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Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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Romney’s 9-Point Plan to Annihilate Unions

from In These Times:

Romney’s 9-Point Plan to Annihilate Unions
What Mitt Romney and the GOP would like to do to labor.

BY Jeremy Gantz

Except for one quick swipe at teachers unions by Mitt Romney on Monday, neither of the major-party presidential candidates—nor their running mates—mentioned workers’ rights, collective bargaining or organized labor during any of the four presidential-campaign debates.

Usually, anything happening in the swing-state-rich Midwest gets scrupulous attention from presidential candidates. Given the momentous labor battles that played out across Midwestern political stages over the last few years, as GOP lawmakers waged attacks on unions in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, the omissions were surprising. But then again, given unions’ declining size and presumed lack of clout among undecided voters in swing states, perhaps they weren't.

When unions have popped up during the general election season, it was as enemies of progress. Romney’s reference to unionized teachers as an obstacle to reform during the foreign policy debate, of all places, was so quick you probably missed it. In fact, he would like to eviscerate them. (More on that below.)

Labor leaders have painted a stark picture of what might lie ahead should Romney win. “A worker voting for Mitt Romney is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders,” Richard Trumka told Working In These Times during an AFL-CIO rally in August. Romney wants to “annihilate organized labor as we know it,” Teamsters President James Hoffa said in September. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14076/romneys_9_point_plan_to_kill_unions

At Third Party Debate, a Focus on Issues Left Out of Mainstream

from YES! Magazine:

At Third Party Debate, a Focus on Issues Left Out of Mainstream
Larry King moderated the lively discussion between four alternative-party candidates, which focused on issues that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have avoided.

by James Trimarco
posted Oct 24, 2012

If you came away from the Obama-Romney debates wondering where the discussion was on issues like climate change, student debt, and the drone war in Pakistan, last night’s debate between third-party candidates may have been just what you were looking for.

The debate questions were submitted by viewers via social media and read by moderator Larry King. They targeted issues missing from the Obama-Romney debates, like the war on drugs, student debt, and a military appropriations bill that allows the government to detain U.S. citizens without charge.

The four participating candidates filled in areas of the political spectrum both to the left and to the right of Obama and Romney: the Green Party’s Jill Stein, a former medical doctor; the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City; the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman; and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico.

Beneath the candidates’ passion and polish, a fatalism about electability surfaced from time to time, giving viewers a window into the difficulty third-party candidates face in attracting attention from the media and pretty much everyone else. Early in the debate, when King made a procedural error and forgot to have the candidates deliver their opening statements, Mr. Anderson responded by saying, “More people are here to listen to you than to listen to us.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/third-party-debate-focus-on-issues-left-out-of-mainstream

A Low-Down, Dirty, Rotten and Expensive 2012 Presidential Election

Published on Thursday, October 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

A Low-Down, Dirty, Rotten and Expensive 2012 Presidential Election
Unleashed ad spending 'pulverizes' campaign records; More ads and more negativity than ever

- Common Dreams staff

With a flood of outside money unleashed by the loosening of campaign finance restrictions since 2008, a new study shows that spending on campaign advertisements has risen to unprecedented levels and that the nature of the ads will make this year the most expensive and negatively-charged election in the history of the United States.

“When all is said and done, 2012 will go down as a record pulverizing year for political advertising,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. “We’ve already surpassed the total number of presidential ads aired during the entire 2008 campaign—and we still have two weeks to go before Election Day. What is especially striking is that the ads are concentrated on fewer markets than 2008, meaning that a smaller number of Americans have witnessed the onslaught of messages in the race for the White House.”

The examination by the group also broke down ad spending by party, with Republican leaning groups showing the most significant jumps. "Examining just the first three weeks of October, Democratic-leaning groups are estimated to have spent 438 percent more on advertising than they did four years ago," the report said. That huge increase, however, was pummeled by Republican-leaning groups who increased their spending by a whopping 954 percent. "In just the past three weeks, pro-Romney groups have spent over $47 million on television advertising. This translates into a $10 million advantage in ad spending by all Republican sponsors over all Democratic sponsors during the past three weeks."

Despite the overall spending advantage, however, the report found that the Obama campaign was actually airing more ads than Romney. Two possible reasons for this were given. The first, was that the Romney campaign has been saving money for a final "media push" in the last two weeks of the campaign. The other, more reflected in the reality of existing campaign finance laws, is that because Obama's spending is coming through its own campaign—which receives more favorable ad rates than those given to outside Super PACs or 501C-4 organizations that make up the bulk of the pro-Romney spending—Obama can spend less for more ads. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/10/25

Jim Rogers: "We're All Going To Pay A Horrible Price For This…"

Jim Rogers: "We're All Going To Pay A Horrible Price For This…"
By Money Morning Staff Reports

As the Fed gets ready to launch quantitative easing, dubbed QE3 or QE Forever -- legendary investor Jim Rogers is shaking his head.

