Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
May 1, 2013

Robert Reich: The Fed, Apple, and Trickle-Down Economics

A Story for May Day: The Fed, Apple, and Trickle-Down Economics
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Fed’s policy of keeping interest rates near zero is another form of trickle-down economics.

For evidence, look no further than Apple’s decision to borrow a whopping $17 billion and turn it over to its investors in the form of dividends and stock buy-backs.

Apple is already sitting on $145 billion. But with interest rates so low, it’s cheaper to borrow. This also lets Apple avoid U.S. taxes on its cash horde socked away overseas where taxes are lower.

Other big companies are doing much the same on a smaller scale. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://robertreich.org/post/49368810890

May 1, 2013

Why We Should Put the Brakes on Consumption If We Want to Survive

AlterNet / By Robert Jensen

Ready for Rationing? Why We Should Put the Brakes on Consumption If We Want to Survive
Stan Cox talks about his new book "Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing."

April 30, 2013 |

This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.

It’s not clear whether Stan Cox is a plant breeder with a penchant for politics, or a political provocateur who finds time to do science. Whichever aspect of his personality is dominant, Cox artfully draws on both skill sets to make the case for rationing, perhaps the most important concept that is not being widely discussed these days. The power of his new book, Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing, comes from his blending of scientific analyses of dire resource trends with a compelling moral argument about the need to reshape politics and economics.

In his day job at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, the country’s premier sustainable agriculture research facility, Cox works to develop perennial sorghum. A member of the editorial board of the magazine Green Social Thought (formerly Synthesis/Regeneration), Cox also has been thinking long and hard about the multiple ecological crises we face. In 2010 he published Losing Our Cool, a sharp-edged examination of the impacts of our society’s obsession with air-conditioning.


Robert Jensen: In your book, you mention that some have compared raising the possibility of rationing to “shouting an obscenity in church.” Why is that idea so unacceptable today?

Stan Cox
: People have shown a willingness to accept rationing in a broad variety of situations in which society-wide scarcity is obvious—wartime, say, or when governments have a fixed supply of subsidized food to sell, or in a drought when there's only so much water to go around. But if rationing is proposed as a way to preserve resources and ecological life-support systems for the future—for dealing with environmental problems or providing equitable healthcare, for example—then we are talking about limiting consumption when there is no apparent scarcity. In that situation, we all like to believe that we exercise freedom in the marketplace, and to many it seems outrageous to limit that freedom. .........................................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/environment/ready-rationing-why-we-should-put-brakes-consumption-if-we-want-survive

May 1, 2013

Mumbai's Metro rail service to begin in September

from the Indian Express:

The first phase of Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail service is likely to commence by September this year and the entire phase will be operational by the year end, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said here today.

"We will start full passenger service by September and the entire stretch (11.4-kilometre Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor) by December," Chavan said after flagging off the first safety trial run of the Mumbai Metro here.

Chavan said the process of obtaining all mandatory safety certifications are underway, adding that the service will be functional once these certifications are received.

He also said that the work on Navi Mumbai Metro project has also begun, adding that the project worth Rs 5,500 crore will be thrown open to the public this year. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mumbais-metro-rail-service-to-begin-in-september/1110118/

May 1, 2013

NYC Subway Delays Up Last Year, Even Before Sandy

[font size="1"]L train plods through Brooklyn. (Genial23/flickr) [/font]

Storm Sandy caused an almost 30 percent increase in subway delays during the first three months of 2013. That expected finding comes from a Straphangers Campaign study of electronic alerts by the New York MTA. But the study also found that the problems weren't just storm-related: subway delays were up by 10 percent last year in the ten months before Sandy.

The F train had the most delays, accounting for 8 percent of the 2,669 alerts issued for 20 subway lines. (Shuttle trains were not counted.) The largest increase in delays -- 60 percent -- occurred on the L train. The most improved line was the much-maligned G, which had 19 percent fewer delay alerts in the ten months before Sandy than during the same period in the previous year.

