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Obama proposes ‘grand bargain’ on corporate tax rate, infrastructure

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 23:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


President Barack Obama proposed a “grand bargain for middle-class jobs” on Tuesday that would cut the U.S. corporate tax rate and use billions of dollars in revenues generated by a business tax overhaul to fund projects aimed at creating jobs.

His goal, as outlined in a speech at an Amazon.com Inc facility in southeast Tennessee, is to break through congressional gridlock by trying to find a formula that satisfies both Republicans and Democrats.

And picking Amazon.com is, well, demonstrating the exact opposite.


Teicher and the Board stressed that Amazon’s practices are detrimental to the nation’s economy. Pointing to figures released by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, they noted that every $10 million in spending that shifts from Main Street retailers to Amazon.com results in a net loss of 33 retail jobs. In 2012, Amazon’s sales increased by $13 billion. “That would mean … Amazon cost the U.S. economy more than 42,000 retail jobs just last year,” they wrote.

“At a time when Main Street retailers, including indie bookstores, show promise of recovering from the recession, we are disheartened to see Amazon touted as a ‘jobs creator’ and its warehouse facility used as a backdrop for an important jobs speech, when, frankly, the exact opposite is true,” Teicher and the ABA Board said.

From Salon: Amazon Is Everything Wrong With Our New Economy and Amazon Is Worse Than Wal-Mart.

and if it seems I am picking on amazon, think a bit more – amazon (and wall-mart) are simply the most visible symptoms of a much bigger problem: we act like markets can optimize everything automagically even in the absence of any stipulations about what goals exactly they’re supposed to be optimizing for.

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  1. Interesting. I was shocked to learn recently that the most common occupation in Canada is now…retail clerk. So, clearly, they have to go to make the businesses more “productive”…automated cash registers will replace a lot of them soon, I think.

  2. One problem is that no nation it seems has the guts to enforce anti-trust, anti-monopoly laws. The longer that happens, the more concentrated industries will become. I maintain that there is a high correlation of industrial concentration and income concentration.

Pope Francis: a skilled abuser of rhetoric

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 23:00 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


Here’s the thing: if someone is a malicious ideologue, I much prefer that they be open about their maliciousness and their unwavering commitment to a rigid and regressive ideology. Francis doesn’t do that, though. He couches his callousness in pseudo-tolerant and pseudo-progressive rhetoric and hides his dangerous attitudes and beliefs behind a facade of avuncular populist everyman friendliness. And people (not just Catholics) are eating it up, buying into it, proclaiming that Francis is A Different Kind of Pope, one who will change the Church, modernize the Church, make the Church into a progressive entity (needless to say (I hope), none of these proclamations hold up under even the mildest of scrutiny).

If you buy into Pope Francis’s pseudo-tolerant & pseudo-progressive rhetoric, you’re gullible (it happens. It’s a very human trait and a trap we all fall into from time to time, no matter how smart and/or skeptical we are), wilfully ignorant (a form of maliciousness that I have no sympathy for (see the ‘willful’ part)), or committed to the same rigid and backwards ideology that Francis is.

Francis is manipulative. He’s a skilled abuser of rhetoric who knows how to say the “right” things at the “right” time. He’s good PR for the Church. Unlike his immediate predecessors, he’s neither an intellectual nor extremely intelligent. But he’s sly like a fox. He’s a gift to the Church, a perfect Pope for the Catholic Church of 2013.

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Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty Of ‘Aiding The Enemy,’ Found Guilty On 19 Lesser Counts

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 21:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


Today Judge Denise Lind announced her verdict in the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the young solider under prosecution for his alleged leaking of classified documents to the Wikileaks organization: not guilty of ‘aiding the enemy.’ Manning was found guilty on lesser counts, for a total of 19 charges. Four of those had been plead to lesser infractions.

Though Manning manged to avoid the heaviest charge set against him, the book was tossed and squarely hit him.

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John Oliver Trashes Goldman Sachs: ‘Guaranteed That Nobody’s Going To Jail!’

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 11:06 by Paul Jay in category: News

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Sheriff Claims He Didn’t Know Anti-Sodomy Laws Weren’t Valid Anymore

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 10:51 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)


The East Baton Rouge sheriff who used Louisiana’s defunct anti-sodomy law to arrest a dozen gay men since 2011 now says he didn’t know the law was invalidated by the Supreme Court.


At first, a spokesman for Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux told the newspaper that it didn’t matter the Supreme Court ruled anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional a decade ago, it’s still on the books in Louisiana, so they were still arresting men for it.

But on Sunday the Sheriff’s Office issued a lengthy, new statement on Facebook claiming officers had not “set out with the intent to target or embarrass any part of our law-abiding community.”

The statement explains the strange logic officers followed, starting with the belief children were in danger in the park where police met the men, and that deputies “used a statute that they felt fit the situation.”

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Accountability in the Indiana school system

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 9:34 by John Sinteur in category: News


“I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the last 6 months.” Tony Bennett, the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, had a big problem. Christel House Academy, a public charter school in Indianapolis founded by time-share magnate and major GOP donor Christel DeHaan, had come in with a C on the state’s A-F grading scale, thanks to poor scores by 9th and 10th graders in English and math. “They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work,” Bennett wrote to a staffer. Fortunately, Bennett’s team found a solution, revealed today in staff e-mails obtained by the AP — change the state’s grading scale so that the offending grades didn’t count. Will Bennett be able to hold on as Indiana’s top education official? Not to worry: in January, he moved on to the same job in Florida.
Emails released by the AP:

exchange 1
exchange 2
exchange 3
exchange 4
exchange 5 (the “loophole,” otherwise known as “option 1”)

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Police sergeants arrested after allegedly robbing men in Detroit

Posted on July 30th, 2013 at 8:57 by John Sinteur in category: News


A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit’s east side on July 21.

Once Fox 2 aired those photos, an even more disturbing picture developed.

“Several unidentified police officers were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department,” Chief James Craig said Monday.

Now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department and his 42-year-old buddy from the police academy, who is a former DPD cop and 17-year veteran of the St. Clair Shores Police Department. The later recently received a distinguished service award.

“In fact, they were police officers, just not working on-duty at the time,” Craig said.

One of the alleged victims identified the St. Clair Shores sergeant from a photo lineup.

It is alleged the two sergeants pulled up in a black pickup, got out of the truck with their guns drawn and their badges around their necks, detained two young men in their early twenties, searched them and pistol-whipped one of them, stealing his wallet and cell phone. The other alleged victim told police they also stole his money.

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