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Here is a far-right 1% Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal/Johns Hopkins neo-con PRETENDING to fight for USPS because her district is largely rural and in Baltimore poor all citizens harmed by ending USPS. Yes, Mikulski works for the very global Wall Street pushing the privatization and closing of public Post Offices globally and yet here she is sounding so passionate for WE THE PEOPLE. It is no coincidence that Mikulski was made Congressional Appropriations Committee chair these several years of Obama as Congress played the great privatization of all that is public game needing Appropriations sent to global corporations and not our Federal, state, and local governments---and that is who MIKULSKI was these 20 years. No district has installed global Wall Street Foreign Economic Zone policies privatizing all that is public more than Baltimore---home of this WALL STREET PLAYER-----she fought against the closure of this facility no doubt because EASTON is home of wealth in Maryland and a global conference center ------Maryland has MOVED FORWARD every USPS privatization policy including all outsourcing killing the ability of our USPS to compete.
Senator Mikulski Fights Closure of Easton Mail Processing Facility on Eastern Shore
Published on Apr 18, 2012On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) spoke out on the Senate floor against the closure of the Easton Mail Processing Center and outlined her amendments to the Senate postal legislation which would ensure an open and public process as the United States Postal Service (USPS) studies the closure of mail processing centers across the country.
Boston is of course ground zero for global hedge fund controlled Harvard University as Baltimore is ground zero for global hedge fund controlled----Johns Hopkins University so they both will push these privatization policies. The DC area does indeed have these same structures -----
'The Staples pilot project, called the Retail Partner Expansion Program, began in October. Eighty-two stores nationwide, though none in the D.C. area, have sections resembling mini-post offices. They sell a variety of products and services, including stamps, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and package handling. Staples doesn’t offer registered mail, money orders, stamped envelopes or post office boxes'
Baltimore's USPS facilities are filled with outsourcing, temporary workers, and all that goes with making it harder and harder to provide quality service.
This was happening as Mikulski gave this speech-----remember, it was Clinton neo-liberal super-majority with Obama that appointed a Post Master General in Donahue who embraced all budget-balancing need to downsize and outsource.
USPS and Staples Celebrate New Pilot Program in Shrewsbury Location
Staples locations to offer customers easy access to postal service and products
November 14, 2013
BOSTON — If one-stop shopping and shipping appeals to you then it’s time to celebrate. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Staples are launching a pilot program to open postal services retail counters inside select Staples locations including the Shrewsbury stores located at 571 Boston Turnpike.
Staples, Inc, (Nasdaq: SPLS), the largest office products company and second largest internet retailer, is the first retailer to take part in a USPS pilot program dubbed the Retail Partner Expansion Program.
The Retail Partner Expansion Program is a pilot designed around a few simple ideas — service, convenience and providing options to customers. The first of its kind, the USPS/Staples program offers access to postal products and services inside select local Staples’ stores. Once inside, customers will find a familiar looking counter resembling a mini post office containing the most popular postal products and services.
The postal products available in the Shrewsbury Staples stores include stamps, First-Class Domestic and International Mail and package services, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Domestic and International, Global Express Guaranteed and Standard Post. Staples’ associates are fully trained to assist in all these services.
Greater Boston District Manager Charles K. Lynch explains, “By offering postal products and services at Staples, customers have an additional option and access to postal services at a time that may well be more convenient for them seven days per week.”
At Staples, we make it easy with more ways than ever for customers to shop for everything their business needs to succeed,” said Bryan Timko, Vice President of New Business Development, Staples. “The pilot program with USPS is just another great way to help our customers with mailing and shipping right from our stores.”
Once again we will warn----just because an organization or person writes a left labor and justice article or has that stance does not mean they aren't looking out for other interests----here we see JACOBIN and an author from a very global Wall Street IVY LEAGUE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY in NYC.....but the issues in this article are right on-----our USPS and services again soared from FDR and NEW DEAL and are often filled with the art of labor now being handed to global Wall Street players for pennies on the dollar.
It is an assault on democracy itself-----freedom and liberty can only thrive in societies having strong communications---freedom of press----and CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA have been dismantling all of the above these few decades......don't fall for the excuse of online and internet decline in postal use----all data shows our USPS was doing fine financially until these outsourcing and defunding policies hit.
Why the Post Office Matters
The privatization of America’s postal buildings, and the New Deal art inside them, represents an assault on democracy itself.
by R. H. Lossin
A now-relocated post office featuring New Deal–era murals in Ukiah, CA. Bob Dass / Flickr
In 1938, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson began work on thirteen large murals for the lobby of the Bronx General Post Office (GPO). Collectively entitled “Resources of America,” the Shahn-Bryson murals were inspired by the Walt Whitman poem “I Hear America Singing.”
A large, central panel depicts two columns of workers, backs turned to us as they read the following Whitman lines on a chalkboard:
For we support all,
After the rest is done and gone, we remain,
There is no final reliance but upon us,
Democracy rests finally upon us, (I, my brethren,
And our visions sweep through eternity.
The murals embody a spirit of public luxury that couldn’t be more alien to today’s political discourse. From 1933 to 1939, in the face of the Great Depression, federally funded public works projects created jobs, built infrastructure (including 1,100 post offices, the Bronx GPO among them), and produced one of the largest public art collections in the world. In what is nothing less than an enclosure of public property, this luxury is now being handed over to private interests.
Last year, the Bronx GPO was sold to the real-estate developer Youngwoo & Associates for $19 million. The sale is but one casualty of an ongoing effort to privatize the United States Postal Service (USPS). The assault on USPS is, in turn, only one example of a larger push toward privatization.
But the historical and cultural significance of postal properties makes this a particularly tragic instance of the government’s growing willingness to hand over public property. It is also a singular example of the lengths to which right-wing politicians and their corporate beneficiaries will go in order to justify the transference of public wealth to the private sector.
The Bronx GPO was recently approved for development as a retail space — so members of the public will still be able to physically enter the premises. And because the murals were classified as an interior landmark in 2013, they remain the property of the USPS. This means that the artworks, thankfully, are not subject to the whims of market logic. It also means that USPS — not Youngwoo & Associates — is paying for their intensive and expensive restoration.
USPS has recently been unloading buildings at an alarming rate. According to Steve Hutkins, a literary scholar and editor of Save the Post Office, since 2010 the Postal Service has sold at least sixty properties and perhaps as many as a hundred. The 2012 USPS annual report stated that after a review of four thousand facilities more than six hundred buildings were “earmarked for disposal.” A significant portion of those sold or listed are historic buildings or are eligible for the National Register.
The post office in Venice, CA was sold to a film producer in 2012; Greenwich, CT’s historic post office is slated to become a Restoration Hardware; and Bethesda, MD lost its only building listed in the historic register when its Wisconsin Avenue branch — also a New Deal building with historic murals — was sold for $4 million.
Cooking the Books
As the last thirty years of world economic history have shown, deficits are one of the best ways to ideologically justify the private plunder of public coffers. But the post office is not broke.
The efforts of David Walker, who served as the country’s comptroller general from 1998–2008 and whose right-wing resume is extensive, were indispensable to the companies trying to profit off the panic. The reports issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) during Walker’s tenure repeatedly label the postal service as “high risk” and suggest measures such as downsizing the workforce, selling buildings, and outsourcing or fully privatizing certain aspects of its operations.
But in order to do any of these things, the system needed to look like it was actually in trouble.
The political manufacturing behind the agency’s current “crisis” is appallingly obvious if a bit convoluted. A 2002 GAO report estimated that the USPS was liable for close to $100 billion in pensions, workers’ compensation, treasury debt, and post-retirement health benefits.
On review by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), however, it was discovered that rather than running a deficit, current USPS payments to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), were set to overfund benefit obligations by $71 billion. In 2003, another GAO report reviewed the figure offered by the OPM and estimated the potential overfunding at $103 billion.
The OPM recommended that the postal service reduce its payments, effectively saving $3 billion annually. But even though the post office is mandated to run much like a private business, generating its income from operations rather than tax dollars, the money it pays into the CSRS is figured into the unified federal budget. If the post office were to keep the extra money, the Treasury Department would be out $3 billion dollars annually. In order to keep the $3 billion in payments, the Retiree Health Benefits Fund was created as part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006.
The PAEA also demands that the postal service pre-fund the next fifty to seventy years of retiree health benefits over the course of a decade — a demand that is not made of any other federal agency. A sensible payment schedule would be something along the lines of $1.5 billion annually over forty to fifty years, but the PAEA requires the post office to pay $5.4–$5.8 billion annually over the next ten years — producing the $5.5 billion figure regularly cited by Congress and uncritically repeated by news outlets.
Public Versus Private
The sense of urgency generated by the postal service’s entirely fake debt is buoyed by the neoliberal myth that for-profit enterprises are masters of efficacy. But historically, the postal service has been effective precisely because it is not organized around a bottom line.
As historian Richard John notes, if the USPS had been created by “market incentives [rather] than political fiat,” heavy, and therefore expensive, newspapers would not have reached the hinterlands — cutting off millions from political debate. The postal service continues to incur some losses fulfilling its public mandate through delivery to sparsely populated areas.
This democratic logic is nowhere to be found in policymakers’ handling of the post office today. Congress’s choice of real-estate broker for the postal properties is a great example. In 2011, the CB Richard Ellis Group (now CBRE), the world’s largest commercial real-estate services firm, was awarded an exclusive contract to market USPS facilities, earning a commission of 2 to 6 percent on sales. Richard Blum, Sen. Diane Feinstein’s husband, was one of the company’s main stakeholders.
Nepotism aside, the company’s handling of these transactions has been problematic at best. CBRE frequently represents both buyer and seller, creating a conflict of interest that is likely to lose the post office millions while making CBRE a pretty penny by doubling its commissions on each sale.
CBRE also manages much of the USPS’s leased property (24,000 spaces) and has been accused of illegally high rent increases, as well as collecting commissions for lease renewals (nowhere to be found in the original contract). Earlier this year, the postal service’s Office of Inspector General recommended the termination of CBRE’s contract.
Profiteering and Pushback
Precisely because the postal service is quite profitable, a number of corporations would be happy to take responsibility for certain aspects of its operations.
A 2013 report by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), one of many right-wing think tanks with similarly anodyne names, suggested that the operations of the post office be divided into retail, processing, and delivery. According to the scheme laid out in the ostensibly independent report presented to Congress, retail and processing would be taken over by private entities, and delivery, the least profitable of the three operations, would continue to be the responsibility of the state.
The report, far from being independent, was funded by Pitney Bowes, Inc, a company that already owns and operates a massive pre-sorting network and makes millions of dollars through contracts with the post office.
USPS offers discounted rates for mail that is pre-sorted by zip code. Pitney Bowes contracts with companies that send large amounts of mail and splits the savings with its clients. It has a direct interest in the privatization of mail sorting services. The study also happened to be coauthored by the same David Walker who, as comptroller general, was behind the series of GAO reports designating the postal service as “high risk.”
The USPS has apparently realized that the symbolism of these sales is not sitting well with the public. The sale of postal buildings has slowed down significantly. There are currently only thirty-eight buildings listed on the USPS properties for sale website. Community activists along with organizations such as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Trust have thrown their weight behind the effort to keep these buildings public, and Congress has taken an interest in slowing the sales.
Berkeley’s La Jolla Post Office is a case in point. In 2012, after learning of plans to sell the historically significant property, Brechin gave a talk at the Hillside Club — a community organization devoted to promoting the arts in Berkeley — that led to the Save the Berkeley Post Office movement. City attorney Antonio Rossman filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the sale, arguing that it violated the National Historic Preservation Act as well as a number of EPA regulations.
The San Francisco court ruled in their favor — kind of. The post office sale isn’t off the table, but it is “under advisement” for the next five years. Brechin speculates that USPS backed off because it feared losing, and thus setting a difficult legal precedent for other sales.
Delaying sales does not mean that the effort to privatize the postal service has ended or even slowed down. USPS recently contracted with Staples to take over portions of its retail business, shifting its efforts toward the building of alternative and private infrastructure.
Blocking these other routes to privatization requires continued public diligence. The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint charging that USPS illegally subcontracted this work with the office supply chain store. A favorable decision would return this work to postal employees and safeguard one of the postal services’ revenue streams.
More is at stake than the transference of capital. The buildings and artwork of the USPS embody and maintain a collective memory of government largesse that many seem anxious to forget. Often local in nature, New Deal murals are intimately tied to the under-documented history of small towns, encouraging a sense of civic pride in places that are too economically underdeveloped to be graced by the aesthetic luxury of a high-end art market.
The art itself ranges widely in content and style, depicting nostalgic country view, the aftermath of the Civil War, and scenes critical of capitalist exploitation. More than a mere byproduct of privatization, the disappearance of New Deal artwork from the public sphere is an active repression of the knowledge and memory of social alternatives — a sort of negative propaganda in the service of neoliberalism.
By the time the Bronx GPO reopens, the layers of coal dust and mismatched paint on the Shan-Bryson murals will have been removed. But the now bright and impressive murals will no longer be implicitly linked to a public service in the minds of the spectators. Save for a handful of diligent readers of plaques and an occasional history buff, they will appear to be like any other wall decoration in any other mall.
'Well, real estate, actually, and Geddes and every commenter hints at this. Privatizing the USPS has the potential of being one of history’s biggest — and most profitable — real estate deals ever'.
