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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 01:55 AM
Number of posts: 8,331

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She makes a great case for the need for appropriate education and critical thinking skills

particularly the need to actually read and have the guidance of a competent teacher in analyzing primary sources such as the Constitution and historical writings such as those from people like Jefferson.

Instead, here's an example of what the children there will be subjected to:


The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.

This continues the privatization of siphoning more money from public education which Naomi Klein described so well in The Shock Doctrine:

Friedman's radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans' existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions.

In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which the levees were repaired and the electricity grid brought back online, the auctioning-off of New Orleans' school system took place with military speed and precision. Within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.

The Friedmanite American Enterprise Institute enthused that "Katrina accomplished in a day ... what Louisiana school reformers couldn't do after years of trying". Public school teachers, meanwhile, were calling Friedman's plan "an educational land grab". I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, "disaster capitalism".

Privatising the school system of a mid-size American city may seem a modest preoccupation for the man hailed as the most influential economist of the past half century. Yet his determination to exploit the crisis in New Orleans to advance a fundamentalist version of capitalism was also an oddly fitting farewell. For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock.

Shades of Enron: FERC investigations JPMorgan, Barclays and Deutsche Bank for energy manipulation

of prices.

Apparently, they've learned enough so they don't replicate Enron's manipulation, but instead have been manipulating the pricing in a new and different way.

FERC probes JPMorgan over electricity charges
Katarzyna Klimasinska
Published 04:54 p.m., Tuesday, July 3, 2012


FERC has issued 15 notices of alleged violations since January 2011 for companies including Barclays PLC, BP PLC, Deutsche Bank AG and Constellation, according to information posted on the agency website. Seven of the cases have been settled, according to the agency.

The regulator is examining efforts by J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp., which is based in Houston, to extract excessive payments or above-market prices from California Independent System Operator Inc. and Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., Thomas Olson, a lawyer in the FERC investigating division, said in a court document. The probe focuses on winning inflated "make-whole" payments, he said.
"Any such improper payments to generators are ultimately borne by the households, businesses and government entities that are the end consumers of electricity," Olson said.
The price-manipulation allegations against JPMorgan's energy-trading unit appear to differ from charges against Enron Corp.'s power traders during the California energy crisis of 2000 and 2001, John Olson, managing partner of Pool Capital Partners LLC in Houston and former energy analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co., said. Enron was accused of driving up prices by persuading operators to shut down, he said.

More details here:

FERC takes aim at Barclays over power market manipulation


Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:31pm BST

The notice also suggested a heightened focus on so-called
"loss-leader" trading in which a firm may intentionally seek to
sell a physical commodity at a loss in order to reap a much
larger profit on related derivative positions.
The Barclays traders traded day-ahead fixed-price physical
electricity at the Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, South Path 15 and
North Path 15 to benefit Barclays' IntercontinentalExchange
(ICE) fixed-for-floating financial swap positions in
those markets, FERC said.
After the Constellation settlement, the FERC commissioners
told Reuters the agency was adding staff with more analytical
skills and energy market experience to allow the enforcement
division to delve deeper into trading data and make it tougher
for trading firms to manipulate natural gas and power markets.
In the Barclays case, the FERC staff alleged the bank
assembled substantial physical positions in the opposite
direction of Barclays' fixed-for-floating financial swap
positions and that Barclays flattened those physical positions
in the next-day fixed-price physical markets to move the ICE
daily index settlement up if buying and down if selling.

At what point do we take another direction. The title of this editorial nails it imho:

Let's end this rotten culture that only rewards rogues
The Barclays rate-rigging scandal has once again exposed a world where men and women with little skill and no moral compass can become very rich very fast


Barclays also received TARP money from AIG

Apparently they were in the 'too big to fail' club that needed huge amounts of tax money from the U.S. public so they could continue their financial wizardry. Though in the case of the TARP bailout, it was an indirect payment through AIG. I would venture that would have meant that not even the small regulatory measures imposed on the primary recipients of TARP, such as AIG, applied to them. And note, that AIG was not forthcoming about these TARP payouts to other banks, but only released the info after Congressional demands they do so.

