President Obama has promised to end the Bush tax cuts on income in excess of $250,000 when they expire at the end of the year, with his aides saying that he is “100 percent committed” to preventing another extension.
While our current group of legistlators use the budget deficit as a means to continually block action and prevent the parties from working together, it's been almost two years since former legistlators gave them a respectable blueprint that works without raising anyone's personal income tax. Check it out and, if you agree it's time for those in office to consider workable ideas like those defined here, forward this to your legistlators and insist they stop the phony deficit arguments and inact real solutions.
Via Lynda Park
The middle class is shrinking, and so is its share of America’s income and wage growth, according to a new study released Thursday. The study from the Pew Research Center found that the middle class - defined as Americans with incomes between $39,000 and $118,000 - fell backward in income for the first time since the end of World War II, and the number of Americans who fit into that category shrunk from 61 percent in 1971 to just 51 percent in 2011.
The Pew survey is the latest to note rising income inequality in America as the middle class continues to struggle while the wealthy remain relatively prosperous. Income inequality in the U.S. is now comparable, if not worse, than it is in countries like Ivory Coast and Pakistan, as middle class wages have stagnated. A 2010 Census Bureau study found that incomes for the bottom tier of Americans fell four times faster than they did for the wealthiest after the recession.
The "lost decade" for the middle class corresponds to declining tax rates for the wealthy and a growth in corporate profits. In the last 12 years, incomes for the wealthiest 400 Americans quadrupled even as their tax rates were halved, and executive compensation has grown 127 times faster over the last three decades than worker pay, one study found.
Chris Hedges, a former New York Times reporter, has become perhaps the foremost media scribe and most prolific advocate of a need for revolutionary change in our current institutional oppression and control of the government by the oligarchical and...
How Americans are efficiently trained to acquiesce to ideas once deemed so radical as to be unthinkable...
Remember when, in the wake of the 9/11 attack, the Patriot Act was controversial, held up as the symbolic face of Bush/Cheney radicalism and widely lamented as a threat to core American liberties and restraints on federal surveillance and detention powers? Yet now, the Patriot Act is quietly renewed every four years by overwhelming majorities in both parties (despite substantial evidence of serious abuse), and almost nobody is bothered by it any longer. That’s how extremist powers become normalized: they just become such a fixture in our political culture that we are trained to take them for granted, to view the warped as normal. Here are several examples from the last couple of days illustrating that same dynamic; none seems overwhelmingly significant on its own, but that’s the point... [MORE]
Earlier this month, some of the leading scientists from around the world congregated at the Hotel Du Vin in Cambridge to discuss the evidence that has amassed over the years. The experts reached a unanimous decision that animals – specifically mammals and birds – are in fact conscious beings. Through advancements in brain imaging techniques such as fMRI and EEG machines, the scientists concluded that animals show a sufficient degree of characteristics that indicate they are not as non-human as some had believed. The official decision was reached late into the night after the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on July 7th.
Organized by Philip Low, CEO of NeuroVigil and inventor of the iBrain, the group consisted of 25 of the planet’s top minds on the mind, including honorary guest Stephen Hawking. The scientists discerned the key differences in human and animal brains, mainly found in the frontal cortex, do not play a role in the phenomenon we associate with consciousness. The decision does not in any sense define what consciousness is, which will be a debate that continues to rage on. But moving forward, there are many consequences to this finding that will need to be addressed as we look to develop a more humane relationship with animals.
What we are experiencing is a crisis of imagination, struggling with immense fears to let go of the way we have done things on earth until now, to embrace the vast unknown of those new models of living that are the only sustainable ways forward.
The president just made his super-PAC buddies' jobs more difficult
President Obama set the internet aflame Wednesday with his "Ask Me Anything" Q-and-A on Reddit, the massive web aggregator and online community.
Given Mother Jones' obsession with super-PACs, dark money, and the mad dash for campaign cash in 2012, one particular question stood out to us: "What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?"
Obama responded by decrying the "no-holds barred flow of seven- and eight-figure checks" into super-PACs' war chests. He worried that these outside groups "threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."
Judge Tom Head, a county judge in Lubbock, Texas, announced on a local television station that he would personally join the resistance against a United Nations’ takeover of American sovereignty, which he says will occur if Obama is reelected:...
