Monday, April 25, 2011

SOME NEWS:

Chris Hedges | The Corporate State Wins Again
Chris Hedges, Truthdig: "When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party - which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible - wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable? The body politic was mortally wounded during the long, slow strangulation of ideas and priorities during the Red Scare and the Cold War."
Read the Article

Dean Baker | The Battle Is Over Money, Not Philosophy
Dean Baker, Truthout: "Ever since House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan put out his proposal for voucherizing Medicare we have seen a steady drumbeat of stories telling us that this is a battle over the size and role of government. This is not true. It is a battle over money."
Read the Article

Robbing Uncle Sam of Retirement Taxes
Gerald E. Scorse, Truthout: "Tax-deferred retirement accounts were created under a law passed by Congress in 1974. They strike a bargain between taxpayers and the Treasury: money in the accounts grows tax-free, but taxable withdrawals must be taken yearly after age 70 and-a-half. Both sides win. Roughly half of all Americans have gotten a jump on financial security and now hold trillions in retirement savings. On its part, the Treasury gets an annual influx and is nearing demographic gold. The first baby boomers reach required distribution age in 2016, and a mother lode of retirement taxes should start streaming in."
Read the Article

Washington on the Rocks: An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats and Uniformed Thugs Begins to Totter
Alfred McCoy and Brett Reilly, TomDispatch: "In one of history's lucky accidents, the juxtaposition of two extraordinary events has stripped the architecture of American global power bare for all to see. Last November, WikiLeaks splashed snippets from US embassy cables, loaded with scurrilous comments about national leaders from Argentina to Zimbabwe, on the front pages of newspapers worldwide. Then just a few weeks later, the Middle East erupted in pro-democracy protests against the region's autocratic leaders, many of whom were close US allies whose foibles had been so conveniently detailed in those same diplomatic cables."
Read the Article

Community Gardens Are a Serious Answer to Food Problems and Health
Les Kishler, Truthout: "The world is faced with a difficult dilemma. Available food supply and access to this supply are out of synch. For the poorest, this is a matter of survival. For the more fortunate, it is a matter of good economics and proper approaches to land use. The right amount of food in the right location is the goal. Community gardening can be an important part of the solution."
Read the Article

Citing Jobs and Environment, More Unions Backing Environmental Protection Agency
Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, Labor Network For Sustainability: "At the start of 2011, as the energy corporations, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Tea Party right launched their assault on environmental protection and the EPA, it looked like public opinion and organized labor might just be swept along. Instead, much of the public and the labor movement have rallied in support of EPA and environmental regulation. The result has been a standoff on legislation to decimate EPA authority to protect the environment. But whether it will be possible to prevent the backdoor effort to gut the EPA by cutting its budget hangs in the balance."
Read the Article 

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH:

The Koch brothers are launching a recruiting blitz on Facebook for maintaining the plutocracy.


In the last few days, I have encountered endless paid ads in the right-hand column of Facebook for a program called "Liberty at Work." "Looking for Work?" the ad asks. It then describes positions throughout the country for advancing "conservative and libertarian" causes.
Clicking through the "Liberty at Work" ad brings you to an eponymous Facebook site (see "Welcome" on the Facebook page) that announces, "You no longer have to come to DC to advancing [sic] economic freedom." In the "likes" section on the left-hand side of the page are listed a few of the local right-wing think tanks that an April 25 Mother Jones article discusses: "Inspired by Ronald Reagan and funded by the right's richest donors, a web of [national] free-market think tanks has fueled the nationwide attack on workers' rights."
Many of these institutions are funded by the Koch brothers.
Furthermore, by clicking libertyatwork.org (on the Facebook info page), you are redirected to the Charles G. Koch Foundation Liberty at Work application page.
The Kochs are so brazen that they do not try to hide their effort to beef up and expand local right-wing propaganda. They boast about it. Take a look around the full Koch Foundation web site and see for yourself, beginning at the Liberty at Work program description:

Washington isn't the only city where change happens; important public policy decisions are made everyday in states across the country. From Chicago to Atlanta, the Koch Associate Program has grown to include organizations both in and outside of DC, but the need for effective advocates for liberty continues to expand on the state level. This was the impetus behind the launch of Liberty@WorkTM.
The invasion has begun.
Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

 

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As Jim Hightower explains it, is that “the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90 percent of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic ‘normal’ of long-term joblessness, low wages, no benefits or worker rights, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.” We must restore sanity to this nation.