Archive for big business

Elizabeth Warren Does What Hillary Clinton Could Never Do

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YellenWarrenw212h202Do you want to know why there's a draft Elizabeth Warren movement growing by leaps and bounds? The answer is found by simply watching the Massachusetts senator calmly, quietly, and succinctly destroy Fed Chairman Janet Yellen.

You don't have to know anything about banking and finance to understand Senator Warren spelling out precisely that the Federal Reserve Board is still not doing its job. They're kowtowing to the huge money institutions and allowing "too big to fail" to continue.

What's below is priceless. Smart as Hillary Clinton is,  she could never do this:

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"The Pitchforks Are Coming for the Millionaires", says Zillionaire to Politico

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frabz-The-Media-mentions-koch-brothers-I-picture-Randolph-and-Mortimer-16c057

Mike Allen swung by MSNBC to tell us just how up front even a center-leaning outfit like Politico is featuring on the stars of the new American plutocracy. Or oligarchy. The folks you see on the business end of a briskly waving pitchfork.

Personally, the Koch Broz. seem more like oligarchs, but that may because I always picture them in crowns that would put the ones adjacent to the Great Tower of London in the shade.

That's why they, the 1%er oligarchy plutocrats like the Koch Sons-a'-Bitches Brothers are so easy for us pitchfork wielders to find … they're large and sparkly. And probably slow.

 

Image, Cagle Cartoons

Image, Cagle Cartoons

Give a gander to mogul and model of American capitalism, Nick Hanauer. He kinda sorta helped blow up Amazon. And he's the one saying "I see pitchforks."

 

The actual article over at Politico is worth the read, excerpted here for a quickie.

Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires
You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. ...

Now I own a very large yacht. But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

Cartoon, Jeff Danziger, GoComics.com

Cartoon, Jeff Danziger, GoComics.com

I see pitchforks.
Now that is refreshing. A rich guy who remembers what it was like to take his first big risk - who sees income inequality.

By Jeebus, he probably even believes in climate change. And I wonder what he thought about the SCROTUS Hobby Lobby debacle.

trickle-down

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Hey climate change deniers: State emission cuts have NOT brought economic ruin.

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another talking point bites the dust

map climate change emission cuts

Climate deniers-- hey you, over there on the right, I'm talkin' to you-- wail and moan about regulating carbon emissions because, tyranny!!!! and Armageddon!!!! and economic disaster!!!! That sound you hear is the coal industry shaking cash from their enormous wallets to buy their way out of cleaner air and water standards. Because, tyranny!!!! and Armageddon!!!! and economic disaster!!!!

Well, they're wrong. And there is proof that cutting emissions will not bring economic ruin to America. Sweartogod.

Via the New York Times:

The cries of protest have been fierce, warning that President Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gases from power plants will bring soaring electricity bills and even plunge the nation into blackouts. By the time the administration is finished, one prominent critic said, “millions of Americans will be freezing in the dark.”

OMG 1

That sounds positively terrifying! Oh em gee! We will become a nation of freeze-dried citizens! All in the ironic name of saving lives!

Just a sec... hold that thought. I'm hearing through my imaginary news anchor earpiece that at least 10 states have already achieved emission cuts by the amount the president has fecklessly Kenyan-dictated-- some in excess of that-- and more states will make similar progress before the deadline of 2030.

Don't those tree-hugging, green-tinged fools realize their Kenyan-dictated, feckless, reckless actions will bring economic ruin?!

[T]heir strides so far have not brought economic ruin. In New England, a region that has made some of the biggest cuts in emissions, residential electricity bills fell 7 percent from 2005 to 2012, adjusted for inflation. And economic growth in the region ran slightly ahead of the national average.

Oh.

Via onamatopoeia.wordpress.com

Yet another Republican talking point bites the dust. Imagine that. Quel surprise.

Over in Europe, they're headed toward a 43 percent emission cut from power plants and "other energy-intensive industries" by the same year. That makes our measly 30% cuts look pretty... feckless.

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I see climate change: "One day there will be money in the pockets of dead people"

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i see dead people 2 climate change

new rules 2

Regular readers may recall that my mantra has always been how shortsighted Republicans are, especially when it comes to climate change. Seriously, how utterly idiotic of them to prioritize profits over lives, especially for a party that claims to be "pro-life." The hypocrisy is mind-boggling, as are their perverted attempts to obstruct every bit of legislation that would help Americans live healthier lives.