This is what we shouted as our public universities and our public K-12 schools are enfolded into what are simply global hedge fund corporate research campuses once IVY LEAGUE UNIVERSITIES. The real estate grab in the trillions of dollars is breath-taking and because it is all being done under FALSE PRETENSES----using threats of government deficits caused by systemic and massive corporate and Wall Street frauds and political corruption----it is RACKETEERING ON A GRAND SCALE. This is AMERICAN PERESTROIKA----the mirror of what was done to a USSR collective public wealth when Gorbachev privatized all that was public in USSR declaring Russia a capitalist nation----it was fleeced royally by the same global 1% and their 2% as are now fleecing America. Remember a drunken Yelsin being flown all over the world not having a clue as to what he was doing----much like a REAGAN who served much of his terms fighting Alzheimers----the Clintons are simply crooks.
WE THE PEOPLE must engage in defending our rights----we have the power of numbers---the power of passion---let's JUST DO IT---GET RID OF THESE GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS in both Republican and Democratic parties!
Maryland and Baltimore of course has installed Baltimore Board of Education privatizing the heck out of all our public schools just as this article suggests-----all Wall Street players appointed by ----Wall Street players
'But the real estate company wouldn’t sink. And the deal could be used as a template for other privatizations — your local Board of Education, for instance'
Post Office Privatization Is Probably a Huge Real Estate Deal
08/02/2012 01:14 pm ET | Updated Oct 02, 2012
Andrew Reinbach Journalist
The United State Postal Service (USPS) was created in 1775 — a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In 2006, Congress forced the USPS to pre-fund 75 years of health care benefits in three years, and gave itself oversight powers.
This week, the USPS said it was likely to default on a $5.5 billion payment, and another $5.6 billion payment due in September, unless Congress exercised said oversight powers and allow it to resolve the mess, made worse by declining revenues over the past few years.
Congress promptly adjourned. A bill responding to the Postal Service’s plight passed the Senate in April, but the GOP-dominated House hasn’t taken it up.
Meanwhile, calls to privatize the USPS are being heard from mainstream outlets and on the Right. Bloomberg recently published a piece on the subject from Peter Orszag. Much on the Right issues from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)and a group called the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET), which is funded by the Scaife Foundation, the Carthage Foundation, and the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
It’s hard, in this pass, not to wonder if the Right Wing is forcing the issue by creating a crisis, then pressing for action. This, after all, has been its strategy for shrinking the Federal Government — systematically starve it for money by cutting taxes and larding it with debt, then call for drastic reforms to stave off disaster, a la the Ryan Plan.
There’s even what amounts to a business plan for privatizing the USPS, published by the AEI in 2011, called “Return to Sender: Reforms for the Failing Postal Service.” The premise: The USPS is obsolete and doomed, and the taxpayers’ interests have to be protected by getting it off the government’s books as soon as possible.
Written by a Cornell University associate professor named R. Richard Geddes (Mr. Geddes also writes for the Hudson and Cato Institutes), it lays out a step-by-step outline for moving from today’s government agency to, eventually, a public, stock-based corporation. It’s all based on the idea that if the USPS was a private company, it could survive and even prosper in the world of e-mail. In fairness, Mr. Geddes does observe that many of the USPS’s problems were created by the 2006 law.
But the idea raises a question: If Geddes and the AEI are correct and the USPS is such a bottomless money pit, why would anybody want it? Who ever heard of buying a service company with no upside? What’s in it for them?
Well, real estate, actually, and Geddes and every commenter hints at this. Privatizing the USPS has the potential of being one of history’s biggest — and most profitable — real estate deals ever.
Here’s how it could work.
When the USPS became a private, investor-owned corporation, it would be split into two entities, an operating company that handles mail and packages, and a separate company that owns the real estate. The share prices paid by investors would probably reflect the company’s discounted revenues — not the value of the real estate.
The real estate company would then sponsor a series of vehicles — real estate investment trusts, probably, or even limited partnerships — each appealing to a specific subset of investors.
These in turn would lease some of those properties back to the USPS, and lease or sell others. That first would increase the operating expenses of the USPS, but also reduce its taxes, since leases are tax deductible. It would be billed as a way to subsidize the operating company, preserving universal mail delivery, jobs, and benefits. The unions would love it.
Then the real estate companies would take the cash flow from the USPS lease payments, and the other lease payments, and turn it into bonds.
Since the leases would be on commercial real estate, the income would be sheltered from taxes for years, because as commercial property, it could be depreciated. When the bonds matured, the company could lease the properties all over again, or sell them. The properties not treated this way would either be sold, re-developed, or re-developed and then sold.
How big would this deal be? Well, the USPS leases 24,671 square feet of space — mostly small rural post offices — and that property wouldn’t be affected. But it also owns 8,621 properties (totaling about 318 million square feet of interior space), and about 500 acres of vacant land.
Most of that owned real estate is prime, downtown real estate in every town and city in America — the main Post Office and the neighborhood branches in cities, suburban branches, and big operations centers. The land is scattered all over the country, but pretty much none of it is in wilderness areas.
How much is it worth? Nobody really knows. The USPS, like every government entity, doesn’t regularly appraise its properties. But there is an estimate nosed about by the Right; the IRET reported in a 2003 paper that the USPS carried its properties on its books at $15 billion, and that in 1999, it reported that properties it sold went for about seven times book value.
So by the Right Wing’s estimates, the owned USPS property portfolio is worth about $105 billion.
A deal like that is too big to be done all at once; it would flood the market and undercut itself. It would have to be done slowly, quietly, and under the radar — hopefully so no one notices. If, as business prospects for the USPS fell, it eventually collapsed — well, the organizers could always say the USPS was a sinking ship, and it sank.
But the real estate company wouldn’t sink. And the deal could be used as a template for other privatizations — your local Board of Education, for instance
Unless, that is, the Congressional oversight committee let the USPS do it itself. In that case, it would probably never have to worry about money again.
One thing we know about ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE ----all that public-private partnership policy has WE THE TAXPAYER subsidizing all that is global corporate campus. This is literally government owned by global corporations. They own the real estate and control operations and taxpayers pay the costs of doing business. This will be the next stage towards actually ending our USPS-----and guess what that step will be----TURNING OUR POST OFFICES INTO BANKS AND PRETENDING THIS IS A GOOD THING FOR CITIZENS AND SAVING OUR USPS.
'The postal operator Japan Post will remain under the group’s umbrella even after the financial units are fully privatized. But its postal services struggle to make a profit, and the firm manages to be in the black thanks largely to nearly ¥1 trillion in annual revenue from the two financial units, which pay the commission fees for running the counter services for the banking and insurance operations at post offices'.
Here we see where JAPAN has already done what global Wall Street CLINTON/OBAMA neo-liberals are now trying to pedal here in the US as SAVING OUR POST OFFICE-----by installing banks. We shouted back in 2010 this was just another agency to be tied to Wall Street---as our Federal Housing Agency FHA-----our Federal Student Loan Agency -----REMEMBER FANNIE AND FREDDIE AND SALLIE MAE----the very vehicles for these few decades of massive frauds against our Federal agencies. This is the goal for our Post Offices---imploding USPS with Wall Street fraud, corruption, and sending it into bankruptcy from all the debt created by looting all the assets-----
Who is championing this SAVE THE POST OFFICE BY MAKING THEM BANKS? Of course social progressive poser ELIZABETH WARREN the farm team Clinton Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal---and yes----Bernie Sanders. Remember we are not sheep and Bernie did support a few NEO-LIBERAL POLICIES like this one.
Japan Post’s murky privatization
Currently, the government wholly owns all shares of Japan Post Holdings, which in turn holds 100 percent of Japan Post Bank Co., Japan Post Insurance Co. and Japan Post Co. On Nov. 4, 11 percent of the shares in the holding company, Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance will go on sale. The government plans to sell the shares in Japan Post Holdings in several batches until its stake falls to around a third of the total, while Japan Post Holdings will sell its shares in the two financial units and reduce its ownership to about 50 percent. Japan Post, the mail and parcel delivery service, will not go public. The shares in Japan Post Holdings, Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance will be offered at ¥1,400, ¥1,450 and ¥2,200 per share, respectively. The total market capitalization of the three firms will reach ¥13.56 trillion, the biggest since NTT Corp.’s ¥24.96 trillion at its debut price when it went public in 1987.
The Japan Post group boasts a network of 24,000 post offices nationwide, with the combined assets of the group firms reaching ¥300 trillion. Japan Post Bank, operator of the former yucho postal savings system, is the nation’s largest financial institution, with outstanding deposits of ¥177 trillion at the end of March topping those of any of the mega-banks.
Despite the gigantic size of its operations, however, doubts linger over the profitability and future business prospects of Japan Post group firms. Now that they are going public, the government and the group firms need to come up with medium- to longer-term plans, including a road map for full privatization of the group.
The scheme to privatize postal services began in 2005, when the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi passed relevant laws through the Diet. Koizumi’s initial scheme dictated that Japan Post Holdings will sell off all of its shares in the two financial units by the end of September 2017. However, an amendment to the postal privatization law, enacted under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government that included privatization foes as a coalition partner, lifted the deadline to say only that the shares in the financial units should be disposed of “as early as possible.”
The murky path toward full privatization keeps the business operations of the group firms in fetters. As long as the government keeps control via its stake in Japan Post Holdings, the two financial units will be deemed effectively government-backed, and because of this advantage over other financial institutions in terms of their creditworthiness, tight restrictions on the scope of their business dating back to their days as state-run operations remain.
The Japan Post Bank behemoth, for example, suffers from low profitability of its operations, and remains unable to start offering new services such as housing loans and lending to corporate customers. Recent calls by Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers to raise the upper limit on deposits for each Japan Post Bank account have met with strong objections from private-sector financial institutions on the grounds that the bank, in which the government will continue to indirectly hold a substantial stake, does not stand on an equal competitive footing.
Even if the financial units are to be fully privatized in the future, lack of experience in a variety of financial services cloud their prospects for survival in a competitive environment. Japan Post Bank today invests much of its funds in government bonds, and whether it has the manpower and know-how to diversify into more risky but higher-return investments remains unclear.
The postal operator Japan Post will remain under the group’s umbrella even after the financial units are fully privatized. But its postal services struggle to make a profit, and the firm manages to be in the black thanks largely to nearly ¥1 trillion in annual revenue from the two financial units, which pay the commission fees for running the counter services for the banking and insurance operations at post offices.
The government expects to use roughly ¥4 trillion from the sale of Japan Post Holdings shares to finance reconstruction of areas devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. To maintain and increase the value of the Japan Post group firms after the listing, it is all the more imperative for the government and the holding company to take steps that improve the future prospects of the group firms, including clarification of the path toward full privatization of the financial units.
It will be this POST OFFICE AS BANK that sets the stage for bringing down our USPS with the same kinds of looting of Federal funding and assets ----as was done in our other Federal agencies. Loading USPS with Wall Street frauds and corruptions guts all assets and then USPS is thrown into bankruptcy with Congressional far-wing pols shouting ------
LOOK AT ALL THOSE DEFICITS THE USPS CANNOT MAINTAIN A POSITIVE BUDGET!
A central bank for the poor-----OMG. Baby boomers will remember we heard these same social progressive voices for bringing Wall Street into our FHA----our Student Loans-----it will allow more poor to access housing and higher education ------as Wall Street players filled these agencies with frauds and corruption
'The push for postal banking received a boost this month with an article by Mehrsa Baradaran in The Atlantic. Baradaran, a University of Georgia School of Law associate professor, advocates a “central bank for the poor,” as an alternative to “the unscrupulous practices of payday lenders.”'
Should the post office also be a bank?
By Joe Davidson | Columnist October 30, 2015 After college, Sally Frank, of Dallas, fell on hard financial times.
To help meet her hefty student loan payments and other bills, she cut costs by sharing a two-bedroom apartment with three people and picked up extra work whenever she could.
Neon signs illuminate a payday loan business in Phoenix on Tuesday, April 6, 2010, one of 650 operating in the state with some open 24-hours a day. A growing backlash against payday lending practices have prompted legislatures around the country to crack down on the businesses. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)“But it still wasn’t enough,” she said. “Eventually there came a time when I was so far behind that I didn’t have money for rent… I took out a payday loan to cover the rent and then I was really in deep water. I ended up having to take out two more loans over the next two months to cover that first loan….The loan was $150. I ended up paying over $2,000 to the payday lending industry over the next 4 months.”
Gordon Martinez in Richardson, Texas also turned to payday loans after some admittedly irresponsible financial behavior left him in the red. A musician, he used his prize possession, a tuba worth $8,000, as collateral to borrow $500 from a payday lender.
Over two years, he said he paid back $3,700. But he still lost the tuba.
“Never would I consider using (financial) products like this again,” he said.
Frank and Martinez might be through with payday loans, but plenty of other people aren’t. If there were more alternatives in neighborhoods lacking banks, payday customers might not be driven to lenders with a reputation for exploiting borrowers with high-interest loans that roll over and over and over.
Cue postal banking.
Postal unions and civil rights groups are among other advocacy organizations, along with the U.S. Postal Service inspector general, pushing USPS to expand into banking. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential hopeful, agrees. But USPS, which could use the business, has no interest.
Providing financial services in post offices “could benefit the 68 million underserved Americans who either do not have a bank account or rely on expensive services like payday lending and check cashing,” says an inspector general report issued in May. “The products also could help the Postal Service generate new revenue to continue providing universal service. Because it has a presence in every neighborhood, including many places where there are no longer any bank branches, the Postal Service is well suited to provide such services. In addition, its well-trained workforce is already experienced at handling complex transactions and watching out for related fraud and other risks.”
The push for postal banking received a boost this month with an article by Mehrsa Baradaran in The Atlantic. Baradaran, a University of Georgia School of Law associate professor, advocates a “central bank for the poor,” as an alternative to “the unscrupulous practices of payday lenders.”
