Sunday, July 19, 2015

PNN - A Progressive Critique of the ACA (Obama Care) with California Lynne and Jersey Dave


PNN
7/19/15

RWS               7pm
Brook              7:15pm
Lynn & Dave    7:30pm


1. Any Aggrieved Party

Netroots Leadership, through your inaction in relinquishing control of the stage and the agenda not only betrays the spirit of democratic exchange of ideas it disrespects your invitees. You've taught a doubly bad lesson. 

I have more than 20 years experience producing special events, public events, concerts and festivals and I was shocked when I heard about the mismanagement on display if what I've heard actually took place at yesterday's Netroots Nation CONVENTION.

I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong) well meaning activists took over the stage and drove presenters away. Through your inaction you have announced that you are not a responsible party managing a serious political event. You are simply cavalier amateur who invited a bunch of angry people together with no adult in-charge and no one taking responsibility for security or order. This is a recipe for disaster. You may have gotten an inkling that you are irresponsible amateurs playing with mob-dynamite.

You have placed a billboard over your event, stating "Any Aggrieved Party" is free to take the stage and disrupt this poor excuse for a political convention. Your denial of responsibility has set back the progressive movement decades.

The fact that these particular protestors have a valid greivance and that the speakers who were disrupted were invited to speak to a admittedly diverse audience, with a wide range of opinion does nothing to mitigate the dangerous precedent set and the terrible decisions made to permit the stage to be over-run.

I understand the dynamics and discomfort activist leaders face when they are called upon to challenge or channel righteous indignation. The bottom line is this. If you produce public events you must accept the responsibilities that are inherent in staging an event. If you fail to appreciate the inherent dangers and difficulty you have no business producing even a birthday party.

When control, and security is dissipated and the agenda is handed off to the mob, no matter how well intentioned, disaster is the only possible result. Let's leave aside, the failure of protestors to respect the design of the event. (Every event depends on a modicum of civility) If activists refuse to understand the purpose of dialogue and dispense with alliance building then they don't belong on a convention stage.  Activists sometime value disruption for disruptions sake. These activists fail to comprehend the necessity of coalition building. They should be shunned until they mature politically. Regardless how counter productive their disruption was and what damage they are doing to potential alliances, they did what some activists always do, behave counter-productively. I reserve my criticism for the activists who undertook to produce this event and failed.

When you throw your hands up on stage security, and hand off the agenda to any microphone hog, you have given up any control over both safety and security. You have just taught the world, that any handful of disruptors, inside or outside the progressive movement, not only that you have no stomach for the necessary security that produces a safe event, but your agenda is available for hi-jacking.

Next time whether its Wall Street Bankers, Animal Rights Activists, or Militant Librarians , you have taught the any aggrieved party may take the stage and there are no adults in the room. 

You have shown just how easy any small group of disruptors, the foolish, the delusional or the mercenary, that the visual takes precedence over substance and you hold no responsibility to control even the stage much less the activity inside your event. 

There is a moral responsibility when you invite four or more into a space and present an agenda. 
You undertake to produce not just a room of chairs and a portable stage and sound equipment, but you undertake a public safety responsibility that you shirk not only at your expense but you place every life of your attendees at risk.

I have had to disarm a gun toting rock star, require a world class performing duo evacuate a stage, and stop a show, that would otherwise place performers and bystanders at risk. I hope the next NETROOTS events is produced by a more serious and responsible team, because allowing a small disruptive group to take the stage and prevent invited speakers from making their speeches is not the work of mature leadership. And nearly as important these political figures could have become allies instead of victims.

So far free speech, was the only victim. No small disaster there. But human lives are placed in danger when an event goes off the rails. Its not just democracy that took a body blow. Human safety was compromised when responsibility was ignored. Absentee-LEADERSHIP  of this conference placed thousands of lives at risk. This must be understood. If not it will be at the peril of the Progressive Movement.  


