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Tens of Thousands Rally to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline & Urge Obama to Move "Forward on Climate"

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now




 

The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! segment on the massive protests against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Washington’s National Mall, Sunday, to urge President Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Organizers of the Forward on Climate event described it as the largest climate rally in history. Protesters displayed a mock pipeline with the motto “Separate oil and separate oil and state.” The proposed 1700 mile pipeline would deliver tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. The Reverend Lennox Yearwood compared the rally to Martin Luther King’s 1963 march on Washington for civil-rights. The protest was organized by 350.org, the Sierra Club and the hip hop caucus among others. Speakers included President Obama’s former green jobs adviser Van Jones.

VAN JONES: Well, this is it. This is the last minute in the last quarter of the biggest most important game humanity has ever played. This is it. One thing I know having worked in this town, the simple maxim, if you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. If you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. I had the honor of working for this president, and I want to direct my message to him. President Obama, all the good that you have done, all the good you can imagine doing will be wiped out, wiped out by floods, by fires, by superstorms if you fail to act now to deal with this crisis that is a gun pointed at the head of the future. Everything you have done. History will judge you 20 years from now based on one decision alone. That decision is not in the hands of the congress. That decision is not in the hands of any governors. That decision is not in the hands of any mayors or any dogcatchers. The decision is in your hands, Mr. President, your hands. Your hands. The decision to let this pipeline come through America is a most fateful decision you’ll ever make, Mr. President. It would be like jabbing a dirty needle into this country from Canada. It would be …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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I Went Undercover at a Homeless Shelter — You Wouldn't Believe the Shocking Abuses I Found There

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Renee Miller, AlterNet




Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Tallahassee Grapevine. An investigation has been launchedinto allegations of abuse at the shelter. 

I work with the homeless every day at City Walk (and I mean Every Day, on Sundays when we are closed, my husband and I take a group of them to church.) One of my biggest goals is to show them God's love for them, that there is hope, that they have value and they can overcome this trial in their life and get back on their feet.

We have a group of guys that stay at The Shelter that come every day to escape the drama of that area of town. They love to come help and pass the time blessing other people. We help them apply for jobs online or in person, counsel them and figure out where they need to be (sometimes this involves letting them work off a bus ticket back to family.)

Whenever I first heard complaints about The Shelter, I shrugged it off. I figuredof course they are going to complain about it. It is not supposed to be Club Med, but a place to sleep outside of the elements. If it was too comfortable, people would not be motivated enough to leave.

But as time went on, the complaints started coming from different sources about the same things. We give out backpacks, clothes and blankets at City Walk. I kept seeing the same faces come back for blankets or backpacks. When I ask them what happened to their other blanket or backpack, they tell me that staff at The Shelter threw them away.

After getting this “excuse” 10 times a week for several weeks, I decided to inquire with my daily volunteers. They told me that they won't let you bring your own blanket. I figured it must be so people can't sneak in any drugs, alcohol or weapons.

Many of the guys sleep outside under the polebarn, which is fenced in onShelter property. They told me that they are not allowed to bring their backpacks inside when they go eat. When they come back out to the polebarn their backpacks were collected by staff and thrown in the dumpster.

Many of these backpacks contained all the men had to their name, including important documents like their Birth Certificate, and photos and letters from loved ones.

The last straw was Sunday morning when we picked …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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The US As A Carnival Cruise

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Monty Pelerin James Quinn has come up with a near-perfect analogy for what is happening to the US. He likens it to the recent debacle associated with Carnival Cruise lines. There is quite a similarity. Here is an outtake from his article “Adrift at Sea:” Carnival Cruise Line is trying to buy off the passengers with refunds …read more
Source: Monte_Pelerin

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Entrepreneurship and Knowledge

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Peter G. Klein

Hayek famously argued that prices embody information and that economic actors, responding to price changes, act as if they knew the underlying circumstances generating these changes. “[I]n a system in which the knowledge of the relevant facts is dispersed among many people, prices can act to coordinate the separate actions of different people in the same way as subjective values help the individual to coordinate the parts of his plan.” To economize, people don’t need “knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place,” they only need access to prices. “The mere fact that there is one price for any commodity . . . brings about the solution which (it is just conceptually possible) might have been arrived at by one single mind possessing all the information which is in fact dispersed among all the people involved in the process.” Hayek illustrates with his famous example of the tin market: “All that the users of tin need to know is that some of the tin they used to consume is now more profitably employed elsewhere and that, in consequence, they must economize tin. There is no need for the great majority of them even to know where the more urgent need has arisen, or in favor of what other needs they ought to husband the supply.”

