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Arterial tandem: coronary drill gets cleared for use, MEMS sensor distinguishes between kinds of plaque

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

We know discussing things involving “arteries” and “coronary plaque” generally don’t do much for one’s appetite, but being the holidays and all, we honestly can’t think of a more fitting way to remind you not to pig out this evening. Up first is a MEMS-based sensor designed by downright enlightened researchers at the University of Southern California, which is used to “distinguish between stable and unstable atherosclerotic plaques in coronary arteries.” The idea here is to more easily determine whether a patient needs immediate surgery or simple lifestyle changes in order to remedy artery issues, though the process is still awaiting clinical approval before it can be used en masse. In related news, Pathway Medical has just received European clearance to sell its Jetstream G2 NXT coronary drill overseas (or “peripheral atherectomy catheter,” as it were), which does exactly what you’d expect it to: clear clogged blood vessels in the treatment of PAD. If you’re not already grossed out, feel free to tap the links below for more information on head past the break for a couple of video demonstrations. Mmm, honey ham!

Continue reading Arterial tandem: coronary drill gets cleared for use, MEMS sensor distinguishes between kinds of plaque

Arterial tandem: coronary drill gets cleared for use, MEMS sensor distinguishes between kinds of plaque originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 26 Dec 2009 15:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink MedGadget 1, 2  |  sourceUSC, PR Inside  | Email this | Comments

Categories: Electronics, Technology Tags: , ,

Arterial tandem: coronary drill gets cleared for use, MEMS sensor distinguishes between kinds of plaque

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

We know discussing things involving “arteries” and “coronary plaque” generally don’t do much for one’s appetite, but being the holidays and all, we honestly can’t think of a more fitting way to remind you not to pig out this evening. Up first is a MEMS-based sensor designed by downright enlightened researchers at the University of Southern California, which is used to “distinguish between stable and unstable atherosclerotic plaques in coronary arteries.” The idea here is to more easily determine whether a patient needs immediate surgery or simple lifestyle changes in order to remedy artery issues, though the process is still awaiting clinical approval before it can be used en masse. In related news, Pathway Medical has just received European clearance to sell its Jetstream G2 NXT coronary drill overseas (or “peripheral atherectomy catheter,” as it were), which does exactly what you’d expect it to: clear clogged blood vessels in the treatment of PAD. If you’re not already grossed out, feel free to tap the links below for more information on head past the break for a couple of video demonstrations. Mmm, honey ham!

Continue reading Arterial tandem: coronary drill gets cleared for use, MEMS sensor distinguishes between kinds of plaque

Arterial tandem: coronary drill gets cleared for use, MEMS sensor distinguishes between kinds of plaque originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 26 Dec 2009 15:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink MedGadget 1, 2  |  sourceUSC, PR Inside  | Email this | Comments

Categories: Electronics, Technology Tags: , ,

John Brown: "Avatar" and Public Diplomacy

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Well, by now we all know the plot of Hollywood blockbuster director James Cameron’s Avatar, his latest film, but here’s a good summary:

When his brother is killed in battle, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix
his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora. Written by The Massie
Twins

The simplistic plot of Avatar is straight out of in-fashion politically correct cowboys vs. Indians movies — and the dialogue, if it can be called that, is pedestrian. But its images of Pandora — as so many critics have pointed out — are striking, almost artistic. Visually, Cameron is fascinated by the tension between machines and nature, ironically using ground-breaking computer technology to design an imaginary Garden of Eden.

Yes, like most movies, Avatar is images, not narrative or speech. But let’s not dismiss some of the “lessons” of this movie, condemned by some as leftist, pantheistic, anti-American propaganda. True, subtlety (except in a visual sense) is not one of the strong points of Avatar.

But watching it last Saturday morning at the Uptown Theater (thank God I had a senior citizen discount, given the price of movie tickets these days) near where I live in Washington (the imperial capital was then immobilized by snow, and I had nothing better to do), I reflected — as a former Foreign Service officer (FSO) involved in public diplomacy (PD) for over twenty years, mostly in Eastern Europe during and immediately after the Cold War — about paraplegic Marine Jake Sully’s ventures into Pandora.

