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marmar

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,021

Journal Archives

Professor Richard Wolff's Economic Update: "Corporations are the Problem" (audio link)


Listen: http://rdwolff.com/content/economic-update-corporations-are-problem


by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

Updates on Market Basket workers' victory, top paid asset managers, FED report debunks "recovery," Chipotle's gross inequality, Montreal corruption, and Russia/China economic alliance. Major discussion: Part 2 on socialism's new directions. Response to listeners on franchising, capitalist growth, advertising and consumer desires.



Thom Hartmann: Is America This Gullible About War?





Google Refuses to Respond to Letter Questioning ALEC Ties

(The Progressive) The Center for Media and Democracy/Progressive Inc. (CMD) has joined more than 50 watchdog, advocacy, and labor groups in sending a letter to Google asking it to cut its ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Google has not responded, telling the trade publication Ars Technica, "we aren't going to be commenting on this letter" and refusing to respond to repeated requests for comment made by the International Business Times.

Microsoft recently cut ties to ALEC, as CMD reported, prompting many to ask, "Will Google be next?"

CMD has reported on Google's new ties to ALEC as well as its "substantial" funding of other right wing groups -- Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union, and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.

As the letter says, "Over the last year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions asking Google to end its ALEC membership because of their concerns about the harmful role ALEC has played in our democratic process. ...............(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/09/187861/google-refuses-respond-letter-questioning-alec-ties#sthash.dX9YQsms.dpuf




Occupy Wall Street: How We Surprised Ourselves


from The Progressive:


Occupy Wall Street: How We Surprised Ourselves
By Arun Gupta


At the top of the list of what the Occupy movement accomplished is, “We surprised ourselves.”

By “we,” I mean anyone residing on the left. To be on the left is to be intimate with defeat. Sometimes defeat is heroic, as with the Spanish Civil War. Sometimes it’s betrayal, as with the fate of the Russian Revolution. Defeat can be bewildering, as in, “What happened to that moment of Feb. 15, 2003?” Often it’s just depressing, like the delirious 60s that gave way to the tortuous 80s.

Occupy, in contrast, was a rocket ship of giddiness for nearly two months. Liberals squirmed, reluctant to criticize or embrace it. Conservatives yelled from rocking chairs that the dirty hippies needed a job. Every police attack gave Occupy strength. A bewildered media tried to grasp how a leaderless movement could shake the halls of power.

It helped that there were no expectations for success. There were no pollsters tut-tutting that the 99% versus 1% was divisive. No professional organizers corralling the herd into a single message. No revolutionaries hectoring that only the scientific terms proletariat and bourgeoisie would do. No Democrats demanding that lofty aspirations be pulverized into middle-of-the-road mush. ..........(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/09/178309/occupy-wall-street-how-we-surprised-ourselves#sthash.45QD47Jb.dpuf


"Socially Responsible" Capitalism Still Feeds the Disease


"Socially Responsible" Capitalism Still Feeds the Disease

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:32
By Toshio Meronek, Truthout | News Analysis


Capitalism with a conscience? That's the idea behind so-called "socially responsible" investments - buying stocks in companies that are screened for criteria like good labor practices, sustainability and whether or not the company is involved in arms manufacturing. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, an industry association, claimed in its latest report from 2012 that at least $3.74 trillion in the United States is invested with environmental and social impacts in mind.

Some socially responsible investments (SRI) weed out cigarette companies like Philip Morris; others shun companies with poor environmental records, like BP. But whichever investments you choose, there's a good chance you'll be profiting off companies with bad human rights records because the backbone of many SRI funds are consumer technology stocks - companies like Apple and Samsung, which have histories replete with labor and privacy abuses.

China Labor Watch (CLW) is one of the groups that investigates ongoing labor problems; Kevin Slaten is its US-based program coordinator. He spoke to Truthout about the reports his organization has conducted on Apple, which started to be heavily scrutinized around 2010 when activists brought attention to child labor in some of the factories used by the computer giant. Some of these same factories were the subjects of protests over a number of Chinese labor law violations and mass worker suicides.

