Thursday / October 27, 2016

Image result for trump

(The New Yorker)

“Yes, he is a shallow, mendacious, boorish and extremely dangerous man. But those traits ensure that he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics. He is our system, stripped of its pretences.”

– George Monbiot

(See “The Inside Outsider”, below.)

Posted in 2016-10-27 | Tagged | Comments Off on Thursday / October 27, 2016

Federal Government Continues To Feed Charter School Beast Despite Auditor’s Warning

Kids Adrift in Space

Kids Adrift in Space

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2015. Opensource and free to use with link to )


By Jeff Bryant
Education Opportunity Network (10/5/16)

Politicians always promise they will rid government of “waste, fraud, and abuse,” so let’s hope at least one political leader or policy maker will denounce our federal government’s new gift of nearly a quarter-billion dollars to charter schools.

The cash dump to charters, courtesy of taxpayers, is from the U.S. Department of Education. As Education Week reports, the money is going to eight states and 15 charter school networks from the Charter Schools Program, a federal government operation that doles out millions every year to start new charter schools.

This money is the latest installment of an over $3 billion gravy train the federal government has funded to help launch over 2,500 charter schools across the nation.

Regardless of how you feel about these schools, you should be concerned about how this new government outlay to charters will be used, based on the extensive track record of financial malfeasance in these schools.

Tax money to charter school fraudsters and con artists 

Indeed, shortly after the USDE announcement, the Department’s own auditor warned that the money is very much at risk of ending up in the pockets of fraudsters and con artists rather than in the classrooms of diligent students and dedicated teachers.

Again Education Week reports, the audit by the agency’s inspector general’s office examined 33 schools in six states and concluded that because of a general lack of oversight of charters there was a “risk that federal programs are not being implemented correctly and are wasting public money.”

The risk stems from the “cozy relationships,” the EdWeek reporter’s words, between charter schools and companies that operate them, called Charter Management Organizations (CMOs).

Of the 33 charter schools the audit examined, 22 had examples, sometimes multiple examples, of how CMOs take advantage of the unusual business relationship they have with their client charters to exploit federal education funds and redirect precious taxpayer dollars to private interests that have nothing to do with education.

In one of the more egregious examples the audit round, “the CEO of one CMO in Pennsylvania had the authority to write and issue checks without charter school board approval and wrote checks to himself from the charter school’s accounts totaling about $11 million.”

At another Pennsylvania charter, a vendor that supplied services to the school was owned by the charter school’s CMO and received $485,000 in payments from the school without charter school board approval.

In Florida, a charter and a CMO that shared the same board entered into an expensive lease agreement for the school building, then expanded the facility, extended the lease, and increased the rental payments to the CMO.

One CMO the audit examined, which operated three charters in Michigan and one in New York, required the charter schools to remit all federal, state, and local funds to the CMO and gave the CMO total responsibility, with no oversight by the charter board, for paying school expenditures.

The auditor’s report doesn’t provide the names of these schools, so we don’t know if they have received federal grant money in the past or are some of the ones getting the new money.

However, three of the six states the audit looked at – California, Texas, and Florida – are the same states the Department of Education just decided to send more money to. The other three – Michigan Pennsylvania, and New York – have received federal money for charters in the past, either sent to the state or to charter organizations operating in the state.

Money unaccounted for

These states, and presumably many others the feds send charter money to, often don’t sufficiently track how the money is used, according to the audit. Of the six states examined, half could not provide consistent funding data on charter schools with CMOs, a third could not identify which charter schools used CMOs, and a third that tracked whether charter schools used CMOs had unreliable information because charter schools self-reported their operations.

The federal auditor’s revelations on charter school waste, fraud, and abuse is yet another dose of reality in a long line of factual reporting about these schools.

A study released last year by the Center for Media and Democracy found “charter spending is largely a black hole.” That’s because the “flexibility” charters have been granted by the government is often being used not to create education innovations but to “allow an epidemic of fraud, waste, and mismanagement that would not be tolerated in public schools,” the CMD report found.

Based on its extensive research on charters, CMD examined the list of new award grantees and noted Florida, that’s getting a grant of $58,454,516, has closed over 120 charter schools in a little over a decade. Texas, which is getting $30,498,392, has “an unknown number” of charter schools “housed in churches” and “closely tied to, religious groups.”

Tennessee, which is getting $15,172,732, is famous for having a statewide online charter school that is so bad, the state education chief tried to get rid of it but couldn’t because of political maneuvering by the charter lobby and lack of regulatory accountability.

California, which is getting $27,329,904, has some of the worst charter school scandals in the nation, according to a report from the Center for Popular Democracy, which uncovered over $81,400,000 in fraud, waste, and abuse in the state. CPD call the alarming figure “likely just the tip of the iceberg.”

Louisiana, another grantee getting $4,836,766 from the feds, has been ripped off by “tens of millions of dollars in undiscovered losses” from charter schools in the 2013-14 school year, according to another CPD analysis. “The state has insufficiently resourced financial oversight,” CPD contends, and has yet to put into place adequate reporting, staffing, and auditing.

Three other states – Georgia, Massachusetts, and Washington – are getting the money just when they are deeply embroiled in heated controversies over charter schools.

Georgia has a ballot initiative in November on whether to allow the state to operate an Opportunity School District that would summarily take over local schools and hand them over to charter operators. Massachusetts also has a November ballot initiative, called Question 2, that would allow the state to lift the cap on the number of charters allowed to operate in the state. And in Washington, a charter school battleground for over 20 years, court rulings, legislative shenanigans, lawsuits, and counter lawsuits related to charter schools continue to rage across the state.

No doubt, this new money – over $41 million altogether for these three states – may now sweeten the pot if pro charter forces get their way.

Regarding the individual CMOs the Department is sending money to, one of them, Uncommon Schools, is a charter chain which used to be led in part by the current head of USDE, SecretaryJohn King. Uncommon is getting $8,004,576. No conflict of interest there.

Another recipient – the Denver School of Science and Technology charter chain in Colorado, with a grant of $4,043,361 – has paid out between $20 to $50 million to a for-profit corporation owned by two of the charter chain’s director, according to another CPD analysis.

