Joseph Stiglitz writes in Vanity Fair: "It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow." Illustration: Mother Jones
The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades' gains.
Debt, Austerity and How to Fight Back
Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West comment in The Nation: "Wall Street Banks, American corporations and their political allies have declared a one-sided war on the American people. This war is being waged at our schools and colleges, the workplace and in our communities. Today, Americans are working harder and earning less while corporate profits soar. As homeowners, consumers and students we see our wealth being stripped away by banks."
Return to Wisconsin: The Beginning or the End?
Extensive Outsourcing Leads to Trouble
Paul Krugman, Krugman and Co.: "There's a new article in the March/April edition of the Washington Monthly making the point that the United States needs federal bureaucrats to manage spending, including spending on private contractors, and that understaffing the government - which we're doing already, and will do more of if the right gets its way - actually increases the deficit. I agree. 'In practice, cutting civil servants often means either adding private contractors or ... resorting to the belief that industries have a deep capacity to police themselves,' John Gravois writes."
Behind Michigan's "Financial Martial Law": Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires
marched on the Michigan Capitol in the days before Snyder signed the bill. But gone unmentioned is a little-known Michigan think tank that for years has been pushing for the most controversial provisions in Snyder's bill—and that's bankrolled by some of the same right-wing millionaires and billionaires that backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-union legislation."
Firefighters, Cops Warn Republicans Anti-Union Stance Has Consequences
Andrea Stone writes for the Huffington Post: "Leaders from two unions known to support the Republican Party warned of serious repercussions for GOP candidates in the 2012 elections, saying the onslaught of anti-labor bills in state capitals has shifted their political allegiances. 'Our political principles are pretty straightforward. We’ll support those that support us,' Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, told HuffPost. 'We tend to stick with those who stick with us.' 'There is a distinct possibility that the pro-labor candidate in the next election will be looked at much more favorably than their overall record,' Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, told HuffPost. 'The vast majority of our membership will put other issues aside.'”
American Workers Got What They Deserve
Ray Buursma comments for the Holland (MI) Sentinel: "Are you an American employee? If so, today’s column will likely offend you. If you’d rather not be offended, read no further. If you continue and then complain, I’m sorry, but that simply proves you’re, well, stupid. But then again, stupidity plays a large role in today’s topic. Still reading? OK. You’ve had fair warning. So you’re an American employee. Maybe you make car parts. Maybe you’re an engineer or designer. Maybe you’re an accountant, store clerk or tradesman. Whatever you do, you’re probably stupid or lazy. Yes, I wrote it, and I mean it. You are either stupid or lazy. Maybe both."
The War on Child Labor Laws
The Collapse of Globalization
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig: "The uprisings in the Middle East, the unrest that is tearing apart nations such as the Ivory Coast, the bubbling discontent in Greece, Ireland and Britain and the labor disputes in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio presage the collapse of globalization. They presage a world where vital resources, including food and water, jobs and security, are becoming scarcer and harder to obtain. They presage growing misery for hundreds of millions of people who find themselves trapped in failed states, suffering escalating violence and crippling poverty. They presage increasingly draconian controls and force - take a look at what is being done to Pfc. Bradley Manning - used to protect the corporate elite who are orchestrating our demise."
Open Letter to the New Governor of Kansas: Looking for Economic Opportunities
Paul Johnson writes for the Kansas Rural Center: "Congratulations Governor Brownback on your election as the 46th Governor of the great state of Kansas. In the midst of a very serious economic recession and the highest unemploy-ment in decades, Kansas should use this situation to reassess certain fundamental infrastructures in our state – food, energy and affordable housing. In remembrance of our 150 years of pioneering self-reliance, Kansas can rediscover an economic independence that will boost our economy, create more local employment and leave us less vulnerable to future food and fuel price hikes. The State of Kansas has developed and funded several 10-year transportation plans but that model has not been applied to our systems of food, energy and affordable housing. You could provide such guidance."
Why I Called Bradley Manning's Treatment 'Stupid'
Earlier this month, I was asked by an MIT graduate student why the United States government was "torturing" Private First Class Bradley Manning, who is accused of being the source of the WikiLeaks cables that have been reported by the Guardian and other news outlets and posted online. The fact is the government is doing no such thing. But questions about his treatment have led to a review by the UN special rapporteur on torture, and challenged the legitimacy of his pending prosecution. As a public diplomat and (until recently) spokesman of the department of state, I was responsible for explaining the national security policy of the United States to the American people and populations abroad. I am also a retired military officer who has long believed that our civilian power must balance our military power. Part of our strength comes from international recognition that the United States practises what we preach. Most of the time, we do. This strategic narrative has made us, broadly speaking, the most admired country in the world."
