“A friend bailed on the speech, making the very plausible case that Palin is simply another political celebrity freakshow, like Donald Trump. I can see the point there but, with Palin, and watching the hysterical reception her puerile screed received, there is something more serious going on. She is the living representation of the infantilization of American politics, a poisonous Grimm Sister telling toxic fairy tales to audiences drunk on fear, and hate and nonsense. She respects no standards but her own. She is in perpetual tantrum, railing against her betters, which is practically everyone, and volunteering for the job of avatar to the country’s reckless vandal of a political Id. It was the address of a malignant child delivered to an audience of malignant children. If you applauded, you’re an idiot and I feel sorry for you.”—Charles P. Pierce, Sarah Palin CPAC 2014 - CPAC Bonus Saturday — The Princess In Excelsis - Esquire (via silas216)
An Online Magna Carta: Tim Berners-Lee calls for Bill of Rights For Web
The inventor of the world wide web believes an online “Magna Carta” is needed to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created and the rights of its users worldwide.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the Guardian the web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence and that new rules were needed to protect the “open, neutral” system.
Speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web, the computer scientist said: “We need a global constitution – a bill of rights.”
Berners-Lee’s Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called “the web we want”, which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations.
Great idea. Net neutrality and privacy need a boost.
In 2010, an FBI report drawing on figures from the consultancy Corelogic put total fraudulent mortgages during the peak boom year of 2006 at more than $25 billion. Twenty-five billion dollars is obviously not nothing. But here again, teasing those mortgages out of that year’s crisis-related write-downs of $2.7 trillion from U.S.-originated assets leaves our infamous “cagey” borrowers to blame for only a tiny share of the damage, especially since not all of the fraudulent mortgages were their fault. The ratio looks roughly something like this:
Maybe a few people tricked their banks, but look at the massive leveraged write-downs that banks incurred. They lost all those trillions on risky investments created by their own industry. Not John Q. Public.
“Because education = jobs (as well as income and social mobility, not to mention quality of life), it seems to me preposterous to talk responsibly of any real “equality of opportunity” without also talking about extinguishing this nation’s method of financing K-12 education—the property tax. Seldom has such an insidious joke been perpetrated on the Great American Majority, and especially the poor: while upper-middle- to upper-class public schools are showered with loot derived from their affluent physical surroundings, others must make do with the limited resources derived from quite limited “estates,” which are limited, in large part, because of earlier-limited educational opportunities.”—The social crime of education financing (via azspot)
“Paul Ryan need only go to Wall Street – or, for that matter, through the walkways of National Harbor, the shiny new suburban Washington enclave where the CPAC conference was being held – to find “full stomachs and empty souls,” where Americans pick up the lunch tab for some of the very banksters who drove the country into financial disaster and recession. If conservatives prefer full stomachs in corporate boardrooms to full stomachs in America’s classrooms, they are the one’s with “empty souls.””—Conservatives Offer Americans Empty Stomachs and Empty Rhetoric (via azspot)
“I think the thing that is getting a little tiresome, the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they’ve so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.”—
“Right now in order to finance United States government, we take in billions of dollars in profits off student loans, but permit billionaires to have enough loopholes that they pay at tax rates that can be lower than those of their secretaries. It’s about values. Where, as a country, do we believe we should make our investments? Follow the money on this. Invest in billionaires or invest in students. Well I want to put my money on students.”—Elizabeth Warren (via thenationmagazine)
“What else can we expect as long as we continue to rely on a 20th century education system to equip 21st century workers? When we allow crony capitalism to create an unequal playing field with special benefits for some? When businesses successfully lobby to create barriers to entry for future competition so that they can maintain their profits without having to compete? When we give tax benefits that help a relative few so that we are forced to tax those who are productive at ever higher rates?