Excerpt from The Plum Line blog by GREG SARGENT, The Washington Post
The Romney campaign is trying to shut down the story right now, releasing statements claiming that Romney has always maintained Obama was born in the United States and that Romney was merely making a paean to his birthplace.
Of course Romney fully believes Obama was born in the United States. But in a way, that’s the point — he’s still willing to dabble in birther humor, either to rev up his base by proving that he’s willing to take it to Obama or whatever, or for a cheap laugh, or for some combination of the two.
Maybe this will get chalked up to Romney’s awkwardness and get dismissed, but it looks to me like a major mistake. Coming just after days spent debating Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark, this is again a reminder of the extreme voices in the GOP, which Romney has at times been slow to denounce. And it seems less than presidential, to put it mildly. The fact that uncomfortably large numbers still believe Obama has perpetrated an elaborate plot to fake his birthplace and ascend to the presidency illegitimately is a pretty damn big deal.
It will be easy for the Obama campaign to seize on this to raise questions about Romney’s judgment, temperament, and character.
Written by Gore Vidal in 2003 (who passed away this week)
Despotism is now securely in the saddle. The old Republic is a shadow of itself, and we now stand in the glare of a nuclear world empire with a government that sees as its true enemy "we the people," deprived of our electoral franchise. War is the usual aim of despots, and serial warfare is what we are going to get unless--with help from well-wishers in new old Europe and from ourselves, awake at last--we can persuade this peculiar Administration that they are acting entirely on their vicious own, and against all our history.
Excerpt from "The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted" including our favorites from his "Devil's Dictonary."
by Mike Lofgren, via TruthOut
Lee, Bernays, and Gingrich have all had a lasting impact on the political use of language in America. If you seek monuments to their accomplishments, you have to look no further than your daily paper or television news program. It is to them that we owe stories about "collateral damage" rather than "dead civilians." In that spirit, allow me to offer up my own devil's dictionary of contemporary American political terms.
Authentic: used to describe a candidate who is unaware of current events and doesn't read a newspaper, and is proud of it.
Class warfare: a technique by which teachers, nurses, firemen, and cashiers are believed to be oppressing derivatives traders and CEOs, which includes unreasonably complaining that their wages aren't keeping up with the cost of their health insurance.
Conservative: a person profoundly respectful of heritage, tradition, and old-fashioned values while preaching the revolution and strip-mining the Grand Canyon for high-sulfur coal.
Elites: insufferable, overeducated snobs who are not real Americans and may in fact be French. Mitt Romney (Harvard MBA and JD) and George W. Bush (Yale, Harvard) have often criticized such scoundrels.
Free-market capitalism: the economic system by which Halliburton gets sole-source, cost-plus government contracts. Global warming: a hoax perpetrated by a worldwide conspiracy of biased scientists. Fortunately it is being combated by right-wing foundations, oil companies, televangelists, and other disinterested believers in objective fact.
Job creators: the truly creative engines of economic growth in our society: real-estate flippers, mortgage-backed securities bundlers, leveraged buyout specialists, dividend drawers, and hedge-fund billionaires.
Liberal (pronounced librull): a satanic ideologue who is at once a socialist leveler, an elitist defender of privilege, an atheist, and a secret Muslim determined to bring sharia law to America. Patriot: someone who loves America more than he loves the majority of the people living therein.
Real Americans: the minority of Americans who look, think, and act exactly as I do.
Sharia law: a fundamentalist religious doctrine imposed on a given political jurisdiction. Any resemblance to public statutes on abortion in the Commonwealth of Virginia is purely coincidental.
Take our country back: Give us what we want right now, even if we don't know what it is.
Tea Party: people covered by Medicare who hate socialized medicine.
Washington spending: the bad sort of spending that doesn't go toward earmarks to campaign contributors, subsidies to big oil, or the military's half-trillion-dollar budget. Everyone knows the Pentagon is across the Potomac in Virginia, not in Washington. [MORE]
Stigma, medication, treatment options, recovery, patient rights, and physiological basis are some of the most discussed topics regarding bipolar. There are, of course, many other interesting aspects to debate, but it is hard to find any discussions about bipolar that do not include one or more of these central topics. While it has been very healthy to debate all of them, there is an underlying assumption that must be addressed too ......continued ..........