A charter school chain in Indiana getting $1,923,866 is plagued with financial problems, low enrollment, and controversy over how the CEO spends money. No doubt the infusion of federal cash will help.

The federal auditor’s report recommends the convening of a formal oversight group to look into charter school financial malfeasance, more rigorous review of charter school operations by federal agencies, and legislative changes in Congress to firm up government oversight.

Here’s another recommendation: Stop federal funding to expand these schools.

Link to Story

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on Federal Government Continues To Feed Charter School Beast Despite Auditor’s Warning

Threat Alert! Hillary Favorite Big Advocate For Free Trade Agreements That Have Sent Jobs Overseas & Threatens Out Ability To Govern Ourselves

From NAFTA to TPP, possible Clinton Treasury appointee is big advocate of corporate trade deal giveaways.

(Editor’s Note: Stay alert Dems! The real campaign – to keep Clinton from betraying the party base – begins November 9th. – Mark L. Taylor)

By Zach Carter
The Huffington Post (10/26/16)

WASHINGTON ― Most Americans have never heard of Lael Brainard. But to Democratic Party insiders already jockeying over the direction of a Hillary Clinton presidency, Brainard is a household name. She is one of a handful of candidates being circulated as a potential Clinton administration treasury secretary, and the implications her appointment may have for trade policy are roiling progressives in Washington.

In an era of extreme congressional gridlock, power in the nation’s capital is heavily concentrated in the executive branch. Personnel choices carry dramatic policy implications. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner oversaw a foreclosure relief plan thatabused families and was designed to help big banks. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez figured out how to use an old law to expand overtime pay for millions of Americans.

And the flood of emails released by WikiLeaks over the past month show that Clinton’s treasury secretary will have an opportunity to sway an inner circle divided over the top economic issues animating progressive Democrats ― financial reform and trade policy.

During the Democratic primary against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Clinton confidants seriously debated whether she would embrace a new version of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law repealed in 1999 that separated traditional boring banking from high-flying securities trades. Emails also show Clinton’s team agonizing for months over what position to take on Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact with 11 other nations. In June 2015, Clinton herself praised ideas detailed by former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers supporting the TPP.

“For more sophisticated audiences or interviews, his points are useful,” Clinton wrote to longtime aide John Podesta, just a few months before she herself would come out against the trade deal.

Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have been pressuring Clinton to break from the team of centrist Wall Street-friendly personnel who dominated the economic direction of the Bill Clinton and Obama administrations and seek out different voices.


The elite drift is even more apparent on a process known as Investor State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS, which permits corporations to challenge the laws and regulations of sovereign nations if they believe these rules unfairly hurt their investments.


As an alumna of both of those Treasury Departments, Brainard is a member of that old guard. But since 2014 she has served on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where she has been a consistent voice for sanity on monetary policy, calling to keep interest rates low to spur economic growth. Until workers see strong wage increases, Brainard has maintained, the central bank should not clamp down on paychecks by hiking interest rates.

Progressive economists have supported this principle for 70 years, but have largely been overshadowed for the past 30 by conservatives more frightened of inflation than unemployment. Brainard has even had to battle other Obama appointees at the Fed over the idea. And she gets results. Interest rates remain near all-time lows, despite caterwauls from the conservative monetary policy establishment.

But Brainard’s record on trade is certain to ignite the ire of the Bernie Sanders base. When she joined Bill Clinton’s administration in 1997, Brainard helped implement the North American Free Trade Agreement and manage China’s entrance on the stage of global commerce as a member of the World Trade Organization. As the top diplomat at Treasury under President Barack Obama, Brainard advocated for disappointing trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, and laid the groundwork for much of what eventually became the TPP, while overseeing tepid efforts to thwart currency manipulation in China.

She has, in short, been involved with just about everything progressives have complained about on trade since the 1990s.

Scan 47

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2016. Open source and free to use with link to )

“Moving Brainard from the Federal Reserve to Treasury is like telling Michael Jordan to ditch basketball and try baseball,” said Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank.

NAFTA and China

Brainard declined to comment on the record for this article ― sitting Fed governors do not typically talk to the press about matters unrelated to the central bank.

Her early work in the Clinton Treasury focused on Mexico, helping navigate the peso crisis and enforce the economic reforms required by NAFTA, which had been signed into law a few years before she joined the administration.

“With regard to NAFTA, I think right now we’re going at a time of real strength and resilience in the trade relationship,” Brainard told reporters in 1999, during a press conference in which she encouraged further privatization of government services in Mexico. “I think both in Mexico and in the United States there’s substantial evidence to show that NAFTA has worked for both countries.”

That was the consensus view within the the Clinton administration. But progressive critics of the deal who were marginalized in the 1990s note that NAFTA put downward pressure on U.S. wages without raising them for workers in Mexico. Liberal economists at the Economic Policy Institute estimate that NAFTA cost the U.S. economy about 700,000 jobs through 2011. Even when firms didn’t simply move domestic factories into Mexico to exploit cheaper labor costs, the threat of relocation undercut workers’ bargaining power with their managers.

Most serious NAFTA critics in the 1990s were associated with organized labor, which also raised vehement objections in 2000 to granting China permanent normalized trade relations with the United States. At the time, the Clinton administration believed shepherding China into the World Trade Organization was a largely symbolic gesture, one that President Clinton suggested might help foster political reforms in China. Instead, the United States lost millions of manufacturing jobs to China, which continues to be a hotbed of authoritarian human rights abuses.

But these issues have only recently become troubling to the elite bipartisan center of the American political spectrum. Today, centrist experts, including Clinton confidant Anne Marie Slaughter, worry the U.S. trading relationship with China creates national security risks.

Free trade advocate

But none of this posed problems for Brainard when Obama nominated her to be Treasury’s top diplomat in 2009. She weathered a Senate confirmation hearing touting her work “to shape China’s entry into the WTO.”

Once at the Obama Treasury, Brainard took a cautious approach to China, resisting calls to formally label the country a currency manipulator. China exacerbates the U.S. trade deficit by hoarding about $3 trillion in currency reserves. This depresses the value of China’s yuan against the dollar, making U.S. exports more expensive in China and Chinese exports cheaper in the United States.

