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Motto: I will never forget. [ Source HouseofNames ]

HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Fall 2018 Country Studies


The Mike P. McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis [MIEPA] takes pleasure in announcing the publication of its Fall 2018 Country Studies.

NEW ANALYSIS - REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Specialist Niall Sheeran has examined the economy of the Republic of Ireland and his study is available here: http://www.mkeever.com/ireland.html

UPDATED ANALYSES

UNITED STATES - Four Specialists, Daniela Bejarano, Melissa Headrick, Caleb Plakun and Greer Whitaker, have examined the economy of the United States. All four studies can be accessed here: http://www.mkeever.com/usa.html

MIEPA home page: www.mkeever.com

Friday, December 21, 2018

EFFECTIVE Campaign Finance Reform, Learning From the Ancient Governing Codes


THE PROBLEM - GOVERNMENT SERVICE IS A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY INSTEAD OF A SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY

Our ability to act together in the face of real and severe problems is hampered by our governing system. The United States political system is structured so that the people we expect to assist us in our critical problems - global warming, climate change, income abyss between classes, refugee floods - are incentivized to make the problems created by private interests worse instead of better.

I refer to all elected Senators, Representatives and the President as well as all the political appointees to the Federal system who require Senate approval.

Government service is seen by some today as a money tree instead of an opportunity to really serve our society.

ETHICS LAWS TODAY DO NOT ENSURE THE PUBLIC GOOD IS SERVED

One of the factors contributing to this phenomenon in the United States may be the evident corruption of many legislators. The United States recognized this as a problem and created ethics laws. Congressional ethics and conflict of interest laws were adopted in the 1970's in an attempt to control legislative behavior. [https://ethics.house.gov/financial-dislosure/policies-underlying-disclosure]

But, several members of Congress have been jailed or fined due to corruption since the 1980's; a detailed list prepared by the Washington Post is available here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/29/more-than-two-dozen-members-of-congress-have-been-indicted-since-1980/?utm_term=.99dd6768dad4

Those laws did not eliminate the problem. An apparent weakness of Congressional Ethics laws seems to be that the laws rely on public disclosure as the sole punishment for illegal behavior. In other words, there does not appear to be any enforcement mechanism except court actions resulting from public disclosure or voter disapproval. A better enforcement method might include a positive system of identifying and investigating abuses before they become too egregious.

However these disclosure principles and practices operate in an environment where incumbents have a distinct advantage in re-election campaigns AND in a society where many businesses believe - and act - that a criminal act is a good business decision whenever the reward is more than the fine or punishment. Such practices have failed to prevent many criminal acts.

That failure has contributed IMHO to the struggles we face now.

LOOK TO ANCIENT CODES FOR A NEW SOLUTION

Our problems are large. They require concerted action at a time when concerted actions appear to be difficult or impossible.

Previous attempts at Campaign Finance Reform have failed to restrict conflict of interest actions; and that has helped foster an attitude of distrust.

I return to an ancient philosophy of governing from a time when leaders were known to the people. Government was more direct - if the leader failed it was evident immediately and the leader was replaced or the society suffered.

Perhaps we can adapt some ideas from that earlier time. Although the ideas herein were generated in Medieval Ireland, it is very likely that such ideas were universal at that time. It was a time in which the Cathedrals and forts, remains of which dot the European landscape today, were built.

The following is taken from a blog post by Stiofán MacAmhalghaidh in 'Fír Flathemon, Collective Responsibility and Social Order in Early Medieval Ireland', a link to which is provided below.

ADVICE TO A RULER

Audacht Morainn

"Let him raise truth, it will raise him.
Let him exalt mercy, it exalth him
Let him care for his tribes, they will care for him
Let him help his tribes, they will help him
Let him soothe his tribes, they will soothe him"

[Fergus Kelly, A Guide To Early Irish Law, DIAS, 1988, 18-21. Kelly tends to favour 'justice' as a translation of fírinne, though one of the purposes of the present discussion is to show that 'truth' may be closer to the original meaning in most cases.]

'The advice in Audacht Morainn is built on a set of ideas about the individual's place in society and the rights and responsibilities this brings, about proper social order and the impact individual action has on this order and about the proper ordering of nature and the impact that the balance of social order has on that natural order. Cath Maige Tuired, though a mythical tale of the Túatha Dé Danann, is structured such as to demonstrate both the effects of disrupting the social and natural order and of restoring the balance to both systems. The central role of the rí, as the pinnacle of the social hierarchy, means that attention naturally falls on the actions of the holder of that position in both texts, especially in Audacht Morainn. This does not mean that his actions are the only ones that have an impact, and while this is implied in Audacht Morainn it is a constant theme in Cath Maige Tuired. Everyone has a place in society, everyone's actions have consequences, and everyone is affected by those consequences. Lug's request for knowledge from Bres completes the loop of action and consequences, linking individual, society and nature. The individual affects society, society affects nature, nature affects the individual.

Audacht Morainn, though written in the form of advice sent to a young ruler, contains within it a world-view capable of informing the actions of everyone in early medieval Irish society. Cath Maige Tuired, written as a mythical history of the gods and goddesses of Ireland's ancient past, contains in it a working-out of the world-view of Audacht Morainn and, though not structured as a lesson, it, too, can also inform the actions of the medieval Irish individual. For us, Cath Maige Tuired, though perhaps failing to give us a 'mirror on the Iron Age' can at least hold up a mirror to the society of early medieval Ireland.'

Blog post by Stiofán MacAmhalghaidh; Stiofán MacAmhalghaidh is Project Manager of the IRQUAS online Irish heritage project and Editor of INSIGHT Journal

Fír Flathemon, Collective Responsibility and Social Order in Early Medieval Ireland: Using Audacht Morainn to Interpret Cath Maige Tuired

http://homepage.tinet.ie/~archaeology/three/social.htm?fbclid=IwAR3RYIr7n79aS3MVbEm6umG3KfrZ5DkRDfgBbFYYfbwI33mGoF5RChYevbc#one


ADAPTING ANCIENT CODES TO A 21ST CENTURY SYSTEM

So then, the question becomes: "How is it possible to adapt that concept of responsibility to 21st Century Society?"

Perhaps one of the questions today is this: 'How can we encourage responsiveness to the people when the structures in place provide real incentives to act in favor of the government and against the people?'

One answer may well be to change the ethics rules for all United States Federal employees who are elected and/or Confirmed by the Senate so that they do NOT have any incentive to act in their own, personal interests and against the people's interests.


RIGOROUS ETHICS CODE MAY ENSURE THE PUBLIC IS SERVED

The goal is to ensure as much as possible that all Officials cannot make a monetary gain from their positions. Unless we can find a way to ensure public officials place the public interest ahead of their private interests, our system may be unable to withstand the inevitable shocks that are surely coming. It is likely that all such stresses will become more severe over time.

The Proposal

1. Require all elected and confirmed officials to place all their assets exceeding One Million Dollars into a blind trust so that they cannot make any additions to or subtractions from the trust until 90 days after they are out of office.

2. Require that all such officials submit their federal tax returns each year to the FBI OFFICE OF ETHICS ENFORCEMENT while they hold the office.

3. The FBI shall proactively examine each individual's financial transaction to look for violation of conflict of interest or other pecuniary gain and shall bring enforcement actions whenever it is warranted.

This is different from the current system, which relies on public disclosure to ensure compliance.

OPTION - CREATE VOLUNTARY TRUST PROCESS

Since it may be difficult to introduce a legal requirement that eligible officials are forced to create a blind trust, perhaps an option is to provide a cost free trust process that eligible parties can create a trust voluntarily.

The House Ethics Committee could create a procedure whereby the Committee Staff will provide a blind trust facility to all qualified and interested parties.

HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND STAFF CONTACTS

Ethics Committee Members - Republicans

Susan W. Brooks, Indiana - Chairwoman

Kenny Marchant, Texas

Leonard Lance, New Jersey

Mimi Walters, California

John Ratcliffe, Texas

Democrats

Ted Deutch, Florida - Ranking Member

Yvette D. Clarke, New York

Jared Polis, Colorado

Anthony Brown, Maryland

Steve Cohen, Tennessee

The Staff Director is Tom Rust, Chief Counsel & Staff Director

HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE
1015 Longworth House Office Building (LHOB)
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-7103
Fax: 202-225-7392
Office Hours: Mon. - Fri.
9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

While a voluntary process may be inadequate to ensure compliance for all parties, it may provide an easy method to get used to the idea. After all, the current system does not prevent criminal violations:

FAILURE OF DISCLOSURE TO CONTROL CORRUPTION

Copy and paste link into browser...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/29/more-than-two-dozen-members-of-congress-have-been-indicted-since-1980/?utm_term=.99dd6768dad4





Monday, December 17, 2018

A Better Way



Our system is showing that it is unable to solve the major problems we face - immanent climate change, severe wealth and income gaps, massive refuge flows, etc., etc.

Maybe ancient ways can offer a useful and different approach to life.




From - The Irish Way

If you're looking for something to read over the holidays? Consider one of the old Irish manuscripts.

Fír Flathemon, Collective Responsibility and Social Order in Early Medieval Ireland ... it might sound like a 'heavy' subject but it isn't.

There's loads of wisdom to be found in the old ways, that's why the wisdom was followed for centuries. People, especially those who were tasked with learning, keeping and interpreting the rules of Law, were often called on to handle disputes. They in turn referred to the manuscripts and would suggest choices to help resolve issues. These people relied on a natural justice, they accepted that certain actions would determine certain outcomes and understood the concept of 'implication'.

What we might call today 'The domino effect'.

