August – Week 4 Summary

27 Aug

August 20, 2011

  1. While it hasn’t been completely confirmed, according to Reuters, Senator Bernie Sanders has intentionally leaked information exposing “extensive positions speculators held in the run-up to record high oil prices in 2008.” This comes at a time when numerous other shady behaviors of Wall Street are being discovered. The data was received by Sander’s office and then forwarded to a Wall Street Journal reporter. Reuters later received the following statement from Sanders, “The CFTC has kept this information hidden from the American public for nearly three years,” he said. “This is an outrage. The American people have a right to know exactly who caused gas prices to skyrocket in 2008 and who is causing them to spike today.” Come to find out, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is legally prohibited from releasing confidential information that identifies trader positions and identities. Hmm, I wonder which politician(s) received lobbyist money from Wall Street to make sure that rule was in place. Create CFTC to monitor Futures Trading activity, restrict access by public to information maintained by CFTC, crooked investors can do as they please. Heaven forbid the public, who was personally affected by their trading, be allowed to keep an eye on them. This information should have been public from the beginning. Oh, but we’d be violating the very principles of a free market, by regulating an already shady investment method we’d be destroying the very foundation of Capitalism. The very concept of futures trading makes me think it should be illegal, a form of gambling that requires the gamblers to stack the deck in their favor to better their chances of winning. John Damgard, president of the Futures Industry Association, said in a statement to Reuters, “This type of incident will have a chilling effect on derivatives trading in the U.S. because market participants will be reluctant to take the risk that their positions will be exposed to the public-and their competitors.” He may not think so, but that’s really good news. We now know who the blame truly belongs to. (Full Story on Crooks and Liars)