By EAMON JAVERS | 3/15/09 7:40 PM EDT
Updated: 3/16/09 6:24 PM EDT

The documents AIG released account for some of the more than $180 billion in aid that AIG has received, and they detailed for the first time which financial firms are benefitting from the federal handout.

In all, AIG disclosed payments of $105.3 billion between September and December 2008. And some of the biggest recipients were European banks. Societe Generale, based in France, was the top foreign recipient at $11.9 billion, Deutsche Bank of Germany got $11.8 billion and Barclays, based in England, was paid $8.5 billion.

Here in the U.S., Goldman Sachs received $12.9 billion. Edward Liddy, the government-installed CEO of AIG, sat on the board of directors of Goldman Sachs until he joined AIG.

He took the position while President George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson — who until joining the administration had served as Goldman's chairman and CEO — arranged the insurance company's initial government bailout.


16 March 2009

Deutsche Bank and Société Société Générale were the largest recipients with $12 billion each while Barclays received $8.5 billion.
Barclays refused to comment on when it received funds from AIG, but postings from AIG indicate funds went to Barclays by the end of 2008.


responsible for Barclays being able to refuse help from the British taxpayer.
Barclays has been furiously holding on to its independence, even tapping Middle Eastern investors and selling a third of the bank to the sheikhs rather than go the route of Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds-Halifax Bank of Scotland, which have ended up being part-nationalised.

Banking analysts said the widespread nature of the payouts indicate the main reason the US Treasury moved to save AIG: if the US had not bailed it out, a string of the world's biggest banks might have collapsed.

In an article about Varley and Diamond taking 'lower" bonuses in 2010, Varley also admitted receiving "indirect state support" so who knows how much the UK citizens also contributed to Barclay's balance sheet, salaries and bonuses.


John Varley, chief executive, will take only his £1.1m salary, while Bob Diamond, president and head of the investment bank, will earn just £250,000. Their last annual bonuses, in 2007, were £2m and £18m respectively. Mr Diamond has already earned $26m (£16.5m) from the sale of fund management arm Barclays Global Investors (BGI) last year.


Barclays is at the centre of the storm over bonuses because it is aggressively growing its investment bank, Barclays Capital. Sparking union anger, it confirmed that its 23,000 investment bankers would take home £191,000 each from a total pot of £4.4bn. They have been awarded another £1.2bn, or £52,000 each, in shares deferred over three years.

"Paying huge bonuses when people are still losing their jobs and business cannot get the loans they need because of a crash made in the finance sector goes against every concept of fairness," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said. "It is not good enough for Barclays to say they did not receive direct aid. Policies designed to help banks rebuild their balance sheets have been used to pay bonuses."

In what was a watershed moment, Mr Varley conceded for the first time that Barclays has been the beneficiary of indirect state support, but he maintained he is at the mercy of markets over pay. "I am not denying that we have all benefited," he said, referring to Government liquidity and funding schemes put in place to ease the financial crisis.

That also raises important questions to me about how reliable/manipulated the numbers for the financial institutions stability/recovery are. How much of the numbers reported are actually money that was funneled to these institutions directly or indirectly from a variety of government (citizen's taxes) money at the same time the citizens of these countries faced loss of jobs, bankruptcies, cuts to social and retirement funds, whether under the official label of austerity or not?

TSA patrols Burnside and Apple Valley transit (bus park & rides) in Minnesota in 2012 - source MVTA

That's the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority


Counterterrorism Patrol to Take Place at Regional Transit Facilities
Monday, January 30, 2012 12:15 PM
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) working within the Department of Homeland Security, will be conducting counterterrorism patrols at area transit facilities in the coming year. These patrols are NOT related to any specific incident or threat. The patrols may include agents talking to passengers, patrolling parking facilities and stepping on buses.
Agents anticipate conducting these patrols at MVTA transit facilities as well as other regional transit facilities.

