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Reposted from StewartAcuff by greywolfe359
American democracy is no longer just under attack, our democracy and the institutions that support it are being decimated right now. The Koch Brothers are giving Scott Walker of Wisconsin $400 million, because he did all he could to destroy democracy and democratic institutions in Wisconsin.

The Supreme Court has made a mockery of our Constitution like trained chimpanzees saying corporations are people and money is speech, drowning our votes and our voices in waves of cash. After the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, 22 states legislated voter restrictions and disenfranchised legitimate voters.

The dismantling of American democracy is directly tied to the vast gulf of income and wealth inequality. The average worker hasn’t seen a real increase in wages in 35 years. All the increases in our GDP in the last 10 years has gone to the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent. Global corporations, which operate and make their money, take advantage of huge tax breaks, hide their money in offshore tax havens and refuse to create jobs in America.

Now comes Bernie Sanders, who wants to make the economy work for the American people and democracy to be restored and strengthened, and all the sudden the word socialism is big news.

CORPORATE SOCIALISM IS RIFE in America. Our economy works as socialism for the rich now.

Here comes Bernie Sanders for President with a real agenda for real change that average Americans need and all the sudden we hear all about socialism. Well, Senator Bernie Sanders is opposed to Socialism for the Rich.

What is Senator Sanders for? A healthier America and dignity for the American people and restoration of American democracy.

Senator Bernie Sanders is for what we need:

    - Taking care of our veterans
    - Rebuilding our infrastructure and giving Americans good jobs
    - Reversing climate change and listening to scientists instead of lunatics
    - Creating worker co-ops like the grocery store in my neighborhood
    - Growing the labor movement and making organizing unions and collective
      bargaining real rights for all workers
     -Raising the minimum wage
    - Pay equity for women
    - Trade policies that lift workers wages and protect the environment
    - Making college affordable for all
    - Tackling Wall Street
    - Healthcare as a right for all
    - Protecting “the least of these” as The Bible says
    - Real Tax Reform

So when a co-worker, nasty uncle or friend or Rush Limbaugh or Fox News starts raving about Bernie and socialism, just tell ’em, “I’m glad you brought that up, because Bernie is working hard to end socialism for the rich.”

That will strengthen America and all the rest of us.

Image source: Alternet

Reposted from Le Bois de Bleu by Garrett

While I've been hesitant to join in some of the more heated conversations about these topics of late, I have read with interest a few diaries and comment threads related to them. Forgive me for overgeneralizing, but I've found a common, even if minority, opinion among the left that identity politics are somehow secondary to the real issues that Americans face, and that identity politics somehow distracts us from that.

From where I stand this should be obviously and blatantly false, but I suppose I forget that if one is a member of the default American brand, it would be easy (although incredibly lazy) to view it through that prism. The fact is that identity politics and income inequality are, and always have been, inextricably linked.

Let's do the jump and discuss this topic with some clarity.

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Reposted from greywolfe359 by greywolfe359

I was born in 1979. It's a year that many economists have now found to be a turning point. From the end of the Great Depression until the year I was born, American productivity and prosperity increased steadily over time. Wealth, productivity and wages followed the same basic trend upward. Then, in 1979, something happened. Wealth and productivity continued to climb. But real wages, adjusted for inflation, have stayed flat for 90% of us. This is the single biggest issue of our time and if we don't fix it we aren't going to fix any of our other problems either. Can we bring hope and renewed prosperity to Baltimore if 99% of all our growth in wealth is sucked up by Wall Street? Can we restore it anywhere without changing that single basic fact?

The 1980s introduced us to trickle down economics. Trickle down economics are an abysmal failure for everyone except the top 1%. But even Democratic presidents and Congresses have failed to halt their spread. Clinton and Obama may have put the brakes on trickle down trends (tapping those brakes ever so slightly less they offend the people who fund their campaigns) but no one has been serious about not only stopping the evisceration of the middle class but reversing the trend.

