"Climate change could have economic benefit to Maine, the state’s governor said Thursday." The The Northern Sea Route, a shipping passage from the East Coast of the U.S. to Asia, has historically been blocked most of the year due to sea ice. Recently, due to warmer temperatures, the passage has opened up — in 2011, 18 ships made the journey through the passage. This, according to LePage, is good news. “Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up,” Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said at a conference on transportation. “So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we’re now at the beginning of a new pipeline.”
AND that pipeline leads directly to increased revenues for those who need it most in Maine. It's the least we can do after this:
Wait, what's that? (hand to ear like Jon Stewart) He's not going to use this windfall to shore up the State's safety net or expand healthcare? He's giving it to who? Because they must be more "virtuous"?.
'Tis the season to make money, Fa La La La La, la la la la.....
(At least for some people, not the workers that's for sure)
A confluence of events this week. The Pope called for a "global economic system that puts people and not 'an idol called money' at its heart, Followed by Black Friday, the capitalists' wet dream where money meets desperation in this broken economy.
It is really a sad commentary on our economic system when our economic strength as a Country (capital C) rides on a religious holiday, built on the teachings of a guy who gave away all his shit? WTF?
Of course there are the usual random vids of violence at these events to celebrate a holiday based on the birth of a man who loved his neighbor as himself, turned the other cheek, and told the money-changers to get out of the temple.
Conservatives have no clue as to who he really was. In their conservative bubble, the real Jesus has been left behind... like an Education Program that I remember...
But, this guy seems to have a clue: "Pope Francis has hit out at unbridled capitalism and the "cult of money", calling for ethical reform of the financial system to create a more humane society." "In an impassioned appeal, the Argentinian pontiff said politicians needed to be bold in tackling the root causes of the economic crisis, which he said lay in an acceptance of money's "power over ourselves and our society". "We have created new idols," he said in a speech in the Vatican. "The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal." Attacking unchecked capitalism, the pope said the growing inequality in society was caused by "ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good". ... Ethics, he said, were too often dismissed as a nuisance. "There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone," he said. "Money has to serve, not to rule."
But, can I still get my tax-break on my ridiculously expensive "Business Expense"?
Oh yes, the Church Exemption taxes thingy... but that's another post for another day...
Text: "I get that Fox opposes the Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless, irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic, succubus like existence...
From the Raw Story Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Saturday and scoffed at the idea that major corporations like Walmart can’t afford to pay their workers a living wage and that to raise the U.S. minimum wage would be bad for the economy.
I've been railing about this for years.
The Senator laughed when host Ed Schultz asked what he would say to people who insist that mega-corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s can’t afford to raise their wages.
“Ed, do you want to hear one of the great obscenities of our time?” Sanders asked. “The wealthiest family in this country is the Walton family. They are worth about a hundred billion dollars. That’s more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of the American people.”
“One of the reasons that the Walton family, the owners of Walmart, are so wealthy is that they receive huge subsidies from the taxpayers of this country,” he said. “When you pay, at Walmart, starvation wages, you don’t provide benefits to your workers, who picks up the difference? The answer is that many of the workers in Walmart end up getting Medicaid, they get food stamps, they get affordable housing paid for by the taxpayers of this country while the Walton family remains the wealthiest family in America.”
“If that is not obscene, I don’t know what is,” Sanders concluded.
Anyone who voted for this assclown deserves what they are getting.
I've been trying to ignore this ignorant asshole, but the latest barf out of his piehole just set me off, so I have compiled a short list, by no means all-inclusive of this ignorant git's misguided at best and destructive more than often than not governance of my beloved state.
AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting Maine's labor history from the lobby of the Department of Labor.
He hadn't been in office more than two months and the "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs," governor took down the labor mural. Yeah, sure - jobs... Then we get this:
Maine Governor Gets Testy With N.A.A.C.P. Gov. Paul LePage of Maine directed a graphic insult at the state’sN.A.A.C.P. leaders on Friday after they questioned his decision to pass on attending Martin Luther King Birthday events in Bangor and Portland. [snip] When the reporter asked Mr. LePage to respond to the suggestion that he had a pattern of slighting theN.A.A.C.P., he replied, “Tell them to kiss my butt,” adding, “If they want to play the race card, come to dinner; my son will talk to them.”
Supposedly he has an adopted son who is black - I pity the boy. Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president and chief executive officer of the N.A.A.C.P., said that Mr. LePage’s “decision to inflame racial tension on the eve of the King holiday denigrates his office.”
