[Adult language warning, NSFW]
This is your moment of clarity #187: Why won't we put more money and time into creating renewable energy sources? Maybe it's because they aren't dangerous enough.
[Adult language warning, NSFW]
This is your moment of clarity #187: Why won't we put more money and time into creating renewable energy sources? Maybe it's because they aren't dangerous enough.
via Sarah Jaffe:
To make a mess that another person will have to deal with—the dropped socks, the toothpaste sprayed on the bathroom mirror, the dirty dishes left from a late-night snack—is to exert domination in one of its more silent and intimate forms. -Barbara Ehrenreich, in “Made to Order,” an essay from the anthology Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy, co-edited with Arlie Russell Hochschild
[This quote is] relevant to an argument I just had about “disruptive” protest at Walmart in supposed solidarity with the Black Friday strikes. Picket, protest, march and rally all you want, hold a sit-in, but please, before you do things like deliberately create a mess in the store or leave a full cart in the checkout line, consider who’s going to have to clean up the mess that you make. It’s not going to be Rob Walton or any of the other multibillionaires. It won’t even be the assistant manager. It’ll be the same low-wage worker who maybe wanted to go on strike but wasn’t quite convinced, or who was threatened by their boss, who’s working an extra-long shift on the worst shopping day of the year.
Solidarity doesn’t mean you decide for yourself what is best for the workers. It means showing up in the ways they need and want you to and letting them decide how to build worker power.
We ask you to reflect on the statement issued by workers and Making Change at Wal-Mart as you plan your Black Friday solidarity action:
Across the country, Wal-Mart employs 1.4 million people. We are not just the Associates that you see in stores, we are moms and dads, sons and daughters, husbands and wives working hard to support our families.
We have been speaking out for good jobs with decent pay, regular hours, affordable healthcare and respect, but instead of working with us to make changes, Wal-Mart has attempted to silence us and has retaliated against us for speaking out. Our jobs have been threatened, our hours cut, our schedules changed. Some of us have even been fired.
We will not be silenced. Throughout the holiday season, including Black Friday, we will be standing up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what’s right for our families, our communities and our country, and we hope that you will stand with us. It is not an easy decision, but without an end to the retaliation, Wal-Mart workers across the country will be walking off the job in protest, and we hope you will join us in creative, non-violent action in solidarity with our strike. We ask that supporters take action that spreads the word about our strikes and demonstrates to Wal-Mart a wave of support for workers who are speaking out.
Together, we are calling on Wal-Mart to end the retaliation against hard-working employees who are courageously speaking out for better pay, fair schedules and more hours, affordable health care and respect.
We will not be silenced until we see real change at Wal-Mart.
Sincerely, OUR Wal-Mart Workers
Editors note: Please consider supporting the Wal-Mart Strikers Food Fund
By Theodoric Meyer, ProPublica, Nov. 21, 2012
Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
But according to a recent report from the department's inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished.
DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.
Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general's office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed — 72 percent — didn't even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren't able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.
The investigators also found that more than half of the radios did not have the settings for the common channel programmed into them. Only 20 percent of radios tested had all the correct settings.
The radios are supposed to help employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Secret Service, and other agencies with DHS communicate during crises, as well as normal operations.
DHS officials did not immediately respond to questions from ProPublica about what effect the radio problems could have on how the agency handles an emergency.
The $430 million paid for radio infrastructure and maintenance as well as the actual radios.
In a response letter to the report, Jim H. Crumpacker, the Department of Homeland Security's liaison between the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general, wrote that DHS had made "significant strides" in improving emergency communications since 2003. But he acknowledged that DHS "has had some challenges in achieving Department-wide interoperable communications goals."
The recent inspector general's report is the latest in a string of critical assessments DHS has received on its efforts to improve communication between federal, state and local agencies. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2007 that the Department of Homeland Security had "generally not achieved" this goal.
DHS has assigned a blizzard of offices and committees to oversee its radio effort since 2003, which the inspector general's report claimed had "hindered DHS' ability to provide effective oversight."
Also, none of the entities "had the authority to implement and enforce their recommendations," the report concluded. Tanya Callender, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the current office overseeing the effort hadn't been given the authority to force agencies to use the common channel or even to provide instructions for programming the radios.
The inspector general recommended DHS standardize its policies regarding radios, which DHS agreed to do. But it rejected a second recommendation that it overhaul the office overseeing the radios to give it more authority.
