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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,624

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'We Pay More': US Austerity Well Underway

Published on Friday, October 26, 2012 by Common Dreams
'We Pay More': US Austerity Well Underway

by Carl Gibson

After I pinned a dollar bill on my jacket lapel with “I PAY MORE” written on it in black marker, I’ve had countless conversations during my travels across the United States that went something like this:

Them: “I pay more? What does that mean?”
Me: “This dollar bill right here is $1 more than General Electric, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and a bunch of other big corporations paid in federal taxes, since 2008, combined.”
Them: “What? That’s not right. I pay my taxes! Too much, actually.”
Me: “But I bet you don’t hire a bunch of lobbyists to make sure Congress keeps writing in more loopholes like they do, right?”
Them: “Well, no. I don’t have that kind of money.”
Me: “So you pay more. Pass it on.”

Regardless of political persuasion, there isn’t one person I’ve met who isn’t infuriated by the fact that they pay more in federal taxes than a combined majority of most billion-dollar corporations. But what’s even more infuriating is that under the Budget Control Act that was passed after our austerity- crazed Congress forced it into being during the Summer-long debt negotiations of 2011, budgets for numerous essential social programs will be cut to the bone this January, under the false guise that our country is too broke to pay the bills.

Starting on January 3rd, the first $110 billion cut of the mandated $1.5 trillion deemed appropriate by Congress will go into effect. $55 billion will be cut from the Pentagon, while budgets for non-defense programs will be cut across the board by another $55 billion—8 percent for “discretionary” programs and 7.2 percent for “non-discretionary” programs. Under a similar $38 billion budget cut passed in Summer of 2011 to avert a government shutdown, nearly $1 billion was cut from clean drinking water funds, along with almost $1 billion from FEMA assistance for disaster victims, and hundreds of millions of dollars for nuclear waste cleanup and low-income heating assistance for poor families who don’t have enough to keep warm. The latest round of cuts coming in early 2013 will affect Medicare.

While our government is forcing poor people to go cold and older folks to go without health care, they’re doing absolutely nothing about the estimated $70-100 billion we lose every year to corporate tax dodging overseas, due to loopholes that have been successfully written into the tax code by corporate lobbyists. There still isn't any legislation on the table that would do something about the $32 trillion that's estimated to be stashed by the 0.001% in overseas, tax-free bank accounts. That money, by the way, is actually more than the combined national debt of both the European Union and the United States. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/26

Dressed up like a million-dollar trooper.....Tryin' hard to look like Gary Cooper


Breaking on CBC news: Silvio Berlusconi gets 4 years for tax evasion

No story yet. http://www.cbc.ca/

Toronto's mayor doesn't handle criticism well

from the Toronto Star:

Daniel Dale and David Rider
Urban Affairs Reporters

Under fire again from the city’s integrity commissioner and ombudsman, Mayor Rob Ford responded Thursday with a proposal: eliminate their jobs, plus the job of the lobbyist registrar.

Ford’s comments drew scorn and skepticism from councillors.

“I think that the timing is curious at best,” said Josh Colle, a centrist swing voter. “It’s a coincidence, I’m sure,” said conservative Gloria Lindsay Luby, laughing.

The proposal has no chance of success. Provincial law requires Toronto to have an integrity commissioner and ombudsman, and there is nearly no council support for scrapping the office of the lobbyist registrar. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1277651--mayor-rob-ford-wants-to-eliminate-city-watchdog-offices

The real Republican rape platform

The real Republican rape platform
It's no accident GOP candidates can't stop talking about rape: the party view is women are mere vessels subject to men's will

Jill Filipovic
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 25 October 2012

Dear GOP candidates and party members,

I'm going to give you some free campaign advice: stop talking about rape.

The latest Republican rape commentary comes from Romney-endorsed Indiana senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, who tells us:

"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Cue outrage, then cue "apology" from Mourdock – not for his comments, but for "any interpretation other than what I intended". National Republican senatorial committee chairman John Cornyn voiced his support for Mourdock and added that he also believes "life is a gift from God." ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/real-republican-party-rape-platform

Bill Moyers: Barofsky on Pandit and Obama


October 23, 2012

Former TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky explains his disappointment with the former Citigroup CEO and the president for failed financial leadership.


