HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » marmar » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Next »

marmar

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,152

Journal Archives

France May Criminally Indict a Big Bank, Why Can't the US?


(BuzzFlash) Since the great Wall Street bank and financial firm swindle that led to a crash of the US economy in 2008, BuzzFlash has published many an article about the failure of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to criminally charge banks or executives for practices that led to the economic meltdown.

Yes, the Department of Justice has levied several of the "too big to fail banks" with large fines. But these fines, even if they are over a billion dollars in some cases, are written off by the banks as the cost of doing business - and in many cases, they are literally written off as tax-deductible expenses for the year that they are paid in. Although the Department of Justice has also negotiated companion agreements to curtail harmful banking practices (in addition to the fines), it is not yet clear how vigorously it will enforce them.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied fines against Wall Street banks in relation to the economic crash and ongoing violations of banking regulations, but the SEC is limited by law to civil - and not criminal - enforcement.

In short, Wall Street emerged from the 2008 near-collapse of the US economy more profitable than ever as a result of a taxpayer bailout - and then what amounted to a financial slap on the wrist from US government enforcement agencies. .............(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/france-criminally-indicts-a-bank-why-can-t-the-us




The Never-ending nightmare that is the Michigan legislature


from Freep:



LANSING – Drivers may get the chance to let all other motorists on the road know that they "Choose Life."

The state Senate passed a bill on a straight party-line vote of 26-11 Wednesday, requiring the Secretary of State to develop an anti-abortion license plate, which will raise funds for the Choose Life Michigan Fund run by Right to Life of Michigan.

The "Choose Life" plate will join a stable of 27 other fund-raising plates, none of which generate the same level of controversy as the newest plate. Fifteen of the plates raise money for the state-supported universities in Michigan and the rest go to organizations ranging from Breast Cancer Awareness, the Children's Trust Fund, and Ducks Unlimited to Lighthouse Preservation.

And the amount raised can be significant: The fund-raising plates cost $35 or more, on top of the standard license plate fee, and the university or organization receives $25 of that fee. Renewal of that license plate costs $10 more than the standard license plate fee and the organizations and universities get that $10. .............(more)

http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/18/choose-life-license-plate-approved-state-sente/24958789/


..............................................................


LANSING — Faith-based adoption agencies could refuse to serve prospective parents based on their religious beliefs under a package of bills that passed the state House of Representatives Wednesday.

The bills, which would allow the agencies to refuse service to same-sex or unmarried couples if that goes against their religious beliefs, are moving as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next month on whether same-sex marriage should be legal in Michigan and several other states in the region.

All three bills passed on 65-44 votes, with Democratic Reps. George Darany, of Dearborn, Robert Kosowski of Westland and Harvey Santana of Detroit, joining all but one Republican in voting for the package. State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, voted against the bills.

The votes came after passionate debate in the House with supporters saying the bills ensured that the state continue to offer as many adoption options as possible.

"These bills simply preserve the system we use today," said Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus. "This bill is not about who can and who cannot adopt a child . it's about ensuring the most alternatives for people wanting to adopt a child." ...............(more)

http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/18/faith-based-adoption-agencies-refuse-service/24942907/







Nomi Prins: The Volatility / Quantitative Easing Dance of Doom


The Volatility / Quantitative Easing Dance of Doom
Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 6:42PM


The battle between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of global financial policy is escalating to the point where the ‘haves’ might start to sweat – a tiny little. This phase of heightened volatility in the markets is a harbinger of the inevitable meltdown that will follow the grand plastering-over of a systemically fraudulent global financial system. It’s like a sputtering gas tank signaling an approach to ‘empty’.

Obscene amounts of central bank liquidity applauded by government leaders that have protected the political-financial establishment with failed oversight and lack of foresight, have coalesced to form one of the most unequal, unstable economic environments in modern history. The ongoing availability of cheap capital for big bank solvency, growth and leverage purposes, as well as stock and bond market propulsion has fostered a false sense of economic security that bears little resemblance to most personal realities.