My other mantra has been that all those dirty dollars that Big Oil/Big Biz pull in with their drill-baby-drilling, fracking, and other reckless endeavors will be utterly useless to them if we start to choke on toxic fumes and lose what's left of Mother Nature's diminishing masterpieces.

Note to Big Oil and GOP polluters: You'll wheeze, hack, and scrounge for climate-proof digs right along with the rest of us.

And with that, here is today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor from a soul mate, because our voices matter:

The debate over reducing carbon dioxide emissions to combat global warming brings us to the truth: Saving money is more important than saving the planet. In its shortsightedness, big business — led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — will fight this proposal to the death. ("New EPA rule seeks to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030," June 1)

Global warming naysayers ignore rising sea levels, drowning islands, higher pollution levels and increases in pulmonary disease. One day there will be money in the pockets of dead people lying on the surface of a dead planet that is no longer able to provide sustenance to the inheritors of our world.

June Bailey

Rancho Mirage

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Warren: "Soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business."

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supreme court justices corporate

Senator Elizabeth Warren is worried about our very corporate Supreme Court. She's worried that they will rule in favor of Hobby Lobby, just as they decided in favor of Citizens United. And that decision has been a disaster.

To quote one of my favorite analysts, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, SCOTUS will rule on "whether the religious rights of a for-profit corporate entity allow it to refuse to provide for employees insurance that would include certain forms of birth control. In so doing, the court may now be forced to reckon with the question of whether the same corporate personhood that includes the right to free speech also encompasses rights to religious conscience. In other words, Corporate Personhood is back! And this time, it’s got God on its side."

Case by case, this Supreme Court is, indeed, out to legalize corporate personhood.  Conservative extremists have spent decades shaking their political pom poms to cheer zygote personhood.  What next, hypocrisy personhood? But when it comes to actual people personhood, American citizen personhood, voting rights personhood, women's and gay rights personhood, they scurry off to Faux ChristianLand where Fox News [sic] feeds them their next "my belief system trumps reality" talking points.

And now these same zealots are (incredibly) being given credibility by the highest court in the U.S.A.

The following email from Senator Warren landed in my inbox today. As is made painfully obvious by K.C. Boyd's weekly "Upchucks" guest posts here at TPC, the separation of church and state is narrowing daily. This growing trend is serious and is endangering our dwindling democracy. We need to organize our voices and protest immediately, loudly, clearly, and constantly.

Bolding is mine:

Laffy,

Hobby Lobby doesn't want to cover its employees' birth control on company insurance plans. In fact, they're so outraged about women having access to birth control that they've taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

I cannot believe that we live in a world where we would even consider letting some big corporation deny the women who work for it access to the basic medical tests, treatments or prescriptions that they need based on vague moral objections.

But here's the scary thing: With the judges we've got on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby might actually win.

The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.

Recently, three well-respected legal scholars examined almost 20,000 Supreme Court cases from the last 65 years. They found that the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.

And Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts? They were number one and number two.

Take a look at the win rate of the national Chamber of Commerce cases before the Supreme Court. According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the Chamber was winning 43% of the cases in participated in during the later years of the Burger Court, but that shifted to a 56% win-rate under the Rehnquist Court, and then a 70% win-rate with the Roberts Court.

Follow these pro-corporate trends to their logical conclusion, and pretty soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.

Birth control is at risk in today's case, but we also need to worry about a lot more.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court unleashed a wave of corporate spending to game the political system and drown the voices of middle class families.

And right now, the Supreme Court is considering McCutcheon v. FEC, a case that could mean the end of campaign contribution limits – allowing the big guys to buy even more influence in Washington.

Republicans may prefer a rigged court that gives their corporate friends and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists every advantage. But that's not the job of judges. Judges don't sit on the bench to hand out favors to their political friends.

On days like today, it matters who is sitting on the Supreme Court. It matters that we have a President who appoints fair and impartial judges to our courts, and it matters that we have a Senate who approves them.

We're in this fight because we believe that we don't run this country for corporations – we run it for people.

