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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

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Karl Marx was right......

[font size="3"]As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the labourers are turned into proletarians, their means of labour into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialisation of labour and further transformation of the land and other means of production into socially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the labourer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many labourers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralisation of capital. One capitalist always kills many.[/font]

- from "Capital, Volume I"

Bankruptcy Judge Gives Go-Ahead for Mass Firings of Unionized A&P Grocery Workers

The mass firings of workers at the A&P supermarket chain is set to begin in mid-September, following action this week by a federal bankruptcy court approving a plan to quickly shed some 2,500 jobs at the ailing grocery retailer. The job cuts are a first step in a broader plan to dismember the entire 300-store chain, with expected job losses of 15,000 or more.

First on the chopping block are 1,018 workers at 10 stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey whose jobs will be terminated September 19, according to official notices filed with state labor agencies. Those job cuts are to be followed in short order by an additional 15 store closings in Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, where about 1,500 additional grocery workers will be forced on to the unemployment lines in the next two to three months, court documents detail.

Adding insult to injury, A&P managers met with leaders of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union last week to inform them that the company did not intend to honor existing collective bargaining agreements, union officers told rank-and-file members. (The contracts cover workers at several chains owned by A&P, including A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaums, Superfresh, and others.) Discarded workers may be denied severance and vacation pay, seniority rules are to be ignored, and a long list of other unilateral contract changes must be accepted by the union, according to an announcement from Harvey Whille, President of UFCW Local 1262 in Clifton, N.J. A&P managers demanded that the union officers accede to concessions, according to Whille’s statement, otherwise the company would go to court to have the contracts revised or cancelled by the judge.

Both A&P and UFCW were tight lipped when contacted by In These Times for additional information and comment. A&P spokesperson Brian Shiver would only say “we’re not commenting.” UFCW Region 1 Director Tom Clarke, who heads a coalition of 12 UFCW locals with A&P contracts, did not respond to phone calls or e-mail messages. ...................(more)


Scott Walker is a pastier Donald Trump: Wisconsin governor’s ethno-nationalism is just as egregious

(Salon) A few days ago, the Daily Beast published an article by self-styled Reasonable Conservative Matt K. Lewis on “cuckservative,” a relatively new term of abuse that has recently set off some intramural sniping within the conservative movement. As Lewis rightly noted, the term is tribalist and racist. It’s also misogynist, paternalistic and xenophobic — the nasty consequence of racial panic and toxic masculinity, but in word form.

It wasn’t Lewis’s willingness to criticize a bunch of white supremacists, however, that made his piece interesting. (His response, in truth, was an unsympathetic mix of whining and unearned chest-puffery.) What made the column noteworthy instead was the way Lewis tried to load such ethno-nationalist sentiments — or “this white nationalism business,” as he put it — entirely on the shoulders of the cuckservative-slinging Republicans’ favorite candidate. A fellow by the name of Donald Trump.

Lewis granted that “these people have always been around.” But before Trump, he wrote, they were “confined to the nether regions of the Internet.” White ethno-nationalists only became significant members of the conservative crusade because “Twitter allows them to spread their pernicious message, and Trump has given them a candidate to get behind.” But apparently it wasn’t until 2015 that the movement behind the Southern Strategy, Willie Horton and Obamaphones started flirting with racists.


If connecting Trump and Walker strikes you as odd, you probably don’t know very much about Wisconsin’s governor, who is currently sporting an approval rating of 41 percent. Walker’s name is usually associated with anti-unionism, and few could argue that he hasn’t earned the reputation. But along with turning Wisconsin into a “right-to-work” state — just like he promised a billionaire donor in 2011 — what’s defined Walker’s time in Madison has been a divisive and racially charged approach that has rendered the state’s politics “toxic and ruptured.”


If people drawn to rhetoric like this were marginal players in the pre-Trump conservative movement, as Lewis claims, then why is it that Walker’s staff, in their emails to one another, sound scarcely different? Via the TNR piece, here’s a summary of some of the worst moments:

One anonymous e-mail, forwarded by Walker’s then–chief of staff, went like this: “THE NIGHTMARE … ‘I can handle being a black, disabled, one armed, drug-addicted Jewish homosexual … but please, oh dear God, don’t make me a Democrat.’ ” Another compares welfare recipients to dogs: They are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who the r (sic) Daddys (sic) are.” This message was forwarded around by Walker’s then–deputy chief of staff, who remarked that it was “hilarious” and “so true.”


Another right-wing terrorist who isn't called a terrorist

Angel Dillard will stand trial for threats she made to a Kansas abortion provider, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s decision overturns a lower court ruling that held Dillard’s 2011 letter to Dr. Mila Means saying someone might place a bomb under her car was constitutionally protected free speech.

The ruling comes in the Department of Justice’s civil lawsuit against Dillard for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, the federal law that prohibits threatening or otherwise interfering with access to abortion clinics or providers.

