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Lawrence Lessig's SALT talk: the new federal government corruption

Lawrence Lessig's SALT talk: the new federal government corruption | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

Lessig said the type of corruption rampant in the US Congress is not the old type of bribery, where congressional representatives had safes in their offices to hold the cash they received for voting in certain directions. That is now illegal and eliminated.

 

This new type of corruption is more subtle, indirect and harder to outlaw…. the real money to be made in Congress is the relative fortune to be made as a lobbyist after leaving office.

 

The differential in wages between a staff member and a lobbyist has escalated a hundred fold in the past 40 years. Now 43% of staff go on to become lobbyists. The promise of a well-paying job working for corporate interests later is enough to warp voting now.

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The FOF Theory of the GOP Primary

The weakness of the GOP field is not an accident.

 

I view the primary race through the lens of the FOF theory — that’s for “fools and frauds”.

 

It goes as follows: to be a good Republican right now, you have to affirm your belief in things that any halfway intelligent politician can see are plainly false.

 

This leaves room for only two kinds of candidates: those who just aren’t smart and/or rational enough to understand the problem, and those who are completely cynical, willing to say anything to get ahead.

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The fight to save the American dream. It is War. The 0.01% are sucking the blood of the 99%

The fight to save the American dream. It is War. The 0.01% are sucking the blood of the 99% | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
It's not "class warfare." People have just realized how extreme inequality is wrecking our country...

 

“These 21 CEOs walked away with almost $4 billion in combined compensation. In total, $1.7 billion in equity profits was realized by these CEOs, primarily on the exercise of time-vesting stock options and restricted stock.” for getting fired.

 

“The number of people living in poverty is increasing and is expected to increase further, despite the recovery. The proportion of people living in poverty has increased by 27 percent between the year before the onset of the Great Recession (2006) and 2010…

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Copyright King: Why the "I Have a Dream" Speech Still Isn't Free | Motherboard

Copyright King: Why the "I Have a Dream" Speech Still Isn't Free | Motherboard | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech is considered one of the most recognizable collection of words in American history. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of a national treasure or a national park.

 

Any unauthorized usage of the speech and a number of other speeches by King – including in PBS documentaries – is a violation of American law. You’d be hard pressed to find a good complete video version on the web, and it’s not even to be found in the new digital archive of the King Center’s website. If you want to watch the whole thing, legally, you’ll need to get the $20 DVD.

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Why do the Republicans nominate blue bloods?

Why do the Republicans nominate blue bloods? | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
The potent combination of Jacksonian populism and old money oligarchy...

 

The conclusion is inescapable. The Republican Party is not really a pro-business party at all. It is a pro-hereditary wealth party. Its platform serves the interests of those few Americans who are born into wealth and seek to preserve their fortunes, not those who start new companies or invent new technologies. Naturally, therefore, the party’s presidential candidates are chosen nowadays from among the pedigreed, hereditary social elite who are the chief beneficiaries of its policies.

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10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

How national security laws are eroding freedom.

 

In The Washington Post yesterday, Law Professor Jonathan Turley has an Op-Ed in which he identifies ten major, ongoing assaults on core civil liberties in the U.S. Many of these abuses were accelerated during the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, but all have been vigorously continued and/or expanded by President Obama.

 

Turley points out that these powers have long been deemed (by the U.S.) as the hallmark of tyranny, and argues that their seizure by the U.S. Government has seriously called into question America’s status as a free nation:

 

“They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian.”

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US Authorities Silence NinjaVideo Founder, Rush Her to Prison

US Authorities Silence NinjaVideo Founder, Rush Her to Prison | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
Last week Hana Beshara, one of the founders of the popular NinjaVideo movie and TV show streaming site, was sentenced to 22 months in prison for conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement.

 

The wrong people are going to jail. Its the criminals in Congress, the WhiteHouse, Hollywood and Wall Street that should be in Jail.

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Romney rivals all become socialists, to horror of conservatives

Romney rivals all become socialists, to horror of conservatives | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

GOP candidates trash capitalism, and good on them...

 

One frustrating fact of life for a lot of progressives and left-wingers is that full-throated economic populism practically doesn’t exist in the Democratic Party. What passes for “class warfare” nowadays is the the president apologetically suggesting that the top marginal tax rate eventually be restored to a level far below where it stood for the majority of the Reagan administration. (Or even simple defenses of the welfare state, in the case of that radical Elizabeth Warren.)

