Oct 132013
 

If you think that Citizens Unites was the most that the fascist five Injustice of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional venereal disease) could to to give more electoral power to the 0.1%, you thought wrong.  There is now a case before the Court, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, to raise the amount a billionaire can contribute in the aggregate from $123,200 to $3.5 million per cycle.  Herr Scalia said $3.5 million isn’t a lot of money!!

SCROTUS

While much of the government continued in shutdown mode this week, the Supreme Court was back in business starting off its new term with a controversial campaign finance case. This week, the court heard arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that could have a huge impact on the way money influences our democracy.

McCutcheon challenges aggregate caps on how much individual donors can give to candidates and political parties. The current overall cap stands at $123,200 per donor for a two-year election cycle, but McCutcheon could raise that amount to more than $3.5 million.

This week on Moyers & Company, Bill talks to Yale Law School election and constitutional law professor Heather Gerken who warns that McCutcheon has the potential to kill campaign finance reform, already reeling from the Citizens United decision that gave corporations, unions and the wealthy the opportunity to pour vast and often anonymous amounts of cash into political campaigns… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Bill Moyers>

Bill devoted the first half of his hour long show to this.

If we think that this is the best government money can buy (and is buying) now, this disaster will make it that much worse. I am not very hopeful, given the current makeup of the Supreme Court. SCROTUS dominates. Regardless of how much the Fascist Five butchers our Constitution, these facts remain facts.

Corporations are NOT people!

Money is NOT speech!

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May 272013
 

We are still suffering the effects of economic collapse, brought on by the greed of criminal Banksters.  In spite of that, they still threaten our economy, because they own the Republican Party, lock, stock and barrel, in addition to a significant minority  of Congressional Democrats.  A new report from community banks and a new segment from Bill Moyers Journal, demonstrate this well.

27TBTF

The Independent Community Bankers of America released a report on Wednesday that examines the impact of too-big-to-fail institutions on the American economy and why the problem needs to be addressed.

“ICBA is pleased to unveil this comprehensive report, which is an excellent roadmap for helping everyone from consumers to policymakers understand how too-big-to-fail affects our nation’s economy and what they can do to help bring an end to this dangerous practice,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “As we outline in the report, too-big-to-fail distorts free markets, incentivizes risky behavior, holds taxpayers hostage to bailouts, and creates unfair competitive advantages for the largest banks. But there is perhaps no greater reminder of the too-big-to-fail impact than the constant, oppressive regulatory burdens that community banks face on a daily basis. I encourage everyone who feels passionately about the health of our financial system to read this timely report.”

The report found that the 12 largest U.S. banks hold nearly 70 percent of all industry assets and that they get credit at rates “that do not reflect their true risk—rates that are subsidized by an implicit taxpayer guarantee.”

Additionally, the report pointed to a recent statement by Attorney General Eric Holder, in which he said the Department of Justice is aware that megabanks are TBTF. The report said the banking industry will increasingly become more concentrated as long as the problem of TBTF remains…

Inserted from <Bank Credit News>

Photo credit: Demos.org

You can read the ICBA Report here.

Bill Moyers also provided some excellent coverage on this subject.

MoyersPulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson tells Bill that, five years after the country’s economic near-collapse, banks are still too big to fail, too big to manage, and too big to trust. Stockholders’ reaffirmation of Jamie Dimon as JP Morgan Chase’s chairman and CEO this week — despite a year of accusations and investigations at the bank — is further evidence, she says, of an unchecked system that continues to covet profits and eschew accountability, putting our economy and democracy at risk. Morgenson also discusses how behemoth companies like Apple manipulate the system and avail themselves of the biggest tax loopholes money and influence can buy…

Inserted from <Bill Moyers Journal>

Gretchen summarized the problem well, when she said, "There was just no shame."  This smugness is part of the reason that TBTF = Too Big to Exist.  I do not believe that we can have economic sanity in this nation until we break them up in addition to reinstating Glass-Steagall.  They are demonstrating now that they are also Too Big to Regulate.  To do that we need to replace the Bankster Bought in Congress with progressive legislators.