Their Summer 2012 PDF notes teams have already been at these locations. See page 4:

From MVTA website: http://www.mvta.com/summer_2012_newsletter.html
Direct link: http://www.mvta.com/uploads/summer_3.pdf

Periodic Counterterrorism Patrols Under Way at Transit Facilities
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) working within the Department of Homeland Security, is conducting peri-odic counterterrorism patrols at area transit facilities in the coming year. MVTA’s Burnsville and Apple Valley Transit Stations have had teams on site during the morning or afternoon peak periods. Other regional transit facilities will also have the patrols.These patrols are NOT related to any specific incident or threat. The patrols may include agents talking to passengers, patrolling parking facilities and stepping on buses.

This is a transit authority in your own state specifying that TSA is patrolling bus transit centers.

It's also on their ABC local news. Additionally the Whitehouse has included intercity buses


My post #62 has links about TSA VIPR and Bus Safe.

From the Whitehouse, defining the role of TSA in regard to surface transportation. Some salient points from the PDF. I added the bold:

page 8
Sector-Specific Agency
 The Transportation Security Administration is the SSA for the security
of the land and air modes of the Transportation Systems Sector.

page 9, includes intercity buses specifically

Surface Transportation Modes
Mass transit, commuter and long-distance
passenger rail, freight rail, commercial
vehicles (including intercity buses), and
pipelines, and related infrastructure
(including roads and highways), that are
within the territory of the United States.
Executive Order 13416

The strategy guiding surface transportation security should focus on the following:
 Using intelligence to identify potential threats
 Employing programs and procedures that allow for better identification and interdiction
of threats prior to their arrival in the United States
 Engaging system operators in intelligence sharing, security planning, and operations
 Ensuring that key transportation workers are vetted
 Increasing frontline worker and public security awareness
 Creating a more stringent, less opportunistic environment for terrorist attack planning
(e.g., non-intrusive inspection devices, canine teams, random bag checks, VIPRs, and
 Changing operations to reduce vulnerabilities and potential consequences and to thwart
attempts to circumvent security measures
 Hardening critical infrastructure (e.g., intrusion detection, facility hardening, smart
surveillance, and common operating picture development)

True and documented! Google TSA and VIPR. There have actually been many posts about this on DU also

Here's some info on VIPR and on additional expansion of DHS, TSA and Border Patrol funding and roles:
TSA rail, subway spot-checks raise privacy issues
By Thom Patterson, CNN
updated 10:05 AM EST, Sat January 28, 2012
TSA officials like to point out that the acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, not the Airport Security Administration. And that's where VIPR comes in.
Born after 2004's Madrid railway bombings, VIPR suffered some embarrassing coordination struggles, transit officials say.
The program has 15 teams and is expanding to get access to 12 new teams to spot-check thousands of transportation depots across the nation.
VIPR teams conducted 3,895 operations in "surface modes" nationwide in 2010, according to the Department of Homeland Security (PDF).

Much more at above link.


Much info and many links at the wiki page. Includes info on budget increases:

FY2009: $30 million, 10 VIPR teams
FY2010: increase of $50 million, for 15 surface transport VIPR teams
FY2012: $109 million
10 aviation teams
15 surface transport teams
12 new multi-modal team

They're asking for another increase for 2013:
Fund 37 Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, including 12 multi-modal Teams. VIPR teams are composed of personnel with expertise in inspection, behavior detection, security screening, and law enforcement for random, unpredictable deployments throughout the transportation sector to prevent potential terrorist and criminal acts.

