Aug 14 2009
There are Two Americas, the wealth and the rest of us:
Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. The paper, which covers data through 2007, points to a staggering, unprecedented disparity in American incomes.
Saez calculates that in 2007 the top .001 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000.
As of 2007, the top decile of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that’s “higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the ‘roaring” 1920s.'”
The entire paper is available here:
From Saez’s paper:
[W]hile the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew at a solid pace of 2.7 percent per year from 1993-2000, these incomes grew only 1.3 percent per year from 2002-2007. As a result, in the economic expansion of 2002-2007, the top 1 percent captured two thirds of income growth.”
Paul Krugman comments that it was “Even more gilded” than we thought.
The charts from Saez at Krugman and HuffPo say it all.
Aug 12 2009
TPM has a story that needs to get out:
Tea Baggers are hoping for a literal “riot” at an upcoming town hall event, in order to create a spectacle for CNBC’s cameras. And the event will be hosted by a Democratic congressman who this week had a swastika painted on a sign outside his district office.
Yesterday, Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin sent an email, obtained by TPMmuckraker, to a Tea Party google group. Martin told the group: “We have a media request for an event this week that will have lots of energy and lots of anger. This is for CNBC.”
Later that day, a Tea Bagger named Pat Wayman responded with a suggestion, also obtained by TPMmuckraker: “This one should be a riot! literally….” he wrote.
Wayman then posted information for an upcoming town hall meeting hosted by Rep. David Scott (D-GA).
So, if this is true, CNBC is asking Teabaggers to create a riot or near riot so they will have good footage and their right wing TV personalities can play Glenn Beck. If it is true.
There are at least two things that CNBC/GE Legal really should look at: (1) Potential criminal liability as a co-conspirator if any laws are broken; (2) Potential civil liability for any personal injury or property damage under joint and several liability principles.
WTF is all I can say. GE needs to rein in CNBC before someone is hurt.
Aug 07 2009
This is so worth reading:
Why? Because the author used to be one of them:
Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls
They are using my old shock troops — given many of these folks were first energized by the Evangelical pro-life movement that my late father and I started in the 1970s. What we did to clinics they are now doing to congressmen and others speaking out for health care reform.
“How do I know this is the norm? … I know this script. I helped write it.”
He tells it exactly how it is.
There is no daylight between the Republican Party, the health-care insurance industry, far right leaders like Dick Armey, the legion of insurance lobbyists, and now, a small army of thugs. All we’re missing is actual uniforms, otherwise we now have a full blown American version of the Nazi Brown Shirts.
No, I don’t believe that these people are about to take over the country. No, the sky is not falling. But the Republican Party is. It is now profoundly anti-American.
Here’s the emerging American version of the fascist’s formula: combine millions of dollars of lobbyists’ money with embittered troublemakers who have a small army of not terribly bright white angry people (collected over decades through pro-life mass mailing networks) at their beck and call, ever ready to believe any myth or lie circulated by the semi literate and completely and routinely misinformed right wing — Evangelical religious underground. Then put his little mob together with the insurance companies’ big bucks. That’s how it works — American Brown Shirts at the ready.
What’s the results of the fascist formula for the rest of us? Well, think how this “method” worked against Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic and how that story ended. In this case a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save our economy from going bankrupt because of spiraling health care costs may be lost, not because of a better argument, but because of lies backed up by anti-democratic embittered thuggery. The motive? Revenge on America by the Old White Guys of the far right, and greed by the insurance industry.
It’s time to give this garbage in name: insurance industry funded fascism.
Why? Because Obama won:
They can’t compute that their white man-led conservative revolution is dead. They can’t reconcile their idea of themselves with the fact that white men like them don’t run the country any more — and never will again. To them the black president is leading a column of the “other” into their promised land. Gays, immigrants, blacks, progressives, even a female Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court… for them this is the Apocalypse.
Could someone do a diary on Daily Kos on this? I did one today. It needs ot be out there.
Aug 07 2009
650,000 farm workers face a daily risk of death and illness from toiling in stifling summer heat. Six died last year and fifteen farm workers have died of heat-related complications since July 2004.
The United Farmworkers Unions and ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the state and its Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) for failing to live up to their constitutional and statutory duties to protect the safety of farm workers. See NY Times: Farm Workers’ Union Sues California Agency Over Rules on Heat Safety
“If hundreds of thousands of white-collar employees had to work under dangerous and life-threatening conditions, the state would almost certainly take immediate action to protect their health and safety,” said David Blair-Loy, legal director for the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “Low-income farm workers, who are overwhelmingly Latino, deserve no less.”
“The people who feed us should not fear death when they go to work”
UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez
More, after the fold.
(Also on dkos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/… )
Aug 03 2009
Interesting interview President Obama had with Busisness Week last week. This part reveals a key political strategy:
But the last point I would just make in terms of the operating economic philosophy here: My working assumption has always been, if the market could do it better, have the market do it. I have very little confidence in, as I said, some sort of command-and-control regulatory regime.
But I will tell you that if you talk to ordinary Americans right now, they feel at least as cynical about business as they are about government. And part of my motivation here is to channel what is going to be, I think, a lot of populist energy in a constructive way that does not end up preventing us from continuing to be the most dynamic, innovative economy.
More after the fold.
Jul 30 2009
From HuffPo comes the news that Nancy Pelosi is starting to kick ass. This is what teh presdient must do. People need a narrative of good guys v. bad guys. They see it in books, TV, movies, daily life.
The real “villains” in the fight for health care reform are insurance companies.
“They are the villains in this. They have been part of the problem in a major way,” Pelosi said of the insurance industry after her weekly press conference. “It’s almost immoral, what they are doing,” she said, referring to industry lobbying against a public insurance plan option. “Of course, they’ve been immoral all along. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know about it.”
The current system works so well for insurers that they don’t even want subsidies, Pelosi claimed. “They’ve had a good thing going for a long time at the expense of the American people and the health of our country,” she said, adding that it will be tough to keep them from getting their way. “This is the fight of our lives.”
Pelosi referred to the health insurance industry’s campaign against reform — specifically, the public option — as “carpet bombing” and “shock and awe” during the press conference.
I think the President will build on this. I hope so. Obama, Pelosi and Reid (yech) must speak with one voice to win.
Good and evil, right and wrong. It’s now up to the President, for Nancy has shown a light on the way to success. He must courageously take the fight to the immoral insurance companies. No more everyone at the table.
Jul 30 2009
Also on Daily Kos. Presented here without change, although the venue here needs lesss apologetics.
Watching Baucus try to sell out the President’s plan and all the roadblocks put in the way of what is essentially a half measure, a tepid reform, reminded me of the reality in American politics many wish to deny.
GreenSooner mentioned that he was “actually surprised that real(ish) reform has gotten as far as it has.” This is because
Our political system has essentially been reengineered to prevent things like actual health care reform.
(Link to comment) President Obama and progressive Democrats have really worked hard to push some reform in health care against overwhelming odds. But this fight has once again exposed the reality of Washington. It’s broken.
More, after the fold.
Jun 29 2009
Paul Krugman has an excellent column this morning. In it, he calls out the global warming deniers, a group to which many Republican congressmen and congresswomen belong, as what they truly are: traitors to the planet.
And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason – treason against the planet.
More on those who betray America and the entire planet, after the fold.
Jun 12 2009
Well, they sure know how to play hardball with Progressives over at the White House:
The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won’t get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday.
“We’re not going to help you. You’ll never hear from us again,” Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen.
More, after the fold.
Jun 03 2009
I have some good news. This is a story of how worker activism along with the help of Democratic officeholders can save jobs.
First, my title. It’s title is derived from the fact that one of Workers United’s predecessor unions at Hartmarx was the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union. Looks like the union label will stay on the President’s suits. (President Obama wore a Hartmarx suit at the Innaugaration, I believe.)
The 1978 ad:
Two weeks ago workers voted to hold a sit-in action at the factores of the company that makes Obama’s suits (Hartmarx) if Well Fargo sold it to a company that would close the plants and send the jobs overseas. This week, the bidder approved as the “stalking horse” bidder in bankruptcy is a good company who will keep jobs in Amerirca and honor the union contracts.
More, after the fold.
Jun 02 2009
McClathchy Newspapers is reporting that the real reason that President Obama changed his mind on releasing the torture photos is that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told him that Iraq would erupt in violence and demand the US get out:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama reversed his decision to release detainee abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki warned that Iraq would erupt into violence and that Iraqis would demand that U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq a year earlier than planned, two U.S. military officers, a senior defense official and a State Department official have told McClatchy.
The official said Maliki warned that releasing the photos would lead to more violence that could delay the scheduled U.S. withdrawal from cities by June 30 and that Iraqis wouldn’t make a distinction between old and new photos. The public outrage and increase in violence could lead Iraqis to demand a referendum on the security agreement and refuse to permit U.S. forces to stay until the end of 2011.
Maliki said, “Baghdad will burn” if the photos are released, said a second U.S. military official.
More at the link, including a desription of some of the pictures.
So we hide the truth.
In my view, it’s long past time to withdraw from Iraq. In addition, there should be justice for the crimes Americans committed, including justice at the highest levels for ordering torture. To be a nation committed to the rule of law means applying laws against torture to even high officials who break the law. When we fail to apply the law against a high official because of his or her rank, we no longer can say we follow the rule of law.
That means investigate Bush and Cheney for All of their violations of law.
Simulposted on Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/…
May 29 2009
Thank God or the Goddess for Teddy Kennedy! He has done so much for America over his lifetime, and even in sickness, the “Lion of the Senate” is roaring again:
May 29 (Bloomberg) — Senator Edward Kennedy, chairman of one of two Senate panels drafting health-care overhaul plans, said he will include a government-run program to compete with private insurers in a measure to be considered in mid-June, asserting his role in the emerging debate despite his battle with brain cancer.
“An important foundation of our legislation is the following principle: If you like the coverage you have now, you keep it,” Kennedy wrote in an op-ed article in the Boston Globe. “But if you don’t have health insurance or don’t like the insurance you have, our bill will give you new, more affordable options.”