Bob Higgins

Tripoli: Rebels Stand Ready to Welcome Advance

Posted in Juan Cole, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on August 15, 2011

Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters

Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters By Juan Cole /Informed Comment

Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters

By Juan Cole / Informed Comment

The long slow slog of the Libyan struggle to throw off the rule of Muammar Qaddafi, accelerated this weekend, possibly decisively, with rebel forces making major advances. Tripoli was said to be ready to embrace the rebel youth when they came into the capital.

Free Libya forces made substantial advances over the weekend, coming up from Zintan to take much of Zawiya on the coast, with the help of the majority in the city that opposes dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Zawiya was the site of among the first and biggest anti-Qaddafi demonstrations, and was brutally repressed with tank and artillery fire on unarmed noncombatants by Qaddafi brigades. Since March it has been under secret police rule, but that was thrown off jointly by locals and by their allies from the Western Mountain region to the south.

Read more:  Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters | Informed Comment.

Corporate Personhood versus Democracy

[Editor’s note: The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United was the worst decision by the court since those of Dred Scott v. Sandford and Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the latter of which establishe­d the ridiculous idea of corporate person-hoo­d in US law.  The origins of corporate person-hood are explored in the excellent essay linked below from William Myers.  Bob Higgins]

The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy

By William Meyers

What Corporate Personhood Is

Corporate Personhood is a legal fiction. The choice of the word “person” arises from the way the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was worded and from earlier legal usage of the word person. A corporation is an artificial entity, created by the granting of a charter by a government that grants such charters. Corporation in this essay will be confined to businesses run for profit that have been granted corporate charters by the States of the United States. The Federal Government of the United States usually does not grant corporate charters to businesses (exceptions include the Post Office and Amtrak).

Corporations are artificial entities owned by stockholders, who may be humans or other corporations. They are required by law to have officers and a board of directors (in small corporations these may all be the same people). In effect the corporation is a collective of individuals with a special legal status and privileges not given to ordinary unincorporated businesses or groups of individuals.

Obviously a corporation is itself no more a person (though it is owned and staffed by persons) than a locomotive or a mob. So why, in the USA, is a corporation considered to be a person under law?

Corporate personhood is the idea (legal fiction, currently with force of law) that corporations have inalienable rights (sometimes called constitutional rights) just like real, natural, human persons.

That this idea has the force of law both resulted from the power and wealth of the class of people who owned corporations, and resulted in their even greater power and wealth. Corporate constitutional rights effectively invert the relationship between the government and the corporations. Recognized as persons, corporations lose much of their status as subjects of the government. Although artificial creations of their owners and the governments, as legal persons they have a degree of immunity to government supervision. Endowed with the court-recognized right to influence both elections and the law-making process, corporations now dominate not just the U. S. economy, but the government itself.

Read more The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy by William Meyers.

The More You Watch, the Worse You Feel / Marty Kaplan

Victor VasarelyBy Marty Kaplan / Huffington Post

As if the triple whammy of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster weren’t enough to enthrall and terrify us, the war in Libya is now providing cable news viewers a fresh hell to follow 24/7.

But wait, as they say in the infomercials — there’s more. In Bahrain, Saudi tanks and troops are violently cracking down on pro-democracy activists; in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is moving toward power; in Yemen, security forces, firing from the rooftops, have killed scores of demonstrators; in Syria, troops are shooting into crowds of protesting civilians; and last week’s news from Israel and the Palestinian territories was enough to make anyone rage and wail.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? In Madison, Wisc. and other state capitals, Republicans are demonizing public employees, stripping workers of their rights and using deficits as an excuse to transfer wealth from the middle to the top. In Washington, D.C., every Republican on the environment subcommittee says that climate change is a hoax, and every Republican on the financial institutions subcommittee says banks are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the recession. Who has enough spare neurons to cope with that, let alone the defunding of NPR and Planned Parenthood? Do you have some mindshare left for a campaign finance system that’s corrupting both political parties? For the obesity epidemic? For the worst youth unemployment in history?

Read more: Marty Kaplan/The More You Watch, the Worse You Feel. (more…)

What do Snooki, Hugh Hefner and a Chimp Have in Common with the Bush Tax Cuts?

Posted in Guest Columns, Politics, Robert Greenwald, Uncategorized, Veterans News by Bob Higgins on December 1, 2010
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Bush Tax Cuts

Extending the Bush Tax Cuts: Reckless

From Robert Greenwald:

This video highlights some of the craziness around what extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could mean in terms of spending. The average amount these tax cuts would give is $80,000, which would allow a rich American to hire the entire staff of the Jersey Shore to appear at a party, or it could pay one month of unemployment for 273 Americans. But when you look at the richest of the rich, say, CEOs of big banks on Wall Street, they would stand to gain even more, reaping between $700,000 and 1.6 million each from these tax cuts.

