What is America? Home of the brave, land of the free? Or is that what we wish, what we want so desperately to believe. Are we a nation of denial?
Today is the 4th of July. The day the United States declared independence from Britain, 226 years ago. Whose America is it today?
Earlier this week the Supreme court refused to hear Montana's case to overturn Citizens United, the ruling which gave corporations and rich fat cats the ability to control elections through unlimited campaign contributions.
Adam Skaggs, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, talks with Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia about the US Supreme Court's ruling in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock. The majority held that a 100 year old Montana law barring corporate money from state elections violated the First Amendment's free speech protections.
Open Secrets shows the top contributors to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It's clear we have a pay to play political system, with bills being passed written by corporations and for corporations. We cannot get legislation in the national interest or America as a whole, not even when inaction will cause a recession. The amount of money being spent on elections is astounding. Imagine if such large sums were banned and instead that funding was used for a direct jobs program. The beyond belief sums of money in politics clearly make the nation not representative of the people, instead, just a few who have very fat wallets.
Veterans can't get jobs. The DOL announced $20 million in grants to train vets and they are flocking to the program. This seems absurd on it's face. The military is one of the greatest job trainers in the world, each Veteran already has years of training. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran May 2012 unemployment rate was 12.7%. Just another example on how Corporations are not aligned with America's interests. If Corporations had loyalty, patriotism to America, they would be hiring these Veterans, especially considering they have already proved themselves on the job.
You know those burgers you're cooking for your 4th of July barbeque? The WTO said you can't know where they came from:
If you’re looking forward to grilling up some hamburgers and hot dogs, think about this: Where does the food you’re eating come from?
That simple question is going to be a lot harder to answer after a ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which decreed last week that such basic consumer information as country-of-origin labels on meat are “unfair trade barriers” to multinational corporate profits.
Graduate students will now have to pay the interest on their loans while they're still in school. All students will have to start paying back the money they borrowed immediately after graduation — the six-month grace period during which the government paid the interest is gone.
Why would Congress leave graduate students in the dust is beyond me, but they did. It is already horrific for Americans to get through graduate school based on costs. The stipends are usually below poverty, now this. This is just more financial bias against Americans. The great deal is not a deal.
Graduate students are no longer eligible for government-subsidized Stafford loans. Grad students can still take out unsubsidized Stafford loans, for which interest accrues at a rate of 6.8 percent during school.
The bill also has improved buy America provisions.
The highway bill contains several modest improvements to longstanding Buy America laws, including a provision that will end a segmentation loophole that is sometimes used to avoid utilizing American-made steel, iron, and manufactured goods when building highways and bridges.
Bloomberg gave us a history lesson, how radical economics were part of America's declaration of independence.
Without a crew of lower- class Philadelphia organizers, collaborating secretly with independence-minded gentlemen in the Congress, the declaration never would have occurred. Most outlandish of all: Those down- at-the-heels outsiders had ideas about economics and finance -- some today would call them “socialist” -- far more radically democratic than anything espoused by better-known founders.
Radical economics, in fact, was key to gaining American independence.
Americans are patriotic, loyal. They love their country. Yet over and over again, we have people in power betraying their trust and manipulating that cherished love of country value.
Google today pointed to an Internet by the people and for the people and that's true, the web is the last hold out for reasonably free, as in $$ free, speech. Yet when the elections boil down to who has the most money wins, how Democratic is that? Clearly the Internet cannot overcome the massive misinformation and campaign propaganda machines.
So, happy birthday America! Just remember, the revolution isn't over and this time we're losing.