The Law of Natural Justice has since been replaced and we now try to operate under a system that criminalises actions instead of understanding the cause of those actions!

Obviously actions like 'Murder, Rape, Child Abuse' should be acted on with the necessary punishments, that is the 'Natural Law' but criminalising actions like a woman stealing sanitary products because she can't afford to feed her family AND care for herself, those actions require understanding of the wider issues.

Under the old system the 'leader' would be called into question as to why their communities were struggling and if they were found to be mis-managing then they were at risk of losing everything themselves, but these days the 'leaders' are the ones implementing the social structures under which these cruel conditions are dished out to us.

There's no denying we need change, people of the world are crying out for fairness and for the cruelty and injustice to end ... what do we replace it with?

When you take/make the time to read through the old manuscripts you'll find clues to ways in which people lived in harmony and peacefully and leaders were held accountable for the 'laws' they enforced.

I'm not proposing that we go back, I am proposing that we learn how to move forward as a just and caring society. Where equality and acceptance are mainstream and not an agenda, where fairness is understood and not a political ideology. Where people are free to explore the boundaries of their own learning and maturity is praised, creativity is promoted and consideration for each other is not seen as a weakness. This isn't some 'Eutopia' this is the natural leaning of humanity, all we need are the tools to get there.

Attached is a great blog post that explores more in depth the manuscript itself and considers it's meaning in today's world. Well worth putting the kettle on and settling in for the 20min read.

Hope it helps.

Sláinte

http://homepage.tinet.ie/~archaeology/three/social.htm?fbclid=IwAR3RYIr7n79aS3MVbEm6umG3KfrZ5DkRDfgBbFYYfbwI33mGoF5RChYevbc#one

'... there is a sense of inevitability, of fate, involved. Meanness yields to liberality, conflict to peace, sorrow to joy. Not 'can yield' but 'will yield'. What is best will always rise to the surface and cast aside what is wrong, unjust or selfish. This is a warning worth heeding but it also gives a hint that there was underlying this advice a sense of a right order for things, that there is a natural balance to life which, however it might be temporarily suppressed, will inevitably come to the fore again....'


Monday, December 10, 2018

The ‘Manchurian Candidate’: Trump Was Chosen By Russia To Hurt America



The ‘Manchurian Candidate’: Trump Was Chosen By Russia To Hurt America

JakeThomas

With each filing by Robert Mueller, it is increasingly clear that Russia helped the Trump campaign defraud Americans.

Americans are on their way to finding out that a sitting U.S. president is undeniably beholden to a foreign adversary — one who helped him rise to the Oval Office — Tony Burman wrote this week.

The foreign affairs columnist for The Star pondered how Americans will react to such news when — not if — it hits the airwaves.

What will Americans do when it is proven to them that their president has been compromised by their most dangerous foreign adversary in crucial ways for more than a decade — including the bailing out of his once-bankrupt business empire with illegal Russian money, his involvement in personal and business scandals kept secret from the U.S. public but known and encouraged by the Russian government and intelligence agencies, and the rigging of the narrowly won 2016 presidential election to favour his candidacy and sabotage his Democratic opponent, with the full knowledge and complicity of the candidate, his family and senior Republican campaign team?

And, as astonishing, what will Americans do when they learn that their president, beholden to the Russians for these reasons, has consistently tried to tilt American policy in Russia’s favour, often at the expense of what many regard as America’s national interest?

We haven’t reached that point yet — not quite — but that day will come. America’s great constitutional crisis of the 21st-century is not far off.

Recent developments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation make clear that Trump’s potential crimes are of an “overwhelming scale”, Burman wrote.

He highlighted the five most recent and informative developments in Mueller’s investigation over the past week and half.

"After more than 18 months of work, Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. election has proven to be more than a “witch hunt,” as Trump derides. Thirty-three people have been indicted or pleaded guilty, including five former advisers to Trump. But the focus increasingly — for the first time — seems to be on Trump and his family.

"The most stunning revelation came from Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime “fixer.” He admitted in court that he had been involved in secret negotiations about a Trump hotel project in Moscow well into the 2016 campaign — and after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination. Yet Trump persistently claimed that “I have nothing to do with Russia — no deals, no loans, no nothing.”

"The proposed Trump Moscow project was to be financed by a sanctioned Russian bank blacklisted by the U.S. government. But without disclosing his involvement, Trump called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia. One by one, Trump’s denials about Russian involvement in his business empire are proving to be lies.

"There is now a growing theory among some American legal analysts and journalists that Mueller may be “booby trapping” the process to protect the investigation from being cut off by Trump. There has been an accelerating tempo to Mueller’s work — through criminal indictments, sentencing memoranda and other official court filings. Put together, they may eventually constitute the core of his final report.

"There is an acceptance in the U.S. legal community that Mueller won’t actually indict Trump because of a long-held belief that sitting presidents are immune to criminal indictments. That doesn’t apply once the president is out of office. There likely will be more indictments soon, possibly including Donald Trump Jr. Mueller is expected to write a report about Trump’s conduct that would inevitably lead to a debate over impeachment in the newly Democratic House of Representatives."

https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/the-manchurian-candidate-trump-was-chosen-by-russia-to-hurt-america-5LEECjaPk0Sqg1W1xR5gdw/?utm_source=Amplify&utm_medium=Intellectualist&utm_campaign=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0vOjELGSJoSeEIY6d7ir2Zhw_JwHSlc5IMvcPTyDpPdySc7TyQV_7XAQ8

Monday, November 26, 2018

Truth and trump


I am pretty sure this will be a contentious posting, since some trump supporters will disagree with it.

Here's what I think is true today.

It is NOT patriotic to support trump in all his policies. Many of his policies and actions conflict with the values and ideals Americans hold dear. One of those values is the right and duty of Americans to call out any elected official when that person is failing to adhere to American values, especially the President.

trump's base was motivated to vote for change since the economy has failed to allow wages to keep up with GDP gains; wages have been stagnant since the 1970's in real terms while GDP and corporate profits have soared. BUT, Republicans of all stripes including his base are actively installing policies which will make that worse and will NOT alleviate it.

trump is personally a vile and disgusting person of whom I am ashamed. All real Americans are ashamed of him.

trump has taken money from Russian mobsters and Saudi crooks; they have threatened to kill him and his family if he does not do what they ask. As a result, trump is a Russian asset whose policies serve the interests of Putin and his 'oligarch' mobster pals, and NOT Americans.

Evidence proving trump has committed several crimes while acting as President will be forthcoming soon.

The only question is whether American laws are able to withstand the trump subversion process. I will bet they are that strong.

trump will leave office in disgrace.

Some may ask: Why do you hate trump? I ask: How is it that you do NOT hate trump?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Right Wing Populism - Long Post



Far right populist movements are becoming popular in many countries. Trumpism is the most visible of these as it has had some governing opportunities in the United States of America.

'In Europe, right-wing populism is an expression used to describe groups, politicians and political parties generally known for their opposition to immigration,[1] mostly from the Islamic world[2] and in most cases Euroscepticism.[3] Right-wing populism in the Western world is generally—though not exclusively—associated with ideologies such as neo-nationalism,[4][5] anti-globalization,[6] nativism,[7][8] protectionism[9] and opposition to immigration.[10] Anti-Muslim ideas and sentiments serve as the "great unifiers" among right-wing political formations throughout Western Europe.[11] Traditional right-wing views such as opposition to an increasing support for the welfare state and a "more lavish, but also more restrictive, domestic social spending" scheme is also described under right-wing populism and is sometimes called "welfare chauvinism".[12][13][14]' [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_populism]

Since the likely impact on host countries of an active right wing populist movement is an increase in hatred, violence and mistrust of 'others' in general, the result may well be a weakening of national purpose and cooperation with other countries against a common threat. As such, this will further the interests of Putin's Russia by sowing discord in NATO and fragmenting any military response.

The genesis of these movements is a complicated mish-mash of fear of immigration, lower economic opportunities for less educated workers and the general economic change we are living through. The economic change has been manifested through lower living standards in working class communities. Their frustrations have fueled the movement.

Putin has seized on these frustrations and has actively funded the numerous alt-right movements. His goal is simply to sow division and hatred.

Concurrently, upper classes have used the confusion to increase their power over government actions with the usual result of deepening class divisions.

The Trump model follows the simple idea of promoting fear through existing alt right groups, denigrating other races and countries, following an 'America First' diplomacy, attacking the credibility of the press and using the resulting confusion to install laws which benefit upper classes at the expense of the working and middle classes. Also, rampant corruption exists with little public notice. All of these actions weaken our unity when facing an enemy like Russia.

Many of these European movements have support from Steve Bannon, who was working in the Trump Administration.

The following country by country discussion is from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_populism

Austria

The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) established in 1955 by a former Nazi functionary claims to represent a "Third Camp" (Drittes Lager), beside the Socialist Party and the social Catholic Austrian People's Party. It succeeded the Federation of Independents founded after World War II, adopting the pre-war heritage of German nationalism. Though it did not gain much popularity for decades, it exercised considerable balance of power by supporting several federal governments, be it right-wing or left-wing, e.g. the Socialist Kreisky cabinet of 1970 (see Kreisky–Peter–Wiesenthal affair).
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party of Austria and Vice-Chancellor of Austria

From 1980, the Freedom Party adopted a more liberal stance. Upon the 1983 federal election, it entered a coalition government with the Socialist Party, whereby party Chairman Norbert Steger served as Vice-Chancellor. The liberal interlude however ended, when Jörg Haider was elected chairman in 1986. By his down-to-earth manners and patriotic attitude, Haider re-integrated the party's nationalist base voters. Nevertheless, he was also able to obtain votes from large sections of population disenchanted with politics by publicly denouncing corruption and nepotism of the Austrian Proporz system. The electoral success was boosted by Austria's accession to the European Union in 1995.

