The OB Media Rundown for 6/7/12

This is What Plutocracy Looks Like: Walker Rides Huge Funding Edge to Victory

On Tuesday night, with Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election in a special recall vote, Wisconsin learned a brutal lesson: “This is what plutocracy looks like.”

Thousands of union members and other Wisconsinites have been fighting for the last 16 months when Walker, in his own words, decided to “drop the bomb” and cripple the operations of almost all public employee unions by introducing Act 10. This triggered a massive upsurge by labor and its allies to restore worker rights, strengthen plundered public institutions like education and healthcare, and to revitalize democracy. Activists gathered over 1 million signatures on petitions to trigger the recall vote during the coldest days of last winter.

But their vision of a new progressive era for Wisconsin has been turned upside down-at least temporarily-by a tidal wave of money from billionaire CEOs and corporations that swept Walker to victory.

Wisconsin Recap: Thanks to Obama, American Left Lies in Smoldering Wreckage

It’s not complete to say this is just Obama’s doing.  Obama has done everything he’s done with the support of labor leaders, Democratic supportive groups like Moveon, foundations, liberal pundits, African-American church networks, feminist groups, LGBT groups, and technology interests.  Any of these could have stopped him by withdrawing support and overtly attacking him, but only the LBGT community fought for their rights.  This American labor bureaucracy, which simply does not strike and therefore has no leverage against capital, operates largely as a group of fragmented business unionists.  Unfortunately, business unions don’t exist when business decides it doesn’t want unions.  And that’s what global business elites have decided, as this piece published on this very site titled The Liquidation of Society versus the Global Labor Revival shows.

Does Sallie Mae Want Students To Default ?

Lenders are paid full book value on defaulted loans (principal plus interest).  For defaulted loan collections, collectors get to keep 25 cents on every dollar collected.  If the loan is rehabilitated, the new, much larger, loan is sold, and the guarantors get paid (in addition to 10 months of payments that go straight into their pockets) something like 18%  of the inflated balance.

For lenders who only lend to students (and don’t guaranty, or collect on defaulted loans), they lose no money on a default. The money they are reimbursed can (and is) immediately used to fund another loan.  Therefore, these lenders, fiscally, have a neutral outlook about defaults (i.e. they don’t care one way or another if a loan defaults).

The 1 Percent’s Problem

Put sentiment aside. There are good reasons why plutocrats should care about inequality anyway-even if they’re thinking only about themselves. The rich do not exist in a vacuum. They need a functioning society around them to sustain their position. Widely unequal societies do not function efficiently and their economies are neither stable nor sustainable. The evidence from history and from around the modern world is unequivocal: there comes a point when inequality spirals into economic dysfunction for the whole society, and when it does, even the rich pay a steep price.

Occupy Albany protesters present fake check to Cuomo’s office

Occupy protesters presented Governor Cuomo with a $2 million check. But it wasn’t real money.

Occupiers presented the fake check in reaction to reports that a pro-Cuomo lobbying group received $2 million from gambling interests. They say it serves as a symbol of what is wrong with government.

“We actually had an official from the governor’s office come out and accept the fake check. So it sort of just emphasizes the whole money out of politics thing is an effective tactic and it’s something they respond to. As soon as they hear there’s money out the door, apparently they come out and we don’t get arrested,” said Occupy Albany Organizer Geordie O’Brien.

UC cops who jabbed students ‘may’ have broken rules

UC Berkeley police “may” have violated policies when they jabbed batons at defiant but peaceful students who set up their first Occupy encampment last November, says a tepidly worded report released Wednesday.

The strongest conclusion by the five-member “Police Review Board” chaired by UC Berkeley Law Professor Jesse Choper is that authorities failed to follow recommendations from two prior Police Review Board reports that criticized the use of force during student protests in 2009 and 1997.

Quebec protests set down local organizational roots

With the collapse of negotiations between the Charest government and student leaders last week, and the persistence of the nightly pots and pans protest, the question is what next?

With a little borrowing from the Occupy movement, which itself borrowed from the Indignados in Spain and other places, an answer is emerging. Throughout Montreal’s northern and eastern districts, general assemblies are forming.

Neighbours, it seems, get to know each other rather well clanging cooking utensils, and now, from Mile End to Rosemont to Hochelaga, demonstrators are moving past a collective manifestation of discontent to put down local organizational roots.

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