Domain Name Scam

I checked a domain name to see if it is available. Network Solutions’ Whois says it is available. So I go to my web hosting service to register it and set up a site, and they say it isn’t available. I check the Whois there and it says Network Solutions registered the name FOR ITSELF right after I checked it.
What a scam. If you CHECK a domain name, they immediately take it, assuming it has some value. And, being Network Solutions they can do that without paying for it.

Reflections On Corporations II – Corporate Philanthropy

This post originally appeared at Speak Out California
Who should decide whether our communities have museums, concert and dance facilities, parks and other cultural programs? Who should decide on priorities for funding for disaster assistance or research into cures for diseases?
Should the public make the bulk of these decisions, through the transparent and accountable systems of our democracy? Or should a few individuals who control vast wealth and resources make these decisions for the people?
Because of dwindling tax revenues many communities have come to rely on “corporate philanthropy” for assistance with cultural programs, or to supplement their schools, or for other community benefits.
The people who run corporations are in a position to decide to donate the corporation’s money to various causes. Many of these are things that the people, through our government, no longer have the resources to support. For example, the executives and Board of a corporation might decide to donate to build a museum. They might decide to fund a school.
And they might decide not to do these things.
So look at what is happening — as discussed in the Feb. 26 post, Reflecting on Corporations, we have corporations using their resources to influence the public and government to change the rules of the playing field on which corporations operate – deregulating, lowering taxes, etc. As this corporate influence brings cuts in corporate taxes (as well as cuts in taxes paid by the owners of the corporations), our society is left with fewer public resources for building museums, conducting research, etc.
And then we have corporations stepping in, using some of their earnings to provide those benefits, with their executives deciding where to direct the resources. For which the public is supposed to be grateful, and feel more favorable to the corporations, and perhaps grant them further benefits.
These are functions that the public once prioritized and controlled. But today the balance of control of the country’s resources continues to shift more and more to fewer private individuals. This massing of assets and resources into corporate hands takes away the people’s ability to decide to build museums and fund schools. It puts more and more power to make decisions that affect the public into the hands of corporate executives. Is this compatible with our understanding of democracy?
And a related question: Should corporate earnings be diverted from the shareholders? Is it the proper function of corporations to make decisions about funding museums, etc?
Perhaps there should be controls that guarantee that corporate funds and resources are used solely for the benefit of the shareholders and broader pubic interest. Perhaps corporations should be prohibited from engaging in any activities that influence our government or lawmaking or public opinion. Perhaps they should operate on the playing field that We, the People lay out for them — and not be able to influence that playing field for the benefit of a few individuals who control the corporation. Perhaps.

Is Freedom’s Watch Legal?

I’m reading what some Republican blogs are writing about the Republican front group called Freedom’s Watch, which is expected to spend as much as $250 million against Democrats in the coming election. Here is an example of a right-wing blog’s understanding of this group, writing about a December Congressional special election in Ohio: Meet the New "Bad Boys" of Conservative Politics: Freedoms Watch,

. . . Freedoms Watch, a new conservative powerhouse backed with funding rumored in the hundreds of millions of dollars, also showed up on the field of battle. And they brought something which we bloggers lack — money.
. . . Freedoms Watch is actually a 501(C)4 and not a 527. But seriously: $200 million to help defeat Democrats, folks. That’s going to change the landscape for 2008.
In fact, in the last few days of the campaign, Freedoms Watch aired this TV ad with a media buy rumored to be close to $500K in the Toledo, OH media market helping educate voters on the Democratic opponent, Robin Weirauch.
. . . Freedoms Watch is a new force in conservative politics and I’m glad that they showed up on the field to help us hold Ohio-5.

The understanding on the right is clear: Freedom’s Watch is a Republican “on the field” campaign organization, working to defeat Democratic candidates. There is simply no question about it. There isn’t even a wink and a nod going on here.
It is flat-out illegal for a C4 to be operating in campaigns or involved in electoral politics. But who is going to go anything about it?
James Boyce also has a post today following some of Freedom’s Watch’s money. And take a look at the Freedom’s Watch Newsladder.

The Surge

The right’s big thing now is to claim that “the surge is working.”
OK, fine. It’s working. Does that mean the troops come how now?
If now, then what does “working” mean? Does “working” mean that the troops stay in Iraq? Was that the goal of the surge?
Why are they in Iraq, again? Oh yeah, to find the WMD, to get Saddam out of power, or whatever reasons they are giving this week…

Reflections On Corporations

This post first appeared at Speak Out California
How is it that corporations have the rights that individuals do, but not the responsibilities?
Let’s reflect on what a corporation is. A business is formed by a few people. The business asks the government for a corporate charter, pays a fee, and is then this special entity called a corporation with special rights granted by the government.
Under our laws, corporations are fictional persons with certain rights. They can own assets, employ agents and engage in contracts just like people. But unlike you or me they have special benefits including limited liability and unlimited life.

Continue reading

Because Drudge Says It’s True?