"DHS believes that it has already established a structure with the necessary authority to ensure" that its various agencies can communicate, Crumpacker wrote in his response letter.
Ah yes... somebody's got to look out for those poor, oppressed millionaires and billionaires and stand up to those evil union thugs and Occupy protesters: Malkin Reacts to Union Protests: ‘People Need to Understand That Big Labor Thugs Don’t Have Workers Best Interests at Heart’:
Unions are now flexing their muscle, targeting ports, airlines, and stores just as holiday travel and the shopping season kick into high gear. Adding to that, billionaire George Soros is reportedly urging people to join anti-Walmart protests on Black Friday, even if they don’t work for Walmart. Critics claim it’s all part of a massive effort to unionize Walmart’s 1.4 million employees nationwide, which could bring in billions in union dues.
According to Michelle Malkin, these strikes aren’t about protecting workers, but are about protecting entrenched big labor power. During an appearance on Your World, Malkin called the protests a “toxic combination of these left-wing activist groups funded by George Soros … along with a rag tag group of Occupiers across the country who’ve been fomenting this kind of agitation for agitation’s sake for more than a year now.”
She stressed, “People really need to understand that these big labor thugs do not have workers interests at heart.”
How many people think this hateful woman would ever put up with the conditions or the wages of those who are working these jobs at Walmart? She's got that wingnut welfare coming in which pays quite a bit more than those minimum wage workers make and she's more than happy to help Fox attack them in yet another day in upside down land on GOPTV.
Media Matters has more on their latest Soros conspiracy theory -- Fox Brings Soros Paranoia To Walmart Labor Protests:
Ezra Klein, filling in for MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell this Tuesday evening, ended this segment responding to Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein's assertion that the Social Security retirement age should be raised with a question that we all already know the answer to:
KLEIN: [A]ll these folks who like to talk about raising the Social Security retirement age as if it's a complete no-brainer, they need to think harder about why they have settled on the single cut to Social Security that will concentrate its pain on people who are poor, who haven't fully shared in the remarkable increase in life expectancy and who really don't like going to their jobs every day. Why are they the people who should sacrifice the most on Social Security?
Because they haven't bought the politicians, who as Klein noted, too often are more than happy to stay at their jobs until they drop dead, unlike most Americans out there.
I just want to thank Ezra Klein for saying on television what way too few of his fellow pundits are willing to say out loud. Raising the age equals a cut in benefits for the poor and those who work physical jobs that most people just cannot continue working as we get older and our health declines, and for advocating that the cap be lifted. And for pointing out again what he wrote in his article at The Washington Post last month -- There’s nothing ‘courageous’ about raising the Social Security retirement age.
Here's what Blankfein told CBS's Scott Pelley:
BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations -- the entitlements and what people think that they're going to get, because it's not going to -- they're not going to get it.
PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?
BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. ... So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
PELLEY: Because we can't afford them going forward?
BLANKFEIN: Because we can't afford them.
We wondered whether he thinks the government needs more revenue in the form of higher taxes.
BLANKFEIN: In the long run, there has to be more revenue. And, of course, the burden of that revenue will be disproportionately taken up by wealthier people. That's just logical.
PELLEY: So higher taxes on wealthier people?
BLANKFEIN: More taxes on wealthier people, to the extent that we need to raise more revenue, and we do need to raise some more revenue.
PELLEY: Why is an increase in revenue, in tax money, necessary? Why can't you just cut your way out of the deficit?
BLANKFEIN: For sure certain people in this country wouldn't like the society you would have if you did that, and personally, I don't think I would like it either, if we went as far as to close our entire budget deficit in that way.
PELLEY: What kind of society would it be?
BLANKFEIN: I think it would be one where the safety net would be more porous and lower to the ground.
Rough transcript of Klein's full response below the fold.
The folks at Fox News ran a segment with host Stuart Varney speaking with a Wal-Mart spokesman about the planned Black Friday strikes without mentioning a single concern of Wal-Mart's employees. Varney instead praised Wal-Mart for "taking on" the unions, and asked if they were planning to fire striking workers, and even praised the company for its charitable efforts after Hurricane Sandy.
Following the segment, Fox News ran a banner ad explaining that "this program is brought to you by Walmart," followed by an advertisement for the company's Black Friday promotion.
A thousand store protests are planned in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C., the group says.The workers, who are part of a union-backed employee coalition called Making Change at Wal-Mart, say this is the beginning of a wave of protests and strikes leading up to Black Friday.