In fact, Rogers, a long-time critic of the Feds policies of money printing, said repeating the same program the Fed has already attempted will make policymakers "look like fools again."

Any relief will be temporary, warned Rogers in a gripping interview on CNBC.


"We're all going to pay a horrible price for this in a year or two or three," he said. How horrible? Worse than Rogers predicts, according to a new investigation.

In a newly released documentary that went viral last month, a team of influential economic experts say they have discovered a "frightening pattern" they believe points to a massive economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen in history. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://moneymorning.com/ob/jim-rogers-were-all-going-to-pay-a-horrible-price-for-this/?utm_expid=5485297-10&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fpaid.outbrain.com%2Fnetwork%2Fredir%3Fkey%3Dae10ebcd61a0c5723bc5fbb0d0cf7282%26rdid%3D402193474%26type%3DCAD_d%2Fg2_ch%26in-site%3Dfalse%26idx%3D0%26pc_id%3D10081502%26req_id%3D0f7737134f211d803a86a349978fe7ea%26agent%3Dblog_JS_rec%26recMode%3D4%26reqType%3D1%26wid%3D100%26imgType%3D0%26adsCats%3D1205%2C-1%2C-1%26refPub%3D486%26prs%3Dtrue%26scp%3Dfalse%26fcapElementId%3D7348%26version%3D73498%26idx%3D6

‘Moderate Mitt’: Neocon Trojan Horse

from Consortium News:

‘Moderate Mitt’: Neocon Trojan Horse
October 24, 2012

Exclusive: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did all he could in Monday’s debate to calm voters’ fears that he would revert to George W. Bush’s neocon foreign policy. But there was one telling slip-up when Romney signaled that his heart remains with the neocon plan to remake the Middle East, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Mitt Romney’s peculiar sense of geography – thinking Iran was some landlocked country that needed Syria as a “route to the sea” – may have raised some eyebrows over Romney’s lack of basic knowledge, but another part of the same answer, referring to the civil war in Syria as “an opportunity,” should have raised more alarm.

Though Romney’s goal in Monday’s foreign policy debate was to downplay his warlike neoconservative stands, his reference to the Syrian chaos as “an opportunity” suggests that his more moderate rhetoric is just another ploy to deceive voters and win the election, not a real abandonment of neocon strategies.

In that sense, the new “moderate Mitt” is less a sign of a neocon retreat from his earlier bellicosity than a Trojan Horse to be wheeled onto the White House grounds on Jan. 20, 2013, so the neocons can pour forth from its hollowed-out belly and regain full control of U.S. foreign policy.

So, the neocons don’t really mind that Romney has suddenly abandoned many of their cherished positions, such as extending the Afghan War beyond 2014 and returning U.S. troops to Iraq. The neocons understand the political need for Romney to calm independent voters who fear that he may be another George W. Bush. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/10/24/moderate-mitt-neocon-trojan-horse/

Prison, $7 billion fine for French rogue trader

PARIS — The Paris appeals court on Wednesday ordered former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel to spend three years in prison and pay back a staggering (EURO)4.9 billion (about $7 billion) in damages for one of the biggest trading frauds in history.

The 35-year-old Kerviel, who never profited personally from his unauthorized trades, says he was a scapegoat for the bank and a victim of a financial system that runs on greed and profits. His lawyer David Koubbi called the verdict "absolutely lamentable" and said his team will consider taking the case to France's highest court.

Because Kerviel cannot realistically pay the money back in his lifetime, the bank suggested it would refrain from seeking full repayment.

A lower court convicted Kerviel in October 2010 of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized computer use for covering up bets worth nearly (EURO)50 billion — more than the market value of the entire bank — in 2007 and 2008. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/finance/20121024/EU.France.Trader/

Chicago: Riders divided on CTA bench seats

By Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune reporter
7:16 a.m. CDT, October 22, 2012

The aisle-facing, bucket-style seats on the new CTA rail cars have prompted strong reactions among riders — though evenly split pro and con, an unscientific survey suggests.

More than 2,500 people participated in the online poll conducted this month by the Active Transportation Alliance, a Chicago-area group that promotes safe transportation, bicycle use and other alternatives to automobiles.

