huffingtonpost.com
Jimmy Carter Is Correct that the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy

On July 28th, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an after thought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. … At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.”

(excerpt - click the link for the complete article)

Carter’s old. He doesn’t need money and he was president so they can’t touch him. He has nothing to lose. He can speak the truth without fear.

“Since I’ve come here I’ve seen story after story about how I should be scared about terrorism and I can’t help but think about Hermann Goering who said, ”…whether it’s a democracy [or] a fascist dictatorship…Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to great danger.“

~ Lawrence M. Krauss, physicist, Q&A 29 June 2015

ereg.elections.ca
Online Voter Registration Service - Elections Canada E-Registration

Hey Canadian pals! If you are 18 by the time the election rolls around, BE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE!! This year’s election is VERY IMPORTANT (as are all of them, generally) and if you enjoy living in a democratic society, then it’s up to you to participate in it!

People Power and Real Democracy

This is a popular pamphlet, published by Irish SWP, and written on the basis of the experience of the great water charges revolt in the autumn of 2014.

‘Enda in your ivory tower This is called people power!’
(Popular chant on the water charges protests)

Anyone who has participated in the great people’s revolt against the water charges, in blocking the installation of water meters in their area, in the magnificent 100,000 strong demonstration on 11 October, in the even larger local demonstrations of 1 November, the huge assembly of 100,000 at the Dáil on the working day of 10 December or in many other local actions and assemblies, has had a taste of people power. And they will know how good it feels – people standing up at last!

Water is a human right and the water charges are fundamentally unjust but, as everyone knows, the revolt has not just been about water. Water charges are the final straw after six years of making people pay for the debts, follies, and crimes of the bankers and the rest of the rich.
The protests are an expression of people’s accumulated anger over wage cuts, job losses, housing shortages, cutbacks, extra charges and the whole rotten system. Never, in the history of the state, has there been such disillusionment with the whole political establishment.

This pamphlet argues that in the people power that has been seen on the streets and in the meeting halls of Ireland in the autumn of 2014 lies the seeds of a fundamentally different politics – a new system based on real democracy and accountability instead of the corrupt dictatorship of the rich masquerading as democracy that we have at the moment.

The Rotten System
People are furious with politicians. And let’s be clear – their rage is justified. People feel let down, betrayed, tricked and robbed. They have been.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – the two parties that have dominated Irish politics for the last eighty years – are a disgrace.

For a long time most Irish working class people voted Fianna Fail because of its republican past, its roots in the community and its populist talk. But Fianna Fail abused people’s trust and turned into a den of corruption and cronyism symbolised by Charlie Haughey, Bertie Aherne and the Galway Tent.
When the Celtic Tiger was roaring they abandoned all attempts at regulation and used their power to enrich themselves and their banker and developer friends. When the Tiger crashed in 2008 they used their power to bailout the bankers, protect the rich bondholders and shift the burden of debt onto ordinary people….

Continued:- http://johnmolyneux.blogspot.com.au/

WHAT  GOES ON INSIDE

When people say: ‘I dislike your  opinions, but I believe that you should have the chance of expressing them,’  always beware.

Decades of observation, dealing with actual cases,  has shown me that such people are, much more often than not, really saying:

‘I am going to say that this person has the rights I  have stated. I might one day get around to trying to live up to this  sentiment. But, meanwhile, I will use other means to combat his opinions:  starting with making myself immune from them.’

Make a sustained study of reputedly fair-minded  people before you accept their objectivity. Study their actions, and what  they say to others, as well as what they would like to think they say to  everyone.

Reflections

Tumblr be like “gay marriage legal in Europe”

Gay marriage has been legalized in the United States which is a wonderful thing but I’ve seen posts all over tumblr and facebook like “Well if you want to leave the U.S i’ve got a bunch of places you can go! Gay marriage is legal in Canada and Europe so I suggest countries like Iran”. They even come with a map of places where same sex marriage is legalized and the whole of Europe is marked as a “yes”.

