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  1. #51

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    Jimaz, I've never used an ATM and I avoid self service grocery and Home Depot checkouts. They are, to me, annoyances. Automating away jobs could also be looked at as businesses trying to cut expenses in response to rising labor costs due to higher mandated minimum wages, (un)ACA costs, and other new regulations. On the other hand and as an aside, the same government responsible for such job cuts is providing a lot more personal attention to passengers checking in at the airport. I'm for states requiring higher minimum wages but realize that computerization and automation will be a result. One nice thing about capitalism though is that it allows you or I to compete with our own grocery store complete with real live cashiers, baggers, and parking valets. I'm too lazy to but I've wondered why, for instance, labor unions, religious groups, or the Democratic Party haven't done more to create models of grocery stores, health insurance policies, and other businesses to both give us cheaper stuff while providing more jobs to match their rhetoric.

    Where I live in Wisconsin, I frequent employee owned grocery stores, my electric, telephone, cable, and internet providers are all consumer owned coops, and I bank at a consumer owned credit union. I also buy my beer from City Brewery which is employee owned and is a phoenix survivor of Stroh's ruining Old Style. That's good capitalism. We can all make some personal choices and stand in the line with a teller or cashier and purchase from consumer and employee owned businesses when possible while we are waiting for institutions claiming to be above greed to offer alternatives instead of griping.

  2. #52

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    Modern Day Segregation In-Progress In NYC
    "New York City has approved a developer's Dickensian plan to include a "poor door" in a luxury apartment complex in the Upper West Side.

    The prospect of a separate entrance for lower-income residents has been circulating for some time, but as the New York Post reported today, plans by company Extell Development to put a separate entrance for affordable housing tenants, who make 60 percent or less of median income, in the 33-story condo have been given the green light. The property will have 219 units, including 55 affordable units overlooking the street. Those renting and buying the apartments at the market-rate will have waterfront views.

    The entrance is part of the Inclusionary Housing Program application, under which developers can build larger projects if they also provide low-income housing, either on- or off-site.

    The approval of the entrance at 40 Riverside has prompted outrage, with many on social media calling it nothing more than an updated version of segregation. ThinkProgress' report notes that issues affecting low-income tenants in luxury buildings ó which include not being allowed to use perks like the gym or pools ó usually fall on people of color."

  3. #53

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    In regards to corporations using profits to buy back stock:

    Normally the corporate profits after taxes are used for three things: reinvesting to expand the business, pay dividends to the owners (stockholders), and for incentive bonuses. Right now, the return on expansion (and job creating) for a lot of businesses is uncertain and difficult to calculate. As a result, corporations are using their profits more and more to pay dividends (even tech outfits like Cisco and Intel pay substantial dividends) or to buy back stock which increases the value of the outstanding shares. If the managers saw big profit gains by expansion, they would do this.

    We had a similar disconnect back in the early-1980s, the stock market was so depressed from the dismal Ford and Carter years that companies could buy another company cheaper than building a new factory. That is what fueled the early 1980s merger boom.

    If the money was in expansion, people would expand.

  4. #54

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    Step by step — How the Parasitic Saboteurs in Power™ amass their enormous unearned income at the expense of others:

    Real Life Super Villains Hold Entire Country Hostage

    The auto industry is mentioned.
    ...It was 2009. Singer, through a brilliantly complex financial manoeuvre, took control of Delphi Automotive, the sole supplier of most of the auto parts needed by General Motors and Chrysler. Both auto firms were already in bankruptcy.

    Singer and co-investors demanded the US Treasury pay them billions, including $350m (£200m) in cash immediately, or – as the Singer consortium threatened – "we'll shut you down". They would cut off GM's parts. Literally.

    GM and Chrysler, with no more than a couple of days' worth of parts to hand, would have shut down, permanently;forced into liquidation....

    Singer responded to Obama's largesse by quickly shutting down 25 of Delphi's 29 US auto parts plants, shifting 25,000 jobs to Asia. Singer's Elliott Management pocketed $1.29bn of which Singer personally garnered the lion's share....
    Last edited by Jimaz; August-16-14 at 08:30 PM.

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimaz View Post
    Step by step — How the Parasitic Saboteurs in Power™ amass their enormous unearned income at the expense of others:

    Real Life Super Villains Hold Entire Country Hostage

    The auto industry is mentioned.

    Only because Delphi had the power as a significant supplier. The small suppliers all around
    Detroit who didn't have the power to "shut down the assembly line" got stiffed on their receivables by the bankruptcy court. A lot of them went under. The suppliers got stiffed in favor of the GM and Chrysler employees retirement and medical. They would have stiffed Delphi as well except that Delphi had the clout to destroy the settlement by cutting off parts to GM and Chrysler (stiff me and all of us go down together). It was as if Delphi went on strike. Obama folded and didn't call them on it.

