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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,317

Journal Archives

ISIS to attack houses of worship (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/houses_of_worship_20150226


Netanyahu’s Speech (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/netanyahus_speech_20150227


Replace the Gospel of Money: An Interview With David Korten


from YES! Magazine:



David Korten began his professional life as a professor at the Harvard Business School on a mission to lift struggling people in Third World nations out of poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Yet, after a couple of decades in which he applied his organizational development strategies in places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Korten underwent a change of heart. In 1995, he wrote the bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, followed by a series of books that helped birth the movement known as the New Economy, a call to replace transnational corporate domination with local economies, control, ownership, and self-reliance.

.....(snip).....

Paton: You’re saying it’s the traditional development model, or transnational capitalism, that damages Earth as a living community, including not just humans but all life forms. Yet we all depend on money, on the market economy. Do you really think we can just stop that dependence?

Korten: We will still use money and markets, but strip away Wall Street’s control of money’s creation and allocation. There was a time in the United States when most of our financial institutions were local. Which essentially meant that local communities were able to create their own credit, or their own money, in response to their own needs. We still depended on banks, but it was a much more democratic process.

.....(snip).....

Korten: Exactly. If more of our money circulated in our communities rather than the Wall Street casino, it would facilitate people organizing locally to meet more of their economic needs with local resources. Control of money is the ultimate mechanism of social control in a society in which most every person depends on money for the basic means of living—food, water, shelter, heat, transportation, entertainment. This leads us into the voluntary simplicity movement: The less I’m dependent on money, the freer I am. Realize that the only legitimate purpose of the economy is to serve life, is to serve us as living beings making our living in co-productive partnership with living Earth.

.....(snip).....

Paton: So if we’re all living beings “born of a living Earth,” as you say, where does that start to show up in our lives?

Korten: A big piece of it has to do with recognizing the implications of our dependence on money. This goes back to development as a process of separating people from their means of subsistence production. The more people become alienated from their self-production, the more they become dependent on money—and the more they become dependent on the people who control the creation and allocation of money. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/together-with-earth/replace-the-gospel-of-money-interview-with-david-korten



"Transit Revolution": Will Los Angeles Become Gentrification Ground Zero?


"Transit Revolution": Will Los Angeles Become Gentrification Ground Zero?

Thursday, 26 February 2015 00:00
By Laura Raymond, Truthout | Op-Ed


In diverse, working-class neighborhoods across Los Angeles, an unprecedented $40 billion mass transit expansion is being met with mixed emotions. On the one hand, low-income residents are by far public transit's biggest users, and expanded transit routes promise greater mobility and better access to job opportunities. But the very real prospect of displacement and gentrification looms. Studies from around the country show that as public transit improves, housing costs in the surrounding area rise, and low-income residents, often in communities of color, are priced out.

Already, large new developments of market rate and luxury housing are coming to areas in LA near new rail stations under the idea of "Transit Oriented Development," or what is commonly referred to as TOD. TOD seeks to build more housing near transit hubs and is a major strategy in combating LA's infamous traffic issues and greenhouse gas emissions.

However, a new white paper just released by the Alliance for Community Transit -LA (ACT LA), warns that without significant, ahead of the curve, affordable housing policies, low income residents who ride transit will be replaced by higher-income, multiple car owning households who are less frequent transit users. This would be devastating for LA's communities, posing serious economic and health risks to people who must leave their neighborhood support systems, as well as self-defeating to the entire point of expanding the transit system and focusing on TOD: increasing transit use.

But if it adopts a forward-thinking strategy, Los Angeles can address housing needs, link quality jobs to the transit build out, and protect existing small businesses from rising rents and competition from chain stores. These will be key factors in ensuring longtime residents are able to afford to stay living near transit and are not pushed out to the margins of the city without access to the transit system that their tax dollars funded. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/29271-transit-revolution-brings-los-angeles-to-a-crossroads-sustainable-thriving-city-or-gentrification-ground-zero



Who’s Afraid of Chicago’s Progressive Aldermen? Rahm Emanuel, That’s Who.


from In These Times:


Who’s Afraid of Chicago’s Progressive Aldermen? Rahm Emanuel, That’s Who.
The Chicago mayor’s super PAC has spent large amounts of money to protect his allies on City Council—and take down those who oppose him.