Instead of obsessing over the rising income inequality that has always accompanied great periods of innovation (it took decades for the first and second Industrial Revolutions to be reflected in productivity numbers as well as overall wages), Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, and other “big league” mainstream economists should be advising President Obama, the House, the Senate, and every voter who will listen about the importance of aggressive reforms in education, entitlements, and tax/regulatory policy.”—Mauldin Economics (via azspot)
The notion of “civil war,” often used to describe the clash between the Republican establishment and the tea party, implies a conflict with identifiable sides. In reality, the GOP condition is more of a free-for-all…
The group’s much-celebrated straw poll of presidential candidates listed no fewer than 26 prospective contenders on the ballot this year — a sign of just how fractured the party is in advance of 2016…
[T]he “establishment” has gone so far to co-opt the tea party that the lines between them are blurry — as a lack of agreement on who should be leading the party and in which direction…
When you have 26 conservative combatants, you don’t have war; you have mayhem.
“The Koch brothers, whose combined wealth exceeds that of the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined, are now founding their own political apparatus to fund right-wing candidates and causes. Over two decades America has gone from political parties being the major source of political money in America, to corporations, and now to billionaires. Twenty years ago, political parties raised funds mostly from upper middle-class professionals (a majority Republicans) and from labor unions and their blue-collar members (Democrats). After the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, funding in both parties shifted big time to corporations, corporate executives, and Wall Street — America’s plutocrats. Now the plutocrats are being displaced by the oligarchs. What next?”—Robert Reich (via azspot)
“This is the end of an era. Bartcop, one of the original liberal bloggers, died this morning of flu, pneumonia and leukemia. He inspired many of us, and left a legacy of hard hitting yet humorous funny as hell attacks on Republicans. I’m still stunned by the news, but the one thing that sticks out is, he was the first (and maybe the best) blogger for running Photoshop memes.
“The modern Republican Party is so excited by its own contrarianism—the globe is not warming, health care does not need reform—that it’s basically become a giant no-producing machine. To the conservative mindset, if a liberal institution like Hollywood comes out with a statement about slavery, then that statement must be inherently wrong.”—Conservative Writer Upset That 12 Years a Slave Didn’t Show Any Happy Slaves (via azspot)
“The Pro-Money Court: How the Roberts Supreme Court Dismantled Campaign Finance Law → The Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is expected any day now and the Brennan Center Center for Justice has published a detailed backgrounder explaining how this decision will fit into a string of campaign finance decisions that allow moneyed interests to eclipse those of average American voters. In McCutcheon v. FEC, aggregate contribution limits — the total amount that one contributor can give in a federal election to all candidates, political parties and PACs, combined – are at risk. David Earley and Avram Billig write, “McCutcheon threatens to exponentially worsen the political spending arms race — and to create risks of government corruption unlike anything the country has seen since the Gilded Age.””—On the Money: A New Gilded Age | Blog, Money & Politics | BillMoyers.com (via ruckawriter)
“Much of the world now sees Putin for what he is: a semi-delusional autocrat who views the disillusion of the Soviet Union as one of the greatest tragedies in the late 20th century and has confused his own geo-political propaganda for reality. Who would be fooled by this guy’s bull sh*t?”—
“…think about a term like “welfare queen” or “food stamp president.” On one level, like a dog whistle, it’s silent. Silent about race. It seems race-neutral. But on another, it also has a shrill blast, like a dog whistle, that can be heard by certain folks. And what the blast is is a warning about race and a warning, in particular about threatening minorities. And the idea that I’m trying to get across here is, racism has evolved. Or, in particular, public racism has evolved. The way in which racism, the way in which racial divisions are stoked in public discourse has changed. And now it operates on two levels. On one level, it allows plausible deniability. This isn’t really about race, it’s just about welfare. Just about food stamps. And on another, there’s a subtext, an underground message which can be piercingly loud, and that is: minorities are threatening us. And so when people dog whistle about criminals, welfare cheats, terrorists, Islam, Sharia law, ostensibly they’re talking about culture, behavior, religion, but underneath are these old stereotypes of degraded minorities, but also, and this is important, implicitly of whites who are trustworthy, hard-working, decent.”—Ian Haney López (via azspot)
“We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness-embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television. This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.”—Howard Zinn (via godlessrevolutionary)