To follow Cameron’s comic-book plot, Sully, is, one could say, a Public Diplomacy Foreign Service officer (some in the military would say psy-ops officer). To provide Intel, Sully’s avatar — his public presence in another society — is meant to spy, ever so “invisibly,” on an Enemy. Problem is, he falls in love with the Enemy; he goes native. He becomes, therefore, useless as Intel. He rebels against the Intel world — Colonel Quaritch — and Quaritch can’t wait to eliminate him.

Sure, during the Cold War there supposedly was a “firewall” between covert CIA/military intelligence and the USIA (United States Information Agency) “overt” activities like academic exchanges and artistic presentations (much research, however, needs to be done about this sensitive topic of a so-called “firewall”).

In my own career (1981-2003) as a USIA “press and cultural officer” overseas I was never asked to provide “Intel” to the embassy or headquarters (I was, however, expected — but not forced, unless I wanted not to be promoted — to write reports about whom I met: was that, in fact, “providing ‘Intel’” that the USG food-chain handed over to “other agencies”? No doubt, in a sense, it was: I’m not that naive).

I always could not help wondering if what I was doing — meeting people in other societies who made a difference, talking with them about the United States, and trying to understand them and they understand us — was not (bottom line) a way of secretive powers-that-be in Washington to use a PD officer (in today’s lingo, an “Avatar”) and — far more important — his/her “local contacts” in the hopes of obtaining “Intel.”

Such a conscience-troubling suspicion on my part never reached the point of my becoming a Sully (”going native”), because (ironically) the best and the brightest in East European societies where I had the privilege to serve were looking to the U.S. for information — if not inspiration — about what a free society was, or aspired to be. I would go so far as to say that they didn’t mind being “Intel” material, as they wanted to be heard by what they thought were “heavyweights” in Washington.

In the communist-dominated heart of Europe during the Cold War, the Quaritches were Soviets and Soviet collaborators (up to a point); we American diplomats in the field, or so we told ourselves, were the “good guys” allied with the “natives” and thus had no need to change our identity — but I always doubted about how “good” we in fact were.

I still do, even more than ever, after the US atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More on Iraq


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , , ,

John Brown: "Avatar" and Public Diplomacy

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Well, by now we all know the plot of Hollywood blockbuster director James Cameron’s Avatar, his latest film, but here’s a good summary:

When his brother is killed in battle, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix
his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora. Written by The Massie
Twins

The simplistic plot of Avatar is straight out of in-fashion politically correct cowboys vs. Indians movies — and the dialogue, if it can be called that, is pedestrian. But its images of Pandora — as so many critics have pointed out — are striking, almost artistic. Visually, Cameron is fascinated by the tension between machines and nature, ironically using ground-breaking computer technology to design an imaginary Garden of Eden.

Yes, like most movies, Avatar is images, not narrative or speech. But let’s not dismiss some of the “lessons” of this movie, condemned by some as leftist, pantheistic, anti-American propaganda. True, subtlety (except in a visual sense) is not one of the strong points of Avatar.

But watching it last Saturday morning at the Uptown Theater (thank God I had a senior citizen discount, given the price of movie tickets these days) near where I live in Washington (the imperial capital was then immobilized by snow, and I had nothing better to do), I reflected — as a former Foreign Service officer (FSO) involved in public diplomacy (PD) for over twenty years, mostly in Eastern Europe during and immediately after the Cold War — about paraplegic Marine Jake Sully’s ventures into Pandora.

To follow Cameron’s comic-book plot, Sully, is, one could say, a Public Diplomacy Foreign Service officer (some in the military would say psy-ops officer). To provide Intel, Sully’s avatar — his public presence in another society — is meant to spy, ever so “invisibly,” on an Enemy. Problem is, he falls in love with the Enemy; he goes native. He becomes, therefore, useless as Intel. He rebels against the Intel world — Colonel Quaritch — and Quaritch can’t wait to eliminate him.

Sure, during the Cold War there supposedly was a “firewall” between covert CIA/military intelligence and the USIA (United States Information Agency) “overt” activities like academic exchanges and artistic presentations (much research, however, needs to be done about this sensitive topic of a so-called “firewall”).

In my own career (1981-2003) as a USIA “press and cultural officer” overseas I was never asked to provide “Intel” to the embassy or headquarters (I was, however, expected — but not forced, unless I wanted not to be promoted — to write reports about whom I met: was that, in fact, “providing ‘Intel’” that the USG food-chain handed over to “other agencies”? No doubt, in a sense, it was: I’m not that naive).

