The Aeration Zone: A liberal breath of fresh air

Contributors (otherwise known as "The Aerheads"):

Walldon in New Jersey ---- Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
ChiTom in Illinois -- KISSweb in Illinois -- HoundDog in Kansas City -- The Binger in Ohio

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Cairo to Occupy Wall Street

An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under structural adjustment policies and the supposed expertise of international organizations like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, industries and public services were sold off and dismantled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immiseration reinforced by a massive increase in police repression and torture.

The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state, capitalism and the austerity-state now even attack the private realm and people's right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon homeowners find themselves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them on to the streets.

So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy , real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.
H/T to Americablog

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bust these MYTHS NOW!!

Royalist Myth 2: Tax cuts stimulate economic employment and growth.

Fact: Pres. Reagan engaged a voodoo (words of Pres. Bush Sr.) economist (Laffer) to contrive a tax function claiming tax cuts are best to stimulate economic growth. Almost every economist including Nobel’s finds no factual basis for this claim. Reagan’s economic growth came from government deficit spending (that the 1% rail against while loving Reagan) and expansive monetary policy. What is called the tax multiplier (amount a tax cut would add to GDP) is calculated by everyone to be about 1.0 that is no gain. The government and monetary multipliers are between 2.0 and 3.0 hence better tools. So much for the 1% myth that tax cuts for them stimulates the economy. If that were true, Bush would not have lost 7 Mil. jobs. Because these better tools don’t directly give more money to the 1%, they are against them. As shown by Anderson and Jordan (American Economic Review, 1968), these multipliers drove the Reagan growth hence made it look like the tax multiplier was contributing. Not so.

Stay tuned for 9 more myths that have been misleading American voters.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Time to Eat my Hat

I guess I need to eat my hat. It turns out that Trinity Church has opened its doors to the Occupy crowd. Hooray.

True Face of the OWS Protesters

Ninety-nine percent of Americans should join or support the OWS protesters. While many of the people who show up at the Occupy events are young, idealistic, well-educated & jobless, as the movement has grown, so has its diversity.

Right wing politicians and corporate interests quickly co-opted the Tea Party for their own special-interest ends (a takeover which some Tea Party members are still fighting). But it will be hard for the establishment to pat these well-educated protesters on the head, give them "Vote Democratic" signs & get them to march in lockstep.

Unlike the Tea Party, the Occupy protesters don't want to abolish the government and return to the good ole days when rich white men ruled. The protesters want the government to DO something. Republicans got confused Tea Partiers to oppose healthcare reform; the Occupy protesters want the government to guarantee health care for all. Republicans got Tea Partiers to oppose the regulation of Wall Street "freedoms"; the Occupy protesters want the government to come down hard on Wall Street, with both prosecutions and regulations. Republicans got Tea Partiers to oppose all taxation; the Occupy protesters want the federal government to return to the progressive tax structure of the 50s and 60s. The Tea Partiers were pawns of secretly-financed ad campaigns; the Occupy protesters want drastic campaign finance reform. They want the government to answer to them, not to fat cats who finance their campaigns.

In short, Republicans got Tea Partiers to work against their own best interests; the Occupy protesters are way too smart for that. Both groups have real grievances, and generally speaking those grievances are the same -- ordinary Americans have become serfs of the one percent. The Tea Partiers are still working toward exacerbating the problems. Occupy Wall Street is working toward fixing them.

Patriot Act Incideous

ACLU’s Herman: Government Power Over You Quietly Growing (from Newsmax, 10/18/11)

Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and author of “Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy," says that the 10-year-old Patriot Act could be considered a “dragnet.”

“If you lay out a dragnet, you’re not only going to catch what you intend, you’re also going to catch the unintended,” Herman said in an exclusive Newsmax interview.

The Patriot Act is one of several “blunt instruments” enacted in the months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Herman said.

“The problem was that they didn’t really know, at that point, what had happened on 9/11,” she said. “So, to me, a lot of these dragnets just do a lot of damage in many different ways to our constitutional rights under the First Amendment, under the Fourth Amendment ... due process.”

When asked whether she believes the government has abused any of the security measures provided by the Patriot Act to spy on its citizens, she responded that the law skirts the Constitution.

“This is not a situation under Fourth Amendment business-as-usual, where the government is limited to only go after people that it does have some individualized suspicion about,” she said. “The government is empowered to investigate and look at the records and information on all sorts of people who it doesn’t think are terrorists at all.”

Increased surveillance “is only one of the many different kinds of powers that the Patriot Act enlarged and unleashed,” she said.

