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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 73,697

Journal Archives

Paul B. Farrell: Critical Warning No. 13: Stockman’s ‘Apocalypse’

Critical Warning No. 13: Stockman’s ‘Apocalypse’
Commentary: If this sounds like advice to get out, it is

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Kaboom. David Stockman attacks America with Critical Warning No. 13. But the guy’s biggest problem is not his angry rhetoric. Stockman’s problem is he’s a truth-teller. Rare today. And not in denial.

His rhetoric in a recent New York Times op-ed piece ignites like Seal Team Six coming at you, flash grenades exploding, assault weapons blazing. No wonder he triggers wild anger, hatred and revenge.

Yes, he’s a truth-teller. And truth hurts, flushing out his enemies. Why? They’re sucking trillions from Americans. So you hate him. Counterattack. Big mistake. Don’t dismiss David Stockman. He’s no Kim Jong-Un blow-hard.

Stockman’s a patriot assuaging his conscience for having been a major weapon in the early launch days of Ronald Reagan’s “disaster capitalism” a generation ago. Today, even though Stockman says “the future is bleak,” at least he offers an eight-point plan to correct the “policies that have brought America to an end-stage metastasis,” while hedging his bet: It’s so “way out, so radical it can’t happen.” Yes, it's DOA. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/critical-warning-no-13-stockmans-apocalypse-2013-04-06?link=home_carousel

UK: Unions in general strike talks as PCS vows 'fight back'

from the BBC:

The union that represents government workers has said it is in talks on holding a general strike as it vowed to "fight back" over spending cuts.

The head of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) confirmed he was in talks with other unions.

The PCS has already staged walkouts as part of a three-month campaign of industrial action over pay, jobs and working conditions.

PCS is the fifth-largest trade union in the UK with 270,000 members. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22057721

Mexican Workers Win Ownership of Tire Plant With Three-Year Strike

(Truthout) “If the owners don’t want it, let’s run it ourselves.” When a factory closes, the idea of turning it into a worker-owned co-operative sometimes comes up—and usually dies.

The hurdles to buying a plant, even a failing plant, are huge, and once in business, the new worker-owners face all the pressures that helped the company go bankrupt in the first place. Most worker-owned co-ops are small, such as a taxi collective in Madison or a bakery in San Francisco.

But in Mexico a giant-sized worker cooperative has been building tires since 2005. The factory competes on the world market, employs 1,050 co-owners, and pays the best wages and pensions of any Mexican tire plant.

Aware that this unusual victory is virtually unknown in the U.S., friends in Guadalajara urged me to come down and see how the TRADOC cooperative is working. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/15570-mexican-workers-win-ownership-of-tire-plant-with-three-year-strike

Michele Bachmann Ethics (cartoon)


Thousands rally for marijuana legalization at annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor

from Detroit Free Press:

As speakers at Saturday’s 42nd annual Hash Bash at the University of Michigan Diag called for the legalization of marijuana, Ralph Worick’s green and white-striped flag fluttered in the blustery chill.

“I think we should decriminalize cannabis period,” Worick said as he steadied the white plastic piping that held the flag, which also had large and small marijuana leaf images similar to stars, high above the crowd. “My flag represents the United States of Euphoria.”

Worick, who lives in Portage near Kalamazoo, is 56 but has been smoking marijuana since he was 11. He said he has been in the pro-marijuana “movement” since 1975, and he’s brought some type of flag to the event every year since 2003, although he noted that last year’s Bob Marley “Freedom” flag just seemed to confuse people.

Worick’s long-term commitment to legalizing marijuana was reflected in the range of speakers at the event that drew an estimated 3,000 people, according to University of Michigan Police spokeswoman Diane Brown, who noted that there were a few calls for ambulances as well as some enforcement for marijuana possession and citations issued for illegal sales not necessarily affiliated with marijuana. Brown noted the potential for an eventful day because of the mixture of crowds attracted to the Hash Bash, those watching the Final Four game featuring the Wolverines men's basketball team and a large gathering of Native Americans in Ann Arbor. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20130406/NEWS05/130406025/Thousands-rally-for-marijuana-legalization-at-annual-Hash-Bash-in-Ann-Arbor

Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence

(Independent UK) Hitherto unseen evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry by British intelligence has revealed that former prime minister Tony Blair was told that Iraq had, at most, only a trivial amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that Libya was in this respect a far greater threat.

Intelligence officers have disclosed that just the day before Mr Blair went to visit president George Bush in April 2002, he appeared to accept this but returned a "changed man" and subsequently ordered the production of dossiers to "find the intelligence" that he wanted to use to justify going to war.

This and other secret evidence (given in camera) to the inquiry will, The Independent on Sunday understands, be used as the basis for severe criticism of the former prime minister when the Chilcot report is published.

