Monday, February 28, 2011

This Week In Holy Crimes - from Joe.My.God

(please follow link to original)

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

Virginia: Pastor Jason Bolton charged with stalking an underage girl. He has a previous arrest for statutory rape.
New York: Rabbi Nechemya Weberman arrested for molestation of 12 year-old girl.
Georgia: Pastor Albert Turnell charged with possession and distribution of child porn.
Alabama: Pastor Michael Wilkerson charged with writing a bad check to purchase $111K Mercedes. He previously served time in prison for defrauding the builders of his mansion.
Scotland: Sihk priest Surinder Singh convicted of child molestation.
Wisconsin: Father Thomas Marr sentenced to only nine months in jail for stealing over $600K from parishioners.
California: Christian college sued for knowingly placing a convicted child molester ministry student with a family whose children he then molested.
North Carolina: Pastor Greg Metcalf charged with assaulting his daughter and then denying her medical care.
Massachusetts: Father Franklin E. Huntress resigns in face of numerous molestation accusations.
Britain: Pastor Albert Odulele charged with indecent sexual assault on a child.
Arkansas: Pastor Shane Montgomery sentenced to one year in prison for sexual assault on a teenager.
Tennessee: Father William Casey to stand trial for child molestation.
California: Pastor Alonzo McGowan pleads guilty to stealing over $400K from an 87 year-old parishioner.
Ohio: Pastor Daniel Monk sentenced to six years in prison for sexual battery on an underage girl. Monk says he was out of his mind because he'd been fasting.
New York: Father Richard Nachajski charged with stealing $476K from his parish to finance luxury vacations to the Caribbean and Thailand.

This Week's Winner
Illinois: The Belleville Diocese of Southern Illinois is appealing a $5M molestation judgment, saying that they have zero responsibility to warn parishioners about known pedophile priests. In response, a local group of Catholic priests took the unprecedented step of denouncing the appeal as a "disastrous policy" that makes "no common moral sense." The judgment was ordered in the case of Father Raymond Kownacki, who has been sued numerous times for molestation, but has never been arrested due to the statute of limitations.

Happy Monday -- "My name is Peggy"

Just go read "Some Assembly Required" -- follow link, then follow his links to originals.

Here are a few of the better little mind blowing things posted.

Once again, I do not think most folks realize how much trouble we are in -- and it's not the "tea party" crap either. We really do need a "party of the people".

It's the Unions! Surveys show that the long term unemployed have no health insurance, nor any money with which to buy it. Now the former middle class is joining the rest of the poor in the nation's emergency rooms and free clinics, cursing the teachers unions for ruining the economy.

Damned Math! Wisconsin Governor Walker wants unionized state workers to “contribute more” to their pension and health plans – but they already pay 100% of every dollar that funds their pension and health insurance. In negotiating their contracts the public employees forewent pay raises in lieu of putting the money into insurance and retirement. It's called deferred compensation – just like the CEOs on Wall Street get. And it is the result of collective bargaining. The last time I checked, there were employees only on one side of the negotiating table.

It's Nearly Quitting Time: Economists admit they were wrong; austerity is not going to save the Greeks, nor their creditors. Their current solution is for Greece to give up the euro, go back to the drachma and suffer in squalor and silence, while their bondholders write off 30% or more and just go away.

(by the way, just as an aside -- this is what Prof. Krugman has said all along)

Box Score: The economy has added a million jobs in the past year, almost all of them low paying service-sector jobs. During the Current Unpleasantness 40% of the jobs lost were high-paying, but so far only 14% of the new jobs are; and while only 23% of the jobs lost were low-paying, 49% of those added were.

Tough It Out: The Obama administration early on sent an envoy to Spain to warn them of the consequences if they indicted George W. Bush and his advisers for crimes against humanity, specifically authorizing and encouraging torture. The Americans were aghast to learn that, unlike in the US, the Spanish executive branch could not tell the Spanish courts what they may or may not do. The case is still open and pending.

now, go there and read the rest. By the way --- please try to follow the events in Wisconsin. Our supposed "liberal media" has ignored all the rallies supporting workers. They have also ignored rallies FOR Planned Parenthood.

Our corporate overlords just don't bother to report news that supports the actual RIGHTS of CITIZENS.

Keep the internet open and as free as it is!

Clifford Brown and Max Roach - Land's End

Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, plays "Nice Work if you can get it"

Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, plays Body and Soul

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Here is a "little" something from "Calculated Risk" -- shamefully, I just posted it directly from another blog -- because he said it better than I can.

Please follow link to the original -- then bookmark the blog, so you don't have to read it second hand.

Sunday, February 27, 2011
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

by CalculatedRisk on 2/27/2011 03:38:00 PM

As a reminder, the weak payroll report for January was blamed on the snow. Usually I don't buy the weather excuses, but it did appear weather played a role this time. When the report was released, I wrote:

The 36,000 payroll jobs added was far below expectations of 150,000 jobs, however this was probably impacted by bad weather during the survey reference period. If so, there should be a strong bounce back in the February report.

That is a key reason the consensus is so high for February. Bloomberg has the consensus at 180,000, MarketWatch has 200,000, Goldman's forecast is 200,000, and I heard ISI is at 230,000).

It will be useful to average the two months to estimate the current pace of payroll growth - especially if weather played a role in January and there is a strong bounce back in February.

And we have to remember the numbers are grim:
• There are 7.7 million fewer payroll jobs now than before the recession started in December 2007.
• Almost 14 million Americans are unemployed.
• Of those unemployed, 6.2 million have been unemployed for six months or more.
• Another 8.4 million are working part time for economic reasons,
• About 4 million more have left the labor force since the start of the recession (we can see this in the dramatic drop in the labor force participation rate),
• of those who have left the labor force, about 1 million are available for work, but are discouraged and have given up.

A simple calculation: If the economy is adding 125,000 jobs per month (average over two months), it would take over 5 years to add back the 7.7 million lost payroll jobs - and that doesn't even include population growth. Grim is an understatement.

Dylan Ratigan, discussing dollars spent on investigations, channels Marcy Wheeler

More INSANITY!!!!!

Thelonious Monk - Epistrophy

John Coltrane Quartet- Afro Blue

John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones

John Coltrane :: Alabama

The John Coltrane Quartet (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones) en 1963

Journey In Satchindananda

Miles Davis & John Coltrane - So What (Live Video)

Bill Evans & Jim Hall 1962

1) Dream Gypsy (Veevers)
2) Skating in Central Park (John Lewis)

Sonny Clark Quintet - Blue Minor

Personnel: Art Farmer (trumpet), Jackie McLean (alto sax), Sonny Clark (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)

Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte - Art Farmer & Jim Hall

Art Farmer (flh) Jim Hall (g) Michael Moore (b) Steve Gadd (ds) Mike Mainieri (vib)

A little Suggestion

Why don't we get out of Europe, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and most of the rest of the world? Why don't we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure? Why don't we educate our young? Why don't we tax the rich AND our (currently) all-powerful-corporations?

Why not recognize the simple fact the RICH have been waging CLASS WAR on the rest of us for many, many years?

Don't you think it's time we TURNED THE TABLES?


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wisconsin Police Union Announces Solidarity with Occupation of State House

There is nothing more to say!

Australian Jazz Quintet - Samba de Orfeu

Australian Jazz Quintet Reunion at Honda Adelaide Music Fiesta 1993
at Adelaide Town Hall, (South Australia) perform: Jack Brokensha - vibes, Bruce Hancock - piano, Ed Gaston - bass and Laurie Kennedy - drums.

Australian Jazz Quartet - Tune For Jaymie

Jack Brokensha (d, vib), Dick Healey (as, fl, cl), Erroll Buddle (ts, bassoon), Bryce Rohde (p) + Jimmy Gannon (b), Nick Stabulas (d). Recorded in NYC Oct. 1965

Friday, February 25, 2011


First State Bank, Mendota, Illinois, Assumes All of the Deposits of Valley Community Bank, St. Charles, Illinois

February 25, 2011
Media Contact:
David Barr (202) 898-6992
Cell: (703) 622-4790

Valley Community Bank, St. Charles, Illinois, was closed today by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Banking, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First State Bank, Mendota, Illinois, to assume all of the deposits of Valley Community Bank.

The five branches of Valley Community Bank will reopen during their normal business hours beginning Saturday, February 26, as branches of First State Bank. Depositors of Valley Community Bank will automatically become depositors of First State Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Valley Community Bank should continue to use their existing branches until they receive notice from First State Bank that it has completed systems changes to allow other First State Bank branches to process their accounts as well.