I always could not help wondering if what I was doing — meeting people in other societies who made a difference, talking with them about the United States, and trying to understand them and they understand us — was not (bottom line) a way of secretive powers-that-be in Washington to use a PD officer (in today’s lingo, an “Avatar”) and — far more important — his/her “local contacts” in the hopes of obtaining “Intel.”

Such a conscience-troubling suspicion on my part never reached the point of my becoming a Sully (”going native”), because (ironically) the best and the brightest in East European societies where I had the privilege to serve were looking to the U.S. for information — if not inspiration — about what a free society was, or aspired to be. I would go so far as to say that they didn’t mind being “Intel” material, as they wanted to be heard by what they thought were “heavyweights” in Washington.

In the communist-dominated heart of Europe during the Cold War, the Quaritches were Soviets and Soviet collaborators (up to a point); we American diplomats in the field, or so we told ourselves, were the “good guys” allied with the “natives” and thus had no need to change our identity — but I always doubted about how “good” we in fact were.

I still do, even more than ever, after the US atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More on Iraq


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , , ,

Huff Radio: Left, Right & Center: A Look Back at 2009

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Was the Obama presidency the biggest story of 2009 or was it the economy? Will America lose its place as the global economic leader? A deep-think show that looks at the year that was.

More on Barack Obama


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Huff Radio: Left, Right & Center: A Look Back at 2009

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Was the Obama presidency the biggest story of 2009 or was it the economy? Will America lose its place as the global economic leader? A deep-think show that looks at the year that was.

More on Barack Obama


Categories: World Tags:

Derrick Crowe: Afghanistan Escalation Will (and Should) Hurt Congressional Democrats in 2010

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. The views expressed are his own. Sign our CREDO petition to reject escalation in Afghanistan & join Brave New Foundation’s #NoWar candlelight vigil on Facebook and Twitter.

In a midterm election, you live or die by your base. The party that motivates its base to donate, volunteer and vote more effectively than the other will pick up seats in Congress. Unfortunately for Democratic incumbents, their base opposes the president’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan and wants troops brought home faster than planned. Democratic candidates for the House and Senate, then, must fight the president’s escalation if they want to mitigate their losses in 2010. If they don’t, the Democratic base should (and likely will) sit this one out.

Democrats emphatically oppose the war in Afghanistan and the president’s latest escalation. Prior to the president’s announcement at West Point, 61 percent of Democrats opposed sending more troops to Afghanistan versus 27 who supported an escalation [FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Nov. 17-18, 2009]. A USA TODAY/Gallup poll on November 20-22 found that 57 percent of Democrats wanted to start bringing troops home.

Ferreting out the implications of the post-escalation-announcement polling is slightly more complex, but shows a consistent picture of Democratic opposition to escalation in Afghanistan. When asked about the president’s stated policy combining another escalation with a drawdown beginning in 2011, 58 percent of Democrats expressed their support. However, when the same poll bifurcated the two components of the policy, it became clear that Democrats supported the drawdown date, not the troop increase:

  • A plurality of Democrats (43 percent) believed President Obama was sending “too many” troops.
  • 62 percent of Democrats either agreed with the timetable or wanted the troops to begin coming home sooner.

Gallup concluded:

It may be that while Democrats disagree with the specifics of the timetable as announced, they approve of the idea of having any timetable included. And it may be that while Republicans strongly disagree with the having any timetable included, they approve of the general idea of an increase of troop levels.

Democratic support for the total policy should be heavily weighted, then, toward the drawdown aspect of the plan and not the troop increase. That’s a severe problem for overly optimistic congressional Democrats who want to believe that the president’s speech made political room for them to support escalation. When November 2010 arrives, the only components of the president’s policy in evidence will be escalation and its costs, which the Democratic base loathe. Think about what that will mean if Democrats remain far more concerned with the costs of the Afghanistan policy than with the risk of terrorism (79 percent to 46 percent, respectively).

Pushing policies opposed by your base in a midterm election year is another way of asking to get wrapped in a burlap sack and hit with sticks. James Morone, writing about the health reform fight, explains [h/t Ezra Klein]:

Many Democrats are moving to whittle back health reform in order to win over moderate, fence-sitting, frightened independents.

Big mistake.