H/T Media Matters
“Viewpoint” host Eliot Spitzer and Robert Reich, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, discuss the latest fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington. Robert Reich believes Democrats have the power in the budget battle, because the Bush tax cuts for the rich — which Republicans want to extend and Democrats oppose — will expire no matter what anyone agrees on come January.
“The question is, will the Democrats actually hold firm?” Reich asks. Reich also addresses whether limiting tax deductions instad of raising marginal tax rates on the rich could generate the $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues that Obama has set as a goal: “Just by limiting deductions for the wealthy you can’t get anywhere near the $1.6 trillion. … Now if you made the tax on capital gains equal to the tax on ordinary income, maybe that preference would get you closer. But nobody is talking about doing that, unfortunately.”
Reich said that Republicans would be the losers if Congress failed to negotiate a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
“I think we are moving in the right direction and we are moving in the right direction because the Democrats are holding most of the trump cards,” he said. “If nothing is done, remember, we go back to the Clinton tax rates of the 1990s, which were not all that bad, in fact the economy did quite well under those tax rates. If nothing is done, basically the Republicans lose.”
“And, if the Republicans try to make a case that they are not going to vote for an extension of middle class tax cuts unless the rich also get a tax cut that puts the Republicans in the position of showing America that they are going to hold the middle hostage and they sure are shills for the very rich -- something that a lot of people suspect anyway, but that kind of demonstration is not going to be good for the GOP,” Reich added.
Across-the-board spending cuts are set to go into effect at the beginning of 2013 if Congress fails to pass a budget that reduces the federal deficit. The Bush tax cuts are also set to expire.
Democrats have said they won’t accept any fiscal cliff deal that doesn’t let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire, however they want to leave tax rates for middle and lower-income Americans unchanged.
Republicans have said they will oppose any increase in tax rates, but are open to reducing tax write-offs to increase revenue.
“Just by limiting deductions for the wealthy you can’t get anywhere near the $1.6 trillion,” Reich noted.
Robert Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President-Elect Obama's transition advisory board. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet; and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His commentaries can be heard weekly on public radio's "Marketplace." In 2003, Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the century. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Video courtesy of Current TV.
Ho, ho, no, not again. The “War on Christmas” has arrived early, and the 700 Club is doing all it can to frighten you into believing that Christmas may cease to exist! Host Pat Robertson warns that “the Grinch is trying to steal our holiday” as “miserable” atheists “want to steal your holiday away from you” because they just can’t stand the joy of Christmas. “Atheists don’t like our happiness, they don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable,” he said. “They’re miserable so they want you to be miserable.”
Nevada City, California will provide a handful of permits to homeless persons if they submit themselves to a police background check. Even if they have done nothing illegal, the small number of permits give the police the power to send anyone else having the audacity to want to shut their eyes and rest their weary head while living in abject poverty moving on down the road to the next town.
How is it that when your world falls down around you, your basic rights vanish and the police treat you like some vermin that must be eradicated?
Nevada City, California has passed a new law which requires homeless people to have a permit to sleep in public.
Chief James Wickham told CBS Sacramento: “The goal is to start managing the homeless population within our city. Those are the ones we really don’t want in our city and that we’re trying to keep from camping in our city.”
A no-camping ordinance was also passed by the city, which would criminalize the poor for sleeping in a car, tent or in the woods.
However, if the police give a permit to a homeless person, then that poor person would not be arrested for sleeping.
There are no similar permits required for non-homeless people who might take a nap in a park.
Wickham says he has identified about 60 homeless persons in Nevada City, and will hand out approximately 6 to 10 sleeping permits. If it "works out" he will consider more permits in about 6 months.
The Chief claims that the majority of the area's homeless are "troublemakers," and "criminals," and he hopes his goal of managing the city's homeless population will rid them of these undesirables.
I've got more than a handful of people now that I would like to see be visited by three spirits in the night, and not a moment too soon.
This is a call to unemployed and precarious people, workers, retired, students, undocumented migrants, homeless… Let us all demonstrate together on the same day all over Europe against poverty-inducing policies in order to build transnational solidarity and to move forward in the convergence of our various movements.
In the wake of the European general strike on November 14, Agora99, a European conference of social movements meeting in Madrid in November (http://99agora.net/) calls for a European day of action against precariousness on December 1 as well as to the drafting of a new charter of social rights.
What new chart can we imagine and how to defend our rights together? On December 1 let us organize public debates, popular assemblies, cacerolas, marches, direct actions, occupations, etc.