Extending tax cuts to the richest 2% of Americans would cost our country $700 billion in new debt. At a time when nearly 15 million Americans are out of work, and over 2 million are in danger of losing their homes, Congress’ priority needs to be the 98% of Americans who need the most support.

Tell Congress that they must NOT pass a tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.

Call Your Representatives now and tell them not to spend $700 billion on the richest among us. In this time of high unemployment and housing lost, we need to have better priorities!

Here’s the number for the House (202) 224-3121

Once you’ve made your call, visit here and share with us how it went and why you oppose tax cuts for the wealthy.

Read more at The Huffington Post


Citizens United: Before, After, What’s Next?

Posted in Election 2010, Guest Columns, Lisa Rosenberg, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 21, 2010

Citizens United: Before, After, What’s Next?

Supreme Court Citizens United

Supreme Court reacts to President Obama's mention of the Citizens United case at the State of the Union Address

By Lisa Rosenberg, Sunlight Foundation Blog

The Citizens United case was a game changer in terms of money being spent by outside groups on the 2010 elections—but the question is, how much? This primer (included below) provides a detailed explanation of the before and after, and also includes Sunlight’s policy recommendations for new disclosures needed to ensure that that the midterms don’t become a practice run for even more massive spending in 2012. It’s complicated, but boiled down to its essentials, the key points are these:
• Before Citizens United, if a corporation or labor union wanted to make an independent expenditure—an ad expressly calling for the election or defeat of a specific candidate—it was prohibited from using money from its general treasury. It had to use limited voluntary contributions from its PAC. (more…)

Marty Kaplin: Waiting for Sanityman: Can Jon Stewart Save America?

Posted in Guest Columns, Marty Kaplan, News, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion by Bob Higgins on October 11, 2010

Waiting for Sanityman: Can Jon Stewart Save America?

By Marty Kaplin

The fate of our country won’t be decided by a politician. It will be determined by a comedian.

Not long before Jon Stewart announced his Rally to Restore Sanity, he told a New York magazine writer why he and his crew on The Daily Show would never do something like that. “We’re not activists,” he said. “Maybe the nice thing about being a comedian is never having full belief in yourself to know the answer. So you can say all this stuff, but underneath, you’re going, ‘But of course, I’m f—ing idiotic.’ It’s why we don’t lead a lot of marches.”

Read more at Huffington Post

Waiting for Jewman

By Marty Kaplin

Jon Stewart did his show, business as usual, on Rosh Hashanah this year. That night, when his interview guest, Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, greeted him with “Happy New Year,” Stewart looked uncharacteristically nonplussed for a nanosecond, before replying, “What? Huh? See you in Times Square tonight.” (more…)

In School Outreach, BP and NOAA “Dispel Myths” About Dispersants, Subsurface Oil

Posted in Environment, Marian Wang, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 4, 2010
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Snapper are filleted at Inland Seafood in New Orleans, La. According to reports, BP and the government are giving presentations at local schools showing that "oil floats" and Gulf seafood is safe. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

[Pro Publica’s Marian Wang reports on the spin being provided to middle school students by BP and the NOAA regarding the safety of Gulf Seafood and the contamination of the Guf with 206 million gallons of crude oil and a million gallons of dispersants.  Truthout gives a slightly different picture in Evidence Refutes BP’s and Fed’s Deceptions Bob Higgins]

By Marian Wang,  ProPublica
Even as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls for more research into the long-term effects of the chemical dispersants BP used in the Gulf, representatives of BP and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have reached out to local schools to “dispel myths” about dispersants and subsurface oil, according to recent reports in the Houma Courier and the Tri-Parish Times. (We first noticed the Tri-Parish Times piece via TreeHugger.) (more…)

Marian Wang: Despite Safety Concerns at Texas Refinery, U.S. Won’t Revoke BP Probation

Posted in Environment, Guest Columns, Marian Wang, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 28, 2010
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BP Texas City refinery exploded in 2005 killing 15 and injuring 170

[Editor’s note: Until we eliminate the idea that corporations are people and have the rights of citizens under the law we will be forced to deal continually with criminal actors like BP. If John Gotti had had the same access to the legal and lobbying talent, as well as the influence in congress and money as BP, he would not have died in prison. Bob Higgins]

By Marian Wang ProPublica

The Justice Department has decided not to revoke probation that the government had imposed on BP as part of an agreement to address safety violations at the company’s Texas City refinery, site of a deadly 2005 explosion. The decision comes despite a government warning earlier this year that it might revoke the company’s probation if BP failed to address the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s continuing concerns about safety at the refinery.

