The DONATE Button

Over in the left column there and down a ways is a DONATE button. It says PayPal on it. This helps me pay to server company, and once in a while maybe a cup of coffee, too, though not so much for a while…
So please consider donating to keep this site going. Thanks.

Tobacco Companies Covered Up Radiation Risk

A recurring question in today’s economy that rewards con artists and psycopaths: ” Why aren’t they in jail?” Torturers, banksters, fraudsters (ratings agencies), bribers, professional climate deniers, and of course tobacco executives. Tobacco is still killing over 400,000 Americans every single year. Remind me, HOW many were killed by al Queda?
Today’s news, tobacco companies knew since 1959 that there was concentrated radiation in the smoke, increasing the liklihood of cancer, could have taken it out but the process would have made it less addictive.
See Tobacco Companies Hid Evidence of Radiation in Cigarettes for Decades – ABC News.

Why Does The Right Help China?

Why is the right trying so hard to help China capture the green-energy industry?
One example today, Heritage Foundation: The Solyndra Legacies,

Days before a recent deadline, the Department of Energy brazenly approved two additional loans for more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in the Obama Administration’s green jobs program. The latest ill-fated ventures include a $737 million loan guarantee to Solar Reserve for a 110-megawatt solar tower on federal land in Nevada and a $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150-megawatt solar plant in Arizona.
Loan guarantees like these are destined to fail, because they are either granted to companies that could not remain viable without them or because the loan was supported by political connections; or both. This round of loans includes the latter—just as it appears Solyndra was aided.

Is this campaign to kill off America’s green-energy efforts just to help the Koch brothers and other oil-company funders of the right? Is that all there is to it? It’s pretty darn convenient for China, either way.
Update – The right is not just on China’s side against ours when it comes to the green energy industry. Look at this from Cato Institute: China Currency Legislation Is a Desperate Mistake and keep in mind that the argument is about China allowing its currency to move to market rates. Usually Cato is all about free markets — until that benefits America instead of China.

Broader support on Capitol Hill for currency legislation boils down to this: with public approval ratings hovering in the low-to-mid teens, an embattled Congress is looking for plausible scapegoats for the dismal state of U.S. economic affairs. Thanks to a lot of media-driven hype about China’s inexorable rise at U.S. expense, Americans fear China almost as much as they loathe Congress. A vote to reclaim American jobs stolen by China—as the currency legislation is so disingenuously characterized by some of its supporters—enables politicians to return to their states and districts with concrete evidence of the seriousness of their efforts.
Only it’s not serious. It’s deeply dismaying. Instead of working hard to change homegrown U.S. policies that inhibit investment, job creation, and growth, our elected officials would choose to lay the blame for our woes at China’s feet, then cross their fingers and hope that their provocative, unilateralist legislation doesn’t unleash a torrent of adverse consequences that would make economic matters even worse. Can there be a stronger admission of failure than to launch such a desperate Hail Mary?

OK, get that? He says we should not be asking China to let its currency float to market rates, which would make American-made goods competitive in the world again.
Worse than that, he is saying America should be more like China, not the other way around. He says we need to stop protecting our people, our workers, stop protecting our environment, make it harder to unionize, and let a top few govern us. Yikes!

Occupy Wall Street Day 12

“We are occupying Wall Street. We will not be moved.”
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”
We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent. ”
People Have Had It
This is what happens when people have had it. The “Occupy Wall Street” crowd has been there for almost 2 weeks, camping out, saying they’re fed up and are going to stay until American democracy is restored.
Video: Wall Streeters mock the people marching in the streets, drinking champagne, from above.

“This video shows unidentified occupants watching protests from the balconies of Wall Street in amusement while sipping champagne.”
Pilots Union marches:

United/Continental pilots march on Wall Street
Pilots marching to Wall Street strike

Report: NYC Transit Union Joins Occupy Wall Street,

New York City labor unions are preparing to back the unwieldy grassroots band occupying a park in Lower Manhattan, in a move that could mark a significant shift in the tenor of the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street protests and send thousands more people into the streets.
The Transit Workers Union Local 100’s executive committee, which oversees the organization of subway and bus workers, voted unanimously Wednesday night to support the protesters. The union claims 38,000 members. A union-backed organizing coalition, which orchestrated a large May 12 march on Wall Street before the protests, is planning a rally on Oct. 5 in explicit support. And SEIU 32BJ, which represents doormen, security guards and maintenance workers, is using its Oct. 12 rally to express solidarity with the Zuccotti Park protesters.

Video: Michael Moore talks about what is happening with Lawrence O’Donnell:

Video: See Richard Eskow: Occupy This! TV Interview On The Economy And The #OccupyWallStreet Protests

“Wall Street’s fear is understandable. If the public is ever given a voice to express its outrage, their party train will have to stop and some people will pay for their crimes. But when Americans can only express their right to free speech after they’ve been coralled into a “free speech zone,” one that’s far from the subject of the protests, that’s not free speech at all.
And it’s not America.”

Go visit the Occupy Wall Street site
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Solyndra ‘Scandal’ About Big Oil, King Coal Power And Intimidation

Last week big oil/big coal sent a not-subtle message to the country’s investment community: if you back companies or technologies that compete with us we will crush you. Our media/political machine will accuse you of every crime in the book. Your picture will be plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the country looking like you are on the FBI’s “Most Wanted List.” We will haul you before Congress and grill you like a tri-tip on national television. The evening news will speculate that you should be in prison.
Here is the other message that is being sent out loud and clear to the rest of us: America is for oil and coal. If you want alternatives let China do it.
Extending To Everything
Here is what the conservative propaganda machine does. It sets a narrative, pounds out a drumbeat on that narrative, and then every news event is twisted to leach the lesson of the narrative. The oil-backed right had been on an anti-green kick for some time. In The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal I gave some examples — just a taste — of this narrative development:

Attacking Green Manufacturing
The Solyndra accusations are really just one part of an ongoing conservative and oil-interests-funded anti-green-manufacturing campaign drumbeat. Long before Solyndra’s bankruptcy the Heritage Foundation was running stories like 2008’s Green Jobs Are Con Jobs, 2009’s The Green Job Myth Exposed, and this year’s Obama’s “Green Jobs” Pipe Dream, The Green Jobs Story Obama Doesn’t Want You to Hear, Are “Green Jobs” the Answer?, Are Green Jobs ‘Gone with the Wind’?
Media Matters had previously exposed the nature of this ongoing effort, in Heritage Foundation Green Jobs Panel – Bought and Paid For By ExxonMobil,

Instead of showcasing the views of unbiased academics and economists, the Heritage Foundation put forth a panel of individuals financially connected to ExxonMobil.
The ENTIRE PANEL Received Money From ExxonMobil.

More conservative-outlet examples include the ever-malignant Fox News: Solyndra Investigation Begins Critical Look at Federally Funded Green Ventures.
Other conservative outlets continue the drumbeat, Obama’s green dream hurting U.S. taxpayers by Linda Chavez.
Another: Obama Green Jobs Con Job and the Ill Wind That Blows from Spain,

Another: Reason: Obama’s Green Jobs Failures and Obama’s Green-Jobs Fantasy and The Green Jobs Delusion and The Unseen Consequences of “Green Jobs”: Will investing in clean energy harm the economy?
NewsMax: Green Jobs Spending Is a Waste of Greenbacks, “If the congressional “supercommittee” wants to cut wasteful spending, the green-jobs agenda is a great place to start.”
And more and more and more and more…

That is what they do. They develop the narrative — in this case, anti-green, and when there is a story in the news they twist it to teach the lesson.
The Solyndra Lesson
So now Solyndra is in the news. On FOX news — 2nd-largest shareholder is an oil billionaire — the story is played 100 ways hour after hour. On talk radio it is repeated endlessly. In right-wing blogs it echoes everywhere. In right-wing newspapers, echoed in “mainstream” outlets by right-wing supported columnists, and driven into the mainstream. Lie after lie after lie, repeated until it becomes “truth.”
Charles Krauthammer On Solyndra: A “Toxic Combination Of Lenin Socialism and Crony Capitalism”
So the narrative was that efforts to push for green-energy alternatives jobs was bad, Solyndra came along and was used to teach the lesson. Now that Solyndra is the narrative, it is being used to teach the larger lesson – anything government does is bad, anything opposing oil and coal and big multinationals is bad. Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, The birthing of Solyndra,

Since the solar-energy company went belly-up a few weeks ago — leaving taxpayers on the hook for $535 million in loan guarantees — a business that was once the poster child for President Obama’s green-jobs initiative has instead become a tool for Republicans to discredit most everything the administration seeks to do.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah used Solyndra to argue against worker-training benefits. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina used it to argue that the federal government should stay out of autism research. Disaster relief, cancer treatments, you name it: Solyndra has been an argument against them.
And this week, the government faced the prospect of a shutdown because House Republicans added a provision to the spending bill to draw more attention to — what else? — Solyndra.

