Wal-Mart must pay $188 million in workers’ class action – Chicago Tribune

Wal-Mart must pay $188 million in workers’ class action – Chicago Tribune.

This is great, but I know how the system works: When they get the backpay, less than $1,000 after the lawyers take their cut for each of the 187,000 workers they robbed, they’ll be kicked off food stamps. When the backpay is all gone, probably to pay off a quarter of what they owe to pay-day “lenders” or cover penalties on a credit card, they’ll have to apply for food stamps again because the minimum wage still sucks, and the system will count their award as back wages and send them a bill for the food stamps they received while being robbed. Call it cynical, if you must. I’m just tired of neoliberal “fixes” that end up screwing the poor, yet again, while Walmart’s stock goes up, as it did after this announcement. smh

China Trade, Outsourcing and Jobs: Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, with job losses in every state | Economic Policy Institute

China Trade, Outsourcing and Jobs: Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, with job losses in every state | Economic Policy Institute.

These multinational corporations have been granted citizenship by the US Supreme Court. They refuse to pay taxes, and their executives hide their profits in offshore accounts to not pay taxes. Therefore, we should REVOKE THEIR CITIZENSHIP. After all, they are directly responsible for millions of jobs lost, billions paid by taxpayers for unemployment and welfare and food stamps, resulting in a massive increase in the national debt. Good grief, it’s elementary!

Will the New Federal Racial Profiling Guidelines have Any Impact? (1/3) – YouTube

Naomi Murakawa of the Princeton African American Studies faculty explains why the new guidelines are no different than those that already exist. In a nutshell, the burden of proof sits with the victim to prove there is racism in the mind of the perpetrator, in this case, federal law enforcement including airport screeners and the Immigration border patrol agents. Why is this absurd? A perp can be coached to say all the right things. A perp can be “justified” based on statistics – if a neighborhood has a lot of crime reports – based on stops and curfews in communities that themselves are based on profiling.  Here’s are MY examples (NOT Professor Murakawa’s examples) of how this fails:

In a lily white community where income is twice that of surrounding communities, policing is conducted much, much more “politely”. Why? Because people with money can afford good lawyers who will extract millions of dollars in damages from that community’s local government. There might be just as many burglaries committed by white people, just as many domestic violence cases, just as many driving while under the influence cases, just as many drug dealers. The difference? There are less convictions, more humane interventions, less publicity in rich communities. Why? It bears repeating: Because they can afford and WILL hire better lawyers who will focus on getting reparations for rich people, aka lawsuits for 7-figure settlements. So what will you find in those stats? Less reports of crime in rich communities. Cops will stop and warn, rather than stop, frisk and shoot.

Where will those stats that federal law enforcement agencies direct those law enforcement officers? To the same places they are concentrated now: to poor communities of people of color.

Also included in the ‘new’ federal guidelines: Profiling by nationality is fine. Why is this absurd, when the point is to catch undocumented immigrants and terrorists? Because to date, nationality is not the sole factor in undocumented immigration and terrorism. Again, why? Because, trust this, European undocumented immigrants are not reflected accurately in stats because, yet again, they are not RACIALLY profiled, as African immigrants are, as Arab immigrants are, as Latino and Asian immigrants are. Sames goes for terrorism. The stats quoted by Professor Murakawa will make your jaw drop! The forced registration of over 80,000 men from predominantly Muslim countries yielded ZERO associated with terrorism.

To summarize, the new guidelines say it’s fine to profile based on prior institutionalized profiling. The only law enforcement officials who can be brought up on charges are those stupidly declaring their racist beliefs in public and in social media. The guidelines actually coach racists on how to justify their inherent biases.

via Will the New Federal Racial Profiling Guidelines have Any Impact? (1/3) – YouTube.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | The Guardian

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | The Guardian.

Seriously, did you think all the libertarians and anarchists are total idiots? Granted, some are, but pay attention. They’re against Big Government, but it’s the war profiteers who run our governments, and they don’t give a damn about our individual or civil rights, never mind human rights. We saw National Guard tanks all over major US city streets during the Civil Rights riots of the 60s and 70s. Why do you believe it won’t get worse, when major cities run out of fresh water thanks to major storms and droughts?

