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Archive for November, 2016

hamid-karzai-afghanistan-election-fraud

The US government is possibly the most corrupt among the major industrialized nations, and probably more corrupt than many third world nations. This is because there is little difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties, and the rich people who manipulate them like puppets. So, quite naturally, one can be suspicious of US election results at just about any level of government. And yet the leaders of both parties want us to believe such corruption does not dirty our elections. They’re wrong.

So now Donald Trump must go through the agony of recounts in three states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. This recount effort is spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, but the Clinton camp has decided to help ensure the accuracy of the recounts.

Exit polls showed Clinton winning all three states. Clinton, by the way, may not have defeated Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary without the use of electoral fraud; her wins in Arizona and New York come readily to mind.

Donald Trump, who told us of such election fraud, is not happy about these recounts. No Republican has become US president without a high degree of electoral fraud during the last 28 years. George W. Bush became president in 2000 with the use of voter suppression, and a number of other dubious tricks. His win over challenger John Kerry in 2004 was filled with corruption.

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The reports of corruption in 2004 were especially dramatic in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged 190.000 Democratic voters from the rolls between the primary and the general election and didn’t notify any of the voters.

Ohio officials also failed to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency.

A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

There were serious problems throughout the nation on November 2, 2004. What is most glaring about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush.

So bring on the recount. Besides, what does Donald Trump have to fear?

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incomeq

The US government has been redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent for the last thirty-five years. The result of this government created income and wealth inequality has been an economy far weaker in virtually all measurements than any of the last century. That’s because the underlying economic factors have been weakened.

According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trust,

“Although income and earnings have increased over the past 30 years, they have changed little in the past decade. The typical worker had wage growth of 22 percent between 1979 and 1999 but just 2 percent from 1999 to 2009. (This is not in inflation adjusted wages, in which case, wages would’ve been stagnant or declining over the last thirty-five years).

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• The Great Recession eroded 20 years of consumption growth, pushing spending back to 1990 levels. Over the 22 years before the start of the downturn, household expenditures grew by 16 percent. But households tightened their purse strings after the start of the recession in 2007, and spending has yet to recover. As a result, the net increase in average annual household spending is just 2 percent since 1990. That’s despite twenty-six years of inflation growth.

• The majority of American households (55 percent) are savings-limited, meaning they can replace less than one month of their income through liquid savings. Low-income families are particularly unprepared for emergencies: The typical household at the bottom of the income ladder has the equivalent of less than two weeks’ worth of income in checking and savings accounts and cash at home.

• Even when pooling all of its resources—including from accounts that are potentially costly to access, such as retirement accounts and investments—the typical middle-income household can replace only about four months of lost income.

• Most families face financial strain across all balance sheet elements: income, expenditures, and wealth. In addition to being savings-limited, households face other financial challenges; just under half of families are “income-constrained,” reporting household spending greater than or equal to their income; and 8 percent are “debt-challenged,” with payments equal to 41 percent or more of their gross monthly income. Fully 70 percent of households face at least one of these problems, with many confronting two or even all three.

Click to access fsm_balance_sheet_report.pdf

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What’s Wrong With the Political Left and Why Did Trump Win?

The lady in the video below argues that everybody who voted for Trump was a racist, and no I did not vote for Trump or Clinton. They had too much baggage for me to vote for them.

So was this woman right? I don’t think so. According to this woman,

1    If you voted for Trump because Clinton had a history of exporting US jobs overseas, then you are a racist.

2   If you voted for Trump because he was against exporting jobs overseas, then you are racist.

3   If you voted for Trump because exporting jobs overseas increased income inequality in the USA, then you are a racist.

4   If you voted for Trump because he was against gun control, then you are a racist.

5   If you were suspicious of Clinton’s tight financial and political ties to Wall Street, and you felt you had no choice but to vote for Trump, then you are a racist.

6   If racism wasn’t your number one issue, then you are a racist.

I could go on and on, but I found somebody who expresses my point of view on this matter really well. Jonathan Pie is a political satirist based in the United Kingdom. He has a really good rant about what occurred in the election on November 8. During this rant he mentions Theresa May, the arch conservative prime minister of the United Kingdom, and says that on many issues May is to the left of Hillary Clinton.