In congressional testimony, Brainard repeatedly argued that the yuan was appreciating steadily against the dollar through more informal pressure, and that this progress was not worth risking by deploying more confrontational tactics. Since 2005, the Chinese currency has indeed generally risen against the dollar. But progressive economists maintain this movement has been much too slow, as evidenced by the sheer size of the currency reserves China still holds today. And despite the general upward trend, when the Chinese government has faced sluggish growth, it has intervened in currency markets to devalue its currency, as it did last year.

The old guard of D.C. economists tolerated the problems associated with this type of trade for a reason. The prevailing bipartisan ideology inside the Beltway held that the benefits of lower prices from free trade (and even currency manipulation), outweighed the costs of job losses. You might lose your factory job, but you could find another gig and shop at Wal-Mart. Higher taxes on the wealthy could supplement your income with social services.

It’s not clear that this redistribution was ever really delivered, but it is clear that entire communities were hollowed out, and that a lot of people got angry. …

Read the Rest

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off on Threat Alert! Hillary Favorite Big Advocate For Free Trade Agreements That Have Sent Jobs Overseas & Threatens Out Ability To Govern Ourselves

The Inside ‘Outsider’ – Deadbeat Donnie Perfectly Embodies Our Political Reality & Economic System


(Editorial illustration by Seth L. Taylor, 2016)

Trump is so repulsive not because he offends our civilisation’s most basic values, but because he embodies them.


By George Monbiot
The Guardian (10/26/16)

What is the worst thing about Donald Trump? The lies? The racist stereotypes? The misogyny? The alleged gropings? The apparent refusal to accept democratic outcomes? All these are bad enough. But they’re not the worst. The worst thing about Donald Trump is that he’s the man in the mirror.

We love to horrify ourselves with his excesses, and to see him as a monstrous outlier, the polar opposite of everything a modern, civilised society represents. But he is nothing of the kind. He is the distillation of all that we have been induced to desire and admire. Trump is so repulsive not because he offends our civilisation’s most basic values, but because he embodies them.

As the recipient of vast inherited wealth who markets himself as solely responsible for his good fortune, he is the man of our times. The US Apprentice TV show which he hosted tells the story of everything he is not: the little guy dragging himself up from the bottom through enterprise and skill. None of this distinguishes him from the majority of the very rich, whose entrepreneurial image, loyally projected by the media, clashes with their histories of huge bequests, government assistance, monopolies and rent-seeking.


Yes, he is a shallow, mendacious, boorish and extremely dangerous man. But those traits ensure that he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics. He is our system, stripped of its pretences.

If his politics differ from those of the rest of the modern Republican party, it is because he is, in some respects, more liberal. Every vice, for the Republican trailblazers such as Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, is now a virtue; every virtue a vice. Encouraged by the corporate media, the Republicans have been waging a full-spectrum assault on empathy, altruism and the decencies we owe to other people. Their gleeful stoving in of faces, their cackling destruction of political safeguards and democratic norms, their stomping on all that is generous and caring and cooperative in human nature, have turned the party into a game of Mortal Kombat scripted by Breitbart News.

Did Trump invent the xenophobia and racism that infuse his campaign? Did he invent his conspiracy theories about stolen elections and the criminality of his opponents? No. They were there all along. What is new and different about him is that he has streamlined these narratives into a virulent demagoguery. But the opportunity has been building for years; all that was required was someone blunt and unscrupulous enough to take it.

Nor can you single out Trump for ignoring, denying and deriding the key issues of our time, such as climate change. Almost all prominent Republicans have been at it. In fact, across the four presidential debates, not one question about climate change was asked. Even when politicians and journalists accept the science, it makes little difference if they avoid the subject like the plague.

America’s fourth president, James Madison, envisaged the United States constitution as representation tempered by competition between factions. In the 10th federalist paper, written in 1787, he argued that large republics were better insulated from corruption than small, or “pure” democracies, as the greater number of citizens would make it “more difficult for unworthy candidates to practise with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried”. A large electorate would protect the system against oppressive interest groups. Politics practised on a grand scale would be more likely to select people of “enlightened views and virtuous sentiments”.

Suffering the worst of both worlds

Instead, the US – in common with many other nations – now suffers the worst of both worlds: a large electorate dominated by a tiny faction. Instead of republics being governed, as Madison feared, by “the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority”, they are beholden to the not-so-secret wishes of an unjust and interested minority. What Madison could not have foreseen was the extent to which unconstrained campaign finance and a sophisticated lobbying industry would come to dominate an entire nation, regardless of its size.

For every representative, Republican or Democrat, who retains a trace element of independence, there are three sitting in the breast pocket of corporate capital. Since the supreme court decided that there should be no effective limits on campaign finance, and, to a lesser extent, long before, candidates have been reduced to tongue-tied automata, incapable of responding to those in need of help, incapable of regulating those in need of restraint, for fear of upsetting their funders.

Democracy in the US is so corrupted by money that it is no longer recognisable as democracy. You can kick individual politicians out of office, but what do you do when the entire structure of politics is corrupt? Turn to the demagogue who rages into this political vacuum, denouncing the forces he exemplifies. The problem is not, as Trump claims, that the election will be stolen by ballot rigging. It is that the entire electoral process is stolen from the American people before they get anywhere near casting their votes. When Trump claims that the little guy is being screwed by the system, he’s right. The only problem is that he is the system.

The political constitution of the United States is not, as Madison envisaged, representation tempered by competition between factions. The true constitution is plutocracy tempered by scandal. In other words, all that impedes the absolute power of money is the occasional exposure of the excesses of the wealthy. What distinguishes Trump’s political career is that, until recently, his scandals have done him no harm.

Trump disgusts us because, where others use a dog whistle, he uses a klaxon. We hate to hear his themes so clearly articulated. But we know in our hearts that they suffuse the way the world is run.

Because this story did not begin with Trump, it will not end with Trump, however badly he may lose the election. Yes, he is a shallow, mendacious, boorish and extremely dangerous man. But those traits ensure that he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics. He is our system, stripped of its pretences.

