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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: 64,899

Journal Archives

Howard Zinn - Hidden History of The American Working Class




Published on Feb 24, 2013

Howard Zinn - Hidden History of The American Working Class - 58 min, 1992
In 1992, labor historian Howard Zinn made a presentation on
"The History Of The American Working Class". The presentation
took place in San Francisco at an educational forum sponsored
by the Labor Video Project.


'ISIS pose a greater threat to Britain than we have known before'


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2737724/Terror-attack-UK-highly-likely-warns-Home-Secretary-Theresa-May-threat-level-raised-severe.html


Wow, apparently even greater than Hitler's Luftwaffe.

The threat level is severe, which means an attack is likely, but UK officials say there's no evidence that an attack is imminent.


Is anyone else's BS detector going off?

It's like the rerun of a bad movie.




Eliminating The Corporate Tax Has Got To Rank As One Of the Dumbest Ideas


from the Working Life blog:


Eliminating The Corporate Tax Has Got To Rank As One Of the Dumbest Ideas
Posted on 28 August 2014.


Politics is full of really asinine ideas–let’s see, the Iraq War counts as a good example. But, for perhaps the dumbest one going I’d offer up the mumbling, coming from even some Democrats, to eliminate the corporate tax. It is stupefyingly idiotic–in the midst of the greatest divide between rich and poor in 50 years, and corporate profits rising to record levels even as wage growth remain at its lowest level in half a century.

The folks at Citizens for Tax Justice have it nailed quite succinctly:

First, a corporation can hold onto its profits for years before paying them to shareholders. This means that if the personal income tax is the only tax on these profits, tax could be deferred indefinitely. It also means that people with large salaries could probably create shell corporations that would sell their services. Their income would then be transformed into corporate income and any tax would be deferred until they decide to spend the money, which could be decades later, if ever.Second, even when corporate profits are paid out as stock dividends to shareholders, under our current system about two-thirds of those stock dividends are paid to tax-exempt entitles, such as pensions and university endowments which are not subject to the personal income tax. In other words, a lot of corporate profits would never be taxed if there was no corporate income tax.

Third, our tax system overall is just barely progressive and it would be a lot less progressive if the corporate income tax were repealed. The corporate income tax is a progressive tax because it is mostly paid by the owners of capital — people who own corporate stocks (which pay smaller dividends because of the tax) and other business assets.

Some have tried to argue that the corporate tax is mostly borne by labor because it chases investment out of the United States, leaving working people with fewer jobs and/or lower wages. But corporate investment is not perfectly mobile and, as a result, the Treasury Department has concluded that 82 percent of the corporate income tax is paid by owners of capital, and consequently, 58 percent of the tax is paid by the richest 5 percent of Americans and 43 percent is paid by the richest one percent of Americans. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation has reached similar conclusions.


Robert Reich, the same genius who was a passionate advocate FOR NAFTA, which arguably was a key component in the hammering down of wages over the past 20 years, is among those who have a dumb idea: eliminate the corporate tax and, then, tax dividends and capital gains as ordinary income and, then, as CTJ, says, “tax the gains on corporate stocks each year rather than only when they are realized when the stocks are sold. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.workinglife.org/2014/08/28/eliminating-the-corporate-tax-has-got-to-rank-as-one-of-the-dumbest-ideas/#sthash.LdkzrV5G.dpuf



Why Wall Street and Consulting Firms Win at the Elite College Brain Drain Game


from Naked Capitalism:


Why Wall Street and Consulting Firms Win at the Elite College Brain Drain Game
Posted on August 27, 2014 by Yves Smith


The question of why graduates of prestigious undergraduate schools still wind up, in disproportionate numbers, at places like Goldman and McKinsey may seem so obvious as to be unworthy of notice. These schools are elite institutions, correct? Certainly this was all part of these students’ plans. They went to fancy academies to make sure they occupied a good position in society. The most obvious way to assure that is to get on a well-recognized fast-track career path. Even if things don’t work out as planned, these graduates will have accumulated more markers of their superior intelligence and work habits on their resumes, which surely will afford them better options later than other choices would have.

