EVERYTHING, fulfillment for the GOP. Also passing a bill that will allow any teacher to judge the clothing of students... Say for instance, some Evangelical Christian teacher (who has a problem with seeing the SKIN of others) is appalled by perhaps a bellybutton exposure (or maybe an armpit or a hint of cleavage) they can now under government law punish the student and banish him/her to an in-school suspension. Does this sound like SMALL GOVERNMENT? Small government My Big Fat Foot! "Heil Hitler". RICK SCOTT SHOULD BE BAKER ACTED! Please read the article below: thinkingblue
UPDATE] Governor Scott Approves Voucher Expansions, Baggy Pants Bill
A trio of bills overhauling state voucher programs and a measure cracking down on baggy pants at public schools were signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday.
Posted: 9:15 PM Jun 4, 2011
Reporter: Danielle Sommerfeld, Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida
Tallahassee, FL - A trio of bills overhauling state voucher programs and a measure cracking down on baggy pants at public schools were signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday.
The four bills were among 48 measures Scott approved Thursday, according to an announcement by his office late in the day.
Two of the bills could increase, perhaps by thousands of students, the number of recipients of taxpayer funds to be put toward private education.
One of the measures (HB 1329) could add 50,000 to the rolls by increasing the number of conditions that would qualify a student for the John McKay scholarship. The scholarship program targets students with disabilities.
Another (HB 1331) would make it easier for students in poorly performing schools to take advantage of the Opportunity Scholarship program. Currently, students are eligible if their public school has received an “F” in a four-year period; the new law changes the definition of failing school to instead include any school that received a “D” or “F” in the prior year.
In addition, the bill, which already allows students to use the scholarships at private schools, now permits students in failing public schools to transfer to a higher-rated public school anywhere in the state, instead of limiting that choice to adjacent districts.
Some Democrats at times complained that the measures could make it more difficult for public schools to improve, but the bills passed easily through the GOP-dominated Legislature.
Scott also signed a bill (HB 965) tweaking the corporate tax credit scholarship program. The measure allows companies that donate to a scholarship organization to claim 100 percent of that donation as a corporate income tax credit. Current law only permits a credit of 75 percent of the donation.
And in a victory long sought by Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, Scott signed into law a bill (SB 228) that has become known around the Capitol as the “baggy pants” bill. The new law requires school boards to adopt dress codes barring clothes that “expose underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner.”
Students could be punished with removal from extracurricular activities and in-school suspension. Siplin said he pushed the measure in an effort to make sure students understood how to dress well and improve their employment prospects after they graduated.
Note: News Service Reporter Lilly Rockwell contributed to this report.
Is Rick Scott, Turning Florida into a Totalitarian State? http://www.thethinkingblue.com/rickscott.html
Rick Scott One Of The Nastier (Sociopathic) Tea Party Governors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2hrT8ioi5g
Regression Comes of Age in the Republican Party http://halfempth.blogspot.com/2010/10/regression-comes-of-age-in-republican.html
I like to consider myself a Progressive Liberal. That is, someone with core beliefs that the best thing we can do as a people is see to the weakest of us, and raise them up. That the best thing we can do as a people is to make health, wealth and happiness available to the greatest number. That the best thing we can do as a people is to guarantee that everyone gets a fair share and a square deal with opportunity for all.
That’s what lies at the core of a Progressive. More or less.
The Republicans, or shall we say now, the conservatives don’t have a progressive branch unless you consider moderate Republicans the progressive branch of that party. But now, I definitely think that a new branch of the Republican Party has formed this year. A branch that is so anti-progressive that the only word to describe it is “Regressive.”
Regressive Conservativism has come of age in the Republican Party.
I became convinced of that this week. Earlier, when conservatives were railing about the 14th Amendment, a matter of settled law for 140 plus years, I thought it was just theatrics. Then when the Bush doctrine of privatizing Medicare and allowing Social Security to play in the stock market (heck, why not go whole hog and let them play the ponies? A hit on an exacta, now that’s a great return on your investment) I thought they were just trying to impress Wall Street. When the lunatic fringe suggested that the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency needed to be abolished, I thought that they were just catering to the Teabaggers. But then when people railed about refusing to turn in their census forms because . . . well just because . . . I thought it was just another way to tell that Black President they weren’t going to play ball if he continued to insist on pitching.
But I have been in denial, haven’t I? These people are serious. This week, the new flavor is abolishing the minimum wage.
