Paul Krugman: Republicans To Throw ‘One Long Tantrum’

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/paul-krugman-republicans_n_2230790.html

By
12/03/2012

If you thought that political gridlock would end with the presidential election, think again.

The next couple of years “seem likely to be one long Republican tantrum,” Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote on his New York Times blog on Sunday. “This is going to be nightmarish.”

Krugman referred specifically to House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks to Fox News Sunday that “Congress is never going to give up this power” of forcing budget cuts every time the government needs to raise the debt ceiling.

“I’ve made it clear to the president, that every time we get to the debt limit, we need to cut some reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit,” Boehner said.

The government faces a perfect storm of sorts. The Obama administration and Congress are negotiating a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, a set of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. Congressional Republicans plan to use the debt ceiling, which the government is scheduled to hit around February, as leverage to get what they want: spending cuts and an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/paul-krugman-republicans_n_2230790.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Paul Krugman: Republicans To Throw ‘One Long Tantrum’

Free Congress from the Norquist Pledge (Professor Robert Thurman’s Meme)

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Free Congress from the Norquist Pledge (Professor Robert Thurman’s Meme)

Organizing McDonalds and Walmart, and Why Austerity Economics Hurts Low-Wage Workers the Most

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/36892075499

By Robert Reich
Friday, November 30, 2012

What does the drama in Washington over the “fiscal cliff” have to do with strikes and work stoppages among America’s lowest-paid workers at Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Domino’s Pizza?

Everything.

Jobs are slowly returning to America, but most of them pay lousy wages and low if non-existent benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that seven out of 10 growth occupations over the next decade will be low-wage — like serving customers at big-box retailers and fast-food chains. That’s why the median wage keeps dropping, especially for the 80 percent of the workforce that’s paid by the hour.

It’s also part of the reason why the percent of Americans living below the poverty line has been increasing even as the economy has started to recover — from 12.3 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2011. More than 46 million Americans now live below the poverty line.

Many of them have jobs. The problem is these jobs just don’t pay enough to lift their families out of poverty.

So, encouraged by the economic recovery and perhaps also by the election returns, low-wage workers have started to organize.

Yesterday in New York hundreds of workers at dozens of fast-food chain stores went on strike, demanding a raise to $15-an-hour from their current pay of $8 to $10 an hour (the median hourly wage for food service and prep workers in New York is $8.90 an hour).

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/36892075499

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Organizing McDonalds and Walmart, and Why Austerity Economics Hurts Low-Wage Workers the Most

Big Picture Rumble – Capitalism – A Big Wake Up Call w/Global Warming

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Big Picture Rumble – Capitalism – A Big Wake Up Call w/Global Warming

Accused eco-saboteur Rebecca Rubin surrenders at Canadian border

From The Oregonian:   http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/11/accused_eco-saboteur_rebecca_r.html

By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian
on November 29, 2012

A 39-year-old woman accused of eco-sabotage in three Western states turned herself in to U.S. authorities at the Canadian border on Thursday morning.

Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, a Canadian, had been on the run for a decade before surrendering in Blaine, Wash. She is accused of multiple counts of arson as part of a conspiracy with 12 other people from 1996 to 2001 in five Western states.

The charges against Rubin include a Nov. 30, 1997, arson at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Harney county near Burns and the Dec. 22, 1998, attempted arson at the offices of the U.S. Forest Industries, Inc., in Medford. She’s also accused of involvement in the Oct. 19, 1998, arson attack that destroyed the Two Elk Lodge and other buildings at the Vail ski resort in Eagle County, Colorado.

Rubin faces federal charges in California as well in the attack Oct. 15, 2001, of the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Susanville, Calif.

Federal authorities say Rubin was part of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, both underground movements that the government has labeled terrorist organizations. She was indicted on federal charges in Oregon along with 12 others in January 2006 in connection with a coordinated campaign that caused an estimated $23 million in damage between 1996 and 2001 in Oregon, California, Washington, Wyoming and Colorado.

When the indictment was issued eight had already been arrested in a nationwide sweep in the most extensive bust of suspected eco-saboteurs in U.S. history.

The group took oaths of secrecy and called itself “The Family.” They built firebombs, scouted their targets, took dry runs then dressed in black, donned masks and carried two-way radios during attacks.

Continue reading at:  http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/11/accused_eco-saboteur_rebecca_r.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Accused eco-saboteur Rebecca Rubin surrenders at Canadian border

How Consolidated Agribusiness Harms The Organic Sector

From Civil Eats:  http://civileats.com/2012/11/26/how-consolidated-agribusiness-harms-the-organic-sector/

By Wenonah Hauter
November 26th, 2012

The pioneers of organic agriculture probably did not foresee the day when consumers could buy organic junk food at the supermarket. But now organic is a $31 billion a year big business and the biggest food companies are eagerly moving to capture the profitable and high-priced organic food label. Although many consumers and farmers moved to organic to avoid corporate-controlled and unsustainable industrial food production, the Big Food monopoly is catching up.

In the past decade, the organic food sector has consolidated rapidly, and it now closely resembles the conventional food industry. Major food companies have snapped up organic brands and launched their own organic versions of popular foods. Between 1997 and 2007, a third of the 30 largest food-processing companies purchased organic brands, and half introduced organic versions of their conventional food brands.

These conglomerates are also diluting the definition of organic and selling meaningless “natural” substitutes for organic foods. Giant food manufacturers and agribusinesses with valuable organic lines (like General Mills, Campbell’s Soup and Driscoll Strawberry Associates) have had company representatives on the USDA advisory board that establishes the standards for organic farming and food manufacturing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of non-organic substances approved for organic food has tripled over the past decade.

But some companies can just sidestep the tedious process of weakening organic standards by capitalizing on consumer enthusiasm for organic without living up to them. Typically, that effort involves substituting a self-defined “natural” brand for the more tightly regulated “organic” counterpart. Dean Foods and its WhiteWave-brand Silk Soymilk provide an example of how costly such actions can be to the organic sector.

WhiteWave was founded in the 1970s driven by a vision that soy foods could help solve world hunger, but it grew into a major player. And soymilk became one of the only grocery products where organic was the norm, not a niche. Organic soymilk was the third largest segment of organic food sales in 2007, behind only dairy and fresh produce. In 2002, the nation’s largest dairy processor Dean Foods bought WhiteWave for $193 million.

In 2009, Dean Foods began to blur the integrity of organic soymilk. It began offering soymilk made with non-genetically engineered soybeans, which allowed Dean to shift from expensive organic to cheaper non-GE soybeans. Although Dean changed its ingredient list and removed the word organic from the label, most consumers and retailers still assumed Silk was organic.

This insidious transition from organic to “natural” had huge implications for consumers, farmers and the environment because of Dean’s market dominance. Dean was the biggest seller of organic soymilk and a huge buyer of organic soybeans. By 2004, Silk sold three-quarters of all soymilk in the United States and it was organic. Dean’s 2009 “natural” soymilk shell game helped reduce organic soymilk consumption by almost 50 million gallons the first year.

Continue reading at:  http://civileats.com/2012/11/26/how-consolidated-agribusiness-harms-the-organic-sector/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on How Consolidated Agribusiness Harms The Organic Sector