EPIC has many resources noting the increase and privacy abuses. The paragraphs below include embedded links with more info on EPIC's site:

2013 Federal Budget Limits Body Scanners, But Expands Domestic Surveillance: According to White House budget documents and the Congressional Testimony of Secretary Napolitano, DHS will not purchase any new airport body scanners in 2013. However, the agency will expand a wide range of programs for monitoring and tracking individuals within the United States. This includes the development of biometric identification techniques for programs such as Secure Communities. DHS will also seek funding for "Einstein 3," a network intrusion detection program that enables surveillance of private networks. EPIC has urged the DHS to comply with the requirements of the federal Privacy Act, and is currently pursuing several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the agency. For more information see, EPIC - Body Scanners and Radiation Risks, EPIC - E-Verify, EPIC - Secure Communities, EPIC - Fusion Centers, EPIC - Drones, EPIC - Cybersecurity, EPIC - Secure Flight. (Feb. 20, 2012)
Documents Reveal New Details About DHS Development of Mobile Body Scanners: EPIC has obtained more than one hundred fifty pages of documents detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s development of mobile body scanners and other crowd surveillance technology. The documents were obtained as a result of a Freedom Information Act lawsuit brought by EPIC against the federal agency. According to the documents obtained by EPIC, vehicles equipped with mobile body scanners are designed to scan crowds and pedestrians on the street and can see through bags, clothing, and even other vehicles. The documents also reveal that the mobile backscatter machines cannot be American National Standards Institute “certified people scanners” because of the high level of radiation output and because subjects would not know they have been scanned. For more information see EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology and EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of the Body Scanner Program). (Aug. 31, 2011)

Here's a post from me with links about TSA budget and Border Patrol budget increases and expansion that I posted to a thread about TSA bus-riding agents:

Additional links about TSA "Bus Safe" in Houston:


METRO's counter-terror intitiave draws criticism

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- One week after METRO rolled out what it called an unprecedented approach to safety, there is criticism of just what happened. It was a big operation with what critics have called questionable results.

You paid for 81 cops to saturate Houston bus stops and routes last Friday. Most were from METRO, but some were from the federal Transportation Security Administration, as well as HPD.


METRO called it a synchronized, counter-terrorism exercise, and the first ever in Houston welcoming the federal TSA to Houston bus stops.


METRO faces public backlash over counter-terror intitiave

On April 13, the METRO Police Department invited TSA to be a part of its bus-safe exercise. METRO said then and repeated for days afterwards there would be random searches of bus and train passengers' bags.

A friend of Broze took pictures of the bus-safe exercise that he says show TSA agents and METRO police asking riders where they're going as they get off the bus and how often they ride that route.

"METRO and TSA were going onto the buses and questioning people about their normal routes and their normal behavior, and it just kind of creates an atmosphere of fear," Broze said.

There's much more if you search DU2.

This from the guy whose company received huge tax breaks in addition to the bailout



Last week, the American International Group reported a whopping $19.8 billion profit for its fourth quarter. It was a quite a feat for a company that was on its death bed just a little over three years ago, so sick that it needed a huge taxpayer bailout.

But if you dug into the numbers, it quickly became clear that $17.7 billion of that profit was pure fantasy — a tax benefit, er, gift, from the United States government. The company made only $1.6 billion during the quarter from actual operations. Yet A.I.G. not only received a tax benefit, it is unlikely to pay a cent of taxes this year, nor by some estimates, for at least a decade.

The tax benefit is notable for more than simply its size. It is the result of a rule that the Treasury unilaterally bent for A.I.G. and several other hobbled companies in 2008 that has largely been overlooked.

This rule-twisting could deprive the government of tens of billions of dollars, assuming the firm remains profitable. The tax dodge — and let’s be honest, that’s what it is — also will most likely help goose the bonuses of A.I.G.’s employees, some of whom helped create many of the problems that led to its role in the financial crisis.

But, hey have to find a way to keep the enormous salaries, bonuses and tax breaks flowing to the people who created the mess in the 1st place.

Also, the best way to "take the burden off of the youth" would be for people to be able to retire earlier, thus freeing up jobs for the youth, who now face increasingly high unemployment rates because of the austerity push by Benmoshe and his colleagues. And they would then be contributing to pension funds.