Mr Blair is said to have "realised" and "understood" that Libya was the real threat and that he knew "it would not be sensible to lead the argument on Saddam and the WMD issue" according to evidence of a conversation on 4 April 2002, the day before he flew to the US to spend a weekend with Mr Bush. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tony-blair-and-iraq-the-damning-evidence-8563133.html

Richard Wolff: A Cure for Capitalism

Published on Mar 14, 2013

After five years of deepening crisis, failed "solutions," and aborted "recoveries," millions see a capitalist system no longer serving most Americans. It's time to demand a cure big and bold enough to work. Richard Wolff spoke on to hear that cure presented, explained, and justified. Instead of resignation to economic decline, come and help build real and positive change.

Former Walmart District Manager Accuses Company of Widespread Inventory Manipulation

(The Nation) In 1996, Sylvester Johnson left his post as a commanding officer in the US Army and began a career managing logistics at Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Once there, he received a series of rapid promotions, eventually overseeing the HR management of over 26,000 employees in five states. He became friendly with Walmart executive Mike Duke, who became CEO in 2009. In 2002, Johnson received the Sam M. Walton Hero Award, a prestigious company distinction. In 2003, he moved to North Carolina where he oversaw eleven Walmart Supercenters. The company fired him in 2009 for allegedly giving orders to manipulate inventory counts, a claim Johnson denies.

Instead, Johnson believes he was ultimately terminated because he is black. He also alleges—in an interview with The Nation and in a federal discrimination lawsuit—that the company engaged in widespread inventory manipulation.

“We're talking about hiding tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in losses here—inflating the profits of a store, a district, a region, a division and ultimately the entire company,” Johnson told The Nation. In theory, such a practice could have artificially inflated the company’s profit margins and stock price, amounting to a form of federal securities fraud.

Johnson claims that during his tenure as a Walmart district manager he was pressured by the company’s high command to hide losses due to “shrinkage”—defined as lost or stolen inventory—in order for stores to appear more profitable than they really were. Throughout the course of over six hours of interviews with The Nation, Johnson maintained that top management set shrinkage targets for Walmart Supercenter stores under his supervision that were “not ethically attainable” and then used methods of “fear and intimidation” against him in an attempt to compel him to meet those targets. Shrinkage represents a loss to any firm’s bottom line. It is a major factor in retail profitability, costing US retailers an estimated $34 billion in losses annually, according to the National Retail Federation. ............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/article/173689/former-walmart-district-manager-accuses-company-widespread-inventory-manipulation#

Bill Moyers: Homeless in High Tech’s Shadow

Homeless in High Tech’s Shadow
April 5, 2013

California’s Silicon Valley is a microcosm of America’s new extremes of wealth and poverty. Business is better than it’s been in a decade, with companies like Facebook, Google and Apple minting hundreds of new tech millionaires. But not far away, the homeless are building tent cities along a creek in the city of San Jose. Homelessness rose 20 percent in the past two years, food stamp participation is at a 10-year high, and the average income for Hispanics, who make up a quarter of the area’s population, fell to a new low of about $19,000 a year — in a place where the average rent is $2000 a month.

As this week’s Moyers & Company remembers Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy in economic justice as well as civil rights, we visit Silicon Valley to bring you this story about modern-day poverty and inequality. We talk to Cindy Chavez of Working Partnerships USA; Russell Hancock of Joint Venture Silicon Valley; Martha Mendoza, an AP writer whose recent piece about Silicon Valley poverty brought this story to our attention; Daniel Garcia, who became homeless after losing his job in a Google campus restaurant; and Teresa Frigge, a homeless woman who used to make the silicon chips that give the valley its name.


Atlanta Public Schools might be guilty of cheating, but the real scandal is standardized testing

from In These Times:

The Need to Cheat
Atlanta Public Schools might be guilty of cheating, but the real scandal is standardized testing.

BY Bill Ayers

The road to the massive cheating scandal in Atlanta runs right through the White House.

The former superintendent, Dr. Beverly L. Hall, and her 34 obedient subordinates now face criminal charges, but the central role played by a group of un-indicted and largely unacknowledged co-conspirators, her powerful enablers, is barely noted.

Beyond her “strong relationship with the business elite” who reportedly made her “untouchable” in Atlanta, she was a national super-star for more than a decade because her work embodied the shared educational policies of the Bush and Obama administrations. In the testing frenzy that characterized both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top Dr. Hall was a winner, consistently praised over many years by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for raising test scores, hosted at the White House in 2009 as superintendent of the year, and appointed in 2010 by President Obama to the National Board for Education Sciences. When the Atlanta scandal broke in 2011 Secretary Duncan rushed to assure the public that it was “very isolated” and “an easy one to fix.”

That’s not true. According to a recently released study by the independent monitoring group FairTest, cheating is “widespread” and fully documented in 37 states and Washington D.C. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/14813/the_ecstasy_of_influence_or_cheating/

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