Until now.


Which candidate would actually stand with workers and stand up to Wall Street?

76%103 votes
4%6 votes
12%17 votes
5%8 votes

| 134 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from distraught by greywolfe359

Join the Campaign or Sign up to Volunteer for specific tasks or Sign up for Updates.

To donate:

Stand with Bernie
We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to fight for change.

I believe America is ready for a new path to the future.

Make a contribution to my presidential campaign today. I can't wait to see what we will accomplish together. - Bernie Sanders

Bernie's also on Facebook and Twitter.

There's much more to the campaign website.

For example, there's Bernie On the Issues (excerpts below the fold):

There's a page on Bernie's record:

There's also a petition to sign, saying "We must overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections."


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Reposted from A Day In The Life by Greyhound Editor's Note: Per Author's request. -- Greyhound

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Ten years ago, if anyone had told me where I would be today, I would have laughed at the absurdity of it. I lived in my half-million dollar dream home. My husband drove an 80k Mercedes and I drove a late model Lexus SUV. I literally had, and did anything I wanted. Of course, the things I wanted were reasonable. My adult son was working and making more money than my husband and I put together. We were a happy, very fortunate family.

Two surgeries, and mutiple medical mistakes later, I was left with two levels in my neck which rejected bone grafts.This left me with intense pain and inflammation, and limited my ability to support my own head. The doctors called it failed back surgery syndrome. The rotator cuff surgery, done on my right shoulder, didn't fix the problem there. Just after surgery, the shoulder was slighly better, but today it is worse than just after the accident. My low back has permanent nerve damage which extends all the way down my left leg. In the process of injecting dye into my spine, to perform a Mylegram with contrast, a radiologist injured nerve root bundles in my low back.

I could have come back from any one of those injuries, but not from all three.

All these doctors"practiced" thier medicine on me, and left me a cripple, unable to work, or take care of myself.

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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat

The Greeks have said enough! Hope has defeated fear and SYRIZA has won the election and have beaten New Democracy and the fear-mongers, as expected.  This is a major victory for anti-austerity forces which could change the economic and political landscapes.

However, they did not win an outright majority (they were short 2 seats) and were forced into coalition with a right-wing, nationalist (pro-Greek Orthodox) anti-austerity party, the Independent Greeks (referred to as ANEL from now on).  

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Irrespective of this, we do have quite a lot to celebrate! The election of SYRIZA is a shot directly across the bow of neoliberalism and its flagship of ideas, aka as the austerity project. The European ruling class (which includes mainstream political leaders) are a wee bit shaken especially Germany.  Whether or not the Troika is forced to negotiate the debt successfully, this is a victory and it is forcing the ruling class in Europe to take stock over whether austerity (and destroying the working class) is more important than the EU project. The stakes are literally that high!
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Reposted from calebfaux by Garrett

So quite recently Mitt Romney announced that fighting poverty and income inequality was the theme of his new quest for the White House.   Many of us laughed (I did) given the campaign he ran in 2012.

But tonight on 60 Minutes both John Boehner and Mitch McConnell solemnly announced that income inequality is a major issue.  They went on to point out that its gotten worse in the Obama years.   This was an interview done only minutes after the state of the Union speech.

Talk about hutzpah, for years the GOP has done everything they could to make it so.  That's what "supply side" or "trickle down" economics does.  They still have no answers, their mantra remains "cut taxes and regulation."

This is all a bit astonishing.  But consider, Romney, Boehner and McConnell would most certainly not be saying these things unless polling was telling them they should.

If they can hear it then I most sincerely hope the Hillary Clinton camp can hear it.

My transcript of the pertinent segment:

Obama (on video): Our Deficits cut by two thirds, a  stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at it's lowest rate in 50 years.  That's good news people!

Pelley (to McConnell & Boehner):  If unemployment has fallen to 5.6%, gasoline prices are down, the stock markets are up, the economy grew by 5% in the third quarter, that's the fastest rate in more than a decade, you don't congratulate the President for that?  