This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Valley Community Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

As of December 31, 2010, Valley Community Bank had approximately $123.8 million in total assets and $124.2 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, First State Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

Customers who have questions about today's transaction can call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-357-7599. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Central Standard Time (CST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., CST; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., CST; and thereafter from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., CST. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $22.8 million. Compared to other alternatives, First State Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Valley Community Bank is the 23rd FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Illinois. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Community First Bank-Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, on February 4, 2011.


Here is today's column by Dr. Krugman from The New York Times. Please read this. Then follow link to original. Read again. Repeat as necessary. Next go out and buy "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.

Nothing else I post today can be as important. It just tells you how profoundly ANTI-AMERICAN, how UNPATRIOTIC the flag-waving Republican PLUTOCRATS are.

If their mouths are moving, if they are smiling, and YOU are not a multi-millionaire -- they are both lying, and trying to SCREW you, your family, and your children.

If there is a pro-labor, pro-union, pro-people, rally ANYWHERE near you -- go to it!

Here is Dr. Krugman:

Op-Ed Columnist
Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.
Published: February 24, 2011

Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”

The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.

Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.

In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.

What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.

For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.

And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”

What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”

If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?

The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage — aided by the maneuvering of Democrats in the State Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum — has slowed the bum’s rush. If Mr. Walker’s plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves.

But don’t expect either Mr. Walker or the rest of his party to change those goals. Union-busting and privatization remain G.O.P. priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Matt Stoller: The Liquidation of Society versus the Global Labor Revival

This is from Yves Smith's, "Naked Capitalism" -- written by Matt Stoller (please follow link to original)

Matt Stoller: The Liquidation of Society versus the Global Labor Revival

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His Twitter feed is

Today, the city of Providence, Rhode Island sent out layoff notices to every single teacher in the city. Every single one of them. If you want to understand why this is happening, why wages in the US keep getting cut, this chart from Doug Henwood tells the story.

That’s the number of strikes since 1947. What you’ll notice is that people in America just don’t strike anymore. Why? Well, their jobs have been shipped off to factory countries, their unions have been broken, and their salaries until recently have been supplemented by credit. It’s part of a giant labor arbitrage game, that the Federal Reserve and elites in both parties are happy to play. Strike, and you’re fired. Don’t strike, and your pay is probably going to be cut. Don’t like it? Sorry, we can open a plant abroad. And we have institutions, like the IMF, to make sure that we get goods from those factory-countries, and get them cheap.

But it’s not cheaper, or better, or more efficient. Firing your teachers isn’t exactly “winning the future”. And outsourcing manufacturing, as Boeing found out, is often a good way to increase coordination costs, create more operational risk, and destroy value. However, the system is good at maintaining the power of oligarch-style control of cultural institutions. If no one but the kids of rich people can read, only the kids of rich people will be able to organize society’s resources. Outsourcing work to China means that workers are scared and have no leverage, so they do what management wants. Again, this isn’t efficient; the UAW sought to make small cars in the 1940s, but was rebuffed by management. Workers are closest to production; treating them terribly is a good way to degrade product quality. Silicon Valley companies give their engineers free snacks and frisbees because happy employees that take ownership over their work create good quality products. Treating people terribly scares them, and makes them more pliable. Again, it’s about control.

The problem for the elites is that the system of control is breaking down. I noted a week and a half ago that the Egyptian revolution was a labor uprising against Rubinites. So to the extent that global labor arbitrage relies on sweatshops and environmental degradation in poor countries for cheap goods, successful strikes in poor countries undercuts the whole system. The reason to outsource work in the first place is to prevent workers in rich countries from gaining pricing and political power. Now workers in poor countries are getting pricing and political power? It’s actually a fragile system of control, and can be broken through either crackdowns on tax havens and oligarchs in wealthy countries or protests/strikes where the goods are made.

The Egyptian revolution was really a series of protests and highly politicized strikes, which is why people in Madison are taking inspiration from Cairo. In fact, the actions in Egypt may be creating a wave of labor actions worldwide, rippling to Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. All of these strikes are aimed at a collusive set of tight relationships. Here’s new Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott in a back and forth with public employees explaining how this system works. One worker asked him about proposed benefit cuts in the face of a multi-year freeze in salaries and layoffs.

“Do you fully realize the gross unfairness of that proposal?” one worker asked Scott.

Scott said a change was needed and that, “You never know exactly what’s fair.”

“Right now your plan in underfunded, whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not,” Scott said. “So whoever the youngest is, everyone else should thank them because there might not be a pension plan, just like we’re worried about Social Security.”

Scott didn’t mention the pension fund is about 88 percent funded – among the best in the country – while Social Security is scheduled to start paying out more than it takes in as soon as 2014.

Instead, Scott said both government and the private sector have less money to spend “and you guys all cause it.”

“As an example, you all shop at WalMart, right?” Scott said. “You don’t say, ‘Golly, I’m going to buy the product because they have a better pension plan or better health care plan or pay more taxes. You say, ‘I’m going to buy based on price.’

“That’s what taxpayers are doing now,” he said. “They’re moving around the country to pick states where they can keep more and more of their dollars. So what we’ve got to do … we’ve got to figure out how to get more efficient every day.”

A female worker was cheered when she asked this follow-up: “How do you expect employees to pay for these increases when we ourselves have not had an increase?”

“I would never defend that any compensation is ever fair for anybody, especially the hardest working people,” Scott said. “It’s never fair and it never will be fair.”

There’s a reason Scott is incoherent. Florida’s pension fund has lots of money in it, and Scott wants to make sure that workers don’t get very much of it. “You never know exactly what’s fair” and “It’s never fair and never will be fair” are cynical Rumsfeld-ian post-modern excuses for wealth transfers upward.

In this 5 minute long answer to another question of why workers are taking cuts while the wealthy do not have to share in the sacrifice, Scott spends time talking about luring companies to Florida, to compete with countries like China.

“There’s a reason [the jobs are overseas]. The labor’s less expensive, the regulation’s less expensive. Everything we do to make it harder on businesspeople means fewer jobs in Florida and less money to do the things we want to do.

This is absurd in one sense, because Florida’s problems have nothing to do with regulation. The whole state is underwater from a housing crash, and there’s just not enough aggregate demand to bring down unemployment. But these economic theories aren’t about efficiency, they are about a value system. Scott is arguing for a low trust low cost world, with no education, no regulatory standards, and low quality output. This is the dominant strain of thinking among American elites. It’s not just Rhode Island, where the teachers are literally all under threat of being fired (and where in 2010 Obama apparently sought to win the future by applauding this firing of teachers). In New York, Democratic Governor and prospective 2016 Presidential candidate Andrew Cuomo is gleefully slashing huge chunks of education and health care rather than retain a mild tax on the wealthy. This is a great way to increase crime, disease rates, and social disorder resulting from inequality.

Cuomo is just acting like a standard neoliberal Democrat. Obama has put forward a proposed pay freeze on non-security state Federal government workers, and Senate Democrats want to extent that for at least five years. That’s their starting position negotiating against the GOP. You can’t have a good regulatory state when you don’t pay regulators good wages. Instead, what you have when government is expansive and poorly run is big government corruption.

The GOP likes to foster corruption through privatization of public services, a shadow large government in the form of security contractors, corporations, and banks that are supported with taxpayer money but consider themselves part of the “private sector”. The elite Democratic model of governance is more subtle; it is embodied in high expertise-driven regulatory programs like the health care bill, cap and trade, GSE reform and Dodd-Frank. Low pay for regulators means corruption in the form of the revolving door. Whether it’s Scott Walker demanding the right to give state power plants and Medicaid money to oligarchs, or revolving door corruption through low pay to regulators, the real agenda of the elites seems to be: cuts for you, corruption for me. Whether the state Senate Democrats in Wisconsin represent an anomaly, or a trend, is an open question. Efficient this is not, but again, it’s not about efficiency, it’s about control.

Egyptians are trying to throw off the IMF-imposed austerity measures that created such a system for their country. The new government there is proposing raising taxes on oligarchs, increasing food subsidies, and reducing inequality. Their new cabinet is letting more people apply for “monthly portions of sugar, cooking oil, and rice.” The previous cabinet, “which was comprised of businessmen and former corporate executives”, had refused this.

And look at how Egypt is treating public employees: “Temporary workers who have spent at least three years working for the government will now be given permanent contracts that carry higher salaries, and benefits such as pension plans, and health and social insurance.”

