Foreign Corporation (TransCanada) Using Eminent Domain to Steal Private Land

Right now in Texas, a foreign corporation, TransCanada, is using our government’s 5th Amendment right of eminent domain to confiscate private land belonging to Americans, to build a massive oil pipeline so TransCanada can ship oil from the Gulf of Mexico to non-Americans around the world. Oil, by the way, that will accelerate our planet’s plunge into global warming-induced catastrophe. So the question is, “Why?

Under the Reading Lamp — 5/15/2012

Colonized by Corporations

Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed: “We have been, like nations on the periphery of empire, colonized. We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense. The mechanisms of control are familiar to those whom the Martinique-born French psychiatrist and writer Frantz Fanon called ‘the wretched of the earth,’ including African-Americans.”

The National Security State Wins (Again)

William Astore, Op-Ed: The president and his campaign staff are no fools. Since any sign of “weakness” vis-à-vis Iran and similar enemies du jour or any expression of less than boundless admiration for our military will be exploited ruthlessly by Romney et al., Obama will continue to tack rightwards on military issues and national defense. As a result, once elected he, too, will be a prisoner of the Complex. In this process, the only surefire winner and all-time champ: once again, the national security state.

Jamie Dimon’s JPMorgan Chase: Why It’s the Scandal of Our Time

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed: “The JPMorgan Chase story is the story behind the financial crisis that has thrown millions of people out of work. It’s the story behind our ever-growing wealth inequity. It’s the story behind Washington’s inability to prosecute criminal bankers, regulate reckless ones, and propose the economic solutions the rest of us urgently need. Depending on the day and the measurement used, JPMorgan Chase is now the largest or second-largest bank in the world.”

JPM Chase Chairman, Jamie Dimon, the Whale Man, and Glass-Steagall

Nomi Prins, Op-Ed: Financial history has a sense of irony. JPM Chase was the post-Glass-Steagall repeal marriage, 66 years in the making, of Morgan Bank and Chase. Today, it is the largest bank in America, possessing greater control of the nation’s cash than any other bank. It also has the largest derivatives exposure ($70 trillion) including nearly $6 trillion worth of credit derivatives. It is the size of a bank holding company’s deposits that dictates the extent of the risk it takes, risk ‘models’ not withstanding: the more deposits, the more risk, the more potential loss.

America’s G-Zero Moment

Ian Bremmer, Op-Ed: “U.S. foreign policy may be as active as ever, but it is downsizing and becoming more exacting about its priorities and as a result, many global challenges – climate change, trade, resource scarcity, international security, cyber-warfare, and nuclear proliferation, to name a few – are bound to loom larger. Welcome to the G-Zero world, a more turbulent, uncertain environment in which coordination on global policy issues falls by the wayside.”

America as a Shining Drone Upon a Hill

Tom Engelhardt, Op-Ed: “In the service of this war, in the midst of a perpetual state of war and of wartime, every act committed by these leaders is, it turns out, absolutely, totally, and completely legal. We have their say-so for that, and they have the documents to prove it, largely because the best and most elevated legal minds among them have produced that documentation in secret. (Of course, they dare not show it to the rest of us, lest lives be endangered.)”

Palin’s Rhetoric Torpedoed Medicare Savings

Wendell Potter, News Analysis: The Congressional Budget Office projects that the average annual growth in Medicare spending will be 5.8 percent between 2012 and 2020. It would have been one percentage point higher than that, according to the CBO, if not for the cost-constraining provisions of the Affordable Care Act, most notably the one that will gradually eliminate the bonuses the government pays private insurers to participate in the Medicare Advantage program.

Tar sands pipelines don’t just leak oil

Lorne Stockman: When Enbridge’s Line 6B burst open near Marshall, Michigan in July 2010 spewing over a million gallons of tar sands sludge into the Kalamazoo river watershed, funds were quickly released from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to mobilize Environmental Protection Agency staff and other federal employees to assist and monitor clean up. But the tar sands companies that produced the oil that is still polluting Talmadge Creek nearly two years later have never paid a penny into the fund. Why? Because when payments into the fund were reinstated by the 2005 Energy Policy Act following a hiatus, someone convinced the IRS that tar sands crude was not crude oil, and therefore did not need to pay.

Five Facts That Put America to Shame

Paul Buchheit , Op-Ed: Privatization simply hasn’t worked for health care, mortgage banking, higher education, or prison management. There is little incentive for profit-motivated firms to invest in disadvantaged or underemployed Americans. That’s why taxes are necessary — to provide for the common good, and to return some of the gains from 60 years of productivity to the great majority of Americans who contributed to our growth.

