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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,404

Journal Archives

The Life of a Corporate Lobbyist

By Russell Mokhiber

Source: Counterpunch

Thursday, December 05, 2013

"Steve Wehrly worked for more than 25 years as a corporate lobbyist in Washington state and Washington, D.C.

He represented beer companies (Miller Brewing), insurance companies (Safeco Insurance), tobacco industry (smokeless tobacco council), and casinos (Muckleshoot Tribe).

Wehrly was successful. He saved tens of millions of dollars for his clients.

If he couldn’t save them money, they wouldn’t have hired him.

“I really like the policy argument side of politics,” Wehrly told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “But to a large extent, the huge amounts of money spent on politics by everybody — by corporations professions, individuals — is because they think they will get something from it. Safeco wasn’t about to spend the amount of money they spent on politics unless they thought they would get something from it. If you didn’t get something from it, they wouldn’t spend it.”

How did he get the job done for his clients?"

Let us count the ways......


Massive Fire Started By Angry Workers Destroys Factory That Supplied To Gap, Wal-Mart In Bangladesh

Additional garments destroyed in the fire were from other Western brands, including Wal-Mart, American Eagle, Uniqlo, and Zara.

Workers incensed by rumors of a co-worker’s death in a police firing burned down one of Bangladesh’s 10 biggest garment factories supplying to major Western brands on Nov. 29:

According to authorities, factory workers were enraged after a loudspeaker from a mosque announced a worker’s death during a police firing to disperse a road blockade by factory employees earlier that day.
Hundreds of workers gathered to vandalize the factory and set it on fire. They also blockaded the road, a Standard Garments’ manager told Reuters.

There were no casualties reported in the massive fire, which burned down the 10-story Standard Group garment factory in Gazipur, 25 miles from the capital, Dhaka.

A senior manager for the Standard Group said it’s Gap’s biggest supplier in Bangladesh. However, Gap said while it’s a supplier, it is not the largest one. Six months’ worth of supplies for U.S. brands, including Gap and Wal-Mart, were burnt in the fire.


Scientists: Current International Warming Target Is "Disastrous"

—By Tim McDonnell| Tue Dec. 3, 2013 2:23 PM GMT

Devastation in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection/Flickr

Ever since the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, world leaders have agreed on 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) as the maximum acceptable global warming above preindustrial levels to avert the worst impacts of climate change (today we're at about 0.8 degrees C). But a new study, led by climatologist James Hansen of Columbia University, argues that pollution plans aimed at that target would still result in "disastrous consequences," from rampant sea level rise to widespread extinction.

A major goal of climate scientists since Copenhagen has been to convert the 2 degree limit into something useful for policymakers, namely, a specific total amount of carbon we can "afford" to dump into the atmosphere, mostly from burning fossil fuels in power plants (this is known as a carbon budget). This fall, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pegged the number at 1 trillion metric tons of carbon, or about twice what we've emitted since the late 19th Century; if greenhouse gas emissions continue as they have for the last few decades, we're on track to burn through the remaining budget by the mid-2040s, meaning immediately thereafter we'd have to cease emissions forever to meet the warming target.

The study, which was co-authored by Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs and published today in the journal PLOS ONE, uses updated climate models to argue that the IPCC's carbon budget would in fact produce warming up to twice the international limit, and that even the 2-degree limit would likely yield catastrophic impacts well into the next century. In other words, the study says, two of the IPCC's fundamental figures are wrong.


What If Your Income Grew as Fast as The 1 Percent's? Try Our Calculator.

See what you'd earn if most Americans' paychecks had kept up with the explosion at the top of the income scale.
—By Dave Gilson, Jaeah Lee, and Ben Breedlove | Thu Dec. 5, 2013 3:00 AM GMT

The richest 1 percent of Americans have seen their average income jump more than 270 percent over the past five decades. Meanwhile, the average income of the least wealthy 90 percent of Americans grew an anemic 22 percent during that time. (Those figures are based on inflation-adjusted real dollars.)

So how much would you be earning today if the phenomenal income growth at the very top of the income scale had trickled down to most Americans? Use this calculator to find out.


