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In case you had any doubt that it helps a lot in modern American politics to be rich — I mean really rich — consider the case of two former candidates for President who have or will stand before banks of TV cameras in Greensboro, North Carolina this week.

One is a rich, dishonest and narcissistic adulterer with expensive hair. The other is…a rich, dishonest and narcissistic adulterer with expensive hair.

Here’s the big difference between the two (other than their politics — a place where one of the two has actually expressed concern for the less fortunate at times during his life): One guy is pretty rich and the other guy is REALLY rich.

Now, guess which one just missed going to jail by the skin of his teeth and which one will be treated like royality while serving as the keynote speaker of the North Carolina Republican Party convention.

See what I mean about the importance of being REALLY rich?

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It’s always encouraging when fabulously rich people have the guts to speak the truth about their own privileged position and the disgraceful growth in American inequality. To this end, please check out this recent speech by a fellow named Nick Hanauer.  It’s reproduced below from an article in the National Journal. As the article explains, Hanauer is a Seattle venture capitalist who got rich investing in Amazon.com. Interestingly, the speech has been deemed too controversial by the folks at TED.com who commissioned it. See what you think. 

“It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies.  Consider this one.
 
If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.  
 
This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.
 
But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. Read More
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State lawmakers return to Raleigh next week for the 2012 “short” session and a new a different kind of demonstration will be there to welcome them. A coalition of progressive groups is calling on protesters to gather across from the Legislative Building at 10:00 a.m. next Wednesday for a “Pots and Spoons protest” modeled on the “cacerolazo” protests that frequently occur in Spanish-speaking countries. It should be a lot of fun.

Are you fed up with policies that protect the 1% at the expense of workers’ rights, public education, and the environment?  Are you sick of right-wing politicians who, once elected, change the rules on who gets to vote? Are you appalled by Amendment One? Are you tired of being ignored by our out-of-control legislature? Are you ready to make some noise for the 99%?Join the POTS & SPOONS PROTEST on May 16th!

What: Pots & Spoons Protest of our out-of-control legislature
When: Wednesday, May 16 at 10 A.M.
Where: Bicentennial Mall (across from the legislature), 16 W. Jones St., Raleigh, NC
Why: Let’s welcome state lawmakers back to Raleigh with a sound they can’t ignore.

Bring an empty pot and spoon (and a friend) this May 16th and join our cacerolazo, the first-of-its-kind demonstration of our out-of-control state legislature in North Carolina!

As corporate lobbyists and the right-wing crazy train line up to be heard when our legislature reconvenes, let us drown them out with a noise only We the People can muster! We will bang our empty pots non-stop for 15 minutes.

It’s all part of the 99% Spring. Are you in?

Define: cacerolazo (n.) – a form of popular protest practiced in certain Spanish-speaking countries – in particular Argentina and Chile – which consists of a group of people creating noise by banging pots, pans, and other utensils to call for attention.

In ongoing demonstrations, students in Chile have used the cacerolazo to protest efforts in that country to privatize public education (sound familiar?) and build new hydro-electric dams.

Workers in Greece have banged pots and pans to protest severe austerity measures imposed on that country by investment banks like Goldman Sachs.

Citizens in Iceland staged the so-called “Kitchenware Revolution” (little-known in the USA) in the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis. There, in the face of a government trying to impose an unpopular bank bailout, Icelanders occupied street corners and plazas, banging pots and pans day and night until their demands for new elections were met.

It is time to bring the spirit of the cacerolazo to North Carolina, where our out-of-control state legislature has busied itself since the 2010 election with catering to corporate interests and right-wing ideologues, adding a hate amendment to our constitution, gutting funding for public education, and attempting to restrict our voting rights.

In April 2011, some 300 people stood on Bicentennial Mall in total silence for 15 minutes in solemn protest of the efforts here and elsewhere to silence workers by taking away our rights.

In May 2012, we will return – but this time to make such a noise that no politician on Jones Street will be able to ignore us.

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Share this event on Twitter with the hashtag #May16NC

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At the same time that U.S. restaurant workers attempt to get by on the obsolete base wage of $2.13/hour (see the post below), the nation’s elite caste of imperial CEO’s and silver spooners gets richer and ever-more selfish.

Happily, some good guy groups have taken to documenting the excesses of the one-percenters in highly readable fashion.

Here is one such effort worth your time from the Institute for Policy Studies – It’s called Too Much: An online of excess and inequality. Read it and weep for your country.

 

 

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Greg Sargent at The Plum Line reports some new and, hopefully, energizing poll results for progressives from Pew Research.

Here’s the lead from the post:

“Pew Research has just released the most detailed polling I’ve seen yet on Occupy Wall Street, economic fairness, rising inequality, and the lack of Wall Street accountability. If these numbers don’t put an end to the nonsense about how Dems risk alienating the “middle of the country” by embracing a populist “class warfare” message, nothing will…”

Click here to read the entire post.