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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
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Scott Walker: The nation's unemployed simply aren't looking hard enough, or praying often enough

This man wants to be your President.


WALKER HAS A SAD: The nation's unemployed simply aren't looking hard enough, or praying often enough, for work

Over at CNN.com, you can read a full transcript (URL below) of Scott Walker's meandering, pandering appearance on the cable network's weekend "State of the Union" political talk show. In that appearance, the Wisconsin governor essentially blamed America's vast pool of unemployed for their own misery. Then he prescribed the best thing politicians could do to get the jobless and the underemployed the work they need: "Fix Obamacare." Because, you see, that would reduce economic uncertainty and happy job creators would simply go ballistic and it would be morning in America, again! Or something.

As for Wisconsin's significantly higher than average unemployment rate and nationally topmost ranking in new jobless claims? It didn't come up, no thanks to host Candy Crowley. But no matter because, as Walker would have it, those conditiions have nothing -- nothing! -- to do with his supposedly wonderful economic policies. Rather, Mr. and Ms. Unemployed: joblessness is all your fault! You're just not trying hard enough!

Asked by CNN's Crowley if federal unemployment benefits should be extended a few more months, Walker implied otherwise, but mostly by-passed the question, instead laying more cold compassion on the biggest victims of the Great Recession:

I don't know about you, Candy, but if I was out of work, I'd be looking more than twice a week for a job. I'd be looking for every day except maybe today. I take Sunday off to go to church and pray that I could find a job on Monday, but I think there need to be reforms in that system.

Once again, Bernie Sanders just flat out gets it

Why Are US Special Operations Forces Deployed in Over 100 Countries?


US Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013 (key below article). (Map courtesy of TomDispatch and Google)

I started with a blank map that quickly turned into a global pincushion. It didn’t take long before every continent but Antarctica was bristling with markers indicating special operations forces’ missions, deployments and interactions with foreign military forces in 2012–13. With that, the true size and scope of the US military’s secret military began to come into focus. It was, to say the least, vast.

A review of open-source information reveals that in 2012 and 2013, US Special Operations forces (SOF) were likely deployed to—or training, advising or operating with the personnel of—more than 100 foreign countries. And that’s probably an undercount. In 2011, then-SOCOM spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that Special Operations personnel were annually sent to 120 countries around the world. They were in, that is, about 60 percent of the nations on the planet. “We’re deployed in a number of locations,” was as specific as Bockholt would ever get when I talked to him in the waning days of 2013. And when SOCOM did finally get back to me with an eleventh-hour answer, the number offered made almost no sense.

Despite the lack of official cooperation, an analysis by TomDispatch reveals SOCOM to be a command on the make with an already sprawling reach. As Special Operations Command chief Admiral William McRaven put it in “SOCOM 2020,” his blueprint for the future, it has ambitious aspirations to create “a Global SOF network of like-minded interagency allies and partners.” In other words, in that future now only six years off, it wants to be everywhere.


In translation this means that SOCOM is weaving a complex web of alliances with government agencies at home and militaries abroad to ensure that it’s at the center of every conceivable global hot spot and power center. In fact, Special Operations Command has turned the planet into a giant battlefield, divided into many discrete fronts: the self-explanatory SOCAFRICA; the sub-unified command of US Central Command in the Middle East SOCCENT; the European contingent SOCEUR; SOCKOR, which is devoted strictly to Korea; SOCPAC, which covers the rest of the Asia-Pacific region; and SOCSOUTH, which conducts special ops missions in Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as the globe-trotting JSOC.

Funny, this doesn't make me feel safer. Must be my advanced case of cynicism.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh needs help to "feel like a man"


Man's man: San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was almost giddy over his teams gutsy victory on the road over the Packers and it was on full display on video of the postgame celebration.

Asked why he was so pumped about this victory, Harbaugh gave an odd answer.

"Many things," he said. "People may disagree, but personally, as a player and what that meant for the players, I was happy and ecstatic for them because I haven't found anything that makes you feel more like a man than to go, not only beat your opponent, but you're beating their crowd, and then, the elements, in a playoff game. And both teams have to beat the elements.

"But, in a playoff game, to beat the elements, to beat the opposing team, to beat the opposing crowd, just nothing quite makes you feel like a man like that, that I've found."