Just like everything else he does.“His words are a reminder of the worst aspects of Maine’s history and out of touch with our nation’s deep yearning for increased civility and racial healing,” Mr. Jealous said in a statement on Friday. “Our goal for more than 100 years has been to build One America, and One Maine. From defending Franco-American Catholics from the Klan in the 1920s to fighting mistreatment of Muslim Americans and racial profiling of black Americans today, we are proud of our history in the state of Maine.” Next:
Maine Governor Paul LePage accused the University of Maine of turning on an electric motor when the wind wasn’t blowing their turbine to fool people into thinking that “wind power works.”
LePage was not joking when he made the comment to the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, as Mike Tipping with the Bangor Daily News reports:
Now, to add insult to injury, The University of Maine, Presque Isle — anybody here been up there to see that damn windmill in the back yard? Guess what, if it’s not blowing wind outside and they have somebody visiting the campus, they have a little electric motor that turns the blades. I’m serious. They have an electric motor so they can show people that wind power works. Unbelievable. And that’s the government that you have here in the state of Maine.
No, you stupid shit - that's science... You're the reason government doesn't work in the State of Maine.
Asked about this curious claim, the University spokesperson’s first response was to literally laugh out loud. There is no motor. The project is actually a success story for the university, and for Maine. This was the first mid-sized turbine installed by a university in the state, has a 600 kilowatt capacity, and has produced 680,000 kwh worth of clean electricity in its first year. That’s $100,000 off the University of Maine at Preque Isle’s utility bill, and 572 tons of CO2 not burnedinto the atmosphere. Dumb Fuck, he did not add, but I would have. Now we have the latest demonstration of just how low his I.Q really is:
A through F "It's so hard to read all the mumbo-jumbo in a detailed report on how schools are doing", he did not say. "Let's dumb it down so even I can understand it", he implied. How does an obviously unqualified yokel get elected to the highest office in this state?
If you're looking for a poster child for the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics, you'd have a hard time doing better than the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC is one of the nation's most powerful and most secretive lobbying entities, and it focuses exclusively on state legislatures. Disguised as a non-partisan professional association for legislators, it is actually a corporate-funded mechanism to allow business interests to write their own bills without leaving fingerprints for the public and their elected representatives to see. ALEC hands out model laws to willing or naïve legislators — including some in Maine — which are drafted by secret task forces and approved by ALEC's corporate donors, who provide virtually all of its funding. Major donors include the infamous Koch Brothers, the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil, and big drug and tobacco companies. The laws seek to deregulate industry, protect the powerful from responsibility for their misdeeds, or dismantle and privatize government. Hundreds of ALEC-written laws are passed in state houses every year, usually without anyone realizing who really wrote them. Guess who is the new corporate chair of ALEC for the state of Maine? Confidential documents from ALEC's annual meeting last month in New Orleans obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy reveal it is none other than Ann Robinson, a trusted advisor to Governor Paul LePage who simultaneously maintains her day job as a corporate lobbyist at Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios. (Her legislative co-chair is Senator Richard Rosen, Republican of Bucksport.) Read more:http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/126378-lepages-koch-brothers-connection-revealed/#ixzz2REuBMHLr Oh and don't forget about this little tidbit:Federal official confirms Maine Labor Department probe; state workers union seeks independent review of LePage AUGUSTA, Maine — Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris told Gov. Paul LePage during a telephone call late Wednesday that an audit of the Maine Department of Labor’s handling of unemployment claims came in response to complaints of inconsistencies, not due to comments the governor allegedly made last month during a Blaine House lunch. Meanwhile, the Maine State Employees Association said in a press release Thursday morning that it is calling for an independent review of the state’s unemployment system and potential attempts by LePage to intimidate unemployment hearing officers into ruling on the side of businesses. [snip] Ginette Rivard, president of the union that represents the majority of state workers, said LePage’s recent reported comments to unemployment hearing officers at a Blaine House lunch constituted “attacks on the integrity of the entire system of unemployment compensation.” And the hits just keep on coming. 2016 can't come soon enough for me.
Note - the formatting on this sucks but I am too lazy to fix Blogger's sucky coding. The content is real.