We are entering the seventh year of US initiated zero-interest-rate policy. Biblically, Joseph only gathered wheat for seven years before seven years of famine. Quantitative easing, or central bank bond buying from banks and the governments that sustain them, has enjoyed its longest period of existence ever. If these policies were about fortifying economic conditions from the ground up, fostering equality as a force for future stability, they would have worked by now. We would have moved on from them sooner.

But they aren’t. Never were. Never will be. They were designed to aid big banks and capital markets, to provide cover to feeble leadership. They are policies of capital creation, dispersion and global reallocation. The markets have acted accordingly.

.......(snip).......

Retail sales are down because people have no extra money and can’t take on excess debt through credit cards forever. They aren’t governments or central banks that can print when they want to, or big private banks that can summon such assistance at will. .................(more)

http://www.nomiprins.com/thoughts/2015/3/14/the-volatility-quantitative-easing-dance-of-doom.html




McDonald’s Management’s Response to Workers’ Burns on the Job: “Just Put Some Mustard On It”



(In These Times) If accusations of poverty wages, racial discrimination, sexual harassment and rampant wage theft weren’t enough, McDonald’s workers also say they bare the brunt of hazardous conditions on the job. On Monday, workers across 19 cities filed 28 health and safety complaints with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other state agencies.

As a part of the national campaign Fight for 15, an effort backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to organize for a $15 per hour minimum wage, the low-wage workers say that understaffing combined with pressure from management to work at breakneck speeds has created a dangerous work environment where workers routinely suffer severe burns and other injuries.

Although a McDonald’s spokesperson claimed the complaints “are part of a larger strategy orchestrated by activists targeting [the McDonald’s] brand and designed to generate media coverage,” a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health affirmed the grievances. The survey found that 79% of fast food workers had been burned on the job in the past year, and of those, almost all of them reported multiple burns over that same time.

......(snip)......




In a video produced by the campaign, two workers tell stories of going to management after receiving burns while working. Management's response, according to both workers, was to apply mustard to the wounds. ..............(more)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17754/mcdonalds_working_conditions1




Major American Allies Ignore U.S. Pleas and Join China’s Development Bank


via Naked Capitalism:


Major American Allies Ignore U.S. Pleas and Join China’s Development Bank
Posted on March 17, 2015 by Yves Smith


Yves here. The lead story at the Financial Times, Europeans defy US to join China-led bank, updates this post. Key sections:

France, Germany and Italy have all agreed to follow Britain’s lead and join a China-led international development bank, according to European officials, delivering a blow to US efforts to keep leading western countries out of the new institution…

The decision by the three European governments comes after Britain announced last week that it would join the $50bn Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a potential rival to the Washington-based World Bank…

The AIIB, which was formally launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year, is one element of a broader Chinese push to create new financial and economic institutions that will increase its international influence. It has become a central issue in the growing contest between China and the US over who will define the economic and trade rules in Asia over the coming decades…

Britain hopes to establish itself as the number one destination for Chinese investment and UK officials were unrepentant. One suggested that the White House criticism of Britain was a case of sour grapes: “They couldn’t have got congressional approval to join the AIIB, even if they wanted to.”
.......................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/major-american-allies-ignore-u-s-pleas-and-join-chinas-development-bank.html




Nomi Prins: The Volatility / Quantitative Easing Dance of Doom


The Volatility / Quantitative Easing Dance of Doom
Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 6:42PM


The battle between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of global financial policy is escalating to the point where the ‘haves’ might start to sweat – a tiny little. This phase of heightened volatility in the markets is a harbinger of the inevitable meltdown that will follow the grand plastering-over of a systemically fraudulent global financial system. It’s like a sputtering gas tank signaling an approach to ‘empty’.

Obscene amounts of central bank liquidity applauded by government leaders that have protected the political-financial establishment with failed oversight and lack of foresight, have coalesced to form one of the most unequal, unstable economic environments in modern history. The ongoing availability of cheap capital for big bank solvency, growth and leverage purposes, as well as stock and bond market propulsion has fostered a false sense of economic security that bears little resemblance to most personal realities.

We are entering the seventh year of US initiated zero-interest-rate policy. Biblically, Joseph only gathered wheat for seven years before seven years of famine. Quantitative easing, or central bank bond buying from banks and the governments that sustain them, has enjoyed its longest period of existence ever. If these policies were about fortifying economic conditions from the ground up, fostering equality as a force for future stability, they would have worked by now. We would have moved on from them sooner.

But they aren’t. Never were. Never will be. They were designed to aid big banks and capital markets, to provide cover to feeble leadership. They are policies of capital creation, dispersion and global reallocation. The markets have acted accordingly.

.......(snip).......

Retail sales are down because people have no extra money and can’t take on excess debt through credit cards forever. They aren’t governments or central banks that can print when they want to, or big private banks that can summon such assistance at will. .................(more)

http://www.nomiprins.com/thoughts/2015/3/14/the-volatility-quantitative-easing-dance-of-doom.html




Workers Behind Ruthless and Effective Grassroots Campaigns Are Now on Trial for Racketeering


(The Nation) Until recently, the Laundry Workers Center United’s claim to fame was a rabble-rousing protest encampment on Times Square, a self-fashioned “Worker Justice Café” erected by workers as part of a unionization campaign at a Hot and Crusty bakery. Back in 2012, their foolishly brave, Occupy-inspired tactics proved successful in challenging their employer’s power. Now the LWC is facing its own challenge in court, accused of illegally “conspiring” to protest against a boss.

According to a complaint brought by the LWC’s latest campaign target, the Liberato restaurant in the Bronx, the LWC isn’t a humble worker center, agitating on behalf of low-wage immigrant workers, but a racketeering enterprise, waging class warfare against a local business.

The allegations of gangsterism stem from a basic labor dispute: a group of current and former workers have partnered with the LWC to campaign against the restaurant over alleged labor violations and mistreatment. After the conflict escalated and the LWC took legal action last year—with a class action lawsuit and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint now pending—the restaurant responded with a classic New York tactic: the countersuit. Liberato has variously charged the LWC with slander and harassment, as well as violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). This federal law, a curious hybrid of reactionary politics and organized-crime fighting, has historically been used to nab both mob bosses and union organizers. The suit seems to follow a rich tradition of corporations seeking to criminalize collective action as labor’s “extortion” of capital.

Maggie Andres Crecenio, a server at Liberato, sees her boss as the real racket. She claims that she and her coworkers have been repeatedly shorted on wages and cheated out of overtime hours, as the restaurant flagrantly violated minimum wage and overtime standards. A worker might be paid little as $210 for a fifty-four-hour work week, they say, and some were subjected to intimidation and sexual harassment, and subsequently punished for protesting. .............(more)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/201457/workers-behind-ruthless-and-effective-grassroots-campaigns-are-now-trial-racketeering#




Chris Hedges: The Most Dangerous Woman in America


from truthdig:



by Chris Hedges


SEATTLE—Kshama Sawant, the socialist on the City Council, is up for re-election this year. Since joining the council in January of 2014 she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires. And for this she has become the bęte noire of the Establishment, especially the Democratic Party.

The corporate powers, from Seattle’s mayor to the Chamber of Commerce and the area’s Democratic Party, are determined she be defeated, and these local corporate elites have the national elites behind them. This will be one of the most important elections in the country this year. It will pit a socialist, who refuses all corporate donations—not that she would get many—and who has fearlessly championed the rights of workingmen and workingwomen, rights that are being eviscerated by the corporate machine. The elites cannot let the Sawants of the world proliferate. Corporate power is throwing everything at its disposal—including sponsorship of a rival woman candidate of color—into this election in the city’s 3rd District.

Sawant’s fight is our own.

I met Sawant in a restaurant a block from City Hall in Seattle. She is as intense as she is articulate. Sawant, born in India, is a leader of the Socialist Alternative Party. She holds a doctorate in economics from North Carolina State University and before her election to the City Council was a professor at a community college. She knows that there will be no genuine reforms, let alone systemic change, without the building of radical mass movements and a viable third party. She is as familiar at Seattle street demonstrations, where she has been arrested, as she is in City Council hearings. If there is any hope left for the absurdist political theater that characterizes election campaigns it is in renegades such as Sawant.

“The idea that things have to get a lot worse to have some sort of awakening and bring about an alternative to this corrupt and defunct corporate political system is inaccurate,” she said to me. “What we need is a big surge for an independent working-class political alternative while people are experiencing a sense of confidence, after decades of bitter defeat. The $15-an-hour victory in Seattle is going nationwide. And while unions are under massive attack, as you see in Wisconsin with Scott Walker, there are also successful labor initiatives getting onto the ballot. Four states—two of them Republican states—increased the minimum wage last year. Occupy and the Black Lives Matter movement have radically shaken U.S. consciousness. Now is the time for us to strike.” ..................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_most_dangerous_woman_in_america_20150315





Chris Hedges: The Most Dangerous Woman in America


from truthdig:



by Chris Hedges


SEATTLE—Kshama Sawant, the socialist on the City Council, is up for re-election this year. Since joining the council in January of 2014 she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires. And for this she has become the bęte noire of the Establishment, especially the Democratic Party.

The corporate powers, from Seattle’s mayor to the Chamber of Commerce and the area’s Democratic Party, are determined she be defeated, and these local corporate elites have the national elites behind them. This will be one of the most important elections in the country this year. It will pit a socialist, who refuses all corporate donations—not that she would get many—and who has fearlessly championed the rights of workingmen and workingwomen, rights that are being eviscerated by the corporate machine. The elites cannot let the Sawants of the world proliferate. Corporate power is throwing everything at its disposal—including sponsorship of a rival woman candidate of color—into this election in the city’s 3rd District.

Sawant’s fight is our own.

I met Sawant in a restaurant a block from City Hall in Seattle. She is as intense as she is articulate. Sawant, born in India, is a leader of the Socialist Alternative Party. She holds a doctorate in economics from North Carolina State University and before her election to the City Council was a professor at a community college. She knows that there will be no genuine reforms, let alone systemic change, without the building of radical mass movements and a viable third party. She is as familiar at Seattle street demonstrations, where she has been arrested, as she is in City Council hearings. If there is any hope left for the absurdist political theater that characterizes election campaigns it is in renegades such as Sawant.

“The idea that things have to get a lot worse to have some sort of awakening and bring about an alternative to this corrupt and defunct corporate political system is inaccurate,” she said to me. “What we need is a big surge for an independent working-class political alternative while people are experiencing a sense of confidence, after decades of bitter defeat. The $15-an-hour victory in Seattle is going nationwide. And while unions are under massive attack, as you see in Wisconsin with Scott Walker, there are also successful labor initiatives getting onto the ballot. Four states—two of them Republican states—increased the minimum wage last year. Occupy and the Black Lives Matter movement have radically shaken U.S. consciousness. Now is the time for us to strike.” ..................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_most_dangerous_woman_in_america_20150315




California Is Drilling for Water That Fell to Earth 20,000 Years Ago


from Mother Jones:


California Is Drilling for Water That Fell to Earth 20,000 Years Ago
We're using so much groundwater that it's contributing to sea level rise.

—By Tom Knudson | Fri Mar. 13, 2015 6:00 AM EDT


This story was originally published by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.


By now, the impacts of California's unchecked groundwater pumping are well-known: the dropping water levels, dried-up wells and slowly sinking farmland in parts of the Central Valley.

But another consequence gets less attention, one measured not by acre-feet or gallons-per-minute but the long march of time.

As California farms and cities drill deeper for groundwater in an era of drought and climate change, they no longer are tapping reserves that percolated into the soil over recent centuries. They are pumping water that fell to Earth during a much wetter climatic regime—the ice age.

Such water is not just old. It's prehistoric. It is older than the earliest pyramids on the Nile, older than the world's oldest tree, the bristlecone pine. It was swirling down rivers and streams 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when humans were crossing the Bering Strait from Asia.

Tapping such water is more than a scientific curiosity. It is one more sign that some parts of California are living beyond nature's means, with implications that could ripple into the next century and beyond as climate change turns the region warmer and robs moisture from the sky. .....................(more)

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/california-pumping-water-fell-earth-20000-years-ago




Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Next »