 ...

I am all in favor of the GOP adopting economic populism, even if it’s for their own evil ends, because it makes it marginally more likely that leftists will be allowed to try it out themselves again, some day.

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Who’s a real progressive? Obama or Paul? Why is this the only lousy choice out of 300million Citizens?

Who’s a real progressive? Obama or Paul? Why is this the only lousy choice out of 300million Citizens? | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
Obama and Paul both hold positions anathema to liberals.

 

To review the basic Paul profile: When it comes to government social spending and regulation, Paul is more antithetical to progressive goals than any candidate running for the White House. This is indisputable. At the same time, though, when it comes to war, surveillance, police power, bank bailouts, cutting the defense budget, eliminating corporate welfare and civil liberties, Paul is more in line with progressive goals than any candidate running in 2012 (or almost any Democrat who has held a federal office in the last 30 years). This, too, is indisputable.

 

In seeing Paul’s economic views, positions on a woman’s right to choose, regulatory ideas and ties to racist newsletters as disqualifying factors for their electoral support, many self-identified liberal Obama supporters are essentially deciding that, for purposes of voting, those set of issues are simply more important to them than the issues of war, foreign policy, militarism, Wall Street bailouts, surveillance, police power and civil liberties — that is, issues in which Paul is far more progressive than the sitting president.

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Onion got it right in 1/2001: Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'

Onion got it right in 1/2001: Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over' | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON, DC—Mere days from his inauguration, president-elect Bush vowed to undo the damage not done by the Clinton Administration.

 

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

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The anti-Obama cult (I.E. Republican Nut Cases)

The anti-Obama cult (I.E. Republican Nut Cases) | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

In the GOP’s hatred of the president, the rote ravings of True Believers...

 

Why, then, did the anti-Obama cult suddenly take over the entire Republican Party?

 

The main reason, I believe, is that the American right was backed into a corner and had no other card to play. The disastrous presidency of George W. Bush revealed the complete bankruptcy (literally) of the two core right-wing nostrums, “freedom” (good) and “big government” (bad). “Freedom” had led to the biggest meltdown since the Great Depression. And big government – which was greatly expanded by Bush, to the deafening silence of the soon-to-be-anti-Obama fanatics – had done nothing to prevent it. In the wreckage left by Bush, there was nothing for the right to do, if it wanted to live to fight another day, except deny causality (and reality) and demonize Obama. By naively reaching out to Republicans, Obama let them get away with this, and squandered a teachable moment that could have changed the face of American politics.

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Michael Hastings on war journalists: Media-Military-Industrial-Complex

Michael Hastings on war journalists: Media-Military-Industrial-Complex | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
The Rolling Stone reporter who got the commander fired has an indispensable new book on the Afghan war...

 

Look, I went into journalism to do journalism, not advertising. My views are critical but that shouldn’t be mistaken for hostile – I’m just not a stenographer. There is a body of work that shows how I view these issues but that was hard-earned through experience, not something I learned going to a cocktail party on fucking K Street. That’s what reporters are supposed to do, report the story.

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Multi-level Bribery - Romney take "campaign contributions" to a whole new level of evil

Multi-level Bribery - Romney take "campaign contributions" to a whole new level of evil | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
Money may not be buying Mitt Romney much Republican love, but it’s going a long way toward helping him buy the next best thing: endorsements in the GOP primaries.

 

Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC and its affiliates states have lavished close to $1.3 million in campaign donations to federal, state and local GOP politicians, almost all since 2010. His recipients include officials in the major upcoming primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, and in three southern Super Tuesday states where he was trounced four years ago.

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Hollywood bought its politicians, and it expects them to stay bought

Hollywood bought its politicians, and it expects them to stay bought | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

Here's the bottom line—how many people are lining up behind the pro-PIPA/SOPA forces? How many regular Americans are fighting alongside the studios? How many petition signatures has the MPAA and RIAA gathered from its customers?

 

“[The bill] is an issue that has no business being decided politically – by anybody on one side or the other – and the fact that it might be becoming a political issue is unfair to the content producers,” said Hindery, who’s contributed more than $3 million to Democratic candidates and groups.

 

 

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The real beneficiaries of energy subsidies: US Govt Corporate Welfare for Financial Parasites

The real beneficiaries of energy subsidies: US Govt Corporate Welfare for Financial Parasites | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

Don't buy the GOP's claims.Oil companies, not green alternatives, are making a killing from the government corporate welfare...