3. We are all Greeks Now
The poor and the working class in the United States know what it is to be Greek. They know underemployment and unemployment. They know life without a pension. They know existence on a few dollars a day. They know gas and electricity being turned off because of unpaid bills. They know the crippling weight of debt. They know being sick and unable to afford medical care. They know the state seizing their meager assets, a process known in the United States as “civil asset forfeiture,” which has permitted American police agencies to confiscate more than $3 billion in cash and property. They know the profound despair and abandonment that come when schools, libraries, neighborhood health clinics, day care services, roads, bridges, public buildings and assistance programs are neglected or closed. They know the financial elites’ hijacking of democratic institutions to impose widespread misery in the name of austerity. They, like the Greeks, know what it is to be abandoned.
The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.
The Greek government kneels before the bankers of Europe begging for mercy because it knows that if it leaves the eurozone, the international banking system will do to Greece what it did to the socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile; it will, as Richard Nixon promised to do in Chile, “make the economy scream.” The bankers will destroy Greece. If this means the Greeks can no longer get medicine—Greece owes European drug makers 1 billion euros—so be it. If this means food shortages—Greece imports thousands of tons of food from Europe a year—so be it. If this means oil and gas shortages—Greece imports 99 percent of its oil and gas—so be it. The bankers will carry out economic warfare until the current Greek government is ousted and corporate political puppets are back in control.
Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. It was, after all, Goldman Sachs—which shoved subprime mortgages down the throats of families it knew could never pay the loans back, sold the subprime mortgages as investments to pension funds and then bet against them—that orchestrated complex financial agreements with Greece, many of them secret. These agreements doubled the debt Greece owes under derivative deals and allowed the old Greek government to mask its real debt to keep borrowing. And when Greece imploded, Goldman Sachs headed out the door with suitcases full of cash.
The system of unfettered capitalism is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites. This is seen in the mounting fines and fees used to cover shortfalls in city and state budgets. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, from education to intelligence gathering. The U.S. Postal Service appears to be next. Parents already must pay hundreds of dollars for their public-school children to take school buses, go to music or art classes and participate in sports or other activities. Fire departments, ambulance services, the national parks system are all slated to become fodder for corporate profit. It is the death of the civil society.
Criminal justice is primarily about revenue streams for city and state governments in the United States rather than about justice or rehabilitation. The poor are arrested and fined for minor infractions in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere; for not mowing their lawns; for putting their feet on seats of New York City subway cars. If they cannot pay the fines, as many cannot, they go to jail. In jail they are often charged room and board. And if they can’t pay this new bill they go to jail again. It is a game of circular and never-ending extortion of the poor. Fines that are unpaid accrue interest and generate warrants for arrest. Poor people often end up owing thousands of dollars for parking or traffic violations.
Fascist and communist firing squads sometimes charged the victim’s family for the bullets used in the execution. In corporate capitalism, too, the abusers extract payment; often the money goes to private corporations that carry out probation services or prison and jail administration. The cost of being shot with a stun gun ($26) or of probation services ($35 to $100 a month) or of an electronic ankle bracelet ($11 a month) is vacuumed out of the pockets of the poor. And all this is happening in what will one day be seen as the good times. Wait until the financial house of cards collapses again—what is happening in China is not a good sign—and Wall Street runs for cover. Then America will become Greece on steroids.
“We are a nation that has turned its welfare system into a criminal system,” write Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr in an Institute for Policy Studies report titled “The Poor Get Prison.” “We criminalize life-sustaining activities of people too poor to afford shelter. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world. And we institute policies that virtually bar them for life from participating in society once they have done their time. We have allowed the resurgence of debtors’ prisons. We’ve created a second-tier public education system for poor children and black and Latino children that disproportionally criminalizes their behavior and sets them early onto the path of incarceration and lack of access to assistance and opportunity.”
The corporate dismantling of civil society is nearly complete in Greece. It is far advanced in the United States. We, like the Greeks, are undergoing a political war waged by the world’s oligarchs. No one elected them. They ignore public opinion. And, as in Greece, if a government defies the international banking community it is targeted for execution. The banks do not play by the rules of democracy.
Our politicians are corporate employees. And if you get dewy-eyed about the possibility of the U.S. having its first woman president, remember that it was Hillary Clinton’s husband who decimated manufacturing jobs with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and then went on to destroy welfare with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which halted federal cash aid programs and imposed time-limited, restrictive state block grants. Under President Bill Clinton, most welfare recipients—and 70 percent of those recipients were children—were dropped from the rolls. The prison-industrial complex exploded in size as its private corporations swallowed up surplus, unemployed labor, making $40,000 or more a year from each person held in a cage. The population of federal and state prisons combined rose by 673,000 under Clinton. He, along with Ronald Reagan, set the foundations for the Greecification of the United States.
The destruction of Greece, like the destruction of America, by the big banks and financial firms is not, as the bankers claim, about austerity or imposing rational expenditures or balanced budgets. It is not about responsible or good government. It is a vicious form of class warfare. It is profoundly anti-democratic. It is about forming nations of impoverished, disempowered serfs and a rapacious elite of all-powerful corporate oligarchs, backed by the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history and a militarized police that shoots unarmed citizens with reckless abandon. The laws and rules it imposes on the poor are, as Barbara Ehrenreich has written, little more than “organized sadism.”
Corporate profit is God. It does not matter who suffers. In Greece 40 percent of children live in poverty, there is a 25 percent unemployment rate and the unemployment figure for those between the ages of 15 and 24 is nearly 50 percent. And it will only get worse.
The economic and political ideology that convinced us that organized human behavior should be determined by the dictates of the global marketplace was a con game. We were the suckers. The promised prosperity from trickle-down economics and the free market instead concentrated wealth among a few and destroyed the working and the middle classes along with all vestiges of democracy. Corrupt governments, ignoring the common good and the consent of the governed, abetted this pillage. The fossil fuel industry was licensed to ravage the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species, while being handed lavish government subsidies. None of this makes sense.
The mandarins that maintain this system cannot respond rationally in our time of crisis. They are trained only to make the system of exploitation work. They are blinded by their insatiable greed and neoliberal ideology, which posits that controlling inflation, privatizing public assets and removing trade barriers are the sole economic priorities. They are steering us over a cliff.
We will not return to a rational economy or restore democracy until these global speculators are stripped of power. This will happen only if the streets of major cities in Europe and the United States are convulsed with mass protests. The tyranny of these financial elites knows no limits. They will impose ever greater suffering and repression until we submit or revolt. I prefer the latter. But we don’t have much time.


