…It truly does not matter which political party symbol occupies the oval office as corporate owns the office regardless of the occupant …

Goodbye, Liberty! 10 Ways Americans Are No Longer Free    Our struggle for liberty is a fight against concentrated wealth.

August 29, 2012  … AlterNet / By Richard (R.J.) Eskowhttp://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/goodbye-liberty-10-ways-americans-are-no-longer-free?akid=9320.23062.kZpBRf&rd=1&src=newsletter703229&t=15&paging=off

 

Our most fundamental rights, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are under assault. But the adversary is Big Wealth, not Big Government as conservatives like to claim. Consider:

Life? The differences in life expectancy between wealthier and lower-income Americans are increasing, not decreasing.

Liberty? Digital corporations are assaulting our privacy, while banks trap us in indebtedness that approaches indentured servitude. The shrunken ranks of working Americans are being robbed of their essential liberties – including the right to use the bathroom.

The pursuit of happiness? Social mobility in the United States is dead. Career choices are increasingly limited. As for working hard and earning more, consider this: Between 1969 and 2008 the average US income went up by $11,684. How much of that went to the top 10? All of it. Income for the remaining 90 percent actually went down.

These changes didn’t just happen. Wealthy individuals and corporations made it happen – and they’re still at it. Meanwhile, Corporate America’s wholesale theft of your individual liberties has been rebranded as a fight for … the corporation’s individual liberty.

Corey Robin notes in the Nation that this conservative appeal to “economic freedom” has been met by Democrats who present themselves as “new Victorians,” standing for “responsibilities over rights, safety over freedom, constraint rather than counterculture.” 

Not only is this politically and emotionally unappealing, it’s demonstrably wrong.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of a “right” is “something to which one has a just claim: as the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled.” Definitions of “liberty” include “the power to do as one pleases,” “freedom from arbitrary or despotic control,” “the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges,” and “the power of choice.”

Is that how you feel when you’re dealing with your bank?

While the Right portrays popularly elected government as a faceless oppressor, large corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals – what we’re calling “Big Wealth” — are trampling on our individual rights and liberties every day. We should be fighting for “economic freedom,” as Corey Robin notes, and explaining how Big Wealth is crushing other fundamental liberties as well.

Here are 10 critical examples, drawn from the headlines and from our everyday lives.

1. Our American liberties end at the workplace door.    If you have a job, the Freedom Train stops at the workplace door. More employees are hired on a part-time or temporary basis to deny them rights and benefits. Many of your privacy rights are gone. Your employer can use your company computer to read your correspondence, and your company cell phone (if you have one) to track your movements.

Free speech? You can be fired for expressing political views online, even when you’re not at work. As employment lawyer Mark Trapp told Bloomberg Business Week, the“freedom to speak your mind doesn’t really exist in work spaces.” Or, in some cases, outside it.

The longstanding right of workers to organize and form a union is also under assault. A corporate-funded group called ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is coordinating the loss of union rights for public employees. Governors and legislators are using budget shortfalls created by corporate misbehavior and tax cuts for the wealthy to argue that governments can no longer afford to honor union contracts.

Your rights don’t even begin where your, er, bathroom breaks begin. As Mary Williams Walsh reported in the New York Times, “employees at lower rungs of the economic ladder can be timed with stopwatches in the bathroom; stonewalled when they ask to go; given disciplinary points for frequent urination; even hunted down by supervisors with walkie-talkies if they tarry in the stalls.”

2. We’re losing our “right to life” in many different ways–from birth through old age.    It’s always striking when some of those who defend an unborn child’s “right to life” ignore the fact that the United States ranks 49th in infant mortality, according to the latest statistics. Or in the fact that African American infant mortality is 2.5 that of Caucasians. Or that lower-income families of all ethnicities suffer much greater infant mortality in this country than their wealthier counterparts.

The next time you see another story about impoverished North Koreans and their seemingly mad dedication to their deluded leader and outmoded economic system, consider this: The average life expectancy for an African American in New Orleans is roughly the same as that of a North Korean. It’s shorter than that of people in Colombia, Venezuela, of Vietnam. In our nation’s capital, the life expectancy gap between African American and white males is more than 13 years.

For poor whites the story isn’t much better. A 2005 study showed that life expectancy for poor white males in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley is roughly the same as that of males in Mexico and Panama. They can expect to live nearly four and a half years less than average white male nationwide. Opportunities for an affordable education are disappearing — and education correlates closely with longevity.