Pension plans, health, and social insurance, oh my! How are they planning to pay for this? One member of a left-of-center party made it quite clear:

Confiscating wealth looted by cronies of the former regime, more egalitarian distribution of wealth, gradual taxation, better government oversight, and placing “a reasonable ceiling” on profitability of goods and services sold to the public are among the measures that should restore an economic balance to society, he said.

It is too early to pretend like this is a done deal, but it is certainly the case that the mass exercise of people-power in Egypt made this far more possible than it had been before. Even after Mubarak resigned, and even when the army tried to ban labor gatherings, the Egyptian labor movement continued to strike, gather, and make demands.

As Daniel Ellsberg once said, “Courage is contagious.” And what happened in Wisconsin came from the inspiration of see millions of powerless people join together and overthrow a regime in Egypt. It didn’t come from union leaders, who have been perpetually unprepared for the onslaught against them. Just look at the webpage of the AFL-CIO of Wisconsin. It looks like it was designed by Geocities in 1997. Yet, #wiunion has been trending on and off for a week on Twitter, and has inspired actions all over the country (check out the Cheesehead protest in NYC).

This upsurge certainly didn’t come from the Democratic Party leadership. I mean, Rhode Island is a pretty reliable blue state and the last Mayor of Providence was just elected to Congress as a Democrat. Meanwhile, Former Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is saying the Wisconsin state Senators need to get back to work. And what is striking about Obama’s posture on the greatest uprising in American labor history of this century, is how he is really nowhere, meekly tut-tutting about union busting while gravely acknowledging fiscal realities and tough choices. But the Wisconsin protests happen every day, without formal authority structures. This quote from the Huffington Post Hill newsletter shows that there is something new going on.

Tom O’Grady, a union sheet metal worker from Sun Prairie, Wis., said the sight of youngsters protesting against Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to gut collective bargaining rights is bittersweet. “It’s humbling,” said O’Grady, 60. “We see all these kids, they may never have a union job, and they’re here every night for us? It’s very humbling.”

Striking just isn’t in the collective memory of the American public anymore. This kind of highly politicized hybrid political protest/strike walks like an Egyptian these days, which is why Egyptians were sending Wisconsinites pizza and Madison protesters were holding signs lauding teachers, workers, and the new Egyptian flag. In fact, Madison may represent a new kind of American labor model, the melding of old school unions, Howard Dean-style internet-based organizing, Anonymous-style serious pranking, and social media reporting on protests and policy. There’s an anti-bailout class-based fervor here as well, with a simmering anger at Wall Street as subtext. It’s headless and global, though there is leadership. The most powerful moment so far in the Wisconsin conflict didn’t come from the actions of a labor leader, but from a prank call by alt-weekly “Buffalo Beast” editor Ian Murphy, who pretended to be billionaire American oligarch David Koch and had a frank 20 minute conversation with Governor Scott Walker. Murphy originally wanted to pose as Hosni Mubarak, but couldn’t pull off the accent.

Perversely, people may be so beaten down that they only want to side with institutions that are visibly and aggressively advocating for them. This might lead them to recognize that middle class interests are aligned with those of labor, which was the widespread view in the first generation after World War II. However, that also means that the de facto business unionism of the 1970s onward isn’t appealing. People might only like unions when they see strikes, otherwise all they hear about is backroom negotiations. Perhaps effectively striking is actually the way to force people to ask questions about what kind of country they want to live in. I haven’t seen this much labor coverage since, well, ever in my lifetime. There seems to be multiple feedback loops at work: political, global, and economic.

As commodity prices shoot up, and become more volatile, the pressure to liquidate America will only increase. These increases take the form of gifting public assets to oligarchs, taxing the middle class and poor, slashing social service budgets, and cutting wages through inflation and outright demotions (like the NYC sanitation workers that were demoted right before a giant blizzard). But civil unrest is intensifying it its most basic forms: protests and strikes, and in advanced forms, like the blowback at the national security state embodied in the HB Gary and WIkileaks fiasco.

What we are seeing is two political and economic systems, increasingly at odds – high trust and cooperative, or dominance-based and lowest common denominator. This is not, fundamentally, a debate about economics. It is true that neoclassical economics doesn’t work, leads to corruption, and is intellectually dishonest. But that’s why this isn’t a question of economics, because the dishonesty is part of a system of corrupted values.

It is Andrew Mellon morality, the kind that led to the Great Depression (and will lead again to catastrophe):

“Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.”

Or it is the morality of Martin Luther King:

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

Sometimes it really is that simple.

Another TIRED Old Woman

We spent yesterday moving furniture, trying to make our house reflect our more or less "bohemian" lifestyle. The REAL result is aches, pains, and another TIRED old woman.

Posting has been, and will be light today. Naps and baths are in order.

I'm sure everyone can find all the crappy news themselves.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fox Reverses Results Of Gallup Poll To Claim Americans Oppose Union Collective Bargaining Rights

These SOB's are NOT a news organization -- they are Lying-Republican-Scum.

Fox "news" is profoundly ANTI-AMERICAN!

This from Think Progress - please follow link to original

Fox Reverses Results Of Gallup Poll To Claim Americans Oppose Union Collective Bargaining Rights

Yesterday, USA Today and Gallup released a new poll that found that a whopping 61 percent of Americans oppose efforts like those of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) to strip public sector unions of collective bargaining rights. The poll also found that only a third of Americans support such a policy, indicating that Walker is pandering to the far-right of the American electorate and is hardly representative of mainstream political thought in this country.

This morning, during a debate about the situation in Wisconsin and collective bargaining rights in general, the Fox News show Fox & Friends referenced the USA Today/Gallup poll. With incredible brazenness, the Fox hosts actually reversed the results of the poll in order to claim that two-thirds of Americans supported Wisconsin-style laws rather than opposed them.

During the discussion, Fox host Brian Kilmeade asked pro-labor guest Robert Zimmerman if President Obama was taking a “big risk” by opposing Walker’s law. Zimmerman responded by saying that Obama was speaking “for the mainstream of our country, and the mainstream of Republican governors who are not siding with Governor Walker.” Kilmeade responded by saying, “I think Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view. And here’s the question that was posed. Do you favor or disfavor of taking away collective bargaining when it comes to salaries for government workers. 66 percent in favor, 33 percent opposed, 9 percent up in the air.”

Needless to say, it is hardly “fair and balanced,” as Fox News likes to deem itself, to take the results of a poll and simply reverse them when they do not go your way.

It’s worth pointing out that, Jim Glassman, the Bush Center director who appeared on the show to argue against collective bargaining, said right after the poll was shown that “many” states actually don’t have collective bargaining. The truth is that only five states do not have collective bargaining for public employees — Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Those states rank 45th, 48th, 49th, 38th, and 34th, in average SAT scores, respectively. Wisconsin is 3rd.

Update In the final minute of the Fox & Friends episode, Kilmeade issued a correction and made an apology for reversing the numbers.

Update Yesterday, scores of New York City residents protested outside of the Fox News headquarters about the network's coverage of the Wisconsin protests, timing their protests to coincide with the 5 pm start of Glenn Beck's show. One protester carried a sign that appropriately read "Fox Lies"

On This Date

This from The New York Times: "On Feb. 23, 1954, the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh.".

Would it have happened today?

How many injunctions? How many flawed anti-inoculation "studies" would have to be done first?

How many parents would refuse to have their children protected from polio?

Would it still be the killer it was back then?

Don't you wonder?

Our current anti-science bias still allows people to die if the cure offends some folks religion -- of course, it's usually ONLY women -- and, no one really gives a damn about them. You only have to look at various anti-woman bills being promoted by "Pro-Family-Republicans", and some "Conservative Democrats".

Welcome to 18th century America.

Go read "The Rude Pundit"

That's right, I said, "Go read 'The Rude Pundit'." -- as a tease, here's a little post from Monday -- just to remind you what The USA was, and could be:

Abraham Lincoln Would Fuck Up Your Conservative Economic Ideology:
Just a quick one before taking a personal day: three quotes from the greatest great great president who's not Ronald Reagan (duh), since everyone's a-pondering what our forefathers and mothers might think of the Wisconsin uprising. These are from Abraham Lincoln, noted quorum-stopper and occasional Republican (whenever the GOP needs his corpse, they dig it up and make it dance, but otherwise, they just let him rot):

1. "I am glad to know that there is a system of labor where the laborer can strike if he wants to! I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world." - From a speech on March 5, 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut, regarding a shoemaker's strike (which, believe it or not, involved 20,000 shoemakers who were not, apparently, elves).