Postal banking, she wrote, could provide short-term loans and “potentially drive out the usurious fringe-lending sector, which profits from Americans’ financial woes.” Her article was adapted from her book “How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy.”
USPS officials regularly trumpet what they are doing to improve the Postal Service’s financial situation, including such things as selling greeting cards. But the officials have rejected postal banking.
“While we currently provide our customers with certain financial services, including money orders, electronic funds transfers, and cashing of U.S. Treasury checks, our core function is not banking,” said David A. Partenheimer, a USPS spokesman. Former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was more emphatic during his farewell press conference in January. “The key thing for any successful business is to work within their core,” he said. “We don’t know anything about banking.”
They must have forgotten.
Postal banking, known as the Postal Savings System, began operation in 1911 and officially ended in 1967, though the Post Office stopped accepting deposits a year earlier. Initially, savings earned 2.5 percent interest with a half-percent designated for operation of the system, according to a postal service history. “Although bankers first viewed the Postal Savings System as competition,” the history says, “they later were convinced that the Postal Savings System brought a considerable amount of money out of hiding from mattresses and cookie jars.” Most of the money was redeposited in local banks. The Postal Savings System, however, did not include lending, according to Mehrsa.
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil rights organizations are fighting two of President Obama’s nominees to the USPS Board of Governors, one of whom has ties to the payday industry. A letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to the Senate leadership says “given the harmful effects of payday lending on the communities we represent, and given the value of and need for a vibrant, public Postal Service that provides affordable, universal mail service to all – including rich and poor, rural and urban, without regard to age, nationality, race, or gender – we are especially troubled by the nominations of Mickey D. Barnett, who has previously worked as a lobbyist for the payday lending industry, and of James C. Miller, III, who dating back at least to his tenure as director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 1985-88, has strongly supported privatizing the Postal Service.”
Miller said while he continues to believe “the voters, consumers, and, yes, employees would benefit if postal services were privatized, in view of overwhelming opposition to privatization in Congress I have stated it would be futile for me to expend any efforts in this direction. Instead, as I did while in my previous service on the Board, I intend to help make the U.S. Postal Service an efficient business enterprise — one that serves the public well without becoming a ward of the state.”
Barnett did not reply to a request for comment.
The payday industry, represented by The Community Financial Services Association of America, did have something to say. An association statement said “we welcome increased competition in the short-term credit marketplace,” but not from the Postal Service. “The private sector remains the best opportunity for serving small dollar, short-term loans.”
Sally Frank and Gordon Martinez might differ with that.
And here inside this same article by a Washington Post now owned by global BEZO AMAZON.COM-----our FEELING THE BERN------who abandoned the Democratic primary saying he would contest but failing to do so. Indeed-----this is how a Clinton neo-liberal looked left social progressive in the 1990s. We appreciated Bernie Sanders for pushing a social Democratic platform but he has returned to being an establishment pol and is backing Clinton/Obama neo-liberals and policies----please do not simply follow---think to where these BANKS IN POST OFFICES policies lead.
When Clinton neo-liberals deregulated our banking system they broadened the structures of CREDIT UNIONS telling us that was how we the people would have a bank for our own needs. Know what this coming economic crash from massive US Treasury and state municipal bond market fraud will do to credit unions? Community banks and credit unions are slated to be sent into bankruptcy as global Wall Street pols pretend to be saving TOO BIG TO FAIL WALL STREET BANKS.
Please do not fall for this simply because a BERNIE SANDERS supports it---he knows to where this is going!
THE US HAD A STRONGLY REGULATED BANKING SYSTEM BACK THEN---NOT A COMPLETELY DEREGULATED CRIMINAL BANKING SYSTEM WE HAVE TODAY
'Americans don't spend nearly as much time at post offices as they used to, but that's not only because postcards are being replaced by Evites. For more than half a century, from 1911 until 1967, the Postal Service also served as a bank. Customers could walk down the street to the post office with their money and deposit it in a savings account there'.
Bernie Sanders has a pretty revolutionary idea to change America’s post offices
By Max Ehrenfreund October 29, 2015
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) believes the Postal Service should once again offer basic banking. (Marcus Yam / The Washington Post)Americans don't spend nearly as much time at post offices as they used to, but that's not only because postcards are being replaced by Evites. For more than half a century, from 1911 until 1967, the Postal Service also served as a bank. Customers could walk down the street to the post office with their money and deposit it in a savings account there.
The system made sense back in those days, when the country was more sparsely populated and banks were harder to find, but post offices were everywhere. Over the past 50 years, though, the total number of bank branches in the United States increased from 16,000 to 83,000. What's more, people visit the bank less frequently these days, given the ubiquity of credit cards and direct deposit.
Still, there are still relatively few banks in many impoverished urban and rural neighborhoods, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a big idea for turning post offices back into banks. That's because he sees them as a place where the 68 million low-income Americans who currently rely on payday lenders and costly cash checking services could manage their affairs less expensively. (And banking might help the beleaguered Postal Service's bottom line as well.)
"What people are forced to do is go to payday lenders who charge outrageously high interest rates. You go to check-cashing places, which rip you off," Sanders said recently. "And, yes, I think that the Postal Service, in fact, can play an important role in providing modest types of banking service to folks who need it."
Postal banking is still a part of everyday life in many foreign countries, including the United Kingdom and France, and the U.S. postal inspector general issued a report endorsing the idea last year. The report argued the Postal Service should consider not only opening savings accounts again, but also expanding into short-term loans and debit cards as well.
Bricks and mortar
The inspector general also noted several reasons why the Postal Service might be able to help those on the margins of the American economy bank more cheaply. Start with payday lenders, whom Sanders and other proponents see as the villains in the dark tale of unconventional financial services.
Maintaining a large volume of customers at each storefront is crucial for payday lending, according to a study of the industry published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. With more customers, lenders are able to defray the costs of keeping the lights on through lower interest rates. The most profitable payday lending branches have been open for a while and have established a base of customers in the neighborhood. The study found that on average, payday lending firms earn about nine cents on every dollar they loan.
The Postal Service already has locations all over the country, though, and everyone who walks in to buy stamps is a potential customer.
Another advantage is less tangible than bricks and mortar: trust, an invaluable resource for any financial institution. The Postal Service rates highly among government agencies in public opinion polls.
Perhaps above all, the Postal Service is an agency of the federal government. If borrowers failed to repay loans, the Treasury Department could seize their tax refunds at the end of the year, allowing post offices to limit their losses and offer more favorable interest rates than payday lenders.
Those seizures would be part of another, more dour aspect of postal banking.
People have neighborly feelings about their local post office, and proponents argue that postal banking could protect the public from loan sharks. Yet as the inspector general's report makes clear, going to the Postal Service wouldn't exactly be like borrowing $20 from your grandma. In a hypothetical example considered in that report, the Postal Service offers loans at no less than 25 percent interest and seizes borrowers' money come April 15 if they don't pay up.
The inspector general argues that 25 percent interest is still far cheaper than the fees charged by payday lenders, typically equivalent to 400 percent at an annual rate or even more. It's hard to know whether Treasury's strong arm, combined with the Postal Service's existing infrastructure, could reduce costs enough to offer customers even that rate.
One way the Postal Service could control costs would be by lending only to borrowers who have a good chance of repaying, said Mehrsa Baradaran, a legal scholar at the University of Georgia who has long advocated for postal banking.
She said that if the Postal Service begins lending money to Americans, the program shouldn't depend on funding from taxpayers to remain solvent.
"We've got to honor market principles," Baradaran said. "We're not going to offer a subsidy here."
Some economists worry that because every borrower is potentially a voter as well, any public agency lending money will hesitate to deny loans for political reasons.
"We will always have higher rates of default here, because we don't have investors with their money at stake," said Robert DeYoung, an economist at the University of Kansas.
In any case, if the Postal Service were to underwrite loans, it wouldn't really be competing with payday lenders at all. Underwriting takes time. Many people patronize payday establishments because they need cash immediately, said Eva Wolkowitz, an associate at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, which studies financial products.
Instead, the postal loans (at least as described by the inspector general) would be more akin to installment loans -- another, more obscure type of short-term loan. Unlike a payday loan, installment loans are paid back in several increments, rather than in a lump sum. While there is a wide range of interest rates on installment loans, they generally cost less than payday loans.
The senator from Vermont is Hillary Clinton’s rival in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Pawnshops and more
Besides installment and payday loans, there are all kinds of alternative credit available, which is another limitation of postal banking. For the most part, postal loans wouldn't offer consumers a real alternative to these other forms of credit.
Wolkowitz and her colleagues have estimated that Americans spent $103 billion on alternative financial services in 2013. Yet only about $15 billion of that amount was spent on the forms of credit comparable to the proposed postal loans. You can see the distribution of these loans in the chart below.
"I don't think the post office would go into the business of operating a pawnshop or loaning out vehicles," Wolkowitz said.
Payments and savings
Much of retail banking has nothing to do with lending, though, and post offices could offer some of those other services.
The Postal Service could take advantage of existing networks established by other post offices abroad to help immigrants wire money cheaply to relatives at home. The agency could offer savings accounts, as it did in the past, along with basic debit cards to help customers manage their money safely and cheaply.
There would be competition, though. The basic debit cards known in the industry as reloadable prepaid cards are quickly becoming popular. Many of them allow customers to cash their paychecks without a fee and offer protection from overdraft charges. The cards are issued by major banks and retailers. Some charge nominal monthly fees. Others, such as the Bluebird card issued by Wal-Mart and American Express, don't.
If any entity can match the Postal Service for bricks and mortar, it's likely Wal-Mart. And Mike Moebs, the founder of the economic research firm Moebs Services in Lake Forest, Ill., asked whether the Postal Service had the technological know-how to administer the cards effectively.
"They're still dealing with paper," he said.
A public institution
The debate about postal banking raises big questions. Some people probably doubt that the Postal Service can offer financial services more efficiently and cheaply than the private sectors. Others might feel that the government should ensure that everyone can take part in the modern economy, and that without savings accounts and debit cards, you really can't.
Emperors and kings have minted coins for millennia, recognizing the benefits of a neutral, reliable and widely available mode of payment. Maybe it's the responsibility of the U.S. government today to issue inexpensive plastic money alongside hard currency.
"Sure, we can outsource the needs of the poor to Wal-Mart," said Baradaran of the University of Georgia. "I'd rather see the post office get this revenue."
Revenue is one reason the American Postal Workers Union has advocated for the idea in contract negotiations with the federal government. At the same time, Mark Dimondstein, the union's president, argued that the post office has been an important part of civic life in American towns for centuries, and postal banking would help sustain that tradition.
"The post office will be fulfilling its mission, in an ever deeper way, of binding the people together," he said. Postal banking "just makes the entire public institution that much more vibrant and that much more vital."
If we look at the history of this idea of Post Office as bank we are taken back to the Robber Baron era of early 1900s------when this idea was first installed. As we see below the concerns are as today-----the structures were geared as a mechanism to send those postal savings into the commercial banking sector to save those private banks. As well, although policy was installed to supposedly keep rural post office savings revenue in those localities-----as was feared-----those rural area assets found their way into US cities to bail out those commercial banks.
THERE WAS NO UP SIDE TO HAVING BANKS IN POST OFFICES FOR CITIZENS OTHER THAN THE FACT A CENTURY AGO THEY DID NOT HAVE THE COMMERCIAL BANK BRANCHES ACROSS THE US---
'In theory, the postal savings system would have the capacity to stop bank runs through redepositing. As depositors transfer savings from commercial banks to postal banks, the postal savings system could redistribute the new deposits back to the local banks. Even if a commercial bank were hit by a wave of withdrawals, the postal savings system could stymie a potential run by redepositing its funds into the threatened bank, serving as a backstop to the banking system by slowing the vicious cycle between deposit withdrawals and bank failures'.
It basically moved rural America savings to US city commercial banks at the time Robber Barons and their pols were planning the same Wall Street frauds during the 1920s----bringing that economic crash in 1929 of course taking all those post office savings.
Global Wall Street players for the 1% and their 2% using these same banking policy schemes today as was used a century ago all meant to take the wealth of WE THE PEOPLE.
The Influence of the U.S. Postal Savings System on Bank Runs
AuthorDavid HuSchoolYaleArticle issue
Fall 2013 Vol. 2 Iss. 1
Until the creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 1935, the U.S. postal savings system was the only bank to have its deposits fully insured by the federal government. Given that the U.S. experienced widespread bank runs throughout the 1920s and 1930s, culminating in the Great Depression, it is important to understand how the existence of postal banks may have played a role in altering depositor behavior and preventing bank failures.
The existing literature on the postal savings system is limited but has generally pointed to two conclusions. First, in response to a bank failure, individuals move their savings to the postal bank (Kuwayama 2000; Sissman 1936). Second, the postal savings system failed to limit the bank runs of the Great Depression since it did not redeposit its holdings (Friedman and Schwartz 1963; O’Hara and Easley 1979). However, most of the previous research relies on historical accounts and stylized statistics rather than econometric models. In this paper, I attempt to address this gap in the literature by gathering the first county level dataset on postal savings and the first state-level dataset on redeposits from 1911 to 1945. By constructing these datasets, I am able to perform a detailed statistical analysis of the postal savings system.
I find that previous research has not adequately addressed endogeneity issues in the relationship between postal deposits and bank failures. Using fixed effects, I reveal a negative correlation between the two variables. Through an instrumental variables approach structured around the rules in the Postal Depository Act of 1940, I also obtain evidence that the postal savings system had a statistically significant effect on bank runs during the 1920s and 1930s. Lastly, I find that the effects of bank failures on the demand for postal deposits are highly localized. All three conclusions contradict previous results in the postal bank literature.
