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Tag: CBS

Super PACs Worry Even Republicans

The United States Supreme Court.

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Super PAC Disclosure Requirements Hot Topic Of Conversation Among GOP Candidates

“What is happening now is what I predicted,” McCain told CBS. “The United States Supreme Court — in what I think is one of the worst decisions in history — struck down the restrictions in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, and a lot of people don’t agree with that, but I predicted when the United States Supreme Court, with their absolute ignorance of what happens in politics, struck down that law, that there would be a flood of money into campaigns, not transparent, unaccounted for, and this is exactly what is happening.”

Super PAC Disclosure Requirements Hot Topic Of Conversation Among GOP Candidates

There is probably an advantage for many Republicans in the lack of limits of corporate campaign contribution. However, with the destruction of Newt Gringrich in the Iowa caucuses after a pummeling by a Super PAC sympathetic to Romney, there is some concern in the ranks of the party, as you can see from the article linked to above.

That we should at least know who is funding these Monster Super PACs would seem to be simple intelligence. Otherwise, we have licensed the wealthy to do advertising hit jobs on any candidate they wish with no accountability whatever. Of course, our Supreme Court composed of members whose connection with the 99% is tenuous at best, may find political hit jobs to be a legitimate form of political speech since that is one way in which corporations and the rich like to communicate.

James Pilant

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North Carolina Sold to Wealthy Conservative Activist? Could your state be next?

“State for Sale” reads the lead story on the Huffington Post this morning. It’s a very sad story –  how one man freed by the Citizen’s United Supreme Court to spend as much as he wants can essentially buy a state legislature.

That state legislature has now redistricted to favor conservative candidates and passed voter id laws to restrict the poor, college students and minorities from voting.

Is your state next? Of course, it is. All you need is one of the country’s wealthy “elite” and a little political ambition. Most state campaigns are only a few thousand dollars. Spend two or three times that much and the legislature will fall into your lap like a ripe apple.

What will the new legislature do? Cut university funding and repeal taxes? You bet!

This is the brave new world of Citizens United. Aren’t you glad you’ve lived to see the day when corporate personhood become the law of the land? It arms every wealthy conservative activist with the tool for victory – the power to use as much money as he wants.

James Pilant

A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battleground

Even some North Carolinians associated with Jesse Helms think that Pope has gone too far. Jim Goodmon, the president and C.E.O. of Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns the CBS and Fox television affiliates in Raleigh, says, “I was a Republican, but I’m embarrassed to be one in North Carolina because of Art Pope.” Goodmon’s grandfather A. J. Fletcher was among Helms’s biggest backers, having launched him as a radio and television commentator. Goodmon describes Pope’s forces as “anti-community,” adding, “The way they’ve come to power is to say that government is bad. Their only answer is to cut taxes.” Goodmon believes that Pope’s agenda is not even good for business, because the education cuts he’s helped bring about will undermine the workforce. “If you want to create good jobs, you need good schools,” he says. “We’re close to the bottom out of the fifty states in education spending, and if they could take it down further they would.” He says of Pope, “It’s never about making things better. It’s all about tearing the other side down.”

The article is written by Jane Mayer.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/10/111010fa_fact_mayer#ixzz1ZjeqYjyI

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5 Most Costly Lies in Finance (via Kathy Kristof at CBS Money Watch)

Kathy Kristof

I am not always kind to Ms. Kristof. I find her writing fluffy with topics better associated with one of those women’s magazines like “Seven Better Ways to Make Your Man Appreciate You.”

Nevertheless I like this one and she has a done a service by hitting the golden oldies in business lies. I teach college and am often surprised how few of my students understand the most basic lies, cons and fallacious offers in the business world.

Here’s an excerpt. –

Unfortunately this confusing Wall Street-speak could put you in in a fog when approaching financial transactions. And that can make you vulnerable to people who would like to trick you out of your money. When salesmen and con artists see that your normal radar for bad advice, toxic investments and outright scams is getting nothing but fog (the potential result of all the hot air on Wall Street), they ramp up clever lies to separate you from your cash.

I recommend you go to CBS and read the five lies. You might say something nice about Ms. Kristof while you are there.

James Pilant

Can You Still Get Ahead In America?

Can You Still Get Ahead In America?

Frank Rich is his column discusses what can be done to challenge the super rich. Here’s a quote

… The president’s argument against extending the cuts for the wealthiest has now been reduced to the dry accounting of what the cost would add to the federal deficit. As he put it to CBS’s Steve Kroft, “the question is — can we afford to borrow $700 billion?”