2. "Inasmuch as most good things are produced by labor, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. But it has so happened, in all ages of the world, that some have labored, and others have without labor enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government." - From his notes about tariff policy, scribbled down on December 1, 1847.

3. "Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits." - From his 1861 State of the Union address, decrying "the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government."

Hey, patriots, on this Presidents' Day, suck on those stovepipe hats.

'Going to the US Is More Unpleasant Than Going to Soviet-Era Russia'

Here's an item posted a few days ago on "When Giants Fall" -- please follow link to original. It relates to the next post --- ENJOY!!

"Going to the US Is More Unpleasant Than Going to Soviet-Era Russia'

As I've noted here and over at Financial Armageddon, I gather information from a wide range of sources (check out my blogroll in the right-hand column if you don't believe me). Sometimes the views come from bloggers and commenters who keep their identities secret for any number of reasons. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with anonymity, there's probably a greater risk that what is being said is false or misleading, or that reality is being distorted for some less-than-honorable ends. Under the circumstances, I tend to scrutinize such commentary more closely. However, in the case of this posting from reddit, "Why I Stopped Travellig to the US and I Largely Stopped Doing Business in the US," what I and others have experienced first-hand gives me little reason to doubt that the views expressed are accurate -- and reflect a more broad-based perspective:

With every trip I've taken to the US over the past 30 years, things have gotten a little worse every time. Things are now so bad that I have stopped visiting the US and i no longer have any clients in the US. Mostly because having clients in the US means having to go there. And I've grown to really dislike going to the US.

I'm a photographer. I mainly do street photography now, but i still do the odd bit of contract work. I travel with expensive gear though not that much of it. I like to travel light. The INS do not like that. If I turn up with just my camera backpack and a small bag of clean underwear for a one week stay I usually have to spend a lot of time being interrogated for my lack of a huge suitcase. (I guess they suspect I live in the US illegally. Which borders on comical since nobody knows more about my travel patterns than the US government. Besides, my passport is usually filled with stamps that should tell them that I travel a lot and that even if I lived in the US, I spend most of my time flitting around the world)

Paranoid as the INS are, the TSA are even worse. Mostly because they are a huge bureaucracy where nobody seems to be accountable and their on-the-ground personnel are mostly people who had to choose from a range of other low paying jobs. On several occasions I've had expensive gear disappear from my carry-on during security checks and last year a TSA agent dropped my Canon 1D Mk3, smashing both the lens and the camera body. No apology, but more importantly: I was never compensated. I'm not rich and that camera (and the lens) was important to my livelihood. An expensive piece of kit lost that meant that I basically didn't make any money that month.

Oh, and of course, now you have all this nonsense with pat-downs and backscatter X-rays which increases security with exactly zero percent and makes an already tense atmosphere even more tense. Well played.

Taking pictures in the US is another hassle. After 9/11 everyone is utterly paranoid and everyone from security guards to police, and even random passers-by, have hassled me. Claiming that I am breaking the law (I am not) or demanding I explain why I am taking pictures. Believe me, I have spent a lot of time figuring out what laws apply to photography in various states, but on the ground and with a camera in your hand, that means absolutely nothing. Explaining the laws in effect to a law enforcement officer only gets you into more trouble.

I've been to Russia before the cold war ended. I've been all over the middle east. I've been to China. I've travelled all over Europe. I've been to Cuba and I've been to Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Nicaragua.

What all of these places have in common is that going there was a far more pleasant experience than going to the US. Yes, you read correctly: going to the US is more unpleasant than going to Soviet era Russia or even Iran 10 years ago. Sure, you sometimes have to bribe people, but at least I've not had gear stolen off me during security checks or had people break my gear without at least compensating me.

And taking pictures. Well, let me put it like this: you are 20 times more likely to get hassled for whipping out your camera anywhere in the US than in, say, downtown Teheran.

I offer this as an observation from the outside. The US is isolating itself and it is becoming a very, very unpleasant place to visit. I often talk to fellow travellers and even a lot of business types in nice suits often relate how they'd rather not travel to the US if they could help it and that they'd rather work with people in Europe or Asia. I can relate to that."

Seattle restaurant puts TSA workers on no-eat list

Here we have a sign of the times -- just another attempt at protest against our new "Uber-Police-State": (please follow link to original)

A restaurant near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is so tired of the way the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been treating their customers that they've actually banned agents from eating at the establishment.

KC McLawson, a worker at the restaurant, told journalist Christopher Elliott exactly how far her boss had taken the ban.

"We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren’t allowed to come into our business," she said. "We have the right to refuse service to anyone."

"My boss flies quite a bit and he has an amazing ability to remember faces. If he sees a TSA agent come in we turn our backs and completely ignore them, and tell them to leave."

"Their kind aren't welcomed in our establishment," McLawson continued. "A large majority of our customers -- over 90 percent -- agree with our stance and stand by our decision."

"We even have the police on our side and they have helped us escort TSA agents out of our cafe. Until TSA agents start treating us with the respect and dignity that we deserve, then things will change for them in the private sector."

Elliot noted that he withheld the name of the cafe where McLawson worked due to her desire to remain anonymous.

The TSA has come under scrutiny in recent months after new policies required travelers to go through full body scanners or be subjected to invasive pat-downs.

The conduct of some agents hasn't helped the situation.

In November alone, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) received over 900 complaints about the agency.

"The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts," one woman said. "She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone."

Law enforcement authorities said last week that two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers had been arrested for stealing from bags at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The two confessed to stealing as much as $160,000, according to police.

How's YOUR "Recovery" Going?

It's Weds., time to visit "Some Assembly Required" - if you don't go there every day. here are a few of the latest: (please follow link to original)

The greater the danger, the deeper the denial.

Decisions, decisions: Libya's Gadhafi vows to fight on or die a martyr, Okay, let's take a vote.

United We Stand: Indiana. Ohio. Wisconsin. Idaho. In May, 1933, Hitler arrested all the union leaders, abolished collective bargaining and outlawed the unions. The best time to enslave a people is when they are down. In repeating the sins of their fathers, not only are the arch-conservatives setting up a replay of the Great Depression, they are making the workers realize how much they need unity, unions.

You Know It's Bad When.... Wal-Mart's same store sales fell 1.8% in the quarter ended January 28th, which included the entire Christmas season. This was the seventh straight quarterly sales decline. Shares fell sharply as the company blamed the economic “recession/depression” for their poor sales.

Raw Data: The numbers of reports of stillborn dolphins on the Gulf Coast has increased tenfold since BP claimed everything was just fine.

Fog of War: According to the Washington Post, General David H. Petraeus told President Karzai that the children among the 60 civilians killed during a clash with suspected Taliban forces “might have been burned by their elders to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties.” Petreus went on to say that residents had invented stories, or even injured their children, to pin the blame on US forces. Has Petraeus lost his mind? Have we?

Starvation: Michigan State “education” officials have ordered Detroit to immediately implement a financial restructuring plan that calls for closing half the schools, firing half the teachers, and increasing high school classes to 60 students. Emergency financial director Robert Bobb said “In the long run, the district will be stronger. There can be no retreat." And apparently little education.

Opposition to Infrastructure Spending: The Origins

Here's a little something from Prof. Krugman to think about: (please follow link to original)

Opposition to Infrastructure Spending: The Origins

I’m currently reading Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought, and there’s an interesting discussion of the debate over “internal improvements.” Some southerners were opposed, for an interesting reason. Here’s Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina, in 1818:

If Congress can make canals, they can with more propriety emancipate.

I leave the elucidation of any parallels or lack thereof to modern politics as an exercise for readers.

Side effects of the GOP's war on family planning

Here is part of a column from The Washington Post by Ruth Marcus -- please follow link for the rest of the story.

By Ruth Marcus
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

House Republicans voted to increase the number of abortions, raise federal health-care costs and swell the welfare rolls.

That wasn't their intent, of course, and certainly not their stated policy. But it is the predictable and inevitable impact of their twin moves to eliminate funding for the federal family planning program and strip Planned Parenthood of all federal money.

If anything, this assessment is understated. The sharper, and still accurate version, would be that Republicans voted to let more women die from breast cancer, cervical cancer and AIDS. How's that? The family planning programs also provide cancer screening and HIV counseling to millions of low-income and uninsured people.