Thank you for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

scotus supreme court koch smaller

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Expert on cultural production of ignorance "watches Fox News all the time"

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ignorance via Armando Lioss smallerPhoto via Armando Lioss

One of my favorite columnists, Michael Hiltzik (scroll), along with most sane people (read: not right wing extremists), does not think ignorance is bliss. In fact, he points out how the commercialization of ignorance has not only dumbed down America, it has endangered it. Hiltzik describes how industries thrive on disseminating public misinformation while they profit off of selling harmful concepts and products, exploit a willing media, all at the expense of increasingly oblivious consumers.

He cites the work of Robert Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford and "one of the world's leading experts in agnotology, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance."

Hiltzik's piece in the Los Angeles Times is one that should be read in its entirety, but the highlights alone will make your hair stand on end. Alcoholic beverages and/or sedatives strongly recommended prior to reading:

Robert Proctor doesn't think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don't know can hurt you. And that there's more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense. [...]

The tobacco industry was a pioneer at this. Its goal was to erode public acceptance of the scientifically proven links between smoking and disease: In the words of an internal 1969 memo legal opponents extracted from Brown & Williamson's files, "Doubt is our product." Big Tobacco's method should not be to debunk the evidence, the memo's author wrote, but to establish a "controversy."

Yes, infuriatingly, they peddle doubt and go out of their way to create controversy in order to implant big question marks in the minds of an unsuspecting, undereducated public. By inducing the media to "present both sides" when, in fact, there may not be two legitimate sides (science, anyone?), they divert focus and evade facts. For example, we've seen how they "sow doubts about the safety of childhood immunizations" (coughBachmann!cough) and deny climate change. And don't get me started on the lies about the Affordable Care Act:

When this sort of manipulation of information is done for profit, or to confound the development of beneficial public policy, it becomes a threat to health and to democratic society. [...]

And all those fabricated Obamacare horror stories wholesaled by Republican and conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act and their aiders and abetters in the right-wing press? Their purpose is to sow doubt about the entire project of healthcare reform; if the aim were to identify specific shortcomings of the act, they'd have to accompany every story with a proposal about how to fix it.

My head couldn't stop nodding in agreement when I caught this part:

"Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is scholarship." As part of his scholarship, Proctor says he "watches Fox News all the time."... Citing the results of a 2012 Gallup poll, Proctor asks, "If half the country thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old, how can you really develop an effective environmental policy? This sort of traditional or inertial ignorance bars us from being able to act responsibly on large social issues."

He goes on to explain how Big Tobacco exploited the tea party's obsession with what they love to call "freedom" and "choice," which of course plays into their anti-government meme, a position that consequently benefits the cigarette industry. Hiltzik emphasizes the importance of educating Americans in order to renew their trust in science. Competent journalism wouldn't hurt in that regard, now would it? He ends with this quote:

The effort needs to begin at a young age, [Proctor] says. "You really need to be teaching third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-graders that some people lie. And why do they lie? Because some people are greedy."

in greed we trust

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McDonald's advises their employees to not eat at McDonald's

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McDonald's don't eat our food

Memo to businesses, specifically McDonald's: Profiting off of unhealthy products is not the best way to boost your image or inspire confidence, nor is it good for your customers. However, if you insist on doing so, please note that advising your own employees against ingesting the very product that they are selling is confusing, idiotic, contradictory, laughable, and not good for their morale... or your bottom line.

Oh, and one really awesome way to keep your employees healthy and well-fed is to pay them decent wages.

Via Yahoo:

A McDonalds website providing resources to its employees advises against eating hamburgers, fries and sodas. CNBC first noticed the latest in a series of strange pieces of advice provided by the fast food company to its employees. "While convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle," McDonalds says of its primary product, "fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt and may put people at risk for becoming overweight."

It goes on: "In general, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease must be very careful about choosing fast food because of its high fat, salt, and sugar levels."

Oops. Excellent advice, but... oops.

As you can see from the graphic above, A.D.A.M., Inc. is providing this oh, so wise guidance. Who the heck is this A.D.A.M. we speak of?

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

As the Yahoo piece notes, A.D.A.M. isn't saying that healthy food is non-existent in restaurants like McDonald's, but it is presenting a "challenge" to them. And then the piece goes on to make an excellent point:

[T]he bigger question seems to be how McDonald's employees would be able to afford healthier food on the wages they earn slinging burgers.

ding ding dingPlease link over to read the last paragraph, because it is a splendid reminder of how Mickey D treats its employees.

hype truth bubble burst

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