Go back and look at the midterm tsunami that swept the Democrats out of office the last time. The turnout for that wave was just 36 percent. Moderate, fence sitting independents don’t vote in midterm elections with a 36 percent turn out.

What really happened back in 1994? The Republican base — jubilant, mobilized and angry — turned out. The Democratic base — dispirited, disenchanted and demobilized — stayed home. As Democrats ponder which way to go in this latest round, they ought to read the political lessons more carefully: Short-term electoral success rests with the base, the people who got excited about “change we can believe in.” Long-term electoral success rests in designing and pushing through a program that then grows very popular.

Klein describes what happens when you jab your thumb in the eye of your base to try to scoop up independents and the spare opposition voter in a midterm cycle:

Dispirited Democrats will stay home. Energized Republicans will press their advantage. Add in that the wave of young voters who were energized by Obama’s campaign probably aren’t going to turn out for the midterm election anyway, and you’re looking at a pretty unfriendly landscape.

Congressional Democrats should already see the warning signs of an ugly election cycle in the voter-intensity tea leaves:

Among Republican respondents, 81 percent said they were definitely or probably going to vote, versus only 14 percent who were definitely or not likely to do so…Among Democrats? A woeful 56-40: Two out of every five Democrats are currently unlikely to vote.

Describing the danger of dampening Democratic turnout by pushing an Afghanistan escalation, MoveOn’s Nita Chaudhary said:

“There is no doubt Washington has to worry about how the base is reacting and feeling…It’s incredibly important heading into next year, because the base knocks on doors, makes phone calls and gives money.”

Bottom line: Congressional Democrats and their kindred spirits beyond Washington, D.C. must get over their reluctance to buck President Obama on Afghanistan if they want to get out of this election cycle with their skin on. Midterm elections are base-centered elections. Winning base-centered elections requires actions that energize the base. If the Democrats in Congress want to stanch the bleeding on this part of the electoral contest, they have to run against the president’s escalation in Afghanistan and fight it every step of the way. And if “our” representatives in Congress won’t fight the Afghanistan escalation, we have to be willing to walk away from them. Cenk Uygur:

If that scares you and you start to worry about damaging a Democratic president, you’re never going to win at this game. You’re never going to get the policies you want. They don’t listen to reason, they listen to power…If you don’t have the stomach for being this tough on Obama and the Democrats, well then you don’t have the stomach for politics. And you will permanently be the Republican’s bitches.

Pushing an Afghanistan policy opposed by the base, supported by the opposition and that will send American boys and girls home in body bags is political malpractice, especially going into an election where more than 80 percent of your opponent’s base is ready to charge into the voting booth. Issues exist in this election cycle other than Afghanistan, and reasons to oppose escalation in Afghanistan exist other than the purely political, but if Democrats won’t even act against escalation to save their own skins, they’ll deserve every bit of the political pain they’ll feel in November.

In 2010, I will not donate, block-walk, or phone bank for any incumbent who fails to take forceful action to stop this escalation and bring our troops home. Fair warning, Democrats: I’m not alone.

More on Afghanistan


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , ,

Derrick Crowe: Afghanistan Escalation Will (and Should) Hurt Congressional Democrats in 2010

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. The views expressed are his own. Sign our CREDO petition to reject escalation in Afghanistan & join Brave New Foundation’s #NoWar candlelight vigil on Facebook and Twitter.

In a midterm election, you live or die by your base. The party that motivates its base to donate, volunteer and vote more effectively than the other will pick up seats in Congress. Unfortunately for Democratic incumbents, their base opposes the president’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan and wants troops brought home faster than planned. Democratic candidates for the House and Senate, then, must fight the president’s escalation if they want to mitigate their losses in 2010. If they don’t, the Democratic base should (and likely will) sit this one out.

Democrats emphatically oppose the war in Afghanistan and the president’s latest escalation. Prior to the president’s announcement at West Point, 61 percent of Democrats opposed sending more troops to Afghanistan versus 27 who supported an escalation [FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Nov. 17-18, 2009]. A USA TODAY/Gallup poll on November 20-22 found that 57 percent of Democrats wanted to start bringing troops home.

