The modern GOP is a party of unwavering and dogmatic patriotism mixed with traditionalism and intolerance. The social progression we have been witnessing over the past decade in America, most clearly with the acceptance of the LGBT community, seems to be triggering a reactionary movement on the right. We see this most recently with the religious freedom controversies and the angry protests of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling.

Baltimore Sun

Baltimore officials, trying to collect some $40 million in long-unpaid water bills, have shut off service to more than 1,600 customers in the past six weeks. But records reviewed by The Baltimore Sun show the city’s enforcement has been starkly uneven.

While large commercial properties owe the biggest amounts, not one has been shut off. All of the service cuts so far have been to homes.

And while the majority of homes with unpaid bills are in the city, nearly 90 percent of shut-offs have been in Baltimore County. Dundalk and Gwynn Oak have each had more service cuts than all of Baltimore.

Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell, a Republican who represents Dundalk, said he found it “odd” that his community, with a population of less than 64,000, saw more enforcement than a city more than 10 times that size. He has asked officials to verify the accuracy of their data.

“There have been a lot of billing errors and mistakes,” he said…

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In 1949, some of the country’s top advertising executives launched a national marketing campaign. They weren’t selling a physical product. They were selling religion. Before long, the Religion in American Life campaign was placing close to 10,000 newspaper ads per year, coordinating national radio marketing, and putting up thousands of billboards, all intended “to accent the importance of all religious institutions as the basis of American life.” Major corporations bankrolled the effort.

We think of One Nation Under God as a phrase dating back to our founding. The real history is newer – and scarier

MALL OF AMERICA SECURITY CATFISHED BLACK LIVES MATTER ACTIVISTS, DOCUMENTS SHOW

(by Lee Fang || @lhfang)

Documents obtained by The Intercept indicate that security staff at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to monitor local Black Lives Matter organizers, befriend them, and obtain their personal information and photographs without their knowledge.

Evidence of the fake Facebook account was found in a cache of files provided by the Mall of America to Bloomington officials after a large Black Lives Matter event at the mall on December 20 protesting police brutality. The files included briefs on individual organizers, with screenshots that suggest that much of the information was captured using a Facebook account for a person named “Nikki Larson.”

Metadata from some of the documents lists the software that created them as belonging to “Sam Root” at the “Mall of America.” A Facebook account for a Sam Root lists his profession as “Intelligence Analyst at Mall of America.”

The fake Larson account featured a profile photo that a Google reverse image search shows is identical to a photo associated with a woman who is Facebook friends with Root.

The account, previously found at this url, was deleted soon after The Intercept contacted the Mall of America for this story.

On December 11, as news of the planned Black Lives Matter protest began to spread, the “Nikki Larson” account was updated with a banner image of an (apocryphal) Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” At some point, the Larson account “liked” the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook group.

After the December 20 protest, the city charged 11 protesters with six different criminal misdemeanors. The city and mall are seeking over $65,000 in restitution for police and mall expenses.

Information collected from Facebook was used by the Mall of America security team to build dossiers on each activist. A document on Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the activists charged by the city, includes screen grabs of  her Facebook account. Levy-Pounds, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas, told The Intercept that the Larson account befriended her in December.

Another dossier profiling activist Lena Gardner contains pictures, a timeline listing where to spot her in videos from the protest taken by protestors and by Mall of America security, as well as information scraped from her social media accounts. Similar documents were created for at least eight other activists.

The Larson account appears to have been created in 2009, and had 817 friends, many of whose pages showed they were involved in Minnesota political activism. The account also “liked” Facebook groups associated with Ferguson activists, the American Indian Movement Interpretive Center, Occupy Minneapolis, SumOfUs, the SEIU Minnesota State Council, and Communities United Against Police Brutality, among others.

(Read the complete article via TheIntercept  ↳ here)

  • nature:*does like one million groundbreaking shit during the day that can be applied to aid humanity's survival and relationship with it*
  • corporations:i got it we'll smash the earth, contaminating it a bit to get some energy
  • corporations:heres something cool lets literally throw our compiled trash into the oceans
  • corporations:wow have you ever thought about going to another planet and living like this there too? what a time
  • nature:no like check me out, I can show you how to live right if you study m-
  • corporations:but when profit now?
This is not actually a corporate-friendly message any longer. News Corp, parent of Fox News, has been offering same-sex partner benefits since 1999. By 2013, 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered the same. This year’s gay pride events saw floats and sponsors from the likes of Coca Cola, McDonalds, Walmart, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Gap, JCPenney, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Bank Of America, Chase, TD Bank, HSBC, Citibank, Capital One, US Bank, Mastercard, State Farm, Allstate and Metlife. That’s just to name a few. The SCOTUS decision prompted companies like Facebook, AT&T, American Airlines and Nike to launch ads celebrating equality. Oreo pictured their iconic sandwich cookie with rainbow-stacked filling. Jell-O, Kellogg’s, Target and Visa briefly included the colors of marriage equality in their logos.  Corporate America, it seems, has become more liberal and progressive on gay marriage than anyone running for president on the Republican ticket. For a party that likes to think of itself as listening to business leaders, they’re tone deaf when it comes to equal rights.
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Money is speech, dollars have more influence than people – it’s time to be honest about the plutocracy we live in

From the financial crisis of 2008 to the present era of political paralysis, the path to democratic reform has been blocked at every turn. Between Wall Street and Washington, Congress and the courts, statehouses and city halls, the will of the many has been subordinated to the will of the few (as it has been, sadly, for much of our history as a nation). As study after study has shown, politicians are far more attuned to the whims of the wealthy than they are to the will of the other 99 percent. A recent analysis of 1,779 policy outcomes by two leading political scientists found that, in the United States today, “the majority does not rule,” and that, “when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites…they generally lose,” causing the authors to question the claim that ours is a democratic society.

American capitalism is incompatible with true democracy. 

I wonder how many people don’t know that long before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts was a critic of the Voting Rights Act for 30 years. When he was in his late 20s, Roberts was a foot soldier in Ronald Reagan’s crusade against the Voting Rights Act.

Having Roberts preside over any civil rights cases —like the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action— makes about as much sense as having Clarence Thomas being involved in cases with his former employer, Monsanto.

[…]

Moving on to crony capitalism and the  making of an oligarchy…the Roberts court has not only ruled decidedly against civil rights cases which are disproportionately detrimental to Black people, they have also reliably ruled in favor of big business more often than not.

Even the average politico can’t be expected to remember the make up of SCOTUS from one chief justice to the next, but I can’t help believing that if there’s any modicum of true justice in the world, the Roberts court and Roberts himself will ultimately be remembered by history as having been uniquely harmful to America and democracy writ large.

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(photos via msnbc.com and theusconstitution.org)

The idea is that since the main goal of all private corporations is to make money, they’ll be much more willing than the government is to cut costs and eliminate waste. The result, conservatives and libertarians say, will be more efficient, responsible, and responsive services. That’s the theory, at least. In reality, privatization of public services has been a total disaster wherever it’s been tried. And, as a new report from the Center for Media and Democracy shows, it’s also created huge opportunities for fraud and corruption. The report, which was released today and is titled “Pay to Prey,” focuses on how Republican governors in states all across the country used the cover of privatization to enrich campaign donors and political cronies. The worst culprits include some the biggest names in Republican politics.