The study only counted alerts about what it termed controllable delays, such as mechanical breakdowns; it didn't count uncontrollable delays, such as police actions and sick passengers. The MTA deems a delay worthy of an alert if passenger service is disrupted for 8 minutes or more.

The MTA got most of the subway system back up and running a few weeks after Sandy struck in late October. But officials have warned that salt water may have rendered some electrical components less reliable, even after they'd been cleaned. That might explain the increase in delay alerts during the first three months of this year. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transportation-nation/2013/may/01/nyc-subway-delays-last-year-even-sandy/

May 1, 2013

D.C.'s First Streetcars Roll in For Testing

[font size="1"]A D.C. Streetcar (Martin Di Caro)[/font]

The last time a streetcar ran in D.C. was 1962, but on Wednesday, city officials welcomed them back.

Three streetcars are being delivered to the city this week for testing. Standing at 66 feet long and eight feet wide, each streetcar can fit 157 people—more than a standard Metro rail car.

Speaking at a press conference, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said the goal was have the H St/Benning line operational by the end of this year.

And to drum up ridership, fares could be free for a while. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transportation-nation/2013/may/01/dcs-first-streetcars-roll-testing-mayor-mulls-free-fares/

May 1, 2013

U.S. finds porn, not top secret information, on suspected Chinese spy's laptop

(Bloomberg) A Chinese research scientist suspected of spying on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration --- and pulled from a plane in March as he was about to depart for China -- is set to plead to a misdemeanor charge of violating agency computer rules.

Bo Jiang, who was indicted March 20 for allegedly making false statements to the U.S., was charged yesterday in a separate criminal information in federal court in Newport News, Virginia. Jiang unlawfully downloaded copyrighted movies and sexually explicit films onto his NASA laptop, according to the court filing. A plea hearing is set for tomorrow.

Along with the misdemeanor, the government said it had resolved the false statements case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg said in a filing today.

At the time of his arrest in March, Jiang was under federal investigation at NASA’s request for a possible conspiracy involving violations of the Arms Export Control Act, according to an FBI affidavit. Prosecutors said in court papers on April 2 that they were trying to determine whether Jiang had taken, or was seeking to take, “secret, confidential or classified information” to China. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-01/chinese-nasa-spy-suspect-to-plead-to-computer-rule-charge.html

May 1, 2013

Lean Socialist: Why liberalism needs socialism–and vice versa

from In These Times:

Lean Socialist
Why liberalism needs socialism–and vice versa.

BY Bhaskar Sunkara

He wasn’t a household name, but for the last half of the 20th century Michael Harrington was the most prominent socialist in the United States. International leaders like Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme said that if Harrington were European, he’d be a head of state—rather than simply a regular on late-night C-Span. William F. Buckley was more dismissive, noting, “Being called America’s foremost socialist is like being the tallest building in Topeka, Kansas.”

Since Harrington’s death in 1989, the decline of an already small American socialist movement has been even more pronounced. With even the most tepid forms of “liberalism” on the retreat in the United States, and something as economically rational as single-payer healthcare off the agenda entirely, more radical policies seem like the stuff of fantasy. Sure, socialism has its holdouts, but the truly committed domestic socialists now number in the thousands, not the millions. Much as Star Trek nerds make their pilgrimage to Trekkie conventions, this cadre flocks to Left Forum in New York City every year for heated arguments over this or that piece of sectarian esoterica.

The American democratic socialist movement today is marked by both a corrosive internal culture and absolute organizational disarray. When socialists do have impact it’s behind the veil of liberal-left groups, such as Progressive Democrats of America. For the most part, the “S-word” is seen as a liability and is kept hidden from sight. Aside from as a right-wing scare tactic, it goes without saying that socialism has no place within the mainstream American political landscape.