Dillard is a notorious anti-choice radical with ties to Scott Roeder, the confessed murderer of Dr. George Tiller. In 2011, after Tiller’s murder, Dillard sent a letter to Means. At the time Dillard sent the letter, Means was preparing to start offering abortion services at the clinic of the late abortion provider. In the letter to Means, Dillard presented a “vision” of what Means’ life would look like should she start providing abortions in Wichita, Kansas. In that letter, Dillard explained how thousands of people from across the country were already scrutinizing Means’ background. Soon, Dillard promised, they would know “your habits and routines. They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live,” Dillard wrote. “You will be checking under your car every day—because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.” .................(more)


Not to Be Outdone (cartoon)


July is the deadliest month of 2015 for police-related killings in U.S.

(Guardian UK) July was the deadliest month of 2015 so far for killings by police after registering 118 fatalities, according to the Guardian’s ongoing investigation The Counted, which now projects that US law enforcement is on course to kill more than 1,150 people this year.

The July figure brought an end to a steady decline in totals over the previous four months. After 113 people were killed in March, 101 died in April, 87 fatalities were recorded in May and 78 in June.

At least 20 people killed in July – more than one in six – were unarmed, including Samuel DuBose, who was shot by University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing in a 19 July traffic stop that has become the latest flashpoint in protests over the police’s use of deadly force.

Of the 118 people, 106 died from gunfire, making July also the first month of 2015 in which that number has exceeded 100. Two people died after officers shocked them with Tasers, two died being struck by police vehicles, and eight died after altercations in police custody. ...............(more)


Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency for all of California re: wildfires

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for all of California in the wake of at least 18 wildfires that killed one firefighter and drove hundreds of people from their homes.

California's record drought, now in its fourth year, has "turned much of the state into a tinderbox," he said.

The emergency declaration, which included the activation of the California National Guard, will speed up help for thousands of firefighters, Brown said Friday.

The U.S. Forest Service said David Ruhl, an engine captain from South Dakota's Black Hills National Forest, died while battling the Frog Fire that broke out Thursday in the Modoc National Forest about 100 miles south of Oregon. The fire quickly grew to consume 800 acres. .................(more)


Drought reality check: Source of water for more than 23 million Californians is at 33% capacity

from the LA Times:

The difference between knowing something and seeing something
Story by Diana Marcum
Photos by Robert Gauthier

I once interviewed Woody Guthrie’s daughter, and she told me her father believed in the power of names.

Sometimes he would sing just a name over and over as a device of honor. I thought about this at the top of Oroville Dam.

There was a plaque with the names of 34 men who had died in the ′60s while building the dam, the highest in the United States.


The lake is at 33% capacity, and photos of Oroville’s drop have been published for years. But, still, that first glimpse: My eyes traveled from the treeline down-down-down burnt-orange cliffs and finally to the water. The houseboats crowded on the narrowed lake looked like they were cars in a choo-choo train.

“Oh God,” we both said.


In June, the Oroville Chamber of Commerce put out a plea for people to come visit – letting them know there’s still some water.

People aren’t coming as often – but maybe they should: Lake Oroville’s drop has become a symbol of the California drought. ...............(more)


How Uber and the Gig Economy Are Making Voters as Disposable as Temp Workers

How Uber and the Gig Economy Are Making Voters as Disposable as Temp Workers

Friday, 31 July 2015 00:00
By Michael Meurer, Truthout | News Analysis

A series of recent PR skirmishes between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush over the role of Uber workers in the new on-demand sharing economy has made it clear that both candidates are focused on disposable temp voters, who are the electoral analog to the disposable temp workers who now drive the US economy. A temp economy has, in effect, produced a temp politics.

This new temp politics is not about building social consensus and a governing majority around a bold, unifying democratic vision for the future. Rather, it is about building temporary electoral majorities in key swing states, using sophisticated PR tactics, powerful data tools and social media to push emotional hot button issues down to the level of the individual. The objective is to pick off demographic niches from a confused and splintered electorate that has been fed a steady diet of intentionally divisive politics for more than three decades amid widespread economic anxiety that is inherent in the new gig economy.


Clinton presents herself as the champion of beleaguered workers who now have "gigs" without benefits instead of "jobs." Bush has adopted the language of a faux revolutionary, spouting slogans about the disruptive genius of the market and the brilliant new ways that workers "can customize their lives" and use gigs as Uber drivers to stay debt-free while in college.

What has gone unremarked in this early PR dust-up is that the model of disposable workers that drives the so-called sharing economy has spilled into social and political life in profound new ways, creating for the first time an enormous cohort of disposable temp voters with weak or no party affiliation. The PR tactics of both candidates are aimed at these unaffiliated temp voters, who confront the acid realities of the new gig economy daily.


As a reflection of this economic Uberization, temp workers now account for 18 percent of the US workforce, having grown from 18 million to 32 million between 2001 and 2014. Yet the gig economy extends well beyond startups. Apple, for example, directly employs only 10 percent of more than 1 million workers making and selling their products worldwide.


Disposable Temp Voters in the Gig Economy

The percentage of Americans who identify as political independents has risen in lock step with the increase in temp employment and economic uncertainty, jumping to 46 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. This is the highest percentage in the 25 years since Gallup began polling party identification. Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent of Americans want a third political party because they believe Democrats and Republicans "do such a poor job" of representing their interests. Among self-described independents, 71 percent favor the formation of a third party. This rise in unrepresented voters is also reflected in the record low approval voters give Congress, 14 percent in 2013. ..............(more)


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