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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,624

Journal Archives

Keiser Report: Winners without Contest

Published on Dec 5, 2015
Check Keiser Report website for more: http://www.maxkeiser.com/

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss an economy with winners but no contest and ‘saving capitalism’ as the recovery now lags that post Great Depression.

The County: sexual assault and the price of silence

from the Guardian UK:

The County: sexual assault and the price of silence
How law enforcement officers in Kern County, California, secretly tried to ‘buy off’ victims in sexual misconduct cases against the men sworn to protect them

by Oliver Laughland and Jon Swaine in Bakersfield, California.

They promised Karen Frye she would not be sexually assaulted again. The wire she was wearing and the secret video camera planted inside a hollowed-out Bible in her jail cell would be enough to catch her abuser before he could touch her, the officers said. But they were wrong.

Frye, a longtime drug user awaiting trial in Kern County’s notorious Lerdo jail, alleged she had been repeatedly abused by deputy Anthony Lavis, her jailer. She had initially kept quiet, terrified of the repercussions for reporting him. Fearing for the safety of other vulnerable inmates, however, she finally told another deputy of the attacks during a hospital visit.

The sting was supposed to put a stop to it all. But investigating officers did not reach her in time.

“He came inside and pushed me against the wall and pulled down my pants, and that’s when they pulled some kind of alarm,” Frye said, struggling as she recalled the details. “He got out quick, but not until I was assaulted again.” The next day, Frye was taken to the sheriff’s office in Bakersfield and offered a $1,500 cash payment in return for waiving her right to sue. .......................(more)


US Exports & Manufacturing Debacle Covered up by Oil

US Exports & Manufacturing Debacle Covered up by Oil
by Wolf Richter • December 7, 2015

[font color="blue"]A terrible deterioration.[/font]

It got somewhat lost in the hoopla of the jobs report and the blistering rally in the stock market on Friday. But the US trade deficit worsened by 3.4% in October to $43.9 billion, according to the Commerce Department, once again disappointing soothsayers who’d hoped for an improvement in the trade deficit.

But as bad as the overall trade deficit is, the trade deficit in goods (without services) is much worse, and even then, the oil trade covers up just how terrible the underlying trade of non-petroleum goods really is, how far and how fast non-petroleum exports have plunged, and how much US manufacturing is getting whacked.

The worsening trade deficit was a nasty “surprise” – nasty because it dings US economic growth; and surprise because it appears inexplicably difficult for Wall Street economists to predict a downhill slope.

Exports add to GDP, and imports reduce GDP. So when imports exceed exports, the sacred US GDP figures get hit as they have been since the 1990s. But October was bad: exports of goods plunged 10.4% year-over-year to $123.8 billion, the worst level since June 2011.

The culprits: the strong dollar that makes US goods more expensive in other currencies, and tepid economic growth in the rest of the world, with some major markets in a recession, or a deep recession, such as Russia, or even worse, such as Brazil. The China slowdown isn’t helping. But in the case of exports to China, the dollar can’t be blamed since the yuan is pegged to the dollar, and the recent devaluation was tiny compared to the moves of other currencies. ...............(more)


Chipotle's Biggest Strength Is Suddenly Its Biggest Weakness

(Bloomberg) Chipotle is fresh -- and suddenly, that’s a problem.

After years of winning customers and investors with its promise of healthy fast-food and premium burritos, the chain and its business model have been upended by a far-reaching E. coli outbreak. Sales have plummeted. So has its stock price.

The E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has sickened at least 52 people in nine states. And pinpointing the source of the contamination hasn’t been easy. Unlike the big burger-and-fries chains that deal with a handful of beef and potato suppliers and distributors, Chipotle depends on a more complex supply chain for its 1,900 outlets that includes scores of small, independent farmers. That can lead to ingredient shortages and questions about food safety.

When Chipotle can’t deliver on its healthy and fresh promise, its greatest strength can turn into its biggest weakness. In the latest sign of trouble, Chipotle temporarily closed a restaurant in Boston on Monday after several Boston College students, including members of the men’s basketball team, reported getting sick after eating there. It’s not yet clear if those illnesses are related to the wider E. coli outbreak. ..................(more)


I Saw Disturbing Racism at Yale After 9/11. Sadly, It Seems Little Has Changed.

from In These Times:

I Saw Disturbing Racism at Yale After 9/11. Sadly, It Seems Little Has Changed.
When will our universities stop treating students of color as throwaway items in the grooming of privileged white students?


As I read about the protests by students of color at Yale University this past fall, it triggers memories from my own undergraduate years there as a Muslim Pakistani-American student; I was a sophomore when 9/11 happened.

On March 27, 2003, seven days after the start of the Iraq War, my friend Katherine Lo heard unknown male voices in her suite. One of them said, “This is the room.” She locked her bedroom door and remained as quiet as possible so they would think she wasn’t home. After about 10 minutes, they left.

But she says they left her a parting gift, a note on her white board that read, “I love kicking the Muslims ass bitches ass! They should all die with Mohammad. We as Americans should destroy them and launch so many missiles their mothers don’t produce healthy offspring. Fuck Iraqi Saddam following fucks. I hate you, GO AMERICA.”

Kat stayed in her bedroom the rest of the night, terrified they would come back. She says that one of the men was armed with a two-by-four wooden plank, according to her suitemates, and that the university later told her that the intruders were three white men and one Black man, all Yale students. ....................(more)


San Francisco Residents Can Pay $600 a Month to Live in a FedEx Truck

This article was first published on AlterNet.

In the past few years, San Francisco’s massive rents have displaced long-time residents and worsened the city’s already epic homelessness problem, sending more people into encampments or forcing them to live in cars or doubled up.

Now, residents have the opportunity to experience that glamorous lifestyle by paying $600 a month to live in a FedEx truck. The SF Weekly reports that an enterprising car landlord equipped an old truck with luxury amenities like a mini-fridge and fold-out couch, renting the truck out for $600. No running water or toilets. “I didn’t end up putting plumbing in it because I was going to get a gym membership and use their facilities to help motivate me to work out every day — awesome plan right?! — so if you don’t mind doing that then this is a GREAT match for you,” reads the Craigslist description, according to the Weekly.

A student who rented the truck found herself facing the predictable problem of parking tickets and extreme discomfort:

Cinthia, a student at San Francisco State University, lived in the truck this fall. She would often park it near the school’s soccer fields and move it on cleaning days. But it wasn’t a flawless system — one night the battery died and the truck wouldn’t move. After class, she came back to a rainbow of parking tickets.

“The first time parking it was hard because I accidentally left the FedEx truck in a residential area and got yelled at,” said Cinthia, who asked that her last name not be used out of embarrassment. “I only move it at night when no one is around. The hard part is not being able to be at your house and relax. You don’t have a place to shower, and that can be tough.” ...............(more)


Thomas Frank book excert, still incredibly, and sadly, relevant........

[font size="4"]“The Democratic Leadership Council, the organization that produced such figures as Bill Clinton…has long been pushing the party to forget blue-collar voters and concentrate instead on recruiting affluent, white-collar professionals who are liberal on social issues. The larger interests that the DLC wants desperately to court are corporations, capable of generating campaign contributions far out-weighing anything raised by organized labor. The way to collect the votes and—more important—the money of these coveted constituencies, “New Democrats” think, is to stand rock-sold on, say, the pro-choice position while making endless concessions on economic issues, on welfare, NAFTA, Social Security, labor law, privatization, deregulation, and the rest of it…. Democrats no longer speak to the people on the losing end of a free-market system that is becoming more brutal and more arrogant by the day.”[/font]

- from, What's the Matter With Kansas, 2004

Paranoia is America’s national religion: Wing-nuts, gun culture & the disturbing cost of living in..

from Salon:

Paranoia is America’s national religion: Wing-nuts, gun culture & the disturbing cost of living in constant fear

For the second time in two months, I’m trying to write a column in the middle of an ongoing mass shooting on the West Coast. And once again I find myself filled with that mix of loathing, despair, and angry sarcasm that I haven’t felt since…oh, last Friday, when Robert Dear shot up that Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

This can’t be healthy, for anyone.

Ironically, I had planned on writing about the news that Black Friday saw a record number of background checks performed for gun purchases. People love to give each other guns for Christmas, because nothing says “spirit of the season” like a Glock with a 15-round magazine. If Jesus had been strapped, those Romans probably never would have messed with him. Talk about not defending yourself against government tyranny! Apparently God gave everyone the natural right to self-defense except His only son.

So the FBI’s instant background check system performed 185,345 checks last Friday, about two every second, even while the bodies were falling in Colorado Springs. And that’s just one day of the silly shopping season, which comes in a year that has seen a steady increase in gun sales. Part of this boom (no pun intended) surely comes from Second Amendment enthusiasts who are paranoid that Obama is going to come steal their guns any minute, as they have promised he is about to do for seven years. But one wonders how much of it is driven by people who have not had more than a passing interest in guns before, who now find themselves in a country full of armed lunatics. A country where a quick trip to the grocery store or a Friday-night movie could be interrupted by an angry man with a grudge and a couple of semi-automatics with high-capacity magazines.

In short, how much of this surge in gun sales comes from people who are not rabid Wayne LaPierre groupies, but see a society falling victim to his poisonous rhetoric and think they may as well buy a gun, just in case? Can’t say I blame them. Even if your chances of falling victim to gun violence are still very low, the breathless media coverage of each mass shooting and the polls on what your fellow Americans want with regard to gun control laws must make arming yourself feel like a rational response. ...................(more)


Zombie nativity scene draws $500 a day fine from town as Christian protesters descend

An Ohio man is under fire from local authorities for setting up a zombie nativity scene against town wishes, Fox 19 reports.

For the second year in a row, Jasen Dixon, who manages the “13 Rooms of Doom” haunted house, set up a manger featuring the undead honoring a zombie baby Jesus — despite being ordered to take it down last year.

According to Sycamore Township officials, Dixon needed a permit for the macabre display this year. But when he applied he was turned down, and now he faces a fine of $500 per day for every day he leaves it up.

Having gone through the same situation last year before dismantling it, Dixon began soliciting donations earlier this year to cover the expected financial sanctions.

Friday night on his Facebook page, Dixon wrote: “We were going to take it down, decided to leave it up, all the lights are re-hooked and open for business just no roof. Let’s see what happens.” .....................(more)


Chris Hedges: Apocalyptic Capitalism

from truthdig:

by Chris Hedges

The charade of the 21st United Nations climate summit will end, as past climate summits have ended, with lofty rhetoric and ineffectual cosmetic reforms. Since the first summit more than 20 years ago, carbon dioxide emissions have soared. Placing faith in our political and economic elites, who have mastered the arts of duplicity and propaganda on behalf of corporate power, is the triumph of hope over experience. There are only a few ways left to deal honestly with climate change: sustained civil disobedience that disrupts the machinery of exploitation; preparing for the inevitable dislocations and catastrophes that will come from irreversible rising temperatures; and cutting our personal carbon footprints, which means drastically reducing our consumption, particularly of animal products.

“Our civilization,” Dr. Richard Oppenlander writes in “Food Choice and Sustainability, “displays a curious instinct when confronted with a problem related to overconsumption—we simply find a way to produce more of what it is we are consuming, instead of limiting or stopping that consumption.”

The global elites have no intention of interfering with the profits, or ending government subsidies, for the fossil fuel industry and the extraction industries. They will not curtail extraction or impose hefty carbon taxes to keep fossil fuels in the ground. They will not limit the overconsumption that is the engine of global capitalism. They act as if the greatest contributor of greenhouse gases—the animal agriculture industry—does not exist. They siphon off trillions of dollars and employ scientific and technical expertise—expertise that should be directed toward preparing for environmental catastrophe and investing in renewable energy—to wage endless wars in the Middle East. What they airily hold out as a distant solution to the crisis—wind turbines and solar panels—is, as the scientist James Lovelock says, the equivalent of 18th-century doctors attempting to cure serious diseases with leeches and mercury. And as the elites mouth platitudes about saving the climate they are shoving still another trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), down our throats. The TPP permits corporations to ignore nonbinding climate accords made at conferences such as the one in Paris, and it allows them, in secret trade tribunals, to defy environmental regulations imposed by individual states.

New technology—fracking, fuel-efficient vehicles or genetically modified food—is not about curbing overconsumption or conserving resources. It is about ensuring that consumption continues at unsustainable levels. Technological innovation, employed to build systems of greater and greater complexity, has fragmented society into cadres of specialists. The expertise of each of these specialists is limited to a small section of the elaborate technological, scientific and bureaucratic machinery that drives corporate capitalism forward—much as in the specialized bureaucratic machinery that defined the genocide carried out by the Nazis. These technocrats are part of the massive, unthinking hive that makes any system work, even a system of death. They lack the intellectual and moral capacity to question the doomsday machine spawned by global capitalism. And they are in control. ................(more)


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