Teabaggers rally to save Troy's asshat mayor

from the Freep:

With less than two weeks before Election Day, supporters of Troy Mayor Janice Daniels are battling hard with those who want to recall her just one year after she was narrowly elected.

The recall vote, supporters say, is about much more than a part-time mayor's post that pays $175 a month.

"If we lose Janice, there's going to be national headlines all over the country -- tea party goes down," conservative activist Norm Hughes of Metamora told a gathering of tea party activists this week.

The effort to block a recall of Troy's mayor is resonating beyond the boundaries of the city. Networks of tea party organizers and other conservatives are focused on the race as a key bellwether for the future of their movement, statewide and across the country. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20121026/NEWS01/310260122/Tea-party-rallies-to-try-to-save-controversial-Troy-mayor-from-recall?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Robert Scheer: Romney’s Cold War Ponzi Scheme

from truthdig:

Romney’s Cold War Ponzi Scheme

Posted on Oct 26, 2012
By Robert Scheer

Poor President Obama, as Colin Powell pointed out in endorsing him Thursday, clearly holds what should be a winning hand in the war-on-terror game, and yet Mitt Romney and his neocon speechwriters won’t cut him any slack. Suddenly it’s not Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida that matter, but rather the military threat from Red China that is killing us with slick iPhones and cheap solar panels.

Throw in some good old Russia baiting, and if Romney has his way, the military-industrial complex will get its beloved Cold War back despite the fact that the communist threat is now one of conquering space on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Obama, the naive community organizer, thinks the foreign policy debate is about national security, but Romney, the quintessential vulture capitalist, knows that it’s always been about maximizing profit.

That is the problem with the war on terror that Obama inherited from George W. Bush but has successfully reissued as his own product line; it’s got all the patriotic bells and whistles, but as a profit center, it sucks. You just can’t logically justify spending trillions of dollars on building ever more sophisticated weapons to defeat a 9/11 style enemy equipped with weapons that can be purchased at Home Depot for a couple of hundred bucks. Another $2 billion nuclear sub, in addition to the two we already turn out every year, isn’t very useful in hunting down potential hijackers based in some desert outpost or even in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany.

Bush and his neocon coterie recognized the glaring irrelevance of the Cold War era arsenal in the fight against terrorism, and that is why they invaded Iraq instead of focusing on al-Qaida and its supporters in Afghanistan. As Donald Rumsfeld put it, “there aren’t any good targets in Afghanistan and there are a lot of good targets in Iraq,” meaning that we could pretend it was the Normandy landing all over again and count on an embedded media to mindlessly celebrate rolling out the mothballed war toys. There had to be another use for B-2 stealth bombers other than flying over the Super Bowl. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/romneys_cold_war_ponzi_scheme_20121026/

Halloween costumes (cartoon)

Phony Billion-Dollar Suits, Jailing Little Fish: Nothing Changes

from the Working Life blog:

Phony Billion-Dollar Suits, Jailing Little Fish: Nothing Changes
Posted on 25 October 2012.

So, it’s easy to capture our predicament today–though you’d never get that from the transcribers of press releases (formerly known as “journalists”). Here it is neatly summed up: we’ve been robbed, only little fish are being held accountable for relatively small crimes and, even more to the point, in a political rhetorical world where shareholders are revered, the shareholders are being left to pay the bill.

Let’s start with this piece of news

Federal prosecutors in New York sued Bank of America on Wednesday, accusing it of carrying out a mortgage scheme that defrauded the government during the depths of the financial crisis.In a civil complaint that seeks to collect $1 billion from the bank, the Justice Department took aim at a home loan program known as the “hustle,” a venture that has become emblematic of the risk-fueled mortgage bubble. The complaint adds to a flurry of federal and private lawsuits facing Bank of America’s beleaguered mortgage business.

This is nonsense. This suit, if successful, will saddle not the high executives with a penalty, but the shareholders of the banks AND the little depositors. Let me ask a rhetorical question: if the bank pays a penalty of a billion dollars, how long do you think it will take before fees go up for transactions by the average customer? How about ten seconds. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.workinglife.org/2012/10/25/phonysuits/

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