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Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

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© Unknown
The Fat and the Furious: The top 1 percent may have the best houses, educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”
Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

It's no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous - 12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades - and more - has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Bizarro Earth

The Peasants Need Pitchforks

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© Associated Press/Jason deCrow
Protesters yell at people looking out from the windows of an AIG building in New York during a 2009 rally against government bailouts for corporations.
A "working class hero," John Lennon told us in his song of that title, "is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you're so clever and classless and free/ But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see."

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%", Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: "Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

Bizarro Earth

Glenn Beck Pulling Show Off Fox News

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© Unknown
Glenn Beck is pulling the plug on his popular daily show for Fox News.

In a release his production company says he will "transition" away from his Fox News show later this year.

According to the release Beck won't jump ship entirely. He'll develop a variety of programs for Fox News and its digital properties.

Talk of Beck leaving Fox News has been bubbling up for a while now.

Here's the release:

Question

Are electrical systems really to blame, or something else is going on? FAA probes shattered windshields on American Airlines jets

The Federal Aviation Administration confirms that it's looking into why cockpit windshields on two American Airlines jets overheated and cracked in mid-air.

The latest incident happened Saturday on a Boeing 767 international flight to New York.

Two weeks ago, the pilot of another American Airlines 767 wide-body jet diverted to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with the same problem - a cracked windshield.

Stop

Sudan Investigates "Mysterious" Air Attack

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© Unknown
Sudanese authorities said they began investigating the targeted bombing of a car late Tuesday night in the coastal city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The incident in the east of the country led to the death of two people.

A police statement quoted by the official Sudanese news agency conveyed that the missile struck a car on the main highway, 15 km south of Port Sudan, killing two people who were traveling the car.

According to the statement it immediately after the incident, security forces rushed to the scene and set up an operation room in order to determine the source of the attack.

Pistol

Yemen protests: fresh clashes in Taiz

Tens of thousands demonstrate against President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern town a day after 15 people were killed
Yemeni protesters
© Reuters
Yemeni protesters run from teargas fired by police in Taiz.
Fresh clashes have broken out in Taiz in southern Yemen as security forces and armed men in civilian clothes fired on protesters a day after 15 people were killed.

Witnesses told Reuters that several people had been hurt after hundreds of troops attacked tens of thousands of demonstrators. Men believed to be plainclothes police wielded bats and daggers as protesters responded by throwing rocks.

Al-Jazeera reported that hundreds of protesters were wounded in the clashes, with dozens taken to hospital in the capital, Sana'a, 120 miles away.

Amid continuing violence against the 32-year rule of the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Gulf Co-operation Council, the regional security group, invited government and opposition representatives to talks in Saudi Arabia, at a date yet to be set. Abubakr al-Qirbi, the acting foreign minister after Saleh sacked his government two weeks ago, said the government would agree to talks in Riyadh. "We welcome the GCC invitation and the government is ready to discuss any ideas from our Gulf brothers to solve the crisis," Qirbi said.

Document

Canada: Sled dog slaughter leads to tougher British Columbia laws


B.C. will bring in tough new animal cruelty laws - including $75,000 fines and two-year jail terms - following the alleged slaughter of 100 dogs by a Whistler company last spring, Premier Christy Clark announced Tuesday morning.

Clark made the announcement based on the recommendations of a special task force set up to investigate the recreational industry after news broke that the dogs were slaughtered by an employee at a Whistler tour company after the Olympics.

B.C.'s existing laws limit fines for animal cruelty to $10,000 and six months in jail.

"British Columbians have said clearly that cruel or inhumane treatment of sled dogs or any other animal is simply not acceptable," Clark said Tuesday morning at the Vancouver headquarters of the B.C. SPCA.

"That's why we are acting on all of the recommendations of the Sled Dog Task Force and sending a strong message that those who engage in that type of behaviour will be punished under tough new laws."