From the SideBoob Gazette If you feel like your pay isn't going up, then you’re probably not a CEO. CEO pay rose 8 percent on average last year, according to an analysis from USA Today. The increase pushes the median pay to $9.7 million, and marks the biggest CEO pay boost in two years. But while corporate chiefs are raking it in, paychecks for us normals aren't going up all that much. The median pay raise for workers was between 2.7 and 2.8 percent last year, according to NBC News.So while workers are increasing their pay somewhat, CEOs are enjoying jumps that are three times that amount. Compensation expert Ravin Jesuthasan told NBC that workers should get used to the disparity -- experts expect the average raise to jump to 3 percent in 2013, but that’s becoming the "new normal," he said.
Because unemployment is still high, corporations can retain workers without huge pay boosts. Major companies squeezed more money out of workers last year as corporate profits soared to a record high. Ironically, it’s the companies’ record amounts of cash that prompt them to reward CEOs with such high salaries, according to USA Today.
At the same time, The New York Times reported earlier this year that wages, which have remained largely stagnant, are now a record-low share of the U.S. economy. The result: the U.S. median income fell to $50,054 in 2011, the most recent year with full-year data available.
Such Bullshit. When will these assholes realize that demand drives the economy? Please, anyone... Bueller?
Finally, some good news from the private sector dispelling the middle class killing myth that higher wages kill growth.
From PoliticusUSA: While Wal-Mart experienced February sales that were considered,“total disaster,”Costco’s earnings for the second quarter of the year climbed 39%. The New York Times reported, “Costco Wholesale’s net income for its second quarter climbed 39 percent as it pulled in more money from membership fees, sales improved and it recorded a large tax benefit.”
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek openly supports raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, “At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business. We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and we are still able to keep our overhead costs low. An important reason for the success of Costco’s business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.”
I agree wholeheartedly. supply-siders and trickle-down tools have been proven wrong time and time again that higher wages stunt economic growth. Simply not true. Even the known fascist Henry Ford wanted his employees to make enough money to afford the cars that they built.
From "Daily Finance" (not exactly a liberal magazine) : In 1914, a business executive named Henry Ford did a startling thing: He announced that he was going to more than double the wages he was paying his employees, from $2.34 to $5 a day -- the equivalent of $120 a day in today's money.
More: The story you hear frequently about why Henry Ford made this decision was that he wanted to allow his workers to be able to afford to buy his cars. The wage increase certainly made the cars (and many other products) more affordable for Ford employees, but the historical consensus is that Ford actually made this decision for a different reason: To reduce employee turnover--and, in so doing, reduce recruiting and replacement cost. Regardless, it worked. I highly recommend reading the whole article - very informative. I hope Wal-Mart Management is reading the same articles but I doubt it.
From PBS:Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States after the Federal government with over 925,000 employees. Each year, the company hires 550,000 more employees - three times the number of people the U.S. military recruits every year - replacing those lost to rapid turnover and replenishing its workforce. Imagine if all those people made a living wage. It's easy if you try.
A worker at Costco makes $19.50 after four and a half years, according to Slate Magazine. It’s about $7 an hour more than employees with the same seniority at Costco’s competitor, Sam’s Club.
Some Wall Street analysts haven’t been happy about that or about the company’s generous health plan. No doubt, Costco could be making a higher profit. And yet, the company does just fine. The value of Costco stock has more than doubled since 2009, and the company’s founder, James Sinegal, said those wages buy the company a low rate of employee turnover and theft.
Costco’s generosity saw renewed publicity recently when Wal-Mart became mired in strikes over low pay and bad labor relations. Although Wal-Mart is admittedly a much bigger company, the Costco model proves you don’t have to squeeze employees to be successful.
What fitting irony that on National Womens' Day Daryl Hannah releases a bombshell of a movie/documentary. From their Blog:This very American film, “Greedy Lying Bastards”, documents the power of big U.S. energy giants fighting global warming theorists through a heavily funded web of AstroTurf grass root “community organizations” such as Citizens United, Heartland America and Americans for Prosperity. They are AstroTurf because there is no real grass involved and are heavily funded by the energy giant Koch brothers and Exxon Corporation. The strategy of big energy is global warming denial through hired guns without much scientific backing. Interesting, if not compelling, analogies are made to the denialists and big tobacco who denied for years that cigarettes were harmful to health. In retrospect and with the scientific evidence available at the time of big tobacco’s denials big tobacco looks very much like greedy lying bastards. This film attempts to put big energy on the same level as big tobacco both of which deny irrefutable truths. Couldn't have said it better myself. Check out the trailer here:
This looks to be very well done ala Michael Moore. Only she's taller.
As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.