A new article in Washington Monthly describes why this conventional picture isn’t as tidy as it seems. Author Amy Binder and a small research team investigated recruitment processes at two campuses, Harvard and Stanford, and interviewed sixty undergraduates and recent grads who, seemingly by accident, wound up competing for and getting these highly-sought-after jobs. In fact, none of them had any interest in these careers before they encountered a systematic effort, in conjunct with the campus recruitment offices, to groom students for these plum positions. Consider: these firms still are magnets for new graduates:

In 2007, just before the global financial meltdown, almost 50 percent of Harvard seniors (58 percent of the men, 43 percent of the women) took jobs on Wall Street. That number contracted sharply during the Great Recession, but after 2009 it began rising again. Among this year’s graduating class at Harvard, 31 percent took jobs that will channel their energies into derivatives, mergers, and often destructive outsourcing. And many more tried out for such positions. According to a study by the sociologist Lauren Rivera, a full 70 percent of Harvard’s senior class submits résumés to Wall Street and consulting firms.

Meanwhile, among Harvard seniors who had secured employment last spring, a mere 3.5 percent were headed to government and politics, 5 percent to health-related fields, and 8.8 percent to any form of public service. Only high-tech fields captured the interest of graduating seniors at anywhere near the level of finance and consulting, and even this seemingly healthy countertrend has problems.


Yet perversely, the students aren’t keen about these jobs despite having competed fiercely to land them. As Binder writes:

Of the 31 percent of graduating Harvard seniors going into finance and consulting, only 6.39 percent say that they expect to remain in those sectors (0.68 percent of those going into consulting jobs and 5.71 percent of those heading to financial services).


It’s pretty much a given that way fewer than 6% will drop out. The compensation in these fields is well above those of other jobs that the employees can’t leave without taking a serious pay cut. And that pay gap widens further as they advance in these careers. That may not sound like a big sacrifice until you also realize that if someone has gotten married, or (worse from the perspective of mobility) had had kids, they have likely gotten themselves locked into overheads (houses, private schools, spousal expectations) that are very difficult to unwind. And these careers are so stressful (trust me on this one, despite the lofty pay and glamourous trappings, you have no right to say “no” to unreasonable tasks, time pressure, total hours, or travel demands) that buying yourself presents to reward yourself, aka “retail therapy,” becomes part of the coping mechanism. And that’s before you get to the fact that many of these firms are cult-like (Goldman and Bain are widely cited examples). The combination of routine boundary violations, limited contact with people outside the firm (family and friends go on the back burner) and elitism means that the employers strengthen their psychological hold over their staffers. For instance, even among those who had left Goldman to go to splashy jobs, virtually every one I spoke to said it took them two years to get over the idea that leaving Goldman was a major step down in life. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/08/why-wall-street-and-consulting-firms-win-at-the-elite-college-brain-drain-game.html



With This Decade's Climate Policy, Expect More Warming Than if Nothing Was Done at All


With This Decade's Climate Policy, Expect More Warming Than if Nothing Was Done at All

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 12:13
By Bruce Melton, Truthout | News Analysis


The fundamental climate change policy question today is not how much we should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by when, but what will currently proposed carbon dioxide emissions reductions do to our climate in the near-term? In addition, what are the ramifications of short-lived climate pollutants that are discounted by the traditional long-term 100-year climate policy time frame?

Our current policy has changed little from the dawning of the Kyoto Protocol era. This era dates back to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and embodied the roots of current climate policy extending back to the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC) in 1988.

Currently proposed (June 2014) EPA regulations on carbon dioxide emissions reductions are only 13 percent more stringent than Kyoto's goals and do not address short-lived climate pollutants or the short-term climate time frame.

Since the inception of the Kyoto era, we have emitted as much carbon dioxide as was emitted in the prior 236 years. This rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions is not the only thing that has changed. The science has changed dramatically as well. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25838-with-this-decades-climate-policy-expect-more-warming-than-if-nothing-was-done-at-all



Amy Goodman: The Guns of August


from truthdig:


The Guns of August

Posted on Aug 27, 2014
By Amy Goodman


In her epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Guns of August,” historian Barbara Tuchman detailed how World War I began in 1914, and how the belligerence, vanity and poor policies of powerful leaders led millions to gory deaths in that four-year conflagration. Before people realized world wars had to be numbered, World War I was called “The Great War” or “The War to End All Wars,” which it wasn’t. It was the first modern war with massive, mechanized slaughter on land, sea and in the air. We can look at that war in retrospect, now 100 years after it started, as if through a distant mirror. The reflection, where we are today, is grim from within the greatest war-making nation in human history, the United States.