The paper proceeds in seven sections. Section 2 provides historical background on the postal savings system’s development and highlights its unique institutional features, which are employed in the instrumental variables strategy later on. Section 3 uses previous research to motivate the questions under consideration. Section 4 describes the panel datasets on postal deposits, redeposits, and bank failures. Section 5 outlines an empirical strategy using instrumental variables to analyze the relationship between bank failures and postal deposits as well as the relationship between redeposits and bank failures. Section 6 presents the regression results, and Section 7 offers some conclusions.
2 Historical Background
2.1 The Founding of the Postal Savings System
During the late 19th century, many European countries successfully developed postal savings systems as a way to increase household savings (Schewe 1971). In contrast, the United States was a relatively late adopter. Commercial bankers perceived the postal savings system as a competitive threat, claiming that it could eventually lead to a government takeover of the entire financial sector. It was only after the Panic of 1907 that public support for the postal savings system overcame private sector resistance. The panic left lawmakers to figure out how to restore public confidence in banks and credibility to the financial system. Congress chose to pass the Postal Savings Depository Act of 1910, which authorized the conversion of post offices into government- backed banks where all deposits would be fully insured by the government.
2.2 Institutional Features of the Postal Bank
In response to the bank lobby’s concerns, the postal savings system was designed with several unique institutional features to limit its competition with private banks and ensure that the deposits would remain local. The interest rate on postal deposits was fixed at 2%, significantly less than the 3.5% paid out by most commercial banks in 1910 (O’Hara and Easley 1979). A strict deposit limit of $500 was imposed, later raised to $2,500 in 1918, so the government could argue that the postal bank’s deposits were from poor, rural savers and would not have been placed in private banks anyways.
The Postal Depository Act ordered the conversion of post offices to banks to proceed from first-class post offices, or those with the highest gross annual revenue, to fourth-class offices. Emphasis was placed on keeping higher classification postal banks open over the years; fourth-class postal banks were most likely to be closed in the event of a downturn.
2.3 Redepositing Mechanism
A second major fear was that the system would redeposit its money in large, urban financial markets, depriving the local areas where the savings were generated of investment funds. To avoid this possibility, the Postal Savings Depository Act stated that 95% of postal deposits were to be redeposited in solvent local banks. Only when no local banks were willing to pay the legally required interest rate of 2.25% could the deposits be offered to other banks within the same state or, eventually, placed in federal government securities.
In theory, the postal savings system would have the capacity to stop bank runs through redepositing. As depositors transfer savings from commercial banks to postal banks, the postal savings system could redistribute the new deposits back to the local banks. Even if a commercial bank were hit by a wave of withdrawals, the postal savings system could stymie a potential run by redepositing its funds into the threatened bank, serving as a backstop to the banking system by slowing the vicious cycle between deposit withdrawals and bank failures.
As this article shows the plan to kill our USPS by reinstalling BANKS IN POST OFFICES-----is tied to the fact that all those small community banks and credit unions will see consumers having THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS confiscated and those banks sent into bankruptcy-----those include INTERNATIONAL LABOR UNION CREDIT UNIONS-----and state employee credit unions like MECU and SECU-----it is planned---it is deliberate and know who has there savings in these credit union banks more than any? The middle-working class and poor.
Who would have their money in POST OFFICES AS BANK? The middle-working class and poor with all those savings planned to be moved to commercial banks in bailouts.
NATIONAL LEADERS PROMOTING POST OFFICES AS BANKS KNOWS THIS!
'It will bankrupt all the small banks that had to contribute to this premium. They will say we’re raising your premium to everything you got, basically. Little banks will go out of business, and who is going to survive–the big banks. . . . What we’re going to have left is five big banks, and everybody else is going to be bankrupt.”'
Big Banks Will Take Depositors Money In Next Crash -Ellen Brown
By Greg Hunter On December 10, 2014 In Market AnalysisBy Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
The G-20 met recently in Australia to make new banking rules for the next financial calamity. Financial reform advocate Ellen Brown says these new rules will allow banks to take money from depositors and pensioners globally. Brown explains, “It became rules we agreed to actually implement. There was no treaty, and Congress didn’t agree to all this. They use words so that it’s not obvious to tell what they have done, but what they did was say, basically, that we, the governments, are no longer going to be responsible for bailing out the big banks. These are about 30 international banks. So, you are going to have to save yourselves, and the way you are going to have to do it is by bailing in the money of your creditors. The largest class of creditors of any bank is the depositors.”
It gets worse, as Brown goes on to say, “Theoretically, we are protected by deposit insurance up to $250,000 in the U.S. and 100,000 euros in Europe. The FDIC fund has $46 billion, the last time I looked, to cover $4.5 trillion worth of deposits. There is also $280 trillion worth of derivatives that the five biggest banks in the U.S. are exposed to, and under the bankruptcy reform act of 2005, derivatives go first. So, they are basically exempt from these new rules. They just snatch the collateral. So, if you had a big derivatives bust that brought down JP Morgan or Bank of America, there is no way there is going to be collateral left for the FDIC or for the secured depositors. This would include state and local governments. They all put their money in these big banks. So, even though we are protected by the FDIC, the FDIC is not going to have the money. . . . This makes it legal for these big 30 banks to take our money when they become insolvent. They are too-big-to-fail. This was supposed to avoid too-big-to-fail, but what it does is institutionalizes too-big-to-fail. They are not going to go down. They are going to take our money instead.”
Part of the coming financial calamity will involve hundreds of trillions of dollars in un-backed derivatives. Brown contends, “If the derivative bubble pops, nobody knows what is going to happen, and it’s obvious it has to pop. It can’t just keep growing. Depending on who you read, some people say it is up to two quadrillion dollars. It’s virtual money, and it cannot keep going on.”
When a financial crash does happen, you can forget about getting immediate access to your money. Brown says, “The banks will say, well, we don’t have it. All the money goes into one big pool since Glass Steagall was repealed. They are allowed to gamble with that money and that’s what they do. I think maybe Bank of America is the most vulnerable because of Merrill Lynch. Everybody is concerned, and they do very risky deals and they are on the edge. I think they have over $50 trillion in derivatives and over $1 trillion in deposits. . . The Dodd-Frank Act says we, the people, are no longer going to be responsible for the big banks when they collapse. It is not clear the FDIC will even be able to borrow from the Treasury, but even if they could, who is going to pay that money back? Let’s say they borrowed $1 trillion. Who is going to pay that $1 trillion back? It will bankrupt all the small banks that had to contribute to this premium. They will say we’re raising your premium to everything you got, basically. Little banks will go out of business, and who is going to survive–the big banks. . . . What we’re going to have left is five big banks, and everybody else is going to be bankrupt.”
We will touch on what is coming when WE THE PEOPLE allow what we know is far-right, authoritarian, militaristic, extreme poverty extreme wealth global corporate Wall Street pols and players CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA to control both US political parties spending these few decades dismantling and consolidating all our methods of communications especially our US Post OFFICE
If we understand that far-right authoritarianism was STALIN----was Mao------was Hitler-----is China, Malaysia, Singapore and all other Foreign Economic Zones then we can stop allowing these global Wall Street players to pretend to be left leaning PRETENDING to be working for labor and justice. Poland has a long history of being authoritarian with or without Stalin and its citizens have simply tried to have a little freedom, liberty, and ability to earn a decent wage. Whether Hitler's SS----Stalin's SS----China's SS-----far-right authoritarianism as with CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA NOW TRUMP always censors or curtails its citizens' ability to COMMUNICATE. This has happened through Bush and Obama under the guise of HOMELAND SECURITY AND NSA. Global Wall Street bombs the heck out of African and Middle-East nations and then tell us they have to become authoritarian to protect us from TERRORISTS.
THE AMERICAN POSTAL SYSTEM HAS SECURITY AND PRIVACY BUILT INTO PROTECTING EACH LETTER IT CARRIES. BUSH/OBAMA HAVE NOW BROKEN ALL THAT SECURITY FOR WE THE PEOPLE WHILE INSTALLING SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT TO MONITOR OUR SNAIL MAIL JUST AS THEY DO OUR INTERNET COMMUNICATIONS.
'The topic of mail privacy was debated as recently as 2006. During his tenure in office, President Bush attached a signing statement to a reform bill that allowed federal authorities to ask for all mail cover data and even to open your mail without approval'.
Below is a great article that educates on the history of privacy in the US comparing our snail mail and today's email. Both right wing Republican and left wing Democrats HATE THIS LOSS OF PRIVACY and we all know the excuses are FABRICATED TO INVADE OUR RIGHTS. As a society becomes more far-right and authoritarian citizens always feel afraid to communicate ----they are concerned with whom they communicate ----about what they communicate. Today we know our online telecomm and phone conversations are tracked and now with BUSH/OBAMA we have lost what was a strong privacy protection for our snail mail.
Is a POST MASTER GENERAL BRENNAN moving forward NSA surveillance of snail mail as global Wall Street dismantles our USPS with the goal of not having a public letter carrier for WE THE PEOPLE?
Please take time to get a big picture of our rights as citizens---freedoms that came from this one issue of public communication---our USPS. People who say---if you are worried about NSA surveillance then don't do anything wrong are missing the point of FAR-RIGHT AUTHORITARIAN DICTATORSHIPS----like ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE global corporate tribunal rule.
Send Letters, Not Emails
Why it’s so much harder for the government to spy on your snail mail than your email.
By Amy Webb
A mailman for the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail on Nov. 15, 2012, in Miami.
On an average day, the United States Postal Service delivers 22 items to my home. I know this, because for the past three years I’ve been tracking delivery times, volume, addressees, types (letters, magazines, boxes) and categories of mail (letters, bills, catalogs).
This past weekend, while staring at our usual pile of Saturday mail, I noticed a Phantom Fireworks solicitation addressed to our home’s former owner. (Direct solicitations to my house have increased 37 percent in the past year.) During a typical week, the USPS delivers three pieces of misdirected mail and five items intended for previous owners. Our usual course of action is to write “delivered to wrong address” or “no longer at this address” on the envelope and drop it back in a mailbox. But the Phantom Fireworks flier? I threw it straight into the trash.
That action—handling someone else’s mail, reading the contents and then destroying it—directly violates 18 U.S.C. § 1703. It’s a federal crime punishable by a fine and up to a year in prison.
To be sure, the feds aren’t going to break down my door when I throw away a Lululemon or Athletica catalog addressed to my neighbor. Still, I know—and you know, too—that touching someone else’s mail is a big no-no. I can’t open a letter with someone else’s name on it. Your boss can’t open a package delivered to her office and intended solely for you. The IRS can’t intercept hard copies of your paycheck. Homeland Security can’t surveil you for subscribing to Guns & Ammo. By law, what the USPS delivers can only be opened by the person whose name is written on the item.
In the wake of revelations that the NSA has been filling databases with information about our emailing habits, I’ve been curious about the discrepancies between the laws that govern our physical and electronic mail. If the government isn’t supposed to be looking at our physical mail without justifiable cause, why can it watch our email messages without legal approval or, at the very least, our informed consent?
I brought Saturday’s pile of USPS mail over to my desk and compared it to what was currently in my computer’s inbox. I receive an average of 377 email messages every weekday. On the weekends, I get fewer, unless there’s been a family event with lots of photos. About 41 percent are spam or junk mail, but the rest are messages intended for me or for a group I belong to.
Looking back and forth between the pile of physical mail and my screen, I suddenly realized that the content delivered to my electronic inboxes is essentially the same as what the USPS slides through the mail slot. Both sets include bills, photos, reminders to schedule appointments, neighborhood newsletters, messages from my sister, and the like. In fact, the Staples catalog was the same in print and in electronic form: One was just a PDF of the other.
In the eyes of the government, what makes the mail on my desk so different from what’s on my computer?
It’s a question fit for Benjamin Franklin. Prior to the American Revolution, Franklin had been the postmaster for the British Crown, establishing postal delivery routes throughout the colonies. In the early days, it was only official government communications that passed through the post, and it was “sealed against inspection.” Later, when the mail could be used by citizens, carriers would regularly read others’ mail along their long routes for entertainment. Franklin, eager to maintain the sanctity of the mail in a time of political upheaval, developed a set of regulations and affixed locks to postal carriers’ saddle bags. Franklin’s early regulations became part of the basis for privacy law, as did the Fourth Amendment rule about unreasonable searches, which the Framers certainly intended to cover postal mail.
Nearly 200 years later, technologist Ray Tomlinson was helping to establish a modern-day postal system, one that wouldn’t require envelopes or stamps. It was 1971, and our Internet’s predecessor—ARPANET—had just launched. Tomlinson figured out a way to help early users send short messages in near real-time, and he sent the world’s first electronic mail message to himself.
Unlike Franklin’s postal service, email itself wasn’t a government-created system. Tomlinson’s communication vehicle was used first by universities, then commercial entities like Pegasus Mail, AOL, Excite, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Because these were corporations and educational institutions, they weren’t subject to federal law in the same way the postal service was.
You could argue that enforcing any kind of regulation would be impossible because of the volume of email messages exchanged daily, or because technological advancements dramatically outpace the speed at which our federal laws are created. Mail sent the old-fashioned way uses a more direct, explicit system. I write a letter to you, I drop it in the mailbox, it remains sealed until a USPS worker delivers it to you. That letter is likely the only copy in existence. If I sent you an email, however, a copy is stored locally on my machine, then probably at Rackspace or Gmail servers, which may or may not be inside of the U.S. Then the email is forwarded to another set of servers somewhere, where a copy might again be stored, until the message hits your provider and your own inbox. It takes only seconds for my message to reach you, but along the way it’s likely been tagged, sorted, and cataloged by a half-dozen different companies.