Just now, when the economy needs to get more money into the hands of people, so they’ll spend it, people are now talking of putting less money into the hands of people, and actually think that’s a good idea.
This is just craziness.
All of these ideas, very regressive ideas, are part and parcel of the new Regressive Wing of the Republican Party.
And I bet they’re not done. In undoing a century and a half of progress, the Regressives can have a lot on their plate. Areas for future consideration:
Abolish votes for women.
Abolish the 40 hour work week.
Overturn Child Labor Laws. Make the spoiled brats work in the mines. It was good enough for my grandfather after all.
Abolish the USDA. It should be up to the meat packing industry to police itself, and salmonella.
Overturn Roe v. Wade. Make getting an abortion a capital offense.
Reinstitute prayer in public schools.
And last but certainly not least, abolish the two-party system. One is enough and it’s just too expensive to allow a dissenting party to run a campaign. As a matter of fact, why not regress all the way to 1776 and bring back the British Monarchy?
God save the Queen!Rick Scott following in lockstep with the GOP's unyielding desire to KILL... more
Brian Goggin, an artist of infinite sculptural jest, has left his mark on the West Coast with his whimsical and vibrant layering of found objects and chaos-provoking sculptures. Goggin is a multi disciplinary artist who has created an interaction with the landscape that surpasses the physical limitations of traditional framed painting and free standing sculpture. Through a versatile use of materials, an intuitively driven research process, and creative visioning, I work to create artwork that poetically morphs expected notions of how we perceive and interact with our everyday environment. The work explores contemporary discoveries in the field of consciousness, and adds to a developing artistic mythology http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/section-blog/42962-brian-gogginBrian Goggin, an artist of infinite sculptural jest, has left his mark on the West... more
2 years ago
Everyone is talking about the possibility of Twitter and other tech company moving to the mid-market area. I had the chance to walk around the area today to get a feel for what it would be like if I had to work there. It wasn’t a pretty sight and now I’m going to tell you all about it.Everyone is talking about the possibility of Twitter and other tech company moving to... more
The following is an except from an article I wrote on Examiner.com:
"From now until the 2012 elections, I am going to write a series of articles with the express purpose of trying to get the average reader to "think outside of the box" At the same time, I hope I am up to the task of keeping the subject matter entertaining. Before the next election occurs, it is my hope to get WE THE PEOPLE aka the Common person aka the General Public to experience a paradigm shift in their thinking with regard to poltics and voiting.
Ultimately, I want to change your perception of reality to one that reflects your own true thought processes. This as opposed to the your current perception of reality induced by the propaganda, censorship and duplicity of America's Major Media, Entertainment Industry, Big Business and our own alleged political leaders. All this with the goal of having you vote your own mind, rather than vote in the manner your Government and major media have manipulated you to.
That having been said....
I was first introduced to Chaos theory in college. It was one of those hazy late night philosophical discussions we often had in college.
FREE WILL vs CHAOS THEORY
In America, during our youthful years of public education we are indoctrinated with a belief that everything we choose to do is a matter of free will. If I choose to turn left, kick a can, drink water, blow off class, cast a vote or any act you can think of, we are taught to believe we had the ability aka free will, to choose to do something else. Turn Right, not drink, not skip class, not vote. We are taught that every action we take is fully within our personal control and we make our choices of our own free will.
Chaos Theory (Determinism) states that no matter what we do, we have no choice... we have no free will. According to Chaos Theory, so many external factors have acted upon you that you have no choice but to do what ever action you have done. Your choice has been predetermined by a multitude of previously occurring, external influences.
Being much younger then, of course I knew it all and immediately dismissed this proposed Chaos Theory as psycho-babble. Yet, almost half a life time later, I am willing to consider chaos theory as a viable explanation of certain political events and attitudes.
WISCONSIN PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
My personality is that of an analytical driver. I gather facts and make decisions. It has been my life’s presumption that the vast majority of people also act out of reason and logic.
It escapes me by what logic Rank and File Wisconsin Public Employees do not recognize..."
Continue reading for free on Examiner.com: Chaos Theory,Rank & File Wisconsin Public Employees & True Grassroots TEA Party - Minneapolis Independent | Examiner.comhttp://www.examiner.com/independent-in-minneapolis/chaos-theory-wisconsin-public-employees-and-justice-minnesota#ixzz1GJLiEqpL
Those were my thoughts.