McConnell:  Look things are getting better but the point is, who is benefiting from this?  This has been a top of the income recovery, ahh, the so called 1% that the President is always talking about have done quite well, but middle and lower income Americans are about $3000 dollars a year worse off than when he came to office.  

Pelley: Is income inequality a problem in this country?  Is it a problem Republicans want to address?

Boehner: (enthusiastically) It is!  And frankly the President's policy's have made income inequality worse!

There in a nutshell is what the 2016 Presidential Campaign should all be about.  Voters aren't happy with the current circumstances, they want something done, Democrats should loudly  be saying what they will do and make Republicans do the same.      It's a new FDR moment.

When you have Romney, McConnell and Boehner channeling Elizabeth Warren something is up.  This is no accident.

Quite clearly they know they have a problem because none of these guys would have been talking this way only a few months ago.  

I dearly hope the Clinton folks are paying close attention.

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In this day and age when more than half the American population is under economic distress the concept of working Christmas isn't even an option. Most employers inform them verbally that they will be summarily dismissed if they fail to attend their Christmas scheduling. So at this point it is important to get the stories out about how we as a society are so cognitively dissonant that we can not see how our culture sets up the poor to pretend to be joyous all the while slaving and hoping they do not fall ill on Christmas lest they lose their job.

So let's have it, what was the first Christmas you worked and what did you do?

Or perhaps you have a notable working on Christmas tale?

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Reposted from Earth Accounting by Horace Boothroyd III

Consumers account for 70% of the economy.  Consumerism so far has meant the manipulation of people so they consume more.  A great documentary that analyzes the emergence of consumerism by the psychological manipulation of consumers at the beginning of the XX century is The Century of the Self.  This BBC film is very watchable however disturbing.  A newer documentary takes off from it is Ethos, narrated by Woody Harrelson and directed by Pete McGrain. If you watch it after the 1:02:00 minute it gives what we call the anti-thesis to the original consumerism; consumers have the power to change the world towards sustainability.

Consumers can act ethically and change the world, ethical consumerism.

Certainly sustainability has become a popular term around the world. Corporations are actually starting to focus on sustainability and many are designating Chief Sustainability Officers and publishing their sustainability policies.

But these top down approaches to sustainability, including government sustainability policies cannot succeed if consumers do not participate in decision making.  For consumers to make better purchasing decisions they must be informed.

One source of information are the almost 500 ecolabels available.

 photo 3f31cb2a-3007-43d2-aa17-0cbd72fef738_zps54d59a87.jpg

There are vast amounts of information available through these ecolabels but there is little transparency and it is difficult for an individual consumer to put it all together.

This study by Accenture (page 10) tells us that in the US, 14% of consumers are actively looking for sustainability information.  More in other countries like India and China, less in other countries.

Consumer interest in sustainability photo Consumerinterestinsustainability_zps0f33f273.jpg

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way of making it all easily available by just scanning a barcode?

 photo 3406a554-d091-45cf-8d13-f87f674b183b_zpse1b2a8b6.jpg

The new era of smart consumers is upon us.  Let's make it happen.

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Residents of the Belle Harbor Manor assisted living center in the city’s Rockaway Peninsula spent four months after Superstorm Sandy moving through a series of emergency shelters due to flooding at the facility.

Now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency wants at least a dozen of those disabled, elderly and mostly poor residents to return thousands of dollars in disaster aid.

The austerity craze has long lasting effects. One of those is to attempt to recoup or cut off monies from the most vulnerable. In this case obviously special needs residents that have medical expenses that go well beyond any disability scheme payments will be expected to pay FEMA back for emergency housing because they were kept in shelters. These residents do not have mobility or the means to seek housing elsewhere. That is why they were in a care facility.
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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat

Yes, comrades, we need to talk about crises again, the term recession simply does not explain what is really going on! Just in case you might not have noticed or perhaps the mainstream media where you live ignored it, the obvious has happened and the end of the so-called recession has disappeared into the fantasy novel. Once again there is a slowdown in growth and the financial markets are not particularly happy. This time, Germany and China are showing signs of slowdown. Globalisation has not ended the potential towards crises in the capitalist economic system; in fact, the greater interconnectedness of the world economy has exacerbated the situation and ensured that the contagion spreads.  