Let's be clear about one thing. Almost none of this money went for abortions. The only federal funding for abortion involves the thankfully low number of situations in which poor women seek abortions for pregnancy due to rape or incest, or when their own lives are in jeopardy. In 2006, the last year for which figures are available, the federal government paid for 191 such abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

However, the House cuts are intended to punish abortion providers - specifically, Planned Parenthood, which is simultaneously the largest recipient of federal family planning funds and the largest abortion provider in the country.

Federal law requires Planned Parenthood to carefully separate its abortion expenses from its others. In most instances, abortions are performed in a different building or on a different floor, by different staff. That is not enough to satisfy abortion opponents, who insist that the federal money frees up other funds to underwrite abortions.

But abortions represent 3 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides; contraception accounts for 35 percent; testing for sexually transmitted diseases, 34 percent; cancer screening and prevention, 17 percent. ................

Bigger Medstar Ambulances for Bigger Patients

No Comment necessary: (please follow link to original)

By Scott Gordon

updated 2/22/2011 11:45:37 PM ET 2011-02-23T04:45:37

Fort Worth's ambulance service is replacing its fleet to accommodate the growing number of overweight patients.

Medstar is converting its older Ford chassis to heavier Chevys, which cost $7,000 more but can carry an additional 800 pounds, said Matt Zavadsky, Medstar associate operations director.

"It's built to carry the extra weight and not be so saggy," he said.

Paramedics don't keep statistics on patients' weight, but Zavadsky said the national trend toward larger waistlines holds true here.

"I can tell you -- no pun intended -- it's growing," he said.

Medstar made the decision last year to put larger frames on its 54 ambulances. The "boxes" on top -- where patients are treated -- remain the same.

The ambulance service has also transitioned to a larger stretcher, which can carry patients up to 650 pounds. The old ones were limited to 500 pounds.

Paramedics have new procedures for buckling in overweight patients. They lower the side rails, which can be uncomfortable for large people, and attach strap extenders to the existing buckles, Zavadsky said.

"And now we've got all this room," he said as he demonstrated the technique.

Last year, 220 patients had to be transported on a special bariatric cot, which is designed for the extremely obese.

Medstar began the transition to the newer chassis last year and expects to finish by the end of this year.

The larger ambulances have other benefits as well, such as a smoother ride and the ability to carry an extra oxygen tank, Zavadsky said.

In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 28.7 percent of Texans were obese.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. BMI is measured by a person's weight and height.

"In the last 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States," the CDC said on its website.

"It's a trend that's probably going to continue, and we're going to have to take additional steps in the future," Zavadsky said.

Hope and Change? Not for Americans - by Ted Rall

Here is a part of a new column by Ted Rall -- please follow link to original for the rest of it.

Hope and Change? Not for Americans

Posted by Ted Rall on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

Turmoil from Mideast to Midwest

If irony were money we’d be rich.

“You’ve got to get out ahead of change,” President Obama lectured a week ago. “You can’t be behind the curve.” He was, of course, referring to the Middle East. During the last few weeks there has been a new popular uprising every few days: Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya.

And now, Wisconsin.

In Madison, where a new Republican governor wants to gut the rights of state workers to form unions and negotiate for higher wages, tens of thousands of protesters have filled the streets and sat in the State Capitol for days. “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days,” said Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Revolutionary foment is on the march around the globe, but Mr. Hopey Changey is nowhere to be found now that it’s here in the U.S. Whatever happened to “get ahead of change?” What’s good for the Hosni isn’t good for the Barry.

Deploying his customary technocratic aloofness in the service of the usual screw-the-workers narrative, President Obama sided with the union-busters: “Everybody has to make some adjustments to the new fiscal realities,” he scolds.

“Everybody,” naturally, does not include ultrarich dudes like our multi-millionaire president. Obama, who declared a whopping $5.5 million in annual income for 2009 (the last year available), has neither reduced his salary nor donated a penny of his $7.7 million fortune to the Treasury to help adjust to those “new fiscal realities.”........................

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Dirty %$&*(@! Hippies Were Right!

Now, for your listening pleasure - a-1, a-2, etc.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Joan Jett - Bad Reputation

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock N Roll

Some Comments On Scott Walker

By the way, in case you wondered --- Gov. Scott Walker of Wisc. is a PIG. Actually, he might be a hog. There is an old saying that, "pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered", which was used to describe folks who get too greedy.

Walker has LOWERED TAXES on his friends, while then trying to "balance the budget" on the backs of the folks who do the work in his Gov't.

This makes no sense.

I do understand that folks want "less government" -- until the snow piles up, or the rivers flood, or any number of SHTF scenarios -- then they DEMAND "Government ACTION" -- the very same Government they wanted "out of their hair".

Once again, when the Government disappears, or gets smaller, only the RICH and their kids will have services, education, clean water, and maybe cleaner air -- until the entire system collapses.

The overall Scott Walker "plan", and that of other Republican "leaders" will end with the destruction of the USA as a first world country. It seems they want a Banana Republic.

Why do the Republicans hate America?


"American Shame"

This from the N.Y. Times -- look at it, then decide if you want to join in when folks claim we are Number 1. The truth is - as the richest nation in the world we are falling down in many areas.

Always remember, when some Republican operative says "it's for the children", or, "it's for the family" -- IT'S NOT!! Also, what's good for multi-national corporations is NOT good for the nation, even though it might be good for the top one percent.

The Coming Shutdowns and Showdowns: What’s Really at Stake

Once again, Robert Reich posts a clear, succinct analysis of what is at stake for the USA in the current "Attack Of The Republican Blood Suckers"

(please follow link to original -- then read some more good stuff from Mr. Reich. You might even buy his books.)

The Coming Shutdowns and Showdowns: What’s Really at Stake

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin is in a showdown. Washington is headed for a government shutdown.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won’t budge. He insists on delivering a knockout blow to public unions in his state (except for those, like the police, who supported his election).

In DC, House Republicans won’t budge on the $61 billion cut they pushed through last week, saying they’ll okay a temporary resolution to keep things running in Washington beyond March 4 only if it includes many of their steep cuts — among which are several that the middle class and poor depend on.

Republicans say “we’ve” been spending too much, and they’re determined to end the spending with a scorched-earth policies in the states (Republican governors in Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey are reading similar plans to decimate public unions) and shutdowns in Washington.

There’s no doubt that government budgets are in trouble. The big lie is that the reason is excessive spending.

Public budgets are in trouble because revenues plummeted over the last two years of the Great Recession.

They’re also in trouble because of tax giveaways to the rich.

Before Wisconsin’s budget went bust, Governor Walker signed $117 million in corporate tax breaks. Wisconsin’s immediate budge shortfall is $137 million. That’s his pretext for socking it to Wisconsin’s public unions.

Nationally, you remember, Republicans demanded and received an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. They’ve made it clear they’re intent on extending them for the next ten years, at a cost of $900 billion. They’ve also led the way on cutting the estate tax, and on protecting Wall Street private equity and hedge-fund managers whose earnings are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. And the last thing they’d tolerate is an increase in the top marginal tax rate on the super-rich.

Meanwhile, of course, more and more of the nation’s income and wealth has been concentrating at the top. In the late 1970s, the top 1 percent got 9 percent of total income. Now it gets more than 20 percent.

So the problem isn’t that “we’ve” been spending too much. It’s that most Americans have been getting a steadily smaller share of the nation’s total income.

At the same time, the super-rich have been contributing a steadily-declining share of their own incomes in taxes to support what the nation needs — both at the federal and at the state levels.

The coming showdowns and shutdowns must not mask what’s going on. Democrats should make sure the public understands what’s really at stake.

Yes, of course, wasteful and unnecessary spending should be cut. That means much of the defense budget, along with agricultural subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare.

But America is the richest nation in the world, and “we’ve” never been richer. There’s no reason for us to turn on our teachers, our unionized workers, our poor and needy, and our elderly. The notion that “we” can no longer afford it is claptrap.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts

Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm always posting "good news" - wherever I find it -- here's a bit more to cheer up your day (please follow link to original)

Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts
By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Feb 17, 2011 (IPS) - Thawing permafrost is threatening to overwhelm attempts to keep the planet from getting too hot for human survival.

Without major reductions in the use of fossil fuels, as much as two-thirds of the world's gigantic storehouse of frozen carbon could be released, a new study reported. That would push global temperatures several degrees higher, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable.

Once the Arctic gets warm enough, the carbon and methane emissions from thawing permafrost will kick-start a feedback that will amplify the current warming rate, says Kevin Schaefer, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. That will likely be irreversible.