In the early years of the 20th century, the leaders of the nations of Europe had contrived a web of alliances, each treaty binding one country to join in the defense of another in the event of war. When the Austrian emperor’s son, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, visited Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, 19-year-old Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated him. As Barbara Tuchman writes in her book, published in 1962, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia, which set off a chain reaction, involving Russia, France, Belgium and Great Britain in the war against Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire.

After the war plans of the various powers failed, a period of brutal trench warfare began, with millions of lives lost under a relentless barrage of mortars, machine guns, mustard gas and newfangled airplanes outfitted with machine guns and bombs. By the war’s end, an estimated 9,700,000 soldiers would be dead, along with 6,800,000 civilians killed.

What, if anything, have we learned from the disaster of World War I? Look no farther than Gaza, or Ferguson, Mo. After nearly 50 days of the bombardment of Gaza with Israel’s intensely lethal, high-tech, U.S.-funded arsenal, Palestinian health officials put the number of Gazans killed at 2,139, of whom over 490 were children. Israel reported 64 soldiers killed as a result of its ground invasion of Gaza, with six civilians dead. The narrow Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places on Earth, suffering under an Israeli-imposed state of siege, is now a pile of rubble through which people pick, searching for the bodies of loved ones. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_guns_of_august_20140827



Argentina plays hardball with the vultures

Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-stakes Chess Match for Argentina

Posted on August 25, 2014
by Ellen Brown

If Argentina were in a high-stakes chess match, the country’s actions this week would be the equivalent of flipping over all the pieces on the board.
– David Dayen, Fiscal Times, August 22, 2014


Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds.

Argentina is already foreclosed from international capital markets, so it doesn’t have much to lose by thwarting the US court system. Similar bold moves by Ecuador and Iceland have left those countries in substantially better shape than Greece, which went along with the agendas of the international financiers.

The upside for Argentina was captured by President Fernandez in a nationwide speech on August 19th. Struggling to hold back tears, according to Bloomberg, she said:

When it comes to the sovereignty of our country and the conviction that we can no longer be extorted and that we can’t become burdened with debt again, we are emerging as Argentines.

. . . If I signed what they’re trying to make me sign, the bomb wouldn’t explode now but rather there would surely be applause, marvelous headlines in the papers. But we would enter into the infernal cycle of debt which we’ve been subject to for so long.


The Endgame: Patagonia in the Crosshairs

The deeper implications of that infernal debt cycle were explored by Argentine political analyst Adrian Salbuchi in an August 12th article titled “Sovereign Debt for Territory: A New Global Elite Swap Strategy.” Where territories were once captured by military might, he maintains that today they are being annexed by debt. The still-evolving plan is to drive destitute nations into an international bankruptcy court whose decisions would have the force of law throughout the world. The court could then do with whole countries what US bankruptcy courts do with businesses: sell off their assets, including their real estate. Sovereign territories could be acquired as the spoils of bankruptcy without a shot being fired. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://ellenbrown.com/2014/08/25/colonization-by-bankruptcy-the-high-stakes-chess-match-for-argentina/



Ferguson Police (cartoon)




http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/ferguson_police_20140826


Victim of McCarthy-Era Witch Hunt calls on U-Illinois not to Fire Critic of Israeli Policies


http://www.juancole.com/2014/08/mccarthy-illinois-policies.html


Victim of McCarthy-Era Witch Hunt calls on U-Illinois not to Fire Critic of Israeli Policies
By Juan Cole | Aug. 25, 2014