Belgium

Vlaams Blok, established in 1978, operated on a platform of law and order, anti-immigration (with particular focus on Islamic immigration) and secession of the Flanders region of the country. The secession was originally planned to end in the annexation of Flanders by the culturally and linguistically similar Netherlands until the plan was abandoned due to the multiculturalism in that country. In the elections to the Flemish Parliament in June 2004, the party received 24.2% of the vote, within less than 2% of being the largest party. [55] However, in November of the same year, the party was ruled illegal under anti-racism law for, among other things, advocating schools segregated between citizens and immigrants.[56] Mischaël Modrikamen, an associate of Steve Bannon, is chairman of the Parti Populaire (PP).[43]

In less than a week, the party was re-established under the name Vlaams Belang, with a near-identical ideology. It advocates for immigrants wishing to stay to adopt the Flemish culture and language.[57] Despite some accusations of antisemitism from Belgium's Jewish population, the party has demonstrated a staunch pro-Israel stance as part of its opposition to Islam.[58] With 18 of 124 seats, Vlaams Belang lead the opposition in the Flemish Parliament[59] and also have 11 of the 150 seats in the Belgian House of Representatives.[60]

Cyprus

The ELAM (National People's Front) (Εθνικό Λαϊκό Μέτωπο) was formed in 2008 on the platform of maintaining Cypriot identity, opposition to further European integration, immigration and the status quo that remains due to Turkey's invasion of a third of the island (and the international community's lack of intention to solve the issue).

Czech Republic

PRAGUE — After an election campaign centered on questions of civility in politics and the Czech Republic’s place in Europe, voters decided on Saturday to stick with President Milos Zeman and his often-caustic brand of populism that has stoked resentment toward Muslim immigrants and ruptured the country’s relationship with its allies to the west. By Marc Santora, NYTimes, Jan. 27, 2018

Denmark

In the early 1970s, the home of the strongest right-wing-populist party in Europe was in Denmark, the Progress Party.[61] In the 1973 election, it received almost 16% of the vote.[62] In the following years, its support dwindled away, but was replaced by the Danish People's Party in the 1990s, which has gone on to be an important support party for the governing Liberal-Conservative coalition in the 2000s (decade).[63] The Danish People's Party is the largest and most influential right-wing populist party in Denmark today. It won 37 seats in the Danish general election, 2015[64] and became the second largest party in Denmark. The Danish People's Party advocates immigration reductions, particularly from non-Western countries, favor cultural assimilation of first generation migrants into Danish society and are opposed to Denmark becoming a multicultural society.

Additionally, the Danish People's Party's stated goals are to enforce a strict rule of law, to maintain a strong welfare system for those in need, to promote economic growth by strengthening education and encouraging people to work and in favor of protecting the environment.[65] In 2015, The New Right was founded,[66] but they have not yet participated in an election.

Finland

In Finland, the Finns Party is the main right-wing populist party and the second largest party in Finland. In 2017, 19 of the 37 MPs from the party split and founded Blue Reform.

France

In France, the main right-wing populist party is the National Front. Since Marine Le Pen's election at the head of the party in 2011, the National Front has established itself as one of the main political parties in France and also as the strongest and most successful populist party of Europe as of 2015.[67]

Le Pen finished second in the 2017 election and lost in the second round of voting versus Emmanuel Macron which was held on 7 May 2017.

Germany

The Alternative for Germany is a political party that was founded in 2013 and is now led by Jörg Meuthen and Alexander Gauland, being Germany's leading right-wing populist party

Since 2013, the most popular right-wing populist party in Germany has been Alternative for Germany which managed to finish third in the 2017 German federal election, making it the first right-wing populist party to enter the Bundestag, Germany's national parliament. Before, right-wing populist parties had gained seats in German State Parliaments only. Left-wing populism is represented in the Bundestag by The Left party.

Hungary

Viktor Orbán (Fidesz-KDNP), the incumbent Prime Minister of Hungary

The Hungarian parliamentary election, 2018 result was a victory for the Fidesz–KDNP alliance, preserving its two-thirds majority, with Viktor Orbán remaining Prime Minister. Orbán and Fidesz campaigned primarily on the issues of immigration and foreign meddling, and the election was seen as a victory for right-wing populism in Europe.[citation needed]

Greece

The most prominent right-wing populist party in Greece is the Independent Greeks (ANEL).[69][70] Despite being smaller than the more extreme Golden Dawn party, after the January 2015 legislative elections ANEL formed a governing coalition with the left-wing Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), thus making the party a governing party and giving it a place in the Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras.[71]

The Golden Dawn has grown significantly in Greece during the country's economic downturn, gaining 7% of the vote and 18 out of 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament. The party's ideology includes annexation of territory in Albania and Turkey, including the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir.[72] Controversial measures by the party included a poor people's kitchen in Athens which only supplied to Greek citizens and was shut down by the police.[73]

Italy

In Italy, the most prominent right-wing populist party is Lega Nord (LN),[76] whose leaders reject the right-wing label,[77][78][79] though not the "populist" one.[80] LN is a federalist, regionalist and sometimes secessionist party, founded in 1991 as a federation of several regional parties of Northern and Central Italy, most of which had arisen and expanded during the 1980s. LN's program advocates the transformation of Italy into a federal state, fiscal federalism and greater regional autonomy, especially for the Northern regions. At times, the party has advocated for the secession of the North, which it calls Padania. The party generally takes an anti-Southern Italian stance as members are known for opposing Southern Italian emigration to Northern Italian cities, stereotyping Southern Italians as welfare abusers and detrimental to Italian society and attributing Italy's economic troubles and the disparity of the North-South divide in the Italian economy to supposed inherent negative characteristics of the Southern Italians, such as laziness, lack of education or criminality.[81][82][83][84] Certain LN members have been known to publicly deploy the offensive slur "terrone", a common pejorative term for Southern Italians that is evocative of negative Southern Italian stereotypes.[81][82][85] As a federalist, regionalist, populist party of the North, LN is also highly critical of the centralized power and political importance of Rome, sometimes adopting to a lesser extent an anti-Roman stance in addition to an anti-Southern stance.

With the rise of immigration into Italy since the late 1990s, LN has increasingly turned its attention to criticizing mass immigration to Italy. The LN, which also opposes illegal immigration, is critical of Islam and proposes Italy's exit from the Eurozone, is considered a Eurosceptic movement and as such it joined the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament after the 2009 European Parliament election. LN was or is part of the national government in 1994, 2001–2006, 2008–2011 and 2018-present. Most recently, the party, which notably includes among its members the Presidents of Lombardy and Veneto, won 17.4% of the vote in the 2018 general election, becoming the third-largest party in Italy (largest within the centre-right coalition). In the 2014 European election, under the leadership of Matteo Salvini it took 6.2% of votes. Under Salvini, the party has to some extent embraced Italian nationalism and emphasised Euroscepticism, opposition to immigration and other "populist" policies, while forming an alliance with right-wing populist parties in Europe.[86][87][88]

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, right-wing populism was represented in the 150-seat House of Representatives in 1982, when the Centre Party won a single seat. During the 1990s, a splinter party, the Centre Democrats, was slightly more successful, although its significance was still marginal. Not before 2002 did a right-wing populist party break through in the Netherlands, when the Pim Fortuyn List won 26 seats and subsequently formed a coalition with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Fortuyn, who had strong views against immigration, particularly by Muslims, was assassinated in May 2002, two weeks before the election.[91] The coalition had broken up by 2003, and the party went into steep decline until it was dissolved.

Since 2006, the Party for Freedom (PVV) has been represented in the House of Representatives. Following the 2010 general election, it has been in a pact with the right-wing minority government of CDA and VVD after it won 24 seats in the House of Representatives. The party is Eurosceptic and plays a leading role in the changing stance of the Dutch government towards European integration as they came second in the 2009 European Parliament election, winning 4 out of 25 seats. The party's main programme revolves around strong criticism of Islam, restrictions on migration from new European Union countries and Islamic countries, pushing for cultural assimilation of migrants into Dutch society, opposing the accession of Turkey to the European Union, advocating for the Netherlands to withdraw from the European Union and advocating for a return to the guilder through ending Dutch usage of the euro.[92]


Poland

The largest right-wing populist party in Poland is Law and Justice, which currently holds both the presidency and a governing majority in the Sejm. It combines social conservatism and criticism of immigration with strong support for NATO and an interventionist economic policy.[96]

Polish Congress of the New Right, headed by Michał Marusik, aggressively promotes fiscally conservative concepts like radical tax reductions preceded by abolishment of social security, universal public healthcare, state-sponsored education and abolishment of Communist Polish 1944 agricultural reform as a way to dynamical economic and welfare growth.[97][98] Due to lack of empirical and economic evidences presented by party leaders and members, the party is considered populist both by right-wing and left-wing publicists[99][100]

Sweden

Sweden Democrats or Swedish Democrats (Swedish: Sverigedemokraterna, SD) is a social conservative and right-wing populist[2][13] political party in Sweden, founded in 1988.[2][14] The party describes itself as social conservative with a nationalist foundation.[3][5] The party has been described by others as far-right,[9][15] national-conservative,[2][6] and anti-immigration.[2][7][16] Jimmie Åkesson has been party leader since 2005.

