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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,051

Journal Archives

Baucus IDEAL China Ambassador: He Is Fluent In Corporate Shillism


from the Working Life blog:



Baucus IDEAL China Ambassador: He Is Fluent In Corporate Shillism
Posted on 19 December 2013.


Really, people are being grossly unfair to Max Baucus, wondering why someone who doesn’t speak Chinese would qualify to serve as ambassador. But, c’mon people, focus on the important lingo Baucus brings to the table: it would be hard to find another Democratic elected official who speaks such fluent corporate shillism…The man has got a perfect pitch. But, there is a silver lining.

Where do we start. Taxes, courtesy of the Citizens for Tax Justice on Baucus’ embrace of yet more idiotic tax cuts:

Citizens for Tax Justice and other advocates for fair and adequate taxes are unhappy because his proposal would not raise any new revenue overall — at a time when children are being kicked out of Head Start and all sorts of public investments are restricted because of an alleged budget crisis.Materials released from Senator Baucus’s staff explain that this part of his proposal is “intended to be revenue-neutral in the long-term.” The idea behind “revenue-neutral” corporate tax reform is that Congress would close loopholes that allow corporations to avoid taxes under the current rules, but use the savings to pay for a reduction in the corporate tax rate.

Among the general public, there is very little support for this. The Gallup Poll has found for years that more than 60 to 70 percent of Americans believe large corporations pay “too little” in taxes.

There is almost no public support for the specific idea of using revenue savings from loophole-closing to lower tax rates. A new poll commissioned by Americans for Tax Fairness found that when asked how Congress should use revenue from “closing corporate loopholes and limiting deductions for the wealthy,” 82 percent preferred the option to “[r]educe the deficit and make new investments,” while just 9 percent preferred the option to “reduce tax rates on corporations and the wealthy.”


Trade? From his perch as chairman of the Finance Committee, and in previous roles, Baucus has made sure that every NAFTA-style, middle-class killing, corporate trade bill passes the Senate.He is awash in corporate money, paid off by Wall Street, the insurance mob, HMOs, oil and gas companies, real estate and banks. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.workinglife.org/2013/12/19/baucus-ideal-china-ambassador-he-is-fluent-in-corporate-shillism/#sthash.57UztwYi.dpuf



As Subpoenaed Documents Are Handed Over, Chris Christie (Again) Dismisses Bridge Controversy

New Jersey Democrats spent the day before Christmas reviewing newly-released documents over the George Washington Bridge controversy.

Democrats are trying to find out if Gov. Christie’s two appointees at the Port Authority lied when they said a traffic study forced the four-day closure of local lanes to the bridge. Subpoenas to the appointees, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, were turned over by their attorneys to Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat leading the inquiry.

Christie stands by his appointees, who have since resigned. He's said he believes there was a traffic study that caused the massive traffic back-up. But Christie was asked Monday night on his monthly radio show on 101.5 FM if he has seen this study.

“No, what do I care?" he said. He reiterated his previous point that Democrats are trying to make political hay out of something he had nothing to do with. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/subpoenaed-documents-are-handed-over-christie-again-dismisses-bridge-controversy/



American Futures: The Shortcomings of the Governing Class


from Dissent magazine:



American Futures: The Shortcomings of the Governing Class
By Jeff Faux - Fall 2013


The Future:
Six Drivers of Global Change

by Al Gore
Random House, 2013, 592 pp.

The Great Deformation:
The Corruption of Capitalism in America

by David Stockman
Public Affairs Books, 2013, 768 pp.



Americans’ perception of the future bounces between two contradictory visions. One is that the country is drifting toward decline. Polls report widespread belief that the younger generation of Americans will be worse off than their parents, that U.S. influence in the world is weakening, and that our governing institutions are incompetent and corrupt. At the same time, a majority thinks that although the country may be going to hell, they and their families will prosper.

According to a Pew survey, 63 percent of Americans think that forty years from now the standard of living of the average family will not improve, with 36 percent thinking it will get even worse. At the same time, 64 percent are optimistic that they personally and their families will be better off. Indeed, like the citizens of Lake Wobegon, over 70 percent of Americans believe that their income is above average. This perceived disconnect between one’s personal fate and one’s country’s surely helps explain the low level of public outrage in this post-crash era of high unemployment and falling wages.