According to Slaten, "We constantly find these symptoms, but the disease underlying these symptoms has not been properly taken care of for years. The disease is these companies want the most amount of products in the shortest amount of time." ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26221-socially-responsible-capitalism-still-feeds-the-disease



US Corporate Executives to Workers: Drop Dead


US Corporate Executives to Workers: Drop Dead
Posted on September 16, 2014 by Yves Smith


The Washington Post has a story that blandly supports the continued strip mining of the American economy. Of course, in Versailles that the nation’s capitol has become, this lobbyist-and-big-ticket-political-donor supporting point of view no doubt seems entirely logical.

The guts of the article:

Three years ago, Harvard Business School asked thousands of its graduates, many of whom are leaders of America’s top companies, where their firms had decided to locate jobs in the previous year. The responses led the researchers to declare a “competitiveness problem” at home: HBS Alumni reported 56 separate instances where they moved 1,000 or more U.S. jobs to foreign countries, zero cases of moving that many jobs in one block to America from abroad, and just four cases of creating that many new jobs in the United States. Three in four respondents said American competitiveness was falling.

Harvard released a similar survey this week, which suggested executives aren’t as glum about American competitiveness as they once were…

Companies don’t appear any more keen on American workers today, though. The Harvard grads are down on American education and on workers’ skill sets, but they admit they’re just not really engaged in improving either area. Three-quarters said their firms would rather invest in new technology than hire new employees. More than two-thirds said they’d rather rely on vendors for work that can be outsourced, as opposed to adding their own staff. A plurality said they expected to be less able to pay high wages and benefits to American workers.

The researchers who conducted the study call that a failure on the part of big American business. They say the market will eventually force companies to correct course and invest in what they call the “commons” of America’s workforce. “We think this mismatch is, at some fundamental sense, unsustainable,” Michael Porter, one of the professors behind the studies, said in an interview this week.

But what if it’s not?

Why, if you were a multinational corporation, would you feel a need to correct that mismatch? Why would you invest in American workers? Why would you create a job here?

At what point does it become a rational business decision for American companies to write off most Americans?


It’s hard to know where to begin with this. First, Harvard Business School is hardly a bastion of socialist thinking. Porter and his colleagues are correct to call out short-sightedness in the incumbents of C-suites. And there’s nary a mention of the role of the long-overvalued dollar, thanks to the lessons that China and the Asian tigers learned in the wake of the 1997 Asian crisis: keep your currency pegged low, run a big trade surplus so you have such a large foreign exchange warchest as to never again be subject to the tender ministrations of the IMF.

But second, and more worrisome, is a vastly larger intellectual failure on the part of the Washington Post and even the Harvard investigators. They’ve completely lost sight of whose interests are at work. The HBS grads are looting the American economy for their own personal profit. Making better products and developing new markets is hard and it takes time for that effort to pay off. Cutting costs is easy. Getting a pop in the price of your stock due to investors’ belief that offshoring and outsourcing will lower costs is even easier. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/09/us-corporate-executives-workers-drop-dead.html



Chris Hedges: "Revolt is the only option left"





Published on Sep 15, 2014

Hedges speaks to thousands at this years 13th annual Fighting Bob Fest chautauqua.
The Progressive, Madison, WI


Naomi Klein: 'Ferocious Love' and the Climate Fight To Come


Published on
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
byCommon Dreams


Naomi Klein: 'Ferocious Love' and the Climate Fight To Come
Activist and journalist offers new book on capitalism, climate change, and the global grassroots movement that could 'change everything'

by Jon Queally, staff writer


Timing matters. The calendar is counting. The clock is ticking. The planet is warming.

But... people are rising.

If there's a way to adequately condense the central tenet of Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, it's the observation that just as the rise of global greenhouse gas emissions coincided with the emergence of neoliberal globalization as the dominant economic paradigm in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it's also possible that the growing and various social movements that have been building up to counter those dual forces are now converging at just the right moment to help save us from the destructive path humanity now walks.