Then there’s Medicare. Studies showed that mortality among Americans aged 65 and older decreased by 13 percent after Medicare was created, and they spent 13 percent fewer days in the hospital. The corporate-funded right is sponsoring a plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system that will provide less coverage for older Americans’ healthcare with each passing year. They also want to raise its eligibility age. The studies show that these proposals would result in increased loss of life and more hospital days for older Americans.

3. We’ve lost autonomy over our own bodies.    While Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin prattle about “death panels,” many injured or ailing Americans enter a Kafka-esque maze of insurance executives, case managers, billing services, and customer service numbers with interminable hold times. Some of these processes were created as a legitimate response to physician overtreatment, itself encouraged by our privatized education and health financing systems. But they’ve turned into massive operations for delaying, frustrating, and thwarting attempts by patients and doctors to receive permission to provide necessary services.

Millions of Americans have to plead for needed treatment, then argue over a complex and error-prone system of copayments, deductibles, and medical bills denied for payment with incomprehensible explanations. If they’re unable to devote hours to battling their insurer, or if they try and fail, they may then find themselves at the mercy of medical debt collectors whose own actions have been the subject of legal scrutiny and public criticism.

Long-standing assumptions built into our medical system deny virtually all Americans the right to affordable dental care, which is available in most other developed countries, while an antiquated and Puritanical attitude toward mental illness has been exploited to deny them adequate care for these conditions.

The right is attacking Medicare, one of our most popular government programs, and defending one of our nation’s least popular institutions, HMOs. In fighting for Medicare Advantage’s HMO subsidies and resisting wider access to public health insurance, they’re using the language of freedom to rob Americans of the freedom to make their own medical decisions.

There are treatments which have unproven value, have unpleasant side effects, or which studies have shown to be over-used to provide financial gain to medical providers. People have a right to know that, and to be protected from this kind of abuse. But the denial of covered services is an epidemic in American healthcare – and a massive assault on American freedom.

4. We’re losing the ability to rise up from poverty, earn a decent living, or work in the career of our choice.    The periodic economic shocks caused by our banking system allowed employers to demand wage concessions while paying ever-increasing salaries and bonuses to their senior executives. The power of unions has been systematically eroded. The drive to provide ever-increasing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans has led to a decline government jobs, which has shriveled job opportunities in many lines of work.

The key to social mobility is education, and that doorway to opportunity has been steadily closing. A study from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education showed that, as the University of Virginia’s Miller Center puts it, “Since the mid-1980s the costs of higher education in America have steadily shifted from the taxpayer to the student and family.”

The study shows that during a period when median family income rose by 147%, college tuition and fees rose 439%. That’s a tripling of education costs, in real dollar terms. The impact has been greatest on lower-income families. As the New York Times notes: “Among the poorest families — those with incomes in the lowest 20 percent — the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000. At community colleges, long seen as a safety net, that cost was 49 percent of the poorest families’ median income last year, up from 40 percent in 1999-2000.”

Some career options aren’t even available anymore. Want to be a writer or reporter? Nearly 4,000 jobs in this area will disappear in this decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A teacher? They’re cutting those jobs back to help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Post Office employee? Ditto. The death of American manufacturing means that lower-income young people can’t move into the middle class. Working-class kids can’t even follow in their parents’ blue-collar footsteps. They’re falling behind their parents.

Those who have jobs find it increasingly impossible to lead a decent life. The US has a much higher percentage of low-income workers than most other developed countries. The New America Foundation observed that the share of middle-income jobs in this country has fallen from 52 percent to 42 percent since 1980, while the share of low-income jobs rose from 30 percent t0 41 percent. The fundamental rights we were told we had as Americans – to choose our careers, find a job, and live a decent life if we worked hard – are disappearing rapidly.

5. We no longer have the right to personal time.    Most developed nations recognize that the right to the "pursuit of happiness” includes the ability to enjoy leisure time – in the evenings, on weekends, and on vacation. But each of these rights is being lost to the systematic reversal of gains that Americans first started making in the 19th century.

The US is one of the few developed nations that doesn’t require employers to offer paid vacation time to their employees. Employees are increasingly unable to take the vacation time they’ve been promised. A survey published last May showed that many employees find it difficult to take vacation time. Some said there’s nobody to cover for them because of staff cutbacks. Others said they couldn’t afford it, the result of the same wage stagnation which has enriched their bosses. Still more said they felt pressure from the boss not to take any time off.

A long-term study of 12,000 men with heart disease showed that those who took vacations lived longer. In a society where fewer and fewer people can take time off, that means more people are literally “working themselves to death.”

And it’s not just vacations, either. As Michael Janati noted in the Washington Times, “Americans are working approximately 11 more hours per week now than they did in the 1970’s, yet the average income for middle-income families has declined by 13% (when adjusting for inflation).” Employers routinely use email and phone calls to intrude on workers’ off hours.

Want to know what indentured servitude looks like? Look around.

6. We can’t negotiate as free people with banks or corporations.    The buyer/seller relationship is no longer a transaction between free equals. Corporations routinely deprive us of vital information when we enter into a business relationship with them, aided by weak regulations and lax enforcement. Banks frequently hide balloon payments and other key loan provisions in complex and unreadable documents, for example, while bankers misrepresent the terms of the loan.

Many types of corporations are allowed to operate in as monopolies or near-monopolies, including cable television operators and health insurers. (Blue Cross of Alabama, for example, provides 90 percent of the health insurance coverage in the city of Birmingham.)

The combination of decepting marketing and near-monopoly situations destroys the “free market,” by any technical definition of the term. It denies us our freedom of choice and deprives us of our ability to negotiate our own contracts. And yet there’s been a deafening silence from the libertarian movement, which has been commandeered by the Cato Institute and other institutions financed and controlled by large corporate interests.

Nowhere is our loss of liberty more apparent than in the banking industry, where MERS — the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems – deprives Americans citizens and the courts of the ability to know who holds their mortgages or the terms of that contract. Total household debt is nearly 12 trillion dollars. Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards, and new evidence shows that banks have been resorting to the same illegal tactics to collect credit card debt that they used on mortgages.

Want to fight back? You’ve lost that right. Banks control FICO and other credit-scoring agencies. Corporations walk away from bad loan deals with their banks all the time, or threaten to walk, simply because that loan is no longer in their financial interest. But even when bank customers were deceived by their banks, they have little recourse. If they don’t pay back that unjust loan their credit scores will plunge and they’ll lose their ability to borrow money, rent an apartment, even to get a job.

And it’s not just banks. Corporations have used media manipulation and corrupted arbitration clauses to rob Americans of the right to sue even when they or their loved ones have been robbed, maimed, or kill by corporate greed and neglect. Instead, Americans have been forced to accept “arbitration clauses” from monopolistic forces that are heavily weighted in favor of the corporation. If they don’t they’re likely to be deprived of critical services like banking, power, and communications. 

7. We’re losing our right to live or travel where we want.    There are 16 million underwater homes in the United States, housing some 40 million people. These homeowners owe an estimated $1.2 trillion in “underwater” real estate value that disappeared when the housing bubble burst.

The bankers to whom they owe than money created the bubble, and were wealthy beyond measure when it burst. These homeowners have been left holding the bag – and the debt, owed to the very people who misled them into taking out mortgages. The deception often included forgeries, lies about the loan’s terms, and filing of false information.

While they pay these unjust debts – or foreclose and face the consequences of that action – these homeowners have lost the right to relocate to another town or city, even if they want to move in search of jobs that many of them lost after the bank-spawned financial crisis. Their debts make that impossible. Like citizens in the Soviet state, they must first ask permission of a cold and powerful bureaucracy – except that in their case its their bank, not the State.

We’re told that the early Bolsheviks charged prisoners’ families for the bullets used to execute them. Americans are paying to prop up the banks that oppress them – through their taxes and their inflated debts. Meanwhile, many of these wealthy bankers in gated enclaves behind fences and guards. Would you like to get a glimpse of their lavish homes? You can’t.

8. We’ve lost our right to privacy.  The CEOs of Facebook and Google have both said essentially the same thing: The age of privacy has ended. Get over it.

Privacy is supposed to be an essential right. Yet Americans who claim they’d defend it to the death cheerfully sacrifice it every day to play Mafia Wars. Or to search for a celebrity. Or to connect with high school classmates they never really liked anyway.