Appointed in Oct. 2004, over a year into War in Iraq, the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was charged with being a watchdog over the use of funds provided for rebuilding the Iraqi state after the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Those reconstruction and stabilization efforts wound up costing nearly $60 billion — or about $15 million per day — with up to $10 billion of that amount wasted, according to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.
Geeze, I know a good country where all that money should go.
...Bowen gives seven ways to better perform rebuilding operations in the future:
1. Create an integrated civilian-military ofﬁce to plan, execute, and be accountable for contingency rebuilding activities during stabilization and reconstruction operations.
2. Begin rebuilding only after establishing sufﬁcient security, and focus ﬁrst on small programs and projects.
3. Ensure full host-country engagement in program and project selection, securing commitments to share costs (possibly through loans) and agreements to sustain completed projects after their transfer.
4. Establish uniform contracting, personnel, and information management systems that all SRO participants use.
5. Require robust oversight of SRO activities from the operation’s inception.
6. Preserve and reﬁne programs developed in Iraq, like the Commander’s Emergency Response Program and the Provincial Reconstruction Team program, that produced successes when used judiciously.
7. Plan in advance, plan comprehensively and in an integrated fashion, and have backup plans ready to go.
Many of those suggestions belie the cavalier attitude struck by Republicans at the beginning of the war in 2003, despite a near complete lack of planning by the Bush administration to provide for rebuilding Iraq. “Each day it gets better,” then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in May 2003 of the reconstruction efforts. Rumsfeld also insisted that “the bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction will come from Iraqis” in October of that year. $60 billion later, Iraq has proved to be nowhere near the “cakewalk” predicted by George W. Bush adviser Kenneth Adelman predicted in 2002.
More republican lies to bilk the American people and concentrate wealth to those wonderful "job creators". How about taking that money and creating a few jobs over here building schools and infrastructure, huh? Oh I forgot... that would be SOCIALISM.
What about Cheney's company, Halliburton - major no-bid contractor in Iraq, whose stocks have risen over 3000% from 2003 to 2012 from which Cheney still received "deferred" compensation while funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to his old company. Conflict of interest much?
$20 million cut from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs $10 million cut from the World Trade Center Health Program Fund $168 million cut from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration $75 million cut from the Aging and Disability Services Programs
$199 million cut from public housing $96 million cut from Homeless Assistance Grants $17 million cut from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS $19 million cut from Housing for the Elderly $175 million cut from Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Disaster and Emergency
$928 million cut from FEMA’s disaster relief money $6 million cut from Emergency Food and Shelter $70 million cut from the Agricultural Disaster Relief Fund at USDA $61 million cut from the Hazardous Substance Superfund at EPA $125 million cut from the Wildland Fire Management $53 million cut from Salaries and Expenses at the Food Safety and Inspection Service
Etcetera Etcetera ad nauseum. This is only the first three. Notice that none of the politicians who voted for this crap will lose a cent in pay while thousands of Federal workers face unpaid furloughs and the cuts wound the least among us the most. See the rest here: 32 Dumb and Devastating Cuts
Bruce Levine: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporatocracy
Bruce Levine concludes that the problem isn’t that we are a “center-right” country or an apathetic people. The issue is that we are a people who have been systematically beaten down by the corporatocracy. As a clinical psychologist, he sees the people as a whole as suffering from abuse syndrome — a people actively demoralized.
Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane
Bill O'Reilly - Hypocrite, Self Aggrandizing Asshole
Click here and tell Billo's sponsors what you think
Fox News can kiss my Presidential ass.
Click here for Award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal's video summary of his new book that traces the rise of the radical right in the US and how it used the concept of personal crisis to grow as a movement and eventually capture control of the GOP to transform it from the party of Dwight Eisenhower to the party of Sarah Palin.
DownSize to Thrive, A Crash Course in 21st Century Survival
This is an awesome site created by my good friend Shaleia with lot and lots (a veritble plethora) of good, common sense ideas about surviving in these uncertain economic times.
Air America Radio - Rest In Peace, we will miss you.
That famous liberal media bias that you are always hearing about but can't get anywhere else.
Why We Need Government-Run Universal Socialized Health Insurance
Screwed: The Undeclared War against the Middle Class ... and What We Can Do about It
Under the guise of "freeing" the market, conservatives have enriched themselves and their fat-cat cronies and screwed everyone else. Beginning with the Reagan administration, the U.S. government has steadily instituted policies and legislation that favor corporations over citizens. This book nails the truth about how both parties have been screwing the American people, except for the one hundredth of one percent who earn over $6 million a year.