The task force was led by Liberal MLA Terry Lake, who is a veterinarian, and included representation from the BC SPCA and the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

"I can confidently say the recommendations include what I believe, as a veterinarian and animal lover, will help animals be well cared for," Lake said.

"Through our work the task force identified the need for the development of best practice guidelines for sled dog operations and improved animal cruelty laws overall."

USA

US: Man With Anti-Obama Sign Attacked In San Francisco

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© David Lienemann/Getty Images
An Obama supporter holds up a sign.
A man who set up a table with political literature and a sign opposing President Barack Obama was attacked in San Francisco's North Panhandle neighborhood, police and witnesses said Tuesday.

Initial police accounts had indicated that the man had a sign supporting Obama, but witnesses later said it was an anti-Obama sign with a Hitler mustache drawn over the president's face.

The attack happened around 11:30 a.m. Monday in the 1200 block of Fell Street, where the victim, a 29-year-old Daly City man, had set up his table, said Capt. Denis O'Leary of the SFPD's Park Station.

A man and woman approached the victim, tore the sign and shook the table, causing the political literature to fall to the ground.

The attackers also kicked the man in the hand, O'Leary said.

The SFPD captain said he did not know whether the victim was a supporter or opponent of Obama, but a witness who was in the area Monday said the victim was a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, a left-wing political activist who opposes the president.

Ambulance

Indian 'living god' in critical condition: hospital

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© Agence France-Presse/ Tekee Tanwar
File photo of Indian guru Satya Sai Baba (C) greeting followers. Sai Baba is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of a southern hospital where thousand of devotees have gathered, local officials said Tuesday.
One of India's best-known spiritual leaders, famous for his apparent miracles and long list of influential followers, is on life support in a southern hospital, officials said on Tuesday.

Satya Sai Baba, 85, who has devotees in more than 100 countries, was admitted to a hospital funded by his organisation in the town of Puttaparthi with lung and chest congestion on March 28.

His condition has since deteriorated and he is now on a ventilator and is receiving kidney dialysis, the most recent health bulletin from the hospital said on Tuesday.

He remains "critical," although his "level of consciousness has considerably improved" and his vital systems are "stable", said the update from the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.

Thousands of followers have begun arriving in Puttaparthi, home to Sai Baba's ashram in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, with many agitated by conflicting information given out by local authorities.

Government officials have sought to play down the seriousness of his condition, while police are preventing groups from gathering in the town, according to local reports.

Handcuffs

US: Man gets prison for New York self-help speaker's death

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© The Associated Press / jefflocker.com
In this undated file photo, motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker is shown. The man who stabbed the debt-ridden motivational speaker in what he said was an assisted suicide was sentenced to prison Monday, April 4, 2011 for murder. Kenneth Minor yelled an expletive after he received a 20-years-to-life sentence for Jeffrey Locker's July 2009 death.
A man convicted of murdering a debt-ridden motivational speaker was sentenced Monday to at least two decades in prison in a case that tested the bounds of assisted suicide.

Speaking publicly for the first time about Jeffrey Locker's July 2009 death, Kenneth Minor said his own life had "ended that day" that he accepted Locker's offer to pay to be killed in a seeming robbery so his family could collect millions of dollars in insurance money.

"In the end, Mr. Locker is where he wanted to be," said Minor, 38, his voice sometimes breaking as he spoke. "I'm no animal, and I ain't got no malice in my heart."

"In the end, a life is a life. And I ask your forgiveness," he concluded - before yelling an expletive on hearing his 20-years-to-life sentence. He plans an appeal that will likely note a juror's statement that she felt compelled to convict him because of the judge's legal instructions.

The case was unusual for broaching the concept of assisted suicide in the context of strangers staging a seeming street crime.

Locker approached Minor on an East Harlem street to ask for help staging his death, both prosecutors and Minor had said. Minor didn't testify at his trial but told his account to police when he was arrested.