Friday Night Fun and Culture

A little JJ Cale and Eric Clapton for the opening set.

Then for Anna and Andrea who seem to think it is essential for revolutionaries even though I think it more the drug of choice for the bankers and Wall Street thieves

From the AFL/CIO and Working America

You need to watch this video. It made us furious, and it made us cry.

It’s a powerful reminder of the real faces behind unemployment statistics. It’s about three minutes and it’s worth every second-so I hope you’ll turn up your speakers and watch the whole thing.

The same senators who are fighting to charge $700 billion in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires to our national credit card say extending unemployment is “too expensive” and “must be paid for.” Meanwhile, more than one person a second is losing his or her lifeline. That’s why these jobless workers-including two Working America members-came together this week to deliver the petitions signed by thousands of Working America members and tens of thousands of others, urging Congress to renew this crucial lifeline.

If this video doesn’t fuel your outrage and give you a sense of the human cost of delay on emergency unemployment, nothing will.

Please watch and send a strong message to your members of Congress. Tell them to restore unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers who are being cut off right now at the rate of more than one a second.

Let’s fix this outrage.

In solidarity,

Working America, AFL-CIO

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Spain and Ireland turn to privatisation

Yet another reason why Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is mandatory reading for anyone wishing to have a clue about how Modern Capitalism is pillaging the working people for the benefit of the rich.

First they manufacture the disaster then they bring austerity measures that force government to sell off assets that are rightly the property of all the people (The Commons) which are then privatized and turned into profit centers to funnel yet more money into the pockets of the ultra rich.

What I keep wondering is:  When do the words of Lucy Parsons addressing a crowd of unemployed workers during the 1930s depression kick in?

“Let every dirty, lousy tramp arm himself with a revolver or knife on the steps of the palaces of the rich and stab or shoot their owners as they come out. Let us kill them without mercy, and let it be a war of extermination and without pity.”

At some point the excesses of the ultra rich become so revolting, so oppressive and so unacceptable that either governments step in as did both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt or you have an anti-wealthy revolution as occurred in Russia 1917 or France 1789.

The Preamble to the Communist Manifesto reads:

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Marx was reporting more than advocating.

We are hurtling towards a point where there will be blood unless nations assert themselves against the oligarchy of corporate capitalism and the ultra rich who are plundering everything that is of value to ordinary people.

If the rich are unwilling to pay their share and take responsibility for their gambling and greed that brought this economic disaster to fruition the demonstrations will become progressively bloodier as they have in Greece  and the world could find itself at a tipping point.

From The Telegraph UK

Spain and Ireland are set to launch large-scale privatisation programmes as they fight to preserve market faith in their turnaround plans.

By Harry Wilson 10:08PM GMT 01 Dec 2010

The Spanish government is looking at auctioning stakes in its national lottery operator and airports, while Ireland will look at privatisations in its electricity and gas sectors as part of a joint European Union and IMF bail-out package agreed on Sunday.

News of the privatisation plans came as it emerged that the eurozone bail-out fund will next month begin issuing debt on behalf of embattled member states. Any bonds sold would be the first issued in the name of all currency pact members.

Speculation had grown over the last week that the European Central Bank (ECB) was considering taking drastic steps to shore up market confidence in the single currency, with rumours spreading on Wednesday that the ECB had already begun buying Irish bonds to stabilise what had looked to be weakening faith in their value.

Continue reading at:

The anti-disaster capitalist actions of Hugo Chavez are starting to look more and more appealing.

Arizona ‘death panel’? State Medicaid cuts poised to let some poor patients die

I wondered which orifice Republicans pulled the accusation of “Death Panels” out of and now I know.  Both Corporate Health plans that would rather give the rich even more wealth and Republicans love having Death Panels that kill the poor by denying them life saving procedures.

Working us to death and then denying us health care is the Capitalist Way.

But it isn’t democracy.  There are more of us than them and we could vote this elitist scum that serve only the rich out of office.

From Raw Story:

By Sahil Kapur
Friday, December 3rd, 2010 — 12:53 pm

A law in Arizona that cuts Medicaid funding for certain transplant operations is likely to bring about the deaths of poor residents in need of such procedures.