Our modern USPS and email systems grew up in different households. The USPS became a government entity subject to a certain set of federal regulations, while email became regulated by the FCC and laws of interstate commerce. For example, while companies can legally send fliers and brochures to our homes through the USPS, it can be a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act to send the same sort of commercial messages electronically.
Still, it seemed strange to me that we have stringent laws on the books governing my letters to my husband, but not the emails he and I exchange privately.
I put the question to Fred Lane, an attorney, expert in privacy law and the author of American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right. “The very nature of email is anti-control and anti-privacy,” he said. “Even Franklin would recognize that. In practical terms, it is difficult to have privacy control throughout the entire email process. We need to adapt our core principles to the new realities of communication.”
Lane reminded me of an earlier government surveillance program of traditional mail. Beginning in 1952, a CIA program codenamed SRPOINTER and SGPOINTER and later HTLINGUAL and HGLINGUAL authorized the interception and opening of mail items at facilities in Los Angeles and Jamaica, Queens, New York. The CIA insisted that a mail-opening operation was necessary to track the Americans it suspected of feeding information to the Soviets. A list of names was maintained, and data was collected on incoming and outgoing mail, while hundreds of thousands of letters destined for other countries were open and read.
When President Nixon took office in 1969, America’s security agencies were in constant disagreement on how to track security threats. A year later, one of Nixon’s aides, Tom Huston, crafted a plan to enlist the CIA, FBI, NSA and military intelligence agencies in wide-ranging electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens. Nixon wanted ongoing domestic intelligence on his administration’s so-called “left-wing radical” watch list, so the Huston Plan called for routinely opening postal mail and using something called “mail covers.”
During the Watergate hearings in 1973, postal mail surveillance was one of the issues brought to light. The programs were stopped, but mail covers continue to this day. In a criminal case, the USPS can be authorized use mail covers: to take photos of and record the information on the outside container, envelope, or label of anything it handles, and it may record the name and address of the sender and recipient, along with the place and date of the postmark, into a database. According to a source familiar with mail covers, there are tens of thousands of mail covers performed each year.
Mail covers aren’t supposed to be exploratory, and they don’t include the contents of whatever’s inside. To obtain a mail cover, law enforcement must first submit paperwork to the Postal Inspection Service in Chicago proving that there’s a criminal investigation under way.
But the USPS is collecting similar information on almost all mail, not just mail that is subject to covers. For example, you know those barcodes on the bottoms of our envelopes? The USPS scans those using a wide field camera and takes super-high resolution photographs of the back and front of most mail pieces—again, not the stuff inside—for sorting and diagnostic purposes. It’s actually because of the USPS that we have widespread optical character recognition technology in widespread use now. Before cameras and computers, postal workers would have to sort all mail by hand, making best guesses on illegible writing and trying to keep all correspondence in the right batches. These days, multiline OCR readers let the USPS sort thousands of pieces of mail per minute.
OCR software automatically extracts the text on an envelope and imports it into a database for later sorting and analysis. After the anthrax and ricin incidents, the USPS was able to track the pieces of mail before and after the contaminated letters to narrow down the source.
The topic of mail privacy was debated as recently as 2006. During his tenure in office, President Bush attached a signing statement to a reform bill that allowed federal authorities to ask for all mail cover data and even to open your mail without approval. His administration argued that the Patriot Act enabled the government to intercept USPS deliveries in "exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence." Sen. Charles Schumer criticized Bush at the time, saying that the action was a direct contradiction of our established mail protection laws and to the Constitution. Whether or not our USPS mail is being routinely opened today under a similar program is still not clear.
So where does that leave me and my various mailboxes? Ready for our lawmakers to have a meaningful debate on mail and privacy controls. What should the government be able to scrape and monitor from my email? Metadata alone? The fact that I’ve included Excel spreadsheets or photos? Or the content within the documents themselves? Should electronic messages, too, be “sealed against inspection?” Or should I assume that anything I send—even if it’s a self-destructing message—is not really private?
Here is the process of surveillance now in our USPS and yes all this retooling cost the USPS billions of dollars. Are our 'installed government officials' ---not elected worried about a terrorist attack through the mail or ANGRY CITIZENS? The point is this-----it is the empire-building policies of far-right global Wall Street that has both foreign 'terrorists' and angry citizens maybe thinking about sending something toxic through our snail mail. It is the same policies that make a government feel it has to surveille its own citizens to see who is zooming whom. For 300 years the US did not even think about all this surveillance because WE DID NOT HAVE LYING, CHEATING, STEALING, NO ETHICS OR MORALS, FAR-RIGHT WING EXTREME WEALTH AND EXTREME POVERTY players controlling our US government.
It starts with the need to surveille and then restrict who can communicate when, where, and for what reason----IT ALWAYS DOES in authoritarian societies. We can bet that an Obama and Congress installed a BRENNAN as Post Master General to bring surveillance to a system as it is dismantled.
By Jessica Hartogs CBS News July 4, 2013, 2:22 PM
Report: Postal Service uses "spying" programs similar to NSA
Approximately 160 billion envelopes, packages and postcards were photographed by the United States Postal Service last year, reports The New York Times.
It was done as part of the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, according to The Times, in which Postal Service computers take pictures of the exterior of every piece of mail that passes through the system.
It's one of two programs The Times says shows that postal mail is under similar surveillance to phone calls and emails by the National Security Agency.
Letters and packages cannot be opened without a warrant. The tracking program reportedly only collects images of the outsides.
"Looking at just the outside of letters and other mail, I can see who you bank with, who you communicate with -- all kinds of useful information that gives investigators leads that they can then follow up on with a subpoena," James J. Wedick, a former FBI agent who spent 34 years at the agency, told The Times.
It is not known how long the government saves the images.
Postal mail surveillance programs reportedly helped the FBI arrest Shannon Richardson for sending ricin-tainted letters to President Obama and New York City Mayor Bloomberg.
AP Photo/The Texarkana Gazette, Curt Youngblood
It appears to be a broad expansion of another postal surveillance program, called the mail covers program, which has been used for over a century.
Under the mail covers program, law enforcement officials can ask postal workers to record information from the outsides of letters or parcels before they are delivered to a particular person. The U.S.P.S. then passes this information on to the law enforcement agency that requested it.
Requests for the mail cover surveillance are granted for approximately 30 days, and can be extended for up to 120 days.
The New York Times reports that tens of thousands of pieces of mail each year are screened through the mail covers program.
Even without opening the mail, officials can obtain valuable information this way -- information that many would consider an invasion of privacy. Computer security expert Bruce Schneier tells The Times that the program can track "names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, which gives the government a pretty good map of your contacts, even if they aren't reading the contents."
Law enforcement officials claim these programs are essential to national security.
In one recent case, The Smoking Gun reports that by examining 60 pieces of mail from scanned images, the FBI was able to identify the suspect in the ricin letters sent to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in May of this year. A woman from Texas, Shannon Guess Richardson, was charged last month.
For these few decades global Wall Street has made clear------private global package carriers like FEDX or UPS do not want the letter business of our USPS ----it wants the package business---because there is no way to profit from delivering LETTERS----THAT IS WHY USPS IS A FEDERAL AGENCY.
There is no intention by global Wall Street to privatize LETTER DELIVERY----they are lying in making Americans think we will still have our USPS snail mail if privatized. We are already seeing the closing process occurring as our RURAL POST OFFICE ROUTES are attacked as being too costly. Close those rural routes to letter mail and then they close city routes to letter mail because the goal is ENDING LETTER MAIL BECAUSE IT IS NOT PROFITABLE.
Below we see those private package carriers conspiring to implode our USPS package delivery forcing conditions to raise delivery rates when the USPS does not need to do this to remain profitable-----it is our public services that keep prices in check ------FEDX and UPS earn billions in profit they do not need more market share or higher prices.
For FedEx and UPS, a Cheaper Route: the Post Office
Agency Stretches to Handle Business From Express Couriers; Is the Price Right?
Updated Aug. 4, 2014 6:58 p.m. ET FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. increasingly are moving their own packages through the U.S. Postal Service, putting pressure on the quasigovernmental agency and raising questions about whether the USPS is charging enough for the service.
The UK is indeed privatizing their USPS------the UK is the size of ALABAMA-----so citizens have the ability to communicate around England without a USPS----can we image a nation the size of US having citizens able to communicate with one another? Of course not---
Wed, Dec 28, 2016, 8:51AM EST - US Markets open in 39 mins
The ExchangeWhy the U.K. Can Privatize Its Postal Service, but the U.S. Can’t
By Rick Newman October 14, 2013 7:10 AM
The Exchange Britain’s postal service, the Royal Mail, has just joined the private sector as part of an effort by the U.K. government to raise cash to help pay down its debts. By selling a majority stake in the mail to investors through an initial public offering, the U.K. government has transformed a bureaucratic operation into a for-profit company overnight, one that must survive by competing in the market. It also earned at least $2.7 billion on the sale.
There’s been a lot of talk about doing the same thing with the U.S. Postal Service to help solve financial woes that include $41 billion in losses since 2006 and a business model that’s about as current as a 22-cent stamp. It’s extremely unlikely to happen, however.
“The U.S. Postal Service is nowhere close to being ready to be privatized,” says Richard Geddes, a professor in the Cornell University Department of Policy Analysis and Management. “I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but it would be well into the future at a minimum.” That’s because America’s postal service has plunged into such a state of disrepair that it is perhaps the most troubled mail service of any developed nation.
Privatization might solve some of those problems by allowing the USPS to slash underperforming units, develop innovative new products and curtail losses that show no sign of abating. The postal service itself has even said that privatization is a viable way to reform the organization’s money-losing operations. As logical as the scheme might sound, however, there are two big barriers to privatizing the post office: Congressional meddling and near-certain public opposition to the consequences of privatization.
Members of Congress, and especially Republicans, love to chide the postal service for epic losses that may ultimately necessitate some sort of bailout. Yet Congress is the main reason the postal service is in such sorry shape in the first place. Even though the postal service is a “self-supporting government enterprise” that doesn’t get any tax dollars, Congress has retained just enough control to essentially veto big, needed changes such as closing unprofitable post offices and processing facilities and diversifying into profitable lines of business that don’t involve the mail. Politicians would lose that control if the postal service went private, which means they wouldn’t be able to prevent postal facilities in their districts from closing, or jobs associated with them from disappearing.
Even if Congress were able to get over its control issues, there would probably be an uproar once voters understood the likely consequences of privatization.
“If you go to privatization, you guarantee that either prices will go up or quality will go down,” says Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, which advocates a partial privatization. In his group's option, the postal service would still deliver mail “the last mile” to your mailbox. The government would continue to regulate postage rates under privatization, but the postal service would probably insist on higher rates in order to fully cover costs.
“American voters overreact to these kinds of things,” says Atkinson. “They don’t want any kind of pain inflicted upon them.”
There are reform bills in both the House and the Senate that would give the postal service more freedom to cut costs and innovate. But they won’t transform the business model nearly as deeply or rapidly as privatization would. Nor would they establish the structural changes that would be necessary for privatization, such as creating a real board of directors and a legal framework for ownership that would allow shares to be issued to the public. As it is, the postal service is organized the way a government agency would be -- despite its supposed self-sufficiency -- with a politically appointed “board of governors” and no ownership per se.
If not for the political hurdles, privatization might work. The postal service could still be required to offer universal mail delivery to every home in America, much as utilities and phone companies deliver electricity and phone service virtually everywhere. There might be sizable job cuts, as critics of the idea fear, but some laid-off workers might get hired by other companies suddenly free to compete with the postal service, or by contractors that might undertake parts of the mail delivery business and do it more efficiently.
Even if there are layoffs, a long history of corporate revivals, from IBM (IBM) to General Motors (GM), shows that protecting jobs while sacrificing innovation often causes more harm to ordinary workers than periodic layoffs do.
It’s more likely though that America’s postal service will remain an antiquated relic compared with what other countries offer. Malta and the Netherlands have fully privatized their mail service, while Germany, Austria and now the U.K. have partially done so. And 25 of 27 countries in the European Union allow some form of private-sector competition with the official post. (UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) are the two big U.S.-based private parcel carriers.)
Back home, we may end up nursing a money-losing postal service simply because we can.
“No other country would tolerate a state-owned enterprise losing billions of dollars per year,” says Geddes. “It’s just because we’re rich. The postal service would have been reformed a decade ago if we were any other country.”
For all those billions, at least we still have cheap stamps.
As this says----the USPS is installed into our US Constitution and that is why global Wall Street is breaking it down with a thousand cuts to make US citizens think the service is not needed. The USPS has always served more than one objective----yes, it is snail mail delivery but our Post Office has always been the center of communities-----the employees are community citizens who walk a BEAT including knowing the people, the businesses, reporting on problems----OUR MAIL MEN AND WOMEN ARE A SOCIETAL ASSET to all our communities. Sure, paying for infrastructure to have mail reach isolated places costs more. Generally the mail delivery is tied to other service deliveries so it is not really that expensive.
GLOBAL WALL STREET WANTS TO SELL THE IDEA OF COST PROBLEMS THAT DO NOT EXIST---and they will start with our rural areas because these citizens do not have the power of numbers. Rural citizens often vote REPUBLICAN or far-right global Wall Street Clinton neo-liberal ----stop voting right wing because they only work for wealth and corporate power -----
THINK THIS IS WHY FAR-RIGHT GLOBAL WALL STREET CLINTON/OBAMA WANT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION-----TO GET RID OF POST OFFICE AS A US CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT? ABSOLUTELY.
Is rural mail delivery the real problem with the USPS budget?
