Archive for October, 2010

REPUBLICORP

October 28, 2010

Pure Progress and Bold Hopes

Dear MoveOn members and friends at-large,

RepubliCorp. That’s our new name for the shadowy network of corporate front groups who’re spending millions to sway the election-and the Republican politicians they’re buying.

RepubliCorp prefers to operate in secrecy. So we decided to do a little public relations for them. We created this website, www.RepubliCorp.us, and this spiffy promotional video.   Check ’em out and pass ’em on.  Because the more light we can shed on the corporate interests trying to swing this election, the more we’ll help the republicorp, corporate interest corrupt election, progressives they’re targeting. And because during a dark time, a little humor never hurts.

www.RepubliCorp.us

Thanks for all you do. -Ilyse, Robin, Marika, Duncan, and the rest of the team. PS. Remember-next time you’re talking about all those secretive groups spending millions to buy Congress, they have a name: RepubliCorp.

Want to support our work? We’re entirely funded by our 5 million members-no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

 

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VOTE!

October 28, 2010

VOTE!

Tom Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

TEABAGGER MEMORIAL

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

VOTE!

KOCHTOPUS

October 28, 2010

“Kochtopus” Matt Taibbi Joins Keith Olbermann, Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann

VIDEO:  http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/10/21-0

Koch: Even More Powerful and Well-Connected Than You Thought

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch don’t just underwrite a huge right-wing infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also work with corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber to oil and insurance companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here. –Abby Zimet  More…

MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups. Recently, fronts funded by Charles and his brother David have received scrutiny because they have played a pivotal role in the organizing of the anti-Obama Tea Parties and the promotion of virulent far right lawmakers like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). (David Koch praised DeMint and gave him a “Washington Award” shortly after the senator promised to “break” Obama by making health reform his “Waterloo.”)

KOCH TEASERS

Right-wing brothers Charles and David Koch, each worth over $21 billion, don’t just underwrite a huge conservative infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also strengthen a “culture of prosperity” through meetings with like-minded corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with big moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber of Commerce to oil, health insurance, Wall Street and real estate companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here.

KOCH CONNECTIONS

10 Reasons Not to Tax the Rich. And Why They’re All Bad by Paul Buchheit, Wednesday, October 20, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

We hear them all the time, the reasons for unrestricted capitalism, minimal government, lower taxes for the rich. But the facts reveal good reasons NOT to NOT tax the rich.

(1) The rich deserve what they earn because of hard work and initiative.  They use other people’s money to create assets that don’t exist and then bet on them to fail [in] the murky world of derivatives and credit default swaps. Those who make the most money avoid taxes by calling their income “carried interest” instead.  Others not directly involved in financial chicanery still make out well. The stock market has grown 7 times faster than America’s GDP since 1981, and two-thirds of the country’s stocks are owned by the wealthiest 1% of Americans. That’s not enough for some; many backdate their stock options to a time when the price was higher.

(2) It’s not fair to “soak the rich.” It’s been just the opposite for the past 30 years. In 1980 the richest 1% got one out of every fifteen income dollars. Thanks to tax cuts and deregulation, they now get THREE out of every fifteen dollars. Meanwhile, every U.S. taxpayer contributes about $600 a year to pay for the tax cuts that give $34,000 a year to each of the wealthiest 1% of Americans. And now a trillion dollars of public money is bailing out the failing banking system.

(3) “Spreading the wealth” and “redistribution” are other names for socialism. Not socialism, but social responsibility. Taxes support public infrastructure, including research and development for science and technology. Much of the tax burden disproportionately benefits the rich: laws protect private property and capital investment; trade pacts and national defense policies protect wealth. Bill Gates, Sr. explains, “The government…protects their business activities…that’s what creates capital and enables net worth to increase.”

(4) The great wealth of the rich stimulates the economy. Low-income earners have a higher “Marginal Propensity to Consume,” which means that they spend a greater percentage of their overall income on consumption. High-income earners save more; the very rich buy mansions, yachts, jewels, and art. [T]he Congressional Budget Service ranked 11 strategies to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Cutting taxes for the rich was lowest. The top 500 non-financial companies currently hold $2 trillion in cash that could be used to create jobs and stimulate new business.

(5) Large incomes provide incentive for success. Some hedge fund managers ‘earned’ enough money in one year to pay the salaries of every police officer, firefighter, and public school teacher in Chicago. A system that allows one man to divert the salaries of 50,000 public workers to his own pockets has gone well beyond “incentive-based.”

