Capitalism’s Greatest Threat Is One Republicans Ignore

Huge Capitalism Threat

The Article: The Huge Threat to Capitalism That Republicans Are Ignoring by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.

The Text: Over the weekend, the New York Times published a jaw-dropping story about how Wall Street investment banks are slyly manipulating commodities markets to make billions at the expense of consumers.

Is that description too abstract? Here’s the lead example:

Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.

The story of how this works begins in 27 industrial warehouses in the Detroit area where a Goldman subsidiary stores customers’ aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again.This industrial dance has been choreographed by Goldman to exploit pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange, an investigation by The New York Times has found. The back-and-forth lengthens the storage time. And that adds many millions a year to the coffers of Goldman, which owns the warehouses and charges rent to store the metal. It also increases prices paid by manufacturers and consumers across the country. Tyler Clay, a forklift driver who worked at the Goldman warehouses until early this year, called the process “a merry-go-round of metal.”

Continue Reading

Email

0

The Republican Congress Is Testing A New Form Of Radicalism

Radical Republicans

The Article: Anarchists of the House by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine.

The Text: A few months ago, Eric Cantor was ready to bring his latest brainchild, the “Helping Sick Americans Now” bill, to the House floor. The move was pure Cantor—a smarmy, ultrapartisan ploy. The bill proposed to eliminate funds the Obama administration needs to set up and run the health-care exchanges that are the central mechanism in the health-care law, but then Cantor’s bill would use those funds to help a handful of sick people get health insurance. There was no chance this, or anything like it, would be signed into law, as Obama obviously would not agree to tear down a program to insure millions of Americans in return for insuring a tiny fraction of that number. It was a message vote whose purpose was “embarrassing Obamacare,” as one conservative activist gloated, by forcing Obama to deny immediate aide for the uninsured. As a soulless exercise in disingenuous spin, it was well conceived.

It failed, however, because a crucial faction of ultraconservative House Republicans threatened to vote against it. The trouble was that Cantor’s bill purported to “fix” Obamacare rather than eliminate it. “Why the hell do we want to fix it?” complained conservative pundit Erick Erickson. “We should want to repeal it.” Since they have already voted 37 times to repeal Obama­care, one might think that the House Republicans’ appraisal of the law’s general merits had been made sufficiently clear. But just the pretense of working to improve the law, even while actually crippling it, offended the right. In the face of unmoved conservative opposition, Cantor had to pull his pet bill from the floor. It wound up embarrassing the House Republicans, not Obama­care.

Continue Reading

Email

0

Don’t Like School? Move To Utah!

Aaron Osmond

The Article: Utah lawmaker calls for an end to compulsory education by David Edwards in The Raw Story.

The Text: A Republican lawmaker in Utah is calling on his state to put an end to the requirement that children go to school.

On Tuesday, Deseret News flagged a Friday article posted to state Sen. Aaron Osmond’s blog where he says that Utah “should take a close look at repealing compulsory education.”

Osmond argues that requiring children to attend school has caused some parents to “completely disengage themselves from their obligation to oversee and ensure the successful education of their children.”

Continue Reading

Email

0

The Redder Your State, The Poorer You Are?

Red State Poverty

The Article: Life Expectancy Shortest In Southern ‘Poverty Belt’ by Katy Hall and Jan Diehm in The Huffington Post.

The Text: Living in a high-poverty area often means a lifetime of struggle with underperforming public schools, limited job opportunities, higher crime rates, and poor nutrition, health care and housing — all of which can add up to a shorter, sicker retirement.

Americans who live in the South can expect to live fewer healthy years past 65 than those who live in other parts of the country, according to a new report from the CDC. Health disparities among seniors in their final years align closely with profound geographical differences in poverty. The region where more than 30 percent of people live in high-poverty areas — dubbed the “poverty belt” by The Atlantic’s Richard Florida, falls right over the states with the lowest healthy life expectancies. As inequality in the U.S. climbs steadily, this public health crisis may only expand.

Poverty Belt

Email

0

Why Most American Media Is Harmful To Public Health

American Media

The Article: Weapons of Mass Distraction—Why the Media Most Americans Consume Is Harmful to the Public Health by Bill Moyers and Marty Kaplan in AlterNet.

The Text: Across the world — Greece, Spain, Brazil, Egypt — citizens are turning angrily to their governments to demand economic fair play and equality. But here in America, with few exceptions, the streets and airwaves remain relatively silent. In a country as rich and powerful as America, why is there so little outcry about the ever-increasing, deliberate divide between the very wealthy and everyone else?

Media scholar Marty Kaplan points to a number of forces keeping these issues and affected citizens in the dark — especially our well-fed appetite for media distraction.

“We have unemployment and hunger and crumbling infrastructure and a tax system out of whack and a corrupt political system — why are we not taking to the streets?” Kaplan asks Bill. “I suspect among your viewers, there are people who are outraged and want to be at the barricades. The problem is that we have been taught to be helpless and jaded rather than to feel that we are empowered and can make a difference.”

An award-winning columnist and head of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, Kaplan also talks about the appropriate role of journalists as advocates for truth.

Continue Reading

Email

0
Hot On The Web