4. Holder Back at Home
they held a corner office on hold for him on the 11th floor at Covington & Burley
at the intersection of Every Large American Bank and the Rubberized Justice Department 
clients list: JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup - REVOLVING DOOR - Scandal Free
Covington drafted the MERS Agreement that cooked the mortgages - 
Last year, Holder bought a condo 300 feet from the firm’s headquarters. The National Law Journal headlined the news, “Holder’s Return to Covington Was Six Years in the Making,” as if acting as the nation’s top law enforcement officer was a temp gig. They even kept an 11th-floor corner office empty for his return.
If we had a more aggressive media, this would be an enormous scandal, more than the decamping of former Obama Administration officials to places like Uber and Amazon. That’s because practically no law firm has done more to protect Wall Street executives from the consequences of their criminal activities than Covington & Burling.  Their roster of clients includes every mega-bank in America: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America. Yet Holder has joined several of his ex-employees there, creating a shadow Justice Department and an unquestionable conflict of interest. In fact, given the pathetic fashion in which DoJ limited punishment for those who caused the greatest economic meltdown in 80 years, Holder’s new job looks a lot like his old job.
You could actually make a plausible argument that Covington & Burling bears responsibility for the Great Recession: In the late 1990s, Covington lawyers drafted the legal justification for MERS, the private electronic database that facilitated mortgage-backed securities trading. MERS saved banks from having to submit documents and fees with county land recording offices each time they transferred mortgages. So it’s unlikely you would have seen mortgage securitization at such a high volume without MERS, and by proxy, without those legal opinions. Of course, securitization drove subprime lending, the housing bubble, its eventual crash and the financial meltdown that followed. Though evidence pointed to MERS’ implication in the mass document fraud scandal that infected the foreclosure process, former Covington lawyer Holder never prosecuted them, and now he’s back with the old team.
Covington’s real meal ticket is white-collar defense. They literally promote their aptitude in getting bank clients off the hook in marketing materials. I wrote in Salonlast March about the firm’s boasting, in a cover story in the trade publication American Lawyer, about avoiding jail sentences and reducing cash penalties for executives at companies like IndyMac and Charles Schwab. Included in the praiseworthy article is Lanny Breuer, who ran the Justice Department’s criminal division under Holder. Breuer, a vice chairman at Covington, vowed not to represent companies under Justice Department investigation, but his presence in a marketing document specifically wooing bank clients is clear: Sign up with Covington, and you get access to insiders at the highest level.
That’s precisely Eric Holder’s value to the firm. He’ll never end up as lead litigation counsel for Citigroup, and he can’t be involved in any cases dating back to his Justice Department tenure for two years. But he’ll be able to advise behind the scenes, a compelling prospect for banks in trouble. As we have seen over the last decade, relationships and influence matter more than the letter of the law in determining whether white-collar criminals face justice.
Holder, who Covington partners voted to bring back unanimously, gave himself away to the National Law Journal by comparing his post-Justice Department career to former Carter Administration Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti. After his tenure, Civiletti also rotated into private practice for the high-powered firm Venable, and was known around Washington as the first lawyer to bill $1,000 an hour for his services.
So this is a money hustle, using the knowledge gleaned from inside government to assist corporate clients. Holder made $2.5 million in his last year at Covington, and the firm actually said out loud that they see him as a “rainmaker.” The head of Covington’s management committee told the Wall Street Journal that Holder would be a “strategic architect” for institutions looking to navigate “a major investigatory matter or perhaps a crisis-management situation.”  Holder pronounced himself eager to make money for the firm, and wants to be “a player” in litigation. There’s no mystery here: Holder will be a fixer, an insider looking to help corporations beat the rap.
Hilariously, Holder seems to think he took an “appropriately aggressive” stance against Wall Street while at DoJ, one that might risk his relationship with future clients. I’m not sure that even needs to be rebutted. Holder’s conduct in prosecuting financial fraud was so embarrassing that by the end I would have preferred he juststopped trying. Not only did the public relations maneuvers masquerading as crackdowns not fool anyone, they actually harmed the concept of justice. They normalized the idea that big banks could just buy their way out of trouble, cutting prosecutors in on their ill-gotten profits.
And we’re all still waiting for anyone at a high level in the financial industry to be marched out of his office in handcuffs, nearly a year after Holder said at New York University, “We expect to bring charges in the coming months.” Maybe he was talking about criminal charges for corporations, which the Justice Department is now willing to do after having eliminated any consequences for a guilty plea. If Holder thinks his record is aggressive, I’d hate to see what he considers nonchalant.