Link to Story

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Tagged , | Comments Off on The Inside ‘Outsider’ – Deadbeat Donnie Perfectly Embodies Our Political Reality & Economic System

Breaking: Probe Finds Guards Who Unleashed Dogs On Pipeline Protesters Were Not Licensed In ND

Image result for dog attacks AND protests

Guard dog with blood on mouth and tongue. (Democracy Now!)

Democracy Now! (10/26/16)

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has concluded its investigation into the use of dogs to attack Native American-led water protectors opposing the Dakota Access pipeline on September 3, finding the guards lacked proper licensing. Morton County Sheriff’s Captain Jay Gruebele writes:

“Through this investigation it has been proven that the dog handlers were not properly licensed to do security work in the State of North Dakota.”

On Saturday, September 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the pipeline company attacking Native Americans. The report showed guards unleashing dogs and using pepper spray and featured people with bite injuries and a dog with blood dripping from its mouth and nose. The video went viral online, viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC,NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the Huffington Post.

Following Democracy Now!’s report, Amnesty International USA called on Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier to investigate the use of force by private security working for the Dakota Access pipeline company on September 3.

Three days after the attacks Democracy Now! spoke with Jonni Joyce, an expert in law enforcement canine handling with more than 25 years of experience, about the use of canines to attack protesters. “What I witnessed on the video was absolutely horrific,” said Joyce. “It appeared that the handlers were not trained properly in order to manage a dog that has been trained in some type of controlled aggression.”

Link to Story and Two Video Reports


Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on Breaking: Probe Finds Guards Who Unleashed Dogs On Pipeline Protesters Were Not Licensed In ND

TONIGHT! Time To Get Serious – Stand To Defend The Standing Rock Water & Land Protectors!

The Old Tobacco Warehouse.

Driftless Books And Music

518 Walnut St, Viroqua, Wisconsin 54665

Join local folks (MN, Driftless & IA) who have been directly participating in the Standing Rock DAPL pipeline protection in North Dakota. There will be a bison stew or veggie soup and fry bread dinner at 5 P.M., followed by updates, pictures, Q&A and planning for the big upcoming Thanksgiving supply run.

If you’ve been wanting to get involved, know what’s going on firsthand from people who have been at the protests and support the water protectors, this will be a great opportunity to do so.

$6 minimum donation for dinner, though all donations beyond are greatly appreciated as we work to sustain the Water Protectors through the winter. All funds and items will be delivered directly to our contacts in North Dakota by Peter in November. Please follow this event for updates on donation items needed as winter is fast approaching and our focus has narrowed.

In solidarity, wado. #NoDAPL #MniWiconi #WaterIsLife

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on TONIGHT! Time To Get Serious – Stand To Defend The Standing Rock Water & Land Protectors!

Domestic Terrorists: Amidst Abusive Law Enforcement Crackdown, DAPL Company Warns Water Protectors: Get Out, Or Else

Image result for armored cars north dakota protests


‘Militarized’ police forces have taken steps ‘to escalate tensions and promote fear’.

By Andrea Germanos
Common Dreams (10/26/16)

To the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies who stepped up their resistance this weekend with a new protest camp reclaimed through eminent domain, Dakota Access Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners has a stern message: get out or face prosecution.

Protesters can leave the property, the company stated Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “Alternatively and in coordination with local law enforcement and county/state officials, all trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from the land.”

“Lawless behavior will not be tolerated,” it stated.

But according to the Sacred Stone Camp, the new camp, which sits “directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL),” is not on land owned by Energy Transfer Partners; rather, it is “unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie.”

“We have never ceded this land,” said Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer, in a weekend press release. “If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland.”

Escalating police violence

As Common Dreams reported, the erection of the new camp came amidst “escalating attacks on protesters by local law enforcement officials.”

Condemning the escalation, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Dave Archambault II stated Monday, “North Dakota law enforcement have proceeded with a disproportionate response to their nonviolent exercise of their First Amendment rights, even going as far as labeling them rioters and calling their every action illegal.”

He also wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a Justice Department (DOJ) investigation into possible civil rights violations, writing that “state and local law enforcement have increasingly taken steps to militarize their presence, to intimidate participants who are lawfully expressing their views, and to escalate tensions and promote fear.”

Muzzling the press

Archambault’s letter also noted the recent arrest of Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman, saying it was “part of a larger effort by local law enforcement to intimidate the press and to prevent the full and fair reporting of the activities of law enforcement on this matter.”

The DOJ responded, saying the administration had requested that Dakota Access put construction on hold.

“While the Army continues to review issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members, it will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe. In the interim, the departments of the Army, Interior, and Justice have reiterated our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe,” stated DOJ spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle.

Prominent voices from former Vice President Al Gore to actress Shailene Woodley have helped bring corporate media attention to what’s at stake with the 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline.

Actor and environmental activist also Mark Ruffalo also brought his voice to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Tuesday. Referring to law enforcement’s actions towards water protectors, he said, “They are very antagonistic to people trying to save their water, they’re made out to be criminals. But each time they hit us, they lose. The more quiet and serene we are in the depth of that violence, the faster we win,” he said.

“That’s where our strength is: We’re right and they know we’re right.”

Linking the pipeline’s future to the U.S. presidential campaign, the Guardian reports Wednesday on the “close financial ties” Donald Trump has to the pipeline operator, writing that chief executive Kelcy Warren has given $103,000 in campaign contributions to the Republican presidential nominee, and that Trump “has between $500,000 and $1m invested in Energy Transfer Partners, with a further $500,000 to $1m holding in Phillips 66, which will have a 25 percent stake in the Dakota Access project once completed.”

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)

Link to Story


Image result for standing rock protest

North Dakota State (Oily) Police demonstrate their level of respect for citizens, the First Amendment and the flag. North Dakota (Oily) Police  are now employing sexual abuse and intimidation in their treatment of water and land protectors.

With Abuse of Power by North Dakota Police & Prosecutors Donations to Legal Defense Fund for Sacred Stone Spirit Camp More Important Than Ever!

Support the legal defense of warriors protecting land, water, and human rights in North Dakota. Corporate Security forces and the corporate controlled North Dakota State and local police forces are becoming increasingly aggressive and threatening. The protectors are under increased danger of violence and legal abuse by the state.