The Cynical Patriot
http://twitter.com/dmashakThe following is an except from an article I wrote on Examiner.com:
"From now... more
The beating officially started with a quick crack to the back of the gang member’s head. And then about 15 others descended, punching and kicking him for two minutes.
The rapid-fire punches landed from all directions on his body, sounding strangely like corn popping. Then the victim fell to the floor and the group continued to pummel him with punches and kicks.
The gang member at the bottom of the heap, a Latin King in the Cicero section, was there for his “violation,” punishment in gang parlance. He had allegedly failed to follow through on an order from one of the four ranking Latin King members now on trial in federal court in Chicago.
The beatdown, planned ahead of time and carried out by his own fellow gang members, is not unusual on the street.
But in the darkened federal courtroom as a secretly recorded videotape of the beating was aired to the jury, it was a disturbing reflection of the violence that drives and unites gangs.
http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/news/local/chibrknews-gang-beatdown-video-shown-to-jury-20110310,0,1896887.storyThe beating officially started with a quick crack to the back of the gang... more
Since posting a commentary on the question of whether legislators should be held accountable for treasonous acts against the people, or, "aiding the enemy", in the same manner as Bradley Manning is being held accountable for "aiding the enemy", a commenter has asked if I'm promoting the use of violence in our efforts to reclaim government control.
This author does not promote violence, period. However, I can certainly understand how many desperate people may be , and probably will be, driven to some form of violence, either against bankers who defrauded them and turned them out of their homes, legislators who betray them and vote their public services away, industrialists who poison them or their environments and businesses which steal their pensions and then ship their jobs overseas. In truth, I have several times emailed our President suggesting that people are so desperately on the ropes of despair, without reason for hope of a better tomorrow and verging on a rage which is very likely to lead to widespread violence, in hopes that he can and will act quickly to remedy this tragedy. It is testimony to the good character of the American people, alone, that they have not already shot Supreme Court Justices who have betrayed America, legislators who help corporate America to steal their money and business which abuses them. This, in my opinion, is nearly miraculous restraint on the public's part. Because, surely, the crimes committed against the people to date, have already warranted the greatest of resentment and anger amongst the public.
The use of force in the public take back of our government from the corporate forces, is another question entirely. Force can manifest in many forms, and none of them necessarily violent. The Wisconsin 14 remaining out of Walker's clutches and manipulation, combined with the recall movement of his compatriots, may force him to negotiate and make concessions which he, otherwise, swore that he would not do. If this nation, and hopefully the world, participate in the May 5th, INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WORK STOPPAGE, to the point that it brings all commerce, government, air transport and even telecommunications to a standstill, then that may force the hands which are holding the nooses around the public's neck, to loosen their grip, even just a bit. Other subsequent public actions may force the noose right out of their hands. This type and form of force, I do wholly support and recommend. This type of force is the only way that I believe we can reclaim our heritage, our government, our wealth and our greater dignity, all of which are owed to us.
Thank you for your concern and engagement. While I am not familiar with shio nage, at all, we have already witnessed the taking and using of weapons to political events. We have already witnessed the assassinations, and attempted assassinations, of political figures. It has been suggested that the perpetrators of these past episodes of violence were mentally unstable. While my comments have not intentionally referenced such actions, while your's have, we all may be well served to consider that the widespread desperation of our fellow citizens, today, may have already destabilized the mental normalcy of many. Therefore, there may be many, from both sides of the aisle, who are contemplating taking weapons of destruction to political events, and using them against political figures. Unfortunately, these are not possibilities which can be resolved by our blogging, but rather, can, and should, be resolved by our political figures.
It seems to me that our exchange has blurred and merged two issues which are not necessarily codependent. The legitimate discussion of appropriate and legal means of holding our legislators accountable for their actions, does not imply, or equate to, the unbridled exchange of gunfire between those who much has been taken from, and the Right which insists on taking more from them. Although, I acknowledge that such is very likely to occur, sooner than later, under the prevailing conditions of the public's deprivation and consequent desperation. If such bloodshed does occur, it will be between the people, who can psychologically take no more abuse, and the "classic goons" and "mercenaries", hired by those determined to steal anything of value which the people have left. Mere ideology of the mentally stable rarely lead to the kind of bloodshed which you reference.