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Jul 222012
 

It’s not my intent dwell on the Colorado shootings.  It is a tragedy.  Thoughts and prayers, please for the victims and their families.  Mr. Moyers does come down hard on the NRA and rightly so.  But I don’t want to place blame politically.  Both sides fall short.  Republicans are in bed with the NRA, and far too many Democrats are afraid of the NRA.  I do not support taking people’s right to bear arms away, nor do I believe that there is a a conspiracy to do so.  I do favor a few common sense regulations.

22GunOwnership

Bill Moyers offers his cogent thoughts on the role of gun-rights outfits like the NRA (and its many, often more rabid, imitators), all of whom in the end are really the well-financed arm of weapons manufacturers, and how they have polluted not just American discourse, but our very way of life itself.

They have done this by several means. One, as Moyers notes, is the legal fraud they have foisted onto the public (and now the courts) with their insistent claim that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own any weapon a person likes. But the other, perhaps more significant, and decidedly more toxic, pollution of American life has been the gun fetishists’ violent worldview, manifested in the permeation of guns into all corners of our modern culture — particularly those where males are involved.

We’ve written previously about the paranoid fantasizing that is a product of this worldview, and how it translates into cockamamie conspiracy theories that the black President of the USA is secretly plotting to take away all Americans’ guns. And we’ve talked about the deadly consequences of the NRA’s incessant weapons-mongering. Obviously, after yesterday’s rampage in Aurora, it’s even more germane… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

Picture Credit: On Being Notorious

Here’s Bill’s Video.

As always, Moyers is spot-on.

I’d like to see the assault weapons ban reinstated, but make it possible to get a permit for one.  I’d like to see a ban on the oversized clips.  There is no reason a sports shooter needs 30+ rounds capacity in a pistol.  I’d like to see the gun show loophole closed, because even people for whom guns are now illegal can buy one easily.  I’d like to see shooting licenses.  Like a driving license requires someone to show basic knowledge of laws and vehicle safety, a shooting license should only require someone to show a basic knowledge of laws and gun safety.  Finally, people on a terrorist watch list, and people with documented mental health issues should not be armed.

This should not be a Republican vs Democratic Party issue.  Political party does not follow those killed in senseless gun violence to the grave.  Whether Republican or Democrat makes no difference in the degree of death.

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Jul 062012
 

Friends, I hate to tell you this, but you have another heat wave on the way.  I know, because most of what you get, I get first, and the heat wave that began yesterday is forecast to peak on Sunday and last about a week.  I’m current with replies.  Tomorrow appears routine.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: BP: Because Eyeless Shrimp Are, Y’know, Healthy And Stuff

 

Notice to right wingers: this is satire.

From NY Times: This is just what Tomas Lopez accomplished this week on Hallandale Beach, only to learn a short while later that he had been fired.

The reason was that as Mr. Lopez raced down the beach about a quarter-mile to comply with the big rule — rescuing a swimmer — he failed to follow a small rule. He breached protocol by running to an area outside his beach zone without waiting for his supervisor to arrive to cover his station, posing a potential liability problem.

What Teabuggery!  Clearly this decision must have been made by a Republican. ;-)

From Up Worthy (Hat-Tip CaityJ): Why America — Where Only The Rich Get Richer — Is Not A Democracy

 

While I agree with most of what Moyers said, the 1% and corporate criminals are now giving the virtually all of their "protection money" to Republicans and Republican PACs. That’s because most Democrats have stepped out for the 99%.

Cartoon:

6Cartoon

A new tour bus for RMoney!

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Feb 172012
 

In their campaign to keep women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, Republicans are backing themselves into another no-win situation, as the nation lines up against their position.  However, instead of having the wisdom to back down, Republicans are doubling down, generating even more widespread opposition.

17Moyers

In this video essay, Bill Moyers addresses the question of how to honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose on others moral beliefs they don’t share. The recent debate over contraception coverage in Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions brought this question to the forefront, but then something surprising happened — a reasonable, practical, and equitable solution from President Obama…

Inserted from <Bill Moyers>

 

Moyers is right.  Religious liberty does not include the ability to impose on others moral beliefs they do not share, as Republicans are working to accomplish.

Darryl Issa (R-CA) made matters worse by forcefully excluding women from his sham hearing.

17HearingAs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee began a hearing Thursday morning on the Obama administration’s rule mandating free contraceptive care for employees at religiously-affiliated institutions, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney had a question for the panel: "Where are the women?" she asked.

