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Fri Dec 27, 2013, 05:43 PM

 

Weekend Economists Stamp Out Ignorance December 27-29, 2013

Whose ignorance? Well, mine, for one.

There's a quiet joy spreading the nation, as news of the failure of UPS and FedEx to deliver Xmas on time is contrasted with the US Postal Service's steady, reliable, unionized service. The postal workers came through, just like the unofficial motto says--there's no official motto, but there's an inscription on the James Farley Post Office at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street in New York City that reads:

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.




Here's how the official Web site of the U.S. Postal Service describes the origin of the inscription:

This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.




The James A. Farley Post Office Building is the main post office building in New York City. Its ZIP code designation is 10001, and it is commonly addressed on letters as JAF Station. Built in 1912, the building is famous for bearing the inscription: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." In 1982, the post office was officially designated The James A. Farley Building, as a monument and testament to the political career of the nation's 53rd Postmaster General. The Farley Post Office is home to "Operation Santa", made famous in the classic 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street and it is the inspiration for the post office in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, with its "Glom of nit" legend.

The Farley Building consists of the old general post office building and its western annex. The Farley building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and occupies two full city blocks, an 8-acre (32,000 m2) footprint straddling the tracks of the Northeast Corridor and the Farley Corridor (sub-district B) in western Midtown Manhattan. The building fronts on the west side of Eighth Avenue, across from Pennsylvania Station and Madison Square Garden. It is located at 421 Eighth Avenue, between 31st Street and 33rd Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan.

The Farley Post Office once held the distinction of being the only Post Office in New York City open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But in 2009, due to the economic downturn, its windows began to close at 10:00 p.m.

This building has a great and unique history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Farley_Post_Office





But, so does the Institution! We shall learn more about the USPS this Weekend, along with the usual economic claptrap...



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Reply Weekend Economists Stamp Out Ignorance December 27-29, 2013 (Original post)
Demeter Dec 2013 OP
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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 05:47 PM

1. A little music, maestro, if you please!

 

&feature=player_detailpage

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 05:58 PM

2. This historic building is being repurposed and remodeled!

 


Open House New York: Exploring the (Nearly!) Empty Post Office Building on 8th Ave

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-carr/ohny-exploring-the-nearly_b_750743.html

... in a decade or two, this...



...will look like this:



The Farley Post Office is on track to become Moynihan Station, an extension of Penn Station, which will help alleviate a significant amount of congestion. You can see the center of the Farley building below - the roof will be removed and replaced by the atrium pictured above:



Finally, Amtrak commuters will enter New York City through a station with prestige and class, as opposed to the underground armpit that is the current Penn Station. Meanwhile, the 8th Avenue side of the Farley building will continue to operate as New York's 10001 post office.

What are they going to do with all the postal workers? In fact, about 90% of the building is already vacant. And covering an entire city block, that means a lot of interesting places for OHNY guests to tour, including empty offices, an old cafeteria, a medical wing, a police wing, and more! For those that weren't lucky enough to snag a tour in 2010, hopefully this post will give you a thorough look inside...

SEE THE LINK FOR MORE BEAUTIFUL DETAIL OF THIS FINE MUSEUM PIECE.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 06:03 PM

3. Your postal service at work

 





follow up scene at:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/4863

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 06:07 PM

4. Now, how about those sluggards at FDIC?

 

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html

I'm sure they are taking off for the New Year's celebrations...

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 06:57 PM

5. Homeless Couple Gets A Home On Christmas Eve, Thanks To Innovative ‘Occupy’ Group

 

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/27/3104771/occupy-madison-homeless/#



96-square-foot house

...more than 50 volunteers with Occupy Madison, a local Wisconsin version of the original Occupy Wall Street group in New York. The group, including Derrick and Ybarra, spent the past year on an innovative and audacious plan to fight inequality in the state’s capital: build tiny homes for the homeless. In a city where an average home for sale costs nearly $300,000, many low-income individuals simply can’t afford somewhere to live.

Indeed, in January of this year, a citywide count found 831 homeless people living in Madison, a 47 percent increase in the past 3 years. And it’s not just adults; 110 families with children were identified as well.

The “Tiny House Project” began the same month. The plan was for volunteers to build micro-homes that still include living necessities like a bed, insulation, and a toilet. The homes are heated via propane and include a pole-mounted solar panel to power the house’s light. The total cost: $3,000, paid for by private donations.

Rather than building the homes on a particular lot of land — and thus adding another expense — the houses are mounted on trailers which can be legally parked on the street, as long as they’re moved every 48 hours. Parking on the street may not even be necessary after Occupy organizers successfully convinced the Madison Common Council recently to change the city’s zoning laws so the homes could be parked on private property with permission...

VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=516662518441208

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:05 PM

6. Detroit To Seek Judge’s Approval For Improved Deal With Big Banks

 

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/26/3104241/detroit-revised-banks-deal/

Detroit’s high-priced bankruptcy lawyers think a revised deal that pays large banks almost 60 cents on the dollar will win approval from the judge who rejected a previous arrangement that was even more generous to the banks. The deal in question relates to $300 million in loans the city has to pay back to UBS and Bank of America. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr originally wanted to pay UBS and Bank of America roughly $230 million — between 75 and 82 cents on the dollar, according to The Bond Buyer — in a deal that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes rejected. At $165 million, the new deal is cheaper for the city, but that is no guarantee of Rhodes’ approval as the judge’s objections seemed to have more to do with the process than the price. Rhodes said the city made the deal “with a gun to its head,” and insisted that Detroit and the two banks not only renegotiate the terms of the deal but that they return to his courtroom prepared to show in detail how any deal with the banks is better for the city than its alternative, which is to sue to get the loans canceled outright.

While $300 million may seem minuscule next to a total of $18 billion in unpayable debts, this deal is central to the city’s bankruptcy plan. When Detroit made the loans in question it promised to use revenue from area casinos as a last resort repayment mechanism in the event of a default. Now bankrupt, the city needs that casino money to finance basic services and operations in the short term, making the resolution of this debt a high priority for Orr and his $28 million team of consultants and lawyers.

Because the debt is attached to that collateral, the megabanks are considered “secured creditors” and are therefore legally entitled to get a somewhat better deal than the city’s “unsecured creditors,” a category which includes more than 20,000 retirees who depend upon the modest pensions they were promised. Orr has proposed paying retirees about 16 cents on the dollar of what the city owes them, and has announced that retiree health insurance plans will be canceled in the new year.

Any improvement in the terms of Orr’s deals with secured creditors like UBS and Bank of America should in theory create space for his team to be less stingy in its eventual deal with pension funds. But Orr and other officials have been adamant that pensioners will have to accept cuts no matter what. That position isn’t merely unjust, given that retirees and pension promises did not cause the city’s financial problems despite Orr’s apparent efforts to exaggerate the pension funding gap. The cuts are also unwise for the city’s future economic prospects, which experts say depend primarily upon its ability to retain and concentrate its population.


Update


A lawyer for Detroit’s pension funds said Thursday he will fight the new casino funds proposal, labeling it “far too rich” and “a huge windfall” for the banks.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:07 PM

7. The Fear Economy By PAUL KRUGMAN

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/27/opinion/krugman-the-fear-economy.html?smid=tw-NytimesKrugman&seid=auto&_r=2&



More than a million unemployed Americans are about to get the cruelest of Christmas “gifts.” They’re about to have their unemployment benefits cut off. You see, Republicans in Congress insist that if you haven’t found a job after months of searching, it must be because you aren’t trying hard enough. So you need an extra incentive in the form of sheer desperation.

As a result, the plight of the unemployed, already terrible, is about to get even worse. Obviously those who have jobs are much better off. Yet the continuing weakness of the labor market takes a toll on them, too. So let’s talk a bit about the plight of the employed.

Some people would have you believe that employment relations are just like any other market transaction; workers have something to sell, employers want to buy what they offer, and they simply make a deal. But anyone who has ever held a job in the real world — or, for that matter, seen a Dilbert cartoon — knows that it’s not like that.

The fact is that employment generally involves a power relationship: you have a boss, who tells you what to do, and if you refuse, you may be fired. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If employers value their workers, they won’t make unreasonable demands. But it’s not a simple transaction. There’s a country music classic titled “Take This Job and Shove It.” There isn’t and won’t be a song titled “Take This Consumer Durable and Shove It.”

So employment is a power relationship, and high unemployment has greatly weakened workers’ already weak position in that relationship...

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:09 PM

8. Vermont Approves Single-Payer Health Care: "Everybody In, Nobody Out"

 

http://truth-out.org/news/item/20495-vermont-approves-single-payer-health-care-everybody-in-nobody-out

... There is yet another provision in the Affordable Care Act that can open the door for states to institute their own single-payer healthcare system. Other states have a public option, especially for those below a certain income level, but no state had instituted a true single-payer system. All of this has changed thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

Vermont—Home of Ben and Jerry’s, Maple Syrup, Bernie Sanders and the first state to pass marriage equality. Now, Vermont will be known for something that will impact every resident in the state.

The ACA provided states with federal funds to institute a Medicaid expansion. The states chose to expand the program also were able to set up their own state exchanges, which were relatively free from the problems the federal site had. Vermont decided to take it a step further by setting up their very own single payer system.

The slogan of the program: Everybody in, nobody out...The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes. In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit. Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:16 PM

9. The Postal Clause

 



Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads".

The Postal Clause was added to the Constitution primarily to facilitate interstate communication, as well as to create a source of revenue for the early United States. There were some early disagreements as to the boundaries of the Postal Power. John Jay, in a letter to George Washington, opined that the postal service should not be burdened with the responsibility for handling newspaper delivery, and also suggested that the Post Office be placed under the supervision of the executive branch (a suggestion which later led to the creation of the Post Office Department). Thomas Jefferson feared that the postal service would become a source of patronage and a waste of money. Jefferson also expressed doubt at granting Congress the power to designate post roads, as he considered road building to be a state responsibility.

Interpretation

The Clause has been construed to give Congress the enumerated power to designate mail routes and construct or designate post offices, with the implied authority to carry, deliver, and regulate the mails of the United States as a whole. An early controversy was whether Congress had the power to actually build post roads and post offices, or merely designate which lands and roads were to be used for this purpose, and to what extent that power could be delegated to the Postmaster General. The U.S. Supreme Court construed the power narrowly during the early part of the 19th century, holding that the power consisted mostly of designation of roads and sites, but gradually gave way later on, allowing appropriation of land for postal purposes.

The Postal Power also includes the power to designate certain materials as nonmailable, and to pass statutes criminalizing abuses of the postal system (such as mail fraud and armed robbery of post offices). This power has been used by Congress and the Postmaster General to exclude obscene materials from the mails, beginning with an act in 1872 to ban lottery circulars from the mails, as well as the Comstock laws in 1873. These attempts at limiting the content of the mails were upheld by the Supreme Court, but in the 20th century, the Court took a more assertive approach in striking down postal laws which limited free expression, particularly as it related to political materials. The First Amendment thus provided a check on the Postal Power.

The United States Postal Service (USPS), also known as the Post Office and U.S. Mail, is an independent agency of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The cabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act.