Our national culture has long encouraged us to overattribute economic success to individual talents, rather than the state of the surrounding economy. The Great Depression was an important reality check, of course, and the New Deal’s Keynesian paradigm gave Americans a more balanced view of how the world actually worked. The lesson was that economic downturns were not Acts of God, like hurricanes, but more like plane crashes that could be prevented by government regulation. So your living standards depended on what you did at the polling place as well as what you did at the workplace. But the election of Ronald Reagan turned back the ideological clock. Government became the cause of your problems, not the solution. With a little effort, you could be an island of individual prosperity in a rising sea of economic turmoil.

The result has been to rationalize public complacency. Today, it is not simply conservative Republicans who have come to accept the limited role of the state but liberal Democrats as well. On every major issue that will affect the future of American living standards—health care, education, global competitiveness, income distribution—the proposals championed by the progressive part of our two-party system fall embarrassingly short of what is needed. If tomorrow the GOP agreed to everything in the agenda that Barack Obama laid out in his February State of the Union address, the progress in dealing with the dramatic changes in the economic prospects of most Americans would be close to zero. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/american-futures-the-shortcomings-of-the-governing-class



Dumbasses of a feather .................


Someone should really tell this trio that friends don't let friends drive drunk.

A woman busted for allegedly driving while in intoxicated in New Jersey last week had to call three different friends to pick her up from the police station, because the first two showed up under the influence, according to police. Those two were also arrested, the Hunterdon County Democrat reported.

The first of the three stooges to get in trouble in Readington Township on the night of Dec. 16 was Carmen Reategui, 34. Police told the Democrat that Reategui swerved while driving and that she failed a field sobriety tests.

She called Nina Petracca to pick her up, but police threw the 23-year-old into a cell, because she showed up visibly intoxicated, according to the Express-Times. Officers claim that they found seven illegal Vicodin pills in Petracca's purse, so she was slapped with an additional charge of possession of a controlled substance to go with the DUI. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/25/friends-get-duis_n_4499361.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news



2013's quotable tennis players

http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/10179951/when-words-turn-winners




from ESPN:



.....(snip).....

1. "You can't buy ATP points. It's not possible, otherwise Gulbis would be No. 1 in the world."
-- Tommy Haas, referring to Ernests Gulbis' family fortune

......

3. "He was practicing with his shirt off."
-- Victoria Azarenka, on how Nadal won her support for the US Open final

.....

7. "I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak and Murray but, for me, all four of them are boring players. Their interviews are boring."
-- Gulbis, on interviews in tennis not being confrontational enough

......

12. "No, I have extra gluten."
-- Roger Federer, on whether he is part of the non-gluten diet craze on tour

......

20. "I don't have to play. I just stand there. I say, 'I'm from China.'"
-- Li Na, on how she fares against other players at table tennis .....................(more)



Ghosts of Christmas past: Eugene Debs


from peoplesworld.org:




[font size="1"]Photo: Eugene V. Debs leaving the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, on Christmas Day 1921.[/font]


With the holiday season upon us, it's worthwhile to remember Christmas 1921, the day that arguably the most successful socialist in American history, Eugene Debs, was released from prison. Let's hope the rising generation of working-class leaders can surpass his achievements without diluting his egalitarian vision.

In 1918, Debs made a speech in Ohio opposing World War I. "Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder," he told the crowd. "And that is war, in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles." For this, he was charged with sedition.

At his trial later that year, Debs freely admitted he opposed World War I and called no witnesses. In boundlessly empathic words that would be his most widely-quoted, Debs told the court, "Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Debs was sentenced to 10 years of incarceration.