Internet companies sell our personal data for profit, often by using cookies on our computers to track our activity. Facebook sold users’ video rental records. Google pulled Americans’ personal information via WiFi when it created Street View. Apple iPhones were tracking and storing their owners’ movements.

The government is already using corporate data, sometimes without subpoenas. Corporations have voluntarily allowed the government to use their technology to spy on citizens, included one reported case where the government placed a spy server at an ATT location to track the activities of its subscribers. There’s a lot more that we don’t know.

We were taught that a person’ home is his or her castle. But our electronic devices have breached the castle walls, and have placed spies in our living rooms, dens … and bedrooms. Americans, especially conservatives, should be demanding that corporations give us back our privacy rights.

9. We’re losing our right to participate in our society as informed citizens.     As Bill Moyers observed, “In 1984 the number of companies owning a controlling interest in America’s media was 50 — today that number is six.” Largely as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – a Republican bill signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton – this has eliminated many dissenting voices from the mainstream media and left a shockingly uniform political consensus in our media.

Polling shows that online media have increasingly overtaken newspapers as a source of information. But they also show that the vast majority of Americans still follow the news through television, which — when combined with newspapers and radio — means that corporate media still shapes our perception of current events. And their consensus can become positively Orwellian.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets for the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush, only to be subject to an almost-complete news media blackout. An estimated one million demonstrators jammed the streets of cities in the United States and worldwide on February 15, 2003, to protest the invasion of Iraq. But their presence was either ignored by the mainstream media or subject to an artificial illusion of “balance” through the extensive cutaway shots to pro-war supporters than often numbered in no more than the dozens.

Even more Orwellian is the sight of reporters at news outlets like the Washington Post – which has outsourced much of its financial reporting to an organization run by right-wing billionaire Pete Peterson – to use labels such as “extreme” and “fringe” to describe politicians and organizations who are advocated for policies which in some cases are supported by 75 or 80 percent of all Americans. This creates a false reality which supports our final loss of freedom:

10. We’re losing the right to representative democracy.    On issue after issue, the wishes of most Americans are ignored or marginalized by the nation’s political and media elite. Views that are held by most Republicans – and in some cases even by most Tea Party members – are dismissed as “extreme” inside the Beltway. While 75 percent of most Americans and 76 percent of Tea Party supporters opposed Social Security cuts to balance the budget, leaders in both political parties were meeting to negotiate those cuts. (They were scuttled by a fallout between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner; similar cuts were being negotiated between Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton when the Monica Lewinsky scandal erupted.)

Most Americans want tighter control on US banks, and that’s considered politically impossible. They want much higher taxes for millionaires, which is also dismissed. Meanwhile, the nation continues to pursue policies that benefit the most unpopular institutions in the nation, according to that Gallup poll: big corporations, HMOs, and Wall Street banks. The only thing on Gallup’s list that’s more unpopular than these three institutions? Congress.

The Cause of Liberty  …We need to take back the language of freedom. Freedom’s struggle is the struggle against Big Wealth. That’s the right argument, and it’s a winning argument. As John Adams said many years ago:

“Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong … If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply ….”

In the words of Corey Robin, “It’s long past time for us to start talking and arguing about … the principle of freedom

 

… And they did NOT read the Patriot Act either but they voted on it

clip_image002John Boehner admits "No One Reads the Platform"

08-30-2012  •  http://www.dailypaul.com, by TN4RonPaul

Amid all the cheers and jeers for the 2012 Republican Party platform, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) let slip the truth about that document: He hasn’t read it, and he doesn’t know anyone who’s ever read it or any other platform. 

clip_image002…This is NOT the first occasion that Johnson Utilities has been caught with their pants down … and like before it’s not their fault, it’s someone else’s … I’m not buying it … but be my guest … believe it if you drunk enough of their “kook-aid” …

 

Johnson Utilities said Thursday their water is now safe to drink. They sent out a warning earlier this week about a possible presence of E. coli in their water and said new tests do not show any evidence of possible E. coli.

People were scrambling this week to get bottles of water, and now the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality tells us they believe E. coli was present in Johnson Utilities’ water. They said they wouldn’t have required them to send out a warning if they didn’t think there was a health risk. But Thursday, Johnson Utilities called it a false alarm.

"The discrepancy comes from testing procedures," said Barbara Johnson, whose family owns and operates Johnson Utilities. She said those initial test results were either false positives or cross-contamination at the lab where the water’s tested.