Hayek offers a powerful argument against interference with the price mechanism. But we should remember that prices embody information about the past, and the entrepreneur’s job is to anticipate, or “appraise,” the future. Entrepreneurs, far from discovering and exploiting “gaps” in the existing structure of prices, deploy resources in anticipation of expected — but uncertain — profits generated by future prices. For this, they rely on what Mises called a “specific anticipative understanding of the conditions of the uncertain future,” an understanding that requires a lot of knowledge of particular circumstances of time and place!

The knowledge requirements of the successful entrepreneur or arbitrageur are vividly illustrated in this passage from Carsten Jensen’s magnificent novel, We the Drowned, in a passage about 19th-century ship brokers, entrepreneurs who own, lease, and manage ships and shipping contracts:

A ship broker needs to know how the Russo-Japanese War will hit the freight market. He doesn’t need to be interested in politics, but he has to pay attention to his skippers’ finances, so a knowledge of international conflict is essential. Opening up a newspaper — he’ll see …read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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9 Economic Facts That Will Make Your Head Spin

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet




How much will you need for medical expenses in retirement? What does it cost to keep 2.5 million Americans behind bars? Here are a few facts and figures that might surprise you.

1. Recovery for the rich, recession for the rest.

Economic recovery is in rather limited supply, it seems. Research by economist Emmanuel Saez shows that the top 1 percent has enjoyed income growth of over 11 percent since the official end of the recession. The other 99 percent hasn’t fared so well, seeing a 0.4 percent decline in income.

The top 10 percent of earners hauled in 46.5 percent of all income in 2011, the highest proportion since 1917 – and that doesn’t even include money earned from investments. The wealthy have benefitted from favorable tax status and the rise in stock prices, while the rest have been hit with a continuing unemployment crisis that has kept wages down. Saez believes this trend will continue in 2013.

2. Half of us are poor or barely scraping by.

The latest Census Bureau data shows that one in two Americans currently falls into either the “low income” category or is living in poverty. Low-income is defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level. Adjusted for inflation, the earnings for the bottom 20 percent of families have dropped from $16,788 in 1979 to just under $15,000. Earnings for the next 20 percent have been stuck at $37,000.

States in the South and West had the highest proportion of low-income families, including Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, where politicians are eagerly shredding the social safety net.

3. Unhappy meal.

46.7 million Americans must now use food stamps in order to get a meal, and many aren’t old enough to earn money for themselves. Almost half of all U.S. children will be on food stamps during some part of their childhood. For black children, that number is 90 percent.  Eight percent of those receiving food stamps are seniors.

The average monthly SNAP benefit (food stamps) per person is $133.85. That’s less than $1.50 per person, per meal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, a gallon of milk cost $3.50 …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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NC GOP Declares War on Women's Bare Breasts

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Alex Kane, AlterNet




Republicans in North Carolina want to outlaw showing your breasts in public–and it appears that a bill to do just that is headed for approval in the North Carolina legislature.

The Associated Press reports that the bill, which is headed to a floor vote, would change the state’s definition of “private parts” to include “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast.” The bill stipulates that the punishment a woman receives if she exposes her breasts depends on why the woman did so. “Depending on whether such exposure is judged to be ‘for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire,’ the woman could be charged with a felony, punishable by up to six months in prison for first-time offenders. More mundane exposure would be a misdemeanor meriting up to 30 days in jail,” the AP reports.

The co-sponsor of the bill, Rayne Brown, says the move was sparked by complaints from constituents over topless protests in Asheville for women’s equality. While many cities in the state already have ordinances banning topless women, Asheville does not.

“So, Rep. Brown is so disturbed by equality that she's trying to push legislation to shut women up? Come on, it's ASHEVILLE! If you take nudity away from them, what will those awesome hippies have left?” commented Jezebel writer Laura Beck.

The AP reports that the House Judiciary Committee in North Carolina “voted to recommend the bill to the House floor…The measure would still need approval from the Republican-controlled N.C. Senate before heading to the governor's desk.”


