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View Diary: Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Earth Hour 2013) (23 comments)

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  •  80% (19+ / 0-)

    Excerpt: Interview David Cay Johnson

    There are 6 million corporations in America, but 2,600 of them, a tiny number out of 6 million, own 80 percent of the business assets in America.
    Let me give you a stunning number I reported the other day. From 1966 – when Lyndon Johnson was president -- to 2011, 45 years later, the bottom 90 percent of Americans’ average income, as reported on tax returns, went up by a stunning $59 -- almost no change at all. If you measure that $59 increase for the vast majority of Americans as one inch, then on the same scale, the incomes of those in the top ten percent went up by 168 feet. The top one percent, 888 feet. The plutocrats -- the Mitt Romney crowd, the top one percent of the top one percent? Their incomes rose by almost five miles relative to that one inch.
    JH: That is remarkable. We are talking about an economy that simply doesn’t work for 90% of working-people in this country.

    DCJ: My latest book, The Fine Print , looks at this in a different way. The first two books – Perfectly Legal is about taxes, Free Lunch is about all the subsidies we give to rich people. The Fine Print is about all these laws the mainstream media has either not reported on, or reported on in the most superficial and disconnected ways, that are designed to destroy market competition and replace it with monopolies, oligopolies, duopolies -- with rules that allow the biggest companies to raise prices and reduce services.

    DCJ: Let me give you a real killer number here. If you can get a law passed to collect a penny a day from everybody in America -- and I show how one industry did this, the pipeline industry got themselves exempted from the corporate income tax, but they still get to collect it in their monopoly rates – if you can get a penny a day from everybody in America, at the end of the year you’ll have over a billion dollars.

    What this is about is very simple. If you can get the rules rewritten in your favor... that means you can raise prices, you can refuse service wherever it’s not profitable. You could refuse services as long as you don’t say, “I don’t want to serve you because you’re a lesbian,” or, “You belong to the wrong religion,” you can refuse service.

    You know, Americans had be sold on this notion that we are number one in the world. But by some measures, our healthcare system is behind Cuba. We pay almost the highest prices in the world for our Internet. If you buy a triple-play package from one of the American cable or telephone companies – Internet, cable TV and telephone -- on average, you pay $160 a month with taxes. If you go to France, the same package is $40 to $70. There are some variations, but the range is $40 to $70. By the way, here you get one foreign country to call for free. There you get 70. Here you get American television. There you get worldwide television. Here you get an Internet that’s the equivalent of a two-lane Irish road, where you have to stop and wait every now and then, because the sheep are on the path. There you get an information superhighway.

    We are now 29th in the world in the speed of our Internet. We are behind Bulgaria, of all places.

    We are falling behind left and right. We have a Congress that just cut money for scientific research. We’ve got people who are idiots. I mean that word very clearly, “idiots,” like Sarah Palin going around saying, “Why are we paying for fruit fly research?” Anybody who understands science knows that massive advancements in human knowledge – knowledge that has saved lives -- has come from studying fruit flies. If you’re an idiot like Sarah Palin, if you’re Donald Trump, if you’re Senator Cruz from Texas, then you don’t get it.

    We really have to get a society that’s based on science and knowledge, that has an economic system that’s based on competitive markets with protections for consumers. While the rest of the world’s going to run right by us, we’re falling behind!

    Better I should say this now, than wait to have anybody surprised about it later on. ~ Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-MA

    by anyname on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:11:05 PM PDT

    •  Behold What Clinton Actually Accomplished: (12+ / 0-)

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      The bottom 9 of the top 10% were at dead stop, same as the bottom 90%.

      All of the top 1% minus 400 families barely grew at the pace of a CD. If you invested in the richest 1% minus the richest number barely able to fill the membership of 1 urban yacht or country club, you made enough to buy a slightly better car.

      This is where the concept of 99% came from.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:31:14 PM PDT

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    •  "We are behind Bulgaria" (9+ / 0-)

      One of James Howard Kunstler's favorite lines is "we have a railroad system Bulgaria would be ashamed of." Wait until I tell him we have an Internet infrastructure Bulgaria would be ashamed of, too!

      "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

      by Neon Vincent on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:33:13 PM PDT

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      •  somebody in Humboldt county keeps cutting the only (3+ / 0-)

        fiber cable going in or out, 'Suddenlink' in 'Suddenlink the internets down'...or 'Suddenleak', take yer pick.

        Only other internet is phone/dsl or satellite or pigeon.

        Several times now in the last month.

        The reward is up to $5000, yeah, that'll do it ya cheap bastards! Gotta cost much more than that each time...

        They make off with several feet of the cable too so I am guessing they have to string a whole new cable repeater to repeater?

        No manifesto, no demands, and the Unabomber is locked up, so I am outta ideas as to whom.

        anyway, good times for old infrastructure.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:22:04 AM PDT

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