(6) The very rich pay it back through taxes. They pay less than 23% of their incomes in federal income tax. [T]he lowest-earning half of America pays 24% as much as the richest 1%. The top tax rate has gone from 90% in 1960, to 35% in 2008. But much of billionaires’ earnings is subject to only a 15% tax because of a loophole that allows hedge fund income not to be called income. Furthermore, about 500 people a year renounce their U.S. citizenship and repatriate themselves in Belize, the Cayman Islands, or elsewhere to avoid taxes entirely.

(7) The very rich lost massive parts of their fortunes in the recession. They lost no more money, percentage-wise, than average mid-level earners. Wealth data from the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve show that the richest households have INCREASED their median incomes relative to other earners since 2006.

(8) “Income mobility” shows that the poor can get rich, and vice versa. This argument relies on a 2007 U.S. Treasury Department report that states “Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005.” But nearly 9 out of 10 of those in the top 1% remained in the top quintile of earners over those ten years. They may have dropped out of the most elite 1% group, but they remained close. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

(9) The rich support worthwhile causes. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the wealthy “give their biggest donations” to colleges, hospitals, and cultural organizations and “rarely make large gifts to social-service groups, grass-roots organizations, or nonprofit groups that focus on the poor or minorities.” Hundreds of millions of dollars are flooding into congressional and state election races. Especially since the Supreme Court ruled against limits on corporate contributions.

(10) Inequality is necessary to sustain a healthy and productive society. This [is] the worst reason of all. Not only is it unnecessary, but dangerous: Numerous studies correlate inequality with shorter life expectancies, increased disease and health problems, and ever higher crime and murder rates. Rates of illness in an unequal society are higher at all levels of income, even for the very wealthy.

Paul Buchheit is a faculty member in the School for New Learning at DePaul University. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/20-1

Say Goodbye!

davidbfraftr

After a two year loan to the United States, Michelangelo’s David is being returned to Italy.

IT ATE ARNOLD

October 7, 2010

Heat Wave

Dear friends,

This Sunday, at more than 6300 events in 187 countries, citizens around the world will shatter a dangerous myth: that the global climate movement has somehow disappeared.  

We’ll show world leaders and the media that we’re bigger, more diverse, and more creative than ever — and that we simply won’t give up until our planet, and those who live on it, are safe.
On Sunday, October 10 — that’s 10/10/10, a date to remember — we will gather in climate “work parties” around the globe to demonstrate our determination and trumpet a call to our governments: “We’re getting to work… what about you?”
The more of us take part, the more unmistakable our message of determination to defeat climate change. And these parties won’t just be vitally important; they’ll be fun, too. Click below to find an event near you and RSVP (or register an event of your own) — it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take action:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl
The timing is critical: in the weeks and months to come, governments will make important decisions about whether to keep striving for a global climate treaty. All year, they’ve been reeling from last December’s Copenhagen summit, where leaders failed to reach a legally binding agreement — or even commit to developing one. Today, if politicians think that the public outcry for climate action has ended, they will succumb to the whispers of the fossil fuel lobby — and simply give up on reaching a real deal.
But even as governments dither, the climate crisis itself is accelerating. 2010 is the hottest year on record. Climate-linked natural disasters, like the floods in Pakistan, have claimed thousands of lives. And scientists say the the picture is only getting worse. Our movement must race ahead more quickly than the crisis itself — and pull the politicians along with us.
By demonstrating our willingness to take action, the Global Work Party issues a challenge to our leaders. Local events include tree plantings in rural Tanzania, solar installation in China, and an international bike-ride from Jordan to Israel — along with much simpler events organized by small groups of friends. Wherever we are and however we get involved, we’re making a point: if we’re driving solutions to climate change within our own communities, our political leaders have no excuse not to get to work nationally and globally.
The more of us join, the more powerful our message. 10/10/10 is just days away, and it’s easy to get involved — click to sign up:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl
Although time is short to confront climate change, the climate movement itself — from the perspective of history — is young. Abolishing the trans-Atlantic slave trade and ending apartheid took decades. But climate change, because of its unique threat to everyone everywhere, has a special power to unite people across all lines and boundaries — if we let ourselves believe that progress is possible.
Last year saw an extraordinary wave of activity, with successive global days of action (21 September, 24 October, and 12/12) that drove heads of government from around the world to personally attend the Copenhagen summit. It was breathtaking, but it wasn’t enough. This weekend, let’s renew our commitment to the fight of six billion lifetimes — and show that we’re not going anywhere as long as we’ve got a planet to save.
With hope and determination,
Ben, Iain, Ben M, Maria Paz, Ricken, David, Graziela, and the whole Avaaz team
P.S: These events are being organized by a vast array of groups and individuals, with support from Avaaz’s friends at 350.org — using web tools that make it easy to locate an event or sign up a new one. Register for an event through these tools, and 350 will send a few helpful messages as the day of action comes close. That link again:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl

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Avaaz.org is a 5.5-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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