The USPS employed 522,144 workers and operated 212,530 vehicles in 2012. The USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but still competes against private package delivery services, such as UPS and FedEx.

The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters. Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume, after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to pre-fund retiree health-care, 75 years into the future, a requirement unique among organizations and businesses in the U.S.), revenue dropped sharply due to recession-influenced declining mail volume, prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit. The USPS lost US$ 15.9 billion in 2012, and its revenue was US$ 65.2 billion.

---WIKIPEDIA

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:32 PM

10. What America Would Look Like if Libertarians Got Their Way

 

4 POSSIBLE SCENARIOS

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20872-what-america-would-look-like-if-libertarians-got-their-way



The "Libertarian/Conservative"

I’ve qualified my previous writings on libertarianism with disclaimers explaining that I’m addressing a specific, popular subset of libertarian thought. But I’ve still run afoul of dozens of people who say, “I’m a libertarian and I don’t think those things.” I’ve still received comments like those from David Brin, who correctly notes that I’m not addressing libertarians like Friedrich Hayek in my criticism. True. But Hayek ain’t in the saddle these days. Ayn Rand is leading the posse, to the extent any intellectual figure is. But I'll put my disclaimer upfront this time: I acknowledge that, as libertarian-friendly writer John Danaher puts it, “’libertarianism’ has come to denote a broad, often fractious, group of political theories.” I suppose it’s only fitting that a philosophy celebrating competing markets would, to a certain extent, be a set of competing markets itself.

But it seems even clearer that a “libertarian” in today’s political environment is almost always someone who ascribes to certain core philosophies: He abhors government, hates taxation, and is hostile to collective action on behalf of the less fortunate. Name any prominent modern libertarian—Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, Ron Paul, Peter Thiel, Rand Paul—and they are likely to fit this description. These figures represent a singular and increasingly dominant libertarian vision. To avoid future confusion, I'll give their brand of thought an admittedly imperfect name: “libertarian/conservative.” It is that vision, and their future, which I address here—and it's a frightening future.

1. What if you cut all benefits?

You’ve heard it from Sen. Rand Paul and other conservatives this winter: unemployment benefits increase unemployment. It’s an enormously destructive idea, though absurd on its face. It's like the argument that hospitals create sick people; after all, there are so many of them there. We usually consider such thinking "primitive" in modern societies. Yet that's exactly what libertarian/conservatives are arguing when they say that unemployment benefits increased or extend unemployment. There is no credible evidence to suggest that this is true. There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that unemployment is caused by other factors, including poor consumer demand and lack of business confidence.

Right now there are nearly three job seekers for every job opening. That means there are no jobs available for two out of the three. They will not “go out and find work” once their unemployment benefits stop. They will simply plunge into deeper economic misery. They will become like accident victims who are denied hospital care because it would “foster an attitude of dependency.” But, as absurd and unkind as this thinking is, there’s something even more frightening about it: This kind of thinking never ends. If you believe that unemployment benefits cause unemployment, you’ll cut those benefits off. That could throw millions of people onto the welfare rolls. But if you believe that welfare causes dependency, you’ll cut those benefits off, too. That will leave people utterly dependent on programs like heating oil subsidies, food assistance, and even homeless shelters.

But if you believe that those programs create dependency, too....

It never stops: Close down the homeless shelters. Shut down the Salvation Army. Make it illegal to throw a starving person a coin or toss a blanket over them as they lay on the sidewalk. This logic only ends one way: in a hellish dystopia where the underclass is starving, homeless and dying in droves. If that seems melodramatic, ask a libertarian/conservative this question: When will you know that your theory is wrong?

2. Nothing but competition.

3. Free-enterprise zones.

4. The absolute rights of private ownership.

DETAILS ON THE REST AT LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:59 PM

14. THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS A BAD MONTH: The Invisible Hand Is All Thumbs By Charles P. Pierce

 

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Private_Sector_Has_A_Bad_Month



My goodness, it's been a terrible holiday season for those people who trumpet the flexibility and abiding genius of the Free Market over the clammy deadweight of Government. First of all, Target gets itself hacked to the point where just about everybody who's shopped there since the day after Thanksgiving knows that all of their personal information is in the wind. In fact, it's probably blowing in great gusts over the troubled steppes of the Ukraine.

Mr. Krebs lays out evidence that the man, Andrew Hodirevski, may be in touch with the criminals supplying Target's credit card data. There is no evidence that Mr. Hodirevski himself is behind the Target breach. Through some impressive Internet sleuthing, Mr. Krebs said he tracked Mr. Hodirevski to Rescator, the online alias for the person behind Rescator.la, an underground website that is currently selling Target's stolen credit card data. (Other sites, including Kaddafi.hk, Octavian.su and cheapdumps.org, are also selling this information.)


Given what has happened to Target, and following the rhetorical precedents set by opponents of the Affordable Care Act, I don't believe we have any choice but to close every big box retailer in America, starting with Target, until every one of these systems is made error-free and impregnable, which of course the private sector can do because it does everything better than the public sector...until you discover that somebody in Kiev has bought $70,000 worth of herring and kutia on your MasterCard. Then it's the government's fault because freedom.

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

Then, just as we're all waiting on our porches for the last of our Christmas packages to arrive, we recall that the people who have worked for two decades to chloroform the U. S. Postal Service always have assured us that the Private Sector, as personified by FedEx and UPS, would more than make up the slack when the clearly obsolete USPS goes out of business.

Except, of course, no.


UPS and FedEx, under fire for failing to deliver Santa's packages in time for the holiday, blamed the delays on weeks of bad weather and higher demand from soaring online sales. UPS did not make pickups or deliveries on Christmas Day, but brought in extra workers on Christmas night to the company's hub in Louisville, Ky., to sort packages for Thursday and Friday deliveries, a spokesperson for the company told The Associated Press. Some FedEx customers were able to pick up packages at local FedEx Express centers on Christmas Day. Both companies, pummeled on social media by negative comments from furious, gift-less customers, issued apologies. "The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network... We apologize," UPS said in a statement. FedEx echoed that apology, calling the volume an "extraordinary event."

Again following the rhetorical precedents set in the debate over the Affordable Care Act, I think both FedEx and UPS should be shut down immediately because their systems were overwhelmed by a sudden demand. This was due to inexplicable "bad weather" in a season we like to call "winter" and due to an "extraordinary event." Called "Christmas." Which is so extraordinary that it has occurred on the very same day since at least 336 A.D.

I'm sure that, next year, FedEx and UPS will solve the mysteries that are winter and Christmas in time to demonstrate once again that the Private Sector does everything better than the public sector, or else will find a way that it is all the government's fault because freedom.

And snow.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:19 PM

18. Inside UPS’s pre-Christmas parcel profusion

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/inside-upss-pre-christmas-parcel-profusion-2013-12-27?siteid=YAHOOB



In the earliest hours of Dec. 24, packages poured into United Parcel Service Inc.’s main air hub in Louisville, Ky. And they were piling up. Employees responsible for sorting packages — already deep into a 100-hour week — were furiously getting them ready to be sent on to their destinations at airports around the country. But dozens of other workers responsible for loading those packages into planes to be shipped out were left standing around idle, because the unexpected glut of packages from last-minute shoppers had swamped the company’s air fleet.

The dearth of planes stranded a large volume of packages in Louisville in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Many of those that did make it out were shipped too late to make delivery trucks’ pickup schedules and were left sitting in warehouses not far from their destinations. By sundown, UPS was forced to tell many Americans that the gifts they had ordered wouldn’t arrive before Christmas as promised.

The bottleneck was largely in UPS’s air business, which retailers leaned on heavily in the past week as they scrambled to fill down-to-the-wire orders. UPS has a bigger share of retail e-commerce business than FedEx Corp., but its smaller fleet of cargo planes might have been a limiting factor, people in the industry said. UPS said it had added 23 extra chartered aircraft to its year-round operating fleet of more than 237 planes and regular 293 daily charters. FedEx owned 581 and leased 66 as of May 31.

UPS originally expected to ship about 7.75 million packages in its air network Monday, with about 3.5 million of those sorted at Worldport, as the Louisville hub is known. The facility handles on average 1.6 million packages a day. It isn’t yet known how many packages arrived at Worldport during the last minute crush, but on Christmas Eve UPS said the volume of air packages in its system had exceeded its capacity.

It is still too early to know what went wrong, UPS said, adding that the company is analyzing the situation.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:40 PM

11. Obama, Democrats push for extension of unemployment benefits

 

http://news.yahoo.com/obama-democrats-push-extension-unemployment-benefits-215231449--business.html

On the eve of the expiration of federal benefits for the long-term unemployed, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are stepping up pressure on Republicans to renew the program.

Top White House economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement issued on Friday that a failure to renew emergency jobless benefits would harm the economy and he urged Congress to move quickly to pass a short-term extension of the aid.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has vowed to bring to a vote a bill extending federal unemployment insurance benefits as soon as Congress returns from its holiday recess on January 6.

"While we remain disappointed that Congress did not heed the president's call to extend emergency unemployment benefits for next year before the holidays, the president as well as the Democratic congressional leadership have made clear the importance of extending the benefits immediately upon Congress's return," Sperling said in a statement.

Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, endorsed legislation introduced by Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Dean Heller, a Republican from Nevada, that would extend the unemployment benefits for three months. He said passage of the temporary bill would allow time to consider an extension for all of 2014.

Without an extension, some 1.3 million unemployed Americans are scheduled to lose their federal jobless benefits on Saturday. TODAY

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:42 PM

12. U.S. judge expands classes in lawsuits over $34 billion mortgage debt

 

http://news.yahoo.com/u-judge-expands-classes-lawsuits-over-34-billion-224200408--sector.html

A Manhattan federal judge on Friday expanded the scope of class-action litigation accusing banks of concealing the risks of more than $34 billion of mortgage-backed securities prior to the financial crisis.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer said investors may now pursue claims as a group against Citigroup Inc , Goldman Sachs Group Inc and UBS AG over an estimated $11.9 billion of securities.

Those offerings were linked to the RALI Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates, which were issued in 2006 and 2007 by the former Residential Capital LLC. One offering was the subject of a partial $100 million settlement this year.

Baer also said investors may pursue a similar case against Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc over an estimated $22.5 billion of securities in 12 offerings linked to the Harborview Mortgage Loan Trusts, which were also created in 2006 and 2007.

The judge also named the Iowa Public Employees Retirement Systems and Illinois' Midwest Operating Engineers Pension Trust Fund as class representatives in the Harborview case...

MORE

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 07:45 PM

13. More Music, If You Please!

 




What will future generations do, if the letter transmogrifies to email?

The Collected Emails of Mark Twain?

Reducing communications to ephemera (unless you can break open the NSA files) is something the telephone started.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:04 PM

15. How to defeat Big Brother

 

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/27/how_to_defeat_big_brother/

SOME INTERESTING DISCUSSION, BUT NO PRACTICAL IDEAS

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:06 PM

16. THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS 100 YEARS OLD LAST WEDNESDAY

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:15 PM

17. Record-level metals storage in ‘shadow warehouses’

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/record-level-metals-storage-in-shadow-warehouses-2013-12-27?siteid=YAHOOB

The world’s metal is slipping into the shadows.

