Archive for National

Apr
14

Make What?

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If you’ve been following the nasty, divisive “makers vs. takers” meme promoted on the right, Fox News in particular, add this to what makers “make.”

Some of those makers — you know, job Creators (it is capitalized, right?) — are wheeling and dealing and spending millions on technology to shave milliseconds of high-speed trades. That is, they are investing in speed — milliseconds — digitally running ahead of a stock order to buy it first and sell it to the buyer at a markup when the order arrives. Something like “The Wire” in the movie, “The Sting.” Speculators are boring through mountains between New York and Chicago to put in straighter, shorter fiber-optic cables to make this con work.

Paul Krugman this morning:

What are we getting in return for all that money? Not much, as far as anyone can tell. Mr. Philippon shows that the financial industry has grown much faster than either the flow of savings it channels or the assets it manages. Defenders of modern finance like to argue that it does the economy a great service by allocating capital to its most productive uses — but that’s a hard argument to sustain after a decade in which Wall Street’s crowning achievement involved directing hundreds of billions of dollars into subprime mortgages.

What this game shows is how finance has become a game not of job creation or productively allocating financial resources, but of playing small-time investors for suckers. This is what the so-called makers are in the business of making. And Fox thinks you’re the parasite.

At least Newman and Redford ran The Big Con with more panache.

Categories : Corruption, Economy, National
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We cannot thank Jay DeLancy enough for the vast amounts of volunteer time and more-limited funds he’s spent, as other voter fraud sleuths, chasing voter impersonation fraud, dead voters (some of whom aren’t), clerical errors and data entry errors in the state’s voter records. (Identity theft is his latest bugaboo.) Since accuracy of the lists is the Voter Integrity Project’s concern, perhaps they would donate those funds to the state Board of Elections, earmarked for database maintenance instead. It would free up the local Voter Integri-T-Party to spend its time registering new voters, getting them to the polls and showing the rest of us how to win elections the American way. Unless they lack the electoral confidence that they can.

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Renewed attacks on voting rights in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states are as much about power as about policy and race. The hand wringing over elusive “fraud” is because America’s majority ethnic group sees its traditional grip on power eroding with shifting demographics.

In North Carolina last week, Republican lawmakers again raised the alarm over the possibility that hundreds — maybe thousands — had criminally cast ballots in two states in the 2012 election. GOP leaders were quick to insist that the numbers justified the draconian voting law they passed in the last legislative session. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged the law in court.

Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies just as quickly debunked the study by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach whose office, after checking 5 million voter records in 2013, “couldn’t provide any evidence of a single instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck’s data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud.” Because the data, Kromm writes, ”offers no proof such fraud is occurring.” Requiring citizens to present identity cards to vote would have no effect on voting in multiple states.

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Apr
02

No Limits

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No, it’s not a new running shoe slogan.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday expanded how much political donors can give candidates and parties in federal elections by striking down a key pillar of campaign finance law.

On a 5-4 vote, the court struck down the overall limits on how much individuals can give to candidates, parties and political action committees in total during the federal two-year election cycle.

From John Roberts’ opinion: “And those who govern should be the last people to help decide who should govern.”

I kid you not.

Categories : National
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Voter Integrity Project: Sitting in a darkened kitchen wearing night-vision goggles to protect their crackers from Bigfoot. ——->

The Voter Integrity Project and the Asheville Tea Party are coming to the Buncombe County Board of Elections on Woodfin St. in Asheville for a hearing set for 5:30 p.m. tonight in Room 330 in the William H. Stanley Building, 35 Woodfin St. The preliminary hearing will consider the 182 voter registration challenges filed earlier this month. The PBS program Frontline was there to cover the story according to accounts.

Perhaps tonight there will be fireworks of the sort VIP-NC director Jay Delancy is known for. After a set of his Wake County challenges was rejected by the local board in 2012, DeLancy “snatched his microphone off the board’s table mid-meeting, kicking glass doors open in front of him as he stormed out of the meeting room in the Public Safety Center. He slowed down once he realized news cameras were chasing him.”

When VIP-NC held a “boot camp” in Asheville last fall, they emphasized the need for getting dead and inactive voters off the rolls because of the possibility of widespread voter fraud — or was it a widespread possibility? — for which they never seem to produce evidence. Basically, T-partiers are convinced that if they lose an election it must be because their opponents cheated. What else could it be? Zombies? Bigfoot?!

VIP-NC also warned the Asheville T-party to avoid vote caging, which they had to have defined. It’s illegal. The T-party sent letters to suspect voters that got returned; they knocked on those doors to see if voters still lived where five or more voters were registered.