The Camp of the Sacred Stones is a spiritual and cultural camp on the Standing Rock Reservation resisting the Dakota Access oil pipeline thru non-violent direct action. They need to have the legal resources to carry on the resistance in all our names.

Link to Make Your Contribution HERE.

(Photo by


Ten Ways You Can Support The Land And Water Protectors Fight the North Dakota Pipeline Project

1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. When leaving a message stating your thoughts about this subject please be professional.

2. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL:…/stop-construction…

3. Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux at…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe…/

4. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List:

5. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

6. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund:

7. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account:

8. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903

9. Sign other petitions asking President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s the latest to cross my desk –

10. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:

a. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455

b. Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6762

c. Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404

The most effective means of showing support for this cause is to actively participate in protecting this sacred land. Anyone who is able to travel to the peaceful encampments is encouraged to do so. For those unable to make the journey to North Dakota, please utilize the alternate methods provided to show your support for the Standing Rock Sioux who have united over 100 tribes from across the U.S. Please join this effort to stop this pipeline, which desecrates sacred lands and has serious potential to damage or destroy the Standing Rock reservations lifeblood – its water.

“Be the change you wish to see in this world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Link HERE.

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on Domestic Terrorists: Amidst Abusive Law Enforcement Crackdown, DAPL Company Warns Water Protectors: Get Out, Or Else

Trump Loyalists Planned Voter Intimidation Using Fake ID Badges, Fake Exit Polling — Until HuffPost Asked Them About It

Scan 26

By Christina Wilkie
The Huffington Post (10/25/16)

Vote Protectors, the anti-voter-fraud group hosted by Donald Trump ally and political dirty trickster Roger Stone, plans to send volunteers to monitor polling places in nine cities with high minority populations on Election Day, Stone said last week. Untrained poll-watchers have intimidated voters in previous elections. But Vote Protectors is going further than its predecessors.

Stone’s group created an official-looking ID badge for its volunteers to wear, and its volunteers planned to videotape voters and conduct fake “exit polls,” efforts that election experts say risks intimidating and confusing voters. Or at least that’s what the group was planning to do before The Huffington Post asked Stone about it on Tuesday.The controversial Trump ally, long known for his bare-knuckled political tactics, said that key proposals on his group’s websites were there without his knowledge, and assured HuffPost that he would operate within the confines of election law.


Intimidating voters is what 61-year-old Trump supporter Steve Webb plans to do. “Well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American. I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”


Stone had initially refused to explain just how Vote Protectors planned to accomplish its goals. So on Monday, The Huffington Post responded to the group’s request for additional volunteers to work as “Exit Pollers and Citizen Journalists.”

Once registered, HuffPost used the site’s “I.D. Badge Generator” to create this badge, which could pass for an official credential to people unfamiliar with polling signage and rules.


Vote Protectors’ volunteers “commit to go out in November and post their YouTube and Periscope streams to the [Vote Protectors] website, organized by state and district, as well as enter actual exit poll survey responses,” the group’s “members only” page reads.

To help volunteers broadcast their videos directly to the web, Vote Protectors offers detailed instructions on how to load livestream video software onto a smartphone and how to post videos to the Vote Protectors site.

By contrast, there appears to be very little information on how Vote Protectors are supposed to conduct “exit polls.” The video below, illustrating how to get started as a volunteer with the group, contains little information on how to conduct exit polls but plenty of information on how to stream videos of voters to the web.

Still, anyone registered as a volunteer with Vote Protectors can tally up votes at any time, for Trump or any other candidate, in what the site calls its “exit poll.” HuffPost accidentally logged two votes for Trump on Monday, visible below, despite having never entered an electoral precinct, and using a fake name.

Stone stonewalls

Reached for comment on Tuesday, Stone told HuffPost he was “working with to conduct exit polls for the purpose of comparing the results to the actual reported results on a precinct by precinct basis.” He noted that this effort “is independent of the Trump campaign,” adding, “I don’t know what their election day plans are.”

When HuffPost asked Stone specifically about the badges and the videotaping, however, he became defensive. “I know nothing about badges or videotaping,” he wrote, adding, “Where do you get this from?”

Even before Stone responded, the “I.D. Badge Generator” page had been removed from the Vote Protectors website. When HuffPost sent Stone images from the site showing the instructions for badges and livestreams, Stone did not respond.

A few hours later, Stone emailed HuffPost. “I have ordered them taken down. Bad idea, as is video taping. First I have heard of it. I am only interested in a valid, scientifically conducted exit poll.”Stone later noted that Vote Protectors was collaborating with his group, Stop the Steal, but he said they were not one and the same.

Stone said that unlike the model currently run by Vote Protectors, his group would “ask each poll worker to sign a sworn affidavit that the information they turn in for tabulation is true based on interviews.”

These affidavits, Stone told radio host Alex Jones Tuesday, could then be used by the Trump campaign to contest the election results.

The goal of Vote Protectors is to crack down on what Trump and his supporters call “voter fraud,” a statistically nonexistent phenomenonthat the nominee has nonetheless used to whip up fear among his supporters and delegitimize the coming presidential election.

Trump and Stone appear to be of like minds when it comes to deploying citizens to the polls on Election Day to watch other citizens vote. Trump regularly encourages his mostly white supporters to stand guard on Election Day at polling stations in areas where the population is largely made up of minorities and “watch” the polls.

“You’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to get your friends, and you’ve got to get everyone you know,” Trump recently told a rally in Pennsylvania, “and you’ve got to watch your polling booths. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of, you know what I’m talking about.”

The idea that Trump, who in some polls trails Democrat Hillary Clinton by double digits, might lose the presidential election because of voter fraud is incredibly far-fetched. Still, he has peddled false theories about how the election will be “stolen” from him because the American voting system is “rigged.” And his calls to his supporters to watch certain polling locations has left election watchdogs increasingly on edge. …

Read the Rest and Several Short Videos

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2016. Open source and free to use with link to )

  • Donald Trump’s Get-Out-The-Vote Problem Could Cost Republicans Bigly – WASHINGTON ― Barring a massive shift in a number of states over the next two weeks, Donald Trump will lose the presidential election and it won’t even be close. The suspense now is how bad will Nov. 8 be for Republicans down-ballot, and the early indication is that ― thanks to Trump ― it could be really bad. In the final stretch, Trump’s closing argument is that the election is rigged, the media is corrupt, and other Republicans have sold him out. It’s a perfect concoction for negative GOP turnout, particularly if you add a shoddy get-out-the-vote operation. … Read the Rest
Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off on Trump Loyalists Planned Voter Intimidation Using Fake ID Badges, Fake Exit Polling — Until HuffPost Asked Them About It

Some Schools Closing Over Fears Of Election Day Violence

By Patrick Whittle & David Sharp
Associated Press (10/26/16)

Rigged elections. Vigilante observers. Angry voters. The claims, threats and passions surrounding the presidential race have led communities around the U.S. to move polling places out of schools or cancel classes on Election Day.