That’s a good question, all right, but it’s not the question. The bigger issue is whether the country can afford the systemic damage being done by the ever-growing income inequality between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else, whether poor, middle class or even rich. That burden is inflicted not just on the debt but on the very idea of America — our Horatio Alger faith in social mobility over plutocracy, our belief that our brand of can-do capitalism brings about innovation and growth, and our fundamental sense of fairness. Incredibly, the top 1 percent of Americans now have tax rates a third lower than the same top percentile had in 1970.

The question I ask above is one that has troubled me for some time. Always, in my classes, there are students who say with complete confidence that, of course, they can get ahead. They say they will have great futures and advance up the class ladder.

I support them with everything I can. I teach them the tricks to beat most of the scams I see. I teach them to fight for their money. I teach to be kind to the weak, tough with the strong and merciless to the evil. I try to teach them the tricky politics of the upper class.

But I worry about them. It’s not a good time to be out in the job market. My numbers, economic and political, do not say kind things about the kind of opportunities we have right now in this country. The numbers say that increasingly it is a cruel place where predatory fees are the new avenue to corporate wealth.

It makes me unhappy.

I get tired of seeing the great mass of Americans villified as too fat, too stupid, too irresponsible. They are constantly lectured by a media focused on the trivial. Americans are a great people but the great majority of them are not getting a fair break.

They deserve better.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, FiegerTime:

It’s no secret that over the last 30 years there has been a massive redistribution of wealth, with wealth flowing from the middle-class to the richest Americans. The consolidation of wealth to the wealthiest Americans has come as the result of unfair tax and trade policies, as well as a realignment of laws from middle-class and labor friendly laws to those favoring corporate interests. In fact, historians now claim that the income inequality is greater than it has ever been in our history.

From the web site, Angelo Lopez: (I had some trouble understanding how this web site is titled – if the author would like some changes or better links – please let me know.)

I admire the Occupy Wall Street movement. Right now I’m reading Eric Foner’s book Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery about Lincoln in the context of the various anti-slavery movements of his time. Foner makes a point that there was a relationship between the abolitionists and the Radical Republicans. Abolitionists were the most radical of the anti-slavery groups, and they worked outside the political system to create agitation and focus on changing public opinion on slavery and the equality of African Americans. Radical Republicans worked inside the political system to push for legislation to abolish slavery.

I think the Occupy Wall Street movement plays the same role that the Abolitionist movement played in the 1800s. They work outside the political system to creat agitation and focus the public discourse on the inequalities of the current economic system.

And finally from the web site, Social Capital Blog:

We have been doing work on the connection between income inequality and social inequality among youth (that exacerbates the test score gaps) and will report on that later, but suffice it say that we find a connection between the “blue inequality” (income inequality) and “red inequality” (the ability of college graduates to pass on advantages from a generation to another) that David Brooks writes about.

In November 2011, a variety of non-profit, corporate, academic and media leaders convened to discuss social mobility in the Opportunity Nation summit.  Opportunity Nation has released an Opportunity Index that enables you look state by state or county by county to see how that locality is doing in terms of economic opportunity. And you can see videos of some of the speakers here.  Rick Warren cited an eye-opening statistic: 25% of Anglo kids, 50% of Hispanic kids, & 75% of black kids are growing up today without a stable father in the home (these are out of wedlock births).  This work is picked up in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart and in Nick Kristoff’s “The White Underclass“.


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Who’s The Most Profitable Dead Celebrity?

During this period of economic insecurity and multiple crisis. It is always surprising to turn to the novelty part of the news to see something odd. Those parts of the newspaper, magazine or web publication are clearly labeled.

They tend to go with descriptive names, “News of the Odd,” or “Strange News,” you know, stuff like that.

Well, it’s definitely clearly marked on the CBS web site.

They call it “Money Watch.”

Today, the top number one item on Money Watch asks “Who’s the Highest-Earnings Dead Celebrity?”

I (being the fool I am) am worried about the foreclosure crisis that is gathering steam with new revelations day by day. But that’s not newsworthy. Newsworthy is dead people earning money. Strangely enough, that has never made it onto my radar as a major issue (or a minor one).

So, once again I call attention to the ability of modern media to transfer our attention from the important to the trivial.

It’s not a big deal except it cripples democracy, damages thinking, and elevates the statistical anomaly to a kind of temporary annoyance.

James Pilant

(It’s Michael Jackson.)

Pets to Benefit from Holiday Cheer

Generally speaking the occasional pet story doesn’t bother me. However this was the leading or top story on CBS News’ web site. The only other thing going on was the crisis in the treasury department and the Federal Reserve Board. And they have mentioned the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now I freely admit that later in the business news they became more serious. But really, doesn’t this belong in the “popular” news or how about just moving it down a hair so it isn’t the number one story.

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