Mon, 02/18/2013 – 08:05

…read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Gold: Can Rally to 5000 Dollars In 2 Or 3 Years

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

“Can it get to $5,000 in six months? Probably not. In two to three years it’s more likely. I doubt it will take five years. If it takes that long, it will go higher.” – in MarketWatch

Related ETFs: SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD), iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV)

Peter Schiff`s comments on the economy, stock markets, politics and gold. Schiff is the renowned writer of the bestseller Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse. …read more
Source: PETER SCHIFF

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We Should Completely Abolish The Minimum Wage

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

“What we really should do is completely abolish the minimum wage, that would make a lot of sense. We didn’t have a minimum wage for most of American history. It’s something that started in the 20th Century. It was a bad idea and we ought to admit that it was a bad idea and get rid of it completely.” – in Yahoo Finance

Peter Schiff`s comments on the economy, stock markets, politics and gold. Schiff is the renowned writer of the bestseller Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse. …read more
Source: PETER SCHIFF

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USA! USA! America Now Has Less Class Mobility Than Most of Europe

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Alex Kane, AlterNet




President Obama still fervently believes in the ideal of equality of opportunity, as his State of the Union speech showed. But the nation he’s leading has left that ideal far behind.

Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz laid out why that ideal has been left behind and what the U.S. can do about it in an opinion piece for the New York Timesthat ran over the weekend. Stiglitz writes that today, the U.S. has less “equality of opportunity” than other advanced industrial nations. This means that poor children have less of an opportunity to be successful than middle and upper-class children. “The life prospects of an American are more dependent on the income and education of his parents than in almost any other advanced country for which there is data,” says Stiglitz.

Social mobility is limited in the U.S. 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners in the country move out of that economic strata–a rate lower than most of Europe.

Part of the reason why this is the case is due to discrimination, writes Stiglitz. Latinos, women and African-Americans are still paid less than white male Americans. But this is a small part of the problem. A much bigger problem is the U.S.’s vastly unequal education system.

“After 1980, the poor grew poorer, the middle stagnated, and the top did better and better. Disparities widened between those living in poor localities and those living in rich suburbs — or rich enough to send their kids to private schools,” notes Stiglitz. “A result was a widening gap in educational performance — the achievement gap between rich and poor kids born in 2001 was 30 to 40 percent larger than it was for those born 25 years earlier.” Other forces that fuel America’s inequality include the poor being more exposed to environmental hazards and being less likely to experience enriching activities like music, as well as lacking proper nutrition.

College, too, is part of the problem. Students are faced with crushing loan debt while getting an education remains important to obtaining a job.

So what is to be done? Stiglitz says that without changes to these policies that fuel inequality of …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Obama's SOTU: A Campaign Speech That Erodes the Power of the Citizenry

February 18, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The presidential election is over, but Barack Obama gave another campaign speech. Only he called it his State of the Union address.

It was part of a silly ritual that has nothing to do with the “state of the union.” It would make more sense for presidents to follow George Washington’s example and just send their written text over to Capitol Hill. Then members wouldn’t spend hours sitting in a near empty chamber to snag seats along the aisle where the president enters. The emphasis would be on legislative initiatives rather than photo ops.

The nonsense started early in President Obama’s talk. “Thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report,” he said. For instance, “brave men and women in uniform are coming home.” True, but that is only after two successive presidents foolishly promoted nation-building in Afghanistan over the growing opposition of the same American people.

Moreover, “our businesses have created over six million new jobs.” Again, true, but in spite, not because, of Washington. U.S. politicians have wasted prodigious amounts of money that would better have been left with entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers. Every year legislators and bureaucrats disgorge new laws and regulations which discourage job creation. Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has pointed to the government’s “hidden tax” of regulation, which alone imposes nearly $2 trillion in compliance costs on the economy.

Although President Obama’s speech was filled with political blather, he was right to call on Americans to act as Americans to solve problems.”

The president did acknowledge the necessity of restoring “the basic bargain that built this country—the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.” Yet Uncle Sam routinely violates this bargain on behalf of the interest groups which dominate Washington. The state has become a huge parasite, the collective representative of those who see government as the means to live at everyone else’s expense.

Indeed, Barack Obama asserted that “It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.” Then he should not have spent his first term giving …read more
Source: OP-EDS