"I can’t control what the state or lab or officials say, all I know is we have the facts," she said.

So we wanted to know why residents weren’t alerted until days after they learned their water samples tested positive for possible E. coli. Johnson said they had to wait for results, too.

"I wish we would’ve got them in an hour with today’s rocket science," Johnson said. "Could we not get those results faster?"

Unfortunately, a VP for the company tells us it takes time for those bacteria cultures to grow. Johnson said they’ve gone through all their equipment making sure it’s secure.

"We weren’t required to test all of our well sites, we tested our well sites," she said. When we pressed her on that, a VP stepped in and said after their initial positive test results, they were, in fact, required to test their equipment. Johnson said despite the ordeal, she doesn’t believe customers are unhappy with how the company handled things. We told her dozens of people called and emailed our station saying the exact opposite.

"I think a few, but still, out of 83,000 people, to tell you the truth, we’ve had numerous calls and emails saying we knew you were safe the whole time," Johnson said.

Customers have also told CBS 5 News they never received notification of any kind. The company said they didn’t have enough time to go door to door and didn’t send out an email to customers because not enough people havecomputers. We told her we found it hard to believe that in the digital age, few people have computers or smart phones.

"But the demographic in San Tan Valley is different from Phoenix," she said in response.

Johnson Utilities is also recommending that people replace their water filters. They said they will be increasing the number of testing sites they have and the frequency of testing. 

 

… And “we” really don’t care, do “we” …?

Important Omissions From Romney’s Convention Speech

 

Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican Convention was long on biography but short on policy. The former Massachusetts governor reminded the national audience about his family’s background and business career, reiterated his critique of President Obama, and promised a better future.

But for a candidate who chose Paul Ryan as his running mate to signal a willingness to take on big challenges, Romney spent precious few — if any — words discussing some of the country’s most pressing problems and even less time explaining how a Romney/Ryan administration would solve them:

– 0 mentions of Financial Reform: Even as millions of Americans struggle with the effects of the Great Recession caused by Wall Street malfeasance and scores of others continue to deal with the fallout of the foreclosure fraud scandal, Romney has said that he will repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, but has yet to detail what, if anything, he would put in its place.

— 0 mentions of Climate Change: “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” Romney said to loud laughter. It’s too bad that he and most of the GOP delegates don’t believe in the very real threat of global warming.

– 0 mentions of Immigration: “We are a nation of immigrants,” Romney said, without explaining how he would help the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Romney has not said if he would rescind Obama’s temporary directive permitting young undocumented immigrants to work in the country, though his advisers have suggested that he would.

– 0 mentions of Romneycare: The convention speakers didn’t tackle Romney’s greatest accomplishment as governor, the enactment of universal health care coverage in Massachusetts. Romney promised to repeal Obamacare, but did not say what he would replace it with.

– 0 mentions of Afghanistan or Syria: Romney did not mention how he planned to address the nation’s largest ongoing wars or one of the most important ongoing humanitarian crises on Earth. This may be because the Romney campaign has been unable to meaningfully distinguish its policies from those of the Obama administration on either of these crucial issues.

– 0 mentions of Social Security: Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, has proposed Social Security privatization schemes that would have cost retirees dearly if they had been in place during the financial crisis.

– 0 mentions of Veterans: Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Romney has ignored veterans issues. After he spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month, veteran advocates said they were “still waiting for Romney to spell out how he would do better than his opponent.” “We haven’t … heard any specific plans yet from Governor Romney or his campaign,” said Bob Wallace, executive director at the Washington office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, echoing the sentiment of many advocates.”

– 1 mention of Medicare: Romney criticized Obama for cutting $716 billion cuts from Medicare — reductions that are also included in Paul Ryan’s budget. But did not explain what his own controversial reforms. Under Romney’s “premium support” plan, seniors would have to spend significantly more for health care.

– 1 mention of Housing: Romney did say, “when the realtor told you that to sell your house you’d have to take a big loss” — but that’s all. The Federal Reserve bank of New York anticipates thatmillions of Americans will face foreclosure this year and next, but Romney has yet to release a housing plan, beyond telling homeowners in foreclosure-battered Las Vegas “don’t try and stop the foreclosure process,” just “let it run its course and hit the bottom.”