Banks, hedge funds, commodity merchants and others are stashing tens of millions of tons of aluminum, copper, nickel and zinc in a hidden system of warehouses that span the globe. These facilities are known to some in the industry as “shadow warehouses” because they are unregulated and don’t disclose their holdings. They operate outside the London Metal Exchange system of warehouses, the traditional home for these metals.

As of October, a record 7 million to 10 million tons of aluminum were being housed in these facilities, in countries as far apart as Malaysia and the Netherlands, according to estimates from several analysts. The amount dwarfs the 5.5 million tons of aluminum in the LME-licensed warehouses, based on LME figures as of Tuesday. Just 12 months ago, the figures were about equal.

A similar shift is taking place with other industrial metals, analysts say. As a result, producers and consumers are bracing for potentially wild swings in metals prices as market participants have difficulty accurately gauging supplies of these metals. With no clear insight into how much metal is in the shadow system, setting prices will become increasingly difficult, they say. Analysts and traders say the flow of metal into shadow warehouses already is making prices move in unpredictable ways—such as when a large amount of unaccounted-for metal suddenly makes its way onto the market.

"It's a real concern for anyone in the industry that metal can be sucked away into a nonreporting location with no expectation or date as to when it's going to be available again," said Nick Madden, senior vice president and chief supply-chain officer with Atlanta-based Novelis Inc., an aluminum-products maker that is among the world's biggest buyers of the metal.

"The risk here is that the metal gets controlled by fewer and fewer hands, whose interests and business model is probably conflicting with that of end users," he said.


....

The lack of transparency is making this shadow system increasingly attractive to institutions seeking to profit from information that other buyers and sellers don't have. Some companies also are seeking a cheaper alternative to the LME warehouses, which can be 10 times as expensive as the unregulated storage, analysts and traders say. However, metal owners can face higher interest rates from banks if they wish to use metal stored in shadow warehouses as collateral for loans, because banks see the LME system as less risky, analysts say.

Five companies operate 75% of the LME's 778 licensed warehouses. All own shadow facilities as well, people familiar with the companies said...


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:21 PM

19. Obama signs bipartisan budget deal, annual defense bill

 

http://news.yahoo.com/obama-signs-bipartisan-budget-deal-eases-spending-cuts-211027123--business.html

President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a compromise budget that reduces the risk of another government shutdown and a defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military and smooths the path for transferring detainees from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The two-year U.S. budget agreement, negotiated by Congress earlier this month, and the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2104 were among seven pieces of legislation signed by Obama, who is vacationing with his family in Hawaii.

The U.S. Senate passed the budget deal on December 18 to ease automatic spending cuts and reduce the risk of a government shutdown. It was negotiated by Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state and Paul Ryan, Republican from Wisconsin, who is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Obama at that time praised the measure - the first budget agreed to by a divided Congress since 2009 - saying it was "a good first step away from the shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making that has only served to act as a drag on our economy." He did not comment further on Thursday...MORE

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:34 PM

20. Encore!

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:46 PM

21. The Postman

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bPxBW1Ox13Q

The Postman is a 1997 American post-apocalyptic film directed by and starring Kevin Costner, and based on David Brin's 1985 novel of the same name. The film co-stars Will Patton, Larenz Tate, Olivia Williams, James Russo, and Tom Petty. It was filmed in Metaline Falls and Fidalgo Island, Washington, central Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona.

The film is set after an unspecified apocalypse has left a huge impact on human civilization. A nomadic survivor flees a warlord's army while unwittingly inspiring hope of restoring peace.

After a nuclear war, civilization collapses leaving pocketfuls of survivors in rural areas and small towns maintaining some semblance of civilization. Others have joined armies that prey on the survivors.

In 2013 an unnamed nomadic survivor (Costner) enters the flatlands of Oregon. Needing food and water, he trades performances of Shakespearian plays. The nomad is captured by and conscripted into a neo-fascist army known as the Holnists, named after deceased founder and ex-farmer Nathan Holn, now run by General Bethlehem.

During a hunting expedition the nomad, nicknamed Shakespeare by the Holnists, escapes by jumping into a river. He takes refuge in a dead postman's mail carrier van. With a bag of mail and the dead postman's uniform, he arrives at Pineview, Oregon. He claims to be an actual postman from the newly restored U.S. government to gain entry. As he is able to produce a letter addressed to a member of the town, they give the Postman food and a place to live in the abandoned post office.

The Postman inspires a teenager named Ford Lincoln-Mercury, who presses him into swearing him into the faux restored postal service. The Postman is approached by Abby (Olivia Williams) seeking a "bodyfather" to impregnate her due to her husband's infertility. Pineview's sherriff is sceptical of "The Postman" telling him to get out of town the following day. Meanwhile, a pile of mail has been left at the door of the post office. Leaving Pineview, the residents give the postman a horse and the sheriff hopefully gives him a letter to his sister.

During a raid of Pineview, General Bethlehem learns of "the Postman" and his tales of restored government. Scared of losing his power, Bethlehem burns the American flag and post office. He kills Abby's husband when refused permission to have sex with her and kidnaps her. The Postman surrenders during a battle with the town of Benning, Oregon. Abby captures a gun and fires on Bethlehem as he orders the execution of the postman. The two narrowly escape into the surrounding mountains, though the Postman has been badly wounded.

The Postman and Abby hide in an abandoned cabin. Abby tells the Postman she is pregnant with his child. As spring arrives, the two cross the range and run into a young girl, who claims to be a postal carrier. She reveals that Ford Lincoln Mercury has organized a postal service of his own. They help towns and settlements to communicate and inadvertently spread the fictional tales of a restored government. Bethlehem orders the execution of the postal carriers, and the ensuing fights escalate into a running small-scale war. The Postman gets help from a Vietnam War veteran, who teaches him guerrilla warfare tactics.

His postal carriers, mostly teenagers pitted against a better-equipped enemy, encur mounting casualties. Dismayed, the Postman orders everyone to disband. He writes a last letter to be delivered to Bethlehem, saying the postal service is over and that the restored government is gone. Ford volunteers to deliver the message, knowing that he will be killed afterward. Bethlehem reads the letter and is disappointed that he has won without a fight. He plans to kill Ford and another captured deliverer. When the two captured postal men meet, however, they do not know each other: the other man introduces himself as a postman from California. Bethlehem realizes that to destroy the idea of the postman, he must kill the postman. He decides to keep Ford as a hostage, but murders the other postman.

The Postman, Abby and a small group of postal carriers travel to Bridge City, built on an old dam wall. The settlement is run by a celebrity from before the war (Tom Petty), though never mentioned by name, it is alluded to that he was "famous once". Seemingly trapped between the dam and Bethlehem scouts, the enclave leader helps the Postman to escape on a cable car to find volunteers for an army to fight Bethlehem forces.

In a voice over of King Henry V's speech prior to the Battle of Agincourt, the Postman stirs himself to war and manages to rally troops. Relishing the challenge to full battle Bethlehem and his army meet the postman's army across a field. Not wanting casualties from the battle the Postman challenges Bethlehem for Holnist leadership invoking "Law 7" which he learned of during his time in the conscript army. The law states any Holnist member can challenge the leader and if victorious take leadership. Bethlehem realizes that the Postman and "Shakespeare" are the same man. He accepts the challenge and is defeated. He does not accept his loss or the Postman's subsequent offer to build a new, peaceful world. He captures a gun and tries to shoot the Postman but is killed by his former first officer. The officer surrenders himself and the rest of the Holnists follow. In a voice over Abby tells that she and the Postman have a baby girl, whom she names Hope. The post office continues, rebuilding the country.

The story concludes 30 years later. Hope attends a statue unveiling tribute to her late father, who is recently deceased, in St. Rose, Oregon. From the modern clothing, and signs of modern technology it is suggested that the country has grown in development to approximate its pre-apocalypse status. The statue bears the inscription, "He delivered a message of hope embraced by a new generation,". A man and his wife stare at the statue of the Postman catching a letter from a small boy -— echoing a scene from earlier in the film, with the man saying "That's me."...wikipedia

IT WAS NOT A CRITICAL SUCCESS...BUT, THE MORAL OF THE STORY...

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:57 PM

22. I like the Post Office!

The birthday and holiday cards are always received by the grandkids. The bills and packages arrive at their destinations. And important mailings get delivered to me too. I have noticed since I don't subscribe to any magazines that I rarely receive any junk mail.

P.S. Apparently in January, there will be a postage increase, so I'm, going to get a roll of 'Forever' stamps prior to the increase.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 09:01 PM

23. The Postman Always Rings Twice


The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082934/

Watch trailer

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 09:07 PM

24. I've exhausted my knowledge of musical notes (hahaha)

 

unless you want me to go into the realm of opera...

So, post some other songs. Hamerfan, we need you!

Meanwhile, I'm going to bed. See you all in the morning!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 11:36 PM

25. Oh. Well it has to be this one:

 

( The Incredible String Band - Empty Pocket Blues (Live 1970) ):

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 07:08 AM

26. Regulators Are Already Considering The First 'Finessing' Of The Volcker Rule

http://www.businessinsider.com/regulators-mull-first-volcker-rule-tweak-2013-12

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. bank regulators said on Friday they would consider allowing banks to hold on to certain complex securities despite a new rule limiting risky investments.

The announcement came after lenders warned in a lawsuit of hefty losses from the so-called Volcker rule.

The Volcker rule prohibits banks from owning hedge funds or private equity funds to reduce risk, but the ban included a type of security community banks regard as harmless.

The regulators said they would now reconsider whether these instruments could be made exempt and would make a decision no later than January 15.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/regulators-mull-first-volcker-rule-tweak-2013-12#ixzz2olqYjfSs

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 08:37 AM

27. Japan Wages Pressured by Fastest Inflation Since 2008

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-26/japan-consumer-price-gains-pass-halfway-point-to-inflation-goal.html

Japan’s inflation accelerated to the fastest pace since 2008 last month, bringing the rate closer to policy makers’ target while threatening to erode household spending power unless employers boost wages.

Prices excluding fresh food rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo, more than a median forecast of 1.1 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. A separate report showed industrial output rose 0.1 percent from October, less than forecast, in a risk for projections of an acceleration in economic growth this quarter.

Today’s data raise the stakes for employers girding for annual wage negotiations, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling on them to boost salaries by more than the increase in the cost of living. Separate figures showed signs of a pickup in the labor market, with one job for every applicant -- the most since 2007.

“The rate of price rises will allow the unions to push for higher wages,” said Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo and a former central bank official. At the same time, “they may temper their demands because of concerns about keeping jobs -- so it’s difficult to see meaningful wage hikes.”

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 08:56 AM

28. European regulators seek prop trading ban for large banks: paper

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/27/uk-bankregulation-proprietary-idUKBRE9BQ0KB20131227

(Reuters) - The European Commission plans to ban proprietary trading at large banks and may force lenders to ring fence all trading activities deemed a threat to financial stability, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said in its Saturday edition.

