Economic inequality has been growing since 1980,and continues to grow. Inequality in wealth creates inequality in power.
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren Buffett in 2006.
What have been the power consequences of this inequality?
Question 1) Who Owns the Media?
Six massive corporations dominate the U.S. TV media landscape: Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, they dominate news and entertainment. Then there’s Clear Channel which now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft increasingly dominate the Internet. These companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read. Unless we are skeptical, they shape our thinking. New dangers loom: the proposed merger of Time-Warner and Comcast, and powerful threats to Internet neutrality.
During national election campaigns, these companies can easily dismiss, laugh off, or ignore any candidate who genuinely challenges their power or the power of their advertisers. By the time you and I enter the voting booth, we are choosing between two candidates who are acceptable to the multinational corporations.read more
On June 22, we paid a visit to Bill Foster (D) while he attended a private fundraiser outside of his district. Our Purpose? To remind him that the people of America OPPOSE the TPP and to send a clear message that he should not vote for this disastrous trade policy.
The ECC Board of Trustees has dropped plan to outsource the custodians. Instead, they passed a new plan to seek an outside company which will provide SUPERVISION for the custodians. They assured the audience that they will keep the present custodians as direct employees of the college, and that the custodians will keep their present benefits. But they plan to pay for the new supervisory management contract out of savings which will come from new efficiencies.
They expected this announcement to be greeted with gratitude, and to some degree it was. But to many of us it appears that they new arrangement will mean that the custodians will have to work faster and harder and that their hours will be cut.
I will be meeting with the head of the teachers union, some staff members and students and others to discuss how we can keep on top of this situation.
Clearly the board and the president felt the heat of the anger that they had stirred up over the past several weeks, and clearly they dropped the outsourcing plan as a result of that heat.
Mary Shesgreen sums up what happened inside Villa Olivia at Tammy Duckworth’s fundraiser.
“After our excellent picket line, complete with the beautiful Light Brigade signs, Carol Nightingale and I went inside to participate in the Elgin Township Democrat’s Dinner.
We were able to circulate and give flyers and TPP Occucards to almost everybody there. A few people disapproved of our picket, so refused our handouts.
After the dinner, Tammy gave a talk and then took questions. So, I asked her what position she took on Fast Track and the TPP.
She laid on the charm by expressing concern for all of us being out there in the cold. Said she was “worried about us.” She told the audience that those of us who were out there protesting were doing something valuable and good by raising important questions. A complete charm offensive. Made herself look very good indeed.
Then she replied to the question She listed several things she did not like about both Fast Track and the TPP, but said she was still not going to come out against either one of them because there would be a modified version of Fast Track coming out which might be improved and better, with some built in protections.
I said it was my understanding that any modified version of a Fast Track bill might have provisions that sound good but they would not be sufficient or enforceable. She responded by saying something to the effect that she was very aware of these dangers and would not fall for anything that would not be enforceable.
She then talked about how, “Of course we have to have Trade. Trade is important and good….Our manufacturers need to be able to sell their products abroad.”
I piped up one more time and said, “Why can’t we have Fair Trade instead of Free Trade.”
And again she gave a smooth and meaningless answer.
I have to marvel at how well she can sound like a progressive, and continue to say nothing at all, and evade any commitment. I was also aware of a kind of slant she was working into her replies that suggested that the whole danger about these trade treaties was the other countries would take unfair advantage of the US, and she would be the guardian of our moral American values against those foreigners. I found that pretty nauseating, because there is so much coercion going on in the opposite direction.
I had to shut up at that point, because I sensed that I was wearing out my welcome with the audience.
Anyway, the whole thing was worthwhile, in spite of Tammy skillful slipperiness.
We educated all those Dems about the TPP. And we put some pressure on Tammy.”