Canada sinks in key Forbes ranking of best countries for business

The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 05 2013, 7:40 AM EST
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 05 2013, 9:12 AM EST

Canada sinks in ranking
We’re still in the top 10. But not No. 5, like last year. Or, more importantly, No. 1 the year before that.

Canada sank again in the latest Forbes ranking of the “best countries for business,” falling to the No. 8 spot as Ireland ascended to No. 1.

Here’s how Canada ranked in the breakdown: No. 6 on trade freedom, No. 77 on monetary freedom, No. 9 on property rights, No. 21 on each of innovation and technology, No. 2 on red tape, No. 4 on investor protection, No. 9 on corruption, No. 1 on personal freedom, No. 8 on tax burden and No. 58 on market performance.


Four key revelations from Toronto police's full document on Rob Ford

The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 04 2013, 10:57 PM EST

Marijuana exchanged for a lost cellphone. Photos of Mayor Rob Ford in the company of suspected gang members. A woman called Princess arranging a meeting at a suspected crack house. An offer of $5,000 and a car for a video.

These are the newest in a series of allegations to emerge from police wiretaps and interviews in a case involving Ford’s friend Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi.

Read the full police document here.here.

A scramble to retrieve the mayor's cellphone

On the night of April 20, Mayor Rob Ford's cellphone goes missing. He tells his staff that the device slid off the hood of his SUV while he was participating in a park cleanup in Etobicoke. Newly released wiretap summaries offer a very different explanation for the phone’s disappearance – one that involves drugs, a woman known as “Princess” and a crack house. The Information to Obtain lays out the alleged events leading up to the loss of the cellphone and the scramble to retrieve it. The quotes come from police summaries of the wiretaps, not actual transcripts of the intercepted conversations.

12:52 a.m., Saturday, April 20: Liban Siyad, 22, calls a woman at 15 Windsor Rd. in Etobicoke, a known crack house, according to police. Unbeknownst to Mr. Siyad, police have been monitoring his cellphone communications for a month now, along with the phones of other alleged members of the Dixon City Bloods gang under a police investigation dubbed Project Traveller. That night, police hear a woman at the bungalow, who they believe is Elena Basso, tell Mr. Siyad that Rob Ford is at her house. She asks Mr. Siyad to come over quickly......


I know some don't think Ford should be getting any publicity here but he's stated repeatedly he wants to be PM some day and with all the wacky right-wingers who still support him, I'm interested. I wish he could be charged with something.

You're welcome! I'm in love with this music.

Here are a few more.

So sad that Roger Ridley is gone.

Honduras: Huge Political Crisis As Right Steals Election

By Elena Zeledon

Source: Links.org

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Large-scale electoral fraud affected every aspect of the November 24 general elections in the Central American country of Honduras.

This has sparked a huge political crisis, which matches and possibly surpasses the crisis produced by the coup d’etat that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

This scale of fraud was confirmed by LIBRE representative to the TSE, Rixy Moncada. El Libertador reported Moncada said: “They are refusing to count the 400,000 votes in areas where we are far ahead. They are hiding the results of 20 percent of the polling places in departments where we have won massively.”

Four days after the election, the TSE had still failed to count these votes. Up to 31% are still to be wholly or partially recorded.

But this was not the only method of fraud uncovered. Garzon, one of the most notable of the international observers, said: “It will all be in our report. There was massive fraud. They switched election credentials. They misallocated votes. They bought votes and voter identification.

“They militarized the media. They militarised the polling places. They intimidated voters.

Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/honduras-huge-political-crisis-as-right-steals-election-by-elena-zeledon.html

My Years at Wal-Mart

By Patrick Snipes

Source: Counterpunch

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

This is the text of a speech given on November 29, in Raleigh, North Carolina.


I’m a former Wal-Mart deli sales associate from store #2137, where I worked for about two and a half years. Firstly, I would like to give thanks to my mother, who is currently a Wal-Mart associate, and to all other Wal-Mart associates who’re working today and were kept from their families yesterday. When I was asked to speak here today, I was a bit taken aback; I haven’t done any public speaking since high school and wasn’t entirely sure what I should talk about.