Ferreting out the implications of the post-escalation-announcement polling is slightly more complex, but shows a consistent picture of Democratic opposition to escalation in Afghanistan. When asked about the president’s stated policy combining another escalation with a drawdown beginning in 2011, 58 percent of Democrats expressed their support. However, when the same poll bifurcated the two components of the policy, it became clear that Democrats supported the drawdown date, not the troop increase:

  • A plurality of Democrats (43 percent) believed President Obama was sending “too many” troops.
  • 62 percent of Democrats either agreed with the timetable or wanted the troops to begin coming home sooner.

Gallup concluded:

It may be that while Democrats disagree with the specifics of the timetable as announced, they approve of the idea of having any timetable included. And it may be that while Republicans strongly disagree with the having any timetable included, they approve of the general idea of an increase of troop levels.

Democratic support for the total policy should be heavily weighted, then, toward the drawdown aspect of the plan and not the troop increase. That’s a severe problem for overly optimistic congressional Democrats who want to believe that the president’s speech made political room for them to support escalation. When November 2010 arrives, the only components of the president’s policy in evidence will be escalation and its costs, which the Democratic base loathe. Think about what that will mean if Democrats remain far more concerned with the costs of the Afghanistan policy than with the risk of terrorism (79 percent to 46 percent, respectively).

Pushing policies opposed by your base in a midterm election year is another way of asking to get wrapped in a burlap sack and hit with sticks. James Morone, writing about the health reform fight, explains [h/t Ezra Klein]:

Many Democrats are moving to whittle back health reform in order to win over moderate, fence-sitting, frightened independents.

Big mistake.

Go back and look at the midterm tsunami that swept the Democrats out of office the last time. The turnout for that wave was just 36 percent. Moderate, fence sitting independents don’t vote in midterm elections with a 36 percent turn out.

What really happened back in 1994? The Republican base — jubilant, mobilized and angry — turned out. The Democratic base — dispirited, disenchanted and demobilized — stayed home. As Democrats ponder which way to go in this latest round, they ought to read the political lessons more carefully: Short-term electoral success rests with the base, the people who got excited about “change we can believe in.” Long-term electoral success rests in designing and pushing through a program that then grows very popular.

Klein describes what happens when you jab your thumb in the eye of your base to try to scoop up independents and the spare opposition voter in a midterm cycle:

Dispirited Democrats will stay home. Energized Republicans will press their advantage. Add in that the wave of young voters who were energized by Obama’s campaign probably aren’t going to turn out for the midterm election anyway, and you’re looking at a pretty unfriendly landscape.

Congressional Democrats should already see the warning signs of an ugly election cycle in the voter-intensity tea leaves:

Among Republican respondents, 81 percent said they were definitely or probably going to vote, versus only 14 percent who were definitely or not likely to do so…Among Democrats? A woeful 56-40: Two out of every five Democrats are currently unlikely to vote.

Describing the danger of dampening Democratic turnout by pushing an Afghanistan escalation, MoveOn’s Nita Chaudhary said:

“There is no doubt Washington has to worry about how the base is reacting and feeling…It’s incredibly important heading into next year, because the base knocks on doors, makes phone calls and gives money.”

Bottom line: Congressional Democrats and their kindred spirits beyond Washington, D.C. must get over their reluctance to buck President Obama on Afghanistan if they want to get out of this election cycle with their skin on. Midterm elections are base-centered elections. Winning base-centered elections requires actions that energize the base. If the Democrats in Congress want to stanch the bleeding on this part of the electoral contest, they have to run against the president’s escalation in Afghanistan and fight it every step of the way. And if “our” representatives in Congress won’t fight the Afghanistan escalation, we have to be willing to walk away from them. Cenk Uygur:

If that scares you and you start to worry about damaging a Democratic president, you’re never going to win at this game. You’re never going to get the policies you want. They don’t listen to reason, they listen to power…If you don’t have the stomach for being this tough on Obama and the Democrats, well then you don’t have the stomach for politics. And you will permanently be the Republican’s bitches.

Pushing an Afghanistan policy opposed by the base, supported by the opposition and that will send American boys and girls home in body bags is political malpractice, especially going into an election where more than 80 percent of your opponent’s base is ready to charge into the voting booth. Issues exist in this election cycle other than Afghanistan, and reasons to oppose escalation in Afghanistan exist other than the purely political, but if Democrats won’t even act against escalation to save their own skins, they’ll deserve every bit of the political pain they’ll feel in November.

In 2010, I will not donate, block-walk, or phone bank for any incumbent who fails to take forceful action to stop this escalation and bring our troops home. Fair warning, Democrats: I’m not alone.