"Climate change," writes Klein in the new book, released today in the US and Canada, "pits what the planet needs to maintain stability against what our economic model needs to sustains itself. But since that economic model is failing the vast majority of people on the planet on multiple fronts that might not be such a bad thing. Put another way, if there has ever been a moment to advance a plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken economies and our shatter communities, this is it."

Well known for her previous books, The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, both of which tackle the nefarious ways in which corporate powers foster their brand of deregulated capitalism on the people of the planet, Klein has acknowledged that this book is not only less angry than her previous works, but actually—despite the grimness of what the climate science tells us about the decades ahead—hopeful. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/16/naomi-klein-ferocious-love-and-climate-fight-come



The University of Illinois Fails on Due Process, Academic Freedom and Free Speech: Why the Salaita C


(Truthout) In many respects, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees' decision on September 11 not to reinstate Steven Salaita to the faculty at its Urbana-Champaign campus was a foregone conclusion. Despite some mild second-guessing of her own decision, Chancellor Phyllis Wise had not wavered from her position that the Board would not vote to hire Salaita. Nevertheless it was sickening to hear the various trustees pontificate, moralize and in many respects lie about their reasons for dismissing Salaita. And, with the exception of one African-American trustee, James Montgomery, who bravely stood up to both defend Salaita's free speech rights and talk about racism at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) during his time there as a student, the trustees voted against Salaita. A full report of the hearing, with important links, can be found here.

Here are the basic facts of the Salaita case: In October 2013, after the program in American Indian Studies had conducted a full job search, it made an offer to Professor Steven Salaita, a prominent scholar of American Indian and indigenous studies with six books and numerous articles to his credit. This offer had gone through all the necessary steps of being vetted and approved by a number of faculty and administrative committees and personnel, including the campus Executive Committee and the Office of the Provost. Salaita asked to have his start date pushed back so that he could fulfill his teaching duties at Virginia Tech. The UIUC dean agreed, and Salaita accepted the UIUC offer and resigned his position at Virginia Tech. His wife also gave up her job, and they sold their house and made arrangements for their small child to transfer schools. In his statement to the press, Salaita explains that they looked forward to their new life in Urbana-Champaign.

At that point, all that was needed was the formal approval of the UI Board of Trustees. Since trustees meet after the mandated time of appointment (which is usually in April of each academic year), it is normal in US colleges and universities to make hires assuming that the Board will approve in the summer - their role is administrative, rather than evaluative. If all procedures have been followed, Boards of Trustees simply sign off.

In Salaita's case, this lag proved fatal. For in the interval, the local newspaper printed several tweets of his that were sharply critical of Israel's attack on Gaza. Salaita's expressions were harsh, acerbic, troubling and emphatic in their condemnation of the killing of innocent Palestinian children and others. This report then resulted in the Simon Wiesenthal Center contacting the university to object to Salaita's hire. At that point, UIUC defended Salaita's free speech rights. But quickly more complaints were filed, and among those complaining were many wealthy donors. Emails recovered via a Freedom of Information request disclose that these donors threatened to stop their contributions if Salaita were not fired. At that point Phyllis Wise unilaterally halted the process. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26219-the-university-of-illinois-fails-on-due-process-academic-freedom-and-free-speech-why-the-salaita-case-matters



There’s a city in China with a special sidewalk lane for people on cellphones


http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/15/6151857/chinese-city-installs-special-sidewalk-lanes-for-cellphone-users


It's the first rule of phone-walking: the more you check your phone, the slower you're going to walk. So last week, the Chinese city of Chongqing divided its sidewalks into two lanes: one for walking, and one for cellphones. If you're going to stumble around while scrolling through Instagrams, you'll have to do it on the left-hand side.

It's a good idea, and it's not the first time a city has divided up its sidewalks into fast lanes and slow lanes. In July, Washington D.C. pulled a similar stunt to promote a National Geographic show. A few years before that, an artist named Jeff Greenspan divided New York's sidewalks into "Tourist" and "New Yorkers" lanes, assuming anyone from out of town would have trouble keeping up. But maybe if a New Yorker is checking his cell phone, it cancels out?


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