Tag Archive for greed

The budget deal is a raw deal for Americans

So, we have a “deal” to precent the United States from defaulting on its debts.

I might be willing to call it a deal made in good faith if the thing had contained any tax increases on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, or maybe if it had closed a few tax loopholes on big corporations.

But the last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling — which many Constitutional scholars say is unconstitutional itself — did nothing for everyday Americans. It tied the hands of those in Congress who do give a damn about the jobless, homeless and sick people in this country, making it nearly impossible to do anything to help those in need.

And the crisis it averted was manufactured by right-wing idealogues to disable the government’s ability to do its job.

They keep talking about the debt as though it’s the most important thing and it isn’t. The most important thing right now is to get the economy back on its feet.

The Tea Party has won another victory in its effort to destroy our Democracy, and the rest of us have nothing to be happy about.

Why President Obama refused to just sign an executive order to raise the debt ceiling using the authority of the 14th Amendment, I don’t know. It seems he’s afraid of offending the very people who are destroying his presidency and this nation.

The economy is a mess because of hedge fund traders and other immoral, greedy Wall Street executives, who continue to make record profits and pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. They manage to villify people who are out of work and those who work harder and harder for less and less of the economic pie, they control the message to the point that many Americans believe they themselves are at fault for the troubles.

And President Obama caves to them as though he’s being blackmailed.

This deal is not good news. It’s more of what’s destroying us. I think it borders on treason.

700 more newspaper jobs cut

Just in case you’re wondering why newspapers are looking so bad, it’s because of greed.

Newspapers insist on a bottom line that’s above almost any other industry, and when it falls below about 30 percent, they make cuts. Big cuts.

Yesterday, Gannett Corp. laid off another 700 people across the company’s newspapers.

When I joined Gannett, at the Journal News in Rockland County, NY, in 1986, it was considered one of the top family-friendly companies to work for. Health benefits were excellent and time off was better than at most other newspaper companies. If you worked hard, you got ahead; there were incentives; there were rewards for people who did good work.

It was an ugly scene at newspapers across the company as people who had been loyal employees for decades were cut loose.

So, why are newspapers losing so much revenue and readership?

The company line is that newspapers are a dying industry because people get their news online.

But Gannett is cutting its online staff too. Here in Asheville there was a separate department dedicated to Web content. That got cut in the last round. The company spent millions on top-of-the-line video equipment and software and training four years ago, and then pretty much abandoned it.

As newsrooms get smaller, the people who are left have fewer and fewer opportunities for any investigative reporting. More time is spent processing press releases and covering events to fill what little space is left.

It used to be that ads filled in the spaces around editorial content; now editorial content is the filler for the spaces around the ads. The ever-shrinking news hole leaves less and less space for real news.

That means government and big business have no one watching what they’re up to. It makes it that much easier for Fox Noise to spread its lies about government takeovers and death panels and how we “need” to gut Social Secutity and Medicaid. They spread the fallacy of us being broke and no one is here to explain that we’re not.

Add that to the consistent de-funding of education over the last 30 years and you have the Koch Brothers’ dream scenario.

Newspapers don’t have to die; they need to become nonprofits. Then Craig Dubow, the CEO of Gannett will have to live on less than $10 million a year and people who cost the company $40,000 can have their jobs back and we can save our Democracy.


Aliens among us

I’m a lifelong “Star Trek” fan. Well, since the original series came on in 1966, anyway. I was almost 14, and I was captivated.

In the series’ second incarnation, “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” a race called the Ferengi was introduced. They’re money-grubbing, power-hungry beings, guided by the “Rules of Acquisition,” which glorify greed and cheating.

Rule of Acquisition 1: “Once you have their money, never give it back.”

There are no labor unions among the Ferengi workers; the goal of every Ferengi is to become the exploiter. And women are forced to stay home and wear no clothing. When a Frenegi enters the home of a friend, he offers money for admittance.

When they die, their bodies are descicated and the family sells of pieces of it to raise money and so family and friends can own a piece of their loved one.

The Ferengi religion brings the dead to the Blessed Exchequer, where they can bribe their way into the Divine Treasury.

It was supposed to be fiction, but I saw this “photo” this morning and it dawned on me that these two really would make good Ferengi. Too bad they’re real and they’re ours to deal with.

For 30 years, the Kock Brothers worked behind the scenes, funding right-wing causes, buying influence, corrupting our political system and undermining Democracy. By the time they were outed last year by The New Yorker, their work was pretty much done. They had created the Tea Party astroturf movement and helped set up a system of disinformation that would tilt the landscape far to the right.

To the far-right, the Koch brothers are heroes, doing battle with the great villain George Soros.

Of course, Soros hasn’t poured but of fraction of the money into political movements has the Kochs have, and he’s always been above -board. I don’t think the Kocks and their ilk even begin to understand the difference.

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