5. Bonita Springs WIN to Keep out Fracking... Up next Court
    SW Florida Conservancy will join the suit as will Food and Water Watch


6. Ode on a Right-Wing Troll
To the right wing troll " Mr. Olsen"
Mr. "Olsen" superman's buddy, when you say Senator Sander's is for "big" government you offer your readers two fallacious assumptions if you think the government is small now, you've not been very observant.
We the people, who are "our government" have as many offices, and civil servants as we require.
Now to your more important mistake you repeat the right wing "complaint" fact free as always, that a government that serves the citizens rather than the corporations is more desirable. Again let me point out fact free.
If you'd actually prefer NO GOVERNMENT there are examples available I cite Somalia, Yemen or the merely dysfunctional Syria, Libya or Iraq.
But I suspect you do like CLEAN WATER, SAFE MEDICINE, CONTAMINATION FREE WORK PLACES, and proper schools and libraries that are free and accessible.
But feel good, you've earned your thirty pieces of silver attacking THE PEOPLE's right to self government.
Pull your blankey back over your head, double check both pistols are still loaded and check your hounds water bowl is still full with government guaranteed safe drinking water, before your turn back to denouncing the people's elected government.


7. Fracking EPA wants it two ways

The EPA has a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of the American people, but their draft study is a failure. Submit your public comment — the American people deserve better protection from fracking.

The EPA's top-line finding was very different than what the assessment actually found. The headlines stated that fracking doesn't cause "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."¹ But in reality, the EPA was unable to convince any fracking companies to cooperate in the study, yielding very incomplete results. Without being able to test water before, during and after fracking near fracking sites, the EPA is in no position to claim that water contamination from fracking is not “systemic” — they simply don't know!