FBI Spied on Little Kids for Days at a Time, Documents Reveal
Documents obtained by the group as the result of pending Freedom of Information Act litigation suggest that abuses of surveillance powers granted by the PATRIOT Act had been flagged by the FBI...Among the heavily-redacted documents obtained by the EFF is a report [PDF] showing that the FBI monitored young children for five days, despite the fact that none of the voices being monitored matched the language of the target. The report concluded that the roving wiretap violation occurred as a result of an inadequate review of the wiretap renewal application."
Koch Operative May Have Deceived Officials to Take $2.7 Million in Taxpayer Money for Governor's Race
Steve Lebowitz and Lee Fang report for ThinkProgress: "In 2008, Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey state director for David Koch's Americans for Prosperity group, announced a campaign to run for governor. Running as a Republican, Lonegan lost to Chris Christie (R-NJ) in the Republican primary, and Christie went on to win the general election later in 2009. But recent tax disclosures examined by ThinkProgress reveal that Lonegan, who used $2.7 million in taxpayer matching funds for his gubernatorial campaign, may have deceived public officials in order to collect the public money used for his campaign."
Representative McDermott: GOP Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs Are "Morally Wrong" and "Fiscally Stupid"
Pat Garofalo reports for ThinkProgress: "The current continuing resolution under which the federal government is operating expires on April 8, and at the moment, it seems that budget talks between House Republican leadership and Senate Democrats have broken down. Republicans want their spending bill - H.R. 1 - to 'serve as a starting point for all negotiations' (even though Democrats have now upped the amount of spending cuts they're willing to pass, alongside zero concessions from Republicans)."
Poll: Unfavorable View Of Tea Party Hits Record High
John Turnbush writes for Talking Point Memo: "The percentage of Americans who hold an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party movement rose to an all-time in a new CNN poll released today. CNN found the Tea Party ranked nearly as unpopular as both the Republican and Democratic parties. In the poll, 47% of adult Americans said they viewed the Tea Party unfavorably, compared to 32% who said they viewed it favorably. The latest finding continues a trend of the Tea Party losing popularity as it has became more well known."
The Chambers Genie
grant even many of their most outlandish wishes. As soon as Roberts and his fellow conservative Justice Alito joined the high Court, the Chamber of Commerce's win rate before the justices spiked eight percentage points above its already very high levels under his conservative predecessor William Rehnquist. Nor is Roberts alone in his willingness to go the extra mile for wealthy corporations. A recent study found that every single justice is more likely to side with the Chamber than the just ice who held the seat 25 years ago. As one of the Chamber's top Supreme Court litigators bragged, "except for the solicitor general representing the United States, no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center." This week, corporate America made three especially large wishes to the justices, and the Court's conservatives once again appear eager to grant them."
The Lessons of Fukushima
Casino of Hunger - Wall Street Speculators and the 2008 Food Crisis
House to Vote on Overturning Net Neutrality Laws
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "Armed with an ideological agenda, House Republicans took aim at net neutrality again this month, quietly introducing a Congressional 'resolution of disapproval' to overturn recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laws prohibiting anti-competitive behavior among Internet providers. H.J. Res. 37 passed 30-23 on March 15, and will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote, which House Speaker John Boehner said in late February could happen 'as early as next month.'"
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps Knocks ATandT/T-Mobile Deal
Kim Hart reports for Politico: "Michael Copps, the senior Democrat at the FCC, has some serious concerns about ATandT’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. In an interview on C-Span’s “The Communicators” series, which will air Friday, Copps says the transaction is an even steeper climb for him than Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal. He also said the deal could negatively impact other proceedings at the agency."
On NBC, the Missing Story about Parent Company General Electric
Paul Farhi reports for the Wshington Post: "It’s the kind of accountability journalism that makes readers raise an eyebrow, if it doesn’t raise their blood pressure first. General Electric Co., reported the New York Times last week, earned $14.2 billion in worldwide profits last year, including $5.1 billion in the United States — and paid exactly zero dollars in federal taxes.
Censorship Made in America
Tim Karr writes for Free Press: "March has been a stormy month across the Arab world as the hope for new democracy faces the harsh reality of despots armed with guns, tanks and the tools of censorship. In Libya, the Gaddafi regime plunged the nation into digital darkness during the first week of March, turning off Internet access to keep Libyans from organizing one another and documenting Gaddafi's crimes for the world to see. In Bahrain, the kingdom reacted to democracy demonstrators by blacking out websites where locals shared cell phone videos, blocking YouTube pages containing videos of street protests, and taking down a large Facebook group that called for more demonstrations. It doesn't end there."