I found this YouTube video the other day that I’d like to share with you, as it does a great job of explaining the amount of financial inequality we have in the U.S. right now. It’s probably worse than you realize.
This is based on a study of 5,000 Americans by a Harvard business professor and economist. He looked at their perceptions of income inequality in the U.S. and then asked them what adjustments they thought necessary to make the system fair and just. The study shows that most of us are very aware of the fact that too much money is flowing to the top of the financial food chain and that something needs to be done. However, as this video illustrates, it’s worse than we think–much worse.
It becomes more and more obvious with each passing month that our government is mainly concerned with protecting financial interests, even when those interests work against the will and welfare of its citizens. Our government is acting like a business that’s in partnership with Wall Street and the banks. It also appears as if our government has granted these financial institutions some sort of special first class citizen status. Meanwhile, we the real citizens of this country are governed primarily with rules designed to make sure that we serve and not obstruct the big corporations.
How many billions of dollars of blood money does a bank have to launder for drug lords and how many sanctions does a bank have to violate before someone will consider shutting it down?
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on FOSS Force. Reprinted with permission.
The internet activist group Demand Progress has released a short 2 1/2 minute video on YouTube that explains the implications of the legal wranglings between student Supap Kirtsaeng and textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons in a case that’s already gone before the U.S. Supreme Court and is now awaiting a ruling.
At issue is the reselling of new textbooks purchased cheaply abroad in the United States. Kirtsaeng, a Thai graduate student in the U.S., sold textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons on eBay that had been purchased by relatives in Thailand. The publisher is claiming copyright infringement, and so far has won all rulings in the Federal courts.
We found this ad posted on Other98. It’s an interesting pull-no-punches ad, evidently crowdfunded and scheduled to be aired nationwide this past Tuesday night until it was pulled–according to Other98:
The following 30-second climate change ad has already aired in three major media markets across the United States, to great acclaim as the first nationally crowdfunded climate change PSA. It was scheduled to play during Fox’s State of the Union coverage this past Tuesday. Then Exxon sent a single email, and it was unilaterally taken off the air. Here’s the ad you weren’t allowed to see:
In a hopeful and uplifting video explaining the voter rights brouhaha that swept our nation during the last couple of elections, President William Barber of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP, observes, “Poor people can’t compete with the rich lobbyist, so they have to have access to the ballot in order to shape the balance of power.”
Amen to that.
Certainly that’s not unknown to most, if not all, of those who sit in our state legislatures, even outside of Dixie, and attempt to turn back the pages to the days of Jim Crow.
A protest in Utah against Walmart. Photo by Joey Caputo
Today I ran across an old article, originally posted in 2010, 16 Facts About Walmart That Will Blow Your Mind by Ujala Sehgal on Business Insider. Actually, the piece was more slide show than article, but it succinctly explained some rather scary facts about this giant retailer. I thought I’d take this opportunity to go over some of the facts laid out in the article, with my own observations thrown in for good measure.
1. Walmart has more full-time employees — 2.1 million — than seven times the population of Iceland.
My first thought when I read this was about the irony of comparing any aspect of Iceland with Walmart.
Iceland was hit hard by the so-called “great recession” of 2007–2008. Prices on their local stock market dropped by 90 percent, inflation rose 18%, while unemployment increased by a factor of nine. Oh, at the same time all of the country’s biggest banks failed. However, Iceland has recovered nicely, not by bailing out the banks and leaving their private citizens to sink or swim. Instead, they concentrated their efforts on helping people get out from under crippling mortgages and prosecuted the bankers.
Guess what? It worked. According to Bloomberg their economy is now a shining example for the rest of us:
Editor’s note: The Coffee Party movement posted this on their Facebook page today with the following intro: “Since Planned Parenthood has become ground zero in the fight over the budget, please watch this powerful, viral video. Imagine a reality-based, not an ideology-based, discussion about the budget!”
Co-incidentally, showing up on our wall right next to this video was the following status update by our friend Matthew Arnett with KRKC News in King City, California: “Maybe if Republicans read the study on unwanted babies becoming democrats, they will leave the funding to planned parenthood alone and quit holding the budget hostage over stupid petty politics.”
I remember when Americans were customers. We bought things because we wanted them or needed them. We would have laughed in the face of anyone with the audacity to suggest that it was our patriotic duty to consume, as Bush did after 9/11. If we were faithful to a brand, that faithfulness was brought about by value or product superiority. Companies worked hard to persuade us to become their customers, and they knew better than to insult us by assuming we were forced to use their products no matter what.
Editor’s note: We just don’t get it. You would think that the people at the helm of companies ruled by greed would be aware that when they pollute, they’re not only pumping your earth and my earth with poisons, they’re also poisoning their earth as well. Do they not care about the world on which their children and grandchildren will live?