Jazz ShawPosted at 1:01 pm on February 9, 2013
It’s Saturday, and I went out on the front porch this morning after shoveling out from Nemo and got the mail as usual. There was an advertisement trying to get me to switch homeowner’s insurance and a coupon flyer for the local grocery store. That sort of surprise waiting in the mailbox doesn’t exactly get me all up in arms over the Post Office’s idea to cancel Saturday mail delivery. Up until now, I’ve been assuming that the Post Office is simply an unprofitable enterprise and they may have to put trucks out on the road less often to reduce costs. I suppose I’ve been mostly in line with Jon Stewart’s rather cynical take on the subject.
I can’t believe the business model of transporting letters with vehicles across the country for forty cents a pop is failing. Sorry… where ya want me to take that? Hawaii? Yeah, no trouble. I’ll put it on a plane, get it there in two days. Uh… ya got a quarter?
But perhaps there’s more to the story than that. Doug Mataconis links to Matthew Yglesias who seems to feel that government subsidy of more expensive deliveries to rural areas is part of the rot at the heart of this business model. What was once a lucrative monopoly, according to this line of thinking, has been squeezed out of the profit margins.
But the monopoly has become less lucrative and that’s not going to change in the future. That’s squeezed the budget, squeezed postal workers’ compensation packages, and is now squeezing the quality of nationwide mail service. As a country, we need to ask ourselves whether providing subsidized mail delivery to low-density areas is really a key national priority. Without the monopoly/universal service obligation, it’s not as if rural dwellers wouldn’t be able to get mail, it’s just that they might need to pay more in recognition of the fact that it’s inconvenient to provide delivery services to low-density areas. Nostalgia-drenched Paul Harvey Super Bowl ads aside, it’s not the case that rural Americans are unusually hard-pressed economically or are disproportionate contributors to the economy. They are, rather, the beneficiaries of numerous explicit and implicit subsidies, of which the Postal Service’s universal service obligation is one.
Doug seems to agree:
Most of the complaints one hears about privatizing first class mail and ending the USPS monopoly on its delivery center around the issue of what is to be done about delivery to rural areas. The basic idea behind is that it shouldn’t cost rural customers, or those who want to correspond with them, more to send first-class mail than it does to send first-class mail from one major city or suburb to another. There’s no economic rationale for this kind of policy. Indeed, it exists nowhere else almost nowhere else in the delivery business right now. If you want to send a package via USPS, you are generally going to pay based on where you’re sending it to. UPS prices its delivery services in much the same manner. The only place you see “flat-rate” pricing is in things such as overnight mail, which is based on an entirely different kind of business model from regular package shipping and for which the customer is paying a premium for the convenience of next-day, or 2nd-day, delivery of something that would ordinarily take a few days longer.
I’m no package delivery expert here, but I’d always sort of assumed that the United States Post Office was pretty much designed with an untenable business model baked into the cake. It’s something which is mandated by the Constitution, thereby bringing the government into the mix, but it’s being expected to run at a profit while conforming to a business model which no sane, private business would ever consider. It costs more to drive a letter or package fifty miles out into the boonies than it does to simply get it to a commercial hub in a city or suburb with the bulk of the parcels. If you charge the same amount for all of the letters, somebody is getting more value for the same price point than everyone else, simple as that. I suppose you have to average all the deliveries together to come up with a flat price which keeps you in the black, but it’s got to be one hell of a lot more than fifty cents per letter.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see how eliminating Saturday delivery does much to address the real problem. You’re still running the same losing business model… you’re just losing money more slowly by doing it one less day per week. I’m still not entirely opposed to just having the Post Office jack up the rates far enough to make the service profitable. If it costs more to mail junk – particularly bulk advertising and such – people might think more carefully about what they are mailing, rather than flooding our boxes. Exceptions could be made for free or low cost postage for the mailing of payments to utilities or answering required government correspondence. But do you really think it’s reasonable to be able to send a letter from Virginia to Oregon in two days for four bits?
I just read an article written from Canada wanting to end their USPS by global Wall Street players stating the UK is doing it----Switzerland and Italy did it---KNOW WHAT? Those governments are captured by global Wall Street pols and their citizens protested in the millions against PRIVATIZATION.
Here we see who profits from all this privatization and we can bet SNAIL MAIL LETTER will not be maintained because it is already known NOT TO BE PROFITABLE.
'Barclay’s, UBS, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs were recently selected by the British Parliament to lead a banking syndicate overseeing privatization of the Royal Mail, valued at $4.8 billion. Goldman Sachs also supported privatization campaigns in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria'.
The size of our USPS workforce is in the millions ----this is yet another attack on employment and jobs for the future-------think broadly on this issue-----the surveillance-----the authoritarian push to censor and limit communication-----the AUSTERITY being delibertately created to privatize all that is public.
Baltimore and Maryland pols are all on board with privatization and censoring our communications because they are all global Wall Street players.
Home » Coast to coast » Who’s pushing post office privatization?
Who’s pushing post office privatization?
By Joseph Piette posted on August 11, 2013
Postal and community activists struggling to save the U.S. Postal Service from privatization need to know who they are fighting against.
The Postal Service was established in 1775. It needed government administration as it was so important for communication.
Even in today’s age of Internet communication, 20 percent of the U.S. population lack Internet access and depend on the post office for bills, bank statements and letters. (Gallup World, Aug. 4) The Postal Service is still essential for the $1.3-trillion mailing industry.
The campaign to privatize and de-unionize the USPS threatens the livelihood of every affected worker and neighborhood. Hardest hit will be communities of color that suffer depression-level unemployment.
While the post office clearly provides a vital service, can it withstand attacks from privatizers set on eliminating universal delivery in their search for profits?
Who are the privatizers?
The USPS has 522,144 workers and 31,272 retail stores. Its 2012 revenue was $65 billion. Mandated to deliver mail at affordable prices to over 150 million U.S. addresses, it holds a statutory monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail.
Under congressional control, the USPS is prohibited from lobbying Congress or contributing to political campaigns.
Corporate executives consistently resist workers’ demands for even nickel wage increases yet spend millions to influence politicians. The penny-pinching owners of capital and exploiters of workers demand favorable results from their “investments” in politicians. With $3.31 billion spent on congressional lobbying and $6 billion contributed to election campaigns in 2012 alone, the U.S. holds the title of the most corrupt political system in the world. (Center for Responsive Politics – OpenSecrets.org)
United Parcel Service has 322,100 employees and 5,722 retail locations. Its 2012 revenue was $54 billion. It delivers only when and where it can make a profit. UPS pays the USPS to deliver 100 million to 300 million parcels annually to less profitable locations, according to the industry watchdog group, Courier Express and Postal Observer. Clearly it has a stake in eliminating its main U.S. competitor — the Postal Service. In 2012, UPS spent $5 million lobbying Congress and another $3.1 million on candidates.
FedEx employs 300,000 workers worldwide and logged $45 billion in revenue in 2012. It also delivers when and where it is profitable and uses the USPS for 30.4 percent of its ground mail delivery. The USPS pays $1.4 billion annually to move letters and parcels via FedEx air cargo planes. FedEx spent almost $12 million in 2012 lobbying and another $2.5 million in campaign contributions.
Pitney Bowes has 27,000 workers worldwide. Its 2012 revenue was $5 billion. It paid for a “White Paper” in 2013 that recommends the privatization of postal trucking, retail and mail processing. Operating 36 processing plants — the largest U.S. pre-sorted mail network — PB would vastly increase its profits if those recommendations bore fruit. PB contributed half a million dollars to campaigns and spent another $1.25 million lobbying Congress. (savethepostoffice.com, March 15)
These aren’t the only companies that would benefit from postal privatization.
Boston Consulting Group, the world’s largest management consulting firm, plays a major role preparing companies for deregulation and privatization. BCG was behind the dismantling of public school systems and the establishment of charter schools in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans. It is involved in the restructuring of postal institutions globally, including in Switzerland, Canada, Norway and England, whose government just announced its intent to privatize Royal Mail.
BCG, Accenture and McKinley & Company produced a 2010 study entitled “Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America – an Action Plan for the Future.” The study recommended increased use of part-time workers, as in the Netherlands and Germany, where 40 percent of postal workers work part time. The privatized Dutch post office, PostNL, fired older letter carriers and replaced them with workers paid per item or part time, many earning less than minimum wage. (ernstseconomyforyou.blogspot.com, March 28)
Both UPS and FedEx belong to the powerful American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, an ultra-conservative organization of the well-to-do, the corporations and the politicians that promotes right-wing legislation on local, state and federal levels. (Sourcewatch.org)
Two of the richest men in the U.S. — Charles and David Koch — with combined assets of $40 billion, are ALEC’s largest funders. They also fund the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Freedom Works, the Heritage Foundation, the Tea Party and other right-wing organizations.
ALEC bills undermine environmental regulations, deny climate change, support school privatization, undercut health care reform and limit the political influence of unions. They mandate laws to disenfranchise voters and increase incarceration rates to benefit the private-prison industry. In over 20 states, ALEC helped pass “stand your ground” legislation, which right-wingers used to justify George Zimmerman’s racist killing of Trayvon Martin.
For years, ALEC worked to influence Congress to pass the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, requiring the USPS to pay $5.5 billion annually for pension health care benefits 75 years in advance. No other agency carries that burden. In 2006, before the PAEA, the USPS profit was $0.9 billion.
Under pressure of this substantial red ink, postal management in the last year closed 30 percent of its processing and distribution plants; reduced hours up to 75 percent in half of the post offices; put 10 percent of buildings up for sale; subcontracted trucking and mail handling; cut thousands of mail routes; and eliminated 60,000 living-wage postal jobs. These cuts all slow down the mail system.
Tea Party House Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the richest man in Congress with a net worth of $448 million, heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (KSBW.com, Dec. 27, 2011)
Issa is the congressional pitbull most insistent on passing postal privatization. Issa’s HR2748 bill would end Saturday delivery, replace door-to-door delivery for 40 million homes with neighborhood cluster boxes and eliminate 100,000 postal jobs.
The use of cluster boxes not only inconveniences mail recipients but would de-skill jobs that require stamina and a good memory, allowing the USPS to follow the anti-labor example of the Netherlands in hiring part-time, low-paid workers.
The Koch brothers contributed $107,000 to 13 Republican members of the HOGRC — $12,500 just to Issa, who sent staff members to a Koch brothers’ think tank. (Press Enterprise, Feb. 27, 2011)
Issa appointed staffers to the HOGRC who are linked to lobbying firms that accepted $1.2 million from Pitney Bowes and $240,000 from FedEx.(opensecrets.org)
On Aug. 2, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released Senate postal reform bill S1486. American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey said: “This bill is fatally flawed. It betrays the working men and women of the USPS; it slashes service to the American people; and it fails to protect the USPS from the impending financial disaster Congress set in motion in 2006 with the passage of the PAEA.” (APWU Web News, Aug. 2)
Over the last two years, Carper accepted contributions from UPS ($59,000) and FedEx ($72,500). (opensecrets.org)
Barclay’s, UBS, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs were recently selected by the British Parliament to lead a banking syndicate overseeing privatization of the Royal Mail, valued at $4.8 billion. Goldman Sachs also supported privatization campaigns in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.
Not coincidentally, Issa hired former Goldman Sachs vice president, Peter Haller, to serve on the HOGRC. Bank of America was Issa’s fifth highest campaign contributor at $21,850 (2012). Carper received $56,740 from Bank of America.
These millionaires and billionaires may look powerful, and they’re certainly rich, but postal workers can still win against them if they’re united with the great global working class.
I like this lady----FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT IS IRISH----what we are seeing in Europe, Canada, Australia, UK, and US are captured politics-----global Wall Street neo-liberals and neo-cons have used election rigging to capture all our national political parties. France's President moved to privatize its rail and Post Office and he was elected as a SOCIALIST. Again, each nation in Europe is tiny compared with a Canada, Australia, or US. We cannot have our only public method of communication privatized and dismantled---THEY WILL NOT CONTINUE WHAT THEY KNOW IS NOT A PROFITABLE SNAIL LETTER MAIL DELIVERY.
Shake these global Wall Street players out of all government offices-----our mayors, governors, Presidents appoint these agency heads so if we allow these elections be rigged for only global Wall Street WE THE PEOPLE will be human capital and not citizens!
As an Irish American I am outing my 5% to the 1%----we have too many Irish mafia in as global Wall Street pols-----SHOW THEM THE MONEY AND THEY WILL DO ANYTHING THEY ARE TOLD!
Remember, the goal of ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE is to move all population to cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones----so rural communities today will not exist in a decade or two as all citizens are pushed into this global labor pool ----think taking away rural mail delivery will push people to a Foreign Economic Zone anywhere in the world?
Irish Postmasters Union protest to save local post offices at Dail Eireann, Dublin 26th February 20
Published on Feb 26, 2014 https://youtu.be/giTiSp6wjog
The Irish Postmasters Union held a protest at the Dail tonight, 26th February 2014, to co-incide with a Dail motion for the Government to take action to support local post Offices. This press release was issued following the Governments defeat of the motion.
Irish Postmasters Chief says Minister's response to Dail motion is a "recipe for doing nothing"
The Irish Postmasters Union has expressed it's "deep disappointment" at the rejection by the Government of its Dail motion calling for a Government plan to secure the future of the Post Office network.
Commenting on the announcement by Minister Rabbitte that he was proposing a review of a whole Government approach through the Cabinet sub-committee on social policy, IPU General Secretary Brian McGann told a major rally of Postmasters at Leinster House last night that the Ministers proposal "amounts to little more than a recipe for doing nothing. It is another example of a Government Minister under pressure kicking the can down the road."Mr. McGann said: "the IPU, backed up by two Grant Thornton reports and a Joint Oireachtas Committee report, has demonstrated clearly what can and should be done in terms of bringing new business to Post Offices.