For those who believe the fantasies of neoliberal economics, the shock of these latest failures of neoliberalism must come as a surprise. But for those of us that have been warning of the stupidity of squeezing wages and destroying work conditions, rising inequality in income and wealth, the dangers of export-led growth when wage incomes are being squeezed meaning that unless governments become the sole purchasers of goods and services that are being produced (and they are not) that obviously there comes a point when working people cannot purchase goods and services as their incomes are too low, wiping out of savings  has happened and personal indebtedness leads to default and bankruptcy. Neither of these things helps to maintain capitalist growth, accumulation and profitability in the long run; forget that, it hasn’t even lasted in the short run.

I will be giving a run through on what is going on and why our lives feel as though we are living through the Shock Doctrine (which we are) and then address the proposals of dealing with persistent unemployment under capitalism from the Left on which there is significant disagreement.

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Reposted from Ian Reifowitz by Ian Reifowitz
Woman holds a sign saying
Democratic analysts are in agreement. Their candidates for the House and Senate lost as badly as they did in this week's midterm elections because they had no economic message:
“Absent any clear or far-reaching national agenda and message to address people’s real economic concerns about jobs, wages and opportunity,” [Ruy] Teixeira and [John] Halpin [of the Center for American Progress] wrote late Thursday, “the Democrats essentially ceded control of the national campaign, opting to try their luck with a series of localized and targeted campaigns.”

Another analysis released Friday, from Democracy Corps and the Voter Participation Center, which works to increase turnout among unmarried women — a quarter of the voting-age population — concluded that single women’s support fell short because they “did not hear issues important to them: an economic agenda for working women and men.”

Democratic-leaning voters heard “random policies that you have to figure out that they add up to a big economic narrative,” the pollster Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps said in an interview, citing the minimum wage and pay equity proposals as examples. “There were bits and pieces, but it was up to the voter to decide that it all added up to a big economic narrative.”

Not to say, I told you so, but I did. Just sayin'. Here's the platform—accompanied by a larger narrative—I urged Democrats to adopt ten months ago as the core of their campaign for the midterms. It was aimed at House Democrats, in a moment when there was a flicker of hope that they could retake that chamber, but it certainly applied to both House and Senate candidates:
                                     DEMOCRATIC CONTRACT WITH AMERICA

As Democratic Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body, we propose a clear set of policies to address the most important issue of our time: income inequality.

First, we must define the problem and understand how we got here. After the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, our government shifted to a policy of trickle-down economics. Since that time, the government chose—through tax and other policies—to favor the wealthiest among us at the expense of average Americans.

From 1979 to 2007, the income of households in the top 1 percent went up by 275 percent. For households around the middle, their income went up by a little less than 40 percent, and for those near the bottom, income went up by a measly 18 percent. And in case you're wondering, this is after people paid income and other taxes to the government, and after government benefits were paid out. Right now, the income gap separating the top 1 percent from the rest of us is at its highest point since just before the Great Depression hit.

The top 1 percent have captured the lion's share of income growth in recent decades. That wasn't an accident, it was a result of tax cuts for the rich and other policies that our government enacted under Republican presidents named Bush and Reagan, which were partially undone by Democratic Congresses and presidents named Obama and Clinton.

Now is the time to finish that job. We must have a rising economy that really does lift all boats, not just redistribute wealth upward. In fact, that's the kind of economy we had from World War II until the 1980s. If you elect a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives in 2014, we can do it again.

Please read below the fold to find out just how to do that.
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