No coincidence that many of AIG's bailout pay outs went to the European banks whose high risk bets with AIG and others fed the crisis and who all sing in the same chorus demanding ever more austerity. And even as austerity is a clear failure when viewing the nations and majority of citizens it is crushing, it's clear the calls for it to continue are coming from the corrupt 1% who draw ever larger profits and benefits at the public's expense.

First Nations have been opposing the Northern Gateway, which is the route to sea

There's also a Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver.

B.C. natives form front to fight oil pipelines
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 01 2011, 2:16 PM EST
Aboriginal groups in British Columbia said on Thursday they have formed a united front to oppose all exports of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through their territories.


It adds to the uncertainty over Enbridge Inc. ’s planned $5.5-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would move 525,000 barrels a day of oil sands-derived crude 1,177 kilometres to the port of Kitimat.

Aboriginal groups, also known as First Nations, say they fear the consequences of a spill from the pipeline, which would pass through some of Canada’s most spectacular mountain landscape. They also oppose the idea of shipping oil from British Columbia ports.

“First Nations, whose unceded territory encompasses the entire coastline of British Columbia, have formed a united front, banning all exports of tar sands crude oil through their territories,” more than 60 aboriginal groups said in a statement.

Looks like the push is on to undo environmental laws, especially those related to water and watersheds and fish, so they can use those routes.

Reminds me of Naomi Klein's "the Take." Also, 2012 is the UN International Year of Cooperatives

The website for the film also includes background and historical info as well as related news such as micro loans for co-ops

Must-read Ebert's review of "The Take." Tis a thing of beauty.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. Much more at link:

Exactly. These are choices Amazon made - same as temp workers and building features

Amazon's choice to use temp workers as "throwaway employees" is similar to Walmart's choice and markedly different from Costco's:

Some companies, like Costco, refuse to use temp workers in their warehouses:

Costco's well-earned reputation for treating its in-store employees well carries over to its warehouse. The Costco warehouse does not rely on temp workers. It hires employees directly, it pays pretty well and it has a safety representative and even stretching classes. Despite all that, the company still manages to provide some of the lowest prices available to consumers.

"We tend to not outsource even if we could save money by doing it," says Richard Galanti, Costco's chief financial officer. "We recognize it might cost more but we think it's the right thing to do. ... Everyone in the building feels like they're employed."

As to comments about how warehouses are built, sustainability efforts can benefit the employees and the environment and even provide additional benefits:

Again from Costco for the warehouse comparison - 2011 report:


Sustainable Construction and Renewable Energy
The organization Leadership in Energy andEnvironmental Design (LEED) has a certification program that is nationally accepted as a benchmarkfor green building design and construction. Costco’s metal warehouse design, one of the warehousedesign styles we have built over the past several years, is consistent with the requirements of theSilver Level LEED Standard. Our metal building envelopes are all insulated to meet or exceed currentenergy code requirements, and our main building structure uses 100% recycled steel material and isdesigned to minimize the amount of material utilized. The roof materials used on our metalpre-engineered warehouse are 100% recycled standing seam metal panels, designed to maximizeefficiency for spanning the structure; and the exterior skin of the building is also 100% recycled metal.In 2008, we opened our first certified Silver Level warehouse in New Jersey. With regard to renewableenergy, by the end of calendar 2011 we will have in operation large rooftop solar photovoltaic systemsat 60 of our facilities, in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and New Jersey. They are projected togenerate 55 million kWh of electricity per year. We also continue to expand the use of non-chemicalwater treatment systems used in our cooling towers to both reduce the amount of chemicals going intosewer systems and, where possible, reuse that water for site irrigation. By coordinating with state andfederal incentive programs, these and other energy-saving systems help us reduce our carbon footprintand lower the cost of operating our facilities. We continue to evaluate additional opportunities toimprove energy efficiency.

Insulated warehouses that produce energy - not only possible but built and operating.

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