 

… Time to recall that whenever any politician mouth moves … they lie …

Fact checking Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention

 

Posted by Glenn Kessler at 06:02 AM ET, 08/31/2012 …http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/fact-checking-mitt-romneys-acceptance-speech-at-the-gop-convention/2012/08/31/70c3d8de-f31f-11e1-adc6-87dfa8eff430_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

 

In his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination, former governor Mitt Romney focused more on his biography than his policy positions. But there were moments when his facts went awry or were missing important context.

Let’s take a tour through the rhetoric.

 

“And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.”

This sounds like a pretty bold statement, especially considering that only two presidents — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — created more than 12 million jobs. Romney, in fact, says he can reach this same goal, in just four years, though the policy paper issued by his campaign contains few details. It is mostly a collection of policy assertions, such as reducing debt, overhauling the tax code, fostering free trade and so forth.

 

But, in fact, the number is even less impressive than it sounds. This pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 jobs a month, a far cry from the 500,000 jobs a month that Romney once claimed would be created in a “normal recovery.” In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs a month.

The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the so-called “fiscal cliff” if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts believe would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes 9.6 million jobs will be created between 2013 and 2017. (This is a revision downward; CBO had estimated 11 million in January.)

 

But Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs.

 

In other words, this is a fairly safe bet by Romney, even if he has a somewhat fuzzy plan for action. We have often noted that presidents are often at the mercy — or are the beneficiary — of broad economic trends, and Romney’s pledge appears to be an effort to take advantage of that.

 

“I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour.”

This is one of Romney’s signature lines, but in a lengthy column last year, we tracked down every statement Obama uttered that partisans claim was an apology, and concluded that each one had been misquoted or taken out of context. His comments overseas were not much different than those of his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

 

Indeed, on several occasions Bush apologized to foreign governments for actions taken by U.S. soldiers, such as for the shooting of a Koran or prisoner abuse in Iraq. “I told him I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families,” Bush said at a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

 

Despite earning Four Pinocchios for this claim for months, Romney keeps saying it.

 

Does it [the economy] fail to find the jobs that are needed for 23 million people and for half the kids graduating from college? No.”

Romney is referring to an Associated Press survey earlier this year that concluded that about 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed. This was the highest level in 11 years, since the dot-com bust in 2000.

 

“A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge,” the news agency said. “Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.”

 

Romney often cites this fact but is generally careful to include the phrase “underemployed.” His phrasing in his speech might have led viewers to believe that 50 percent of college graduates cannot find jobs at all, which is incorrect.

 

“His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”

Romney here attributes planned cuts to the military entirely to Obama, but they actually are the result of a 2011 budget deal between Obama and congressional Republicans, which avoided a default on the national debt.

 

Leaders agreed to include additional automatic cuts to the military as an incentive to reach a broader budget deal, but a congressional “supercommittee” failed to reach an agreement. Obama has proposed raising taxes on the wealthy to end the impasse, but congressional Republicans have rejected that proposal.

 

“Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.”

Romney appears to be referring to mandates in the health-care law, but overall Obama has cut taxes broadly for the middle class. He has extended Bush tax cuts, included a “Making Work Pay” credit in the stimulus bill, and reduced payroll taxes by two percentage points in the past two years.

Obama has called for raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year.

 

His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation — and jobs — in medicine.”

Republicans have repeatedly used variations of this line, but as we have noted it is not factually correct.

 

This $700 billion figure comes from the difference over 10 years (2013-2022) between anticipated Medicare spending (what is known as “the baseline”) and the changes that the law makes to reduce spending. The savings mostly are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries — who, as a result of the health-care law, ended up with new benefits for preventive care and prescription drugs.

 

While it is correct that anticipated savings from Medicare were used to help offset some of the anticipated costs of expanding health care for all Americans, it does not affect the Medicare trust fund. In fact, the Obama health-care law also raised Medicare payroll taxes by $318 billion over the new 10-year time frame, further strengthening the program’s financial condition.

 

“Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled.”

Romney mixes in a number of correct claims here — such as the fact that incomes have kept fallingsince the recession officially ended in June 2009 — with one misleading statistic: “Gasoline prices have doubled.”

 

Gasoline was an average of $1.83 a gallon the day before Obama took the oath of office, but that was because of the economic crisis. Exactly four years ago, the average price was $3.67 — not much different than today’s price of $3.72. Gas prices had plunged after the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked the crisis, reaching $1.59 a gallon by the end of December. So the dip was largely a temporary aberration.