"I look at this panel, and I don’t one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services, including family planning," Maloney said. "Where are the women?"

The hearing, entitled "Lines crossed: Separation of church and state. Has the Obama administration trampled on freedom of religion and freedom of conscience?" aimed to address the White House’s ruling on contraception, and whether or not that rule infringes on religious liberty…

…In his opening remarks, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel’s top Democrat, argued committee chair Darrell Issa had "stacked" the panel with people who reflected only the Republican perspective, and accused the committee of perpetrating a "massive injustice" by failing to include women in the discussion.

Democrats on the committee charged that Issa "personally rejected" testimony from Sandra Fluke, a woman who had hoped to tell the story of her friend, who she says lost an ovary due to a lack of contraceptive coverage.

"Your staff told us you personally rejected Ms. Fluke’s testimony, saying that, quote, ‘the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception,’" Maloney said to Issa in her opening remarks during the hearing.

"Of course this hearing is about rights — contraception and birth control," she said. "It’s about the fact that women want to have access to basic health services family planning through their health insurance plan."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <CBS>

Ed Schultz provides excellent coverage of this story and interviews both Sandra Fluke and Professor Caroline Heldman.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I fully support the notion of freedom of religion, enshrined as it is in our Constitution, but when Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians attempt to impose their religious dogma on you and me, they are interfering with our freedom of religion.

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Jan 302012
 

I remember saying, over and over again, during the Bush Regime, that we had such fond memories of Bill Clinton,k only because he benefited from comparison to his successor, the worst President in US history.  If fact, Clinton was the most conservative Democratic president in my lifetime, that goes back to Harry Truman.  In my opinion, his worst policy was to support the removal of Glass-Steagall, the law that separated commercial banks and investment banks.  One Democrat led the unsuccessful fight to prevent that and continues to lead the fight to restore it.  He talked to Bill Moyers.

30DorganBill Moyers talks with former Senator Byron Dorgan about making sure big banks play by rules that protect consumers from financial calamity, and how those big banks continue to leverage power and influence to avoid responsibility while maximizing profits. Dorgan was a nearly-lone voice in Congress in 1999 when he predicted economic calamity following a repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and its protective measures. But given the economic meltdown nearly 10 years later, it turned out to be one of the most prescient speeches in American political history.

“If you were to rank big mistakes in the history of this country,” Dorgan tells Moyers, “that was one of the bigger ones, because it has set back this country in a very significant way and caused so much heartbreak and heartache, and a near total collapse of the American economy.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Truth-out>

Here’s the video.

Obama and almost every Democrat supported both of those Dorgan amendments to Dodd-Frank, which would have broken up the TBTF banks and made Dodd-Frank much stronger.  Although many blame Obama, the real blame belongs to the Republican Party, who filibustered and goose-stepped unanimously against them, plus the two DINOs that goose-stepped with the Republicans.  They were Joe LIEberman (ASSHOLE-CT) and “Benedict” Nelson (TURNCOAT-NE).  The votes fell one short of sixty.

The primary functions of Investment bankers are to provide venture capital and to speculate.  The primary functions of commercial bankers are to hold people’s accounts and to lend.  Under Glass-Steagall deposits supported lending, which when done properly is safer, but produces lower returns, while investments supported speculation, which is more risky with a potential for higher returns.  Without Glass-Steagall to keep those functions separate, Banksters can use deposits for high risk speculation, leaving little funds for normal lending.

Dodd-Frank did some good things, but we need Glass-Steagall back in addition to other reforms to curb Bankster predation on US citizens.

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Jan 162012
 

On Thursday I published The Return of a Giant about Bill Moyers’ return to television with a new show, Moyers and Company.  On Saturday, he aired the first installation of that show: Winner Take All Politics.  It’s a long clip, taking almost an hour to watch, but if you missed this on Saturday, it’s well worth the time.

16Bill_Moyers

In its premiere episode, Moyers & Company dives into one of the most important and controversial issues of our time: How Washington and Big Business colluded to make the super-rich richer and turn their backs on the rest of us…

Inserted from <BillMoyers.com>

 

Moyers & Company 101: On Winner Take All Politics from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

One line in the video stood out to me so much that I have every intent of stealing it. ;-)

If speech is money, than no money is no speech.
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