We keep forgetting we’re all living on an island, with more salty ocean water than land. And storms drive salt water into rivers, streams and fresh water reservoirs on islands. Often.

The droughts, the floods, the water wars are coming. And the Pentagon’s making sure it wins.

But hey, why worry? The Ewoks will save us, with stones tied to ropes, to tangle up the Empire’s war machines and save the day. Turn on a movie and get some popcorn. Nothing to see here.

Killing Wolves To Protect Farm Animals Backfires

Killing Wolves To Protect Farm Animals Backfires.

Is it “Revenge Of The Wolves”? Nope. Turns out killing one in a pack disperses the pack. More wolf pups then get born in more spread out areas, inevitably ending up with more wolves near more farms and grazing lands. And why do we do this stupid shite anyway, when out of 1,000 sheep and cattle killed, wolves only account for 1-6.

Thank you, Nature, you give me hope that we’ll go extinct from sheer stupidity if we don’t change, and fast!

Why Is Yemen So Violent? Because It Is So Poor and Thirsty | The Nation

Why Is Yemen So Violent? Because It Is So Poor and Thirsty | The Nation.

This is yet another massive failure in the so-called “development” and “security” strategies dreamed up by the richest, most powerful nations, including the USA. Rather than truly deal with the massive poverty, the drought that has yet again made refugees of yet another nation’s rural population, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been focused on “security” for their chosen incompetent leaders. They’ve done such a dismal job of even that, a US-led rescue attempt on December 5th of an American journalist and a South African teacher ended in disaster, the hostages killed. The US and Saudi Arabia-supported government has even lost control of its major city.

Why does the USA even give a damn about Yemen? Turns out it is cursed with a port that leads to the Red Sea, where 10% of the world goods, including oil, must pass to reach buyers. That should be a blessing, but as usual, that is not to be when powerful nations feel entitled to control its use. We Americans only tend to think of nations when we think of anything outside of our borders at all, but it’s the waterways, where oil tankers and ships full of vital materials and cheap plastic junk must travel, that dictate our trade and foreign policies.

If this were Iraq, you’d might have heard even a 15-second comment on this failed hostage rescue that ended in the death of an American, this collapse of an Arab capital city, even  in the dismal coverage of international news that appears in the USA corporate media. Chances are, even though it was an American hostage killed, you haven’t a clue. We tend not to trumpet our failures.

Read the linked article. You’ll see that Juan Cole’s brilliant idea of starting a massive emergency development project that entails solar-powered salt water desalination plants, working with all parties instead of only those approved of by the corrupt, worthless allies Saudi Arabia, would be successful, and humane. We could win hearts and minds. Then see why it’ll never happen, so long as we keep letting our government be run by fossil fuel and war profiteers, compliments Wall St., and of Iran-phobic Saudi Arabia and  Israel.

Will we ever learn?

Surviving These Damn Holidays – You have my permission to spend them on the pity-pot, but not to fall in

Image

Here we are again – that jolly season when so many people cry themselves to sleep or say “To hell with it” and attempt suicide. For me it’s another birthday, now heading toward 60 faster and faster, and another holiday season. If I didn’t love being a fire sign that’s honest to a fault, I’d hate having a birthday so near Christmas. I sure hated it when I was a kid, and always got a combo birthday/Christmas gift.

We were hell’a poor. It was just me and my grandmother. She earned only minimum wage or even less when she was paid per piece when she sewed from her overwhelming stack of collars, cuffs, and waistbands at the factory. One gift is usually all there was. Here’s the pic that I found online that most looks like my grandmother at her factory. If I had thought to take one when I was that young, it wouldn’t have survived all my moves since then, anyway. It would probably have ended up in Puerto Rico when she retired, lost to a hurricane or a relative’s “junk purging”. Not a very good family for preserving memories.abuelita cociendo

I’m a loner now, just as I was as a child, only now I’m a crone who no longer seeks popularity or approval, just as my abuelita was. Sure, I’m human. I want to be remembered, to get a personal birthday and/or holiday message from friends from the past, a call or visit from present friends, or a note on my Facebook page or a message on my Skype voice mail from the kids. And I get those messages, but less and less every year, as more friends and family die, year after year. And, face it, except for three of my closest younger family members, I’m an asshole. I don’t remember their birthdays, and don’t send them cards. What’s it like to be 70, or 80, or 90, during this season? I guess it’ll be fine, once I start keeping company with ghosts, after those younger relatives get as cranky and forgetful as I am now.