Since 2014 the SD has substantially increased its support among both foreign-born and foreign-background voters, becoming the third largest party in Sweden also among this demographic by 2017 (SCB).[17]

The Sweden Democrats crossed the 4% threshold necessary for parliamentary representation for the first time in the 2010 general election, polling 5.7% and gaining 20 seats in the Riksdag.[18][19] This increase in popularity has been compared by international media to other similar anti-immigration movements in Europe.[20] The party received increased support in the 2014 Swedish general election, when it polled 12.9% and secured 49 seats in parliament, becoming the third largest party in Sweden.[21][22] The Sweden Democrats have remained isolated in the Riksdag because the other parties staunchly maintain a policy of refusing cooperation with them.[23][24] The Sweden Democrats are a member of European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party (SVP) reached an all-time high in the 2015 elections. The party is mainly considered to be national conservative,[101][102] but it has also variously been identified as "extreme right"[103] and "radical right-wing populist",[104] reflecting a spectrum of ideologies present among its members. In its far-right wing, it includes members such as Ulrich Schlüer, Pascal Junod, who heads a New Right study group. |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20020421064426/http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw2000-1/switzerland.htm |archive-date=21 April 2002 |dead-url=yes |title=Antisemitism And Racism in Switzerland 2000-1 |accessdate=3 January 2015 }}[105]

In Switzerland, radical right populist parties held close to 10% of the popular vote in 1971, were reduced to below 2% by 1979 and again grew to more than 10% in 1991. Since 1991, these parties (the Swiss Democrats and the Swiss Freedom Party) have been absorbed by the SVP. During the 1990s, the SVP grew from being the fourth largest party to being the largest and gained a second seat the Swiss Federal Council in 2003, with prominent politician and businessman Christoph Blocher. In 2015, the SVP received 29.4% of the vote, the highest vote ever recorded for a single party throughout Swiss parliamentary history.[106][107][108][109]

United Kingdom

Media outlets such as The New York Times have called the UK Independence Party (UKIP), led by Nigel Farage, the largest right-wing populist party in the United Kingdom.[110] UKIP campaigned for an exit from the European Union prior to the 2016 European membership referendum[111] and a points-based immigration system similar to that used in Australia.[112][113][114]
Nigel Farage, British MEP and former leader of the UK Independence Party

The United Kingdom's governing Conservative Party has seen defections to UKIP over the European Union and immigration debates as well as LGBT rights.[115]

In the Conservative Party, former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been described as expressing right-wing populist views during the successful Vote Leave campaign.[116] Jacob Rees-Mogg, another potential party leadership contender, has been described as a right-wing populist.[117]

In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the main right-wing populist force.[118]



Monday, November 12, 2018

The Profit Motive - Is it time to retire the ROI?


I. Profit Motive

A. Definition

Economic theory is supported by the idea of the profit motive. Profit refers to the money left to the business after all expenses and taxes have been paid.

Narrowly defined, the profit motive states that: 'Entrepreneurs are willing to risk capital in the hopes of a monetary profit reward if the venture succeeds. Indeed, success is defined as making a profit.'

A widely used measurement of success is the Return on Investment percentage [ROI], or the annual profit received divided by the capital invested. Investment opportunities are frequently ranked by that measurement with the higher percentage ROI projects or investments deemed more desirable than lower percentage ROI projects.

When competitive markets exist, capital is drawn toward higher ROI's and away from lower ROI's. Theory suggests that a society is 'efficient' when all invested capital is making the highest ROI possible.

B. Flaws inherent to the profit motive when extended beyond the firm

Numerous factors create costs and difficulties for the greater society when businesses are motivated to achieve 'efficiency' as measured by a high ROI.

1. External costs

Unfortunately, the idea of 'efficiency' does not include benefits to any people or organizations outside of the narrowly defined business. It is possible for a business to have a high ROI while making the overall society poorer. For example, making and selling cars can be a profitable business when only the direct costs paid by the company are considered. But, cars require roads and the car companies do not pay for the roads. This is called an 'external' cost, or a cost created by the company that the company does not pay. Instead, consumers pay the cost through taxes or tolls, which then benefit the company by enabling it to pass onto the public costs created by their product.

2. Adversarial relationships

Another thorn in the side of the profit motive is that business owners are motivated to reduce costs wherever possible in order to get a higher ROI. Specifically, any business is motivated to lower any and all costs like wages and salaries and to charge the highest price possible. That's how ROI is raised.

Businesses then are placed in an adversarial position with employees, suppliers and customers. Lower costs mean higher profits.

It does happen that some entrepreneurs occasionally attempt to harm competitors in order to benefit their own venture.

3. Income Inequalities and Monopolies

A regular feature of for profit economies is the concentration of income and wealth into fewer and fewer hands. As the rich become influential they will regularly block redistribution efforts from the central government in the belief that they will lose income and power.


II. Alternative organizational models

Economies where the profit motive is the dominant model frequently fail to provide adequate real benefits to the general population; some benefits do not lend themselves to the profit motive. Firms have no incentive to provide for any good or service from which they do not make a profit. Public goods like national defense and public parks don't have the possibility of generating enough revenue to create profits with a sufficient ROI to attract private capital. Instead there is a drive toward higher and higher ROI at the expense of the greater population.

Defenders of the profit motive argue that any such public good must be provided by the public sector and paid for though tax revenue to the government. However, some entrepreneurs lobby for and argue that taxes should be lowered to allow them to raise their ROI.

But, when a society fails to provide funding for public services through tax revenue, the central government frequently chooses to borrow money to fund the deficit. Seemingly several governments have reached the limit of funding public deficits through borrowing in the private capital markets. The lender of last resort, the International Monetary Fund [IMF], does require that governments wishing to finance their deficit raise taxes and lower expenditures to balance their budget. To date, the United States of America has avoided that exercise since private lenders seem happy to lend the US sufficient funds at low interest rates to fund our deficit. This may end at some future date; then the US would likely face the same IMF mandates we have avoided so far.

Here are some ways to organize enterprises which offer a better method of balancing private, for-profit interests and public interests.

A. Public Utility Model - For profit with regulation oversight

This is the Public Utility Model where a for profit company provides an essential product or service which requires a significant investment to deliver efficiently. The company is granted a monopoly but must submit to a publicly elected board with power to set its prices and operational methods. In California, the PUC regulates electricity and natural gas distribution.

The Board tries to set rates so that the company can attract private capital to its shares and bonds. Sometimes the Board fails to grasp the intricacies of the system and can sometimes be bought.

B. State Enterprise -

Many countries use the State model where a government organization provides a good or service. Sometimes this model creates problems when the company fails to make enough revenue and the government covers its losses. A case can be made that the subsidies are in fact an investment into a social goal that the organization provides for the country.

C. Non-Profit Organizations

Many successful organizations operate on a non-profit model, where the goal is to combine maximization of one or more social goals with enough revenue to cover costs. There are, for example, many non-profit credit unions which provide the same services as for profit banks but without the excessive concentration of money and power which commercial banks accumulate. [See my kindle book on BANK SLUSH FUNDS here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B6RYQ7C/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6]


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Radio Free Europe. Radio Free Arabia



Several European countries are experiencing populist movements in their domestic political systems. Some of the impetus toward right wing extremism is fueled by the fear of a rise in refugees and also by Russian meddling.

Since one of the first signs of a totalitarian regime is the control or muzzling of the free press, it becomes more difficult for affected populations to discover the truth of their situations. Repression of facts and a rise in false news make that knowledge more difficult to find.

Here are extreme nationalist votes in Western Europe by share [https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36130006]

Austria - Freedom Party – 26%

Switzerland - Swiss People’s Party- 29%

Sweden - Sweden Democrats 18%

Denmark – Danish People’s Party 21%

Hungary – Jobbik 19%

Finland – The Finns – 18%

Those are just the countries where the share of extremism exceeds 17%; the movement is active in all Western European countries.

Countries like Ukraine, Moldova, and other former Soviet Bloc nations are not represented in the table.

Simultaneously, a number of Arab speaking countries endure totalitarian regimes with little opportunity for the populations to make their voices heard.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - King Salman (House of Saud)

Qatar - Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

United Arab Emirates - Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Kingdom of Oman - Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.

Brunei - Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Perhaps it is an appropriate time to provide the populations of all these afflicted countries with an objective and non-political source of information in their own languages.

Radio Free Europe, funded by the US CIA, provided this function in Post WW2 Europe; it may be time for a more objective institution to bring it back to life.

A new Radio Free Arabia could provide s similar function for the Arab speaking populations.

Any such effort should be transparent in its funding and objectives and non-religious.




Sunday, October 28, 2018

United States as Russian Satellite


Russia has had a strong interest in controlling the governments on its western front since the Revolution. Immediately after World War II, the Russian government was able to control those countries by installing leaders dependent on Russia for support and by systematically eliminating any opposition. Since there were active armed partisan groups of many political leanings, it was relatively simple to choose the most loyal group and install that group as the sovereign and liquidate the opposition. Control of the sovereign was maintained by killing a leader who did not follow the party line.

After some time in control, Russia modified its tactics to rely on political means as the Red Army was withdrawn and the societies became more stable.

Under Putin, the drive to control potentially hostile governments has accelerated. Although the primary means of control is political manipulation, the tool of liquidation remains a part of Russia's tactics.

Although there is no formal acknowledgement of Russia's political control of the United States, this article takes that as a given.

United States, Donald Trump

In the Presidential election of 2016, Russia's chosen asset Donald Trump was assisted by a concerted Russian effort to swing the election in his favor. Although there were no overt assassinations, Russia continues to use murder as a political tool, even including killings in Western countries.

The Trump administration has consistently initiated and supported Pro-Russian actions and policies since his taking the oath of office. Two of the most obvious actions are, first, the immediate purge of the State Department's top officials charged with co-coordinating NATO actions to thwart Russia, and, second, the immediate purge of Radio Free Europe staff and Board.