And we're less than 20 years from this tipping point. Schaefer prefers to use the term "starting point" for when the 13 million square kilometres of permafrost in Alaska, Canada, Siberia and parts of Europe becomes a major new source of carbon emissions.

"Our model projects a starting point 15 to 20 years from now," Schaefer told IPS.

The model used a 'middle of the road' scenario with less fossil fuel use than at present. Even at that rate, it found that between 29 and 60 percent of the world's permafrost will thaw, releasing an extra 190 gigatonnes of carbon by 2200. The study is the first to quantify when and how much carbon will be released and was published this week in the meteorological journal Tellus.

"The amount of carbon released is equivalent to half the amount of carbon that has been released into the atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age," Schaefer said.

The additional carbon from permafrost would increase the average temperatures in the Arctic by eight to 10 degrees C, the study reported. Not only would this utterly transform the Arctic, it would also increase the planet's average temperature by about three degrees C, agrees Schaefer.

And this increase would be on top of the three to six degrees C from continuing to burn fossil fuels over the next 100 years. The Earth's normal average temperature is 14C, so heating up the entire planet another six to nine degrees C would be like increasing our body temperatures from the normal 37C to a deadly fever of 53 to 60 degrees C.

As catastrophic as all this is, Schaefer acknowledges his study underestimates what is likely to happen. The model does not measure methane releases, which are 40 times as potent in terms of warming as carbon. Methane could have a big impact on temperatures in the short term, he says.

"There would be a lot of methane emissions. We're working on estimating those right now," he said.

The model also does not include emissions from the large region of underwater permafrost. IPS previously reported that an estimated eight million tonnes of methane emissions are bubbling to the surface from the shallow East Siberian Arctic shelf every year.

If just one percent of the Arctic undersea methane (also called methane hydrates) reaches the atmosphere, it could quadruple the amount of methane currently in the atmosphere, Vladimir Romanovsky of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks previously told IPS.

Nor does the model account for a process called thermokarst erosion, acknowledges Schaefer. This is a widely observed process where meltwater erodes the permafrost and exposes it to warmer temperatures and speeding up the thaw. "We can't model that yet but it could contribute to major releases of carbon and methane," he said.

None of this has been taken into account by politicians and policy makers looking to cut humanity's carbon emissions with the agreed on target of keeping global temperatures below two degrees C.

Nor is there a wide appreciation for the fact there is no 'reverse gear'. Even if all fossil fuel use stopped today, global temperatures would continue to rise and permafrost would thaw for another 20 to 30 years, Schaefer estimates. And once the permafrost carbon is released, "there is no way to put it back into the permafrost".

Even if there was a way to lower the Earth's human-induced fever, it would take a century or more for thawed permafrost to reform, he said.

Permafrost has been warming and thawing since the 1980s. A 2009 study reported that the southernmost permafrost limit had retreated 130 kilometres over the past 50 years in Quebec's James Bay region. The major loss of sea ice in the Arctic allows the Arctic Ocean to become much warmer, which in turn has increased temperatures of coastal regions an average of three to five degrees C warmer than 30 years ago.

More ominously, large parts of the eastern Arctic were 21C higher above normal for a month in the dead of winter this year, as previously reported by IPS.

However, while on the edge of a most dangerous precipice, there is a safer path available. A new energy analysis demonstrates that fossil fuel energy could be virtually phased out by 2050 while offering comfortable lifestyles for all. The Energy Report by Ecofys, a leading energy consulting firm in the Netherlands, shows that humanity could meet 95 percent of energy needs with renewables utilising today's technologies.

"The Energy Report shows that in four decades we can have a world of vibrant economies and societies powered entirely by clean, cheap and renewable energy and with a vastly improved quality of life," said WWF Director General Jim Leape.

WWF worked on the report with Ecofys.

"The report is more than a scenario – it’s a call for action. We can achieve a cleaner, renewable future, but we must start now," Leape said in a statement.


Santorums "Google problem"

This from Dan Savage on the "Santorum issue". It seems poor Rick is upset at what the big bad homosexuals have saddled him with (please follow link to original)

A "Savage Love" reader suggested the contest, "Savage Love" readers came up with a number of proposed new definitions, "Savage Love" readers picked the definition, "Savage Love" readers demonstrated how the new definition could be used in a sentence, and "Savage Love" readers—fairly and honestly (I have no idea how one "Goggle bombs" something)—drove Spreading Santorum up in the Google rankings. (No money changed hands, Dan Lemon—we didn't pay Google a thing. Spreading Santorum rose through the Google ranks on links-and-merit alone.)

All of that went down in 2003. Eight years later Rick Santorum is running for president and he's got a "Google problem." Good job, guys.

And you have to love how Santorum is out there mewling about being the victim here and about civility—this from the man who compared people in stable, loving same-sex relationships to dog fuckers and kiddie rapists, this from a man who would make gay and straight sodomy illegal, ban gay marriage and any other protections for same-sex couples, and prevent loving same-sex couples from adopting children who need homes. This from a man who would literally destroy my family if it were within in his power to do so. And the "Savage Love" gang? All we did was make a dirty joke at his expense. There has been no effort to strip Rick Santorum of his civil rights, no moves to nullify his marriage, no one has suggested that his children be taken out of his home, no one is trying to prevent him from having more children. No one has compared Rick Santorum to a dog fucker or a pedophile. Compared to Rick Santorum, my readers and I have been models of decorum and restraint.

And don't think you're fooling us, Rick. Now that you're running for president—eight years after we redefined "santorum"—you're whining to attract a little attention to your campaign and because your advisors think that maybe you'll get a little traction playing the pansy-assed victim card, à la Sarah Palin, and rake in a few bucks. Oh, look at all that mean gay dude—one of the guys I want to oppress—he's picking on meeeeeeeeeee!

Boodely-hoodely, Ricky.

This Week In Holy Crimes

This from Joe.My.God - please follow link to original

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

Washington: Pastor Dirk Jackson arrested for the rape of a 12 year-old girl.
Tennessee: Pastor Ronnie Powe charged with aggravated statutory rape.
Kentucky: Pastor Jerry Cannon charged with posting hundreds of child porn images to Facebook.
New York: Rabbi Milton Balkany sentenced to four years in $4M hedge fund extortion.
Minnesota: Father Christopher Wenthe charged with felony sexual abuse of female parishioner.
Virginia: Father Felix Owino sentenced to nine months for molesting 11 year-old girl.
Britain: Imam Ebrahim Kazir charged with multiple counts of sexual assault on girls under the age of 14.
Washington: Pastor Royce Shorter charged with multiple felony counts of child molestation.
Massachusetts: Pastor Angel Morales on trial for rape of 14 year-old girl.
California: Pastor Alonzo McCowan pleads guilty to swindling $300K from an elderly parishioner.
North Carolina: Pastor Timothy Bailey charged in $670K Ponzi scheme.
Alabama: Pastor Steven McQueen charged with stealing $250K from his own church.
Massachusetts: Father Gary Mercure sentenced to 20-25 years in prison for the rape of two minors.
Britain: Pastor Lucy Adeniji charged with beating immigrant children and using them as personal slaves.
Kentucky: Archdiocese of Louisville sued for allowing known child molester priest to head parish.
Hawaii: Unnamed Catholic priest charged with kidnapping and sexual assault.

This Week's Winner
Florida: The Archdiocese of Miami and Father Neil Doherty have been sued for the alleged drugging and rape of an eight year-old boy. According to the suit, Doherty assaulted the boy more than 50 times over a three year period and was kept in his position by the Archdiocese despite sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s. Doherty has previously been sued by 25 other victims and in 1994 the Archdiocese of Miami paid a $50,000 settlement to one of them.

Support The Workers

Support the WORKERS in Wisconsin, Ohio, and EVERYWHERE. The job you save may be your own!