"How can the Government sit there and promise yet another review when the Grant Thornton report showed that Government could achieve €60m in savings on motor tax renewals?" he asked. "What has happened since the findings of the first Grant Thornton report was issued two years ago? Local Government studies and no action or outcome."
Mr McGann told the meeting that the Union understands and accepts that tendering and competition law has to be observed. However he questioned why social policy criteria could not be included in tenders. The French and Spanish appear to do it successfully, Mr McGann stated. "You don't see French police driving Fiats," he said.
Mr McGann said that the Minister is asking the IPU and its members to sleepwalk into a situation where the welfare payments business disappears by stealth and failure to act. "The Minister's speech demonstrated clearly that the Government has no plan to sustain the Post Office network and suggests that they are not interested in developing one."
IPU President, Ciaran McEntee also told the meeting that the Union is astounded that the Minister appeared to lend his support to taking business out of the heart of towns throughout the country and moving it to shopping centres and the like. "Is this a personal view of the Minister or is it Government policy," asked Mr McEntee.
"If it is Government policy then there is a clear need for a national campaign to save communities around the country," he stated. "The IPU campaign will continue if that's the case".
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Moral Righta asserted
This is exactly what will happen if USPS snail mail disappears---it is another attack on small businesses as rates will soar if USPS is dismantled becoming only the realm of corporations. Forget free market---this is one more step towards only a global 1% and their 2% economy.
As Post Offices close in underserved communities making it already harder for low-income to use snail mail----closings of USPS offices is a development tool as is closing our public schools-----black, white, and brown citizens and businesses will be harmed.
The Ultimate Small-Business Resource Guide
U.S. Postal Service closings make small businesses nervous
By Parija Kavilanz @CNNMoney April 18, 2012: 10:48 AM ET
This Tulsa mail-sorting center could go away soon. If it does, some small business owners say that will hurt them.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The potential of 250 U.S. postal offices and distribution centers closing next month is spreading jitters among the nation's small business hubs.
On May 15, unless Congress steps in, the Postal Service will proceed on its plans to make these cuts in a bid to consolidate and save money.
Owners of small companies in cities like Tulsa, Okla., fear that their businesses will suffer if their local mail-processing and distribution centers are shut down.
Some areas have already faced closures in the past year, and small firms there are going through a difficult adjustment.
The more than 100-year-old post office in the beach town of Pass-a-Grille, Fla., closed last June.
As a popular tourist destination, Pass-a-Grille has a bustling small business community, with many stores lining either side of its 8th Avenue main street, designated as the shortest main street in America.
But when its post office closed, it caused problems for some of its small businesses. That's because the next closest post office in the area is about four miles away.
"The other post office is always crowded," said Barbara Calicotte, an employee at a boutique called Bamboozle, which was right next door to the now closed post office. "I've had to wait on line for 30 minutes."
Congress ready to tackle postal reform
Another problem is that sometimes packages have to sit in the store a day or two longer, because the boutique does not have an extra employee to run to the post office, Calicotte explained. She said she can't do it because she would have to close the store, which could mean lost sales.
Heather Preston, who manages her father's high-end jewelry store Evander Preston, has the same problem. Losing the post office has been "extremely inconvenient," she said.
Preston is the primary salesperson, and also does the mail runs. She now has to find someone to watch the store while she goes to the "overcrowded" post office. Since Preston is the only one who works the register, this means a potential customer could be waiting an hour or so until she returns. "I may possibly lose a sale because of it," she said.
In Huntsville, Ala., small business owners are nervous about their local USPS mail-processing and distribution center shutting down completely next month. USPS had already decided last year to phase out operations at that facility, separate from the 250 currently under evaluation, as part of its ongoing effort to shrink costs.
As a result, all outgoing mail generated in Huntsville for delivery to local zip codes is already going more than 100 miles away to a mail-processing center in Birmingham and then returning to Huntsville, said Sue Brennan, a USPS spokeswoman.
"Time is money for small businesses, especially in this economy," said Mayor Tommy Battle, a former businessman.
"A mail delay of three or four days could mean lost sales," he said. "So many small businesses today still aren't tech savvy and depend on direct mail to market their products and services."
Brennan said there could be changes in mail delivery, but couldn't say definitively what they could be.
Tulsa, Okla., is in a similar predicament as Huntsville. Business owners and city officials are fighting to prevent their local USPS mail-sorting center from relocating 100 miles away to Oklahoma City.
Tulsa is a buzzing hub, boasting 41,000 small businesses, half of which employ fewer than 10 workers.
One of those businesses belongs to Forrester Cameron, CEO & publisher of Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, who is worried that the closure of the local mail-processing plant will hurt his company.
Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers prints and distributes 37,500 papers monthly in the Tulsa metro area. If the local center closes, subscribers who get their papers in the mail will get them a day or two late, said Cameron. Payments to the business will be delayed as well, he added.
The problem is that all mail coming from Tulsa for delivery to local Tulsa zip codes will go first to Oklahoma City for sorting and then back to Tulsa for delivery, according to USPS.
"It doesn't make sense," said Cameron. "Why is my mail going to a rival city only to then come back?
Challenges that almost ruined my business
The potential closure could not come at a worse time. Tulsa is experiencing a surge in economic growth, with $350 million in capital investment planned for new area development this year in the downtown region, said Chris Benge, senior vice president of government affairs, with Tulsa Metro Chamber.
Small businesses will benefit from new projects coming to the area, which include a new geothermal system that will provide heat and cooling in downtown Tulsa, said Benge. "With such heavy momentum on our side right now, we need to have our postal centers to support businesses," he said.
Brennan said it's too soon to speculate on the impact on mail delivery since the agency won't take any action on Tulsa's processing center until May 15.
Meanwhile, the USPS is expected to consolidate a few mail-sorting centers in West Virginia as well.
But not all small business owners are anxious about that.
"Consolidation is necessary," said Tom Crouser, president of Crouser & Associates, Inc., a small business consultancy in Charleston, W.Va.
"I am all for post offices," said Crouser, who also owns a successful 100-location national printing franchise. "I obviously use it for business purposes and to market my business."
But some of the post offices slated to go in the state are near others, he explained. "If you keep the ones with higher traffic open, it really won't make much of a difference."
Better to close some post offices so others can survive, he added. If the USPS goes bankrupt, that will be more "devastating to small businesses."
I will take this shortened week to revisit public policy on our US Post Office since we are at the height of mailing holiday packages and letters----and since we are already seeing global Wall Street CLINTON/OBAMA players pretending to help protect our USPS after these several years of Obama and Congressional Clinton neo-liberals passing laws and policies further privatizing and killing our USPS.
Below we see a newly appointed Post Master General who coincidently has the name of BRENNAN----CIA DIRECTOR HAVING THE SAME. The only method of communication not completely taken by global Wall Street and NSA surveillance is the USPS-----with letters inside envelops harder to intercept but NSA is developing surveillance technology that will be able to read folded letters inside envelops. I have not formerly traced Megan's connection to CIA DIRECTOR BRENNAN----I simply see this as a public policy to investigate.
WE THE PEOPLE have these centuries taken our US mail for granted---it seems to have always been there yet it is yet another policy that grew during the FDR NEW DEAL last century -----and it has been the object of attack for privatization by global Wall Street in the US----in Europe----in UK-----and all other nations having a public postal system. Global Wall Street does not want free communications it cannot control as with internet phones, email, and websites. As with all Federal privatizations and dismantlement----these policy stances grew during CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. Congress at the time of breaking Glass Steagall and moving forward to EMPIRE-BUILDING GLOBAL NEO-LIBERALISM----passed policy meant to kill the post office as always with DEBT----mentioned in this article----the PRE-PAYMENT OF ALL FEDERAL PENSION FUNDING FOR ALL EMPLOYEES----never before done in public agencies----never required of private businesses and yet we were told our US Post Office must operate like a business and compete with private carriers like UPS and FED-X. Of course this pre-payment of hundreds of billions of dollars taken from our USPS operating funds was not competive---it was meant to cripple our USPS' ability to compete----and it did these few decades.
Eric Katz | December 23, 2016
Obama Administration Makes Long-Desired Change to Postal Service Pensions
The U.S. Postal Service could finally have its payments into the federal employee pension account calculated using assumptions from its workforce specifically, rather than the federal workforce as a whole, which has long been a sticking point at the mailing agency.
USPS leadership has for years argued its payments into the Federal Employees Retirement System and the Civil Service Retirement System have been too pricey due to the difference between the demographics of its employees and the rest of government. Salary growth and workforce characteristics of the Postal Service differ significantly from those of other federal organizations--postal workers generally remain in a similar pay grade throughout their careers while non-postal feds generally see their salaries increase significantly; and postal workers generally die younger than the rest of the federal workforce. Under a proposed rule issued by the Office of Personnel Management on Thursday, the Postal Service would make payments into the pension funds using a separate calculation based exclusively on its employees.
While estimates have differed, postal reform advocates and the agency itself have said it has overpaid into the accounts to the tune of billions of dollars. A 2012 report commissioned by the USPS inspector general estimated USPS’ FERS surplus has reached $11.4 billion due to a growing gap between the salary of the average postal worker and the salaries of other federal employees, among other factors.
The Office of Personnel Management, however, said the surplus is closer to $2.6 billion due to lower long-term interest rates than the agency originally used in its calculations. In its fiscal 2016 budget, the White House said the overpayment amounted to $1.5 billion. President Obama has consistently called for the postal-specific calculation, as have numerous iterations of proposed postal reform put forward in the last several sessions of Congress. Those proposals have called for OPM to refund the overpayments back to the Postal Service.
OPM said in 2012 it was legally required to make its calculation based on governmentwide, rather than postal-specific, calculations. OPM did not immediately respond to an inquiry into the change. The agency said in the proposed rule it made the change after reviewing a request from the Postal Service. A USPS spokesman said the exact implications of the rule were unclear, explaining it might not contain everything the agency wanted but would be helpful. USPS plans to meet with OPM next week to go over the details of the proposal.
OPM suggested making additional calculations specific to each class of FERS contributor; federal employees currently pay one of three different percentages toward their pensions based on when they were hired, ranging from 0.8 percent to 4.4 percent of their paychecks.
In 2013, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., introduced a standalone bill to require OPM to create a postal-specific formula to determine its pension fund payments. Noting USPS’ fiscal difficulties, the agency’s IG has said, “The Postal Service cannot afford to make pension contributions that are not necessary for future benefits.” Advocates for the Postal Service have long called for the reform, with National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando calling it a “nagging” problem. An NALC official said Thursday it was unclear if the rule would implement everything they had pushed for, but it was at least moving the issue in the right direction.
Earlier this year, Postmaster General Megan Brennan cited pension overfunding as one of four key issues that had to be addressed for her agency to sign off on any reform effort.
When we shout against a Clinton or Obama for what a Post Master General does it is because this Federal agency has an APPOINTED LEADER----AND CONGRESS CONFIRMS THIS LEADER. So, the head of this Federal agency is not necessarily working for WE THE PEOPLE as consumers or for our US post office workers ---indeed when we have global Wall Street pols---CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA----these appointed leaders will NOT BE WORKING FOR THE 99% ----they will be working for team global Wall Street and that means our US Post Master General will be working to privatize and end our public Post Office. This is what an Obama appointed Post Master Donahue did these several years-----and look who is shouting loudly below-----Delaware's CARPER. Those thinking Joe Biden of Delaware is BLUE COLLAR JOE----don't understand that Delaware is ground zero for global Wall Street and global corporations and all of this massive corporate fraud and corruption. So, yes, a Delaware's Carper is a raging global Wall Street player serving as a Democrat PRETENDING TO WANT TO PROTECT OUR USPS.
Here we see the structure of governance for our USPS----an appointed board which Carper reminds us while under global Wall Street pols is a CORPORATION WITH SHAREHOLDERS. Our government was not considered a corporation with shareholders in modern history ----it was as a colonial entity. the colonies of Maryland and Massachusettes for example were corporations tied to a KING'S appointed leaders ----the American Revolution and US Constitution made our US government an agency of CITIZENS ------this is why WE THE PEOPLE shouted when a Supreme Court said corporations are people also having no legal ties to modern US history.
CARPER is simply stating that CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE ----OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS A CORPORATION TIED TO SHAREHOLDERS WHO HAPPEN TO HAVE CONGRESSIONAL POLS THINKING THOSE SHAREHOLDERS ARE GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND THE GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2%----
It doesn't bode well for our public USPS when global Wall Street CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA all think of it as owned and operated by global Wall Street.
'Without naming Sanders, Carper said the failure of the Senate to fill the empty seats on the Board of Governors “is worse than unacceptable. I believe it’s shameful.”
No public corporation would be allowed by its stockholders to run without a board of directors overseeing the firm’s operations, he said'.
This is where FEELING THE BERN------LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRATS must not be SHEEP-------Bernie Sanders quit and returned to being an establishment pol---he has supported Clinton neo-liberals throughout the general election---he has given shelter to election frauds that would have removed a Hillary in the primary and a Trump in a general election ----we do not except every policy Bernie Sanders supports because some of those policies were global Wall Street neo-liberal policies and that included his stance on saving our USPS. The problem today is not a rate increase----the problem is these several years under Donahue dismantled much vital infrastructure for the USPS that it can no longer function efficiently or competitively----WHICH WAS THE POINT OF ALL THOSE POLICIES COMING FROM GLOBAL WALL STREET.
Here we see our USPS was attached to HOMELAND SECURITY ------Brennan-----HMMMMMM
'The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing for the latest candidate for the Postal Service’s Board of Governors.