And in addition, the EPA study did indeed identify numerous harms to drinking water resources from fracking. But the EPA discounted these everyday harms as not "widespread and systemic," allowing the industry to have a field day claiming that fracking is finally proven safe. We are already encountering lawmakers who are saying “even the EPA says fracking doesn’t threaten water supplies” thanks to the industry-led media spin on this report.

Now the EPA is asking for public comments on their draft fracking assessment. We need to make sure the public weighs in to counter the industry spin. Submit your comment to the EPA — don't downplay the dangerous impacts of fracking on drinking water.

This isn't the first time the EPA has caved on fracking. They've also dropped investigations into drinking water contamination from fracking in Dimock, PA, Parker County, TX and Pavillion, WY and have refused to meet with families directly impacted by fracking.² It is appalling to see the EPA chalk up the experiences of those who have been living with contamination as nothing more than collateral damage — everyone deserves clean drinking water. 

Putting a resource as precious and universally important as drinking water at risk is simply unacceptable, and the EPA, which is charged with protecting Americans from environmental risk, should be working to do everything it can to safeguard these vital water resources. Tell the EPA to protect the people, not the polluting oil and gas industry.

This study on fracking’s impacts on drinking water is far too important to leave up to voluntarily provided data from the very corporations that profit from fracking. 





8.PsyOps - COPS 
These psychologists advised the CIA on how to reverse-engineer techniques that had been used to teach members of the US military to withstand torture and use that information to develop tactics to use on detainees.
Jessen has not publicly commented on the report. Mitchell said he cannot legally confirm or deny his participation in the program, but spoke to many news agencies after the report’s release. He told Al Jazeera America that the report is an effort “to rewrite history.”
“It’s easy in hindsight to look when you get five years, sitting in a comfortable cubicle, drinking Starbucks, talking about how much more capable you’d be. It’s easy using hindsight to suggest we could’ve done it differently, this wasn’t necessary. It’s easy to do that. I completely understand it — hindsight bias, we call it in psychology. It happens. It’s why people think we should’ve been able to predict 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. It’s the same thing essentially.”
Alberto Gonzales – White House counsel
Before he became US attorney general, Gonzales circumvented the Justice Department while working as White House counsel to give permission for torture techniques. He has not publicly responded to the report.
Condoleezza Rice – national security adviser

As early as July 2002, Rice, then the national security adviser, gave the CIA permission to waterboard alleged al-Qaida member Abu Zubaydah. She has not publicly responded to the report.
Cofer Black – CIA counter-terrorism chief
The director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 1999 to 2001, Black went on to become vice chairman of the private security company Blackwater. He has not publicly responded to the Senate report but said in 2008: “I’m not a big fan of interrogations, but you know, life’s tough and there are no easy answers. The American people have to decide if they want interrogations done or not.”
Jose Rodriguez – CIA counter-terrorism chief
Rodriguez took over for Black as CIA head of counter-terrorism. He destroyed 92 tapes documenting torture, including footage of multiple waterboardings of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In response to the report, he told Fox News: “The CIA’s been thrown under the bus.”
He said that important information was collected through torture and eventually led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
“It was very successful, and for those of us who were there, it’s just amazing that they could have come to this conclusion,” Rodriguez said. “Those of us who read the intelligence coming out to the black sites every morning and who acted on that intelligence know the value, and basically, it led to the destruction of the organization.”






9. FREE SPEECH ZONES RETURN TO FLA

Gov. Scott steals a page from the shrub and creates a FREE-SPEECH-ZONE (In Cape Coral) 
[ You probably thought Cape Coral was part of the United States of America] blocks away from where he appeared.

Anything, any violation of the CONSTITUTION - to protect his delicate ears from any UNTOWARD criticism.... 

Too bad he shows no such concern for our environment! - 

BRAVO to those Brave Souls who thought that FREE SPEECH (1st Amendment Rights) applied here in Scott's Florida - 
I say Scott's Florida - because the evidence suggests its not your land or my land ... Am I right?
(Woody Guthrie not withstanding)






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