But despite this gloomy picture, there are signs that the cause may not be lost. A Pew poll last year found that more young Americans were favorably disposed to socialism than to capitalism. Even some of the more maligned aspects of Occupy activism pointed toward an underlying radicalism. The yearning for a more just economy seen in Zuccotti Park’s soup kitchen, or the thirst for deeper democracy embodied by Occupy Wall Street’s General Assemblies, represented profound aspirations, if only fleetingly realized. Members of a generation that came of age politically after the Cold War may not claim the label of “socialist,” but they don’t associate it with gulags and military parades, either. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/14873/lean_socialist/

May 1, 2013

Mission Not Accomplished: Violence after Bush's victory tears Iraq apart 10 yrs on

Published on May 1, 2013

Ten years ago the United States declared victory in Iraq. However the war-torn country slides into a civil war as violence and tensions grow. More than 200 people have been killed in Iraq in less than a week. RT's Gayane Chichakyan looks at Iraq war legacy and why US prefers ignoring the regrets.

May 1, 2013

Banksters rail against attempts to regulate the global casino

(The New York Times) WASHINGTON — Wall Street bankers and some of the world’s top finance ministers are waging a bitter international campaign to block Washington financial regulators from extending their policing powers far beyond the nation’s shores.

The effort — centered on oversight of the $700 trillion marketplace of the financial instruments known as derivatives — is just one front in the battle still being waged nearly three years after Congress passed the Dodd-Frank law, which revamped financial regulations in the United States in hopes of curtailing the risky trading practices blamed for the global financial crisis in 2008.

Industry players have spent tens of millions of dollars to avert, delay or weaken new rules that are being drafted as part of the law. Members of Congress from both parties have joined in the effort, directed at an obscure but increasingly powerful agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which has written and must approve some of the most contentious provisions.

Banks and overseas regulators are resisting an agency proposal, intended to go into full effect as early as mid-July, that would require overseas offices of American-based banks, foreign institutions and hedge funds to turn over information on foreign trades if they involve United States customers, or are guaranteed by a financial institution with American ties, requirements that the industry calls redundant and excessive. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/business/banks-criticize-strict-controls-for-foreign-bets.html?_r=0&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1367441499-x9TKwDXZz7F6+x/i98KMpQ

May 1, 2013

Bail-Out Is Out, Bail-In Is In

Bail-Out Is Out, Bail-In Is In
Posted on Apr 30, 2013

By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt

This piece first appeared at Web of Debt.

“With Cyprus . . . the game itself changed. By raiding the depositors’ accounts, a major central bank has gone where they would not previously have dared. The Rubicon has been crossed.”
—Eric Sprott, Shree Kargutkar, “Caveat Depositor”

The crossing of the Rubicon into the confiscation of depositor funds was not a one-off emergency measure limited to Cyprus. Similar “bail-in” policies are now appearing in multiple countries. (See my earlier articles here.) What triggered the new rules may have been a series of game-changing events including the refusal of Iceland to bail out its banks and their depositors; Bank of America’s commingling of its ominously risky derivatives arm with its depository arm over the objections of the FDIC; and the fact that most EU banks are now insolvent. A crisis in a major nation such as Spain or Italy could lead to a chain of defaults beyond anyone’s control, and beyond the ability of federal deposit insurance schemes to reimburse depositors.

The new rules for keeping the too-big-to-fail banks alive: use creditor funds, including uninsured deposits, to recapitalize failing banks.

But isn’t that theft?

Perhaps, but it’s legal theft. By law, when you put your money into a deposit account, your money becomes the property of the bank. You become an unsecured creditor with a claim against the bank. Before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was instituted in 1934, U.S. depositors routinely lost their money when banks went bankrupt. Your deposits are protected only up to the $250,000 insurance limit, and only to the extent that the FDIC has the money to cover deposit claims or can come up with it. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/bail-out_is_out_bail-in_is_in_20130430/?ln

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 77,161
Latest Discussions»marmar's Journal