Moves to curb so-called proprietary trading seek to end a high-risk trading strategy used by investment banks to place large directional bets on their own balance sheets, rather than on behalf of clients.

Citing a draft proposal of European bank safety rules, Sueddeutsche said European banks would not be required to conform to the new rules until March 2020.

Around 29 banks would be impacted by the ring fencing rules, Sueddeutsche said, adding that smaller financial institutions may still be allowed to continue with such trading strategies.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 08:58 AM

29. Taking power in New Delhi, 'common man' leader talks of revolution

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/28/uk-india-politics-idUKBRE9BR04B20131228

(Reuters) - There was no motorcade, and none of the traditional trappings of power: the leader of India's upstart "common man party" arrived on a crowded metro train on Saturday to be sworn in as chief minister of Delhi, India's capital.

Tens of thousands of jubilant supporters watched as Arvind Kejriwal, a mild-mannered former tax official, was anointed after a stunning electoral debut that has jolted the country's two main parties just months before a general election.

The emergence of Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, or AAP, as a force to be reckoned with barely a year since it was created on the back of an anti-corruption movement could give it a springboard to challenge the mainstream parties in other urban areas in the election due by next May.

That could be a threat to the front-runner for prime minister, Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is counting on strong support from urban, middle-class voters.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #29)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:09 AM

30. That's the kind of party we need here.

 

Call it The Non-Pyschopaths Party

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:17 AM

31. BUNDESBANK CHIEF PRESSES EUROPE TO PURSUE REFORMS

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_GERMANY_FINANCIAL_CRISIS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-28-04-55-31

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's central bank president is pressing struggling European countries to keep pursuing economic reforms and voicing concern that ultra-low interest rates could in the long term lighten pressure on politicians to stay the course.

Bundesbank chief and European Central Bank governing council member Jens Weidmann was quoted as telling Saturday's edition of German daily Bild that financial markets have calmed but "the crisis can flare up again." He said Europe needs "endurance and strong will" to see through its reform course.

The ECB has cut its main interest rate to a record-low 0.25 percent and may take further action amid economic weakness and low inflation. Weidmann, an anti-inflation hawk, said low rates are justified but cautioned that "low price pressure cannot be a warrant for loosening monetary policy at will."

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:19 AM

32. Tatiana's Letter Aria--Yevgeny Onegin--Piotr Illich Tchaikovsky

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:21 AM

33. EU VOICES CONCERN OVER TURKISH GRAFT SCANDAL

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_TURKEY_CORRUPTION_PROBE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-28-08-20-00

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- European officials urged Turkey to handle a deepening corruption scandal in a transparent manner on Saturday, amid some concerns that the government was trying to stifle an investigation that has targeted people close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan this week reshuffled his Cabinet and fired key ministers after 24 people, including the sons of two former ministers, were arrested on bribery charges.

But the Turkish leader has also alleged his government is the victim of a foreign and local plot to destabilize Turkey and has taken steps which opponents say aims to impede the investigation, including the removal of police officers from posts. Erdogan had also changed police regulations to ensure that corruption probes are funneled through top police and judicial close to the government, but a Turkish high court overturned that move.

An estimated 4,000 people meanwhile, gathered in central Ankara on Saturday for a protest organized by a civil servants' union, calling on the government to step down over the scandal and chanting: "May the thieves' hands be broken!"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:33 AM

34. History of the USPS

 

Foundations


The first postal service in America arose in February 1692, when a grant from King William and Queen Mary empowered Thomas Neale "to erect, settle and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for the receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years."

Before the Revolution, there was only a trickle of business or governmental correspondence between the colonies. Most of the mail went back and forth to counting houses and government offices in London. The Revolution made Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress, the information hub of the new nation. News, new laws, political intelligence, and military orders circulated with a new urgency, and a postal system was necessary. Journalists took the lead, securing post office legislation that allowed them to reach their subscribers at very low cost, and to exchange news from newspapers between the 13 states. Overthrowing the London-oriented imperial postal service in 1774-75, printers enlisted merchants and the new political leadership, and the new postal system was born. The United States Post Office (USPO) was created on July 26, 1775, by decree of the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin headed it briefly.

The modern Post Office originated in 1792 as the Post Office Department (USPOD). It was based on the Constitutional authority empowering Congress "To establish post offices and post roads". The new law provided for a greatly expanded postal network, and served editors by charging newspapers an extremely low rate. The law guaranteed the sanctity of personal correspondence, and provided the entire nation with low-cost access to information on public affairs, while establishing a right to personal privacy.

Rufus Easton was appointed by Thomas Jefferson first postmaster of St. Louis under the recommendation of Postmaster General Gideon Granger. Rufus Easton was the first postmaster and built the first post office west of the Mississippi. At the same time Easton was appointed by Thomas Jefferson, judge of the largest territory in North America, The Louisiana Territory. Bruce Adamson wrote that: "Next to Benjamin Franklin, Rufus Easton was one of the most colorful people in United States Postal History."

It was Easton who educated Abraham Lincoln's Attorney General, Edward Bates. In 1815 Edward Bates moved into the Easton home and lived there for years at Third and Elm. Today this is where the Jefferson Memorial Park rests.

In 1806 Postmaster General Gideon Granger wrote a three-page letter to Easton, begging him not to partake in a duel with vice-president Aaron Burr. Two years earlier it was Aaron Burr who had shot and killed Alexander Hamilton. Many years later in 1852, Easton's son, Major-General Langdon Cheves Easton, was commissioned by William T. Sherman, at Fort Union to delivery a letter to Independence, Missouri. Sherman wrote: “In the Spring of 1852, General Sherman mentioned that the quartermaster, Major L.C. Easton, at Fort Union, New Mexico, had occasion to send some message east by a certain date, and contracted with Aubrey to carry it to the nearest post office (then Independence, Missouri), making his compensation conditional on the time consumed. He was supplied with a good horse, and an order on the outgoing trains for exchange. Though the whole route was infested with hostile Indians, and not a house on it, Aubrey started alone with his rifle. He was fortunate in meeting several outward-bound trains, and thereby made frequent changes of horses, some four or five, and reached Independence in six days, having hardly rested or slept the whole way."

To cover long distances, the Post Office used a hub-and-spoke system, with Washington as the hub and chief sorting center. By 1869, with 27,000 local post offices to deal with, it had changed to sorting mail en route in specialized railroad mail cars, called Railway Post Offices, or RPOs. The system of postal money orders began in 1864. Free delivery began in the larger cities in 1863.

19th century

The postal system played a crucial role in national expansion. It facilitated expansion into the West by creating an inexpensive, fast, convenient communication system. Letters from early settlers provided information and boosterism to encourage increased migration to the West, helped scattered families stay in touch and provide neutral help, assisted entrepreneurs to find business opportunities, and made possible regular commercial relationships between merchants and the West and wholesalers and factories back east. The postal service likewise assisted the Army in expanding control over the vast western territories. The widespread circulation of important newspapers by mail, such as the New York Weekly Tribune, facilitated coordination among politicians in different states. The postal service helped integrate established areas with the frontier, creating a spirit of nationalism and providing a necessary infrastructure.

The Post Office in the 19th century was a major source of federal patronage. Local postmasterships were rewards for local politicians—often the editors of party newspapers. About 3/4 of all federal civilian employees worked for the Post Office. In 1816 it employed 3341 men, and in 1841, 14,290. The volume of mail expanded much faster than the population, as it carried annually 100 letters and 200 newspapers per 1000 white population in 1790, and 2900 letters and 2700 newspapers per thousand in 1840.

The Post Office Department was enlarged during the tenure of President Andrew Jackson. As the Post Office expanded, difficulties were experienced due to a lack of employees and transportation. The Post Office's employees at that time were still subject to the so-called "spoils" system, where faithful political supporters of the executive branch were appointed to positions in the post office and other government corporations as a reward for their patronage. These appointees rarely had prior experience in postal service and mail delivery. This system of political patronage was replaced in 1883, after passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.

Ten years before waterways were declared post roads in 1823, the Post Office used steamboats to carry mail between post towns where no roads existed. Once it became clear that the postal system in the United States needed to expand across the entire country, the use of the railroad to transport the mail was instituted in 1832, on one line in Pennsylvania. All railroads in the United States were designated as post routes, after passage of the Act of July 7, 1838. Mail service by railroad increased rapidly thereafter.

The first stamp issues were authorized by an act of Congress and approved on March 3, 1847.[23] The earliest known use of the Franklin 5c is July 7, 1847, while the earliest known use of the Washington 10c is July 2, 1847. Remaining in postal circulation for only a few years, these issues were declared invalid for postage on July 1, 1851.



An Act of Congress provided for the issuance of stamps on March 3, 1847, and the Postmaster General immediately let a contract to the New York City engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson. The first stamp issue of the U.S. was offered for sale on July 1, 1847, in NYC, with Boston receiving stamps the following day and other cities thereafter. The 5-cent stamp paid for a letter weighing less than 1 oz (28 g) and travelling less than 300 miles, the 10-cent stamp for deliveries to locations greater than 300 miles, or twice the weight deliverable for the 5-cent stamp.

In 1847, the U.S. Mail Steamship Company acquired the contract to carry the U.S. mails from New York, with stops in New Orleans and Havana, to the Isthmus of Panama for delivery in California. The same year, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company had acquired the right to transport mail under contract from the United States Government from the Isthmus of Panama to California. In 1855, William Henry Aspinwall completed the Panama Railway, providing rail service across the Isthmus and cutting to three weeks the transport time for the mails, passengers and goods to California. This remained an important route until the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Railroad companies greatly expanded mail transport service after 1862, and the Railway Mail Service was inaugurated in 1869.

Rail cars designed to sort and distribute mail while rolling were soon introduced. RMS employees sorted mail 'on the fly' during the journey, and became some of the most skilled workers in the postal service. An RMS sorter had to be able to separate the mail quickly into compartments based on its final destination, before the first destination arrived, and work at the rate of 600 pieces of mail an hour. They were tested regularly for speed and accuracy.

Parcel Post service began with the introduction of International Parcel Post between the USA and foreign countries in 1887. That same year, the U.S. Post Office (predecessor of the USPS) and the Postmaster General of Canada established parcel-post service between the two nations. A bilateral parcel-post treaty between the independent (at the time) Kingdom of Hawaii and the USA was signed on 19 December 1888 and put into effect early in 1889. Parcel-post service between the USA and other countries grew with the signing of successive postal conventions and treaties. While the Post Office agreed to deliver parcels sent into the country under the UPU treaty, it did not institute a domestic parcel-post service for another twenty-five years.

20th century

The advent of rural free delivery in the U.S. in 1896, and the inauguration of a domestic parcel post service by Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock in 1913, greatly increased the volume of mail shipped nationwide, and motivated the development of more efficient postal transportation systems. Many rural customers took advantage of inexpensive Parcel Post rates to order goods and products from businesses located hundreds of miles away in distant cities for delivery by mail. From the 1910s to the 1960s, many college students and others used parcel post to mail home dirty laundry, as doing so was less expensive than washing the clothes themselves.

