Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘plutocracy

Midweek Midday

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* There’s really only one label for the pathetic exercise we’ve just witnessed in South Africa: deceit. The whole climate-change negotiation process and the larger political discourse surrounding this horrible problem is a drawn-out and elaborate exercise in lying – to each other, to ourselves, and especially to our children. And the lies are starting to corrupt our civilization from inside out.

* Aaron Bady: The case for making a storm in the ports. I feel certain 90% of the impetus for this piece was the desire to use that pun.

* Oh, UVM. You know better.

* Judge: Obama Administration May Have Politicized Morning After Pill Approval Process. May have?

* Plutocracy watch: More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011. The Republican groups have raised $17.6 million and the Democratic groups $7.6 million. Those numbers will balloon, with American Crossroads, the main Republican Super PAC, aiming to raise $240 million.)

The exceptions are two public employee labor unions, whose massive donations match those of some of the largest moguls. The rest are individuals with vast fortunes at their disposal.

* Ladies and gentlemen, Andy Serkis: Official plot synopsis for The Hobbit. Rise of the Planet of the Apes director shares his sequel plans.

* Government shutdown, again? Really? Well, I guess it’s been a few weeks…

Monday Links

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* The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans.

* One of the four Italian autonomists behind the “David Graeber” persona just gave an interview to Ezra Klein explaining Occupy Wall Street.

EK: This movement is organized rather differently than most protest movements. There isn’t really a list of demands, or goals, or even much of an identifiable leadership. But if I understand you correctly, that’s sort of the point.

DG: It’s very similar to the globalization movement. You see the same criticisms in the press. It’s a bunch of kids who don’t know economics and only know what they’re against. But there’s a reason for that. it’s pre-figurative, so to speak. You’re creating a vision of the sort of society you want to have in miniature. And it’s a way of juxtaposing yourself against these powerful, undemocratic forces you’re protesting. If you make demands, you’re saying, in a way, that you’re asking the people in power and the existing institutions to do something different. And one reason people have been hesitant to do that is they see these institutions as the problem.

* Proud neoliberal, proud former Romney voter Matt Yglesias argues Obama could have made better use of the left as his stooges during the heady days of 2009-2010.

The giant puppet people protests against “globalization” in the late-1990s were, I think, always helpful to Bill Clinton.* They gave him the positioning he wanted — as a center-left mildly progressive neoliberal technocrat trying to take practical steps toward prosperity.

“Home run.”

* Talking Points Memo decides to dump its oppo research against Chris Christie a few days early.

* Cheat to win: Restrictive voting laws in states across the country could affect up to five million voters from traditionally Democratic demographics in 2012, according to a new report by the Brennan Center. That’s a number larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

* Adam Liptak has your Supreme Court preview. What long-standing institutions of democracy and good government will five randomly selected fanatics destroy this year? Tomorrow’s news today!

* I really can’t tell whether this “No More Plan B” response to the academic job crisis is “bargaining” or “acceptance.”

* And in D.C. Comics news: The fact of the matter is that almost nothing in DC makes sense anymore, because this whole idea was so incredibly poorly thought-through. And that’s not even touching the rampant, ubiquitous misogyny.

Female characters are only insatiable, barely-dressed aliens and strippers because someone decided to make them that way. It isn’t a fact. It isn’t an inviolable reality, especially in a comic book universe that has just been rebooted. In the end, what matters is what you choose to show people and how you show them, not the reasons you make up to justify it. Because this is comics, everybody. You can make up anything.

‘In a Very Real Sense, Democrats Running for Office in North Carolina Are Running Against Art Pope’

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Phillips argues that the Court’s decision, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has been a “game changer,” especially in the realm of state politics. In swing states like North Carolina—which the Democrats consider so important that they have scheduled their 2012 National Convention there—an individual donor, particularly one with access to corporate funds, can play a significant, and sometimes decisive, role. “We didn’t have that before 2010,” Phillips says. “Citizens United opened up the door. Now a candidate can literally be outspent by independent groups. We saw it in North Carolina, and a lot of the money was traced back to Art Pope.”

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October 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

Enjoy Your Plutocracy – 2

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More on yesterday’s Walmart v. Dukes decision from Dahlia Lithwick and Scott Lemieux. Here’s Lemieux:

…if you can’t use statistical and anecdotal evidence to prove gender discrimination — and, as he apparently admitted about racial discrimination and the death penalty during the deliberations in McKleskey v. Kemp, it’s clear there’s no amount of statistical and anecdotal evidence that would convince Scalia — then there really isn’t a law against gender discrimination at all. There’s just a law against having your company being run by complete idiots. Any amount of gender (or, presumably, racial) discrimination is acceptable to the Court’s Republican appointees as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually explicitly state it as a formal policy.

Elsewhere in Supreme Court news, we have ThinkProgress reporting that Clarence Thomas decided three cases where the American Enterprise Institute filed a brief after AEI gave him a $15,000 gift.

Too Big To Be Sued?

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The Supreme Court just enshrined “one death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic” as a principle of U.S. jurisprudence; it just determined that a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for gender discrimination can’t go forward as the class of women affected is too large. The majority’s decision actually seems to threaten the very possibility of class action lawsuit altogether:

In the majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the justices said when plaintiffs seek individual relief such as back pay or reinstatement, the company has “the right to raise any individual affirmative defenses it may have, and to ‘demonstrate that the individual applicant was denied an employment opportunity for lawful reasons.'”

[UPDATE: I think UPI has this wrong; the actual opinion seems to have been written by Scalia.] So, to review: (1) discrimination is now fine so long as your illegal practices are sufficiently widespread, and (2) big companies should really only have to answer to the courts on a discrete, case-by-case basis. Enjoy your plutocracy!

The Rich Are Different From You And Me

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A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardize his job, prosecutors said Thursday. It’s certainly thoughtful of them to take that into account. Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm