September 2011


It’s encouraging to see that the Occupy Wall Street movement so derided by the corporate media and “Masters of the Universe”-types is picking up steam. Must have something to do with the images of cops Macing young women in security pens, hundreds of airline pilots joining the protest and the outrageous video of young oligarchs (or kleptocrats, if you prefer) yukking it up and sipping drinks while looking down on the “rabble” from a balcony in New York City. Help keep the momentum going by donating food, money, supplies or your own services here.

OK, so more US citizens are in poverty that ever in the past 50 years. Home values are still dropping. Interest on savings accounts will add pennies a month to your investment, while the stock market’s a crazy roller-coaster ride only for gamblers who can afford to lose. The economy’s not yet adding net new jobs, much less adding them fast enough to keep up with population growth. And this past weekend I saw an ad in the local Craigslist from someone desperate to find a cheap, used RV or trailer because he has a wife, two kids and is “soon to be homeless.” But 20 percent of Americans think they’ll be millionaires by 2020?

Right.

If the constant assault on the middle class, fairness and reality-based thinking is getting you down, this video from the United Steelworkers will have you pushing yourself up from the canvas again. It’s like a mini-“Rocky.”

This find of the day is “Who Rules America?” by Bill Domhoff, a research professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The website (and book with the same name) provides some fascinating insights into “how power and politics operate in the United States.” Among its recent posts is “An Investment Manager’s View on the Top 1%,” a guest article that explores the differences — and they’re huge — between being merely in the top 1% of the nation’s wealthiest and being in the top 0.1%.

“Unfavorable tree symptoms.” Hats off to DuPont for crafting this fine PR expression to describe the many dead tree left in the wake of its now-banned weed-killer Imprelis.

Hooray … the powers-that-be have found a solution to the growing number of natural disasters most likely related to climate change: ignore them.

Catastrophic flooding that’s displaced three-quarters of a million people in Pakistan? That’s last year’s news, isn’t it? Must be, considering that media coverage — and international response — has been so hard to find.

But apparently torrential and deadly monsoon rains have been flooding many of the same districts of Pakistan as they did in 2011. And it’s been going on for the past three months. We’re just not hearing about it so much anymore.

If you ignore it, “they” (ie, climate disasters, poor people, inconvenient truths, social injustices, etc.) will go away, it seems.