The Serious People
One side intimidates, and means it. So they are seen as the “serious” people — deadly serious. If you cross them, you will have trouble. Serious trouble. The other side plays along, caves, accommodates, appeases, refuses to exercise power when they have it, does little even to enforce obvious lawbreaking by the big — serious — players.
Which side do you think people are going to take seriously?
The media won’t call out the intimidators because they are intimidated. One part of this intimidation is the organized, funded “liberal media” accusation. But that is just part of a larger strategy: neutralize those who might call you out on what you are doing. Yet another part of media intimidation is the effect on people’s careers. If you call out the right, you are a “leftist” and you career is in danger. If you are known as a liberal your career is not going to advance in most outlets. If you go after corporations you are “anti-business” and your career is not going far.
But you can say any silly thing, be as wrong or stupid as you can be, as long as it supports corporate/right positions. Nothing bad will happen to you. In fact you are more likely to do well careerwise – be promoted, make more money, get access, speaking fees, etc. And if you actually work for the right’s machine, the sky is the limit. You will always, always have a job at an “institute” or in an “association” or even on the government payroll as a staffer. Seriously.
Seriously Using Power
Oh, and for those concerned about government subsidies, deals, etc.:

And is that pesky government trying to regulate you?

And not just big coal and oil:

As for getting goodies from the government?

This list could go on all day.
This is how power is used, and big oil/big coal/Wall Street/Big Multinationals have that power.
Solyndra – Government Doing The Right Thing
The first thing that needs to be emphasized here: the government — under Bush first, then under Obama — was right to assist Solyndra and other solar companies. Our government wants to help us capture some of the new green-energy industrial revolution for our country. It is millions of jobs and trillions of dollars coming down the road. To accomplish this the government stepped in to help explore promising new technologies, just like they do with cancer research. Solyndra had a promising new technology and that is why the Dept. of Energy started considering them for a loan guarantee – under the bush administration – that would encourage private investors to take the plunge.
That is all that happened here. Period. One company went under but the technology was promising and still is. Jobs were created – here. Research was funded – here. Facilities were built and will be used – here.
But China stepped in and put $30 billion into winning this bet – there – and this drove the prices down, so one company here went out of business. That is what happened.
Did it cost the government some money? Yes and no – the jobs, research, facilities, supply chain is all still here. And the money was nothing compared to the money the government puts into big oil, big coal, big ag, big financial, etc.
Silicon Valley’s San Jose Mercury News Silicon Valley observers say fears of ‘more Solyndras’ are overblown,

…the scandal has already created an unexpected roadblock for another area solar firm, San Mateo’s SolarCity. Earlier this month, the company heralded conditional Department of Energy approval for a $275 million loan guarantee that would help put solar panels on dozens of U.S. military bases. On Friday, the company’s CEO sent an urgent letter to Congressional leaders, saying new federal concerns in the wake of the Solyndra scandal could scuttle the SolarCity deal.
… “In the past 48 hours, the DOE has informed us that while they remain strongly supportive of Project SolarStrong, they will be unable to finalize their approval of the loan guarantee” prior to next week’s expiration of the loan program.
Adding that the high-flying company ultimately may have been undone by the rise of lower-cost competitors, he said: “Solyndra isn’t a sign of the failure of solar. It’s a sign that this market is booming.”

