I should give a shout-out to Larry Mishel’s note showing that the share of corporate-sector income going to profits has soared to levels not seen in more than 40 years. Here’s another way to see the same thing, with total workers’ compensation in blue and profits in red, both shown as indexes with the quarter before the recession at 100
There doesn’t seem to be much trickle-down going on.
Here is a quick explanation of Trickle Down Economics: The belief that as revenue increases for the wealthy, or big corporations, those excess revenues will then “trickle down” to the rest of us by the way of more jobs, increased pay and better benefits.
Sounds great, right? In theory, yes it does.
However, it doesn’t take into account the one flaw we’ve faced since the dawn of humanity–basic human nature. Human nature is often very greedy, and those who have the most, in many cases, tend to be the greediest.
The old saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely” in reality means power of any kind often corrupts. With our society placing so much emphasis on money, it has made having money equal having power. Trickle Down Economics puts the health of a nation into the “generous” hands of the rich and powerful.
But you have to ask yourself, who benefits most from this philosophy? Who stands to gain the most by shaping an entire economic ideology around this belief? It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out–the rich and powerful. Whose power in politics has grown thanks to rulings such as Citizens United, which allows big corporations the freedom to give unheard of sums of money to any political candidate or party? Yup, you guessed it—the rich and powerful.
Nearly all credible information you can find over the last 30+ years shows that middle class pay has remained pretty much stagnant. This fact remains indisputable as the income for the top 2% in this country has skyrocketed, and never more so than in the last decade. Yet even with that indisputable information, you have millions of Americans who accept this economic theory.
It’s a magnificent con.
The rich and powerful have convinced millions to vote against their own interest. Right now, instead of supporting closing loopholes for individuals and big businesses that make millions (or billions), an entire political party has instead focused on cutting programs that mostly help lower and middle class Americans. They’ve screamed “class warfare,” yet have not supported a single deficit reduction solution that includes a sacrifice from the top 1%—even opposing the elimination of a tax break for people who own corporate jets.
It seems insane to think that a middle class American would fight to protect the tax rate of someone who makes a hundred times what they make, all while advocating the slashing of programs they themselves benefit from.
And the worse things get, the more tax breaks they want. Their talking point is near perfection:
“Well, how will raising our taxes create jobs? We need lower taxes so we can create jobs and boost the economy!”
They’re right, raising taxes won’t help create jobs, but lowering them didn’t help either. At least with increased tax revenue we wouldn’t need such drastic cuts to public employment like Republicans have pushed for the last 4 years
Republicans ignore the fact that we had historic economic growth, and all-time low unemployment, under President Clinton–with higher taxes. They’ve also ignored the fact that we faced the worst economic crash in 80 years, and shed millions of jobs, while we had the lowest tax rates in our nation’s history. These are two simple realities that easily prove the falsity of the Republican rhetoric that “tax cuts are vital for job creation”.
Ask yourself these questions: Over the last 30 years are most jobs gaining or losing benefits? Are people gaining or losing their pensions? Are they working less or more? Are health care plans getting better or worse?
Keep in mind when you answer these, that over the last 30 years executive pay and benefits have hit historic highs and corporate profits have skyrocketed.
It’s a great scam because the terminology in both its application and rebuttal to its opposition make for great talking points:
“The more profits we get to keep, the more jobs we can create.”
“How will raising our taxes help us create jobs?”
But if taxes were already low, and the economy went into recession, then the tax rates really had nothing to do with job loss or gain.
The choice is really about more tax revenue or less tax revenue—with the same amount of job creation. Logic says a country should take the tax revenue if the tax breaks didn’t actually create jobs..
And they haven’t.
What Republicans have done is taken this ideology of greed, manipulated the American people by masking it in a cloak of Christian values and then successfully deceived a large portion of the American population to vote against their own best interest. The astonishing part is— it has actually worked.
It’s one of the greatest cons in human history. They’ve co-opted the Christian faith and twisted it into a hateful, judgmental, ignorant group of cult-like followers to support an agenda of greed. They’ve built their economic base upon the idea that our best interests, and economic salvation, are found by giving those with the most wealth and power even more.