Starting in October, a measure passed by the Republican-led state legislature began denying Medicaid funds for organ transplants such as bone-marrow, lung, heart and liver transplants, which can be very expensive and are often performed in life-threatening cases.

The New York Times reports that Arizona doctors deem it a “a death sentence for some low-income patients, who have little chance of survival without transplants and lack the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for them.”

Procuring Medicaid funds for such procedures can require poor patients to sit on a waiting list for lengthy periods of time, and the law is denying funding to those who have waited for years before its enactment.

Continue reading at:

BTW according to Keith Olbermann Jan Brewer’s death panel have already cost the life of at least one Arizonan.

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What the pro-pollution, anti-science crowd won’t tell you about the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments

From Climate Progress:

Benefits exceeded costs by 30-to-1, with 160,000 lives saved

December 3, 2010

This repost from EDF’s Steve Cochran is part of CP’s series on EPA’s highly cost-effective, science-based efforts to preserve clean air, clean water, and a livable climate for our kids.

There they go again. Economic meltdown. Higher consumer costs. Massive job losses. These are among the predictions of doom surrounding EPA’s current and forthcoming round of clean air protections. If they sound familiar, they should. Time and again, from the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1970 to today, prophets of doom have predicted that disastrous consequences would flow from cleaning the air we all breathe. And time and again, those dire predictions have been wrong. The Clean Air Act has protected American health and our environment for decades while our economy has grown. It is a legislative success story that continues today.

This series will examine what the naysayers have said about Clean Air Act protections and how those wild predictions compare to the statute’s actual record of protecting Americans from toxic air pollution and its devastating effects on human health and the environment. We start with the acid rain program in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

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House Republicans Vote Tax Increase For Middle Class

Yesterday the House Republicans nearly unanimously voted to raise the taxes of Middle Class and Lower Class Americans.  All because the Democrats wouldn’t plunge the Nation One Trillion Dollars deeper in debt in order to give that trillion dollars to the top one percent of the wealthy elite.

Think about that the next time Republicans claim to represent either “fiscal responsibility or the average American.

From Talking Points Memo:

Brian Beutler | December 2, 2010, 3:56PM

Using a wily procedural maneuver to tie Republican hands, House Democrats managed to pass, by a vote of 234-188, legislation that will allow the Bush tax cuts benefiting only the wealthiest Americans to expire.

Democrats were not united on the issue. Twenty voted with Republicans to kill the tax cut bill, as they hold out for extending additional cuts to wealthy Americans — though 3 Republicans, including Reps. Ron Paul (TX) and Walter Jones (NC) voted for the tax cut extensions. However the outcome will (and was designed to) allow Democrats to draw distinctions between themselves and Republicans during the 2012 election cycle.

Complete article at:

The distinctions are clear.  The Republican represent the rich limousine riding, caviar feasting, private jet flying wealthy elite.  The Democrats represent the average American.

Drug company used ghost writers to author work bylined by academics, documents show

From Raw Story:

By ProPublica
Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 — 4:55 pm

According to newly released documents from GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company often paid ghostwriters to pen medical studies, editorials and even a textbook that listed physicians as the authors.

The documents—some of which date back to late 1990s—were recently unsealed in litigation over a GlaxoSmithKline product. We saw them after they were attached to a letter released this week by a nonprofit watchdog group urging the National Institutes of Health to crack down on ghostwriting in medical academia. The documents and the letter by Project on Government Oversight together outline several examples of how a major drug company contributed to the funding, writing and approval of material published in medical journals and elsewhere.

The textbook, published in 1999, listed two physician co-authors who at the time were chairs of the psychiatry departments at the medical schools of Stanford University and Emory University, the New York Times reported this week in a piece that focused only on the textbook. According to the Times, it’s the first instance where a book has been criticized for the same issues with ghostwriting and drug industry influence that have plagued medical journals.

A GSK spokesman told the Times that the company’s role was described in the book’s preface, which thanked the UK drugmaker (then known as SmithKline Beecham) for an “unrestricted educational grant” to the ghostwriting company, Scientific Therapeutics Information. Correspondence between a Scientific Therapeutics Information employee and one of the co-authors, however, shows the employee informing the stated author that she had “begun development of the text.” The employee, Sally Laden, also described her co-worker as the “primary technical writer” and manager for the project.

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