Cooley Hurd's Journal
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The Business Plot was an alleged political conspiracy in 1933. Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler claimed that wealthy businessmen were plotting to create a fascist veterans' organization and use it in a coup d'état to overthrow United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler as leader of that organization. In 1934, Butler testified to the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Congressional committee (the "McCormack-Dickstein Committee") on these claims. In the opinion of the committee, these allegations were credible. No one was prosecuted.
The election of Roosevelt was upsetting for many conservative businessmen of the time, his "campaign promise that the government would provide jobs for all the unemployed had the perverse effect of creating a new wave of unemployment by businessmen frightened by fears of socialism and reckless government spending."
The Hoover administration had steadfastly defended the gold standard even when Britain abandoned it in September 1931. With a devalued currency, British manufactured goods became cheaper than American counterparts, resulting in more economic hardship for American industry. Roosevelt's campaign had promised to re-evaluate America's commitment to the gold standard and, through a series of actions from March 6 to April 18, 1933, abandoned it.
Conservative businessmen and other supporters of the gold standard were dismayed. Hoover, who had championed the standard, wrote that its abandonment was the first step toward "communism, fascism, socialism, statism, planned economy." He argued that the standard was needed to stop governments from "confiscating the savings of the people by manipulation of inflation and deflation....We have gold because we cannot trust Governments."
Roosevelt also dissolved any "gold clause" within contracts, public or private, that guaranteed payment in gold. This clause was part of every government bond and most corporate bonds. "It was a standard feature of mortgage agreements and other contracts. For creditors, it offered protection against inflation or congressional tinkering with the currency." For debtors, though, it was dangerous, as "The gold dollar, before Roosevelt reduced it, was $1.69. This meant that a bank, for example, could suddenly require a farmer to make mortgage payments in gold coin-transferring a $10,000 mortgage into one worth $16,900, raising the farmer's debt burden by nearly 70 percent." Likewise, the U.S. treasury could be required to pay the bearer of a $10,000 Liberty Bond $16,900 in gold coins. (The constitutionality of this Roosevelt policy was later challenged before the Supreme Court in the Gold Clause Cases.)
With the end of the gold standard, "conservative financiers were horrified. They viewed a currency not solidly backed by gold as inflationary, undermining both private and business fortunes and leading to national bankruptcy. Roosevelt was damned as a socialist or Communist out to destroy private enterprise by sapping the gold backing of wealth in order to subsidize the poor."
Ending the gold standard allowed the country to escape the cycle of deflation, but the shift was not painless. "Since higher prices were not yet accompanied by higher wages, inflation meant lower incomes for those fortunate enough to be employed. Until the effects of increased investment spending ramified through the economy, there was little reason for investment incomes and hence consumption to rise dramatically. Industrial production remained volatile."
To encourage foreign investment, Roosevelt had the Reconstruction Finance Corporation purchase gold with dollars, thereby driving up the price of gold and reducing the value of the dollar. Still, this did not immediately affect the balance of trade. Those considering buying American goods anticipated that there would be a further depreciation that would allow their own currency further purchasing power and therefore greater profits, so they held back their orders. At the same time, Americans fearing additional depreciation purchased more foreign commodities in fear they would lose purchasing power in the future. "The volume of U.S. imports rose by 10 percent between 1932 and 1933. In contrast, exports stagnated. The consequence was a deteriorating balance of trade."
Another Roosevelt policy also had an unanticipated effect on the recovery: the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933, provided established minimum wages of 40 cents an hour and revised upward the entire wage structure of many of the industries it covered; this placed upward pressure on labor costs.
The sustained recovery of industrial production "had to await stabilization of the dollar in 1934, along with the concomitant growth of commodity exports and capital imports."
Super PACs may support particular candidacies. In the 2012 presidential election, super PACs have played a major role, spending more than the candidates' election campaigns in the Republican primaries. As of early April 2012, Restore Our Future—a Super PAC usually described as having been created to help Mitt Romney's presidential campaign—has spent $40 million. Winning Our Future (a pro–Newt Gingrich group) spent $16 million. Super PACs are often run or advised by a candidate's former staff or associates.
In the 2012 election campaign, most of the money given to super PACs has come not from corporations but from wealthy individuals. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the top 100 individual super PAC donors in 2011–2012 made up just 3.7% of contributors, but accounted for more than 80% of the total money raised, while less than 0.5% of the money given to “the most active Super PACs” was donated by publicly traded corporations. Super PACs have been criticized for relying heavily on negative ads.
On edit and upon reflection of my subject line:
There are a LOT of vets coming home and, with unemployment up, the use of vets as a private army is not as far-fetched as you'd imagine.
