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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 69,864

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I'm Shocked! Shocked I Tell You!


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/03/doj-ferguson-investigation_n_6787804.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013


WASHINGTON -- A Justice Department investigation has found that the Ferguson Police Department discriminates against black residents and routinely violates the Constitution and federal law, an official told The Huffington Post.

The results of the investigation were detailed in a meeting between Ferguson and Justice Department officials on Tuesday. A Ferguson official confirmed to The Huffington Post that city and Justice Department officials were meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The so-called “pattern or practice” investigation of the Ferguson Police Department was announced by the Justice Department in September, just weeks after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

DOJ's investigation was based on reviews of thousands of pages of records, on-site visits and interviews with members of the community. It found that police in Ferguson routinely make arrests without probable cause and that African-Americans were more than twice as likely to be searched during vehicle stops but less likely to be found in possession of contraband. It found that 88 percent of documented use of force incidents were against African-Americans.



Farmer Cooperatives, Not Monsanto, Supply El Salvador With Seeds


Farmer Cooperatives, Not Monsanto, Supply El Salvador With Seeds

Tuesday, 03 March 2015 12:57
By Nathan Weller, EcoViva | Report


In the face of overwhelming competition skewed by the rules of free trade, farmers in El Salvador have managed to beat the agricultural giants like Monsanto and Dupont to supply local corn seed to thousands of family farmers. Local seed has consistently outperformed the transnational product, and farmers helped develop El Salvador’s own domestic seed supply–all while outsmarting the heavy hand of free trade.

This week, the Ministry of Agriculture released a new round of contracts to provide seed to subsistence farmers nationwide through its Family Agriculture Program. Last year, over 560,000 family farmers across El Salvador planted corn and bean seed as part of the government’s efforts to revitalize small scale agriculture, and ensure food security in the rural marketplace. Drought conditions across the country made access to seed all the more vital for rural livelihoods, making the seed packets supplied through the government program the primary means for thousands of families to put food on the table.

In 2015, rural cooperatives and national associations will produce nearly 50% of the government’s corn seed supply, with 8% coming from native seed—a record high. In the Lower Lempa, where seven farmer organizations have produced corn seed since 2012, this means over 4,000 jobs and income for rural households, primarily employing women and young adults. The public procurement of seed—or the government’s purchasing power through contracts—signifies over $25 million for a rural economy still struggling to diversify and gain traction.

The success of locally-bred seed varieties, compounded with their low production costs, allowed the Family Agriculture Program to contribute to historically high yields nationwide for corn and beans. Last year, more farmers produced more corn and beans at the most efficient yield per acreage than any other year over the last decade. This has also led to a significant adjustment in El Salvador’s trade balance on corn: Imports of white corn in 2014 were a full 94% less than 2011. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29419-farmer-cooperatives-not-monsanto-supply-el-salvador-with-seeds



Austerity Kills: Economic Distress Seen as Culprit in Sharp Rise in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged


Austerity Kills: Economic Distress Seen as Culprit in Sharp Rise in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged
Posted on March 1, 2015 by Yves Smith


I’m surprised, but perhaps I shouldn’t be, that a recent study hasn’t gotten the attention it warrants. It points to a direct connection between the impact of the crisis and a marked increase in suicide rates among the middle aged. This link seems entirely logical, given how many citizens found themselves whacked by a one-two punch of job loss or hours cutbacks combined with the sudden plunge in home prices. Normally, a last ditch course of action for most middle and upper middle class income members in the pre-crisis days, when things got desperate, was to sell you house and cut costs radically by moving into a much more modest rental. But that option vanished in all but the most stable markets (as in some flyover states that the subprime merchants ignored) due to home price declines trashing equity for all but those with small or no mortgages.

And you have the further psychological toll of the difficulty of re-inventing yourself if you are over 35. I can point to people who had enough in the way of resources and took steps that seemed entirely logical, taking courses to prepare them for a new career in fields with good underlying demand (see this post for one example; I can cite others) and got either poor returns on their expenditure of time and effort or had no success at all.

And the ones with enough options (bigger savings buffers or relatives who were willing and able to help) are the lucky ones. For all too many middle to upper middle income workers in America, when you fall off the corporate/big firm meal ticket, the fall is far indeed. As readers know all too well, the prejudice against older candidates as well as the unemployed is substantial, even if the reason for the job loss in no way reflected on employee performance (as in business failure or working for an acquired company when, in typical practice, the buyer went through the ranks of the purchased business with a howitzer). People who thought that having a college degree and a steady history of good performance at white collar jobs gave them a measure of security had that illusion ripped from them. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/austerity-kills-economic-distress-seen-culprit-sharp-rise-suicide-rate-among-middle-aged.html



Chicago: CTA to double speed of some downtown buses that crawl at 3 mph





(Chicago Tribune) A long-awaited project designed to more than double the 3-mph average speed of CTA buses traveling across the middle of downtown will be called Loop Link, and construction of bus-only lanes and rapid transit-style boarding stations is set to begin in two weeks, city officials were set to announce Monday.

The roughly 2-mile bus rapid transit area will serve Washington, Madison, Clinton and Canal streets and will debut late this year, when the bulk of the $31.8 million construction project is completed, Chicago Department of Transportation officials said.



Work on the overall project, however, will stretch into next year and result in temporary lane reductions, according to CDOT. Those will start March 16, on portions of Madison and Clinton, followed by Washington and Canal and Jackson Boulevard in the spring, and on Randolph Street starting in late summer.