P.S. While I support the right to bear arms, and encourage all to do so, to protect ourselves from rogue governments, I personally do not yet own a gun or any weapon. But I am considering acquiring one.Since posting a commentary on the question of whether legislators should be held... more
Whether is it texting during dinner, talking on a cellphone in a public restroom or using a laptop while driving, most people think mobile etiquette is getting worse, not better
.http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2011/02/25/17407726.htmlWhether is it texting during dinner, talking on a cellphone in a public restroom or... more
Only yesterday I was asking, who has heard what of Russ. Today I received your link. Kudos! You have put this site together very nicely. The help build an agenda feature is brilliant, and I see this evening that your response volume is quite respectable. I've been posting your link all over Current.Com blog pages. Your success will be a triumph that I can revel in.
You know better than anyone who hasn't been in Congress, how difficult it is to achieve meaningful reform in government, once it has gone as far off the path of government of the people, for the people and by the people, as it has. Congress is stalemated and lamed until at least the next elections. Even with a Democratic controlled government, Democrats could not get out of their own way and fear, to enact desperately needed reforms, in spite of your singular efforts! As a trend watcher, I perceive that conditions have been put into a ball and sent down a snowy hill, which is only growing larger and increasing in speed as it continues to roll down. And I ask, what will happen if that ball is allowed to reach the village at the bottom of that hill? Yet, it occurs to me that the now great big and heavy snow ball is already 3/4 of the way down that hill, leaving very little time to prevent total catastrophe, if that is even still possible.
In one day your supporters have identified an agenda that could keep a typical administration tied up in knots for the duration of it's term, and far beyond. But with Congress in a protracted state of dysfunction and ineffectiveness, how are we to even allow for hope that any of these issues could be positively addressed, particualarly with a sworn in blood obstructionist House determined to help drain the last of life force from the American public? While a few sympathetic ears in Congress may be turning towards the calls of the American people, they are far too few to be able to effect urgently needed reform.
Even though many of us not from Wisconsin, know you primarily for you efforts on campaign finance reform, that single position signals to us an attitude towards the country, and the people, that puts you more on the side of all the people, and the entire country, than not. It occurs to me that in order to be able to achieve any semblance of change in government for the benefit of the people, or healthy reform, it will require much more than sending emails to the president and members of Congress. It occurs to me that in order to achieve any semblance of change and reform in government during the next few years, we are being compelled to raise our heads, and our voices, as they have been doing in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, Egypt and Libya, to insist on immediate changes that will address the crucial issues which weigh heavily upon us now! If the snowball is left unchecked and allowed to hit the village, how beneficial to the residents of that village will be future reform? I'm sure that it is not necessary to wax poetically or plaintiffly, for you to understand the urgency that pain, hunger, cold, homelessness and other public sufferings, call out to be addressed now.
In conjunction with your overall long term strategy to deal with your official agenda, I take the liberty of asking, on behalf of those too preoccupied with the daily demands of mere existence and caring for families, for you to consider supporting an effort to continue protest marches, on every state capitol and the national capitol, while presenting the list of issues on your agenda to the government, with the insistence that those issues be resolved, continuously protesting until every issue is sufficiently resolved. We would like to begin a series of national, if not international, work stoppage days, merely to get the attention of government and to demonstrate that the corporate right is not the ultimate force determining their own profit margins. We wish to organize coordinated national boycotts of every product and service of every socially irresponsible and unfriendly corporation or business. We aspire to put those businesses, out of business.
Specifically, and as I communicated to your office earlier, we wish to begin the first work stoppage day on March 9th, if that allows sufficient time to organize a national work stoppage day. As we continue the perpetual protest on the capitols, we wish to culminate that effort with a protest march on Washington D. C. particularly, from May 5th through May 9th, with May 5th being a national work stoppage day. We believe that if all business were to stop functioning on May 5th, with much of the country on the capitol mall in D.C., waving banners of every socially irresponsible company and product, and every politician that has sold the public out for corporate money, that we will gain the ear and attention of a government, long negligent to it's employers. Can we, the public, count on your support in this effort?Only yesterday I was asking, who has heard what of Russ. Today I received your link.... more
When it comes to life essential commodities, like energy, food, water and healthcare, why should the public not be allowed to own the rights to produce and provide them? We do not live in a constitutionally mandated PURELY capitalistic society. As a federal republic, with democratic governing principles, we are an ever vacillating blend of national characteristics and features. We foster socialistic mechanisms such as a national military, national education system, municipal police forces, municipal energy suppliers and so much more. At the same time, the public pays for business promotional departments within our government. (And why, should the public be paying business's promotion, p.r. and advertising? We protect business copyrights, patents and intellectual property. So, we are neither purely capitalistic, socialistic or purely any other "istic".