After four-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff was mailed from her parents to her grandparents in Idaho in 1914, mailing of people was prohibited. In 1917, the Post Office imposed a maximum daily mailable limit of two hundred pounds per customer per day after a business entrepreneur, W.H. Coltharp, used inexpensive parcel-post rates to ship more than eighty thousand masonry bricks some four hundred seven miles via horse-drawn wagon and train for the construction of a bank building in Vernal, Utah.

The advent of parcel post also led to the growth of Mail order businesses that substantially increased rural access to modern goods over what was typically stocked in local general stores.

In 1912, carrier service was announced for establishment in towns of second and third class with $100,000 appropriated by Congress. From January 1, 1911, until July 1, 1967, the United States Postal Service operated the United States Postal Savings System. An Act of Congress of June 25, 1910, established the Postal Savings System in designated Post Offices, effective January 1, 1911. The legislation aimed to get money out of hiding, attract the savings of immigrants accustomed to the postal savings system in their native countries, provide safe depositories for people who had lost confidence in banks, and furnish more convenient depositories for working people. The law establishing the system directed the Post Office Department to redeposit most of the money in the system in local banks, where it earned 2.5 percent interest.

The system paid 2-percent interest per year on deposits. The half percent difference in interest was intended to pay for the operation of the system. Certificates were issued to depositors as proof of their deposit. Depositors in the system were initially limited to hold a balance of $500, but this was raised to $1,000 in 1916 and to $2,500 in 1918. The initial minimum deposit was $1. In order to save smaller amounts for deposit, customers could purchase a 10-cent postal savings card and 10-cent postal savings stamps to fill it. The card could be used to open or add to an account when its value, together with any attached stamps, amounted to one or more dollars, or it could be redeemed for cash. At its peak in 1947, the system held almost $3.4 billion in deposits, with more than four million depositors using 8,141 postal units.

In 1912, Operation Santa Claus was started at the James Farley Post Office.

On August 12, 1918, the Post Office Department took over air mail service from the U.S. Army Air Service (USAAS). Assistant Postmaster General, Otto Praeger, appointed Benjamin B. Lipsner to head the civilian-operated Air Mail Service. One of Lipsner's first acts was to hire four pilots, each with at least 1,000 hours flying experience, paying them an average of $4,000 per year ($62.1 thousand today). The Post Office Department used mostly World War I military surplus de Havilland DH-4 aircraft.

During 1918, the Post Office hired an additional 36 pilots. In its first year of operation, the Post Office completed 1,208 airmail flights with 90 forced landings. Of those, 53 were due to weather and 37 to engine failure. By 1920, the Air Mail service had delivered 49 million letters. Domestic air mail became obsolete in 1975, and international air mail in 1995, when the USPS began transporting First-Class mail by air on a routine basis.

The Post Office was one of the first government departments to regulate obscene materials on a national basis. When the U.S. Congress passed the Comstock laws of 1873, it became illegal to send through the U.S. mail any material considered obscene or indecent, or which promoted abortion issues, contraception, or alcohol consumption.

On March 18, 1970, postal workers in New York City—upset over low wages and poor working conditions, and emboldened by the Civil Rights movement—organized a strike against the US Government. The strike initially involved postal workers in only New York City, but it eventually gained support of over 210,000 United States Post Office Department workers across the nation. While the strike ended without any concessions from the Federal government, it did ultimately allow for postal worker unions and the government to negotiate a contract which gave the unions most of what they wanted, as well as the signing of the Postal Reorganization Act by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970. The Act replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with the independent United States Postal Service, and took effect on July 1, 1971.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:35 AM

35. 'Werther' Letter Scene / Massenet * JANET BAKER * LIVE! in English

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:37 AM

36. Then, of course, there's the competition

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:43 AM

37. letter to me - brad paisley

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:49 AM

38. Current operations USPS

 

The United States Postal Service employs some 574,000 workers, making it the third-largest civilian employer in the United States behind the federal government and Wal-Mart. In a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Court noted: "Each day, according to the Government's submissions here, the United States Postal Service delivers some 660 million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million delivery points." As of 2011, the USPS operates 31,000 post offices and locations in the U.S., and delivers 177 billion pieces of mail annually.

The USPS operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 218,684 vehicles, the majority of which are the easily identified Chevrolet/Grumman LLV (Long-Life Vehicle), and the newer Ford/Utilimaster FFV (Flex-Fuel Vehicle), originally also referred to as the "CRV" (Carrier Route Vehicle). For every penny increase in the national average price of gasoline, the USPS spends an extra $8 million per year to fuel its fleet.

The number of gallons of fuel used in 2009 was 444 million, at a cost of US$1.1 billion. The fleet is notable in that many of its vehicles are right-hand drive, an arrangement intended to give drivers the easiest access to roadside mailboxes. Some Rural Letter Carriers use personal vehicles. Standard postal-owned vehicles do not have license plates. These vehicles are identified by a seven digit number displayed on the front and rear.

The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system to deliver mail for the military; this is known as the Army Post Office (for Army and Air Force postal facilities) and the Fleet Post Office (for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard postal facilities).

In February 2013, the Postal Service announced that it would no longer deliver mail on Saturdays, effective August 10, 2013. However, Saturday delivery of packages, mail-order medicines, Priority Mail, and Express Mail would continue. On March 21, 2013, Congress announced the USPS was required to continue Saturday mail delivery. On April 10, 2013, the USPS announced that Saturday mail will continue through at least September 30, 2013.

Five-year plans

In October 2008, the Postal Service released Vision 2013, a five-year plan required by law starting in 1993. One planned improvement is the introduction of the Intelligent Mail Barcode, which will allow pieces of mail to be tracked through the delivery system, as competitors like UPS and FedEx currently do.

Initiatives

In 2011, various media outlets reported that the USPS was going out of business. The USPS's strategy came under fire as new technologies emerged and the USPS was not finding ways to generate new sources of revenue.

On March 15, 2012, MIT held a Communications Forum called “The Future of the Post Office” with David C. Williams the Inspector General of the USPS. The forum was organized and moderated by MIT professor VA Shiva Ayyadurai, who had been openly critical of the USPS. In April 2012, at the PostalVision 2020 conference to USPS officials on new directions for the USPS, at which Ayyadurai presented a paper on why the USPS should embrace email. VA Shiva Ayyadurai's research center, the International Center for Integrative Systems (ICIS), was hired by the USPS-OIG to do a detailed analysis on how email and other initiatives could produce new revenues for the USPS. The analysis, which is the subject of ongoing research, projected that the USPS could potentially generate over $250 million per year through email servicing.

Budget-Revenue decline and planned cuts

First Class mail volume peaked in 2001 and has declined 29% from 1998 to 2008, due to the increasing use of email and the World Wide Web for correspondence and business transactions.


FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) directly compete with USPS express mail and package delivery services, making nationwide deliveries of urgent letters and packages.

Lower volume means lower revenues to support the fixed commitment to deliver to every address once a day, six days a week. In response, the USPS has increased productivity each year from 2000 to 2007, through increased automation, route re-optimization, and facility consolidation. Despite these efforts, the organization saw an $8.5 billion budget shortfall in 2010, and was losing money at a rate of about $3 billion per quarter in 2011.

On December 5, 2011 the USPS announced it would close more than half of its mail processing centers, eliminate 28,000 jobs and reduce overnight delivery of first-class mail. This will close down 252 of its 461 processing centers. (At peak mail volume in 2006, the USPS operated 673 facilities.) As of May 2012, the plan was to start the first round of consolidation in summer 2012, pause from September to December, and begin a second round in February 2014; 80% of first class mail would still be delivered overnight through the end of 2013.

In May 2012, the service announced it had modified its July 2011 plan to close about 3,700 small post offices. Instead, rural post offices would remain open with reduced retail hours (some as little as two hours per day) unless there was a community preference for a different option. In a survey of rural customers, 20% preferred the "Village Post Office" replacement (where a nearby private retail store would provide basic mail services with expanded hours), 15% preferred merger with another Post Office, and 11% preferred expanded rural delivery services. Approximately 40% of postal revenue already comes from online purchases or private retail partners including Walmart, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, Sam's Club, Costco, and grocery stores.

In February 2013, the service announced plans to eliminate Saturday delivery, beginning in August 2013. According to an official report on November 15, 2012, the U.S. Postal Service lost $15.9 billion its 2012 fiscal year. The U.S. Postal Service projects that cutting Saturday delivery will save them $1.9 billion annually.

Critics of the budget cuts say readjustments and closing "will be a mess", may not obtain projected savings, will cause severe dislocations, will run afoul of obligations under various collective bargaining agreements, and will disproportionately affect employees who are veterans and minorities.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #38)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:06 AM

40. We still have Saturday delivery


Wasn't elimination of Saturday delivery, postponed?

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Response to DemReadingDU (Reply #40)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:07 AM

42. WIKIPEDIA NEEDS AN UPDATE...Yes, still Saturday

 

and there was a deal supposedly cut with Amazon that USPS would deliver their packages on Sundays...

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:55 AM

39. A Letter to Socialists, By Gustave de Molinari (Economics, Politics, and a Letter!)

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:06 AM

41. Is NSA Screwing the Pooch? - TTG from Sic Semper Tyrannis (A Committee of Correspondence)

 

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/11/is-nsa-screwing-the-pooch-ttg.html


The NSA used to target only foreign signals, and according to its own legal interpretations, that's what it still does. But communications are now global: the Internet is so interconnected that everything and everyone on the network becomes a potential target, even the network itself. That's not to say that the NSA has "broken" all cryptography: "the math works," says Schneier, and while anonymizing tools like Tor are targeted by NSA, they seem to remain secure. Instead, the NSA appears to have manipulated encryption tools and tapped into data center links and fiber backbones—in essence, silently removing the hinges from their doors.

"We do know they made a systematic effort to place back doors in the products we use to get our security, and that makes us all less safe," he said. Schneier, like others in the cryptography community, regularly trades hunches and suspicions about NSA encryption exploits, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the federal group that sets encryption standards, is reviewing its past work in light of the NSA scandal. But few know for sure just how widespread the NSA's targeting of encryption standards is. And, Schneier worries, those who do know might not necessarily be well-intentioned.


"It's folly to believe they are the only ones that are taking advantage of it," he said. "So the NSA is saying in effect, we want to listen in on the Chinese, so much that we're gonna let the Chinese listen in on you. I think we'll be safer in a world where neither can listen—if we spend more effort on security, on assurance, then we'll be safer, even though there are bad actors." (Motherboard)


----------------------------------------------

A few days ago Bruce Schneier gave a video interview to Alex Pasternak of Motherboard Online Magazine. In his typically calm and reasoned manner, Bruce Schneier explained the current state of the societal conflict between freedom and security. In the end he is optimistic. He states, “We as a society will figure this out, that privacy and liberty are so important to us as a people that we will reestablish it.” I certainly hope so.

