Showing posts from June 23, 2016

Men Exiting Workforce as Low-Wage Jobs Vanish

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[Neoliberalism: unemployment ain't a bug, it's a feature. While we're at it, let's see where those jobs are going: Pepsi Linked to Child Labor and Worker Exploitation. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 21 June 2016

A new Council of Economic Advisers study released by the White House on the fall in labor force participation among men of prime working age (25 to 54) should be subtitled, “It’s the Neoliberal Economy, Stupid.”

The report does a useful job in documenting where the level and nature of the decline in male workforce participation, which peaked at 98% in 1954 and is now at 88%, the third lowest among OECD countries. The decline is concentrated among less educated:

Lawsuit Charges That Louisiana Judge Runs a Debtors' Prison

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[Crime and punishment in the class wars. Life is good in the capitalist world when you control both supply and demand. "The lawsuit described one man — Rozzie Scott — who was fined $450 for stealing $5 worth of groceries and then jailed for four hours when he couldn't pay the fine or the extension fee. Eventually a cousin paid the $50 extension fee, and he was released." *RON*]

By Rebecca Santana, Associated Press / ABC News, 21 June 2016

A Louisiana judge is running a modern-day debtors' prison by sending poor defendants to jail when they can't pay fines and charging them a questionable "extension fee" to avoid jail time, civil rights lawyers claim in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit against Judge Robert J. Black in Bogalusa and the Bogalusa City Court. It's the latest in a wave of legal challenges across the country to a system that opponents say criminalizes being poor…

A White Man Just Tried To Kill Trump. Why Aren’t You Hearing More About Him?

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[Race, terror and politics in the US media. Coverage of the attempted murder of a presidential candidate portrayed Sandford as a “quiet lad,” “lovesick and autistic,” and a “nice guy.” “He needs help rather than going to prison, basically,” one woman whose son went to school with Sandford told the Washington Post. *RON*]
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, Think Progress, 22 June 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has spent a lot of time talking about undocumented immigrants. Why, then, hasn’t he talked more about the fact that an undocumented immigrant recently attempted to assassinate him?

Michael Sandford, a 20-year-old British man who has overstayed his visa here in the United States, attempted to shoot and kill Trump in Las Vegas last week. According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, Sandford has been planning for a year to kill Trump.

But there’s no mention of Sandford or the assassination attempt on Trump’s Twitter or Facebook pages, …

NY Fed Warns about Booming Subprime Mortgages, now Insured by the Government

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[Housing Bubble II: it's unbelievable. Nothing has changed, except the banks have been careful to fully socialize their potential losses beforehand this time, and the government happily colludes: "...this time, the taxpayer is on the hook" right from the get-go. *RON*]
By Wolf Richter, Wolf Street, 21 June 2016

“Astronomical” default rates and losses.

The New York Fed just warned about the ticking mortgage subprime time bombs once again being amassed, and what happens to them when home prices decline. But unlike during the last housing bust, a large portion of these time bombs are now guaranteed by the government.

Subprime mortgages are what everyone still remembers about the Financial Crisis. They blew up has home prices fell. Folks who thought they were “owners with equity” found out that they were just “renters with debt.”

And they dealt with it the best they could: forget the debt and the rent and stay until kicked out. Cumulative …

Oil bust leaves Texas, other states with massive well cleanup

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[We had a taste of this style of corporate 'accountability' with the Lac-Mégantic oil-train disaster, when the US-based MMA railway couldn't wait to declare bankruptcy, within a month of having blown up half the town. *RON*]
By Associated Press, Fuel Fix, 20 June 2016

BIGFOOT, Texas — The worst oil bust since the 1980s is putting Texas and other oil producing states on the hook for thousands of newly abandoned drilling sites at a time when they have little money to plug wells and seal off environmental hazards.

As U.S. rig counts plunge to historic lows, and with at least 60 oil producers declaring bankruptcy since 2014, energy-producing states are confronting both holes in their budgets and potentially leaking ones in the ground. In Texas alone, the roughly $165 million price tag of plugging nearly 10,000 abandoned wells is double the entire budget of the agency that regulates the industry.

The problem is forcing states to get creative…

At least 185 environmentalists were killed last year — the highest toll recorded

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[Aboriginal people from the Global South put their lives on the line for the environmental movement. "Communities that take a stand are increasingly finding themselves in the firing line of companies' private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers." In Brazil the fight to save the Amazon is "increasingly a fight against criminal gangs who terrorize local populations at the behest of timber companies and the officials they have corrupted." *RON*]

By Agence France-PressePRI's The World, 21 June 2016

At least 185 activists and indigenous people fighting environmental pillaging were murdered in 2015, the watchdog group Global Witness said on Monday.

The grisly toll is the largest recorded — nearly 60 percent more than in 2014 — since the NGO began tracking such violence worldwide in 2002, and is probably higher because many killings go unreported, it said in its annual report.

Brazil and the P…