BY YANA KUNICHOFF


It’s no secret that Rahm Emanuel has an unparalleled fundraising prowess and scores of wealthy friends to boot. The Chicago Tribune called him “the most potent political cash machine in Chicago history,” and he’s amassed nearly $30 million among the various bodies dedicated to supporting his mayoral run and its broader agenda.

Now that money is trickling down to some of Chicago’s most tightly contested aldermanic races through the efforts of Chicago Forward, a super PAC created by former Chicago Public Schools communication director Becky Carroll. Super PACs are allowed to take in unlimited donations, but can’t coordinate with or directly contribute to a candidate.

This round of aldermanic races, which culminate in Tuesday’s election, has seen a bevy of candidates that are particularly antagonistic to the status quo of Emanuel’s administration. Some of the key groups that the mayor has clashed with in the past four years as now running for aldermanic seats—teachers, environmentalists and community organizers.

Chicago Forward is pumping money into 17 of the 50 aldermanic races, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, with an eye to securing the seats of Emanuel’s stalwarts in the City Council, particularly in tight races—and, in a few cases, pushing the more troublesome progressive aldermen out of the picture.

Dick Simpson, a former alderman and now professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) tells In These Times that it’s “pretty clear” Chicago Forward is pumping money into races that worry the mayor’s office. .............(more)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17671/chicago_elections



Once a piece of sh*t, always a piece of sh*t





With oral arguments in King v. Burwell just eight days away, Republicans are talking more and more about what they’ll do if the Supreme Court sides with them and effectively wipes out subsidized Obamacare insurance in two-thirds of the states.

On Monday, it was Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) speaking at the Heritage Foundation, where he promised to unveil a “short-term” fix that would avoid disruption -- thereby giving Republicans time to come up with a permanent alternative to the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) joined the fray with a Wall Street Journal op-ed that sketched out what such a plan might look like.

Should you take this talk seriously? Republicans have been promising to craft alternatives to Obamacare for as long as they’ve been trying to wipe it off the books -- in other words, for nearly the entire five years that the law has been in existence. They've come nowhere close to coalescing around a serious proposal. In this case, inaction may speak louder than words. At best, improving access to health care doesn't seem to be a priority for the GOP. At worst, it's not something they appear inclined to do at all.

Gramm’s op-ed reveals this as well as anything you’ll read or hear these days. In the piece, Gramm warns his fellow Republicans that if they get the ruling they hope for in King v. Burwell, it will unleash policy and political chaos. Without Obamacare’s subsidies, which can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars a year, millions of lower- and middle-income Americans would suddenly find insurance unaffordable -- and would almost certainly have to give up coverage altogether. This, Gramm says, would place enormous pressure on state and federal officials to take immediate action. ........................(more)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/24/gop-obamacare-replacement_n_6745080.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013



Swimming with the Sharks: Goldman Sachs, School Districts, and Capital Appreciation Bonds


Swimming with the Sharks: Goldman Sachs, School Districts, and Capital Appreciation Bonds
Posted on February 20, 2015 by Ellen Brown


Remember when Goldman Sachs – dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squid – sold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts. Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt.

In 2008, after collecting millions of dollars in fees to help California sell its bonds, Goldman urged its bigger clients to place investment bets against those bonds, in order to profit from a financial crisis that was sparked in the first place by irresponsible Wall Street speculation. Alarmed California officials warned that these short sales would jeopardize the state’s bond rating and drive up interest rates. But that result also served Goldman, which had sold credit default swaps on the bonds, since the price of the swaps rose along with the risk of default.