We didn’t arrive at our current state because the NSA put us here. We came here voluntarily as a society because 9/11 scared the bejeezus out of us. We wanted somebody to tell us everything will be okay. That doesn’t mean the NSA was just following orders. Our government in general and the IC in particular are riddled with bureaucrats more dedicated to their national security fiefdoms than to our Constitution. They took the opportunity we offered them after 9/11 and ran with it. They built a surveillance capability second to none. I’m proud of that capability, but that capability outstripped the legal and oversight regime needed to make it an effective tool to both protect the American people and to preserve our Constitutional freedoms. The IC didn’t seize control of our communications all by themselves. As Schneier notes, Google, Verizon and many other IT companies have been seizing control of our information long before the NSA ever did. He describes this in his essay “Surveillance as a Business Model.” The NSA just built on what was already in place, but their ability to “market” their capability was far inferior to the IT industry’s ability to convince consumers that this is all good for them. This led to one of the ways I feel the NSA has screwed the pooch. The world no longer trusts American IT, fearing NSA installed backdoors and total network penetration. Bloomberg estimates NSA spying risks 35 billion in US technology sales. In this economy, that hurts. As Schneier points out, the NSA’s unrelenting efforts to weaken encryption is damaging the security of the entire internet. That puts all information at risk. In addition to our personal information, business, industrial and government information is also put at risk. Again, the NSA is screwing the pooch. Luckily, the IT industry is now making some efforts to better encrypt customer information and their network traffic… although they’re probably only doing so to protect their market share. No matter what the industry’s motivations are, the NSA and the government should be supporting those efforts, not hindering them.

COMMENTARY AT LINK PROVIDES FURTHER INFORMATION AND CORROBORATION

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:22 AM

43. Bitcoin Pirates Steal Your Computer Resources!

 

Bitcoin miners bundled with PUPs in legitimate applications backed by EULA

http://www.techienews.co.uk/973462/bitcoin-miners-bundled-pups-legitimate-applications-backed-eula/

Bitcoin miners are being allegedly bundled with third party potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that come bundled with legitimate applications, a new report indicates. According to a report by security company Malwarebytes third party applications that come bundled with legitimate applications and commonly known as potentially unwanted programs/applications (PUPs/PUAs) now come integrated with Bitcoin miners. These miners surreptitiously carry out Bitcoin mining operations on the user’s system consuming valuable CPU time without explicitly asking for user’s consent. Because of the extensive mathematical calculations involved, the mining operation consumes a lot of CPU resource and renders the user’s system almost useless for regular operations.

Malwarebytes first came across such an instance of a Bitcoin miner when one of the users of its software requested for assistance on November 22 through a forum post. The user revealed that there was a process named “jh1d.exe” was taking up over 50 percent of the CPU resource and even after manual deletion the executable was re-appearing. The user noted that even when the executable was deleted using “moveonboot to remove it at the next boot” feature of MBM, it “manifests & executes” with a new filename “jh1c.exe”.

“We did some research and found out that the file in question was a Bitcoin Miner known as “jhProtominer”, a popular mining software that runs via the command line”, notes Malwarebytes. Upon further investigation Malwarebytes found that the parent of the Bitcoin miner was “monitor.exe”, a part of YourFreeProxy application, which “beacons out constantly, waiting for commands from a remote server, eventually downloading the miner and installing it on the system.”

Digging deeper into the EULA of the application there is a specific clause 3 titled “WBT Features on the Mutual Public Installer” that reads “COMPUTER CALCULATIONS, SECURITY: as part of downloading a Mutual Public, your computer may do mathematical calculations for our affiliated networks to confirm transactions and increase security. Any rewards or fees collected by WBT or our affiliates are the sole property of WBT and our affiliates.”


These computer calculations imply Bitcoin mining operation and the clause means that the company behind the software can and will install Bitcoin miners and use system resources to perform operations as required to mine Bitcoins and keep the rewards for themselves.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:31 AM

44. Ian Fraser: The “Financial Terrorism” of Royal Bank of Scotland

 

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/12/ian-fraser-the-financial-terrorism-of-royal-bank-of-scotland.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

Another of the banking scandals I’ve been covering for more than three years is gaining a wider audience, following the publication of the Tomlinson Report on Monday and this morning’s confirmation from the Financial Times that the Serious Fraud Office is “considering” an investigation into the bank’s alleged theft of customers’ assets.

I first looked into the activities of RBS’s “recovery and restructuring” arm – global restructuring group and West Register – three years ago, publishing a blog that examined RBS’s despicable treatment of Scotland-based businessman Derek Carlyle in December 2010. I first looked at the allegations of “systemic institutionalised fraud” and systemic abuse inside GRG in June 2012. And in October 2012, I provided further details of alleged widespread wrongdoing inside RBS’s global restructuring group and West Register. This included details of “manufactured defaults” which are when a bank trips a business borrower into breach of covenant through mechanisms including:-

(a) selling interest rate hedging products under false pretenses, and often under duress as a condition of continued funding support

(b) the removal of overdraft facilities at 48 hours notice

(c) arbitrary changes to the terms and conditions of loan agreements, including raising interest rates, adding charges and dramatically shortening loan maturities

(d) “losing” and then “recreating” lending agreements

(e) the placing of false valuations on the customers’ commercial property assets using ”tame” firms of chartered surveyors, which are alleged to include Graham & Sibbald in Edinburgh

Through such mechanisms banks, including RBS, are able to make out that business customers are “in breach” of loan-to-value agreements and/or covenants. In the case of RBS the evidence from several hundred case studies assembled by Tomlinson suggests a pattern of abuse, which while perhaps not systematic, is systemic. Legally or otherwise, the alleged pattern of abuse permits the bank to transfer targeted business customers’ accounts to its “recovery and restructuring” unit GRG. While it is sometimes dressed up as a “hospital” or “intensive care unit” intended to help distressed corporate borrowers back onto their feet, it is actually nothing of the sort. Once a business is in GRG, it is saddled with additional fees and charges, often for wholly spurious reasons, and with often amateurish and unqualified “consultants” posing as advisers and charging Ł1000 a day plus for what is often wholly inadequate advice.

Once a client firm has been “zombified” and milked for fees, and its carcass is of no further used to the bank, it generally goes into an administration process. There is not enough space to go into the iniquities that can arise from the collusion between RBS and large accountancy firms including PWC, Ernst & Young and KPMG during administrations and receiverships, but suffice to say these parties have been known not to act in the interests of all the affected companies’ creditors. Sometimes, they have been known to favour the sale of commercial property assets to RBS’s shady West Register property arm at prices well below those offered by rival bidders, including what might be considered to be the properties’ legitimate owners. Only about six per cent of corporate and commercial borrowers who enter GRG return to RBS’s performing portfolios (source: RBS annual report 2012) Both GRG and West Register are profit centres for the bank, and are a bit like private equity funds albeit ones that obtain their assets at knockdown prices. It is at or after this stage in the process that RBS’s West Register arm seizes (or buys at crazily low valuations) the “distressed” customers’ commercial property assets. Like GRG, West Register was established by RBS’s former chief executive George Mathewson in 1992 to try and profit from “distressed” situations in the wake of the 1990-1 recession.

Since I first spoke about RBS’s alleged maltreatment of business borrowers on BBC News (towards the end of the clip) and the Keiser Report in July 2012 I have been deluged with emails, phone calls, voice messages, and texts from SME directors and shareholders who complain that, for no legitimate business reason, RBS snuffed out their life’s work and seized their business assets using the methods described above. I have had people literally crying down the phone about the despicable way in which the bank has treated them, with some in a suicidal state. And, as far as I am aware, most were running profitable, stable, creditworthy businesses, before the bank set out to destroy them — not so called “zombies”. Victims of the abuse only really have three avenues to go down – sue RBS, complain to their MP or go to the media. However in all three of these routes the odds are stacked against them. Unless they have an MP like Jim Hood or Guto Bebb, complaining to their MP tends to get them nowhere. Speaking on Channel 4 News on Monday, Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and Herefordshire South, admitted that all 650 of the country’s MPs share a dirty little secret – that their inboxes have for the past four years, been stuffed full with emails from constituents complaining that RBS has snuffed out their livelihoods and destroyed their businesses.


MORE HORROR AT LINK--LOOKS LIKE THESE BASTARDS GIVE JAMIE AND LLOYD A RUN FOR THE TITLE OF VAMPIRE SQUID...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #44)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:43 AM

83. Wasn't RBS a major beneficiary of the AIG bailout?

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Response to snot (Reply #83)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 12:48 PM

85. everybody's been bailing them out

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:34 AM

45. Alas! I have to go do something totally useless for pay

 

and a post like that last puts me totally off my feed.

It's sunny, it's above freezing, and only a gentle breeze blows...must make hay while the weather holds!

But feel free to post, Weekenders! Catch up with you later!

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:40 AM

46. I refer you to this discussion--it's a resource!

 

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 02:52 PM

47. Spanish firms obtaining more loans from overseas investors

http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/12/26/inenglish/1388061929_981028.html

Successive financial reforms, a European bailout and the recapitalization of Spain's banks have all failed to reanimate the credit sector of Spain's economy. But recent figures issued by the Bank of Spain show that the number of loans to the country from overseas are higher than at the outset of the crisis.

One of every three euros loaned to Spanish companies originates from abroad, according to the figures released for October. When the economic meltdown started in 2008, Spanish banks accounted for 76.2 percent of all loans to domestic firms; five and a half years later, financing from overseas has risen to 33.2 percent, a record figure in the bank's historical series.

International credit lines to non-financial Spanish entities stand at 331 billion euros, according to the Bank of Spain, more than four billion euros up on the figure at the end of 2012.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #47)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 02:57 PM

48. Makes one wonder

 

why have a Spanish bank at all, if they aren't doing Spain's banking?

Shut the bastards down, crate a public bank, and drive out the invaders....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #48)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 03:00 PM

49. poor spain. they have suffered at the hands of the banksters. nt

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 03:04 PM

50. Didja know? Post Office Murals

 


As one of the projects in the New Deal during the Great Depression, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was developed to bring artist workers back into the job market and assure the American public that better financial times were on the way. (Marling 1982)

In 1933, nearly $145 million in public funds was appropriated for the construction of federal buildings, such as courthouses, schools, libraries, post offices and other public structures, nationwide. Under the direction of the PWAP, the agency oversaw the production of 15,660 works of art by 3,750 artists, these also included 700 murals that were placed on nationwide display. With the ending of the PWAP in the summer of 1934, it was decided that the success of the program should be extended by founding the Section of Painting and Sculpture (which was renamed the Section of Fine Arts in 1938-43) under the U.S. Treasury Department. (Marling 1982)

The Section focused its goal on reaching as many of American citizens as possible. Since the local post office seemed to be the most frequented government building by the public, the Section requested that the murals, approximately 12’ by 5’ oil paintings on canvas, be placed on the walls of the newly constructed post offices in the 48 states, exclusively. It was recommended that 1% of the money budgeted for each post office be set aside for the creation of the murals. (Park 1984)
...
The selection of out-of-state artists brought other issues into question, such as stereotypes of rural people being portrayed merely as hicks and hayseeds and not having the murals express their cultural values and work ethics. Many residents of small towns, most notably in the Southern states, resented the portrayal of rural lifestyles by artists who had never visited the areas where their artwork would be displayed. (Marling 1982)



From Wiki, here.

http://livingnewdeal.berkeley.edu/new-deal-agencies/treasury-section-of-fine-arts/

We need more - not just bridge and road building, but expressions of being human. And I would rather pay for this than send money to a thieving banker...

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 03:15 PM

51. So, it's 46F and sunny

 

after weeks below freezing...would you believe there are FLIES outside? Not just one, either.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 06:33 PM

52. Some person in Post Office stole my shipment

 

I shipped a package containing a golf club from Seattle to a Florida address.
The recipients received the package torn and empty. It was shipped USPS
Priority mail with tracking.

I always ship UPS or Fedex since they never steal stuff from my shipments.
I gave USPS a try because it was cheaper. In the end it cost me more since I
had to refund my sale on eBay and lost the postage paid to USPS.

The one time UPS damaged my shipment and UPS refunded me the value of product!
I have shipped over 150 golf clubs via UPS & Fedex.
USPS did nothing to refund me stolen golf club.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 06:45 PM

53. Why No Wall Street CEOs Were Prosecuted For Causing The Financial Crisis

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/25/1265127/-Why-No-Corporate-CEOs-Were-Prosecuted-For-Causing-The-Financial-Crisis?detail=email

LONG ANALYSIS--THE GIST OF IT IS: GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WERE COMPLICIT ACCOMPLICES

READ IT.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 07:42 PM

54. How the Postal Service is being gutted.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 08:25 PM

55. Thanks for sharing


as you posted at your link...

"If Congress will sabotage the Postal Service, what else might they be capable of doing? Is the handling of the Postal Service an anomaly or a template? They also have Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in their hands... "

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Response to hay rick (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 09:12 PM

56. Internet is killing the post office

 

People are paying bills electronically, even Christmas greetings are more and more via e-cards.
Post office will shrink on its own due to internet.

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Response to golfguru (Reply #56)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 07:22 AM

65. There are still grandmas sending real cards to grandkids

Me!

I use the post office every month to send the grandkids birthday cards, holiday cards, etc. There are also a few bills that I still send with a check in the mail.

Although on some occasions I use my mailbox to leave the cards for the mailman to pickup so I don't necessarily need a physical post office. Our little town, so far, still has its post office, but I do wonder how much longer it will be there.



Edit: And if banks have to take a 'holiday', as happened in Cyprus last March, no one (business and individuals) was allowed to make electronic deposits nor payments for a couple weeks, until the banks were allowed to re-open. Something to think about for the U.S.

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Response to golfguru (Reply #56)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 10:16 AM

68. USPS needs to be modernized

 

1) postal banking (which it did before, which most civilized nations offer still)

2) universal internet....the PO should be the utility provider. Not only would it standardize the internet across the nation, I bet it would nullify the NSA. The Post Office gets privacy rights for its customers, this could be extended to both the banking and the internet....

The Post Office is INFRASTRUCTURE....furthermore, it is peace-building, community, political infrastructure.

It needs to be cherished, groomed, promoted, revitalized. We would not be the nation we are today, had the Post Office not ever been established as a public utility.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:30 PM

57. I ordered several packages online in the couple of weeks before x-mas.

All but one was shipped USPS priority mail. They arrived exactly when expected. Two days. I returned one for an exchange, and it was a four day round trip, from return to getting the new order.

I shipped a watch I sold on ebay, and it was delivered in two days by USPS.

The one item that was shipped to me by UPS (a new laptop keyboard) sat in a sorting facility in new Jersey from Monday until Friday, and was delivered on Sat.

A friend in our Browns Backers Club is a UPS driver. He said every driver there was slammed ad working the maximum hours that they were allowed 6 days per week. They just didn't hire enough drivers, and their customers got screwed.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #57)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 07:54 AM

67. I had a few packages delivered by Posts Office


A couple boxes were too large for my mailbox, so the mailman delivered them to my door.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:09 AM

58. FEDERAL HEALTH MARKET SURPASSES 1 MILLION SIGNUPS

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/federal-health-market-surpasses-1-million-signups

HONOLULU (AP) — A December surge propelled health care sign-ups through the government's rehabilitated website past the 1 million mark, the Obama administration said Sunday, reflecting new signs of life for the problem-plagued federal insurance exchange.

Of the more than 1.1 million people now enrolled, nearly 1 million signed up in December, with the majority coming in the week before a pre-Christmas deadline for coverage to start in January. Compare that to a paltry 27,000 in October —the website's first, error-prone month — or 137,000 in November.

The figures tell only part of the story. The administration has yet to provide a December update on the 14 states running their own exchanges. While California, New York, Washington, Kentucky and Connecticut have performed well, others are still struggling.

Still, the end-of-year surge suggests that with HealthCare.Gov now functioning better, the federal market may be starting to pull its weight. The windfall comes at a critical moment for Obama's sweeping health care law, which becomes "real" for many Americans on Jan. 1 when coverage through the exchanges and key patient protections kick in.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:12 AM

59. AP IMPACT: THE WORLD BRACES FOR RETIREMENT CRISIS

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GREAT_RESET_RETIREMENT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-29-00-43-03

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages.

Spawned years before the Great Recession and the financial meltdown in 2008, the crisis was significantly worsened by those twin traumas. It will play out for decades, and its consequences will be far-reaching.

Many people will be forced to work well past the traditional retirement age of 65 - to 70 or even longer. Living standards will fall, and poverty rates will rise for the elderly in wealthy countries that built safety nets for seniors after World War II. In developing countries, people's rising expectations will be frustrated if governments can't afford retirement systems to replace the tradition of children caring for aging parents.

The problems are emerging as the generation born after World War II moves into retirement.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:18 AM

60. HOW RETIREMENT SYSTEMS VARY, COUNTRY TO COUNTRY

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GREAT_RESET_RETIREMENT_THUMBNAILS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-29-00-49-35

- UNITED STATES:

The United States is struggling to finance its promises to future retirees. Social Security is the core of its system. Social Security payments are financed by a tax on both workers and employers. The payments average $1,269 a month. Two-thirds of retirees rely on Social Security for most of their income. Americans can collect as early as age 62 but don't receive the full benefit unless they wait later to collect - until age 66 for those born from 1943 through 1959 and age 67 for those born after. Many also rely on corporate pensions. But companies have been replacing them with 401(k)-style plans. These plans require employees to save and invest themselves. But many who are eligible for 401(k) or similar plans don't enroll in them, contribute too little or raid their accounts before retirement.

- CHINA:

China's population is aging rapidly. That has left a shortage of working-age people to pay into the pension system. For now, the retirement system remains generous for most city dwellers. Urban workers pay 8 percent of their income toward retirement; their employers add 20 percent. The pensions equal about half of pre-retirement income. Men are eligible for pensions at 60, women at 50 to 55. Only about half of adults are covered by the urban pensions or similar pensions that are available to government workers. In 2009, China introduced a pension plan for rural areas. But it's barely begun. And it pays rural retirees an average of just $12 a month. Policymakers are considering raising the retirement age for urban workers. China tightly regulates investing, making it difficult for workers to put money in riskier investments that offer higher returns and the potential to build significant retirement savings. China is reviewing ways to ease investment restrictions.

- JAPAN:

An aging Japan is struggling to finance the retirement of its baby boom generation. It has a three-part system: Workers receive a flat-rate pension of about 66,000 yen ($657) a month from a fund partially financed by worker contributions. They also receive a second pension based on their earnings, financed entirely by their contributions. And they can contribute to additional plans that are voluntary. They can collect the flat-rate pension after contributing for 25 years; they become eligible for a full benefit after 40 years. The flat-rate and earnings-based pensions combined replace an average of only about 25 percent of pre-retirement income. Many older Japanese, who had lifetime jobs with good benefits, have accumulated hefty savings. But younger workers, who came of age amid a sluggish economy and corporate cutbacks, are struggling to save.

- GERMANY:

Germany's retirement system is generous for many, but getting less so. The post-World War II economic boom financed comfortable retirements. The system still provides the bulk of income for retired people - about 70 percent as of 2010. Germans can retire with a full pension at 65, though the age is gradually rising. People born after 1964 face a retirement age of 67. The system replaces 58 percent of average take-home pay. The pensions are funded by a payroll tax with no investment assets backing the government's promises - a so-called pay-as-you-go system. Pensions are tied to earnings during a person's working years. But the formula now reduces pension levels as the ratio of retirees to workers rises. There's an additional benefit that serves as a safety net for very low-income retirees. Many people who work for major employers also have company-based pensions.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:23 AM

61. Japan's top business lobby agrees to raise base pay next year - media

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/29/uk-japan-economy-wages-idUKBRE9BS00Y20131229

(Reuters) - Japan's most influential business lobby has agreed to raise workers' base pay for the first time in six years as the economy gains momentum and corporate earnings improve, the Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.

Many economists say an increase in base pay is essential to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pledge to end 15 years of mild deflation and to help the Bank of Japan meet its 2 percent inflation target.

The Keidanren business lobby will encourage its member companies to raise base pay next year in annual spring wage negotiations, the Asahi reported, citing a draft of the business lobby's negotiations strategy.

The Keidanren will leave it up to each industry to decide how much it will raise base pay, but its approval of wage hikes could encourage labour unions to request even higher pay and help lift wages throughout the economy.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:30 AM

62. sunday kind of love

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:55 AM

63. Etta James - I'd Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975)

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 07:11 AM

64. Etta James -- Sugar on the Floor

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 07:53 AM

66. Which will be the big economies in 15 years? It's not a done deal

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/29/worlds-largest-economies-and-their-future

Here is a puzzle that preoccupies futurologists, business strategists, economists and the world's foreign offices. Who is going to do best or worst economically over the next 15 years out of the world's current top 10 economies? In 2013, the US is comfortably number one, twice the size of China and two-and-half times the size of the number three, Japan. After Germany at fourth comes a cluster of countries with less than a trillion dollars of GDP separating them. France just pips Britain at sixth. Then follow Brazil, Russia, Italy and Canada with India, hurt by the collapse of the rupee, just outside the top 10 at 11.

The conventional wisdom, informed by conventional economics, is clear, represented faithfully by the conservative-leaning Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in its annual world economic league table released last week. The European economies, especially France and Italy, will sink down the league table, burdened by taxation, welfare and ageing populations. China is inexorably rising to take over the top spot, but in 2028, later than the CEBR thought last year. India will climb to number three. Russia will do well, as will Mexico and eventually Brazil. The UK, if it continues to shrink the state, keeps taxes low, deregulates its labour markets, continues to be open to immigration and disengages with Europe, may only fall one place in the 2028 ranking to seventh. But even though the UK and US will fare better than mainland Europe, the relative decline of the west will continue.

Britain's conservative press seized on the projections with glee, proof positive that George Osborne is on the right track and Euro-scepticism is triumphant. The Express trumpeted: "Booming Britain will be top dog as the rest of Europe stagnates", while one commentator in the Mail wrote of Britain's "renaissance": the CEBR had handed the chancellor a "weapon with which to attack Labour's agenda of despond and false promises".