Grant Green - Lazy Afternoon

Oliver Nelson - Blues and Abstract Truth

Jammin' The Blues 1944 Historic Black Jazz Jam Session HD

HD Jammin' the Blues is a 1944 short film in which several prominent jazz musicians got together for a rare filmed jam session. It features Lester Young, Red Callender, Harry Edison, Marlowe Morris, Sid Catlett, Barney Kessel, Joe Jones, John Simmons, Illinois Jacquet, Marie Bryant, Archie Savage and Garland Finney. For some, this is their only known appearance in a theatrical film. Barney Kessel is the only white performer in the film. He was seated in the shadows to shade his skin, and for closeups, his hands were stained with berry juice. Lindy Hop legends Archie Savage and Marie Bryant do the Lindy Hop (Jitterbug) on this footage. Directed by Gjon Mili and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry

Buck Clayton's Jam Session - Robbins' Nest

Personnel: Buck Clayton, Joe Newman (trumpet), Urbie Green, Henderson Chambers (trombone), Lem Davis (alto sax), Julian Dash (tenor sax), Charles Fowlkes (baritone sax), Freddie Green (guitar), Sir Charles Thompson (piano), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums) -- 3/4 of "The All American Rhythm Section" (missing Count Basie, whose band they were with for YEARS)

Mainstem - Oliver Nelson on Sax with Joe Newman on Trumpet

OLIVER NELSON, tenor sax, alto sax
JOE NEWMAN, trumpet

The Nightwatchman - California's Dark

The reactionary legacy of Ronald Reagan

This from Workers World
please follow link to original

The reactionary legacy of Ronald Reagan
By Naomi Cohen
Published Feb 19, 2011 9:12 AM

Based on a talk given Feb. 10 at a New York Workers World Party meeting. Go to to see the podcast of this talk.

Feb. 6 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan and gave the media and right wing the opportunity to subject the population to yet another celebration of the racist, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-lesbian-gay-bi-trans and militarist legacy of the man.

For the working class and oppressed people it should be a time for reflection over what the significance of the “Reagan era” was for our class and what lessons can be learned in the fight against racism, reaction and imperialist aggression today.

Ronald Reagan began his campaign for president in 1980 by carefully choosing Philadelphia, Miss., as the site for a speech in which he extolled “states’ rights.” With confederate flags flying all around, the message was clear that the era of giving lip service to civil rights for the African-American population was over. Open racism and reaction would be the order of the day. And he chose to send this message in the very city where three young civil rights workers — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner — had been lynched by the KKK and local police 16 years earlier.

It is worth setting the stage for this rightward turn in U.S. politics with some background to Reagan’s election. In April 1975, the Vietnamese liberation army swept into Saigon and forced the U.S. military and thousands of their puppets to leave Vietnam. All progressive humanity celebrated as they watched the war criminals rush to the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City to be evacuated by helicopter. But for the U.S. military, this was a humiliating and bitter defeat that they would not soon forget.

During this same period in the 1970s liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau drove the Portuguese colonial power out of Africa and almost resulted in a proletarian revolution in Portugal itself. There were revolutions in Ethiopia, Southern Yemen, Nicaragua, Iran and Afghanistan. And the Palestinian struggle was gaining strength. Widespread insurgencies in Central America in El Salvador and Guatemala were also threatening U.S. imperialism in its own backyard.

Leader needed to assert U.S. hegemony, crush workers

It is no wonder that the U.S. ruling class was looking for a leader who would halt the decline of their fortunes abroad and, in addition, carry out an assault on the working class and oppressed people at home. The time for concessions to the working class was over as far as they were concerned.

The posture of offering peaceful coexistence to the Soviet Union was also over. Reagan labeled the Soviet Union “the evil empire” and initiated a massive arms build-up to force the Soviet Union into a renewed arms race [notably the “Star Wars” program] that was aimed at derailing their planned economy and threatening their very existence.

The Reagan administration spent tens of millions of dollars propping up the contra war against the Sandinista regime that had liberated Nicaragua from decades of U.S. puppet rule under the Somoza military dictatorship. They sent aid to the death squad regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala, resulting in mass killings, torture and imprisonment of opposition forces. And his administration was a staunch supporter of the apartheid South African regime.

In 1982 Reagan sent the Marines as part of a so-called international force into Lebanon after giving the green light to their Israeli puppets to invade Lebanon earlier that year. Israel launched an all-out assault on the Palestinian refugees there and the Palestine Liberation Organization. After giving Israel cover for the massacre of Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, the expedition turned into a disaster for the U.S. when the Marine barracks in Beirut was bombed in 1983. Over 200 Marines were killed, and the U.S. was forced to withdraw their troops in 1984.

In 1983 Reagan again used the U.S. military to invade the tiny island of Grenada, which had a revolutionary government headed by Maurice Bishop of the New Jewel Movement. Bishop had opened friendly relations with Cuba. When this government was destabilized by an internal struggle, the U.S. military invaded under the excuse that the Cubans and Soviet Union were aiding Grenada to build an airport that would be a security threat to the U.S.

At the same time that Reagan was carrying out aggression abroad, he sent a chilling message to the workers at home. When 11,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization went on strike for shorter hours and better pay in 1981 soon after he took office, Reagan told them to get back to work within 48 hours or face dismissal for life. When the workers did not return to work, they were all fired and banned from working as air traffic controllers. PATCO had endorsed Reagan for president.

He initiated a hateful campaign against what he called “welfare queens” as a way to sow hatred of those on welfare and justify cutbacks in Aid to Families with Dependent Children. He slashed job training programs (the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act), which in 1978 were providing 750,000 jobs across the country, many for inner-city youth. He labeled the AIDS epidemic as a “gay” disease, refusing to do anything to fund medical research for treatment. And who can forget that the Department of Agriculture under Reagan tried to reclassify ketchup as a vegetable to save money on school lunch programs for poor children.

The Reagan presidency elicited an immediate response from the movement in the U.S. The People’s Anti-War Mobilization was formed, involving anti-war groups as well as community activists, labor unions, anti-racist, LGBT, Native American, Central American and Palestinian solidarity groups. PAM mobilized more than 100,000 protesters to march on the Pentagon on May 3, 1981, under slogans of “U.S. out of El Salvador,” “Defend Atlanta’s children” and “No to racism, sexism and anti-gay bigotry.” It was the first such mobilization of that size that aimed to beat back the Reagan attack. It was the also the first major mobilization that featured a Palestinian speaker.

Legacy of hatred, oppression

In June and July 2004, following Reagan’s death, Fred Goldstein summarized the essence of the Reagan presidency in Workers World this way: “Reagan’s task was to prepare for military adventure abroad; to push back the USSR, the socialist camp and the national liberation movements; to overturn all the remaining economic, social and political concessions won by the workers’ struggles during the Roosevelt period; and to take back the gains of the Black people and all the oppressed nationalities won during the 1950s and 1960s and of women and lesbians, gay, bi and trans people during the 1970s.

“This aggressive orientation arose out of the predatory need of the capitalist class to rescue its position as the dominant exploiter of the world. This orientation has not changed since and has been pursued by every administration, Democrat and Republican, since then.”

We can easily recognize these characteristics in the policies of the Bush Sr., Clinton and G.W. Bush presidencies that followed Reagan. While the neoconservative inheritors of the Reagan legacy in the Republican Party and Tea Party heap abuse and racist slurs upon President Barack Obama, nevertheless the needs of Wall Street and big business and the demands of the military for continued occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan have gotten the highest priority from his administration.

In the last two years the hopes of the labor movement to win the Employee Free Choice Act were quickly dashed; the yearning for genuine rights for immigrant workers was answered by mass deportations of the undocumented; the expectations by women that reproductive choice would be safeguarded have been met by continuing violence against women’s health clinics. And through it all, the aggressive stance of the U.S. military not only in Afghanistan, but against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China and Iran keep the world at the brink of wider war.

Following Reagan’s militarist posturing, in 2002 George Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld assumed that all it would take was “shock and awe” (that is, massive bombing, followed by a limited number of special forces on the ground) to bring the Iraqi people to their knees. But the whole U.S. military establishment was in for a shock of their own. Ten years later they have had to draw down their forces in Iraq and escalate the war in Afghanistan, with no end in sight.

The ground has now given way under the puppet Mubarak, with all his billions of dollars in U.S. military aid. We can see in the living struggle the feet of clay of the tyrants once the people are in motion. And we look forward to the next chapter in the unfolding revolution in Egypt. This is the future, not the legacy of hatred and oppression of a man like Ronald Reagan.

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here's an interesting headline

(follow link to original)

Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 951 Institutions

(that's a HUGE jump!)