Albania, Enver Hoxha

In February 1949, Albania gained membership in the communist bloc's organization for coordinating economic planning, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon).

A collection of communists moved quickly after the Second World War to subdue all potential political enemies in Albania, break the country's landowners and minuscule middle class, and isolate Albania from western powers in order to establish the People's Republic of Albania. In 1945,Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu emerged as communist leaders in Albania, and are recognized by most western nations. They began to concentrate primarily on securing and maintaining their power base by killing all their political adversaries,

Bulgaria, Georgi Dimitrov

On 23 Aug 1944, Romania, Bulgaria's northern neighbor, saw its head of government Ion Antonescu removed from power and its stance switch from the Axis to the Soviet Union. Three days later, the Bulgarian Fatherland Front began a successful armed rebellion against the government, drove out the German troops by the end of Aug 1944, and overthrew the Bulgarian pro-Nazi government by 9 Sep; among the first announcements made by the new government was Bulgaria's declaration of war against Germany. Meanwhile, Soviet troops marched into Bulgaria in the first week of Sep, meeting [o]no resistance....Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov ordered, from Moscow in Russia, the creation of the People's Court to try Bulgarian leaders responsible for Bulgarian involvement in the European War on the side of the Germans.

https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=301

Czechoslovakia, Ludvik Svoboda

Prague and most of the rest of Czechoslovakia were liberated by the Soviet Red Army in May, 1945. That this would happen had been decided by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill at the Yalta Conference.

It was at this same conference that it was decided that Czechoslovakia would come under the Soviet “sphere of influence” after World War II. But, the westernmost part of the country – from the beer-brewing town of Pilsen to the spa town of Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) were liberated by the Americans led by General Patton. It was in 1945 that the USSR officially annexed this western part then known as Ruthenia.

On May 7, 1945, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Forces, but the last shots on Czech territory were fired on May 11. During the war, most of the members of the domestic resistance movement had gradually become ever more leftist in their ideology, since they were so vehemently opposed to the extreme right ideals that were ruling it at the time. Czechoslovakia’s first post-war government was constructed exclusively from the political parties of the leftist “National Front.” These included the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the National Democratic Party, the People’s Party and the Slovak Democratic Party. Pre-war right-wing parties were not allowed to renew their activities, because of their real and/or alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Left-wing Social Democrat, Zdenek Fierlinger, well-known for his affiliation with the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC), was appointed Prime Minister. The remaining six government posts were filled with Czech and Slovak Communists – Klement Gottwald, Viliam Siroky, Vaclav Kopecky, Julius Duris and Jozef Soltesz. In addition, the Communists were able to place their loyal supporter, Ludvik Svoboda (later Czechoslovak President), in the key post of defense minister. Thus, the extreme left gained a strong political position in the newly-liberated country as early as 1945.

https://livingprague.com/prague-history/prague-post-world-war-two/

Hungary, Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő

The Soviets made sure that a post-war government dominated by Communists was installed in the country before transferring authority from the occupation force to the Hungarians.

In elections held in November 1945, the Independent Smallholders' Party won 57 percent of the vote. The Hungarian Communist Party, under the leadership of Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő, received support from only 17 percent of the population. The Soviet commander in Hungary, Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, refused to allow the Smallholders Party to form a government. Instead, Voroshilov established a coalition government with the Communists holding some of the key posts. Later, Mátyás Rákosi boasted that he had dealt with his partners in the government one by one, "cutting them off like slices of salami." The Hungarian monarchy was formally abolished on February 1, 1946, and replaced by the Republic of Hungary. The gradual takeover by the Communists was completed on August 18, 1949, when Hungary became the People's Republic of Hungary.

The presence of Soviet troops in Hungary was formalized by the 1949 mutual assistance treaty, which granted the Soviet Union rights to a continued military presence, assuring ultimate political control. The Soviet forces in Hungary were part of the so-called Central Group of Forces headquartered in Baden, near Vienna.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungary%E2%80%93Soviet_Union_relations

East Germany, Walter Ulbricht

East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʁaːtɪʃə ʁepuˈbliːk], DDR) existed from 1949 to 1990, the period when the eastern portion of Germany was a state that was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state",[3] and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II—the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.

The ruling political party in East Germany was the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party of Germany, SED). It was created in 1946 through the Soviet-directed merger of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the Soviet controlled zone. However, the SED quickly transformed into a full-fledged Communist party as the more independent-minded Social Democrats were pushed out.[45]

On 7 October 1949, the SED established the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic – GDR), based on a socialist political constitution establishing its control of the anti-fascist National Front of the German Democratic Republic (NF, Nationale Front der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik), an omnibus alliance of every party and mass organisation in East Germany. The NF was established to stand for election to the Volkskammer (People's Chamber), the East German parliament. The first and only President of the German Democratic Republic was Wilhelm Pieck. However, after 1950, political power in East Germany was held by the First Secretary of the SED, Walter Ulbricht.[33]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Germany#Organization

Poland, Bolesław Bierut

Near the end of World War II, the advancing Soviet Red Army pushed out the Nazi German forces from occupied Poland. In February 1945, the Yalta Conference sanctioned the formation of a provisional government of Poland from a compromise coalition, until postwar elections. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, manipulated the implementation of that ruling. A practically communist-controlled Provisional Government of National Unity was formed in Warsaw by ignoring the Polish government-in-exile based in London since 1940.

During the subsequent Potsdam Conference in July–August 1945, the three major Allies ratified the colossal westerly shift of Polish borders and approved its new territory between the Oder–Neisse line and Curzon Line. Following the destruction of the Polish-Jewish population in the Holocaust, the flight and expulsion of Germans in the west, resettlement of Ukrainians in the east, and the repatriation of Poles from Kresy, Poland became for the first time in its history an ethnically homogeneous nation-state without prominent minorities. The new government solidified its political power over the next two years, while the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) under Bolesław Bierut gained firm control over the country, which would become part of the postwar Soviet sphere of influence in Central and Eastern Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Poland_(1945%E2%80%931989)

Romania, Emil Bodnăraş

The Soviet occupation of Romania refers[1] to the period from 1944 to August 1958, during which the Soviet Union maintained a significant military presence in Romania. The fate of the territories held by Romania after 1918 that were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 is treated separately in the article on Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

During the Eastern Front offensive of 1944, the Soviet Army occupied what had been the Kingdom of Romania prior to the military occupation. The northwestern part of Moldavia was occupied as a result of armed combat that took place between the months of April and August of that year, while Romania was still an ally of Nazi Germany. The rest of the territory was occupied after Romania changed sides in World War II, as a result of the royal coup launched by King Michael on August 23, 1944. On that date, the King announced that Romania had unilaterally ceased all military actions against the Allies, accepted the Allied armistice offer,[2] and joined the war against the Axis Powers. As no formal armistice offer had been extended yet, the Red Army occupied most of Romania as enemy territory prior to the signing of the Moscow Armistice of September 12, 1944.

At the inception of this organizational overhaul, pro-German elements were purged from the Romanian armed forces. In 1944–45, two divisions composed of Romanian volunteers— former prisoners of war, trained in the Soviet Union during the war, and also Communist activists such as Valter Roman— were formed: the Tudor Vladimirescu Division, under the command of Colonel Nicolae Cambrea, and the Horia, Cloşca şi Crişan Division, under the command of General Mihail Lascăr (who was to serve as Minister of Defense from 1946 to 1947). These two units were to form the nucleus of the new Romanian Army under Soviet control. Once the Romanian Communist Party took the reins of power, 30% of officers and noncommissioned officers (mostly experienced soldiers, but at the same time a potential source of opposition to the Sovietization of the Army) were purged from the military.[22]

Following the Romanian Workers' Party seizure of political power, the Sovietization of the Romanian army went into full gear, under the supervision of the new Minister of Defense, Emil Bodnăraş. This reorganization involved the adoption of the Soviet model of military and political organization, and a change of the military doctrine of combat and defense, in the context of Romania's integration into the Soviet strategic system, at the dawn of the Cold War.[23]

Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito

Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established. It acquired the territories of Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar from Italy. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslavia

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Actual Companies Responsible for Human Extinction



Here are the 100 companies responsible for the Human Species Extinction:

Precis:

"These companies, led by Saudi Aramco, Russian gas giant Gazprom, and Exxon Mobil, have produced about 923 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalents between 1988 to 2016. State-owned coal producers in China and India also feature in the top 10, as do Mexican oil producer Pemex and the National Iranian Oil Corporation. Of the top 10, only Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell are majority-owned by private investors (although CDP has, for some reason, listed a bundle of privately-held companies into what it calls “Russia Coal” at no. 7). "

Full Article
http://fortune.com/2017/07/10/climate-change-green-house-gases/

Thursday, October 11, 2018

UPDATE - 100 Companies Responsible - We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN



Climate change is real and will be upon us very soon.

Drought, hurricanes and more.

It is likely that greed will prevent our species from making needed changes:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

Apparently, the mess is caused by 100 companies which emit 70% of carbon emissions

https://www.gq.com/story/billionaires-climate-change?fbclid=IwAR2cRFxrzbEMUAsQnB9REG4ZWg_nSEOx-8N_DeV-KoCbvgNz_MeEiGaPtPc

Monday, October 8, 2018

trump is an Existential Threat to the United States of America



In the heat of an election, it is easy to lose sight of the larger picture. Regardless of the Mid-Term results, the very existence of the United States is under attack.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the existence of the United States of America as a representative Democracy governed by the rule of law independently of the personal wishes of any man or woman is the current POTUS - Donald Trump.