“National security letters, for example, have been used hundreds of thousands of times — again, against people who are not themselves suspects — just to get information ... and we don’t really know how the government has been targeting people,” she said.

There’s no way to determine whether the act has prevented another terrorist strike in the United States because “so much of this has been going on in secret,” she told Newsmax.

“The surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act make it so easy for the government to know everything about what we’re doing, and so difficult for us to know what the government is doing,” she said, adding that the government’s right to immediately seize the assets of organizations with suspected ties to terrorist groups is unfair.

“The idea that American organizations, or individuals, or charities were a source of funding to terrorists, to al-Qaida, was really wildly overblown,” she said.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Arizona Sen. John McCain disagreed about whether enhanced-interrogation techniques helped the military locate Osama bin Laden, she said.

“There’s general controversy over whether enhanced-interrogation techniques get you anything more than ... unreliable information,” she said.

She told Newsmax the ACLU is also concerned about the precedent set by President Barack Obama’s authorized assassination of American-born terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen.

“It seems to me that, if the Constitution means anything, it means that the president cannot just designate an American citizen to be a terrorist and then execute that citizen without any oversight, without any process, without our knowing what the standards are,” she said. “I think our history shows that once people start dispensing with due process … We make mistakes, there’s terrible injustices, and, at some point ... somebody who is not a terrorist is going to be executed.”

Herman told Newsmax the topic of drone attacks arose during a discussion at the U.S. Army War College when she was guest speaker, and that military educators and officers disagreed over the strategy.

If drone attacks can be ordered in the non-war theaters of Yemen and Pakistan, “some of them said, ‘Why not Chicago?’”

“The whole idea that we are at war with terrorism, I think, is a metaphor that’s been taken too far,” she said. “If the whole world is the battlefield here, how do you avoid killing innocent civilians, as well?”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy my life

This is just great!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bust these MYTHS NOW!!

Myths Based Policies of Royalist 1% and their owned Media vs. OWS’s Facts Based Policies. History shows that belief in these myths leads inevitably to less taxes and more wealth for the 1%. That is their sole end, not economic growth and expansion of employment.

Royalist Myth 1: Austerity leads to economic growth and job creation.

Fact: The German's deployment of aggressive monetary and fiscal policy to get out of the 2008- recession completely debunks this myth which perpetuation adds to after tax income of the 1%, but drives down economic growth and drives up unemployment. Germany waited until they were completely recovered to deploy any budget austerity. Thus, the myths spun by the 1% bankrolled Republican media about austerity being the medicine of recovery is false for this recovery and have been false in every other recovery. An excellent case in point is the austerity Republicans imposed on FDR in 1938 which killed a four year recovery (GDP grew an average of 10% from 1934-38 and drove unemployment rate down to 12% from 25%) and plunged the economy back into a depression driving. unemployment rate back up to 25%.

Stay tuned for 10 more Royalist 1% Myths impersonating as fact.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I was amazed and rather heartened to see that St. Paul's Cathedral in London has opened its doors to house the #Occupy Wall Street/London crowd there. I could hope that the members of the Anglican communion in the United States (i.e., the Episcopal Church) would open their doors to the #Occupy Wall Street crowd in NYC, but I'm virtually certain that Trinity Church will not touch this with a ten foot pole. After all, their vestry has always been a cross-section of the 1%.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Koch brothers want to end public education

The video investigation "Why do the Koch brothers want to end public education?" revealed how the Koch Brothers, through the think tanks and front groups they fund, were able to support an insurgent school board majority that favored resegregating public schools. The Koch supported candidates described their plans as “neighborhood schools,” which we rightfully exposed as the old language of Jim Crow and segregationist Gov. George Wallace.

North Carolina voters headed to the polls Oct. 11 and defeated school board candidates sympathetic to the Koch Brothers and school resegregation. This is great news for the hundreds of thousands of families who were threatened by the Koch Brothers’ influence in their community. We are grateful for the part you played in the tremendous victory for this community as well as a larger victory for democracy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest

Storm Troopers Fell on 'Bama Last Night

The most draconian anti-immigration law in the country is going into effect in Alabama right now, and what is happening as a result will horrify you.
There are reports circulating on blogs that people must show a valid Alabama ID to get water service to their homes, that many are too scared to leave their homes to buy groceries for fear of being targeted, and of neighbors turning on each other and calling the authorities to check the immigration status of people living next door.1 The law is also compounding the economic crisis in Alabama, which has a deep farming economy. Migrant workers are afraid to go to work—so there are millions of dollars of produce that is rotting in the fields as a result.2
And since this law targets immigrant children and parents explicitly, the day after its implementation 2,000 children or 5% of Latino children in the Alabama school system did not go to school.3
Right now the media is not covering this unfolding humanitarian crisis so it’s hard to give a full sense of the outrage that is happening in Alabama. That’s why we sent members of our team down there to help document the abuses so that we can raise the alarm about what’s happening all over the country.
In the meantime, it is vital that we all speak out against what’s happening there—keeping kids out of school and forcing whole communities to live in fear is simply inhuman.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Koch Industries’ Evil history of cheating, lying and breaking rules by ‘The Koch Method’

Excerpted From

From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments. In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mis-measuring the amount of crude it was extracting. Koch paid a $25 million settlement to the United States.

Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company, said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the “Koch Method.”

In 1999, a Texas jury imposed a $296 million verdict on a Koch pipeline unit — the largest compensatory damages judgment in a wrongful-death case against a corporation in U.S. history. The jury found that the company’s negligence had led to a butane pipeline rupture that fueled an explosion that killed two teenagers.

Former Koch employees in the United States and Europe have testified or told investigators that they’ve witnessed wrongdoing by the company. Sally Barnes-Soliz, now an investigator for the Department of Labor and Industries in Washington state, says that when she worked for Koch, her bosses and a company lawyer at the Koch refinery in Corpus Christi, Tex., asked her to falsify data for a report to the state on uncontrolled emissions of benzene, a known cause of cancer. Barnes-Soliz, who testified to a federal grand jury, says she refused to alter the numbers. “They didn’t know what to do with me,” she says. “They were really kind of baffled that I had ethics.” Koch’s refinery unit pleaded guilty in 2001 to a federal felony charge of lying to regulators and paid $20 million in fines.

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the United States identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.

Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the United States and Canada.

Charles, 75, and David, 71, each worth about $20 billion, are prominent financial backers of groups that believe that excessive regulation is sapping the competitiveness of American business. Charles and David have supported the tea party, a loosely organized group that aims to shrink the size of government.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mainstream Media Headline

Bipartisan vote defeats Obama jobs bill.

Could the goddamned democrats be any stupider than to defeat their own jobs bill? Rush Limbaugh is claiming that not a single dem voted for it, and all kinds of his followers bow down and suck up his wisdom as if it were pearls from heaven.

Why do the dems keep killing themselves?

I doubt there will be a single democrat in congress after 2012, and, of course, we'll have a thuglican in the white house too.

Bye, bye. I'm off to canada if they'll still take third world citizens.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Christie hits Obama

In his "I'm not running," news conference today, Chris Christie made one very salient point about Obama that I think would ring true to Republicans, Independents, and Democrats as well. The point was that Obama has demonstrably failed as a leader. He can't make a decision, and because he has no guiding vision of his own, he can't lead others to follow him. Even today he's caving on his jobs plan because his own caucus won't buy into the tax increases on the special interest groups.

If the Republicans who ARE running are smart enough to latch onto this as a campaign theme, I think Obama is in real trouble.

Salient Assessment of Radical Right Contributions to Public Policy

An excerpt from Ross Douthat's NYT October 1, 2011 article entitled: Missing the Populist Moment ably summarizes contributions of the right wing populist (BTW, a contradiction in terms or oxymoron, your choice)

"The populist “answers” to middle-class economic anxieties, for instance, are usually gimmicks that would make the problem worse: Buchanan’s post-cold-war case for protectionism; Huckabee’s zeal for the so-called Fair Tax; Paul’s call for a return to the gold standard; Cain’s budget-busting “9-9-9” plan for tax reform. The populist “answer” to the growth of federal power is usually a rote invocation of the 10th Amendment, with little detail on how it should actually be applied. And at least during the debt ceiling debate, the populist “answer” to Wall Street’s influence in Washington was to shoot financial markets in the head by refusing to pay the country’s debts.

These policy failures have been exacerbated by the weird celebrity culture that Fox News creates around conservative politicians, which can make Republican presidential campaigns feel like cable news auditions. Thanks to Roger Ailes’s network, the right’s populist folk heroes have career incentives to choose superficiality over substance — the better to follow in Huckabee’s and Palin’s footsteps, and segue into a career as host of “Bachmann Overdrive” or “9-9-9 at 9.”
This is the irony of Fox’s impact on Republican politics. In a sense, the network’s shows have given right-wing populism a larger megaphone than it’s ever had before. But by turning populism into mass entertainment, they’ve made it less and less likely that a conservative populist will ever actually deserve to win."