Well, that didn't last long-Colorado Is Running Out of Marijuana Thanks to Insatiable Weed Tourists


Less than a week — five days, really — after Colorado enthusiastically began the legal sale of marijuana, the state is facing a harrowing shortage of pot. Citing a report from the Denver Post, TIME estimates that the state’s thirty-seven (or more) stores licensed to sell marijuana will likely run out of their supplies sometime this week, with one shop owner predicting that she would run out by today.

However, the cause of this weed run isn’t due to the fine, upstanding citizens of Colorado — rather, it’s the damn migrant tourists coming into Denver and taking all the ganja. “By most accounts, since Jan. 1 more than half of pot sales have gone to non-Coloradans,” TIME reports, referring to these tourists as “smoke birds.” (Aw, how cute.)

While this seems to be a classic Econ 101 textbook problem (“Please plot a supply and demand curve calculating how much marijuana the state of Colorado needs to maintain a permanent buzz”), the legalized weed shortage could, paradoxically, boost the sale of illegal marijuana. Many stores have implemented sure pricing due to insane demand, with some stores selling weed at $400/oz, and this has left some former drug dealers plotting:

Once you factor in taxes, as well as the fact that it looks like shops may periodically be sold out for a while, and some are saying the situation is one that could push pot enthusiasts back to buying marijuana on the black market. “People will get real tired of paying the taxes real fast,” one street dealer in Pueblo named Tracy told the Chieftain. “When you can buy an ounce from me for $225 to $300, the state adds as much as $90 just for the tax.”

Wisconsin: Governor Walker’s Tax Shift Plan Would Raise Taxes for Most

Guess who would save the most?


Governor Walker has said he is interested in eliminating the state’s income tax and raising the sales tax to make up for lost revenue, a move that would result in a tax increase for all but the wealthiest taxpayers.

To replace the revenue lost by the income tax, the state sales tax rate would need to be raised to 13.5%, giving Wisconsin the highest state sales tax rate in the nation.

The tax shift endorsed by Governor Walker would mean the bottom 80% of taxpayers would be paying more in taxes – some of them, a lot more. For example, a taxpayer in the lowest 20% by income would pay nearly $750 more in taxes, on average. Taxpayers in the top 1% — a group with an average income of $1.1 million – would receive a tax cut averaging nearly $44,000.

The Last Temptation of Snow White

USPS Facts

Will this tyranny never end?

The “middle class” myth: Here’s why wages are really so low today


The argument given against paying a living wage in fast-food restaurants is that workers are paid according to their skills, and if the teenager cleaning the grease trap wants more money, he should get an education. Like most conservative arguments, it makes sense logically, but has little connection to economic reality. Workers are not simply paid according to their skills, they’re paid according to what they can negotiate with their employers. And in an era when only 6 percent of private-sector workers belong to a union, and when going on strike is almost certain to result in losing your job, low-skill workers have no negotiating power whatsoever.


In Nick Reding’s book “Methland,” he interviews Roland Jarvis, who earned $18 an hour throwing hocks at Iowa Ham…until 1992, when the slaughterhouse was bought out by a company that broke the union, cut wages to $6.20 an hour, and eliminated all benefits. Jarvis began taking meth so he could work extra shifts, then dealing the drug to make up for his lost income.

Would Americans kill pigs for $18 an hour? Hell, yes, they would. There would be a line from Sioux City to Dubuque for those jobs. But Big Meat’s defeat of Big Labor means it can now negotiate the lowest possible wages with the most desperate workers: usually Mexican immigrants who are willing to endure dangerous conditions for what would be considered a huge pile of money in their home country. Slaughterhouses hire immigrants not because they’re the only workers willing to kill and cut apart pigs, but because they’re the only workers willing to kill and cut apart pigs for low wages, in unsafe conditions.


The anti-labor movement’s greatest victory has been in preventing the unionization of the jobs that have replaced well-paying industrial work. Stanley was lucky: After Wisconsin Steel shut down in 1980, a casualty of obsolescence, he bounced through ill-paying gigs hanging sheetrock and tending bar before finally catching on as a plumber for the federal government. The public sector is the last bastion of the labor movement, with a 35.9 percent unionization rate. But I know other laid-off steelworkers who ended their working lives delivering soda pop or working as security guards.
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