He is actively installing the infrastructure to support a one person dictatorship within the confines of the current government. This includes a push toward eliminating the freedom to dissent enshrined in the First Amendment. Hillary Clinton suggested recently on the Rachel Maddow show that she thought trump would fire many people after the election; probably for the purpose of replacing them with his supporters. THIS WILL HAPPEN REGARDLESS OF WHICH PARTY DOES WELL IN THE ELECTIONS.

This space has been somewhat choleric on this and associated topics in the belief that inflammatory headlines are obscuring a larger danger.

A review of recent literature on the subject does provide cause for alarm.

Rich Barlow:

'Like ...[some] previous presidents, Trump hasn’t made a blatant lunge for dictatorial power. But his intermittent impulses toward autocracy have made it necessary for advisers, Congress and courts to contain him.

He argued during his campaign for the efficacy of torture and prosecuting his opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has threatened media whose coverage he found insufficiently admiring, and tried to suppress the Trump-damning book "Fire and Fury."

He proposed an un-American religious test for immigrants and refugees to ban Muslims; infected the body politic with nepotistic and business-crony appointees; shrugs off Russian meddling in our elections; and discussed a mass roundup-cum-deportation of illegal immigrants. (Arrests of undocumented immigrants surged during Trump’s first year, though not deportations as of yet.)'

http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2018/03/16/authoritarianism-cass-sunstein-rich-barlow

The Trump Administration Is Targeting Anti-Trump Facebook Users - By DAVID MEYER September 29, 2017, FORTUNE MAGAZINE

'The Justice Department is trying to force Facebook to disclose information about thousands of people who “liked” a page opposing president Donald Trump.

The DoJ wants to access all the information from the profiles of three activists connected to the “DisruptJ20” protests on the day of Trump’s January inauguration. The protests turned violent in part and, with a couple hundred people having been charged over the Washington, D.C. riots, the authorities are going after online information relating to DisruptJ20.

One of the three being targeted by the DoJ, Emmelia Talarico, was an administrator and moderator for the DisruptJ20 Facebook page, since renamed “Resist This.” According to a legal filing by the D.C. branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the information being sought about that page would include personal details of thousands of other Facebook users who interacted with it.'

trump has weaponized hatred and dissent in an attempt to divide the population.

[By Alan M. Dershowitz JULY 25, 2018]

'President Trump recently threatened to strip the security clearances of top former government officials who criticized his performance at Helsinki with regard to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Were Trump to carry out this threat, he would be violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment. Such a decision, directed only at those who exercised their First Amendment rights to criticize Trump, might be seen by the courts as punitive government action directed at the content of speech. Even threatening to do so might deter critics from exercising their free-speech rights.

Trump’s threat is reminiscent of the decision by General Lewis B. Hershey, who was the director of the Selective Service System during the Vietnam War, to selectively draft critics of the war. In both cases, the government has the authority to act generally by cutting off security clearances or drafting individuals. But it may not have the constitutional power to act selectively against critics who are exercising their rights under the First Amendment.'

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/07/25/trump-bid-silence-dissent-violates-spirit-first-amendment/czPW9wyCBsSwkxIvvB5dvJ/story.html

Ellis Cose, USA today

'Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog, spent more than a year chasing down one of Trump’s statistics. In a speech before Congress in February 2017, Trump cited a Justice Department study showing “the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” After repeated requests for information from the Justice Department, Wittes concluded that the president was lying. Justice never generated such a statistic.

Nor, as fact-checkers have confirmed, is there evidence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement liberating towns across America from savage, immigrant gangs.

Such falsehoods have a transparent purpose — one aligned with neo-Nazi propaganda. They are designed to make us believe that hatred, suspicion and dread of marginalized populations are not just normal but noble.

Racism has become a normal occurrence

In March, the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a report documenting a 74 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Trump took office. In June, Scientific American cited a scholarly study suggesting that “Trump’s Islamic-related tweets may be directly linked to an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes over the past few years.” An NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll this May found that 30 percent of Americans see race as the biggest source of division in the country, and that 45 percent think race relations are getting worse.

When our president warns of marauding hordes pouring across the border and refers to brown people seeking asylum as an infestation, it’s no surprise that people are fretting over race relations.

In 2009, I visited Rwanda and talked to men who had participated in the attempted genocide 15 years earlier, many of whom were in prison. Why, I asked, had they tortured and killed their Tutsi neighbors? Some refused to give a direct answer. Others claimed they were wrongly accused. But the typical response among those who answered was that they thought they were doing what the state wanted them to do. They thought they were doing good. They thought they were performing a service by ridding the world of people the government called “cockroaches.”

Thank God we have gotten nowhere near that point in America — yet — although one could argue that putting immigrant children considered part of an infestation in cages is a step in that direction.

A year after the tragic events in Charlottesville, white supremacists seem emboldened. Although part of a street has been named for Heather Heyer, and her accused murderer is in jail charged with murder and federal hate crime violations, we remain a conflicted nation. Indeed, that seems to be part of Trump’s vision for our country, but there is no reason why it should be ours. There is no nobility in falling into Trump’s trap or in normalizing his ethnic animus. Although wallowing in bigotry might help Trump politically, it only diminishes us as individuals and as a people.

Ellis Cose, a fellow of the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement at the University of California and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, is the author of "The End of Anger." He is writing a history of the ACLU and civil liberties in America. Follow him on Twitter: @EllisCose.

Existential threat -

Frequently used to describe the possibility of the extermination or genocide of a population, the term can be used IMHO to describe the systematic annihilation of a country's laws and institutions.

'In the United States the 2016 Presidential Election looms and candidates from all sides are taking to the stage at debates and other venues in an effort to establish their foreign policy credibility. Whether discussing ideas to counter Russian aggression in Europe, how to engage China, or whether to destroy, defeat, or minimize the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a term often discussed is existential threat. While an existential threat is generally defined as something that is a threat to existence, this is imprecise and deserves further explanation. A more detailed definition could point to a threat being existential if it involves a group with the capability to permanently change another group’s values and the way it governs itself against the latter’s will.

Two examples where a group permanently changed another group’s values and the way they govern, against their will, occurred during World War 2. In this case, the Allies destroyed the 25-year-old Nazi movement in Germany and the 76-year-old Imperialism movement in Japan. To make this happen took tremendous military force. Not counting the Allied Forces, the United States employed 16,112,566 military members and two nuclear weapons to achieve this end. Today, a truly existential threat to the United States would entail another country being able to permanently take away its freedom and change its democratic form of government, regardless of the preference of the citizenry.'

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/02/10/what_is_an_existential_threat_109009.html

Sunday, October 7, 2018

UPDATE NOVEMBER 3 -GO TO A TRUMP RALLY: Pensacola, Macon, Chattanooga,, Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Cape Girardeau



My fellow Americans, trump will be holding campaign rallies where he is likely to insult women, decency and fair play repeatedly.

May I suggest that we attend the rallies and stand quietly on the side or in the back while dressed in black as in mourning?

We cannot allow him to rest, we must apply psychological pressure - it will be fun!

Apologies to Winston Churchill: "We shall fight him in the House, we shall fight him in the streets, we shall fight him wherever he stands for he is evil. We shall never surrender!'

NEW Calendar -

Pensacola, FL
Sat, November 03, 2018
06:30 pm (CDT)

Macon, GA
Sun, November 04, 2018
04:00 pm (EST)

Chattanooga, TN
Sun, November 04, 2018
07:00 pm (EST)

Cleveland, OH
Mon, November 05, 2018
03:00 pm (EST)

Fort Wayne, IN
Mon, November 05, 2018
06:30 pm (EST)

Cape Girardeau, MO
Mon, November 05, 2018
09:00 pm (CST)


Tickets here: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/rallies/

Friday, October 5, 2018

MAGA


Hey America -

I won. I have the House. I have the Senate. I have the Court.

I will screw you over so bad you'll want to die, but you can't.

Buckle up snowflakes, the ride is just starting.

Ladies, shut your trap and go make a sandwich.

America, it's great now.

Love it or leave it.

#MAGA

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Fight to Death for the Light


I don't know where to begin.

Our system is broken.

Everybody knows it.

We vote for change in the hope that the system can change and represent our interests again.

Instead - we get trump - crooked trump who sells us out to the thug Putin and his Russian gangs.

We are angry. We march and demonstrate.

The system rolls on and appoints judges who are just trump hacks.

The rich know it and use the system to get richer - they build fortresses on islands so they don't have to deal with us at all.

Congress is openly corrupt and sells itself to the highest bidder.

Then they pass laws which take from us what we do not yet have in order to make the rich even richer.

trump will fire all the honest civil servants next year and replace them all with his hacks.

He is installing a corrupt and authoritarian government - and NOBODY SAYS A WORD.

The Blue Wave? Won't do diddly. trump will keep on trumpin'.

There is no magic bullet, no hero on a plane or a horse.

Ain't nobody comin' round the mountain.

Two choices.

First choice: fight them at all levels, fight them in Congress, fight them in City Hall, fight them in State Capitols, fight them in the street, fight them in the planning commissions, fight them in the police departments - fight them until they become tired and give up. Fight with lawsuits, elections, demonstrations, accosting them in restaurants, push them out of the street, take away their swastikas and guns; fight them wherever they are, whenever they are gathered. Above all - do not give up, for then they win.

Second choice: acknowledge that they have won and then kill them one by one. Murder them in their homes while setting up alternative organizations. Take back the country with violence and mayhem. Join the preppers and withdraw to wreak havoc and change.

Monday, September 24, 2018


Barry, My Liege:

This is a desperate plea for you to be active, VERY active so you can influence events in 2020. President would be better, but seemingly you cannot serve again.

I fear for our Republic unless you guide us.