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    Only because Delphi had the power as a significant supplier. The small suppliers all around
    Detroit who didn't have the power to "shut down the assembly line" got stiffed on their receivables by the bankruptcy court. A lot of them went under. The suppliers got stiffed in favor of the GM and Chrysler employees retirement and medical. They would have stiffed Delphi as well except that Delphi had the clout to destroy the settlement by cutting off parts to GM and Chrysler (stiff me and all of us go down together). It was as if Delphi went on strike. Obama folded and didn't call them on it.
    ...which points up again the fact that the auto bailout was first and foremost about Democrats looking after their long-time supporters. It's taken me some years to realize the truth, which is that the bailouts that I had welcomed should not have been. UAW was saved while non-UAW labor as well as many others were screwed.bailout was less about America and more about cronyism.

  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    ... It was as if Delphi went on strike....
    That whole capital/labor false equivalency breaks down when the distinction is instead drawn between concentration of power versus decentralization of power. The former is self-reinforcing to the point of catastrophic but spectacular failure. The latter is self-regulating to the point of becoming boringly ineffective. (Note the emphasis on instead and let that sink in.)

    I think most people agree that unearned income at the expense of others is wrong and I think that's exactly what Real Life Super Villains Hold Entire Country Hostage exposed.

    There's no getting around that this has become an escalating problem in the world.

    These are the Parasitic Saboteurs in Powerô.

  8. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimaz View Post
    These are the Parasitic Saboteurs in Power™.
    I'll second that.

  9. #59

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    Historic Bank Settlement Proves The Right Wing Wrong
    Bank of America Corp has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with U.S. regulators to settle charges that it misled investors into buying troubled mortgage-backed securities.

    The settlement announced on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice calls for the second-largest U.S. bank to pay a $9.65 billion cash penalty, and provide $7 billion of consumer relief to struggling homeowners and communities.

    It is expected to resolve the vast majority of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank's remaining liabilities tied to its purchases of Countrywide Financial Corp, once the nation's largest mortgage lender, and Merrill Lynch & Co.

    Noteably the phrase "no wrongdoing was admitted" appears nowhere in the article.

    Originally a moderate Republican, Cenk Uygur is now a progressive.
    Last edited by Jimaz; August-31-14 at 05:55 PM.

  10. #60

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    I listened to Cenk but he never explained why the Justice Department awarded $7B of the settlement money to consumers. The settlement, from all accounts I've read, was to punish the Bank of America for "misleading investors into buying mortgage-backed securities." It makes sense to pay back Fannie and Freddie (indirectly taxpayers) for the fraud of misrepresenting what the B of A sold them and paying the Justice Department for its efforts but I haven't seen the logic laid out for looting the Bank of America and handing out loot to friends of Obama. Maybe there was a reason. I just haven't read of any. I'm not questioning the amount of the settlement but think those investors wounded by the B of A's misrepresentation and the general coffers of the US Treasury, which had funded the bailouts, were the more appropriate beneficiaries of this settlement.

    Since this has to do with the President, Fannie, and Freddie, let's go back to Christmas Eve of 2009 when all the children and the press were sleeping. That's when the President stuffed big presents in the bankers' socks. He transferred large amounts of bank assets to Freddie (tax payers) that night. They were parcels of loans transferred at full face value even though many individual loans were under water. It was worth a huge amount to the bankers to be credited with the full value even though not worth that. Ho, ho, ho and now his Justice Department is making excuses to give $7B to friends of Obama. Yet, no bankers, as Cenk pointed out, or government officials who lie to Congress or oversaw banking are in jail.
    Last edited by oladub; September-01-14 at 06:09 PM.

  11. #61

    Default Microsoft Leaves Conservative Advocacy Group ALEC

    "Microsoft said on Tuesday that it will end its involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative advocacy group, reportedly because of the group's lobbying against renewable energy.

    CNET reported that Microsoft would cease being a member of ALEC's communications and technology task force.

    "In 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council's Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC," the software company said in a statement, per CNET."
    ♫Another one bites the dust.♫

    It's revealing that Microsoft felt it worthwhile to explicitly limit the historical scope of their ALEC involvement with the phrase "which had been our only previous involvement."

    That's turning a mighty cold shoulder against ALEC. (The adjective "mighty" could apply to either or both of the nouns "cold" or "shoulder.")

    Last edited by Jimaz; September-01-14 at 09:58 PM.

  12. #62

  13. #63

    Default Nick Hanauer: Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming

    Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist ó and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity ... and prevent a revolution.

  14. #64

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    ^^^I read an article he wrote about this last month. He has it down.

    Daily Kos has come up with an article on the same idea, based on stories published two weeks ago. Although somewhat confusingly written, the author, NBBooks, is saying that the rich may be realizing there is trouble in their paradise, but his predictions are that the rich will continue to come up with nefarious schemes that sound good but only enrich them while the rest of us continue to carry the load. So watch out for the pie in the sky sounding proposals that go nowhere.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/0...m?detail=email
    Last edited by gazhekwe; September-23-14 at 12:02 PM.

  15. #65

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    Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Wealth Gap (HBO)

    It's amazing that this guy never runs out of material. Life has become that silly in the U.S.

  16. #66

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    http://www.alternet.org/wells-fargo-...ther-employees

    Wells Fargo employee asks CEO for a $10,000 a year raise and copies 200,000 employees.