So, let’s start with a simple fact, nothing more, nothing less. The six Wal-Mart heirs (Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton, S. Robson Walton, Nancy Walton Laurie and Ann Walton Kroenke) hold more wealth than the bottom 42% of Americans put together. Now, let’s do some math! The population of the United States is about 314 million. 42 % of that is 131.88 million people. Divide by 6 and you get 21.98 million. What this means is that for every dollar the average person in the lower 42% of the country has, these 6 people have, on average, 21.98 million dollars. As easily as you or I can buy a Kit-Kat, they can buy a custom-made 145 foot yacht and still have 2 million leftover. Please keep this fact in mind as I continue.

And… now I’m unsure again as to what I should talk about. After 2 years and 7 months there are a great many things. I could talk about how my family didn’t have Thanksgiving yesterday because my mother was at work. I could talk about schedules which left me running the deli single-handed from 4 PM to 11, essentially asking me to do 30 man-hours worth of work in 8 as though I were blessed with 7 arms. I could talk about how similar schedules were in no way uncommon, once 4 times in a single week, and how, when I approached management (even going so far as to show them the schedule for a few days out and asking that they fix it), my complaints fell upon deaf ears; the schedules remained unchanged. How the flip-side of this under-staffing was hours-cuts which left me earning the equivalent of 9,000 $/year, for months on end, and forced me to choose between paying my bills on time or having food. How I saw my co-workers, who rode the bus to get to and from work everyday, who have children whom they love and want to spend time with, get off work at 11 o’clock at night just to come back the very next day at 7 in the morning. And how, despite all that, they still had to be on food stamps to feed their kids because we were paid so little. About how one of our cart-pushers came down with a severe case of the flu and, for forgetting to call-out during ONE of the days he spent in the hospital, got fired. How one of my co-worker from the deli was fired on her very last day at Wal-Mart, after they had no more use for her, for having forgotten one day to pay for a meal plate worth 3 dollars and 50 cents three months prior; she’d signed a new lease earlier that day, but termination for theft caused her to lose her new job and forced her to move back in with her family in Florida. Later that night I was required to throw away hundreds of dollars worth of food. About how, at my mothers store, an Assistant Manager, offended that one of his underlings, and a woman no less, had the gall to speak back to him, conspired to get rid of a zone-manager, a diabetic, while she was out on medical leave for her second heart-attack; she was demoted to part-time cashier and lost her medical coverage. He was promoted to co-manager.

Steps 3 & 4: Grow Sales and Reduce Operational Costs

I’m going to tackle these two steps together, because they are seemingly contradictory. A growth in sales would increase the size of the operation, and would thus seem to point toward “Increase Operational Costs” as opposed to its opposite. But, though these two steps may not flow into one another as sensibly as their predecessors, together they point toward an ideal, a dream, a fantasy which seems to motivate Wal-Mart. Namely, the idea of an infinitely productive worker. If they can make one do the work of two, they will. If they can make one do the work of three, they will. Trust me, they made me do the work of three and a half! Hell, if they could get one guy to run the whole store, they’d do it in a heart-beat. And if they could pay that guy minimum wage, they’d do that too! All the while, lobbying our government to let that minimum wage atrophy. These steps, taken together, expose the impetus behind the overwork and under-pay of Wal-Mart’s domestic workers, and it calls into question whether or not this too is a country from which profits are taken with no concern for social betterment.

Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/my-years-at-wal-mart-by-patrick-snipes.html

This Picture Of Morgan Freeman Is The Most Realistic Finger Painting Ever [VIDEO]

Believe it or not, that picture of Morgan Freeman is not a photo – it’s a finger painting. UK-based artist Kyle Lambert finger-paints (or finger-draws, if you’re a purist) extraordinarily photo-realistic portraits of famous Hollywood stars on his iPad.

Lambert, who is a trained oil painter and illustrator, uses an iPad Air with the Procreate application. This Morgan Freeman portrait was drawn based on a photograph, but the video proves that Lambert recreated it entirely through his own artistic talent. Although the brief time-lapse makes it look like a breeze, it actually took Lambert more than 200 hours and 285,000 brush strokes to complete.


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