…Doing what he does best … blowing $moke …

 

clip_image001As Hurricane Isaac bore down on New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Rush Limbaugh fantasized about using sandbags full of money to trick African-American Democrats in the city into drowning themselves.
http://mm4a.org/QP9oxZ

 

And Republican – GOP – TeaParty “Ditto-Head$” believe

OPEN SOURCE … full disclosure – transparency – concepts tragically not part of the work environment or lexicon of the Arizona Dept of Environmental Quality and the committees it fosters …

clip_image002

Open source is not limited to software

 

 

 

 


08-30-2012   Ravindra Maurya  … http://opensource.com/government/12/7/open-source-not-limited-software

I am a technology practitioner and promoter of open source software (OSS). It ismy job to speak about the open source model in order to facilitate its adoption, to discuss its relevance and viability with regards to the strategic and economic needs of our time.

When I began my career, I spent several years working with closed source and proprietary software. It was then that I was first introduced to open source software. At first, it seemed rebellious, but I soon realized it was just the tip of iceberg. I could sense this was a revolutionary idea capable of a paradigm shift, representing deep topics: sustainable innovation, broader collaboration, and sharing of intellectual outcomes.

What open source really means       After spending time with the open source model and exploring its possibilities, I feel there is a need to restate the definition of the model. People often confuse open source with just software or with “source code.”

Defining open source as only software fails to capture its full and true meaning. Open source is not limited to software technology, it is a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration, and it applies equally to all fields.

Here are just a few examples of how the open source model is practiced by some of our communities and organizations: Open cola, open source drug discovery, open content, open knowledge,open data, open source robotics, OpenMoko, OpenCores, open design, and, of course, open source software.

Open source is about keeping our ideas, thoughts, perspectives, creativity, and knowledge free from socioeconomic constraints and making them accessible to all. These founding principles fuel innovation at an unprecedented rate by delivering high quality results at a fraction of the cost; compared to when things are done behind closed doors, and creating a healthy environment for competition. In turn, the continued pursuit of innovation is more sustainable.

Open source software, is perhaps the most prominent implementation of the open source model. It begins with the architecture of participation, spans the entire software development life cycle and follows the foundation principal of unconstrained access to source. Linux, with its vibrant community and processes, is probably the most cited example of this, followed by numerous successes like Tomcat, JBoss, Wikipedia, Eclipse, Firefox, OpenStack, Gluster, and Hadoop.

The birth of open source software began with a simple thought process: I had an idea and created something from it. Now, I want to share it (in its entirety) with others who might like to use it. I want them to be able to modify it, enhance it, and contribute it back at their will. 

A catalyst for the open source movement was the Internet. The Internet became, and remains, a participatory platform for  collaboration. This model created unconstrained entry, available resources,and voluntary participation from people around the world.

The value of the open source model   Unconstrained innovation. If you have an idea and wish to realize it, you don’t need a lot of money or corporate stature. All you need is intent. Start by declaring your intent and approach, and others who share the idea will soon join in. Then, it is easy to see that the inception of thoughts and ideas are oftenshared by many different people who are miles or oceans apart. When given a platform these people can reach each other and realize innovative ideas together.

Transparent credibility. After its inception, open source software gained momentum on the very ground that the intelligence (software) that drives the business can be viewed and scrutinized by anyone to uncover and expose vulnerable or malicious components. This opportunity to perform microscopic investigation anytime became a unique attribute and immediately boosted the credibility of open source software.

Decentralized control. Amendments to open source software can be made by the end users, community members, or commercial support bodies, immediately, without the need for a separate, closed group and process. With the increasing penetration of software in consumer devices, business engines, military and government frameworks the power of this capability is apparent anddistinguishing.

A paradigm shift      The open source model has already triggered a paradigm shift. It’s changing the way traditional models used to work. Open source is propelling towards decentralized control, distribution of power, and collaborative participation. It is imperative to understand the broader role of the open source model to reap its benefits in the future.

 

…ADEQ committees such as their Onsite Wastewater Advisory Committee (OWAC) … are formally structured to operate under the camouflage offered by Arizona ‘s euphemistically termed … Open Meeting Laws … which actually operate to prevent full disclosure – transparency – public participation…