All over the progressive blogosphere there is outrage at the Clinton campaign. The Drudge Report had a great big headline “CLINTON STAFFERS CIRCULATE ‘DRESSED’ OBAMA” and people are outraged.
People, you are being played like a violin.
I posted about this photo yesterday, because several right-wing blogs were carrying it. Not one said anything about it coming from the Clinton campaign. Today the Drudge Report takes the opportunity to inject the photo to the mainstream and gets a twofer bonus, getting all the Obama supporters to blame the Clinton campaign.
Why is it so hard for people to understand that the right wants us divided? Why is it so hard to see that they are working to set us against each other? Come on, people, Hillary Clinton is not your enemy, she is on our side.

Today’s Right-Wingnuts Going Absolutly Apeshit About Obama Post

These people are absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, they also have huge influence over much of the country’s media. I might support Obama just because he drives them even crazier than Hillary does.
Nuts: Atlas Shrugs: Obama: Islam’s a wink and a nod ;),

…Hussein Obama is Islam’s candidate.
… Expect the fantasy mongerers in the mainstream media to continue to scrub and whitewash (no pun) Hussein Obama’s Islamic bonafides.

Nuts: WorldNetDaily: Obama worked with terrorist,

The board of a nonprofit organization on which Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a “catastrophe” and supports intense immigration reform, including providing drivers licenses and education to illegal aliens.

I still think yesterday’s beats these, about how Obama is the result of a secret Jewish-Communist conspiracy to generate half-black babies…

Right Starting To Unload On Obama

A lot of blog readers weren’t really old enough to fully experience the Clinton-hatred of the 90’s. So they don’t really understand why Hillary Clinton is seen as “divisive.”
I think they’re going to get a dose of the same sort of stuff again, because the right is starting to do its thing on Barack Obama now.
Example, at National Review, Obama’s Political Origins,

Political correctness was invented precisely to prevent the mainstream liberal media from persuing the questions which might arise about how Senator Obama’s mother, from Kansas, came to marry an African graduate student.
. . . It was, of course, an explicit tactic of the Communist party to stir up discontent among American blacks, with an eye toward using them as the leading edge of the revolution.

Oh, PLEASE go read the whole thing. There’s going to be a lot worse coming.

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It Is Important To Understand This

The Bush Justice Department politicization case is about the corruption of our government to work in support of one political party.
They used our government to reward their friends, including financially, and to punish their enemies. And their enemies were Americans like you and me. In one case they were able to put a Governor in jail for being a Democrat. If you don’t believe me, 52 former states’ attorneys general from both political parties are making the same case.
Kagro X writes about this over at Daily Kos. Every American should read his post: Daily Kos: If it can happen to a Governor…,

Nobody indicted by the Bush-Cheney DOJ can possibly help but wonder whether they’re being targeted by the White House political machine. Not Don Siegelman. Not Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio. Nobody.
And once America realizes this really can happen (it’s previously been unimaginable, and therefore all too easy to dismiss as “conspiracy theory”), you can bet your last dollar that any Republican indicted by a Democratic administration will be making that claim, too.
We’ve already watched in horror and amazement as Bush-Cheney, flouting the law left and right, painted the Congress into the “impeachment is off the table” corner for fear (among other things) of being tarred with the “revenge for Clinton” and “tit for tat” brushes. One hardly need stretch the imagination to foresee precisely this hurdle being thrown up in the path of a Democratic administration elected with a mandate to clean out the Republican Culture of Corruption.

If it could happen to a Governor it could happen to anybody — including you.
Watch your backs.

What You Eat If You Eat Meat

This is the Humane Society’s video, that led to the huge beef recall. This is what was going on at ONE slaughterhouse, where the Humane Society managed to get video.
Do you trust the American corporate system with your health?
Does the corporate system have the capacity to be humane to animals? (Does that matter to people?)
If you eat meat in America, this is what you are eating.
Warning, graphic


Humane Society video page.

Today’s Housing Bubble Post – If Prices Fall Further

Do Reporters Realize that House Prices Can Fall?,

If they did realize that house prices could fall then they would be discussing this possibility in the context of the Office of Thrift Supervision’s proposal to have the federal government buy up bad mortgages, paying the current market price of the homes. The plan would give the current holders of the mortgage a certificate equal to the difference between the money outstanding on the mortgage and the current value of the home. The reports then tell us that if the house price does not rise back to the amount owed on the mortgage by the time it is sold, then the mortgage holder will eat the loss.
That’s fine, but what happens if house prices fall further? I didn’t hear this scenario mentioned in Market Place’s discussion of the proposal on the radio this morning, or indeed in any other reporting on this proposal.

Answer – if prices fall further, the taxpayers get to hand even more dollars to the banks. Republicans bail out big business and let the rest of us pay for it. Always. The branding is that Republicans are anti-government and fiscally responsible, but it’s just words. Look at what they do, not what they say. They get into office, destroy the government, destroy small businesses, and hand all of our tax dollars to their cronies. Did I leave out the part about getting rid of all oversight (regulation and law enforcement) so the big corporations can rob us blind?
Government buying bad mortgages? Great, just great.