In 2009, the lenders’ lobbying group than proposed and promoted AB1388, a California bill eliminating the debt ceiling requirement on long-term debt for school districts. After it passed, bankers traveled all over the state pushing something called “capital appreciation bonds” (CABs) as a tool to vault over legal debt limits. (Think Greece again.) Also called payday loans for school districts, CABs have now been issued by more than 400 California districts, some with repayment obligations of up to 20 times the principal advanced (or 2000%).

The controversial bonds came under increased scrutiny in August 2012, following a report that San Diego County’s Poway Unified would have to pay $982 million for a $105 million CAB it issued. Goldman Sachs made $1.6 million on a single capital appreciation deal with the San Diego Unified School District. .........................(more)

http://ellenbrown.com/2015/02/20/swimming-with-the-sharks-goldman-sachs-school-districts-and-capital-appreciation-bonds/



San Francisco residents relying less on private automobiles






from the Los Angeles Times:


San Franciscan Rian Adams has broken her reliance on the automobile. Parking in the city's congested urban core where she lives and works is too much hassle, and her two-mile commute typically takes five minutes on BART.

Around town, the 34-year-old says, "I don't drive anywhere."

Nor do a lot of others in the City by the Bay.

In stark contrast to car-dependent Los Angeles, studies show that most trips in the burgeoning tech metropolis are now made by modes of transportation other than the private automobile.

Travel surveys by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have shown that more than half of all trips — 54% in 2013 and 52% in 2012 — involved public transit, walking, bicycles and various car-share or ride-share operations such as Uber and Lyft. ......................(more)

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0224-california-commute-20150224-story.html



Trade Crazy: The Push for Fast-Track Trade Authority


Trade Crazy: The Push for Fast-Track Trade Authority

Monday, 23 February 2015 09:34
By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed


Washington politics always involves a high level of silliness (does President Obama really love the US?), but when it comes to trade policy it shifts to full-fledged craziness. Anything is fair game when the political establishment wants to pass major trade agreements like NAFTA or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). At such times we see respectable Washington types making pronouncements bearing so little relationship to reality they would cause Sarah Palin to cringe.

The Washington Post gave us one such gem last week when it took issue with those saying that currency rules should be part of any new trade pact. Its lead editorial last Thursday argued against including any provisions on currency. Its main point is best summarized by a paraphrase of an old Barbie doll line, "currency values are hard."

The Post argued that it would be impossible to distinguish between policies intended for other purposes, like the Fed's quantitative easing (QE) program that was designed to boost growth, and policies whose main purpose is to depress the value of the currency. An assertion like this in the context of a debate on trade is laughable.

Every provision in trade agreements will have ambiguities most of which are much more difficult to resolve than this one. Trade deals all prohibit export subsidies, almost by definition. But what about publicly funded vocational training in which the government picks up much of an exporter's training costs? What about publicly financed infrastructure that reduces the exporter's cost to send its products out of the country?

What about publicly financed research (e.g. the National Institutes of Health) that hugely reduce the cost to private firms of innovation? What about below market interest loans provided by the Export-Import Bank? If the Post is really concerned about potential ambiguities raising difficult enforcement issues then it would be staunchly opposed to restrictions on export subsidies, since many of these issues actually are hard. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/29238-trade-crazy-the-push-for-fast-track-trade-authority



San Francisco residents relying less on private automobiles





from the Los Angeles Times:


San Franciscan Rian Adams has broken her reliance on the automobile. Parking in the city's congested urban core where she lives and works is too much hassle, and her two-mile commute typically takes five minutes on BART.

Around town, the 34-year-old says, "I don't drive anywhere."

Nor do a lot of others in the City by the Bay.

In stark contrast to car-dependent Los Angeles, studies show that most trips in the burgeoning tech metropolis are now made by modes of transportation other than the private automobile.

Travel surveys by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have shown that more than half of all trips — 54% in 2013 and 52% in 2012 — involved public transit, walking, bicycles and various car-share or ride-share operations such as Uber and Lyft. ......................(more)

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0224-california-commute-20150224-story.html




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