Our Guns and Butter Economy

David Sirota, Op-Ed: The result is that America has become the true "Lord of War," as the arms dealer motto goes. We are the leading arms supplier to the developing world and we are responsible for the majority of all weapons sales across the globe. Yes, we are so committed to selling instruments of death to the rest of the planet that military industries have almost tripled their share of the U.S. economy in just a decade.

GMOs and Whole Foods Market in St. Louis

Barbara Chicherio , Daniel Romano and Don Fitz, News Report: “Many say that GMOs should be banned from food because we do not know the true health and environmental consequences. A second response is that food-containing GMOs should be clearly labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice of whether they want to purchase it. As the world’s largest advocate for GMOs, St. Louis-based Monsanto is the company with the greatest interest in the debate. But an often-unnoticed player is WFM.”

EPA Grossly Misrepresents the Toxicity of Corexit Used in Gulf Of Mexico

Susan Aarde, News Report: What is the buying public to make of such conflicting data? Those who have medical conditions which require complete avoidance of toxic seafood need to know with certainty what they are eating. Likewise, the fishermen in the Gulf need to know the true condition of their catch. Swimmers and beachgoers need to know the state of the water, as well as the beaches. Boaters ought to be informed of the relevant risk factors when out in the areas of recently sprayed waters, whether surface or deep sea.

Climate Change Threatens Crucial Marine Algae

Stephen Leahy, News Report: The good news is this has slowed the rate of global warming. The bad news is oceans are now more acidic and it will get worse as more CO2 is emitted. This is basic, well-understood ocean chemistry. Gao and his team made several trips into the South China Sea taking samples from surface waters where phytoplankton are found. While still on the research vessel, those samples were made as acidic as the oceans are likely to be in 2100 without major emissions reductions (800-1000 parts per million compared to current 392 ppm).

CEOs of Tax Dodging Corporations Want to Cut Their Own Taxes Too

Pat Garofalo, News Report: “It’s bad enough that these corporations are contributing so much to the fact that corporate taxes are. But to then turn around and advocate for preserving the low rate on capitals gains — which is a leading contributor to income inequality — really adds insult to injury. Remember, it was conservative icon Ronald Reagan who completely equalized the treatment of wage income and capital gains income, rejecting the conservative argument that a lower rate on investment income is necessary.”

Boehner Threatens To Take The Debt Limit Hostage Again

Pat Garofalo | ThinkProgress: In a speech Tuesday, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) plans to address the issue of national debt, which will once again be nearing its legal limit in January, just as the tax hikes and spending cuts are due to hit.  According to advance remarks provided to The Post, Boehner will insist that any increase in the debt limit be accompanied by spending “cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase” — the same demand that pushed the Treasury to the brink of default during last summer’s debt-limit standoff.

Amodei Inclined to Oppose HR3096, as written

A while ago, I wrote to Rep. Amodei to express my thoughts about HR3096.

HR 3096 – Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011.  To restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of Gulf Coast States, to create jobs and revive the economic health of communities adversely affected by the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon.

The bill proposes to deposit 80% of any fines levied after enactment of this bill into a special fund which would then be used to fix the mess BP created in the Gulf of Mexico.  It then sets up governmental entities that will administer programs under this act.  Well, as we all know, that will be in the courts for decades while BP attempts to forego having to pay anything in fines/penalties and negotiates them down to an amount that won’t fix the mess they created.  In the end, what it means is that you and I, through our taxes, will need to fix that mess.

I wrote to Rep. Amodei, our elected representative in the House, in opposition to passage of this bill:

“I oppose passage of H.R. 3096 which appears to be allocating my tax dollars to restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of Gulf Coast States, to create jobs and revive the economic health of communities adversely affected by the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon.

Excuse me? The BP Corporation caused that mess through their mismanagement and incompetence. The outrageous volume of profits they’ve hoarded, not my tax dollars should be used to correct the mess they created. If that should bankrupt them, so be it. That’s part of competing in the “free market.”

My tax dollars should be used to pay current expenses and retire the nation’s debt, not subsidize BP’s incompetence.”

Here’s Rep. Amodei’s response:

Oh … so let me see if I understand … it’s not okay to support continued tax relief for middle class Americans … but it is okay to support “additional revenue streams” for energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.