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Chris Dodd’s paid SOPA crusading

Chris Dodd’s paid SOPA crusading | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

Its time to publicly investigate, press charges and aggressively prosecute all Corporate Cronies and their puppetiers who are in conflict with their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution and have been acting with treason against the American People.

 

Chris Dodd, 3-decade senator who vowed not to lobby, is now the top paid advocate for an Internet censorship bill...

 

...last March that Dodd would “be Hollywood’s leading man in Washington, taking the most prestigious job on K Street”: Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), “whose perks include a $1.2 million-a-year salary and getting to attend the Academy Awards ceremony.”

 

In his SOPA advocacy, Dodd has resorted to holding up Chinese censorship as the desired model, mouthing the slogans of despots, and even outright lying. Like virtually all extremist, oppressive bills backed by large industry, SOPA and PIPA have full bipartisan support; among its co-sponsors are Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, with many Senators from both parties in support and Harry Reid pushing it forward (to its credit, the White House expressed opposition to several of the worst provisions, though has not yet issued a veto threat).

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Mr. One Percent’s wealth and tax troubles

Mr. One Percent’s wealth and tax troubles | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
Mitt Romney's speaking fees alone lift him out of the 99 percent, but he says $374,000 in a year is "not very much"...
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The 3 Reasons All Young Adults Are Liberal

The 3 Reasons All Young Adults Are Liberal | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

I think that people often envision sign-touting masses when they hear that young adults “support” something. That's not the case. In fact, I would argue that for a lot of us, “support” is synonymous with “Really? We're wasting our time debating that?” That's why moments like this stun us and manufactured debates about things like “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” utterly befuddle us. Really? Are Church and State actually separated or... what? More importantly, are we really arguing about whether an openly gay soldier has the right to die for the United States of America?

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Schneier on Security: Abolish the Department of Homeland Security

Schneier on Security: Abolish the Department of Homeland Security | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

I have a love/hate relationship with the Cato Institute. Most of their analysis I strongly disagree with, but some of it I equally strongly agree with. Last September 11 -- the tenth anniversary of 9/11 -- Cato's David Rittgers published "Abolish the Department of Homeland Security":

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Thomas Jefferson: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.


Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed)
3rd president of US (1743 - 1826)

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The new WH Chief of Staff and Citigroup. Another big F**K YOU from Obama to the 99%

The new WH Chief of Staff and Citigroup. Another big F**K YOU from Obama to the 99% | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
Another banker who profited from the 2008 financial crisis is empowered in the Obama administration...
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Thinking the Unthinkable About SOPA. Can Tech Stop the RIAA mobsters?

Thinking the Unthinkable About SOPA. Can Tech Stop the RIAA mobsters? | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it

With key votes on SOPA -- the Stop Online Piracy Act -- likely to occur in the very near future, we now find ourselves forced into at least considering courses of action if SOPA (and companion legislation like PIPA -- the Protect IP Act) should pass and be signed into law.

 

The tea leaves on this are particularly difficult to interpret, but they're emitting a pretty bad odor already.

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It is extremely unfortunate that we have come to this state of affairs, where we need to be thinking about circumvention measures simply to ensure freedom of Internet communications, and are considering vast campaigns to explain what crucial aspects of the Internet have now become enormously at risk -- at the hands of a selfish SOPA cadre that desperately wishes to remake the Internet in their own image.

 

If Lemar Smith is correct, if those of us opposing SOPA are really just few in number and of no real significant consequence, the proponents of SOPA have nothing to worry about.

 

Then again, if Smith is wrong, the SOPA push could be opening up a Pandora's box the like of which the tech world has never seen before.

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My Guantánamo Nightmare (Shame on America)

My Guantánamo Nightmare (Shame on America) | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
I spent seven and a half years at Guantánamo, without explanation.
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U.S. report sees perils to America's tech future (US accelerating the race to 3rd World Status)

U.S. report sees perils to America's tech future (US accelerating the race to 3rd World Status) | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
The ability of the U.S. to compete globally is eroding, according to a federal report released Friday that described itself as a "call to arms."

 

The report, which has a strong emphasis on technology, warns in stark terms that "some elements of the U.S. economy are losing their competitive edge."

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The biggest threat to Citizens United

The biggest threat to Citizens United | Demand Transformation | Scoop.it
The Montana AG explains why his state's challenge to the controversial decision could hold up in the Supreme Court...
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