Placodonts were among the first marine reptiles. With their trademark crushing teeth, they fed on shellfish and crustaceans. However, when and where these highly specialized marine reptiles originated remained unclear until now. A 246-million-year-old skull of a juvenile placodont was recently discovered in the Netherlands. Paleontologists from the universities of Zurich and Bonn have now demonstrated that it is one of the earliest examples of this saurians and that it originated in Europe.
For around 50 million years, placodonts populated the flat coastal regions of the Tethys Ocean, in modern day Europe and China. The most distinctive feature of these dinosaurs was their teeth: The upper jaw had two rows of flattened teeth -- one on the palate and one on the jawbone -- while the lower jaw only had one set of teeth ideal for crushing shellfish and crustaceans.
The evolutionary origins of these placodonts remained unclear. However, a new find in a 246-million-year-old sediment layer now sheds light on the origin and phylogenetic development of the placodonts. As the Swiss and German team headed by Torsten Scheyer, a paleontologist at the University of Zurich, reveals the skull found in Winterswijk (Netherlands) is the earliest form of all known placodonts. The juvenile animal lived 246 million years ago. At around two centimeters in size, the skull is exceptionally well preserved and its characteristics set it apart from previous placodont discoveries.
The basal-most known placodonts to date have the group's trademark double row of crushing teeth in the upper jaw. The flattened teeth that give these animals their name only appear in more derived placodonts. "Unlike all the other placodonts discovered to date, the Winterswijk specimen has conical, pointed teeth instead of flattened or ball-shaped crushing ones," explains Scheyer, "which means the pointed teeth on the lower jaw slotted precisely into the gap between the palate and upper-jawbone teeth when biting."
The group's trademark double row of teeth in the upper jaw is proof that the new find is actually a placodont. According to the researchers, the teeth of Palatodonta bleekeri, the scientific name given to the Winterswijk specimen, were specialized in gripping and piercing soft prey. "The double row of teeth in the new find combined with its considerable age lead us to conclude that it is a very early placodont, from which the later forms developed," says Scheyer. The formation of crushing teeth and the specialization of a diet of shellfish and crustaceans thus developed later within placodont evolution.
The small Palatodonta bleekeri skull sheds new light on the ongoing debate on where the placodonts originated: Previous finds suggested origins in the shelf sea areas of either present-day China or Europe. Due to the considerable age of the new Dutch find and its basal form, however, the European origin of the placodonts is deemed confirmed. Scheyer and his colleagues are hoping for further exciting finds in Winterswijk to discover more about the evolution of the placodonts.
It’s the 50th anniversary of JFK’s untimely death. So why is the Obama Administration still refusing to release assassination records? Abby Martin, host of RT’s show Breaking the Set, interviews WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker about this. Russ also articulates the larger picture surrounding this enduring mystery.
The one about how it was a comet and not an asteroid? Forget it. We're back to a Manhattan-sized asteroid. And things got toasty.
A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth's species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.
Led by Douglas Robertson of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, the team used models that show the collision would have vaporized huge amounts of rock that were then blown high above Earth's atmosphere. The re-entering ejected material would have heated the upper atmosphere enough to glow red for several hours at roughly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit -- about the temperature of an oven broiler element -- killing every living thing not sheltered underground or underwater.
The CU-led team developed an alternate explanation for the fact that there is little charcoal found at the Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg, boundary some 66 million years ago when the asteroid struck Earth and the cataclysmic fires are believed to have occurred. The CU researchers found that similar studies had corrected their data for changing sedimentation rates. When the charcoal data were corrected for the same changing sedimentation rates they show an excess of charcoal, not a deficiency, Robertson said.
"Our data show the conditions back then are consistent with widespread fires across the planet," said Robertson, a research scientist at CIRES, which is a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Those conditions resulted in 100 percent extinction rates for about 80 percent of all life on Earth."
A paper on the subject was published online this week in theJournal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Co-authors on the study include CIRES Interim Director William Lewis, CU Professor Brian Toon of the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and Peter Sheehan of the Milwaukee Public Museum in Wisconsin.
Geological evidence indicates the asteroid collided with Earth about 66 million years ago and carved the Chicxulub crater in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula that is more than 110 miles in diameter. In 2010, experts from 33 institutions worldwide issued a report that concluded the impact at Chicxulub triggered mass extinctions, including dinosaurs, at the K-Pg boundary.
