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OpenSecrets Blog : Your background is in law, specifically Internet law and copyright policy. How did you get into campaign finance reform? Was it a slow build-up of frustration or was there a distinct turning point? Larry Lessig: Well, before I was an Internet lawyer I was a constitutional lawyer, still am. But when I was doing the Internet stuff what became overwhelmingly clear was that we weren’t going to make any progress about these issues and about copyright regulation against crazy extremists until we dealt with this more fundamental problem with this political system, which is what I call this corruption. So at a certain point I just thought, I've written five books in the field, I've done as much as I thought I could profitably do, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life kind of fine-tuning a set of arguments that seems so obvious -- that everyone was getting except for congressmen.
Readers may recall that we discussed a Financial Times op ed by University of Massachusetts professor of political sciences and favorite Naked Capitalism curmudgeon Tom Ferguson which described a particularly sordid aspect of American politics: an explicit pay to play system in Congress. Congresscritters who want to sit on influential committees, and even more important, exercise leadership roles, are required to kick in specified amounts of money into their party’s coffers. That in turn increases the influence of party leadership, since funds provided by the party machinery itself are significant in election campaigning. And make no doubt about it, they are used as a potent means of rewarding good soldiers and punishing rabble-rousers
In addition to campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates, companies, labor unions, and other organizations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies. Some special interests retain lobbying firms, many of them located along Washington's legendary K Street; others have lobbyists working in-house. We've got totals spent on lobbying, beginning in 1998, for everyone from AAI Corp. to Zurich Financial.
About Us Our republic is dangerously out of balance. Well-financed special interests routinely bend the levers of power to benefit the few at the expense of our general welfare.
I have been asked that question repeatedly over the last several weeks, and I think that I should answer it. First, a bit of background. I have been a professor of economics at Harvard for more than a quarter-century. Since 2005, one of my assignments has been to run Economics 10, the yearlong introductory course.
A family physician, Dr. Arthur Chen, 60, was an unusual addition to the counterculture of the Occupy Oakland movement. But the Connecticut-born Oakland resident who works in the city's Chinatown had a cause — health care reform — and the protests gave him a forum.
For those who have known me, my keen interest in the Occupy movement comes as no surprise. For those whom I have met only recently know me as the researcher, freelance journalist and blogger who has been making it a strong point to let everyone know that I am merely observing protests from the sidelines and not participating as a demonstrator. Since the beginning of Occupy at Wall Street on 17 September, I have stood on the peripheries of encampments observing a democratic movement unfold before our very eyes: from marches, to GA meetings, to police raids, and even the arduous online activism that has now become part and parcel of the current movement.
By any definition, 2011 was a good year for the world left – however narrowly or broadly one defines the world left. The basic reason was the negative economic conditions from which most of the world was suffering. Unemployment was high and becoming higher.
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One of the most fascinating things to come out of the current We Are 99%/Occupy Wall Street protests is the We Are 99% Tumblr . At the site, people hold up signs that explain their current circumstances, and it tells the story of a whole range of Americans struggling in the Lesser Depression. It is highly recommended. The site features pictures of individuals holding their signs, and occasionally the tumblr reproduces the text of the signs themselves underneath the image as html text. Sometimes the text under the image is blank, sometimes it is a different message, but often it is the sign itself.
If you believe the protesters on Wall Street, there is a one to 99 per cent split between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. The 'Occupy Wall Street' protestors chant is: "We are the 99 per cent", as opposed to the one per cent of society who make the big money while everyone else just gets by. The average American household still has an income somewhere between $30,000 and $80,000, which really has not improved since the Great Depression. Yet, today there is a top one per cent of earners with an average salary of $380,000 a year. The spread between the two is quite alarming. So just what has happened to the middle class in the US?
Carl Franzen We now know what they want , what social networks and online tools they use and who doesn’t like them . But just who are the Occupy Wall Street protesters? Over a month since the demonstrations began in New York’s Zuccotti Park, two demographic surveys of the movement and its supporters are now available online, both of them containing surprising, perhaps even counter-intuitive findings about the makeup of the movement and its supporters. Survey One: Visitors to Occupy Wall Street Website
The comic-book writer Alan Moore is not usually surprised when his creations find a life for themselves away from the printed page. Strips he penned in the 1980s and 90s have been fed through the Hollywood patty-maker, never to his great satisfaction, resulting in both critical hits and terrible flops ; fads for T-shirts, badges and shouted slogans have emerged from characters and conceits he has dreamed up for titles such as Watchmen and From Hell . "I suppose I've gotten used to the fact," says the 58-year-old, "that some of my fictions percolate out into the material world." But Moore has been caught off-guard in recent years, and particularly in 2011, by the inescapable presence of a certain mask being worn at protests around the world. A sallow, smirking likeness of Guy Fawkes – created by Moore and the artist David Lloyd for their 1982 series V for Vendetta .
10th February 2013 Question with 24 notes Anonymous asked: On New Year's Eve I had a miscarriage at home. I do not have insurance and live off of $800.00 a month. If I called an ambulance I would not be able to afford to eat for months.
“ And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their un-escapable social destiny.” – Huxley, Brave New World From: The McCourtny Consulting Group To: The Endowment for the Preservation of the One Percent Subject: Managing the 99 Percent Whether or not it is put in sound-bite terms of “class warfare”, the “one percent” pitted against the “ninety-nine percent”, the fact of the matter is that the data showing a widening of income levels are undeniable, as are the push of a segment of the middle class to the near poor, the realization of lower social mobility, income levels that have broken the string of increasing standards of living from parents to children, and new doubts about education as a road to opportunity.