  17. #67

    Default Why Are Employers Stealing BILLIONS From Workers Every Year?

    "That is far more than the less than $350 million stolen in all robberies, including from banks, residences, stores, and on the street in 2012. That's not just the figure for those that were solved, but for any robbery simply reported to the police."
    "As the economy slowly recovers, itís become increasingly clear that itís not just unemployed Americans who need help from the government. Itís those that are employed as well.

    "Thatís the main finding of a new report from the Economic Policy Institute on wage theft. What is wage theft? Itís when employers refuse to pay their workers their rightful wages and benefits, such as refusing to pay overtime. Itís a major problem across the United States. One study, which EPI cites, examined three cities (New York, Chicago and Los Angeles) and found that two-thirds of workers in low-wage industries had experienced a pay-related offense in any given week in 2008. Those violations cost workers more than $2,600 a year on averageónearly 15 percent of their total earnings. If wage theft is as prevalent in the rest of the United States as it is in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, then it costs workers more than $50 billion a year."

    Employment, in and of itself, has become a means of theft.
    Last edited by Jimaz; October-20-14 at 11:21 PM.

  18. #68

    Default What the 1% Don't Want You to Know

    Total duration 24 minutes:
    Economist Paul Krugman explains how the United States is becoming an oligarchy - the very system our founders revolted against.

  19. #69

  20. #70

    Default Chris Hedges at the "Voices of Hope in a Time of Crisis" symposium

    Total duration 22 minutes:
    This is Chris Hedges' talk at the November 2014 "Voices of Hope in a Time of Crisis" symposium, an event sponsored by Local Futures/ISEC.

  21. #71

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    John Oliver IS really on top of this shit.

  22. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    John Oliver IS really on top of this shit.
    Comedian John Oliver on making fun of serious news

    A behind-the-scenes interview. He's too modest, but then he's British. LOL!

  23. #73

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    A Fistful of Dynamite - Duck, You Sucker! - Scenes

    The complete video has been scrubbed from the internet.

  24. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by oladub View Post
    Non governmental unions have been crushed by both parties sending jobs abroad and allowing in too many foreign workers, both legal and illegal, to compete for remaining US jobs. Expanding the supply of workers meant that US workers and their unions cannot demand higher wages and benefits. Formerly union meat packing plants have been replaced by non-union plants employing third world labor, some Buick engines are made in China, GM just dedicated another $12B of its profits to invest in China, and plane loads of Pakistani programmers are brought in to work for less. Our national leaders of both parties and corporate leaders have no loyalty to US workers. President Obama's attempt to fast track the TPP won't help.
    Oladub, I understand what you're saying and agree with most of it. My problem is, and I''m not dealing with union workers, is that I can't find any unskilled entry level workers. I mean almost zero. A company that I did work for before I was in the newspaper business and went back to in semi- retirement can't recruit locals. They don't offer great wages but they are good wages for people entering the work force with little or no skills. I've worked for companies that had people working as interns and paying the company to do so, simply to ad their job to their resume. This summer I had Hispanic people, people from Kazakhstan who were Muslims whose favorite movie was Forrest Gump, and people from the Ukraine whose parents urged them to take asylum in the U.S. because Putin was such a nut case. These were all extremely polite, hard working people. I don't know what to say. People that live several blocks from this business that are out of work don't even apply for jobs. People come from half way across the planet and work their butt's off and are so polite it's almost strange. I don't what to think. I would hire American employees, but they don't apply.

  25. #75

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    old guy, I'm sure you are right about not being able to attract workers but I suspect if the pay was high enough you would. Let's say that the minimum wage rose to $15-$20/hour. Then, i suspect, more Americans would get off of their couches. After all, consider all the disgusting, smelly things doctors and nurses have to do but they are paid well. Americans, until quite recently worked in meat plants but, as I mentioned before, they were being paid union wages and benefits. Americans are not willing to work at foreign caste wage scales. Americans, often blacks, until 20-30 years ago picked our produce but they too were replaced by cheaper labor. As long as an inexhaustible supply of foreign labor is made available, wages won't go up. It might be a very good idea to significantly raise the minimum wage so there would be less advantage to hiring foreigners. It would probably get some Americans off of their couches, reduce unemployment and welfare, reduce the number of bureaucrats managing such programs, and stimulate technology to replace minimum wage workers thereby increasing productivity.

    Higher minimum wages would also help finance college educations. Today, i see a lot of McDonald's and landscaping businesses hiring people who can't speak English. Whether or not they are illegal aliens I don't know but those jobs used to be done by high school and college students. Now, they go deep into debt taking student loan money being shoved at them. I think that it makes more sense to recalibrate our system to encourage our students to earn money instead of leading them into debt.

    The best friend of American labor would be to create a labor shortage. To do this, just replace middle class income taxes, to the extent possible, and replace them with import taxes levied on corporations profiting from cheap foreign labor an send illegal aliens home by going after their employers. These two things would create a shortage of labor and we would see a consequent regrowth of the labor union movement and otherwise allow workers to demand a larger share of the national economic pie. That's basic supply and demand. Minimum wages wouldn't even be needed.

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