The fear is that the ugly rhetoric of the campaign could escalate into confrontations and even violence in school hallways, endangering students.

“If anybody can sit there and say they don’t think this is a contentious election, then they aren’t paying much attention,” said Ed Tolan, police chief in this seaside community, which decided to call off classes on Election Day and put additional officers on duty Nov. 8.

School officials already are on edge because of the shootings and threats that have become all too common. They point to the recent firebombing of a Republican Party office in one North Carolina county and the shooting-up of another with a BB gun as the type of trouble they fear on Election Day.

Some of those anxieties have been stoked by Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election is rigged and his appeal to his supporters to stand guard against fraud at the polls. Some are worried about clashes between the self-appointed observers and voters.

Parent Alpay Balkir said he is glad children will be home. His 8-year-old son is a student in Falmouth, where the high school doubles as a polling place.

“If it’s going to be as chaotic as they say it’s going to be, it’s a good thing. Kids should stay out of it,” Balkir said. “I don’t know what the environment is going to be like.”

Schools are popular polling places because they have plenty of parking and are usually centrally located. It’s difficult to say how many school-based polling places have been moved this year, given how decentralized the voting process is across the country.

But state and local officials say voting has been removed or classes have been canceled on Election Day at schools in Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

“There is a concern, just like at a concert, sporting event or other public gathering, that we didn’t have 15 or 20 years ago. What if someone walks in a polling location with a backpack bomb or something?” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, co-chairman of the National Association of Secretaries of State election committee. “If that happens at a school, then that’s certainly concerning.”

Despite the concerns, the National Association of Secretaries of State does not advocate having armed guards or police stationed at the polls because their presence could intimidate voters.

Nervous parents

Some of the pressure to close schools on Election Day or move voting is coming from parents. Sara Andriotis, a mother in the Easton, Pennsylvania, area, pushed for voting to be taken out of local schools.

“We were mostly concerned because of the risk that it puts our children in,” she said.

Easton Superintendent John Reinhart wanted to get voting out of schools altogether but was rebuffed by county election officials. So the school board canceled classes on Election Day.

“If you take the personalities away and cast the emotion with the election aside, one has to ask the question: ‘Are our schools the best places for that activity to take place?'” he said. “I just think we’ve reached the point where we need to look at other locations.”

That’s happening in Hall County, Nebraska, which got out ahead of the trend in May when it moved six polling places out of schools for a primary. Those changes will remain in place next month. Voting will be held at three churches and one community center.

Election officials elsewhere say that schools are vital places for voting and that removing them as polling places creates logistical headaches and voter confusion.

“We wouldn’t be able to conduct voting without them,” said Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association. She said voting in schools has not generally been a concern in Colorado but acknowledged there is likely to be more security this year.

This story has been corrected to say that voting in Hall County will take place in three churches and one community center.

Link to Story

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on Some Schools Closing Over Fears Of Election Day Violence

Tim Kaine, John Negroponte And The Catholic Priest Who Was Thrown From A Helicopter

By Jeremy Scahill
The Intercept (10/5/16)

A story published this week by the Daily Beast about the nine months Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine spent working as a volunteer in a Jesuit community in Honduras in 1980 and 1981 has been making the conservative rounds. The Beast’s tabloid headline is a cheap exercise in red-baiting: “Tim Kaine’s Time with a Marxist Priest.”

That priest, Fr. James Carney, was indeed a revolutionary and, as a practitioner of liberation theology in Latin America during a period marked by populist movements fighting against death squads and murderous regimes backed by the U.S., an avid student of Marxist theory.

After years spent among the poor and oppressed in Latin America, Carney renounced his U.S. citizenship and joined the armed guerrilla struggle against U.S.-backed death squads and governments. He also left the Jesuits because, he explained, the order would not condone his involvement in an armed struggle. Whatever one thinks of that decision, Carney sacrificed his privilege and status to join the people he was ministering to as a priest. In the eyes of the Reagan administration, that made him a terrorist. In the eyes of the peasants and revolutionaries Carney joined in struggle, he was a hero. (For a look at the roots of Jesuits joining indigenous struggle in Latin America, check out the film “The Mission.”)

The scandal that the Beast claims “may cause trouble” for Kaine is that he once met Fr. Carney, 35 years ago. The right-wing group Catholic Vote has done its best Joe McCarthy imitation on the issue. “That Kaine made the effort to seek out and spend time with Carney is troubling,” according to a memo published by the group with the headline “Tim Kaine’s Radical Roots in Honduras.” It claimed that “the Soviets created liberation theology to undermine the Church and advance the Soviet cause against the United States. In Honduras, the phony Marxist-tinged theology was planted to manipulate poor Catholics, instigate terrorism, and stir up a violent revolution in Honduras — then the key ally of the United States opposing Communism in the region.”

“There’s some serious questions here,” Catholic Vote’s spokesperson told the Beast, speaking about the one meeting Kaine had with Carney 35 years ago. “What was your relationship to this guy when you were down there? What did he teach you?”

John Negroponte, who went on to become George W. Bush’s director of national intelligence, has endorsed Kaine’s running mate, Hillary Clinton — a fact the campaign has proudly promoted. Perhaps that should be the focus of any scandal involving Fr. Carney and the Clinton campaign.