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Sat Aug 4, 2012, 02:02 PM (1 replies)
The way he uses his goat bretheren as springboards makes me think he's a Republican...
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Sat Aug 4, 2012, 07:01 AM (19 replies)
Recap w/ paraphrasing:
Murray: Obama has ruined the coal industry. I personally know the people I've had to lay off and this is a human issue!
Soledad: Clean air is also a human issue. Besides, all the regs you've named were either enacted during the Bush admin or are not enacted yet due to court challenges. How has Obama ruined the coal industry?
Murray: That's incorrect. Coal production is down since "Barrack" (pronoucing it like an Army dorm) Obama took office.
Soledad: But according to the USDOE, coal production is up 4% since Obama took office.
Murray: That's incorrect. Besides, this is a human issue. I know the people I've had to lay off...
Soledad: Well, the regs you've named cannot be the cause, as I've just explained...
Murray: It's Obama's fault!!
Soledad: Well, you've donated $150,000 to the GOP this year alone, so are you sure this isn't about politics?
Murray: That's incorrect!!! *sputter*
video here! http://www.mediaite.com/tv/coal-plant-ceo-insists-his-issues-with-obama-arent-political-adds-that-obama-is-bad-for-america/
Of course, you might remember Mr Murray from the Utah Mine Disaster:
In 2006, the mine was cited for several safety violations, including lacking the required number of escape routes. However, its 64 violations and $12,000 in fines was a relatively good safety record and on par with similar-sized mines throughout the country. Murray said that the safety violations were trivial and included violations such as not having enough toilet paper in the restroom. In addition, a practice referred to as retreat mining was being conducted in some portions of the mine in which the coal had been removed by room and pillar method. The extraction of material literally creates a 'room' while the ceiling is supported by the 'pillars' of coal that remain. Retreat mining refers to the common practice of removing the pillars while retreating back towards the mine entrance.
On March 10, 2007 the north barrier pillar suffered from a rock burst, in which pressure causes material from the walls and ceiling to explode inward into the excavated spaces. No miners were injured and all equipment was recovered from the affected area, but the partial collapse closed off that area and forced the mine to instead extract coal that had a higher ash content. The company depended on the low-ash coal to meet its contractual obligations, however, so on March 21 a meeting was held in which it was decided to return to the south barrier pillar. This pillar was adjacent to the north barrier pillar. The March 10 event was never officially reported to MSHA, as required by law. Robert Murray claimed to be unaware of the incident but minutes of the March 21 meeting, released in January 2008, revealed that he had in fact known about it
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:02 AM (18 replies)
Retired Navy Adm. James D. Watkins, who displayed independence in politically charged waters as energy secretary under President George H.W. Bush and as chairman of an influential commission on the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, died July 26 at his home in Alexandria. He was 85. He had congestive heart failure, said his wife, Janet Watkins.
Adm. Watkins was an imposing figure in his Navy dress blues — a nuclear submarine officer who stood 6-foot-4 and was known as “Radio-Free Watkins” for his blunt outspokenness. As chief of naval operations from 1982 to 1986, Adm. Watkins served as the Navy’s top-ranking officer and representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was considered an architect of the Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative, the proposed missile shield and planned response to a Soviet nuclear attack.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan named him to lead the President’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic. A Catholic and Republican, Adm. Watkins was an unlikely candidate for the panel. In addition, he said his experience dealing with HIV/AIDS was limited.
“He told the president, ‘I’m a sailor and a submariner, and I know nothing about medicine,’ ” his wife, Janet, said in an interview. “But Reagan told him, ‘You’re exactly who we’re looking for.’ ”
Under Adm. Watkins, the panel advocated the passage of anti-discrimination laws for AIDS patients and the need for laws to protect the rights and privacy of those with AIDS. He was most eloquent in describing the loneliness afflicting those with the disease.
“All you have to do is walk in to the pediatric ward of Harlem Hospital and see those children,” Adm. Watkins once said. “Nobody wants them. They have no place to go. That gets you.”
He added that he was profoundly affected by testimony about a 12-year-old boy infected with HIV and ostracized by classmates. The child was ridiculed, his parents received death threats and the family’s car was pelted with stones.
Anthony S. Fauci, who oversees AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview that Adm. Watkins was an early and crucial advocate for AIDS patients
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/james-d-watkins-who-led-reagans-commission-on-aids-in-the-1980s-dies-at-85/2012/07/27/gJQA4LSpEX_story.html?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost
He tried, but his boss was tone-deaf to the plight.
Cross gently Admiral.