But, whenever the issue is raised of the public owning and operating any product, service or commodity, thereby competing with monopolistic corporations, and their profits, business crIes and screams FOUL! They shout "GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER!" and "GOVERNMENT CONTROL!",... What that truly means is, they don't want the public providing anything for themselves, because that would lessen they're access to our money in the form of their profits.
For decades now, the public has been "subsidizing" Big Oil both directly and indirectly. Europeans complain that we Americans are spoiled because of the cheap oil which we have been using for decades. But what they don't realize, is that in addition to the tax rebate subsidies we give Big Oil, we also subsidize them with our military efforts to protect their interests throughout the Middle East and elsewhere! To that point, we have been effectively subsidizing Europe's access to cheap oil. No other country spends trillions of dollars to protect oil interests the was the U.S. public does.
The point is, if we stop spending trillions to subsidize Big Oil, we can divert that money to a publicly owned, national buildout of alternative energy sources and supply services. Has the public not lost enough time and money, to ignore the possibility of doing and providing a few things for ourselves?
The truth is, that countries with national healthcare have better overall health than average Americans. And, their public is unanimously happy with national healthcare. But, Big Corporate Healthcare, along with Big Insurance, freaking out at the possibility that they might not be able to continue raping the public, shout, yell, kick, scream, protest and pay for protest, at the very mention of the public owning the process and delivery of healthcare. They try to discolor it as socialism, communism and even a sin against God. And all because they're afraid that their cash cow will stop producing fresh cream.
Have we, the American public, not created enough huge corporations, hugh corporate profits, multi millionaires from investing in those corporations? And what do we have to show for it in the end? Unaffordable insurance, insurance cancellation, pre-existing conditions exclusions and satellite sky high medical care costs. To top it off, reports from other than extreme right/corporate spin meisters say that we do not provide the best medical care in the world. But I bet we pay more than any other country for medical care, per capita.
Fellow Americans, have we not created enough wealth for others, to finally deserve providing life's necessities for ourselves, saving great sums of money in the process? Of course, vested corporate interests will deluge us with trumped up and falsified fact and figures suggesting that providing services and products for ourselves will cost us more than if they do it. While it is almost always false; in part because the hidden costs are never factored in, would you be willing to pay a few percent more to be guaranteed that you will always have access to that product or service when you need it? If you need a heart transplant, isn't it worth having spent a few cents more to make sure that you could have it, when you need it? If we had prolonged subzero weather, requiring unusual amounts of energy, wouldn't it be worth having spent a few cents more to make sure that you have access to as much of it as you want when you need it? and yet, it is usually nothing more that corporate propaganda, typically espoused by the extreme corporate/right, that suggests it would cost us more if we provide it for ourselves. This always makes me laugh and wonder, do the not anticipate that we will consider their profit margins as part of the costs to us for their products and services?
While very few Americans would want, or tolerate, complete communism or socialism, the public providing some of life's most essential products and services for ourselves, is neither one of the two. I think it's time we should start paying ourselves a little money. Let the corporations create other products and services to supply us, if we choose to consume them, and earn their fortunes that way. There is something a little insidious about putting the control of life's essentials in the hands of what has become, corporate vampires.When it comes to life essential commodities, like energy, food, water and healthcare,... more
Extra dimensions are old news. The newest mind-bending descriptions of reality dreamed up by the world’s smartest physicists, and explained by superstar superstring theorist Brian Greene in his latest book The Hidden Reality, include untold numbers of extra universes. A million universes isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Ten to the 500th power universes. Greene likes to drop you into the middle of the action first and then explain the backstory (and sometimes it does feel like a full-scale intellectual invasion is happening), but he has an elegant knack for anticipating questions and immediately dealing with any confusion or objections. http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/your-details/32324-superstring-theorist-brian-greene-and-his-idea-of-an-infinite-number-of-universesExtra dimensions are old news. The newest mind-bending descriptions of reality dreamed... more
2 years ago
The Republicans Are At It Again!
This time with a vengeance to take NPR & PBS forever FROM OUR LIVES.