What is entirely absent from Catholic Vote’s “history” is the context of what was happening in Latin America during the 1980s — particularly to Catholics. Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated by graduates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas as he performed mass. Catholic nuns and laywomen, including four from the U.S., were raped and murdered. Jesuit priests were executed by death squads. The U.S.-backed Honduran army’s secret police unit, Battalion 316, committed systematic massacres — all while John Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador to Honduras. Negroponte was very close to 316’s commander, Gen. Gustavo Álvarez Martínez, and met with him frequently.

Declassified cables from Negroponte’s time in Honduras reveal no evidence Negroponte ever expressed even a mild objection to Battalion 316’s systematic murders and human rights abuses. According to the National Security Archives: “The Honduran human rights ombudsman later found that more than 50 people disappeared at the hands of the military during those years. But Negroponte’s cables reflect no protest, or even discussion of these issues during his many meetings with Gen. Álvarez, his deputies and Honduran President Robert Suazo. Nor do the released cables contain any reporting to Washington on the human rights abuses that were taking place.”

And what became of Father Carney?

He was thrown from a helicopter in 1983. A whistleblower who deserted Battalion 316 reported that Carney “was executed by order of the battalion’s commander, Gen. Gustavo Álvarez Martínez, who along with several other members of 316 had received training in counterintelligence from U.S. forces at the School of the Americas.” The deserter also asserted that “Álvarez Martínez gave the order for Carney’s execution in the presence of a CIA officer, known as ‘Mister Mike.’” The Los Angeles Times reported that Negroponte failed to report a “U.S.-backed operation that resulted in the execution of nine prisoners and the disappearance of an American priest.” The year Carney was murdered, Negroponte praised Gen. Álvarez Martínez’s “dedication to democracy.”

Catholic Vote’s justification for Fr. Carney’s death: “Carney died during an invasion of Honduras with a group of approximately 100 fellow communist insurgents, trained by communists in Nicaragua and Cuba.” That is how Ronald Reagan and Negroponte preferred for these events to be publicly explained. That propaganda is necessary for Kaine’s meeting with Fr. Carney 35 years ago to be manufactured into a controversy.

John Negroponte, who went on to become George W. Bush’s director of national intelligence, has endorsed Kaine’s running mate, Hillary Clinton — a fact the campaign has proudly promoted. Perhaps that should be the focus of any scandal involving Fr. Carney and the Clinton campaign — and not some meeting Tim Kaine had as a law student three decades ago.

That may be difficult for Clinton. She engaged in the same kind of red baiting against Bernie Sanders over comments Sanders made about the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, who fought the Contra death squads passionately supported by Clinton’s endorser Negroponte.


Link to Story

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on Tim Kaine, John Negroponte And The Catholic Priest Who Was Thrown From A Helicopter

Dept. Of Much Needed Humor – Most Likely Candidates For Trump’s Cabinet

The Onion (10/26/16)

If elected president, Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate up to 15 cabinet members, each advising him on executive departments. Here are the most rumored choices for Trump’s inner circle.

  • Jeff Sessions – An early backer of Trump, the Alabama senator and former attorney has the ideal mix of leadership and legal know-how to dismantle the EPA

  • Eric Trump – Heading up the Treasury Department is the perfect position for someone with Eric’s ample experience in both having and spending money

  • Rudy Giuliani – Sure as hell better hope he’s got a reason to be doing any of this

  • Ben Carson – Would make history as the first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to have personally separated twins conjoined at the head

  • Ted Cruz – Likely to get an Attorney General nod so long as he remains calm while balancing the offer sheet on his nose

  • Newt Gingrich – Eh, why the hell not?

  • Mike Pence –The Indiana governor has a great outside shot of serving as Trump’s vice president

    Link to Story

Posted in 2016-10-27, Newsletter | Comments Off on Dept. Of Much Needed Humor – Most Likely Candidates For Trump’s Cabinet

Wednesday / October 26, 2016

Image result for norman lear

(Los Angeles Times)

“I think of Donald Trump as the middle finger of the American right hand.”

– Norman Lear, Democracy Now! (10/25/16)

Posted in 2016-10-26 | Tagged | Comments Off on Wednesday / October 26, 2016

Sigh! Elizabeth Warren Is The US President We Desperately Need, But Can’t Have – This Time

The Next Step: President Clinton may swiftly find herself under pressure from an emboldened progressive movement – one with very little patience.

By Owen Jones
The Guardian (10/25/16)

If only it were Elizabeth Warren on the brink of taking the White House. At a New Hampshire rally, tearing remorselessly into the misogyny of Donald Trump, Warren was a reminder of what could have been. The US presidential election has not, to say the least, showcased the best of the US: the country of the anti-slavery movement, the suffragettes, the labour movement and the civil rights movement. Instead, the racism and bigotry that infests significant swathes of the country has been distilled into human form and paraded for a global audience. Hillary Clinton is the only means to stop the victory of a candidate who could send the last remaining superpower hurtling into a political death spiral. But although the Bernie Sanders movement has shifted the Democratic party to the left, let’s not pretend a Clinton presidency would provide an alternative to a society rigged in favour of Wall Street and corporate America.

Warren, on the other hand, has been a determined champion of Main Street. She has passionately campaigned against Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which would grant corporations the ability to sue elected governments in secret courts to stop policies they don’t like. She is unlikely to be invited to give lucrative speeches to Wall Street firms: she has castigated the failure to prosecute bankers for the financial crisis, and has supported a campaign to “Take On Wall Street” with a raft of reforms. It took Warren’s campaigning zeal to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whichprovides some protection for consumers in the financial sector.


Lovin' Sarah Palin

She’s a champion of workers’ rights, and a thorn in the side of Wall Street. What a tragedy that the Massachusetts senator isn’t on the ballot.


She’s a champion of workers’ rights, campaigning for those employed in the “gig” economy to get basic employment protections and social security. She has fought for a genuine living wage, arguing that the minimum wage would have risen to$22 an hour if it had increased at the same rate as productivity. She has demanded action to crack down on corporate tax avoidance, passionately making the case that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.”

She has courageously embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding reform of the police to stop the unjust killing of black Americans. She has co-sponsored a bill to repeal the authorisation for the Iraq war – which Clinton, of course, voted for – and has demanded the return of US troops from Afghanistan. And she backed equal marriage for same-sex couples before Clinton belatedly converted to the cause.