Let me tell where I live in. Poland.
Poland is a country in the centre of Europe. 70% of people are against gay marriage here according to statistics from recent years. You wouldn’t believe how many people are homophobes. Here, calling someone gay is like one of the worst insults. Homosexuality is being over and over compared to pedophilia or zoophilia. You wouldn’t believe how people insult gays here. You wouldn’t believe the anti-gay parades.You wouldn’t believe a comment I recently found saying “I would like to reopen the gas chambers in Auschwitz just for gay people” with 25 likes on it.
When the news of homosexual marriage in the U.S hit Poland and facebook came up with the idea of rainbow profile pictures do you know do you know what happened? People started to put a filter with a polish flag, saying that “I don’t want homos on my street!! disgusting!! not normal!! get the fuck out of my country!!”
This is the reality of a country in the centre of Europe. And I believe you’ve heard of Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Ukraine, the whole Balkan peninsula, Bulgaria, Romania? Yup, not legal too. Also I refer you to the fact that in countries like Svitzerland, Austria or Germany, The Czech Republic or Hungary there are same sex partnerships NOT same sex marriages.

Of course I can’t tell you if homophobia is so common in those countries as it is in mine. And of course - as you can see - not all people in Poland are like this. But a lot of them, sadly are.

So stop posting fake information. The fight for equality is not done just because the U.S has changed its law, and it certainly is not done in Europe as you try to convince people. STOP DISINFORMATION.

5

“I believe that when all voices are being heard, when people know that they’re included in the political process, that makes a country stronger and more successful and more innovative. So we discussed steps that Ethiopia can take to show progress on promoting good governance, protecting human rights, fundamental freedoms, and strengthening democracy. And this is an area where we intend to deepen our conversations and consultation, because we strongly believe in Ethiopia’s promise and its people.” —President Obama at a press conference in Ethiopia

The next time someone says they don’t want to vote because it won’t make a difference, show them this cartoon!

[Pictured: a medium sized group of people on the left with shirts saying “I voted” and a much larger group of people on the right all saying “We didn’t vote because it won’t make a difference!”]

Cartoon by Nick Anderson from the Houston Chronicle.

http://blog.chron.com/nickanderson/

independent.co.uk
While the rest of us face austerity, the Lords refuse to drink cheaper champagne
Nothing highlights the gulf between the governing class in this country and the rest of us than today's story about champagne in the House of Lords.

It’s been revealed that a proposal to save taxpayers money by making the House of Lords and House of Commons share a catering department was rejected “because the Lords feared that the quality of champagne would not be as good if they chose a joint service”.

It might take you a while to digest the sheer breathtaking callousness, arrogance and snobbishness of this. However, once you have passed through the various stages of reaction that I did – slack-jawed disbelief, hysterical laughter, genuine anger – I invite you to share with me a brief analysis of why this illustrates just how out of touch the governing class are from the people whose lives their decisions affect.

Obviously there is the mind-boggling elitism and disdain towards the less privileged which is revealed here. During a time of food banks, unemployment and waves of benefit cuts, when the rest of us are supposed to accept austerity lying down, the mere mention of a change to peers’ taste in bubbly is met with uncomprehending scorn. This is the thing that first cuffs you in the face. And there are only further, follow-up slaps to come.

We already suspected the House of Commons was disproportionately posh, with its overwhelming number of privately schooled members, its ludicrous expenses claims, and patronising tweets about white van men. But new, dizzying heights of snobbishness are revealed when we realise that, to members of the House of Lords, even this privileged bunch is considered too plebeian to have a trustworthy taste in champagne.

There’s also the unspoken assumption that during times of austerity there should be a budget for champagne at all, in either House. I don’t know about you, but I have never worked for a company that had part of its budget ring-fenced for sparkling wines, let alone roughly £65,000 a year (for the House of Lords alone). Is there something different about running the country which requires all that bubbly? Maybe it provides peers with the Dutch courage required to clock in for just a few minutes each day to claim their £300 daily attendance allowance?

It would be bad enough if our taxes were being spent on the champagne fund belonging to a group of people who didn’t have the capacity to enact any real harm on society. But let’s not forget, this a gathering of people who are predominantly white, male, and wealthy, and worse yet - entirely unelected. Despite this, our country’s lords still have the power to block and delay government legislation.

This needs to change, and the first step should be an imposed austerity on their £1.3M annual catering budget, starting with the complete abolishment of champagne. If they complain about the lack of bubbly I have a handy tip – try adding value lemonade (under 50p) to a large bottle of Liebfraumilch (under £7 for 1.5 litres) for a cheap alternative. It may not taste like Cristal but it does the trick, and after the first three glasses you can’t tell the difference anyway.

This advice is free by the way. After all, we’re all in it together, right?

LEE WILLIAMS