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Republicans Cheer That Labor Leaders Murdered In Colombia

Hundreds of executions in Texas — Republican crowd cheers.
An uninsured person in a coma — Republican crowd shouts “Let him die!”
And now, labor leaders murdered in Colombia — Republicans say “A good start…”
See the comments under an article at The Hill about how many labor leaders have been killed in Colombia — 15 since the US signed on to a treaty: AFL-CIO President Trumka sends list of killed Colombian labor leaders to Obama – TheHill.com
Republicans are swarming the comments. Example:

What do you call a list of 22 dead labor leaders?
A good start…
BY TEA PARTY PATRIOT�on 09/26/2011 at 15:35

And trust me, it isn’t just this one comment over there… go see before they take it down. (Never mind you can see some of them preserved here: http://yfrog.com/nxx0rp and here http://yfrog.com/kgf13jp)

so Columbia is doing a good job of getting rid of vermin why is this cause for concern?
BY HOLYMAN on 09/26/2011 at 15:35

Another:

I wonder if those killing the labor slugs in Colombia can outsource that work here.
BY CANUCK on 09/26/2011 at 19:00

Another:

Could we get them to do it here? There are more than enough union thug bosses already.
BY DAVID on 09/27/2011 at 10:52

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

New: Occupy Together

People are starting to go into the streets. You don’t have to go to New York to join the Occupy Movement. See Occupy Together:

Welcome to OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. As we have followed the news on facebook, twitter, and the various live feeds across the internet, we felt compelled to build a site that would help spread the word as more protests organize across the country. We hope to provide people with information about events that are organizing, ongoing, and building across the U.S. as we, the 99%, take action against the greed and corruption of the 1%.
We will try our best to provide you with the most accurate information possible. However, we are just a few volunteers and errors are bound to occur. Please be patient as we get this site off the ground and populated and please contact us if you have any info on new events, corrections, or suggestions for this site. You can contact us at info[at]occupytogether[dot]org.
We will only grow stronger in our solidarity and we will be heard, not just in New York, but in echoes across this nation.

Seriously,go look. I think this is catching on.
And while you are getting active, don’t forget to joint the Rebuild The American Dream Movement.

Netflix Nail In Coffin

m4s0n501

Netflix was like the TV shows we watch — every time we find one we actually like they cancel it. Even if lots of people are watching it is the wrong demographic – people like me don’t buy enough stupid stuff.
We liked Netflix the way it was. Then they raised the price 60%, and the insult was pretty bad. That kind of begs you to tell them to fuck off, doesn’t it? But it was still a pretty good service, even if it was no longer a good deal. So we were thinking … maybe …
So just to make sure, just to drive the nail in the coffin, they announced they are going to kill it for sure — split it into two companies so you can’t use their one website, can’t decide whether to get it in the mail or watch it online (they let you know when you were ordering a DVD that is also online…)
It is hard to comprehend just how stupid this all is as a business plan.
1) Completely alienate your customers and
2) change your business model to get rid of the formula that made you successful and
3) provide such an amazing opening to all of your competitors.
So just in speculation, having been on the inside of some of these terrible strategic decisions and seen what leads to them, let me guess. And admittedly knowing nothing whatsoever about the people and the thinking involved.
1) There is a complete and utter separation of the Board and top executives from the cares and concerns of the customers. This is not just in pay scale (which I am certain is HUGE) but in how they live their lives, come home from work and take care of kids (they will have nannies, no question), and watch TV, etc. Especially that. I bet they do not watch TV or use Netflix much at all. I bet some of the people involved in this get up to play basketball at 5am. (That’s a Silicon Valley thing.)
2) These would be people who live in a “strategy” cloud that involves making what they think will be BIG deals with the currently perceived BIG players. This is the world where Google buys a strategic player with no revenue for a few hundred million dollars because in 5 years that might be a key component in someones strategery…
3) This is about deals with power players who will force people and companies to conform to their business model rather than giving customers what they want. Like cable companies that make you buy certain bundles of channels instead of letting you choose channels to get, or telecoms that can dictate plans for minutes, texts, data… Maybe it has to do with using the data Netflix has on its customers — Facebook’s perceived advantage…
4) It will have something to do with financialization — making money by doing almost nothing and requiring very few employees or facilities. Not like this terrible problem they have where they have to actually have storage and shipping facilities to ship DVDs and deal with packaging and the postal service and icky things that involve actual goods and making customers happy. Best to just find a way to hook into people’s credit card accounts and get a monthly fee, or get royalties, or a percentage of someone else’s business…
Just thinking out loud… Someone at the top of Netflix has been spending way too much time with people who strategerize a lot, and thinks they’re eventually going to make way more money through forcing people or companies to pay them because of some kind of partnership they are planning, and not by delivering something solid to real customers, so they give up the whole business they have today.
One more thing, I’ll just bet the day-to-day employees at Netflix are just freaking.