Hidden camera - Old Women Crossing

Now you know what we do for fun on a slow day:

Nat King Cole Show Feat JATP C Jam Blues

Roy Eldrige,Trumpet
Flip Philips,Tenor Sax
Illinois Jaquet,Tenor Sax
Oscar Peterson,Piano
Ray Brown,Bass
Herb Ellis,Guitar
Jo Jones,Drums

Ellington - Perdido (written by Juan Tizol)

Nat King Cole with Juan Tizol - Caravan (After Midnight Sessions)

Scott Joplin :"Pineapple Rag" ITZHAK PERLMAN/ANDRE PREVIN

Roland Kirk with McCoy Tyner Stanley Clarke 1975

Tony Williams footage (in case you don't know -- he's on drums)

Hank Jones - In A Sentimental Mood

Dems Closed Much Larger Budget Shortfall In Wisconsin Without Destroying Worker Rights

This from Talking Points Memo - please follow link to original

We know that Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker is framing his bid to roll back public sector worker rights as a necessary measure of fiscal austerity. And we know that's basically bogus. But how bogus? And how accurate are the dire warnings of fiscal crisis? And how standard are the tools Walker's using to address it?

The answers in order: very, overblown, and unconventional.

"Unconventional or nuclear, depending on your point of view," said Pat Kreitlow, a former Democratic senator in Wisconsin, who helped pass the state's current budget.

There's been a lot of confusion about what Walker's doing -- but he's definitely not passing a budget. He's pushing optional legislation in a vehicle that's meant to tweak the budget in the event of a budget emergency. To the extent that there is an emergency, Walker essentially created it, giving him the chance to pass a bill that would permanently deny public workers collective bargaining rights, while he's still riding the wave of his own post-election popularity.

Here's how it came down.

In Wisconsin, budget season is two years long. The current budget window was opened on July 1, 2009, and will close on June 30 of this year. If for unexpected reason, the state finds itself faced with a severe deficit within a biennial window, the legislature must pass what's known a "budget repair bill" -- to close the gap with spending cuts or other emergency measures.

The state has not crossed that threshold.

The previous governor, Democrat Jim Doyle, passed a budget that left the state poised for a surplus this year. When Walker took office in January he chipped away at that surplus with three conservative tax expenditure bills, but not severely enough to trigger a budget repair bill. The current, small shortfall was "manufactured by Governor Walker's own insistence on making the deficit worse with the bills he passed in January," Kreitlow said. But Walker cited that shortfall to introduce a "budget repair bill" anyhow -- a fully elective move that includes his plan to end collective bargaining rights for state employees.

"The trigger had not been reached prior to Governor Walker adding to the previous year's deficit by passing bills that didn't create a single job," Kreitlow said.

Walker will soon have to introduce an actual budget, which will outline spending and revenue policy for the two years between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013. And the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau -- the official scorekeeper -- does project that he'll face a $3 billion shortfall. But Democrats faced a shortfall twice as large ahead of the previous budget cycle and managed to close the gap.

"The $3 billion is a projection based on requests and forecasts, but it's the governor who has to do the hard work of putting together a plan," Kreitow explained. "it is just practically half of the projected deficit that we closed in the last budget bill, which we did by making serious cuts and some very deliberate choices. That's what we expect leaders to do." In 2009, Wisconsin Dems did get just over a billion in help from the stimulus bill, but they made up the rest by giving state agencies less money than they asked for, and through furloughs and other real austerity measures.

"We know it could be closed again by making tough choices," Kreitow said. "But not included in those tough choices would be stripping away labor rights that have allowed there to be labor peace in Wisconsin for over 50 years."

Hey, all my LGBT peeps -- stay away from Montana, in fact, BOYCOTT it!

This from Montana Capital Report (please follow link to original)

GOP Refuses to Hear Testimony from Montanans

Today, the House Judiciary Committee heard a bill from Rep. Kris Hansen. The bill seeks to undo protections put in place by local communities to expand on the state’s Human Rights Act. This act protects certain protected groups from discrimination in housing, employment and other public accommodations.

Opponents of the measure came from across the state to testify. Unfortunately, the Republican majority on the committee attempted to limit testimony on both sides of the issue to ten minutes. Democrats on the committee objected and even presented rules that require the public be able to at least verbally state their opposition to the bill. The Republicans on the committee ignored the rules, and refused to let opponents of the bill testify.

In response to the GOP actions, Rep. Diane Sands (D-Missoula) took to reading the names of every opponent (all 50+) of the measure and asked them to stand and be acknowledged.

After the hearing, opponents of the measure held their own hearing, next to the statue of Rep. Jeannette Rankin, where they allowed all of the opponents of the measure speak and be heard. During this informal hearing, Sen. Carol Williams and other Democratic lawmakers showed up to show their frustrations with the treatment of these Montanans that simply wanted to be heard.

Let’s be clear on what happened today. Republicans decided there wasn’t enough time to listen to people who were possibly being stripped of their rights. However, since the beginning of the legislative session, the Republicans have given full and fair hearing to the following bills:

* SB 112 – Which allows makes a hand thrown spear a legal form of hunting.
* HB 278 – Which allows every city to create their own militia.
* SJ 2 – Which urges the United States to withdraw from the United Nations.
* HB 205 – The “Birther Bill.”
* HB 384 – Which allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars, banks and churches.

These are bills, which are either unconstitutional, based on conspiracy theories or seriously threaten our public safety, that they think are worthy of their time, however they believe bills that strip rights from Montanans aren’t worthy of full hearings. It says a lot about the priorities of the Republican Majority in the Montana Legislature

"The Unjailables"

This is an excerpt from a piece on America Blog -- please follow link for the rest of the story (as one right wing dip-s%&t would say)

As Matt Taibbi said, they are the unjailables. The US system of justice becomes more of a sad joke by the year. Torture? No problem. Invade a country based on lies and kill 100,000? Things happen. Spy on American citizens and then continue the program from one administration to the next? It's fine. Trigger a global economic meltdown causing the loss of trillions plus millions of jobs? For gosh sakes, don't worry about it. Justice usually only works if it's the elite screwing everyone else. What a pathetic system of justice.

Federal prosecutors have ended a criminal investigation of Countrywide Financial Corp. co-founder Angelo Mozilo, a person close to the investigation said Friday.

The federal official told The Associated Press that the probe launched in 2008 into the actions of the former chief executive of the housing giant during the mortgage meltdown has been closed with no indictments. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was never publicly announced, and the Department of Justice as a policy does not announce the closing of investigations.

In October, Mozilo agreed to a $67.5 million settlement to avoid civil trial on fraud and insider trading charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but prosecutors pursuing the criminal case against him found that his actions did not amount to crimes. .......................

Why do "regular people" side with Plutocrats like the Koch brothers?

Here are the Koch boys in action.

Would you call their "followers" Koch suckers?

This from "Think Progress" -- please follow link to original

Koch Industries Slashed WI Jobs, Helped Elect Scott Walker, Now Orchestrating Pro-Walker Protest

Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker is facing a growing backlash over his attempt to cut pay and eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in his state. Although Walker is claiming his power grab is an attempt to close a budget gap, the budget “crisis” was engineered by Walker as soon as he got into office. As Brian Beutler reported, half of the budget shortfall comes from Walker’s own tax cuts for businesses and other business giveaways enacted in January.

A number of the big business interests standing with Walker are beneficiaries of his administration’s tax giveaways. But the greatest ally to Walker is the dirty energy company Koch Industries. In response to the growing protests in Madison, Koch fronts are busing in Tea Party protesters to support Walker and his union-busting campaign. Last night, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz reported on the involvement of Club for Growth and the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity in the pro-Walker protest scheduled tomorrow. Watch it:

Koch Industries is a major player in Wisconsin: Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:

Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers at its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. [...] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant.

Koch Industries was one of the biggest contributors to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, funneling $43,000 over the course of last year. In return, Koch front groups are closely guiding the Walker agenda. The American Legislative Exchange Council, another Koch-funded group, advised Walker and the GOP legislature on its anti-labor legislation and its first corporate tax cuts.

According to the EPA, Koch businesses are huge polluters, emitting thousands of pounds of toxic pollutants. As soon as he got into office Walker started cutting environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. In addition, Walker has stated his opposition to clean energy jobs policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned interests.

Moreover, other organizers for the pro-Walker protest are from groups associated with corporate and Koch interests. American Majority, a Virginia-based front group founded by organizers funded by millionaire investor Howie Rich, is on the ground contacting Wisconsin Tea Parties to support Walker in Madison. Austin James, an American Majority official who was caught teaching Tea Party members to spam profiles of liberal books with negative comments, is the contact for the Facebook page organizing the pro-Walker protest. Eric O’Keefe, a longtime conservative operative who helps lead American Majority, attends Koch strategy meetings.
Update Koch's Americans for Prosperity group has launched a new website and petition called The new site attacks all collective bargaining, not just for public sector unions. Koch's front group also declares: "In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker's common sense reforms."