The conditions leading to the global firestorm were set up by the vaporization of rock following the impact, which condensed into sand-grain-sized spheres as they rose above the atmosphere. As the ejected material re-entered Earth's atmosphere, it dumped enough heat in the upper atmosphere to trigger an infrared "heat pulse" so hot it caused the sky to glow red for several hours, even though part of the radiation was blocked from Earth by the falling material, he said.
But there was enough infrared radiation from the upper atmosphere that reached Earth's surface to create searing conditions that likely ignited tinder, including dead leaves and pine needles. If a person was on Earth back then, it would have been like sitting in a broiler oven for two or three hours, said Robertson.
The amount of energy created by the infrared radiation the day of the asteroid-Earth collision is mind-boggling, said Robertson. "It's likely that the total amount of infrared heat was equal to a 1 megaton bomb exploding every four miles over the entire Earth."
A 1-megaton hydrogen bomb has about the same explosive power as 80 Hiroshima-type nuclear bombs, he said. The asteroid-Earth collision is thought to have generated about 100 million megatons of energy, said Robertson.
Some researchers have suggested that a layer of soot found at the K-Pg boundary layer roughly 66 million years ago was created by the impact itself. But Robertson and his colleagues calculated that the amount of soot was too high to have been created during the massive impact event and was consistent with the amount that would be expected from global fires.
The first time we took my daughter to Disneyland everything seemed to frighten her... except the "It's A Small World" ride. As a result we went through that ride over and over. Being trapped in it would be frightening.
A disabled man who spent more than half an hour trapped in Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World” ride in 2009 has won $8,000 in damages from the amusement park, the man’s lawyer said Tuesday.
Jose Martinez, a resident of San Pedro (Los Angeles County) who is in early 50s, was stuck in the “Goodbye Room” when the ride broke down the day after Thanksgiving in 2009, said David Geffen, a Santa Ana attorney.
Disneyland employees evacuated other riders but had no way to help Martinez, who is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, Geffen said.
Martinez suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure, both of which became an issue as he sat in the boat, the “Small World” song playing over and over and over, Geffen said.
“He was half in the cave of the ride and half out,” Geffen said. “The music was blaring. They couldn’t get it to go off.”
Disneyland employees should have called firefighters to evacuate Martinez, but instead they waited for the ride to be fixed, Geffen said. Martinez was eventually treated at a Disneyland first aid station, the lawyer said.
Besides failing to take proper care of Martinez while he was stuck on the ride, Disneyland did not notify disabled riders that if “It’s a Small World” broke down, they could be trapped, U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled Friday. Martinez sued Disneyland in February 2011 in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.
In a statement, a Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said Disneyland “believes it provided all appropriate assistance to Mr. and Mrs. Martinez when the ride temporarily stopped and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.
Geffen said the ruling was had resonance.
“This is a really important ruling not just for (Martinez), but for anyone that rides the rides at Disneyland — because they do break down often and they do not tell people,” Geffen said. “The court’s saying that this kind of injury is foreseeable and that (Disneyland) has a duty to warn people.”
Ever brought in something this good for show-and-tell? An unusual rock, which a 10-year-old student presented to his classmates, has turned out to be an incredibly rare,320 million-year-old fossil of a horseshoe crab's footprints.
Bruno Debattista, who attends Windmill Primary School in Oxford, England, came across the piece of shale rock last summer while vacationing in Cornwall, and noticed the rock contained a strange, fossilized imprint.
Bruno thought it was something special, and brought it into an after-school club meeting at Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History.
"Footprints of this age are incredibly rare and extremely hard to spot," Chris Jarvis, the museum's education officer, said in a written statement, "so we were amazed when Bruno produced them at our after-school club.... Still more impressive is the fact that Bruno had a hunch they might be some kind of footprints, even though the specimen had some of our world expert geologists arguing about it over their microscopes."
Museum researchers eventually confirmed the footprints likely were a pair of mating horseshoe crabs during the Carboniferous period, around 308 to 327 million years ago. The oldest known horseshoe crab fossils, from the Late Ordovician period, are at least 455 million years old.
Bruno and his family have donated the fossil specimen to the museum’s collection.