Hmm. Booming Britain? Renaissance? The problem is that the economic theory that supports these predictions is itself in crisis. By prioritising the role of low taxes, deregulation, the inevitable efficiency of markets and the accompanying inevitable inefficiency of the state as drivers of growth, it assumes that the last 30 years – and in particular the 2008 financial crisis – had not happened. These are the terms in which UCL's Professor Wendy Carlin, leading the programme at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) to reframe the economics curriculum to include economics' new advances, describes the state of much current teaching and debate, exemplified by both the CEBR report and the reaction to it.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #66)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 11:08 AM

84. Good article. More:

. . . growing inequality menaces vigorous societies. It is a proxy for how effectively an elite has constructed institutions that extract value from the rest of society. Professor Sam Bowles, . . . . argues that inequality pulls production away from value creation to protecting and securing the wealthy's assets: one in five of the British workforce, for example, works as "guard labour" – in security, policing, law, surveillance and forms of IT that control and monitor. The higher inequality, the greater the proportion of a workforce deployed as guard workers, who generate little value and lower overall productivity.


We need some kind of scorecard on economists' predictions! And only the ones who are right at least 50% allowed to talk.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 11:08 AM

69. Young People More Likely To Favor Socialism Than Capitalism: Pew

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/young-people-socialism_n_1175218.html

Young people -- the collegiate and post-college crowd, who have served as the most visible face of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- might be getting more comfortable with socialism. That's the surprising result from a Pew Research Center poll that aims to measure American sentiments toward different political labels.

The poll, published Wednesday, found that while Americans overall tend to oppose socialism by a strong margin -- 60 percent say they have a negative view of it, versus just 31 percent who say they have a positive view -- socialism has more fans than opponents among the 18-29 crowd. Forty-nine percent of people in that age bracket say they have a positive view of socialism; only 43 percent say they have a negative view.

And while those numbers aren't very far apart, it's noteworthy that they were reversed just 20 months ago, when Pew conducted a similar poll. In that survey, published May 2010, 43 percent of people age 18-29 said they had a positive view of socialism, and 49 percent said their opinion was negative,

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 11:09 AM

70. Musical interlude: Package delivery in the old days

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Response to antigop (Reply #70)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 12:41 PM

71. How could I have forgotten that!

 

Thanks, antigop!

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Response to antigop (Reply #70)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 12:48 PM

72. From the Music Man

One of my favorite musicals.

BTW, Shirley Jones is making the rounds discussing her new book. She said she always wanted to be a veterinarian until she was discovered by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 12:58 PM

73. How the Postal Service Is Being Gutted

 

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/04/how-the-postal-service-is-being-gutted.aspx#.Ur9uxOJC-_I

In...a multiyear effort to reduce costs and remain viable.... The USPS will close half of its processing centers, shutter more than 3,000 local branches, and eliminate about one-third of its workforce -- nearly 220,000 employees. It won't surprise you to learn that these moves will slow the delivery of first-class mail (i.e., letters) by one to three days, making citizens less reliant on the postal service and hastening its demise. Why would the USPS take such radical measures? The simple truth is that the postal service is a fundamentally sound business, though not without its challenges. If you look closely, you'll see a concerted campaign to drive USPS out of business, despite the fact that it operates without government subsidies and, potentially, at a profit. It's being subjected to a politically manufactured crisis in order to ram through drastic change. But without the USPS, citizens will face much higher costs without better service. Below, I outline three common misconceptions about the USPS and explain why they're misleading.

Myth 1: The USPS' losses show that it's not a viable business
In the last decade or so, the USPS has been dogged by two significant changes. The most obvious is the advent of email, which has hurt postal volumes, especially first-class mail. That's a secular change that's not going away, and all the better for the many benefits it provides (spam notwithstanding). The other change is political and imposes un-needed stress. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, forcing USPS to pre-fund the present value of 75 years of its pension and health-benefit fund in 10 years -- about $5.5 billion annually for a business mandated to break even.

Listen only to the recent headlines and you might think the USPS is about to drop off the face of the earth. After all, officially it spurted red to the tune of $15.9 billion in 2012. Look closer.
Exactly $11.1 billion of that loss was due to the pre-funding mandate and half of that ($5.5 billion) was deferred from 2011 when the USPS defaulted on its payment in order to fund operations. Below are the official numbers and my adjusted figures accounting for Congress's mandate. SEE LINK FOR TABLE The net losses look daunting. But adjust them for pre-funding to see the actual operating situation instead of the deeply red figures hyped by most media outlets. That 75-year pre-funding mandate adds substantially to the post office's losses. This is a requirement that no other government agency, let alone a private company, must face. In short, the USPS is paying for people who aren't even employees yet -- in fact, may not even be born yet!

And the USPS has been a model for prudent squirreling. As of Feb. 2012, it had more than $326 billion in assets in its retirement fund, good for covering 91% of future pension and health-care liabilities. In fact, on its pensions, the USPS is more than 100% funded, compared to 42% at the government and 80% at the average Fortune 1000 company. In health-care pre-funding, the USPS stands at 49%, which sounds not so good until you understand that the government doesn't pre-fund at all and that just 38% of Fortune 1000 companies do, at just a median 37% rate. The USPS does better than almost everyone. Pre-funding is a burden that other government-linked firms don't have to face, notably defense companies. Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT ) pension was underfunded by $13.3 billion as of Aug. 2012 -- nearly half of its market cap. Raytheon's (NYSE: RTN ) was underfunded by $6 billion, more than one-third of its market cap, and Boeing's (NYSE: BA ) by $16.6 billion, almost 30%. They have the luxury of profitability and time to fund their obligations. Another advantage: They can invest in a wide range of securities, while the USPS is forced to invest in only government bonds. Yeah, those bonds that, in some cases, pay less than 1% interest. So USPS has to save a lot more money now for the same payout later.

The cuts USPS is being forced to make are like eating dog food when you have a million bucks in the bank. The pre-funding mandate is completely ridiculous for a business that is mandated to break even. Where is the surplus cash going to come from, since it’s not from profits? In addition, this mandate forces USPS to cut investments in technology that would increase productivity and competitiveness, making USPS viable longer term. Even Congress is not so dense as not to see that its law creates a crushing burden.

Myth 2. Everyone knows that snail mail is dead, so USPS can't survive

Myth 3. Privatized mail delivery would be cheaper and more effective

This myth is often advanced by those who advocate privatizing the postal service, often invoking unions that are strangling the company or an inefficient bureaucracy. But USPS has continued to compete well as a business despite being run ragged by a Congress backed by big money. USPS has invested heavily in modern systems to speed distribution, and, in fact, has partnerships with FedEx and UPS for "last mile" delivery. In particular, FedEx relies heavily on USPS, which delivered more than 30% of FedEx Ground shipments in 2011. To reframe this, the USPS provides service that is cheaper than what UPS and FedEx can provide for many locations. That's an implicit subsidy. It's bad enough that USPS is forbidden from entering new markets. When it does well on its home turf, rivals turn to Congress, silencing USPS when it delivers better rates. As economist Dean Baker explains, "About a decade ago, the Postal Service had an extremely effective ad campaign highlighting the fact that its express mail service was just a fraction of the price charged for overnight delivery by UPS and FedEx. They went to court to try to stop the ad campaign. When the court told them to get lost, they went to Congress. Their friends in Congress then leaned on the Postal Service and got it to end the ads."

And when USPS tried to take advantage of web shopping? As Elaine Kamarck at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government explains. "But parcel shipments were generated by large organizations and the USPS was not allowed to negotiate discounts and thus lost business. It was forbidden by law from lowering prices to get more business. This resulted in the entirely incredible situation in the 1990s where the United States government negotiated an agreement for the delivery of U.S. government package services with Fed Ex because the USPS was not allowed to negotiate for lower prices!" So, if USPS is just government bloat, as some ideologues would have it, then why would efficient free market players such as UPS and FedEx resort to the government? Shouldn't they simply compete USPS out of that express business? This paradox reveals in stark detail the industry's game plan. Compete effectively where possible and then use political power to grab market share from USPS, with the ultimate goal of privatizing the postal system, or at least its profitable parts. This goal is emblematized by the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank founded by Charles Koch advocating the privatization of public services such as the post office. Frederick W. Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, was on Cato's board, and FedEx funds Cato...

MORE ROBBERY AT LINK



James Royal has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends FedEx and UPS, and owns shares of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 01:02 PM

74. Congress Has a Constitutional Duty to Preserve and Promote the Post Office John Nichols

 

http://www.thenation.com/blog/173494/congress-has-constitutional-duty-preserve-and-promote-post-office#



No member of Congress who takes seriously their oath sworn to uphold the Constitution can neglect the duty to preserve the United States Postal Service. The founding document is clear. Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 gives Congress the power and the responsibility: “To establish Post Offices and post Roads.”

To say that Congress has shirked its duty in recent years would be an understatement of colossal proportions. The Republican-controlled House and Senate, working with former President George W. Bush, manufactured a crisis for the postal service in 2006, when they required the USPS to prefund its future healthcare benefit payments to retirees for the next seventy-five years. That’s something no major corporation could or would do, as it required the service to divert more than $5 billion annually to prepay the health benefits of retirees who have not yet been hired. The absurdity of the circumstance created by those requirements, as well as the absurdity of the restrictions that remain on the ability of the USPS to compete, must be addressed by Congress.

Congress has backed a continuing resolution that pushes back against the current push to end Saturday delivery, potentially staving off what the National Association of Letter Carriers describes as “a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers.” But this “fix” is only temporary. And there are more threats on the horizon. Proposals have been floated to close thousands of post offices, especially in rural areas. Postal sorting centers are being closed. Plans have been advanced to slash the workforce and to dramatically downsize the USPS.

While the scheming to impose an austerity agenda on the postal service has, at some points, been interrupted by Congress, a steady assault on the service continues—urged on by private carriers that hope to see the service decline so that they can, through privatization, take over the most lucrative components of the USPS. This is a classic austerity model: Politicians, influenced by corporations that fund campaigns and overrun Capitol Hill with lobbyists, undermine quality public services. Then they claim those services are not efficient and begin bartering them off to their cronies. It’s pay-to-play politics at its worst, crony capitalism in the extreme. And it does not have to happen. There are sound plans to stabilize the finances of the postal service and to allow it to compete. These reforms will not just ease the current crisis; they will put the service on solid footing to compete in the twenty-first century—as postal services do around the world.

The only question is whether members of Congress will side with the public interest in maintaining a strong and innovative postal service, or with the campaign donors and lobbyists who want to carve up the USPS and replace service with profiteering....MORE

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:21 PM

75. musical interlude: "Letter Song" from "Secret Garden"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:24 PM

76. Musical interlude: "The Letter" from "Billy Elliott"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:28 PM

77. "Dear Mom#1" from "Smile"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:30 PM

78. Elvis Presley: "Return to Sender"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:33 PM

79. Alan Sherman: "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:37 PM

80. "Unexpected Song" from "Song and Dance"

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 06:43 PM

81. Barbara Streisand: "Letters That Cross in the Mail"

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Response to antigop (Reply #81)

Sun Dec 29, 2013, 07:05 PM

82. I know those, too! I have recordings of them

 

What I don't have is my stereo set up, lo these 16 years....

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