A parallel goal involves reorganizing downtown streets so that all users, whether on foot or bicycle or behind the wheel, have their own space, officials said. ....................(more)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/hilkevitch/ct-loop-bus-rapid-transit-getting-around-met-0302-20150302-column.html#page=1



Twin Cities: U.S. Bank Provides Funding for St. Paul Green Line Apartments




MN: U.S. Bank Provides Funding for St. Paul Green Line Apartments

NICK WOLTMAN ON MAR 3, 2015
SOURCE: PIONEER PRESS


U.S. Bancorp has agreed to invest $15.8 million in the Hamline Station housing complex, which is under construction near the Green Line stop of the same name. In exchange for investment, the complex's developer, Project for Pride in Living, will transfer $14.4 million in federal tax credits to the Minneapolis-based banking giant.

"PPL's mission is to provide affordable housing for low-income families and to help strengthen neighborhoods," PPL CEO Paul Williams said in a news release. "We are excited to have U.S. Bank as a partner to construct Hamline Station. This is a powerful opportunity to provide low-income families and individuals high-quality housing with a significant transit solution."

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, funded the investment.

PPL is eligible for federal low-income housing tax credits on the $28.2 million project. The 108-unit apartment complex will house individuals and families with incomes between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area median. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11864393/us-bank-provides-funding-for-st-paul-green-line-apartments



Bill Black: Scott Walker’s War on Workers and the Wall Street Journal’s Cleaned-Up Coverage

Walker’s War on Workers and the Wall Street Journal’s Cleaned-Up Coverage

By William K. Black
March 1, 2015


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has channeled his inner Mitt Romney and written off an immense swath of Americans as people he would not represent if he were elected President. Romney wrote off 47% of Americans and Walker wrote off America’s workers. Romney channeled his inner Ayn Rand and labeled 47% of American’s as worthless “takers.” Walker was more extreme. He labeled American workers, peacefully protesting, as analogous to ISIS terrorists. Romney’s dismissal of the 47% was made as part of a fund raising pitch to billionaire supporters who responded warmly. Walker’ war on workers was warmly received by his ultra-conservative base and his ultra-wealthy potential donors.

Romney’s dismissal of nearly half of America helped doom his campaign, but Walker is running for the nomination of the Republican Party, so demonstrating how much Walker hates a large portion of Americans made him the (early) leading candidate for his party’s nomination. (Consider the hypocrisy of this occurring while Rabid Rudi claims Obama does not love America and Walker responds that he doesn’t know whether Obama loves America. It appears that Republicans see nothing inconsistent between “loving America” and despising nearly half of all Americans. What is America if it is not Americans?)

The Wall Street Journal weighed in on Walker’s war on workers in a piece dated February 28, 2015 entitled “Scott Walker Confronts Doubts About His Grasp of Foreign Policy” by Patrick O’Connor with an opening picture of Walker addressing the “Club for Growth.” The Club is composed of ultra-wealthy and ultra-conservative Republican donors who seek to destroy any effort at effective regulation. This February 28 version of O’Connor’s article contained Walker’s slander of American workers.

“The exchange came two days after Mr. Walker raised eyebrows at the Conservative Political Action Conference when he compared Islamic State fighters to union members in Wisconsin who protested his decision to limit collective-bargaining rights for state workers, telling the crowd, ‘If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.’


In the March 1 (printed?) version of O’Conner’s piece, however, the photo stayed but the slanderous sentence that was so embarrassing and politically harmful to Walker disappeared from the WSJ coverage. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/03/walkers-war-on-workers-and-the-wall-street-journals-cleaned-up-coverage.html



Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration.....


from Naked Capitalism:


The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals
Posted on March 2, 2015 by Yves Smith


Elizabeth Warren is clearly getting on the Administration’s nerves.

The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs.

What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.

Warren focused on the so-called investor-state dispute settlement process in a Washington Post op-ed last week. We’ve discussed these panels in gory detail in previous posts.

That article led the White House to issue a “lady doth protest too much” rebuttal that we’ll shred shortly. But let’s first review the state of play. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/the-administrations-dishonest-response-to-elizabeth-warrens-attack-on-secret-investor-arbitration-panels-in-trade-deals.html



This would bring all-new meaning to "bunny hop"





Where would this country be if Peter Cottontail got cottonmouth?

Matt Fairbanks, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration's "marijuana eradication" team in Utah, testified to a state Senate panel last week, and said rabbits could get addicted to pot, lose their natural instincts and sit around getting high all the time should a bill pass that would allow medical marijuana edibles in the state.

Fairbanks testified in opposition to the bill, and spent some of his testimony splitting hares, according to The Washington Post. He claimed that illegal pot farms could have bad environmental consequences, and said he saw rabbits addicted to weed at illegal grow sites. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/03/stoned-rabbits-dea_n_6789232.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news&ir=Weird%20News



Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration.....


from Naked Capitalism:


The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals
Posted on March 2, 2015 by Yves Smith


Elizabeth Warren is clearly getting on the Administration’s nerves.

The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs.

What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.

Warren focused on the so-called investor-state dispute settlement process in a Washington Post op-ed last week. We’ve discussed these panels in gory detail in previous posts.

That article led the White House to issue a “lady doth protest too much” rebuttal that we’ll shred shortly. But let’s first review the state of play. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/the-administrations-dishonest-response-to-elizabeth-warrens-attack-on-secret-investor-arbitration-panels-in-trade-deals.html



Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration.....


from Naked Capitalism:


The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals
Posted on March 2, 2015 by Yves Smith


Elizabeth Warren is clearly getting on the Administration’s nerves.

The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs.

What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.

Warren focused on the so-called investor-state dispute settlement process in a Washington Post op-ed last week. We’ve discussed these panels in gory detail in previous posts.

That article led the White House to issue a “lady doth protest too much” rebuttal that we’ll shred shortly. But let’s first review the state of play. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/the-administrations-dishonest-response-to-elizabeth-warrens-attack-on-secret-investor-arbitration-panels-in-trade-deals.html



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