My impression is that the woman in the video above is part of the problem, and not the solution. She seems very narrow minded and bitter. That’s exactly what the corporate news media does to us. It divides us. This woman has fallen for the bait, hook, line and sinker.

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The New York Times recently reported that Toys R Us had exported 67 jobs from its headquarters to India via the H1B visa.

According to the Times,

“A temporary visa program known as H-1B allows American employers to hire foreign professionals with college degrees and “highly specialized knowledge,” mainly in science and technology, to meet their needs for particular skills. Employers, according to the federal guidelines, must sign a declaration that the foreign workers “will not adversely affect the working conditions” of Americans or lower their wages.

In recent years, however, global outsourcing and consulting firms have obtained thousands of temporary visas to bring in foreign workers who have taken over jobs that had been held by American workers. The Labor Department has opened an investigation of possible visa violations by contractors at the Walt Disney Company and at Southern California Edison, where immigrants replaced Americans in jobs they were doing in this country. Four former workers at Disney have filed discrimination complaints against the company. The companies say they have complied with all applicable laws.”

The problem with the H1-B visa are numerous. They are primarily used to reduce American wages and salaries, for starters. In addition, there must be a shortage of US workers in order for a US corporation to bring in H1-B workers, but there never is a shortage. The Times reports, “…in recent years, many jobs that American workers lost have been in accounting and back-office administration — although there is no shortage of Americans qualified to do that kind of work.”

Then the H1-B visa worker must have “exceptional skills,” but that is rare, especially in the case of Toys R Us. Toys R Us employees trained their replacements so their jobs could be more easily exported to India.

Christine Brigagliano, a lawyer in San Francisco with extensive experience advising American companies on obtaining visas, says “Those contractors are signing on the bottom line, saying we will not undercut the wages and working conditions of Americans. But, in fact, they are.”

Of course they are! That is the purpose of the H1-B visa, and always has been.

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Tumors began growing in these rat after three months of being fed GMO foods.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years; both the conservative and liberal corporate press like to deceive us. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both good at this. Neither will mention certain things that might offend members of the leisure class or the management of corporate advertisers. GMO’s are a perfect example.

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The blue line represents GMO crop yields and the yellow line represents traditionally planted crop yields.

There are plenty of peer reviewed studies in academic journals that demonstrate the health hazards of genetically modified foods (GMOs), and neither newspaper dares to mention any of them. But these media outlets will mention studies done by the GMO corporations purporting to show GMOs are safe for human consumption. That’s to keep us ignorant, and to keep those advertising dollars coming in.

The Times recently ran a story about how the yields of GMO crops are about the same as traditionally planted crops. There’s virtually no “discernible difference in yields,” according to the story, unless you go to the Times online. Then you discover that GMO crop yields are largely inferior (and by wide margins in most cases) to traditionally planted crops, but the editors didn’t want us to know what was right before our eyes.

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Maize crop yields. Blue line = GMO yields; yellow line = non-GMO crop yields.

You can see in the graph above that traditionally planted rapeseed yield is far superior to GMO yields. Vegetable oils are produced via rapeseed. The yield for corn is the same between GMO and traditionally planted crops. You can also see from the graph furthest below that the yield for non-GMO planted sugar beets is far greater than GMO sugar beet yields.

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Sugar beet production. Traditionally planted sugar beets have superior crop yields compared to GMO sugar beets.

In other words, the corporate media and the GMO industry have been lying to us for decades, and they still are. The graphs in this story are taken straight from the New York Times, but you had to go online to get them. Given this, it is obvious there is no rational reason for GMOs to be in the human food chain since they are largely inefficient or equal in yields compared to traditionally planted crops.

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Sioux Chief Relocates Manufacturing Back Home to the USA

quality

Sioux Chief brought back jobs to Kansas City, Missouri from Mexico. The plant manufactures plumbing products. The facility is now operating at full capacity.

“It’s been a major undertaking moving from one country to another, but our pre-planning really paid off,” says Joe N. Ismert, President of Sioux Chief Manufacturing. “We are getting up to speed and production is getting better each day.”

The Nogales plant was acquired along with two other plants when the rough plumbing manufacturer purchased Watts non-core product line in September 2015, consisting of assets related to its brass ttings, brass & tubular and vinyl tubing product lines.

