RSSCategory: Social justice

Big banks complicit with online payday lenders.

February 25, 2013 | By | Reply More

Big banks are providing the funds for online payday lenders. This story from the NYT is not the least bit surprising, not that it makes this article any less disturbing.

While the banks, which include giants like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, do not make the loans, they are a critical link for the lenders, enabling the lenders to withdraw payments automatically from borrowers’ bank accounts, even in states where the loans are banned entirely. In some cases, the banks allow lenders to tap checking accounts even after the customers have begged them to stop the withdrawals.

The article indicates that without the backing of the big banks, many of these payday lenders would cease to exist.

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We the People proposed Amendment

February 11, 2013 | By | Reply More

This proposed Constitutional Amendment from We the People Amendment is loaded with good ideas:

Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]

Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

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FBI coordinated crackdown on Occupy Protests

January 8, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

According to Naomi Wolf, the coordinated arrests and violence against protestors were not coincidentally timed.

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

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Insanity and Rights

December 16, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More
Insanity and Rights

Doubtless whatever I say, someone will find fault, take offense, withdraw into positions, place guard dogs at the gates and lookouts in the towers. We are a people enamored of the idea of violence.  We like the idea that when it gets down to the proverbial nitty gritty we can and will kick ass and take names.  Americans are tough, not to be messed with, ready to exact justice by knuckles or 9.mm. . . .

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Ten Principles of Romneyism

November 4, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Robert Reich has distilled ten principles of Romneyism. I think he’s compiled and articulated these accurately. Whether they SHOULD be guiding principles for the United States is an entirely separate question. Here are the ten:

1. Corporations are the basic units of society.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits.

3. All factors of production — capital, physical plant and equipment, workers — are fungible and should be treated the same.

4. Pollution, unsafe products, unsafe working conditions, financial fraud, and other negative side effects of the pursuit of profits are the price society pays for profit-driven growth.

5. Individual worth depends on net worth — how much money one has made, and the value of the assets that money has been invested in.

6. People who fail in the economy should not be coddled.

7. Taxes are inherently bad because they constrain profit-making.

8. Politics is a game whose only purpose is to win.

9. Democracy is dangerous because it is forever vulnerable to the votes of a majority intent on capturing the wealth of the successful minority, on whom the economy depends.

10. The three most important aspects of life are family, religion, and money.

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The bank’s police at work

November 1, 2012 | By | Reply More

Here’s what happened to a group of people protesting a foreclosure. Note the extreme militarization of the police. They looked nervous, and they should have been, because they were surrounded by ordinary people fighting a fucked-up system by uttering truths to the police-soldiers. Amazing that it’s coming to this.

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Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values.

October 21, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

With today’s announcement of the death of Paul Kurtz, I have republished (below) his Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values. I decided to publish the content of this defining document regarding secular humanism (with permission to republish that Paul Kurtz gave in the original document), to make sure that it remains widely available. As you can see below, I was one of the signers of this document. I took an active interest in this document, which I consider to be well-drafted (I offered alternate phrasing for a tiny bit of the language, which Paul accepted and approved). This document, more than any other that I have seen, articulates the values by which I try to live my own life.

I would invite all readers to take a bit of time to review the Neo-Humanist Statement, and to share it widely.

[More . . . ]

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Ways in which the Bible outlaws homosexualty, with a twist

October 19, 2012 | By | 5 Replies More

The scene is the Springfield Missouri City Council, where the Council debated whether to pass a new rule adding LGBT people to those people protected from discrimination. the following video features an impassioned speech against homosexuals with a twist toward the end:

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U.S. drones raining terror from the skies over Pakistan: Your tax dollars at work

September 25, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

We are our own worst enemy with regard to the way we use armed drones. We are refusing to acknowledge the damage being done to the U.S. given our indiscriminate use of these weapons. This new article at Huffpo gives some details:

A new study . . . contends that the U.S. use of drones to target suspected militants in Pakistan has had a “damaging and counterproductive effect” on the country and has killed far more civilians than previously acknowledged . . .

Working with the activist group Reprieve, the team of professors have added to the growing body of literature that argues, contrary to Obama administration claims, that numerous civilians have been killed, and many more traumatized, by the drone strike program.

“Drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles and public spaces without warning,” the report said. “Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.”

Relying on data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the study’s authors say that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in Pakistan since June 2004, and between 474 and 881 of them were civilians.

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