You are browsing the archive for 2013 October 25.

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The Lies That Will Kill America

October 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Bill Moyers, Michael Winship, Moyers & Company

Ideology and self-interest trump the facts or even caring about the facts, whether it’s banking, Obamacare or global warming.


Here in Manhattan the other day, you couldn’t miss it — the big bold headline across the front page of the tabloid New York Post, screaming one of those sick, slick lies that are a trademark of Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing media empire. There was Uncle Sam, brandishing a revolver and wearing a burglar’s mask. “UNCLE SCAM,” the headline shouted. “US robs bank of $13 billion.”

Say what? Pure whitewash, and Murdoch’s minions know it. That $13 billion dollars is the settlement JPMorgan Chase, the country’s biggest bank, is negotiating with the government to settle its own rip-off of American homeowners and investors — those shady practices that five years ago helped trigger the financial meltdown, including manipulating mortgages and sending millions of Americans into bankruptcy or foreclosure. If anybody’s been robbed it’s not JPMorgan Chase, which can absorb the loss and probably take a tax write-off for at least part of it. No, it’s the American public. In addition to financial heartache we still have been denied the satisfaction of seeing jail time for any of the banksters who put our feet in cement and pushed us off the cliff.

This isn’t the only scandal JPMorgan Chase is juggling. A $6 billion settlement with institutional investors is in the works and criminal charges may still be filed in California. The bank is under investigation on so many fronts it’s hard to keep them sorted out – everything from deceptive sales in its credit card unit to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme to the criminal manipulation of energy markets and bribing Chinese officials by offering jobs to their kids.

Nor is JPMorgan Chase the only culprit under scrutiny. Bank of America was found guilty just this week of civil fraud, and a gaggle of other banks is being investigated by the government for mortgage fraud. No wonder the camp followers at Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and other cheerleaders have ganged up to whitewash the banks. If justice is somehow served, this could be the biggest egg yet across the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Mises Daily: Economies are Not Destroyed in a Day

October 25, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Nicolás Cachanosky writes today:

Imagine that Cuba and North Korea became, overnight, the two most free-market, limited-government countries in the world. The two countries would have immediately gained civil liberties and economic freedom, but they would still have to accumulate wealth and to develop their economies. The institutional change affects the political situation immediately, but a new economy requires time to take shape…

The same occurs if one of the wealthiest and developed countries in the world were to adopt Cuban or North Korean institutions overnight. The wealth and capital does not vanish in 24 hours. The country would shift from capital accumulation to capital consumption and it might take years or even decades to drain the coffers of previous accumulated wealth.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Walter Block TV: ‘Renowned Local Economist Explains Controversial Austrian Theory’

October 25, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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The story contains some errors of fact about Austrian Economics, but Walter Block is featured on NBC affiliate 33News in Louisiana. Click to watch the video.

According to 33News:

It is called Austrian Economics, and one of its leading proponents calls south Louisiana home.

Dr. Walter Block holds an endowed chair at Loyola University and is a faculty member of the Mises Institute. He has taught at several universities and written books about controversial economic topics.

He was one of many people angry about the recent partial shutdown of the federal government, but his reasons differed from most.

“If government is bad, then a shut-down government is good,” he stated. “I wish they would’ve shut more of it down, they didn’t shut enough of it down for long enough.”

The Austrian School of economic thought was devised by a handful of economists in Austria in the 15th century [sic]; otherwise, it has nothing to do with the country. Free enterprise is the school’s main tenet. Austrian theory says regulation is bad for the general welfare, as well as for economic growth and stability.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Can You Guess the 10 Best Countries For Women? Hint: the U.S. Isn't One of Them

October 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Jodie Gummow, AlterNet

United States ranked 23rd in newly released Gender Gap Report – a step worse than last year!


The World Economic Forum released its annual Global Gender Gap Reportfor 2013 measuring gender disparity between men and women around the world…and disappointingly the United States didn’t even make it in the top 20!

The report, which ranks 136 countries, determines its findings across four primary areas including economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment and health and survival, ranking the United States 23rd on the list for 2013, HuffPost reported.

Each country out of the 136 is assigned a score between 1 representing total gender equality and 0 depicting inequality, the total score representing the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men.  This year, the United States received a score of 0.7392, which is actually worse than the score it received the year before when it was ranked 22nd.

According to the report, despite having a near-perfect gender gap in terms of education, we have a serious gender disparity when it comes to politics, with women constituting only 18.3 per cent of the 113th Congress.

So which countries ranked above the United States? Not surprisingly, Scandinavia (known for their kick-ass policies on promoting gender equality) scored extremely high yet again with the top 10 as follows:

1.     Iceland

2.     Finland

3.     Norway

4.     Sweden

5.     Philippines

6.     Ireland

7.     New Zealand

8.     Denmark

9.     Switzerland

10.  Nicaragua

 

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Republican Crumbles Under Pressure When Pressed on Obamacare Criticism

October 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Igor Volsky, Think Progress

CNN Anchor left the congresswoman dumbfounded after she was unable to substantiate medical privacy claims.


On Friday morning, CNN anchor Carol Costello challenged Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to substantiate her claim that HealthCare.gov will endanger Americans’ medical privacy.

The host pushed the Congresswoman to specify which medical details enrollees would have to turn over to the federal government, causing Blackburn to become visibly uncomfortable and unsure as she strung together various buzzwords about privacy.

The exchange originated from a question Blackburn herself leveled at the primary contractors responsible for HealthCare.gov during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday.

Blackburn asked the witnesses why some of their employees had access to “the database servers storing the enrolling information” and suggested that they were in violation of The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the law that guarantees “federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information.”

Asked to explain how requiring enrollees to enter their biographical enrollment information violates a law that only applies to medical data between medical entities, Blackburn demurred:

COSTELLO: So what specifically were you referring to on the website that violates, that could possibly violate HIPAA?

BLACKBURN: We are concerned about privacy overall. Data security privacy and of course applying and complying with the HIPAA laws, and…

COSTELLO: But what question specifically asks that would concern you about HIPAA, what medical question does it ask?

BLACKBURN: Carol, HIPAA requires you to — it’s the way you structure your website and the way you transit the information, the transfer rights that are there, and when you look at privacy on these websites, what you have to do is keep all of the application information in one server [...]

COSTELLO: I’m trying to understand what kind of information you’re talking about. What kind of information are you talking about? What specifically does the website ask that I might be afraid might shared with whomever? Specifically. What information?

BLACKBURN: You should be very concerned not only as you navigate the website but as you make …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Homophobic Customers Refused To Tip Waiter Because He Was Gay

October 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Jodie Gummow, AlterNet

Patrons left offensive, anti-gay note: “We cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to God”


 

A 20-year-old waiter at Carrabbas Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas was subjected to an ugly anti-gay rant by customers who refused to tip him based on his sexual orientation, despite the fact that he provided them with excellent service, KCTV reported.

The incident arose after the patrons had left the restaurant, upon where the waiter found a note written on a credit card explaining clearly why the waiter would not be getting a tip – because he was gay.  The message, which began with a compliment, quickly turned nasty:

“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. (Homosexual slur) do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours.  We hope you will see the tip your (homosexual slur) choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD's love, but none shall be spared for (homosexual slur). May GOD have mercy on you,” the note read.

Following the incident, Carrabas said in a statement that the company does not tolerate discrimination from employees or guests:

“We embrace diversity and believe in treating everyone with respect,” the company said.

Nonetheless, co-workers and customers have rallied behind the young server, taking to social media to spread his story and offer additional support.  Some patrons have even offered the young waiter extra tips as encouragement.

The server has responded to the incident, saying “The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I'd prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else,” Kake reported.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Why I Chained Myself to an ICE Prison — and Why You Should, Too

October 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Camila Ibanez, Waging Nonviolence

I grabbed my bandana and prepared to chain myself to the entrance of one of the largest detention centers with the worst reputation in the United States.


Monday morning I woke at dawn and drove an hour from Phoenix to the small town of Eloy, Arizona. It was pretty warm already and I knew the Arizona sun would only grow hotter. I grabbed my bandana and prepared to chain myself to the entrance of one of the largest detention centers with the worst reputation in the United States. There were six of us in all — two men and four women. One was 16-year-old girl named Sandy Estrada. Her brother was detained inside.

“I am doing this so he and everybody else in there knows that we support them,” she said. “Obama has the power to keep families like mine together. He hasn’t done a thing.”

Eloy has enough beds for 1,600 people and has already had two men commit suicide inside this year. The prison was responsible for the placing of six of the Dream 9 — student activist who attempted reentry into the United States as protest July — in solitary confinement. The prison is run by Corrections Corporation of America, whose reported revenue has doubled throughout the 2000s as the federal government has contracted it to hold an increasing number of undocumented immigrants.

Another one of our group was a father of two children. As hours passed, he chanted “undocumented and unafraid!” and “nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo, which means, “they are scared of us because we aren’t scared.” Our bodies were locked together tightly, and if one of us moved too quickly we would all feel the pain of the heavy chains. The cops push us aggressively from time to time, but they said that with all the cameras around they wouldn’t dare arrest us. We remained wrapped in chains under the Arizona sun until we learned that Eloy Detention Center had shut down for the day. We returned to Phoenix after promising the guards we would be back until Eloy was …read more

Source: ALTERNET