Forty-nine percent said they would prefer New York-style benches with no defined separation between passengers instead of the individual "scoop" seats that are on the CTA's new 5000 Series rail cars, the Active Transportation Alliance reported.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they prefer the scoop, or bucket-style, seats, and 3 percent said they had no preference, the poll found. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-seats-survey-1022-20121022,0,186152.story

Cities need to get dense to survive, says Alex Steffen

via Grist:

Cities need to get dense to survive, says Alex Steffen
By Susie Cagle

As cities become more attractive places for middle- and upper-class Americans to move and housing prices continue to climb, the poorer among us are forced into the suburbs — away from public transportation and toward car-dependence. Cities are growing in every way, except in terms of their social good and attainability.

Alex Steffen, responding to a quote in a piece by Grist’s Claire Thompson, slaps down the anti-urbanist myth that density makes this problem worse.

(W)e have to go back to supply and demand. As long as there is more demand than supply, prices rise. There is no way around that fundamental fact of capitalism. That means, if we wish to moderate housing prices to limit displacement of lower-income citizens, we have two options: reduce demand, or increase supply …

This drives NIMBYs up the wall, because the simple truth is that if you want home prices to drop, or even just level off, the only way to do this is to build more housing. Every known policy aimed at limiting housing costs — from rent control to tenants’ rights to development moratoria — has failed to stop the rise in housing costs … Desirable cities in growing regions either add housing rapidly or become unaffordable to most and social(ly) inequitable. It’s that simple. Limiting housing supply is what drives out the poor.

Steffen then launches into a critique on San Francisco, a city I might venture to say contains the most NIMBYs per capita (even though there aren’t that many backyards!), and where rents are rising faster than anywhere else in the country. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/news/cities-need-to-get-dense-to-survive-says-alex-steffen/

Auschwitz Photographer Wilhelm Brasse Dies

from Der Spiegel:

The photographer who took pictures of tens of thousands of Auschwitz prisoners during World War II died on Tuesday. Almost seven decades after the end of the war, Wilhelm Brasse's pictures preserve the memory of Holocaust victims.

Wilhelm Brasse, the man responsible for innumerable photographs of prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp, died on Tuesday at the age of 95 in his hometown of Zywiec in Southern Poland. As a prisoner of the Nazis himself, Brasse took pictures of fellow inmates at the death camp as well as portraits of SS officers stationed at the infamous facility. He once estimated that he photographed between 40,000 to 50,000 prisoners.

Brasse was born in Austria in 1917 to an Austrian father and Polish mother and grew up in Southern Poland. He learned photography from aunt in the Polish city of Katowice.

When the Nazi army invaded Poland in 1939 he refused to pledge his allegiance to the Germans and joined the Polish army instead. He was captured by the Nazis as he was trying to cross the Hungarian border in 1940. After again refusing to declare his loyalty to Adolf Hitler, he was sent to the newly opened camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 31, 1940. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/auschwitz-photographer-wilhelm-brasse-dies-a-863100.html

The Rahmbo Show receives poor reviews

from In These Times:

By Kari Lydersen

At an October 22 forum sponsored by Columbia College, three prominent Chicago political analysts gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel grades ranging from "C" to "D-" to "incomplete." Emanuel lost points because of his battle with the Chicago Teachers Union and his looming confrontations in negotiations with the transit workers, firefighters and police unions.

The speakers—professors from DePaul University and from Columbia College, and Chicago Reader firebrand columnist Ben Joravsky—each speculated that Emanuel’s labor problems stemmed from the mayor's infamously combative personality.

Larry Bennett, a political science professor at DePaul who gave Emanuel an "incomplete" since the mayor is mid-term, offered three hypotheses as to why the mayor took “such an aggressive approach” with the teachers:

Did Mayor Emanuel really think the Chicago Teachers Union was the devil and in order to improve public education in Chicago you have to break the teachers union?

(Or) was Mayor Emanuel’s approach in some sense political—(as though) taking a hard line with the teachers union was going to endear him with certain constituencies which would be of use to him?

Or was it possibly produced by a character flaw—a reflexive tendency to bully people who you ought to engage in a cooperative effort?

Joravsky, too, raised the possibility that Emanuel’s stubbornness and impulsivity played a role in the showdown with the Chicago Teachers Union. He noted that tensions first rose when Emanuel insisted on demanding a longer school day—despite the fact that there was not money to pay teachers for their extra work and neither teachers nor parents cited school day length as a major problem. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/14067/rahm_emanuel_gets_poor_grades_at_chicago_forum/

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