“The integration of Watts product lines was critical for us,” says Ismert. “The product overlap and the manufacturing competency will absolutely help add to our presence as a manufacturer and leverage our ability to produce world class products.”

This move further demonstrates Sioux Chief’s ongoing commitment to manufacturing the majority of its SKUs in the USA and gaining control over the entire manufacturing process to guarantee the highest quality.

“Being located in the heart of the United States is both desirable and more ef cient logistically,” Ismert stated. “It allows us to respond quickly to our customer’s demands—and now, as part of our American operation, we’ll have greater opportunities to innovate this category.”

Additionally, the relocation has provided Sioux Chief with the opportunity to add an additional 30 dedicated, hardworking Americans to the company family.

http://contractormag.com/piping/plant-acquisitionrelocation-brings-jobs-back-mexico

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fredgraph

As you can see from the graph via the Federal Reserve Bank, real family income is still down below the level of 2007 eighty-eight months into the newest economic expansion. The median is the number of families in the middle of any series of numbers.

The top 1 percent received 99 percent of all income growth from 2010 to 2014, which was an historic record. Although incomes rose in 2015, the typical household is still worse off today than it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. The assets of the typical family today are worth 14 percent less than the assets of the typical family in 1984. And the typical job is less secure than at any time since the Great Depression.

That’s all because the 1 percent has used its financial control over both major political parties to wage war against the 99 percent. Waging war in this case means redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via the actions of the federal government.

We are now fast approaching the newest recession, which should hit by June 2017. It’ll be worse than the Great Recession in any number of ways. This will be because trillions of dollars have been redistributed to the wealthy over the last thirty-five years. This epoch is about to end.

Enough people will finally be aroused for working folks to take back control over both major political parties as the reality of the severity of the next financial crisis takes hold. Then real middle class incomes can grow again.

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donna-brazile
The Week reports:

The Democratic Party finds itself at a crossroads in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss to Donald Trump, and party progressives want to see the “Clinton-corporate wing” of the Democratic establishment purged from the party. That will not likely happen absent an economic crisis.

The Democrats’ power struggle currently centers on who will be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, a seat presently held by embattled interim chair Donna Brazile. That’s right. She’s the person fired from her job at CNN for illegally leaking town hall and televised debate questions to candidate Hillary Clinton. Candidates for the position have rapidly multiplied as too many Washington connections have become a liability.

“There is no question there is a civil war taking place inside the Democratic Party,” said Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks of the post-election climate. “And the progressive side is going to win.” Still, it won’t be an easy fight: The Democratic establishment will “hold on to the party mechanisms until you rip it out of their dying hands,” said Jonathan Tasini, a Bernie Sanders surrogate. “It’s all about power and money and influence for them.”

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nafta-protest

The US corporate false-news media is reporting one-half of a story, but not the other half.

It’s true Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last Thursday he is willing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which US President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to change or scrap.

During the campaign, Trump called NAFTA the worst trade deal the United States has ever signed, while proposing protectionist measures to repatriate American jobs lost to free trade.

Now here’s what the right and left corporate news media doesn’t want you to know.

The US NAFTA problem isn’t with Canada. It’s with Mexico. Ultra-rich US campaign donors corrupting the politicians of both major political parties, as well as Wall Street executives, hedge fund managers, and other CEOs, like exporting US jobs to Mexico, rather than to higher paying, more unionized, Canada. So while this is big news that Trudeau is willing to renegotiate NAFTA, it isn’t that big of a deal since Canada isn’t where US jobs are being exported to.

When the Mexican president says he is willing to renegotiate NAFTA, then that’s news worth reporting, but only if any new agreement includes enforceable high minimum wages equal to about $10 an hour in the USA, as well as high labor, health, and environmental standards. That’s not likely to happen because corporate profits will suffer, meaning stock and bond prices will fall.

In which case, don’t count on any serious re-negotiation of NAFTA that might benefit the 99 percent of the United States. And certainly don’t look for such a re-negotiation like this, because it would help Mexican workers.

Neither the US or Mexican governments represents the vast majority of the 99 percent. NAFTA, as is, redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and that’s what it was negotiated to do.

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tpp-crap

By Arthur Stamolis

No, Trump Didn’t Kill the TPP — Progressives Did

If you read the headlines, Donald Trump’s election has killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The headlines have it wrong.