August 21, 2011

  1. Newsflash on ThinkProgress indicates Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who recently told voters that he was “also unemployed,” has applied for a permit to bulldoze his 3,000-square-foot, $12 million home in La Jolla, California. Perhaps he’s planning on erecting an unemployment office to help all of his unemployed voters get back on their feet, that would be nice wouldn’t it. Nope, he’ll be replacing the home with an 11,000 square feet mansion. Wait a minute, he’s the Governor of Massachusetts…why’s he screwing around with a home in California? Oh, he also has an $11 million estate in New Hampshire??? Survey says…you’re a douche bag. (Full Newsflash on ThinkProgress)
August 22, 2011
  1. On January 1, 2012 the payroll tax cut that we’ve all benefited from will come to an end, unless Congress decides to renew it. Thankfully, the good old GOP legislators have decided that that ain’t gonna happen. So while the majority of Americans have been clamoring for increased taxes on the wealthy, the ones more able to pay, the Republicans that many of them have voted for have instead done the exact opposite. By allowing these tax cuts for the majority of Americans, the 99% that aren’t “wealthy,” they are effectively raising our taxes and not increasing taxes for that top 1% in the least. This is all being done under the assumption, that’s been proven wrong time and time again, that allowing the wealthy and corporations to keep more of their money that they’ll in turn create more jobs. If you recall these cuts were enacted during Bush’s reign, and now that the Republicans have locked in the budget failure, they want to make sure the ones paying for their idiotic plans are the ones most likely to suffer from increased taxes. This will do nothing but take more money away from the consumers that actually can contribute to the economy and aid in its recovery. Most corporations aren’t creating jobs because they’re unsure of this economy, forcing them to horde money in case everything goes to shit. Republicans, proving once again that the only ones that matter to them are the ones paying them contributions, wealthy and corporations, if you don’t fit into one of those categories, you’re screwed. I’m sorry, but how does the GOP keep winning elections? (Full story on Salon)
  2. Minimum wage, there’s a reason it exists to this day, at the point of its creation sweatshops in the manufacturing industry were everywhere. Their employees were paid what at the time was considered substandard wages. Minimum wage was created to force the employers to pay a more fair wage, this created scores of families that then became self-sufficient and no longer relied on any welfare systems, and by extension, reducing the number of poor families. A federal minimum wage is set, and states can choose to either meet that rate or exceed it. Well time to add another state to the list of one’s never to stay in, this time it’s New Hampshire. The Republican legislature this year pushed a bill to restrict the state’s minimum wage law to the lowest federally mandated amount. Now many states are at this same level, which is fine, they can’t go any lower anyhow. The problem I have is with what the State Representative, Carol McGuire, had to say about minimum wage, “It’s very discriminatory, particularly for young people, They’re not worth the minimum.” Not worth the minimum? How does that make you feel, “young people,” you’re not worth minimum wage. In fact, she has stated that she would like to repeal all minimum wage laws and have corporations pay workers whatever rate they desire. This is exactly what I’ve mentioned in the past with those that don’t learn their history. Corporations paying their workers whatever they desire is exactly why we ended up with minimum wage laws to begin with. Do you honestly think that, given no laws to follow, that the corporations will pay anything close to fair. We’ve already seen in the past that people earning minimum wage don’t make enough to live on even the tightest of budgets, this would only worsen that issue. Furthermore, how do you think this would help the economy? Economists have stated again and again that increasing minimum wage is the best stimulus for economic recovery. This is even more troubling when you consider that the minimum wage in the ’60s, adjusted to 2006 dollars would be over $9.00 an hour. Seriously, where do these Republicans come up with this stuff? (Full story on ThinkProgress)
August 23, 2011
  1. For many of us, when it comes to funerals, we’ve come to just expect their to be prayers and numerous mentions of God and/or Jesus Christ. Equally so, we might expect the same content at a funeral for a veteran. However, one thing we never think about is, those veterans may have been of a different faith or no faith at all. Now granted, in these cases they’re dead, so they can’t exactly complain about it. But if their family is there, don’t you think they might be offended if whomever was overseeing the funeral ignored their faith and went the Christian route anyhow. Well, if you’re talking to three Texas Congressman and a Christian military organization, they’ll tell you, who gives a shit. In the ongoing effort of many Christians to control everyone else’s lives (and deaths) the group has filed a lawsuit against VA officials at the Houston National Cemetery for “banning references to God in a recent service.” In a totally Fox style comment, Texas Rep. John Culberson said, “It makes my skin crawl that liberals are attempting to drive prayer out of a funeral ceremony for our heroes. We’re going to fix this so that no Obama liberal bureaucrat will interfere with the funeral of a hero.” I love how they talk, gotta make sure you use as many Fox keywords as possible, you know, to get the ratings up. Anyhow, its not just Fox that’s in the business of fabricating news, their guests do it as well. The official statement from the VA indicates something completely different, “The idea of invoking the name of God or Jesus is banned at VA national cemeteries is blatantly false. The truth is VA’s policy protects veteran’s families’ rights to pray however they choose at our national cemeteries. Put simply, VA policy puts the wishes of the veteran’s family above all else on the day that matters most — the day they pay their final respects to their loved one.” I’ve got some keywords, conservative Christian controller of others, remember, freedom of religion. All this boils down to is conservative Christians forcing their religion on people at the worst possible time, without consent, at a frickin’ military veteran’s funeral. (Full story on Alternet)
  2. Conservatives can say all they want, but when it comes to continuously voting for Republicans, you’ve got me stumped. What makes you think that they have your best interests in mind? Is it because everything they say has some form of religious spin on it? Is it because they share some of your conservative viewpoints? Regardless of the reason, I would’ve hoped that at some point someone would have realized that the Republicans are playing a game, and unless you’re wealthy, you’re not playing, just observing. Granted, Democrats are guilty of this as well, but I never claimed to be a Democrat. Going back to this game, this is a game of wealth, the only way you can play is…if you’re wealthy. The goal is to make as much money as possible, here’s the rules, you can either play as the wealthy lobbyist or the wealthy politician. The politician, in an effort to get into office, collects money from the wealthy lobbyist, promising in return finding ways to make the lobbyist more money or pay less taxes. The politician then has their campaign funded, plus some extra to take home (increasing their own wealth), if the politician gets into office, they then spend their entire term crafting laws to either make it easier for the lobbyist to generate wealth or distribute less of their wealth in taxes. You see why this is a problem, you and I aren’t invited to this game, the entrance fee is entirely too high. That isn’t Capitalism, that isn’t a free country, that’s a rigged game with the odds stacked against the less fortunate. I was reminded of this when I read a story about Rick Perry’s reign in Texas. Here we have a state with the highest number of residents without health insurance, the worst-ranked food stamp program, one of the highest child poverty rates, lowest percentage of residents with a high school diploma, and the highest teenage birth rates. A lot of conservatives would see this items and think, well they don’t apply to me, I’m not poor. Just remember, you never know what tomorrow may bring, and it’s always nice to know that if everything goes to shit, a safety net is ready for you. Rick Perry’s run for President has included his proclamation that his state is a model worth replicating at the national level. Uh, no thanks. Anyhow, I use this as case and point for what I said in the remainder of this item, while the non-wealthy have been slipping further and further away from anything resembling an “American Dream,” Rick has been busy making his lobbyist friends money. During Perry’s campaigns for governor he raised $102 million. Half of those sources have since received tax breaks, appointments, or large contracts. The other half have received payments from two funds, sponsored by Perry, to funnel tax dollars to private business. So wait, a freakin’ minute here, so any programs designed to help those most in need, Medicare, food stamps, public healthcare are okay to let crumble or poo-poo because they’re Socialist. But when it comes to taking those same tax dollars and handing them over to private businesses that’s okay. So the question remains, why do people continue to vote for Republicans? (Full story on Washington Post)
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Weekly Summary


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