So, where would they look for the fraudulently dead in Asheville? Well, here’s a list of the precincts (out of 80) in which they looked, ranked by approximate number of challenges:

11.1- ASHEVILLE SENIOR OPPORTUNITY CTR – Grove St- includes Aston Park Towers and South French Broad
3.1 ST MARKS LUTHERAN CH – Montford
2.1 ISAAC DICKSON ELEMENTARY – includes Klondyke Apts and Hillcrest, Montford
10.1 DR WESLEY GRANT SR-SOUTHSIDE CENTER – includes South French Broad, Lee Walker Heights and Livingston
14.3 ELIADA HOME – Compton Dr
15.1 VANCE ELEMENTARY
12.1 HALL FLETCHER SCHOOL
62.1 GRASSY BRANCH BAPTIST
17.1 BETH ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE
14.2 ASHEVILLE CITY PRE-SCHOOL – Haywood Rd- Burton Street Community
8.2 SHILOH COMMUNITY CENTER

As with promoting voter identity cards, much time and effort expended to prevent ineligible people from voting. At the VIP-NC training last fall, not once (in seven hours?) did anyone suggest opening up the franchise to greater participation, registering new voters and encouraging them to exercise their right to vote.

Be there tonight by 5:30.

Mar
24

Sound Familiar?

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Kennewick, WA cable bridge and Vietnam Memorial (Wiki Commons)

What’s the matter with eastern Washington state? asks Danny Westneat in his Sunday column at the Seattle Times. It seems that out east of Seattle people really hate their government. Even though the region received far more stimulus money than any other in the country — eight times more per person than the national average.

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA 4th District) has spilled a lot of ink railing against the “reckless spending” that benefited his voters. He wrote, “Central Washingtonians know that the way to grow the economy is not to grow the federal government.”

Westneat asks,

Do they? Because of the top 10 employers in the Tri-Cities, six are the federal government, while the other four rely heavily on federal grants or subsidies. The stimulus meant more than 3,000 jobs at the Hanford nuclear reservation alone and, during the darkest days of 2009, propped up the economy there. When the Tri-Cities finally took a hit from the recession, it was because the stimulus ended.

Hastings’ district is basically a company town — with that company being Uncle Sam.

Dave Neiwert from Seattle-based Orcinus blog comments on Facebook,

I think there is a simple answer to Danny’s question: People on the east side of the mountains have such a deep-seated animus toward all things Seattle (excepting, of course, the Seahawks) and anything associated with its liberalism that they would be willing to cut their own throats to defy it. They don’t understand, or don’t care, that they thrive when Seattle does.

With a little help from Uncle Sam, of course.

Hey Dave, you should visit Asheville. You’d feel right at home.

Categories : Economy, Local, Stimulus
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Mar
24

Moral Mondays Spread

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Common Dreams: Thirty-nine protesters were arrested at the capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday during a raucous protest against the GOP-led effort to prohibit Medicaid expansion in the state. In South Carolina, 17 demonstrators were also arrested at the Columbia state house in the third weekly demonstration against lawmakers’ refusal to accept federal health care funding.

“The movements are rare stirrings of impassioned, liberal political action,” writes Herbert Buchsbaum at the New York Times, ”in a region where conservative control of government is as solid as cold grits and Democrats are struggling for survival more than influence.”

The actions are spreading to Florida, Alabama, Wisconsin and New York.

Mar
20

Lee Camp Goes To Washington

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NSFW, of course. NSF plutocrats either.

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Categories : National, Satire
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Mar
15

North Carolina: First In Teacher Flight

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WNCN: News, Weather for Raleigh. Durham, Fayetteville

Stories of teachers leaving the profession and leaving NC for other states with better pay and working conditions continue to roll in. Lots of anecdotal accounts of teachers moving to Virginia for better pay. One teacher told me she was headed to South America. And this one from Wake County:

To Whom It May Concern,

It is with great sadness that I submit my written notification of resignation from my teaching position with Wake County Public School Systems effective 3/14/14. I have found it more and more difficult to pay my bills every month and continue to fall further and further into debt, not to mention the feeling of absolute disrespect that I feel every time a new “expectation” is mandated for our classrooms while all of our resources are being taken away. I had no choice but to search for a job that will allow me to provide for my family and to pay back the thousands of dollars in college loans that I took to be a teacher. I find the condition of our education system in NC to be heartbreaking. It seems that our leaders and law makers have completely forgotten what is the most important thing here, the kids! We are failing our students, our teachers and our future. Please accept this letter as my official resignation from Wake County Public Schools.

Sincerely,

Melissa Taylor, M.Ed, NBCT

First_in_Flight_e_Rapp

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Mar
05

Fox On SNAP: Quality and Class-Based Shame

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“What’s the right mixture of quality and class-based shame poor people should aim for in their meal planning?” the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart asked last night, slamming Fox News’ seeming obsession with SNAP recipients’ grocery shopping habits. Because the “Fox Hounds” have heard — and feel comfortable spreading — “these stories” about poor people and food stamps. Or as Stewart put it, “Fox News: We read the chain mails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.”

Because don’t look at how you’re getting screwed by Wall Street, no. Look! Over there! A poor person buying food — to eat — with taxpayer assistance! Or as Lyndon Johnson said,

If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.

The Fox News business model, ladies and gentlemen.

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