Our country and its values and institutions are being systematically undermined by Trump in a drive for authoritarian power, with or without guidance from Russia.

There do not appear to be potential candidates for President from the Democrat Party with the unique combination of electability, knowledge and skills you can bring. I say this as a long time Hillary supporter; the situation is too dire for the country now for her to be the peacemaker since she generates too much hatred.

The country is divided severely and could collapse. It can be saved if all parties can recognize that we need to work together. We cannot stand divided.

As you know, many of our fundamental institutions are being attacked as we speak.

Here are some suggestions on how to unite the country.

Go on a road show to the bastions of conservative thought and engage them directly on their Free Market capitalistic beliefs; von Mises Institute, Federalist Society, Club for Growth, Heritage Society - these are the ones which spring to mind. There are many others. You can include talk radio. The goal is to show reasonableness and allay fear. And, include the bastions of conservative voters and Trump support with the message below:

1. Explicitly state that people with differing opinions and philosophies will be welcomed as Americans and will NOT be hated because of those differences. Some of the Trump people fear they will be shunned when Democrats take power.

2. Demonstrate how extreme market solutions create inequality.

3. Show how all will be better when average wages and living conditions are improved.

4. Discuss the relationship of loss of hope to violent social revolution.

5. Outline where we are now.

6. Show how the rich will be even richer when income inequality is lessened.

7. Appeal to patriotism - 'It is un-American to make our citizens suffer needlessly.'

8. We are in this together, whether they like it or not.





Tuesday, September 18, 2018

UPDATE: Proof trump is a Russian asset.



There is no mystery as to why trump has ordered the release of classified data about the Russian investigation: PUTIN TOLD HIM TO DO IT!

Putin doesn't like it because it is effective.

It's the same reason Putin told Tillerson to fire all the State Department staffers who were coordinating NATO responses to Russian threats - they were good at their job.

There is a common thread to all this stuff: the weakening of United States intelligence gathering - as well as weakening any US active interference with Putin and the other Russian thugs' plans.

trump is a Russian asset.

The proof -

The scientific evidence for this assertion is based on the Duck Codicil to Occam's Razor. As you know, Occam holds that when presented with differing explanations for a phenomenon, the simplest explanation is the most likely to be true.

The Duck Codicil, antecedents unknown, holds that if an outcome has three or more consistencies with an hypothesis for its cause, then it is likely that the hypothesis is correct. The Codicil is useful especially where experimentation is not possible.

More colloquially, 'If it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, eats like a duck and shits like a duck, then it is a duck.'

Saturday, September 15, 2018

SOCIALISM: A Primer


Socialism as an economic model and also as a political movement has come to the forefront recently.

It seems appropriate to examine some of the idea's structure and history.

SOCIALIST ECONOMIC MODEL

The economic model of socialism is conceptually very simple: the people as represented by the state own all the productive resources in the country. Since all enterprises are publicly owned, there is no profit motive and instead enterprises are organized to provide the maximum amount of well being to the entire population in the form of goods and services delivered at cost with no profit.

CAPITALIST ECONOMIC MODEL

This idea directly contradicts the capitalist model wherein all the productive resources in the country are owned by private individuals and organized to maximize profits for the owners. In this model, individuals supposedly are benefited with the concept that competition in the marketplace will force efficiency on all privately owned companies, resulting in the greatest amount of good delivered to the greatest number of people.

Capitalist Imbalances

However, it is obvious that private owners of capital will, and do, consider customers and employees as adversaries. After all, capitalists want to hire resources and labor at the lowest price and sell products at the highest price: that is how businesses maximize profits.

When there is an imbalance of power between business owners and customers or employees, capitalist theory suggests that the power imbalances will even out over time. But, it happens that national governments can become impatient of the imbalances and create regulations to even the scales; or, governments can be co-opted by wealthy business owners and prevent market forces from balancing the scales. These instances are called 'market failures'.

BOTH MODELS CO-EXIST

In the real world there are usually mixtures of differing structures in all countries wherein some enterprises are owned publicly and some are owned privately. For example, in the United States, private for-profit businesses provide the majority of goods and services. But, there are some exceptions where the enterprise is owned publicly and designed to provide goods and services at cost without making a profit. Good examples include municipal public water systems and sewer systems.

Fear of Socialism

The Socialist model has negative publicity since the model was imposed violently in numerous societies, as in Russia in 1918 and China in 1949. In these cases, the popular armed forces rounded up all the private property owners and shot them.

So, when the idea of socialism is raised as an evil idea, it is largely because of those experiences.

Some commentators may suggest that Socialist or public enterprises are inherently corrupt while such corruption is eliminated from privately owned companies by competition. This argument fails to hold when considering the many criminal and corrupt examples in privately owned enterprises. It simply may be that there is an equal likelihood of criminal behavior in any organization regardless of its ownership structure.

RE-EXAMINING THE MODELS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Perhaps a better method of examining the idea of socialism and public ownership and control in general is to examine any enterprise to see if the goal of the enterprise is to make a profit for its owners; or, whether the goal is simply to recover costs and provide goods and services for the benefit of the employees and customers.

Thus, a 'socialist' enterprise may be either a state owned and managed entity, or a privately owned entity, both with the goal of simply recovering costs in a 'non-profit' organization.

In the United States today there are both private, for profit banks and there are non-profit credit unions. Both types of organizations provide the same range of services, and, arguably, non-profit credit unions do so better for their customers and employees.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dear trump Supporter



I am liberal and I don't hate you, or fear you.

Someday soon you will awaken from your infatuation with him and see him as liberals see him.

When you do, then you will be welcomed home as Americans - you who were a little lost but now have found your way.

You were a little afraid of changes and reacted with fear; then he played on your fear and stoked hatred.

But, he will be gone soon. And you will be welcomed back to our Country.

Out of many, one.

It is our heritage as Americans.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

'Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy'




Captured - The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Melanie Wachtell Stinnett

One of the most prominent and effective politicians opposing Trump “spells out, in considerable detail, the extent of corporate influence over a variety of issues” in national politics (The New Yorker)

“Sheldon Whitehouse is one of the most respected and thoughtful progressives in the Senate. His energy and enthusiasm make him a powerful voice in defending our American democracy against the relentless, pervasive—and often hidden—power of corporate special interests.” —Senator Elizabeth Warren

As a U.S. Senator and former federal prosecutor, Sheldon Whitehouse has had a front-row seat at the spectacle of dark money in government. In his widely praised book Captured, he describes how corporations buy influence over our government—not only over representatives and senators, but over the very regulators directly responsible for enforcing the laws under which they operate, and over the judges and prosecutors who are supposed to be vigilant about protecting the public interest.

In a case study that shows these operations at work, Whitehouse reveals how fossil fuel companies have held any regulation related to climate change at bay. The problem is structural: as Kirkus Reviews wrote, “many of the ills it illuminates are bipartisan.”

This paperback edition features a new introduction by the author, which reveals how corporate influence has taken advantage of Donald Trump’s presidency to advance its agenda—and what we can do about it.

For sale here: https://cart.thenewpress.com/cart?fcsid=95dhch1ktgsopurtqfu0dd36v2&

and here: https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fthenewpress.com%2Fbooks%2Fcaptured

Friday, September 7, 2018

Link to Obama Address



The answer is YOU -

Here is the address in full:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXPmNQRbRLE

Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Class War from Roberts Supreme Court



Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D), Prepared Testimony in Senate Judiciary committee showing Roberts 5 Justices rule in favor of Corporate interests in 92% of rulings

Below are the Senator's remarks; apologies for the garbled presentation - the original is a nicely formatted .pdf


1
The Roberts Five: Advancing Right-Wing and Corporate Interests 92% of the Time

A review of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence during the Roberts Era reveals that in the most controversial and salient civil cases – those decided by bare 5-4 or 5-3 majorities – when the right wing of the Court has voted en bloc to form the majority, they do so to advance far-right and corporate interests a striking 92% of the time. In those cases, the “Roberts Five” – Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Justice Antonin Scalia (replaced last year by Justice Neil Gorsuch) – have reliably voted in lockstep to help Republicans win elections, to protect corporations from liability, to take away civil rights, and to advance the far right social agenda.

Methodology:

 We identified 212 5-4 and 5-3 cases since Chief Justice Roberts joined the Court in 2006.

 Of these 212 cases, the Roberts Five formed a bare majority in 79 civil cases.