Donald Trump didn’t kill the TPP. Assuming we see the fight through to the bitter end, it’s the cross-border, cross-sector, progressive “movement of movements” that will have defeated the TPP.
While overshadowed by Trump’s election, this victory will be one of the biggest wins against concentrated corporate power in our lifetimes, and it holds lessons we should internalize as we steel ourselves for the many challenges we face heading into the Trump years.

Under the banner reading “A New Deal or No Deal,” the first cross-sector demonstration against the TPP in the United States was in June 2010 — a full six years before Trump became the official Republican nominee. Held outside the TPP’s first U.S.-based negotiating round, it featured advocates from the labor, environmental, family farm, consumer, indigenous rights and other social justice movements.

While we didn’t outright oppose the TPP at that time, we warned we would organize against it if it didn’t represent a radical departure from trade deals (of the) past that put corporate interests ahead of working families, public health and the environment.

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It took years of protests at subsequent rounds in Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Maui and elsewhere — coupled with hundreds of other protests in cities and towns across the U.S. and around the world — to slowly, but surely, put the TPP on progressive groups’ radar.

Over that time, first thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands and then literally millions of Americans signed letters and petitions urging the Obama administration and Congress to abandon TPP negotiations that gave corporate lobbyists a seat at the table, while keeping the public in the dark.

We were up against Wall Street, Big Ag, Big Oil, Big Pharma, the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the President of the United States, the leadership of Congress — in short, we were up against some of the most powerful economic and political interests in human history.
Countless people told us we had no chance of winning. But we persevered. Our allies abroad did yeoman’s work convincing their governments to reject the most draconian proposals from U.S. negotiators — something that dragged out the negotiations for years, giving us all more time to organize.

Together, globally-coordinated progressive coalitions from a host of different countries developed and publicized analyses of the TPP, pushing out leaked texts when our governments refused to tell us what they were proposing in our names, and hacking away week after week against media blackouts, relying heavily on independent media, social media and word-of-mouth to inform the most active elements of the public about the power grab underway.

In the U.S., after reaching out to groups one at a time to pull them into this fight, more than 2,000 organizations had signed statements opposing “fast track” for the TPP by April 2015. This, again, was before Trump had even announced his candidacy.

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An incredibly diverse array of organizations and individual activists were constantly sharing information and strategically coordinating their efforts to pressure key elected officials, such that we built a majority of opposition to the TPP in Congress — despite all the big-money interests fighting hard on the other side.

Check the timeline here. The TPP negotiations concluded in October 2015. The pact could have — and absolutely would have—been approved by Congress as early as February 2016 if the votes were there to pass it. Progressives’ work ensured the votes weren’t there. Keep in mind that there were still twelve major Republican nominees competing for President at that time, with Jeb Bush one of the favorites. Donald Trump had nothing to do with it.

Progressives stopped the thing then, and we pushed a threatened vote back week by week, month by month, until Congress broke for the summer recess. We knew a last-gasp attempt to pass the TPP might come post-election during the “Lame Duck” session of Congress, but we already had the votes lined up and were poised to defeat it should the administration dare bring it forward, regardless of whether Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or anyone else was elected to the White House.

We must remain vigilant to ensure there are no last-second surprises before the end of the year, but for now, it appears the White House has seen the writing on the wall, and has given up trying to finalize the TPP. Let’s make sure we’re not letting Trump steal credit for something he didn’t earn. And let’s especially make sure that the movement of movements is getting the credit it deserves. We’re heading into some very rough years ahead, and people need to be reminded of their power.

As formidable as our opposition is, when we come together across issue areas and geographic borders, we have more power. When we have each others’ backs, we can still win. As for the future of trade policy, even if we’re able to ensure that President Trump keeps his campaign promises and doesn’t dust off the TPP in years to come, and even if we’re able to convince him to abandon the TPP-like Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty, his views on what should come next are clearly in no way aligned with our own.

Trump’s vision of internationalism is not one of human rights, worker rights, sustainability and improving standards of living. The President-elect is a man who, among other things, thinks that workers are overpaid, is hostile to unions, denies climate science and embraces authoritarian regimes.

We’ve all got a lot of work to do.

Arthur Stamolis

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