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Sat Jul 28, 2012, 11:26 AM (3 replies)
Chicago Race Riot of 1919
Starting with a white man throwing rocks at blacks in the water at a beach on the South Side which resulted in an African American's death, conflict escalated when police did not arrest the white man but arrested a black man instead. Objections by blacks were met with violence by whites. Attacks between whites and blacks erupted swiftly. At one point a mob of white men threatened Provident Hospital, many of whose patients were African American. The police held them off. The riot lasted for nearly a week, ending only after the government deployed nearly 6,000 National Guard troops. They stationed them around the Black Belt to prevent further white attacks. By the night of July 30, most violence had ended. Most of the rioting, murder, and arson was the result of ethnic whites attacking the African-American population in the city's Black Belt on the South Side. Most of the casualties and property damage were suffered by blacks. Newspaper accounts noted numerous attempts at arson; for instance, on July 31, more than 30 fires were started in the Black Belt before noon and were believed to be due to arson. Steel cables had been put across the streets to prevent fire trucks from entering the areas. The Mayor's office was told of a plan to burn down the black area and run its residents out of town. There were also sporadic violent attacks in other areas of the city, including the Chicago Loop. In the rioting, 38 people died (23 African Americans and 15 whites), and 537 were injured (two-thirds were African Americans). Patrolman John W. Simpson was the only policeman who was killed in the riot. Approximately 1000 residents, mostly African Americans, were left homeless after fires destroyed their homes. Numerous African-American families left the city by train before the rioting had ended, returning to families in the South.
Chief of Police John J. Garrity closed "all places where men congregate for other than religious purposes" to help restore order. Governor Frank Lowden authorized the deployment of the 11th Illinois Infantry and its machine gun company, as well as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd reserve militia. These four units totaled 3,500 men. The Cook County Sheriff deputized between 1000 and 2000 former soldiers to help keep the peace. With the reserves and militia guarding the Black Belt, the city arranged for emergency provisions to supply its residents with fresh food. Whites delivered food and supplies to the line established by the military; from there, deliveries were distributed within the Black Belt by African Americans. In addition, while industry was closed, the packing plants arranged to deliver pay to certain areas so African-American men could pick up their money.
After order was restored, Illinois Governor Frank Lowden was urged to create a state committee to study the cause of the riots. He proposed forming a committee to write a racial code of ethics and to draw up racial boundaries for activities within the city.
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Fri Jul 27, 2012, 07:57 PM (11 replies)
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Thu Jul 26, 2012, 06:56 PM (8 replies)
Talking about how the comment is completely overshadowing his overseas trip.
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Thu Jul 26, 2012, 07:03 AM (16 replies)
...it was a dream come true!! I took videos, put them together and set them to a recent composition of mine and... well, here it is:
An absolutely awesome experience!!!
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Sun Jul 22, 2012, 10:53 AM (39 replies)
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Our friend and comrade Alexander Cockburn died last night in Germany, after a fierce two-year long battle against cancer. His daughter Daisy was at his bedside.
Alex kept his illness a tightly guarded secret. Only a handful of us knew how terribly sick he truly was. He didn’t want the disease to define him. He didn’t want his friends and readers to shower him with sympathy. He didn’t want to blog his own death as Christopher Hitchens had done. Alex wanted to keep living his life right to the end. He wanted to live on his terms. And he wanted to continue writing through it all, just as his brilliant father, the novelist and journalist Claud Cockburn had done. And so he did. His body was deteriorating, but his prose remained as sharp, lucid and deadly as ever.
In one of Alex’s last emails to me, he patted himself on the back (and deservedly so) for having only missed one column through his incredibly debilitating and painful last few months. Amid the chemo and blood transfusions and painkillers, Alex turned out not only columns for CounterPunch and The Nation and First Post, but he also wrote a small book called Guillotine and finished his memoirs, A Colossal Wreck, both of which CounterPunch plans to publish over the course of the next year.
Alex lived a huge life and he lived it his way. He hated compromise in politics and he didn’t tolerate it in his own life. Alex was my pal, my mentor, my comrade. We joked, gossiped, argued and worked together nearly every day for the last twenty years. He leaves a huge void in our lives. But he taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Read more: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/21/farewell-alex-my-friend/
Note to mods, I know Counterpunch isn't "mainstream" but Cockburn & St Clair were important voices during the last decade.
Cross gently Alex, and thank you so much for bringing truth to light.
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Sat Jul 21, 2012, 09:35 AM (42 replies)
Apparently, the gunman was quite taken with the Batman story - to the point of emulating The Joker by dying his hair bright red before the shooting. Also, what if the victims were viewing a movie like Ernest Goes to Camp? Would there be a graphic of a sad Ernest? Not to mention; would the Ernest story entice someone to shoot up a theater? (Well, maybe after the movie... )
I'm not necessarily bothered by the graphics, but I wonder what others think about it...
Posted by Cooley Hurd | Sat Jul 21, 2012, 08:51 AM (11 replies)