The Republicans are against anything that may have something to do with a social issue. They also can't stand the idea that actual and real facts can expose some of the misinformation they dish out about anything social “Public”. Republicans are so blatant about this they don't even try to conceal their ambition to make everything private and thus out of reach for many lower income people ( a group growing in number so quickly that it’s turning the middle class into an anomaly known anew as the working poor). If we want Democracy to flourish we must first fight against those who wish to dismantle it right here at home. And to achieve this weakening of democracy the Conservatives must first do away with any public broadcasting known for its factual information. In the unprogressive world of the Rightwing, Ignorance Is Bliss. Please sign the petition (below) to stop the Republicans from doing away with NPR and PBS.
The Republicans just released their budget proposal, and it zeroes
out funding for both NPR and PBS--the worst proposal in more than a
decade. We need to tell Republicans that cutting off funding was
unacceptable last time they were in charge, and it's unacceptable now.
I signed a petition to save NPR and PBS.
Can you join me at the link
http://pol.moveon.org/nprpbs/?r_by=-4187541-dcE8zSx&rc=mailtoThe Republicans Are At It Again!
This time with a vengeance to take NPR & PBS... more
US politicians are not shy when it comes to offering opinions on foreign affairs, even when it is obvious they have not done their homework. Bloopers may be commonplace on Capitol Hill, but the American people have become the butt of the joke.
Advising other countries on democracy seems to be a must for any US politician, and some of them get so carried away that they confuse which countries exactly they are talking about.
Commenting on democracy in Belarus, John McCain, for some reason, called it Lithuania.
“I also want to thank the President of Lithuania, a group of our members of Congress visited with her yesterday, she is a great leader, but we also had an opportunity to meet with members of the opposition, many of whom have fellow countrymen residing in prison have been beaten and tortured… Pardon, Belarus,” John McCain said, not in the least bit embarrassed.
During the same conference, the former presidential candidate and one of the most influential republican senators referred to Russia as the Soviet Union.
“We all know that our missile defense and rather modest array is earmarked and we are proceeding with it because of the threat we face from Iran, not from the Soviet Union.”
But senator McCain’s gaffes do not stop there.
“I’m afraid that it is a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border,” McCain blurted.
Probably only in McCain’s mind did Pakistan share a border with Iraq.
But he is not the only US politician who is quick to share their expertise in world affairs without checking some facts.
George W. Bush, who now prides himself on having pushed democracy in Egypt, during his presidency thought Africa was a nation…
“Africa is a nation that suffers of incredible disease,”
Bush said back then.
The winner of hearts and minds of millions of Americans, Sarah Palin, too, thought Africa was a country some two years ago.
But now nothing seems to stop her from handing advice on how to deal with Egypt.
Mrs. Palin has further contributed to her credibility in foreign affairs when commenting on the US stance with regards to North Korea.
“Obviously, we have got to stand with our North Korean allies; we’re bound to by treaties…” Palin got up to before being corrected.
Denny Schechter, former CNN producer and media analyst, believes, “The paradox is that politicians who really know nothing about these things have to appear to know something, they have to speak out on all these issues to be considered credible figures. So Sarah Palin, who could see Russia from her door and her window, is now an expert on Russia or whatever else.”
The reason US politicians feel free to make bloopers on international issues could be that many of their audiences cannot catch the inconsistencies.
“It is very easy to manipulate people when they don’t know anything. On foreign policy generally Americans are indifferent. They don’t pay any attention to the world events and you can easily manipulate them. The costs of our public ignorance are ghastly,” says Rick Shenkman, associate history professor at George Mason University.
After waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, figures show most Americans still have difficulties finding the countries on the map.
If the public is not able to notice the ignorance of their politicians, than they will not be able to hold them accountable for their decisions. Some say that is one of the biggest threats to democracy in America.US politicians are not shy when it comes to offering opinions on foreign affairs, even... more
2 years ago
A BBC programme has been criticised by Conservatives MPs who said they're reporting the show to Ofcom. The show 'The Street That Cut Everything' is set to be presented by Nick Robinson and will show a street where all public services no longer exist.