More on Afghanistan


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , ,

Dave Johnson: Getting Corporate Money Out Of Politics Must Become Our #1 Priority

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Health care: huge majorities of the public want something — anything — along the lines of a “public option” or Medicare buy-in. In the last election people turned out and overwhelmingly voted in Obama, 60 senators and a huge majority in the Congress.

But after “the system” plays itself out we instead end up with government power ordering all of us to buy insurance from giant insurance corporations. It remains illegal for us to buy into Medicare because this would interfere with the stream of money flowing from all of us to a few already-wealthy executives and owners.

It is so clear now what our system has become. The wealthy have a lock on our politics, and we can’t help but see it. It is in the way of getting anything done. It is blocking our ability to do anything about our urgent problems like health care, climate change, financial reform, and of course the low-wage, everything-to-the-top structure of our jobs.

The other day I wrote, Concentration Of Wealth = An Influence Lock On Our Politics,

We have now reached the point where wealth is at least as concentrated as it was in 1929. With similar consequences.

Just how concentrated is the wealth and income? The L-Curve website graphically illustrates the disparity. Here’s how it works. … [click through to read this part] . . .

The societal consequences are dramatic. This happened as a result of wealth’s ability to influence our country’s decision-making. And that influence was used to increase the wealth of the influencers, which increased their influence. But this has come at the expense of regular people, whose incomes have stagnated, forcing them into increasing debt.

We have reached a breaking point where a consumer-based economy can no longer be sustained. But this has not led to any loosening of the grip that money has on our political system. If we don’t force the political system out of that grip and restore democracy we will not be able to fix our economic system.

The question is, with the mask pulled aside — with everyone seeing how the wealthy are controlling the system — will we find ways of fixing it? Will we be able to take back democracy from the malefactors of great wealth? The obvious steps include getting all corporate money and influence out of our politics – and our lives. But even if we manage to vote in 100 Senators and 100% of the Congress, will we be able to accomplish this?

We all have to start talking about this, and making it the #1 priority of our political efforts. Nothing else can be accomplished until we take this on, but if we take this on then we can finally get on with the business of governing for the people.


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , ,

Dave Johnson: Getting Corporate Money Out Of Politics Must Become Our #1 Priority

December 26th, 2009 admin No comments

Health care: huge majorities of the public want something — anything — along the lines of a “public option” or Medicare buy-in. In the last election people turned out and overwhelmingly voted in Obama, 60 senators and a huge majority in the Congress.

But after “the system” plays itself out we instead end up with government power ordering all of us to buy insurance from giant insurance corporations. It remains illegal for us to buy into Medicare because this would interfere with the stream of money flowing from all of us to a few already-wealthy executives and owners.

It is so clear now what our system has become. The wealthy have a lock on our politics, and we can’t help but see it. It is in the way of getting anything done. It is blocking our ability to do anything about our urgent problems like health care, climate change, financial reform, and of course the low-wage, everything-to-the-top structure of our jobs.

The other day I wrote, Concentration Of Wealth = An Influence Lock On Our Politics,

We have now reached the point where wealth is at least as concentrated as it was in 1929. With similar consequences.

Just how concentrated is the wealth and income? The L-Curve website graphically illustrates the disparity. Here’s how it works. … [click through to read this part] . . .

The societal consequences are dramatic. This happened as a result of wealth’s ability to influence our country’s decision-making. And that influence was used to increase the wealth of the influencers, which increased their influence. But this has come at the expense of regular people, whose incomes have stagnated, forcing them into increasing debt.

We have reached a breaking point where a consumer-based economy can no longer be sustained. But this has not led to any loosening of the grip that money has on our political system. If we don’t force the political system out of that grip and restore democracy we will not be able to fix our economic system.

The question is, with the mask pulled aside — with everyone seeing how the wealthy are controlling the system — will we find ways of fixing it? Will we be able to take back democracy from the malefactors of great wealth? The obvious steps include getting all corporate money and influence out of our politics – and our lives. But even if we manage to vote in 100 Senators and 100% of the Congress, will we be able to accomplish this?

We all have to start talking about this, and making it the #1 priority of our political efforts. Nothing else can be accomplished until we take this on, but if we take this on then we can finally get on with the business of governing for the people.


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , ,