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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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California Drought Leaves Farmworkers Hung Out to Dry



[font size="1"]The view from Marine One illustrates the empty acres of otherwise thriving produce that lay across California's Central Valley. (White House / Creative Commons)[/font]

(In These Times) The crops being harvested in California this summer are smaller than usual thanks to the record-setting drought that has reached the most extreme levels in more than half of the state. While that may be good news to the consumers and chefs who enjoy the more concentrated flavor of smaller fruits and vegetables, it’s another blow to California’s hundreds of thousands of farmworkers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, that are struggling to survive in this third-straight year of drought.

“When the growers use a lot of water, the oranges are bigger,” says Antonio Cortes, an organizer for the United Farm Workers, a union representing farmworkers in California. “With less water, the oranges are smaller, and you have to work longer (to fill a bucket).” Most of the workers Cortes represents in the Central Valley are paid a piece rate for buckets of oranges, tomatoes, melons and other crops.

Dr. Ann López, the Executive Director of the Center for Farmworker Families in Felton, California, hears similar complaints from the strawberry pickers she works with in nearby Santa Cruz County. “The fruit is very small. It’s not the same size it’s been in the past, and there’s not as much fruit,” she says. “To fill baskets, it takes more work—but they’re not getting paid more.”

Indeed, López believes wages have fallen this year for some farmworkers. “In the past, they would get $5 per hour and $1 to $1.60 per case. Now that’s gone out the window,” she says, and employers are only paying workers the piece rate. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17060/california_drought_hangs_farmworkers_out_to_dry


Keiser Report: BananaRepublicazation





TISA’s secret trade negotiations quietly restructure our global economy


(In These Times) On June 19, the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks rendered public the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. The document was classified not only during TISA negotiations, but for five years after it enters into force.

While the TISA negotiations have not been censored outright, they have been barely mentioned in the media— a marginalization and secrecy that are in stark contrast with the world-historical importance of the TISA agreement. TISA would effectively serve as a kind of legal backbone for the restructuring of the world market, binding future governments regardless of who wins elections and what the courts say. It would impose a restrictive framework on public services, making it more difficult both to develop new ones and protect existing ones.

Is this discrepancy between politico-economic importance and secrecy really surprising? Is it not rather a sad but precise indication of where we in Western liberal-democratic countries stand with regard to democracy? A century and half ago, in Das Kapital, Karl Marx characterized the market exchange between worker and capitalist as “a very Eden of the innate rights of man. There alone rule Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham.” For Marx, the ironic addition of Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher of egotist utilitarianism, provides the key to what freedom and equality effectively mean in capitalist society. To quote The Communist Manifesto: “By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.” And by equality is meant the legal formal equality of buyer and seller, even if one of them is forced to sell his labor under any conditions, like today’s precarious workers. Today, freedom means the free flow of capital, as well as of the financial and personal data (both flows guaranteed by TISA). But what about democracy?

The main culprits of the 2008 financial meltdown now impose themselves as experts who can lead us on the painful path of financial recovery, and whose advice should therefore overcome parliamentary politics. Or, as former Italian prime minister and EU technocrat Mario Monti put it: “If governments let themselves be fully bound by the decisions of their parliaments without protecting their own freedom to act, a breakup of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration.” ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17048/freedom_and_democracy_to_the_experts



Keiser Report: BananaRepublicazation






Another Unarmed Black Teen Shot by Militarized Police


Another Unarmed Black Teen Shot by Militarized Police

Monday, 11 August 2014 13:56
By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed


Where have all the good cops gone?

On Saturday, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

Brown's death has sparked considerable outrage in Ferguson, with protests and riots breaking out all weekend long, and continuing today.

While a lot is still unknown about the circumstances of the shooting, we do know that Brown was initially stopped by police for walking in the middle of a road.

And, in an interview with KTVI, Dorin Johnson, who was with Brown at the time of the shooting, said that, "a police officer squad car pulled up. And when he pulled up, these was his exact words, he said, 'Get the fuck on the sidewalk.' And we told the officer we was not but a minute away from our destination, and we would surely be out of the street." ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/25508-another-unarmed-black-teen-shot-by-militarized-police



Why Germany Is Backing Away From a Trade Deal that Lets Corporations Sue the Government


from YES! Magazine:



In a move that has many on the left cautiously celebrating, Reuters reported on July 28 that Germany might reject a new trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.

The deal is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. It’s part of a new wave of large, aggressive trade deals that also includes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) between 12 countries of the Pacific Rim.

If all the deals passed, they would affect more than half of the world’s economy. But the red light from Germany could signal that these agreements are not as inevitable as their advocates suggest.

Germany’s objections are centered specifically on the so-called “investor-state dispute settlement” provisions in CETA. These provisions—also known by the acronym ISDS—allow transnational corporations to take legal action against individual governments if they believe that the country’s domestic laws violate a trade agreement. And the legal disputes happen through arbitration, which is a way to settle disputes completely outside of the involved countries’ courts. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/why-germany-is-backing-away-from-a-trade-deal-that-lets-corporations-sue-the-government



The Face of Stupid (believable satire)




Sarah Palin has asked Americans to reduce the trade deficit by eating less Chinese food.

In an interview on Fox News this morning, the former Alaska governor claimed that our growing trade deficit with China has become a national security risk and outlined her strategy for reversing the trend.

“We need to quit eating so much darn Chinese food,” she told Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy. “Don’t Americans realize that the Chinese are taking too much of our money already?

“Every time I go to Wal-Mart all I see are ‘Made in China’ labels. Toys. Televisions. Those things you screw into the ceiling to make light come out. Everything is made over there nowadays. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://dailycurrant.com/2014/07/23/sarah-palin-eat-less-chinese-food-to-reduce-trade-deficit-2/



Marxian Economics vs Capitalism with Professor Richard D. Wolff





by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 6, 2014


Do we have true capitalism? What exactly is Marxism, and why does it exist? Most Americans have a knee-jerk reaction against Marxism, but is it fully justified to not even speak of it? What political histories and structures are compatible with different economic systems? Is there a positive role Marxism has taken in national and world economies?

Avowed capitalist Cenk Uygur discusses these questions and much more with Professor Richard D. Wolff.


http://rdwolff.com/content/marxian-economics-vs-capitalism-professor-richard-d-wolff



Professor Richard Wolff: Poor Polls and Obama's Missed Opportunity


Poor Polls and Obama's Missed Opportunity

Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:00
By Richard D Wolff, Truthout | Op-Ed


What if President Obama had rejected conventional political advice and pushed for a new New Deal? What if an effective nonaligned left had pushed for such a program, economist Richard D. Wolff asks.


Once upon a time, long ago in America, another president was elected just as a major economic crisis was deepening fast. Like Barack Obama in 2008, Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 was a typically centrist Democrat. His past, too, offered little reason to expect that he would deviate from the conventional politics that got him the presidency. Moreover, both presidents' conventional advisers and political friends argued against anything other than the usual government response to capitalist economies' recurring downturns.

The advisers' argument was simple and direct. You must wait out the crisis and NOT have government interfere much (after initial emergency government bailouts of failed big corporations). Large corporations, the business community generally, and those they have made rich prefer that course of (in)action. Once the initial emergency is past, they have the resources to wait out the crisis in comfort while grabbing crisis-distressed assets at bargain prices. Most hate the idea of being taxed to pay for taking care of "bums and the unfortunate." In their minds, a government that taxes capital to support labor thereby opens the door to ever more state interventions and ultimately to "socialism." Conventional advisers insist that state interventions (eg., deficit-boosting fiscal stimulus programs, welfare supports to people struggling with unemployment, minimum wage increases, etc.) and socialism only hurt those they claim to help. They repeat as absolute truth the idea that capitalism heals itself better than any government intervention could. They conveniently forget those initial bailouts by the government.

If politicians disobey this conventional advice, corporations, business and the rich will abandon them in favor of their political competitors. Such politicians then lose to those competitors, who in turn, either follow the conventional advice or else they lose too. The lesson: To disregard the conventional advice is to commit political suicide. That threat is always part of the conventional advice, explicitly or implicitly. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25378-poor-polls-and-obamas-missed-opportunity



Marxian Economics vs Capitalism with Professor Richard D. Wolff





by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 6, 2014


Do we have true capitalism? What exactly is Marxism, and why does it exist? Most Americans have a knee-jerk reaction against Marxism, but is it fully justified to not even speak of it? What political histories and structures are compatible with different economic systems? Is there a positive role Marxism has taken in national and world economies?

Avowed capitalist Cenk Uygur discusses these questions and much more with Professor Richard D. Wolff.


http://rdwolff.com/content/marxian-economics-vs-capitalism-professor-richard-d-wolff


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