"Residents agreed to go without refuse collection, street cleaning and street lights and received a council tax rebate as they carried out essential services themselves. "-BBC
Sounds like the show is putting in a twist of the big society of volunteering and cuts, but is criticised by Community Secretary Eric Pickles as scaremongering.A BBC programme has been criticised by Conservatives MPs who said they're... more
In order to keep assisted reproduction in regulated clinics, UK's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has launched a three month public debate to decide whether people should be paid for donating eggs and sperm to infertile couples.In order to keep assisted reproduction in regulated clinics, UK's Human... more
2 years ago
Reminds me of the movie Death Proof with Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowen and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Reminds me of the movie Death Proof with Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowen... more
The Public Banking Institute (PBI) is a non-partisan think-tank, research and advisory organization dedicated to exploring and disseminating information on the potential utility of publicly-owned banks, and to facilitate their implementation. PBI was formed in 2011 as an educational non-profit organization by a group of citizens including past and present community and civic leaders, businesspeople, educators, political economists, writers, and banking and other professionals. The group shares a concern over the destabilizing actions of a private banking industry that, through its corporate business model, has precipitated the economic imbalances now witnessed across the US economy.The Public Banking Institute (PBI) is a non-partisan think-tank, research and advisory... more
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
Meet the new global elite. They’re pretty much the same as the old global elite, only richer and more smug.
Laura Flanders of GritTV interviews business reporter Chrystia Freeland about her cover story in the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly on the new ruling class. She says that today’s ultra-rich are more likely to have earned their fortunes in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street than previous generations of plutocrats, who were more likely to have inherited money or established companies.
As a result, she argues, today’s global aristocracy believes itself to be the product of a meritocracy. The old sense of noblesse oblige among the ultra-rich is giving way to the attitude that if the ultra-rich could do it, everyone else should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
Ironically, Freeland points out that many of the new elite got rich from government bailouts of their failed banks. It’s unclear why this counts as earning one’s fortune, or what kind of meritocracy reserves its most lavish rewards for its most spectacular failures.
Class warfare on public sector pensions
In The Nation, Eric Alterman assails the Republican-controlled Congress’s decision to scrap the popular and effective Build America Bonds program as an act of little-noticed class warfare:
These bonds, which make up roughly 20 percent of all new debt sold by states and local governments because of a federal subsidy equivalent to some 35 percent of interest costs, ended on December 31, as Republicans proved unwilling even to consider renewing them. The death of the program could prove devastating to states’ future borrowing.
Alterman notes that the states could face up to $130 billion shortfall next year. States can’t deficit spend like the federal government, which made the Build America Bonds program a lifeline to the states.
According to Alterman, Republicans want the states to run out of money so that they will be unable to pay the pensions of public sector workers. He notes that Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) are also co-sponsoring a bill to force state and local governments to “recalculate” their pension obligations to public sector workers.
Divide and conquer
Kari Lydersen of Working In These Times explains how conservatives use misleading statistics to pit private sector workers against their brothers and sisters in the public sector. If the public believes that teachers, firefighters, meter readers and snowplow drivers are parasites, they’ll feel more comfortable yanking their pensions out from under them.
Hence the misleading statistic that public sector workers earn $11.90 more per hour than “comparable” private sector workers. However, when you take education and work experience into account, employees of state and local governments typically earn 11% to 12% less than private sector workers with comparable qualifications.
Public sector workers have better benefits plans, but only for as long as governments can afford to keep their contractual obligations.
Who’s screwing whom?
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich is calling for a sense of perspective on public sector wages and benefits. In AlterNet he argues that the people who are really making a killing in this economy are the ultra-rich, not school teachers and garbage collectors:
Public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers. They don’t want stories about Wall Street bonuses, now higher than before taxpayers bailed out the Street. And they’d like to avoid a spotlight on the billions raked in by hedge-fund and private-equity managers whose income is treated as capital gains and subject to only a 15 percent tax, due to a loophole in the tax laws designed specifically for them.
Signs of hope?
The economic future looks pretty bleak these days. Yes, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4% from 9.8% in December, but the economy added only 103,000, a far cry from the 300,000 jobs economists say the economy really needs to add to pull the country out its economic doldrums.
Andy Kroll points out in Mother Jones that it will take 20 years to replace the jobs lost in this recession, if current trends continue.
Worse yet, what looks like job growth could actually be chronic unemployment in disguise. The unemployment rate is calculated based on the number of people who are actively looking for work. Kroll worries that the apparent drop in the unemployment rate could simply reflect more people giving up their job searches.
For an counterweight to the doom and gloom, check out Tim Fernholtz’s new piece in The American Prospect. He argues that the new unemployment numbers are among several hopeful signs for economic recovery in 2011. However, he stresses that his self-proclaimed rosy forecast is contingent upon avoiding several huge pitfalls, including drastic cuts in public spending.
With the GOP in Congress seemingly determined to starve the states for cash, the future might not be so rosy after all.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
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