Not that Warren is perfect: her sympathy for Israel’s military offensive in Gaza is, to say the least, a disappointment. But Warren is unapologetically in the tradition of courageous Americans who confront elites and stand up for the rights and freedoms of the average citizen. She has, naturally, been abused by the horror show that is Trump: because she claims Native American heritage, he calls her “Pocahontas”.

Despite the earlier hopes of many American progressives, it will not be Warren in the White House next year. But both Warren and Sanders have risen to prominence for a reason. Growing numbers of Americans are disenchanted with a society where so much wealth exists alongside so much insecurity. Trump – although sadly not Trumpism – will almost certainly be defeated at the polls by the decent American majority next month. But President Clinton may swiftly find herself under pressure from an emboldened progressive movement – one with very little patience.

Link to Story and 1+-Minute Video

  • Elizabeth Warren: ‘nasty women’ Will Defeat Trump On Election Day – Liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren launched the most stinging attack yet on Donald Trump’s sexism on Monday during a rally alongside Hillary Clinton. Turning an insult Trump hurled at Clinton during the last presidential debate into a rallying cry for Democratic voters, the Massachusetts senator told supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, it was time to hang the epithet “nasty woman” around his neck. “Women have had it with guys like you, and nasty women have really had it with guys like you,” Warren said. “Get this, Donald. Nasty women are tough, nasty women are smart, and nasty women vote, and on November 8, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.” … Read the Rest
Posted in 2016-10-26, Newsletter | Comments Off on Sigh! Elizabeth Warren Is The US President We Desperately Need, But Can’t Have – This Time

We Need To Understand The Legitimate Anger & Fear That Has Fueled The Trump Campaign

By Robert Reich
Robert Reich’s Facebook Page (10/25/16)

To understand the anger that has fueled the Trump campaign, look at 5 trends.

1. Whites saw their household net worth fall from a median of $192,500 before the Great Recession to $141,900 in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. (Whites still have an average net worth about 13 times greater than blacks and 10 times greater than Hispanics.)

2. Factoring in inflation, white male’s salaries have barely budged in the past decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Still, their paychecks, on average, are far larger than those of women, blacks and Hispanics.)

3. White women have overtaken men in earning college degrees, according to census data. (White men still hold a big educational advantage over blacks and Hispanics.)

4. Fueled by suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related illnesses, mortality rates for middle-age whites have increased even as they continue to fall among middle-age blacks and Hispanics. (Still, white men continue to have a longer life expectancy than black men, according to Centers for Disease Control data, though shorter than Hispanics.)

5. The number of incarcerated white men has ballooned, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. (Black and Hispanic men remain far more likely to be jailed.)

If these 5 trends continue, the anger that fueled Trump could well fuel another demagogue.

What do you think?

Link to Story

Posted in 2016-10-26, Newsletter | Tagged , | Comments Off on We Need To Understand The Legitimate Anger & Fear That Has Fueled The Trump Campaign

Attack On Your Family: Big Pharma Preps To Spend Hundreds Of Millions To Keep Drug Prices Artificially High

By Deirdre Fulton
Common Dreams (10/25/16)

Facing an increasingly outraged public, the leading Big Pharma lobby group is hiking its annual dues by more than 50 percent as it prepares to defend its pharmaceutical company members against lawmakers and voters who want to rein in out-of-control drug prices.

Politico reported Tuesday that “PhRMA hopes to improve its public image next year and stave off any legislative action” in the wake of recent public scandals like those over EpiPenand Valeant. “It plans to run TV ads emphasizing how new drugs could add years to patients’ lives, as well as the years of complex research needed to develop a drug—in other words, a lot of money that must be recouped through high prices.”

To do so, it needs some extra cash.


“PhRMA’s decision to hike membership dues 50 percent will increase the trade group’s considerable coffers to more than $300 million per year,” Politico reports

Health Care in America

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2015. Open source and free to use with link to )


As such, “PhRMA’s decision to hike membership dues 50 percent will increase the trade group’s considerable coffers to more than $300 million per year,” according to Politico, “a financial advantage it hasn’t enjoyed since 2009, when drug makers came out largely unscathed in Obamacare negotiations.”

Politico first reported on PhRMA’s board voting to raise dues in August, but didn’t know then by how much. “They are formidable under any scenario. They are formidable now,” Hillary Clinton health policy adviser Chris Jennings said at the time. “The idea that they are going to bring in more resources, borders on petrifying.”

But an angry public, led by progressive voices, is potentially just as formidable.

A recent poll found that more than three in four Americans believe that prescription drug prices are “unreasonable,” with large majorities from both major political parties in favor of government steps to keep those prices down.

On Monday, STAT reported that “a coalition of 300 institutional investors has filed shareholder resolutions with 11 big U.S. drug makers to explain and justify all price increases and the risks these may pose to stockholders.”

And just last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) penned an op-ed in favor of the California Drug Price Relief Act, also known as Proposition 61, which seeks to rein in prescription drug prices. Voting yes on Proposition 61, he wrote on Friday, would not only help “make medicine more affordable in California,” but would also “send a signal to Washington that the whole nation’s prescription drug policies need an overhaul.”

Big Pharma has been ardently fighting that measure, as Politico reports—though polls suggest the ballot measure is still poised to win.

On Tuesday, Sanders tweeted in response to the Politico piece:

Bernie Sanders @SenSandersHow have drug companies gotten away with charging the highest prices in the world? By spending $300 MILLION a year.

And he pushed back on the narrative that Big Pharma is likely to employ in its effort to clean up its image.

Bernie Sanders @SenSanders Actually 89 out of the top 100 pharmaceutical corporations spent more on marketing and sales than on R&D.

As the group Health GAP, which campaigns for HIV drug access worldwide, wrote Tuesday on Twitter: “PhRMA is filling a war chest & preparing for battle to keep drug prices high. We need to be prepared to fight back!”

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)

Link to Story

  • Last Week Tonight: John Oliver Shows How American Big Pharma Manufactured Our Deadly Opioid Crisis Through Outright Lies & Greed: 19-Minute Video
Posted in 2016-10-26, Newsletter | Comments Off on Attack On Your Family: Big Pharma Preps To Spend Hundreds Of Millions To Keep Drug Prices Artificially High