 73 (92%) of these 79 5-4 and 5-3 civil cases advance Republican and/or corporate interests, falling into the following four categories:

o Helping Republicans Win Elections: Dark Money, Voter Suppression & Union-Busting

o Protecting Corporations from Liability: Letting Polluters Pollute & Making It Harder for Americans to Have Their Day in Court.

o Taking Away Civil Rights and Condoning Discrimination


Advancing the Far-Right Social Agenda: Religion, Guns & Abortion
2

Helping Republicans Win Elections: Dark Money, Voter Suppression & Union-Busting

1. League of Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006)
 Upheld aggressive racial and partisan gerrymandering that burdened the rights of minority voters in Texas.
2. FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (2007)
 Allowed corporations to pour unlimited money into electioneering communications.
3. Davis v. FEC (2008)
 Eliminated the “Millionaire’s Amendment” to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, increasing the influence of wealth as a criterion for public office.
4. Bartlett v. Strickland (2009)
 Made it more difficult for minority voters in racially concentrated districts to challenge their districts.
5. Citizens United v. FEC (2010)
 Opened the door to special interests and lobbyists influencing American politics through unlimited corporate spending.
6. Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (2011)
 Allowed PACs and dark money sources to fund political candidates without limit.
7. American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock (2012)
 Reemphasized the Supreme Court’s open-door policy for special interests and lobbyists to influence American politics through money.
8. Shelby County v. Holder (2013)
 Gutted the Voting Rights Act, making it far easier for states with a history of racial discrimination to pass discriminatory voting laws.
9. McCutcheon v. FEC (2014)
 Created a loophole that allows a single individual to donate millions of dollars to a political party or campaign.
10. Harris v. Quinn (2014)
 Weakened public sector unions and took a major step toward overturning public sector fee collection from all non-union members in another 5-4 decision, Janus v. AFSCME.
11. Abbott v. Perez (2018)
 Burdened the rights of minority voters in Texas by allowing the use of electoral maps that a lower court determined were drawn with discriminatory intent.
12. Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute (2018)
 Allowed Ohio to purge voter rolls in a way that disproportionately disqualifies minority voters.
13. Janus v. AFSCME (2018)
 Overturned a 40 year old precedent and disrupted thousands of contracts involving millions of employees, potentially crippling public sector unions, a chief opponent of the corporate right.
Protecting Corporations from Liability: Letting Polluters Pollute & Making It Harder for Americans to Have Their Day in Court.
3
14. Rapanos v. United States (2006)
 Narrowed the interpretation of the phrase “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act, making it easier to pollute and destroy these wetlands.
15. Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS (2007)
 Allowed manufacturers, distributors, and retailors to raise the prices of goods at retail through vertical price restraints.
16. National Association of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife (2007)
 Limited the reach of the Endangered Species Act and eliminated a major regulatory hurdle for developers.
17. Stoneridge Inv. Partners, LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta (2008)*
 Restricted liability for secondary actors, such as lawyers and accountants, under federal securities law.
18. Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council (2008)
 Invalidated an injunction to halt Naval training exercise despite irreparable harm to marine life, furthering the right’s anti-environment, anti-regulatory agenda.
19. 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett (2009)
 Diminished employees’ access to the federal courts and skewed employment agreements in favor of employers through mandatory arbitration.
20. Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009)
 Heightened the civil pleading standard, making it significantly more difficult for plaintiffs to sue in federal court.
21. Summers v. Earth Island Institute (2009)
 Restricted the right of environmental groups to sue over environmental violations.
22. Entergy v. Riverkeeper (2009)
 Ignored the Clean Water Act’s mandate that power plants use the “Best Technology Available” to protect fish and aquatic life, allowing them to use less-costly, less-effective devices.
23. Conkright v. Frommert (2010)*
 Allowed retirement plan administrators to construct the terms of a plan in favor of employers.
24. Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. (2010)*
 Restricted plaintiffs from using class arbitration (similar to a class action lawsuit) unless all parties specifically agree to it.
25. Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson (2010)
 Diminished employees’ access to the federal courts and skewed arbitration agreements in favor of employers over employees.
26. Perdue v. Kenny A (2010)
 Dramatically heightened the standards for civil rights plaintiffs’ attorneys to receive compensation for their services.
27. Schindler Elevator Corp. v. U.S. ex rel. Kirk (2011)*

 Limited the ability of plaintiffs to bring suit as whistleblowers on behalf of the government.
4
28. AT&T v. Concepcion (2011)
 Reduced consumers’ ability to bring class-action claims against corporations for low-dollar, high-volume frauds.
29. Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders (2011)
 Shielded corporate advisors from liability and limited the rights of individual investors.
30. Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes (2011)
 Threw out a class action lawsuit brought by 1.6 million women in a discrimination case, making it more difficult for individuals who have been injured to bring class-action claims and hold corporate wrongdoers accountable.
31. Pliva v. Mensing (2011)
 Immunized from suit generic drug makers who failed to warn consumers about dangerous side effects.
32. F.A.A. v. Cooper (2012)*
 Made it more difficult for plaintiffs to recover for intangible harms caused by government privacy violations.
33. Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland (2012)
 Limited plaintiffs from bringing suits for damages under the Family Medical Leave Act.
34. Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham (2012)
 Expanded pro-corporate fair wage exemptions under Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions and deprived workers of statutory fair pay protections.
35. American Exp. Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (2013)*
 Diminished employees’ access to the federal courts and skewed employment agreements in favor of employers.
36. Comcast v. Behrend (2013)
 Made class action certification more difficult and limited suits against corporations for low-dollar, high-volume antitrust violations.
37. Genesis Healthcare v. Symczk (2013)
 Limited plaintiffs’ ability to bring collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
38. Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett (2013)
 Prevented states from warning consumers about risky drugs.
39. Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (2013)
 Deprived local and state governments of the flexibility they needed to ensure environmentally sound and economically productive development.
40. Michigan v. EPA (2015)
 Rolled back the EPA’s autonomy and promoted environmental deregulation.
41. California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. Anz Securities (2017)
 Made it harder for individual investors to protect their rights via class action lawsuits.
42. Epic Systems v. Lewis (2018)
 Blocked workers from banding together to redress workplace violations including sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and wage theft.
43. Jesner v. Arab Bank (2018)
5
 Held that foreign corporations may not be sued under the Alien Tort Statute, protecting foreign corporations from liability for human rights abuses.
44. Encino Motorcars v. Navarro (2018)
 Expanded pro-corporate exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act and deprived workers of statutory fair pay protections.
45. Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States (2018)
 Ruled that railroad executives are exempt from federal employment taxes on stock-based compensation.
46. Ohio v. American Express (2018)
 Stifled price competition and hurt consumers.
Taking Away Civil Rights and Condoning Discrimination
47. Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006)
 Narrowed speech protections for public employees.
48. Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (2007)
 Made Title VII claims more difficult to bring and ignored the realities of wage discrimination.
49. Morse v. Frederick (2007)
 Limited both the speech rights of high school students and the available civil remedies for constitutional violations.
50. Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007)
 Limited the ability of primary and secondary public schools to use affirmative action programs that promote diversity.
51. Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Co. (2008)
 Made it more difficult for Native American plaintiffs to challenge discriminatory conduct by banks.
52. Gross v. FBL Financial Services (2009)
 Heightened the standard for age discrimination claims and made relief for victims more difficult.
53. District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District v. Osborne (2009)
 Limited the ability of plaintiffs to bring suit in federal court for government violations of their constitutional rights.
54. Horne v. Flores (2009)
 Diminished minority students’ access to English as a Second Language programs, making it harder for them to overcome language barriers in their education.
55. Ricci v. Destefano (2009)
 Distorted federal civil rights law to promote the disproportionate exclusion of minority groups from career advancement.
56. Chamber of Commerce of U.S. v. Whiting (2011)*
 Allowed states to pass laws that target immigrant workers.
6
57. Connick v. Thompson (2011)
 Made it harder to hold prosecutor’s offices liable for the illegal misconduct of their prosecutors.
58. Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington (2012)
 Allowed strip searches of inmates without reasonable suspicion, reducing the Fourth Amendment protections of arrestees.
59. Vance v. Ball State University (2013)
 Made it harder for plaintiffs to bring workplace harassment claims.
60. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar (2013)
 Increased the standard of proof for employer retaliation claims, making these claims more difficult to bring.
61. Glossip v. Gross (2015)
 Made challenging execution methods more difficult and thus limited prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights.
62. Jennings v. Rodriguez (2018)*
 Allowed for immigrants to be detained for prolonged periods of time without a bail hearing.
63. Murphy v. Smith (2018)
 Reduced compensation for prisoners when government officials violate their constitutional rights.
64. Trump v. Hawaii (2018)
 Allowed the discriminatory Muslim ban to go into effect and restricted immigration from eight, mostly Muslim-majority, countries.
Advancing the Far-Right Social Agenda: Religion, Guns & Abortion
65. Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation (2007)
 Restricted the ability of citizens to sue the government under the First Amendment for entangling church and state.
66. Gonzalez v. Carhart (2007)
 Made it harder for women to exercise their reproductive rights.
67. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)
 Drastically expanded the scope of the Second Amendment and limited commonsense gun regulation.
68. Salazar v. Buono (2010)
 Allowed a cross to stay on federal property, chipping away at the separation of church and state.
69. McDonald v. Chicago (2010)
 Continued the expansion of Second Amendment rights and made it more difficult for states to implement gun regulations.
70. Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn (2011)
 Made it harder for plaintiffs to challenge Establishment Clause violations in court, chipping away at the separation of church and state.
7
71. Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014)
 Allowed legislative prayer even when a town fails to represent a variety of religions in its meetings.
72. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014)
 Permitted corporations to deny contraception based on objections to facially neutral, non-discriminatory laws.
73. NIFLA v. Becerra (2018)
 Reduced the amount of information available to pregnant women, potentially deceiving women into believing that anti-abortion pregnancy centers are medical clinics.
Ideologically Neutral Cases
74. F.C.C. v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. (2009)
 Upheld a Federal Communications Commission regulation that bans “fleeting expletives” on television broadcast.
75. Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Co. Accounting Oversight Board (2010)
 Struck down the dual layer of “for cause” protection against presidential removal for PCAOB members.
76. Stern v. Marshall (2011)
 Held that bankruptcy courts lack the constitutional authority under Article III to enter a final judgement on a state law counterclaim.
77. Clapper v. Amnesty International (2013)
 Ruled that plaintiffs lack standing to bring suit even if they claim a reasonable likelihood that their communications will be intercepted by the government under FISA surveillance.
78. Kerry v. Din (2015)
 Held that the government is not required to give an explanation for denying an alien’s visa based on terrorism-related grounds under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
79. SAS Institute v. Iancu (2018)
 Held that when the United States Patent and Trademark Office institutes a review to reconsider an already-issued patent, it must rule on the patentability of all claims the petitioner challenges.