Since a blast at the refinery in 2005 killed 15 workers, BP has faced both criminal and civil actions for violations identified in investigations after the accident. As part of its plea agreement to resolve the criminal charges it faced after the 2005 blast, BP was given three years’ probation. (more…)

Republicans Shown to be Genetically Altered Bi Pedal Parrots

Posted in Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 24, 2010

Tea Party Script Written In Washington (VIDEO)
On the large scale I witness this every day on cable news. It doesn’t matter what issue or event they happen to be addressing for the cameras republicans all sound as if they checked a copy of the official script from the office of republican message control and wrote it on their hands.

On a smaller more personal scale, my brother has become a bipedal parrot who repeats republican and teabagger, talking points and Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glen Beck aphorisms nearly every waking moment of his tortured delusional life.

The only good news for me is I don’t have to feed him crackers.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified

Posted in Financial Crime, Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 24, 2010


New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified

Bill Maher’s latest effort is brilliant and fuunnny.  Go read it.

I would like to put the obscenely wealthy in the Super Dome, just pack them in, and have them listen to a recording of Bill Maher reading this post on a continuous loop for eternity.

Well at least a couple of days, without bathroom breaks or refreshments.

What a wonderful read, it should be set to music, I’d like to be able to hum along
Bill Maher: at HuffingtonPost

Taylor Marsh: Dems Duck Middle Class Tax Cut Fight

Posted in Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics, Taylor Marsh by Bob Higgins on September 24, 2010

Harry was a Democrat with balls, Lauren Bacall is a Democrat with legs

Check out Taylor Marsh’s Huff Post piece on the Dem’s flight from a confrontation on the playground of slime. My thoughts on this disgrace below:

Just in case there was any question, FDR and Harry Truman are as dead as Jefferson and Madison, as dead as Generalissimo Franco.

Harry Truman once said this:

“I don’t like bipartisans. Whenever a fellow tells me he’s bipartisan, I know that he’s going to vote against me.”

Harry was thought to be showing signs of life but that’s just because he’s spinning in his grave while the Democrats are on life support following a long term bout with a terminal illness called “bipartisanship.”

Harry also said this:

“When voters are given a choice between voting for a Republican, or a Democrat who acts like a Republican, they’ll vote for the Republican every time.”

I’m going to the polls to vote for the dumb asses anyway. I hope I’m not lonely. What the hell, I’m a Cubs fan and a Browns fan…and…a Democrat.

Bob Higgins

Read the Article at Huffington Post

Sally Kohn: An Ideological Intervention: Tax Cuts for the Rich

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics, Sally Kohn, Uncategorized by Bob Higgins on September 22, 2010
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[Editor’s note: Sally Kohn of Movement Vision Labs posted this excellent and hilarious video at Huff Post before lunch. It’s the best, the most concise post I’ve read dealing with ending the Bush tax cuts, and it’s in layman’s language so I totally understood it. I think you will too. I think I have permission to run it, but it’s so good I’m going to take a chance before I hear from her. Bob Higgins]

How stupid is the idea of extending tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans and further draining resources for the average, hard-working Americans?

To find an analogy, you need look no further than your own hand. Check out my latest popular education 101 video about why cutting taxes for the rich in the midst of our economic crisis is bad for you and our overall body politic.  Sally Kohn

Scientists Discover Thick Layer of Oil Stretching for Miles on Gulf Sea Floor

Posted in Environment, Guest Columns, Marian Wang, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 13, 2010
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AP/Dave Martin - A wave polluted with crude from the Gulf oil spill washes ashore in Orange Beach, Al

[Editor’s note: The plot sickens as the Gulf thickens and the magically disappearing 206 million gallons of BP oil begins to reappear under the scrutiny of organizations like ProPublica.   Bob Higgins]

By Marian Wang ProPublica

Scientists conducting research in the Gulf have found a thick layer of oily sediment on the ocean floor stretching for miles.

“We have to [chemically] fingerprint it and link it to the Deepwater Horizon,” Samantha Joye, a marine scientist at the University of Georgia, told NPR. “But the sheer coverage here is leading us all to come to the conclusion that it has to be sedimented oil from the oil spill, because it’s all over the place.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about oil being found on the sea floor. Last month, scientists from the University of South Florida had used UV lighting to detect what they believed to be oil spread across the sediment on the bottom of the Gulf. (more…)