Debs had been imprisoned decades before, in 1895 for his leadership of the Pullman Strike. According to historian Howard Zinn, strikers at the time "tied up the railroad system, burned hundreds of railway cars, and were met with the full force of the capitalist state: Attorney General Richard Olney, a former railroad lawyer, got a court injunction to prohibit blocking trains. President (Grover) Cleveland called out the army, which used bayonets and rifle fire on a crowd of 5,000 strike sympathizers in Chicago. Seven hundred were arrested. Thirteen were shot to death." ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://peoplesworld.org/eugene-debs-dreaming-of-a-red-christmas/



Big Government for Dummies: Food-stamp cuts, bloated military budgets, and state-cartel capitalism


Big Government for Dummies: Food-stamp cuts, bloated military budgets, and state-cartel capitalism
By: Scott McLarty Monday December 16, 2013 1:46 pm


It’s hardly a surprise that the coalition of social-justice groups that held a press conference in Washington, DC, on December 10 had no influence on the latest lurch into austerity.

The press conference in the Cannon House Office Building demanded that Congress make deep cuts in the nation’s military budget, reject reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and redirect funds into sorely needed social safety-net programs. Along with other political and community leaders, members of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign talked about how joblessness, hunger, foreclosures, and economic distress were hurting their families.

After the press conference, they walked in the snow to the office of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), co-chair of the Budgetary Committee, to present a “People’s Budget” and supporting petitions (see the video).

Unfortunately, the austerity agenda, premised on the idea that working Americans should shoulder economic losses caused by Wall Street’s criminal recklessness, required that Congress decree otherwise. The bipartisan budget deal reached later on Tuesday exempted the Pentagon from sequestration, while allowing proposed food-stamp cuts to move forward and blocking unemployment extensions. ...........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://my.firedoglake.com/scottmclarty/2013/12/16/big-government-for-dummies-food-stamp-cuts-bloated-military-budgets-and-state-cartel-capitalism/



Finally! ...... Amtrak trains in the Midwest to get WiFi





Riders on Amtrak's Hiawatha trains, along with passengers on seven other Midwestern routes, will have wireless Internet access by early February, Amtrak said in a release.

The rail company is installing equipment on cars under contracts with the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri, and the service will reach more than 3 million passengers annually. The Hiawatha, which consists of 17 cars running between Milwaukee and Chicago, is the busiest corridor in the Midwest with more than 800,000 riders annually.

Trains getting Internet service aside from the Hiawatha include routes from Chicago to St. Louis, Carbondale and Quincy, Ill.; from Chicago to Detroit and Pontiac, Port Huron and Grand Rapids, Mich.; and St. Louis to Kansas City, Mo.

A completion date will be announced next month. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11285078/midwest-amtrak-trains-to-get-wi-fi-by-early-2014



DU: Peace on Earth, and goodwill toward humankind


I know it's hard to remember sometimes when we have our robust and essential arguments, but what unites us here is much stronger than what divides us. A sincere Seasons Greetings from me.




Robert Scheer: Bill O’Reilly’s War on Jesus


from truthdig:


Bill O’Reilly’s War on Jesus

Posted on Dec 24, 2013
By Robert Scheer


Maybe it is time to put Christ back in Christmas. Bill O’Reilly annually demands we acknowledge that the man, or myth, that has been moved to the center of this once pagan ritual be properly identified with a religion, or philosophy as he puts it, that carries a moral message. True, the nation’s early Puritan settlers considered the holiday somewhat blasphemous, but we obviously are in need of moral guidance from any quarter that is plausible.

So, what would Jesus do about the profound inequality of opportunity that both the pope and our president have identified as the most pressing moral crisis of our time? O’Reilly didn’t cotton to the statements of either man and took particular umbrage over the comments that the spiritual leader of his own Catholic faith made in late November: “... Pope Francis said that income inequality is immoral. ... I don’t know if Jesus is going to be down with that.”

It is a timely question to ponder when many of us honor the purported moment of Christ’s birth with a last minute burst of shopping so desperate as to suggest the gluttony of the Roman Empire that led the early Christians to revolt in disgust. It is an indulgence much in evidence today, as the pope warns: “The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalance and, above all, their lack of concern for human beings. ...”

Score one for the pope. Although there is much to argue about in Christ’s enduring legacy, divinely inspired or not, there can be no doubt that equality of opportunity is explicit in the core Christian doctrine that every infant has a soul as significant as that of any other, and that we all will be judged by how well we respect the sanctity of the lives of those born into the most forlorn of circumstance. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/bill_oreillys_war_on_jesus_20131224



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