Note by Juan Cole: In the early 1950s, under the influence of Rep. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), a national witch hunt was conducted for leftists. McCarthy claimed to have a list of 100 Soviet moles in the State Department. Even former members of the Communist Party, which had been popular in the 1930s Great Depression before Stalin’s crimes were recognized, and which was part of the formal US alliance against the Axis in World War II, were suddenly put under scrutiny. Running against secret Communists or alleged covert socialists became common in politics (a slimy sociopath named Richard Nixon got his start in Congress that way). Screen writers in Hollywood were fired, names taken off the films, and made non-persons. No actual crime had to be alleged or proven– people were punished and ostracized, essentially for thought crimes. These techniques of intellectual bullying and intimidation, supposedly on national security grounds, were intended by many of their proponents to roll back the New Deal reforms that made a decent life possible for working people and to make criticism of the absolute property prerogatives of corporations and the very wealthy illegal. Many of our social pathologies in the 21st century are rooted in the success of this inquisitorial drive. At the University of Michigan, there is still an annual lecture, the Academic Freedom Fund, in honor of three University of Michigan professors who were fired or suspended for refusing to testify to a visiting delegation from the House Un-American Activities Committee. One of those summarily fired was a mathematician, Chandler Davis, who emigrated to Canada. Professor Davis, still feisty in his late 80′s, has just written a personal letter to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise urging her to rescind the firing of Professor Steven Salaita, a specialist in Native American Studies, for his trenchant criticisms of Israeli government policy toward the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. When I first wrote him suggesting I reprint the letter, in his gentlemanly way he said it was a letter to Chancellor Wise and he preferred not. Then it got out on the internet anyway, and he relented.


Chandler Davis writes:

Dr. Phyllis Wise
Chancellor
University of Illinois

Dear Chancellor Wise:


I write from a rich experience of attacks on academic freedom; I have seen the damage that enforcing conformity can do to intellectual life. Among the victims was myself. My expulsion from American academe in 1954 has been thoroughly refuted by history, so that I speak not with the bitterness of any unresolved grievance, but with the immediacy that personal memory gives.

When anti-segregationists were expelled, when socialists were expelled, the damage was dire for the victims, but dire also for the whole community. Today, we have our work cut out for us to defeat real anti-Semitism and real bigotry of all sorts. I am heartsick to see your office betray the struggle by joining the attack on Professor Steven Salaita.

Of course some sufficiently strong partisans of the Israeli government are sorry to hear his criticism, and might deplore his presence on your faculty. You are not obliged to bow to them. They are asking you to violate the security of an academic position– in this case, a position firmly promised though not yet taken up. Even if you could justify breaking your University’s commitment to Prof. Salaita –which you can not– you should reject with indignation the calls to wrench him from the community. He is an active opponent of anti-Semitism and other bigotry, as you must know from his writings. We need him by our side.

Chandler Davis




Chris Hedges: How the Brutalized Become Brutal


from truthdig:


How the Brutalized Become Brutal

Posted on Aug 24, 2014
By Chris Hedges


The horrific pictures of the beheading of American reporter James Foley, the images of executions of alleged collaborators in Gaza and the bullet-ridden bodies left behind in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are the end of a story, not the beginning. They are the result of years, at times decades, of the random violence, brutal repression and collective humiliation the United States has inflicted on others.

Our terror is delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is, to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We are not conscious of the long night of collective humiliation, repression and powerlessness that characterizes existence in Israel’s occupied territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not see the boiling anger that war and injustice turn into a caldron of hate over time. We are not aware of the very natural lust for revenge against those who carry out or symbolize this oppression. We see only the final pyrotechnics of terror, the shocking moment when the rage erupts into an inchoate fury and the murder of innocents. And, willfully ignorant, we do not understand our own complicity. We self-righteously condemn the killers as subhuman savages who deserve more of the violence that created them. This is a recipe for endless terror.

Chaim Engel, who took part in the uprising at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in Poland, described what happened when he obtained a knife and confronted a German in an office. The act he carried out was no less brutal than the beheading of Foley or the executions in Gaza. Isolated from the reality he and the other inmates endured at the camp, his act was savage. Set against the backdrop of the extermination camp it was understandable.

“It’s not a decision,” Engel said. “You just react, instinctively you react to that, and I figured, ‘Let us to do, and go and do it.’ And I went. I went with the man in the office, and we killed this German. With every jab, I said, ‘That is for my father, for my mother, for all these people, all the Jews you killed.’ ”

Any good cop, like any good reporter, knows that every criminal has a story. No one, except for perhaps a few psychopaths, wakes up wanting to cut off another person’s head. Murder and other violent crimes almost always grow out of years of abuse of some kind suffered by the perpetrator. Even the most “civilized” among us are not immune to dehumanization. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_the_brutalized_become_brutal_20140824



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