A local church brings me little token Christmas gifts and gift cards from strangers, as they know I’m literally a thousand miles from what little family I have, but I don’t go to church. It’s a helpful, nice gesture. Ironically, the very fact that the gifts come from church ladies reminds me that I’m very alone, so much so that I get remembered as a charitable act, a tithe for someone else’s afterlife reservation for a residence up above, instead of down below. Here’s a pic I found of the Homophobic Army, er, I mean the Salvation Army, doing that charitable thang.christmas charity gifts

I fake joy when I get those gifts, like the lady above. But you know what I’m really thinking as I smile from ear to ear? “Thank the goddess the kids got me some weed and a gift card for a new sex toy at the women-owned sex store!”

forgot the rolling papers

Rarely will anyone send cards via snail mail anymore. And I don’t disclose my birth date on FB, so I don’t get those “heartfelt” birthday wishes from people I don’t even remember I friended. And face it, FB invades our privacy enough without having that or even my true name.

The Santa Fe tobacco company (really a subsidiary of Big Tobacco now) always sends me a birthday card. I’m amazed that I forgot to lie to them online about my birth date, but when it comes to getting a free sample of that nicotine drug, I get wild and throw caution to the wind! They apparently have no clue that theirs is probably the only birthday card that many of us seniors who still smoke will get, and that it will bring memories of our younger days, when more of our loved ones were alive and in touch. Here’s a pic of last year’s card, with embedded wildflower seeds which I forgot to throw in dirt, as directed. I wonder where it is now?

american spirit bday card

I give my gifts as I find them, not when proscribed. Friends and family don’t have to stress about adding me to “The List”. There’s enough damn stress, and I prefer giving and getting good surprises out of the blue. I’m likely to overspend for the grandkid, and for my niece’s kids if she’s struggling and can’t put as many gifts as she’d like under the tree. But adults? Nope. Those who feel best adding me for Dec. 25th are free to. Those who’d rather share gifts of time or things can feel free to share them when I need it most, or when they feel best for sharing them. And let’s face it: Living on Social Security, or earning less for working harder than we did decades ago, does not leave much in our budgets to save for one big shopping orgy. Why am I on SS after only three-plus decades of work? Cause my bones are shit, dear. And taking orders from idiots makes me homicidal.

asshole boss

What always does come up this time of year is the friends and family lost in the past year and years. It’s inevitable. If we were close, their absence is sharpest when we realize the yearly memories, captured in photos, cards and nowadays videos, will never include them again. If we weren’t close anymore but wish we still had been, the loss of any chance to ever be close again will roil in our bellies, as we try to choke down too much food to please the hardworking cook who busted her/his ass to make us forget, celebrate, and focus on chewing and savoring.eating away the blahs

There are suicides among my family and friends. Sudden ones. Long, slow ones. So if you’re grieving one, you’re not alone. If you’re considering doing it yourself, DON’T! Not now, not tonight. Call, text, contact anyone who will care and be gentle with you. Hell, drop a comment below, I’ll answer you. Use a hotline if you feel no one you know does care – though it’s probably the blues talkin’ if you feel utterly alone.

alone in a crowd

But maybe, circumstances, even your own past misbehavior, real or perceived, might have left you as alone as you feel. That can change, if you just give time a chance. It won’t change if you quit and don’t wait, if you don’t ask for forgiveness. You don’t have to kneel, whip yourself, or grovel. Just ask. If you’re truly selfish, what the hell, do it for the most selfish reason – to make yourself feel better! I won’t tell.

forgiven-main

If you need approval to grieve this dark, expensive, fake-it-til-you-seem-jolly season, if you need permission to not even pretend to feel jolly, you have my approval, you have my permission. Run with it! Know that you won’t grieve forever, even though it can feel like you’re stuck in quicksand that won’t swallow you, but won’t let you go either.

sinking in quicksand

Dare to imagine the day when you notice it isn’t getting dark outside so early anymore. Spring really is coming. But only if you don’t piss me off and quit, and off yourself. Not today. Not this week. Not this month, dammit!

spring at last

Let’s do this again, next year!