Congress is now made up mostly of millionaires (over 50%) ..(more here)
Wednesday, June 25 - 6pm
Israeli Consulate, 800 Second Avenue, Manhattan
A diverse coalition of New York community members, students, activists, and academics respond to the Palestinian call for support and have called for a rally as an emergency response to the raids, bombings, demolitions, murders and kidnappings by Israeli Forces over the past week.
The rally will demand an end to the Israeli siege and occupation, and the release of all Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces, with special emphasis on the immediate release of the estimated 200 Palestinian children who languish in Israeli military prisons.
#BringBackOurBoys, #HandsOffOurChildren, #EndChildPrisoners.
The rally organizers join the Palestinians in their demands for:
1. Immediate Release of All Palestinian Prisoners;
2. Immediate release and protection of all kidnapped Palestinian Children;
3. Immediate end to all raids and incursions;
4.Support of the Palestinian right to resistance and self-defense against Israeli attacks, occupation, raids and kidnappings; and
5. Support the immediate right of all Palestinian to return to their homes.
Look this over. It clearly demonstrates that the US is a nation of overwhelmingly incompetent shits.
What does it take to be president? We asked Americans about 16 different traits and how it affects support for a candidate.
After a high-profile international protest — the biggest fast food strike in history — disgruntled McDonald’s employees decided to continue their campaign outside the company headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., leading to more than 100 arrests and a tussle with the police.
The Australian government, after massive debates in and out of parliament, decided that cigarettes should be sold in plain packets, marked only with shocking health warnings. The decision was validated by the Australian supreme court. But, using a trade agreement Australia struck with Hong Kong, the tobacco company Philip Morris has asked an offshore tribunal to award it a vast sum in compensation for the loss of what it calls its intellectual property.
During its financial crisis, and in response to public anger over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people’s energy and water bills (does this sound familiar?). It was sued by the international utility companies whose vast bills had prompted the government to act. For this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation. In El Salvador, local communities managed at great cost (three campaigners were murdered) to persuade the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.
In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada’s patent laws are changed.
The mechanism through which this is achieved is known as investor-state dispute settlement. It’s already being used in many parts of the world to kill regulations protecting people and the living planet.
These companies (along with hundreds of others) are using the investor-state dispute rules embedded in trade treaties signed by the countries they are suing. The rules are enforced by panels which have none of the safeguards we expect in our own courts. The hearings are held in secret. The judges are corporate lawyers, many of whom work for companies of the kind whose cases they hear. Citizens and communities affected by their decisions have no legal standing. There is no right of appeal on the merits of the case. Yet they can overthrow the sovereignty of parliaments and the rulings of supreme courts.
You don’t believe it? Here’s what one of the judges on these tribunals says about his work. “When I wake up at night and think about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all … Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal procedure, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament.”
There are no corresponding rights for citizens. We can’t use these tribunals to demand better protections from corporate greed. As the Democracy Centre says, this is “a privatised justice system for global corporations”.
Even if these suits don’t succeed, they can exert a powerful chilling effect on legislation. One Canadian government official, speaking about the rules introduced by the North American Free Trade Agreement, remarked: “I’ve seen the letters from the New York and DC law firms coming up to the Canadian government on virtually every new environmental regulation and proposition in the last five years. They involved dry-cleaning chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, patent law. Virtually all of the new initiatives were targeted and most of them never saw the light of day.” Democracy, as a meaningful proposition, is impossible under these circumstances."
If you work for 50 years and receive the typical long-term return of 7 percent on your 401(k) plan and your fees are 2 percent, almost two-thirds of your account will go to Wall Street. This was the bombshell dropped by Frontline’s Martin Smith in this Tuesday evening’s PBS program, The Retirement Gamble.
This is not so much a gamble as a certainty: under a 2 percent 401(k) fee structure, almost two-thirds of your working life will go toward paying obscene compensation to Wall Street; a little over one-third will benefit your family – and that’s before paying taxes on withdrawals to Uncle Sam"