Yes, that is the panel of nine presidential appointees who are charged with overseeing the USPS'.
A tough first year for Postmaster General Megan Brennan
April 22, 2016 08:47 AM
By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
It’s been a rough start for the nation’s 74th postmaster general.
Since taking office in February 2015, Megan J. Brennan has endured setback after setback in her attempts to right the troubled United States Postal Service.
Both Congress and the federal courts have rejected her repeated pleas to preserve the 49¢ first-class stamp.
That created what the USPS described as a “forced” price reduction in stamp prices on April 10. The decision is expected to cost the USPS about $2 billion a year.
Brennan urged the Postal Regulatory Commission to put some limits on its rate-making rules, but the commission rejected her request as premature.
There was, however, a sign of hope for the USPS on April 21 — albeit a small sign.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing for the latest candidate for the Postal Service’s Board of Governors.
Yes, that is the panel of nine presidential appointees who are charged with overseeing the USPS.
And, yes, that is the panel that has been reduced to one member thanks to objections primarily raised by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
But with questions being raised about the viability of Sanders’ presidential campaign, the Homeland Security Committee moved quickly to act on President Obama’s latest nominee for the postal board.
The nomination of Jeffrey A. Rosen of Virginia, a former Bush administration budget and transportation official, was announced by the White House March 17. A month later he got a hearing, something of a speed record for a postal issue.
Whether Rosen can get past the holds that Sanders has placed on Obama’s other postal board nominations remains to be seen.
For the moment, however, the hearing was a sign that Congress still hopes to give the Postal Service a workable oversight board.
“There is no escaping that the U.S. Postal Service is confronting very substantial challenges, both near-term and longer term,” Rosen told his Senate hearing.
If confirmed, Rosen said he could delve into the Postal Service’s problems “unbiased by personal participation in particular debates” about past postal issues.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who has been pushing for legislation to help the USPS for several years, welcomed Rosen’s nomination, saying he is facing “a tough assignment, if he’s confirmed.”
“I believe we have an opportunity here to inject some badly needed talent into the Postal Service at a time when the agency … is in grave need of independent oversight and direction,” Carper said in his prepared remarks.
Without naming Sanders, Carper said the failure of the Senate to fill the empty seats on the Board of Governors “is worse than unacceptable. I believe it’s shameful.”
No public corporation would be allowed by its stockholders to run without a board of directors overseeing the firm’s operations, he said.
“Congress needs to do its job and protect postal customers, as well as the investments of American taxpayers, by filling these positions,” Carper said.
Stamp business on Capitol Hill
Reps. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, and Judy Chu, D-Calif., are circulating a petition among members of the House seeking signatures for a stamp to honor Japanese Americans who served in the U.S. Army in World War II or were incarcerated in camps during the war.
2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of those camps, noted the draft petition.
“This stamp will also serve as a constant reminder that civil liberties belong to us all — not just a select few,” states the petition.
Here we see REAGAN era concerns with our ability to meet public trust obligations---you know that same concern with SS and Medicare Trusts that saw tripled payroll tax deductions to assure baby boomers had their Trusts fully funded---and then those trusts were raided during CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. So, Reagan did the same with our USPS pension and health benefit funds for the same reason. No one paid more than our middle-class Post Office workers to assure their pensions and benefits were covered----there was no shortfall-----what happened to USPS pensions and benefits was the same as happened to all corporate and government pensions and benefits----global Wall Street frauds and corporate corruptions kept these LEGAL CONTRACTS from being honored.
'In the late 1980s, Congress became concerned that the Postal Service would be unable to meet its pension liabilities, so it passed a series of laws to increase the agency’s payments. In 1989, for example, Congress required the Postal Service to pay for cost-of-living adjustments for its annuitants retroactive to 1986. The following year, Congress again increased the charges to the Postal Service for COLA payments by pushing back the applicable date to 1977. In 1993, Congress required the Postal Service to pay $693 million for past interest which had accrued as a result of the unfunded liability for COLAs and health benefits'.
This was the 1980s----these same kinds of huge pre-payments and COLA increases occurred in the 1990s under Clinton----and again in the 2000s under Bush-----of course Obama did the same-----each time we were told GLOBAL WALL STREET POLS ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO SAVE OUR USPS AND THESE NOBLE POSTAL EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. As with our Federal public trusts SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE---fully funded and pre-paid by WE THE PEOPLE for all baby boomers would need-----Obama and Congressional US Treasury and bond market fraud with national debt of $20 trillion will junk bond these USPS health benefits and pensions----we already KNOW THAT.
Keep in mind----many of our USPS employees are those military veterans----this Federal job was acknowledgement that our veterans deserved good employment after military service and guess what---THAT $20 TRILLION US TREASURY BOND MARKET FRAUD JUNK BONDED THOSE MILITARY PENSIONS AS WELL......so this article addresses how both LEGAL CONTRACTS AROUND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES ARE BEING DISMANTLED while global Wall Street pols pretend to be trying to save them.
Transferring the military obligationThe issue of pensions for veterans has a long, complicated history, but at its heart is a basic question. When a vet takes a job at the post office, his or her prior military service counts as annual credits toward pension eligibility, but who should be responsible for that portion of the vet’s pension costs, the federal government or the Postal Service?
Breaking Glass Steagall banking to create deregulated, consolidated global Wall Street occurred just so global Wall Street could pedal fraud globally as with that Bush decade of subprime mortgage frauds and lots of other global Wall Street frauds all aimed at these PENSION FUNDS---AND HEALTH BENEFITS----simply recovering that fraud from 2008 economic crash would have all government pensions and benefit FLUSH WITH FUNDS. OBAMA AND CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS JUST DIDN'T SEE FRAUD-----
How the Postal Service began prefunding retiree health care and fell into a deep hole
January 2, 2013
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just issued a new report (GAO-13-112) on the Postal Service’s retiree heath care fund. It’s called “Status, Financial Outlook, and Alternative Approaches to Fund Retiree Health Benefits.”
As the title suggests, the report is about the current condition of the Retiree Health Benefits Fund (RHBF), projections about the Postal Service's health care liability in the future, and the potential impacts of the various changes in the law being proposed by the House, Senate, and Administration. What’s missing from the report is a little history.
Like most GAO reports on the Postal Service, this one is filled with dire predictions about the agency’s “ability to continue to fulfill its mission on a self-supporting basis.” (In other words, a government bailout may be on the horizon.) The GAO has issued a host of reports like this. They use a lot of charts and graphs to dramatize how bad the Postal Service’s financial condition is (always “high risk”), and they recommend radical solutions, like downsizing the workforce, cutting services, and closing facilities.
The GAO report projects massive health care costs for future retirees. It argues that any near-term reduction of payments into the RHBF will cause much larger payments in the long term. It says that if the Postal Service is unable to cover its liability, someone else will get stuck with the bill. Future postal customers (ratepayers) will face large rate increases, or the government (taxpayers) will have to step in with subsidies. It’s also possible, says the GAO, that postal workers may come out at the short end: “The level of employee pay and benefits may not be sustainable and could be reduced.”
“Therefore,” the GAO concludes, “we continue to believe it is important that USPS prefund its retiree health benefit liability to the maximum extent that its finances permit.”
The GAO report is addressed to Congressman Darrel Issa. That probably means Issa requested it, and from the look of things, the GAO has given Issa what he wanted — more ammunition with which to argue that the large retiree health care payments are necessary and inevitable. The fact that those payments are driving the Postal Service deeper and deeper into the red gives Issa and his friends more justification for the anti-union and anti-government cutbacks they’ve been advocating.
Fixing one mistake with another
In preparing the report, the GAO shared a draft with the Postal Service and the USPS Office of Inspector General. The comments of Inspector General David Williams are worth noting.
One of Williams' main points is that it’s important to understand the historical context of how the prefunding obligation came about in the first place. The Inspector General writes this in his letter to the GAO:
“The Postal Service started prefunding its retiree health benefits as a result of the discovery that, due to external fund management misjudgments, it was on track to seriously overfund its pension obligations by $78 billion. This discovery was one of several fund management issues identified about the same time. The decision to turn a mistake into a second prefunding obligation created its own problems. A 10-year schedule of prefunding payments was structured toward a 100-percent funding goal. The aggressive payment schedule appears to have been set based on byzantine ‘budget scoring’ considerations rather than actuarial assumptions or an evaluation of the Postal service’s ability to make the payments.”
In other words, the amount of the annual payments to the RHBF — around $5.5 billion — was not based on reasonable estimates of what needed to be put into the fund to cover the liability. The amount was determined by budget scoring.
According to the way scoring works, even though the Postal Service is an independent agency with its own budget, aspects of its operations are included in the unified federal budget, which consolidates all revenues and expenses of the government. Congress therefore estimates the effects of any legislation, proposed or enacted, on the federal budget. The goal is legislation that is budget neutral.
Those considerations, says Williams, determined the size of the annual payments to the RHBF, rather than an actuarial analysis of what they should have been. In response to Williams' comments, the GAO added a bit more background to its report, but not enough to fully understand how the excessive health care mandate came about.
Here’s the rest of the story. It's pretty complicated, so there may be a few errors in what follows, but it's based on several government reports and a few news articles, listed here.
From the “High Risk List” to “a much more positive picture”
In the late 1980s, Congress became concerned that the Postal Service would be unable to meet its pension liabilities, so it passed a series of laws to increase the agency’s payments. In 1989, for example, Congress required the Postal Service to pay for cost-of-living adjustments for its annuitants retroactive to 1986. The following year, Congress again increased the charges to the Postal Service for COLA payments by pushing back the applicable date to 1977. In 1993, Congress required the Postal Service to pay $693 million for past interest which had accrued as a result of the unfunded liability for COLAs and health benefits.
Despite these and other increases in the pension payments, the GAO was concerned about the “rapidly deteriorating financial situation” of the Postal Service and its ability to cover its liabilities. In April 2001, the GAO issued a report (GAO-01-598T) that focused on declining revenues, rising debt, management-labor relations problems, and increased competition (including electronic diversion to the Internet). As a result of these concerns, the GAO put the Postal Service on its “High Risk List.”
In May 2002, Comptroller General David Walker testified to the Senate (GAO-02-694T) that the Postal Service had major liabilities and obligations estimated at close to $100 billion, including liabilities for pensions ($32 billion), workers’ compensation benefits ($6 billion), debt to the Treasury ($11 billion), and post-retirement health benefits ($49 billion). That's the same David Walker who's CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Association and behind efforts to privatize the Postal Service.
At the request of Congress and the GAO, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
conducted a review of the Postal Service’s liability to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Such a study had never been done before, and almost everyone expected the OPM to discover that the liability would be even greater than current estimates were showing.
The actuaries went back into the books, and in November 2002, much to everyone’s surprise, the OPM discovered that “a review of USPS payments to the civil service retirement fund for pension obligations to employees on board before 1984 revealed a much more positive picture than previously believed.”
The OPM determined that rather than facing a huge pension liability, “contribution rates set in current law would ultimately result in an overfunding of the amount needed to cover CSRS benefit obligations attributable to USPS annuitants by $71.0 billion.”
The explanation for this surprising revelation was relatively simple: The pension fund was invested in Treasury bonds that were “earning interest at a higher rate than presumed in the statutory funding formula” (a static 5 percent).
The potential for overfunding was actually even more than $71 billion determined by the OPM. When a November 2003 GAO report (GAO-03-448R) looked at the OPM calculations, it put the potential overfunding at $103 billion.
The main difference between the OPM’s calculations and the GAO’s involved veterans working at the post office. Under then-current law, the Treasury was responsible for retirement benefits based on prior military service of postal employees. The OPM’s calculations had the obligation as belonging to the Postal Service. The GAO said that if the obligation — estimated at almost $27 billion — were considered the Treasury's responsibility and therefore added to the CSRS overfunding, the total overfunding would top $100 billion. (More on the military pension costs in a moment.)
Congress addresses the pension problem: The 2003 Postal Pension Reform Act
In order to remedy the overfunding problem the OPM and GAO had uncovered, Congress needed to pass legislation that would change the way the Postal Service's CSRS retirement liability was calculated and funded.
In reviewing a draft of what would become the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-18), sponsored by Senator Susan Collins, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) did some budget scoring and determined that the proposed bill would improve the financial position of the Postal Service but increase the federal deficit (or reduce a surplus) of the unified federal budget by as much as $41 billion over the 10-year period from FY2003 to FY2013.
In other words, if the Postal Service were to reduce its payments into the CSRS (to avoid overpaying and creating a surplus), the federal budget would take a big hit and “cost” the federal government over $4 billion a year. Congress was having none of that, so it came up with three solutions to the pension problem.
First, it retroactively transferred responsibility for funding the cost of CSRS benefits attributable to the military service of postal employees from the Treasury to the Postal Service. That handed the Postal Service a $27 billion obligation and went a long way toward offsetting the effect of reducing the CSRS payments.
Second, the Postal Service was not allowed to keep the money it was saving in reduced CSRS payments. Instead, for three years it had to use the savings — about $3 billion a year — to pay off a loan to the Treasury; in the fourth year, it had to put the money in escrow.
Third, it required the Postal Service to report to Congress on how it could use the CSRS savings realized after fiscal year 2005. That meant the Postal Service had little hope of eventually being able to keep the $3 billion a year down the road.
Let’s take these aspects of the Postal Pension Reform Act one by one.
Transferring the military obligation
The issue of pensions for veterans has a long, complicated history, but at its heart is a basic question. When a vet takes a job at the post office, his or her prior military service counts as annual credits toward pension eligibility, but who should be responsible for that portion of the vet’s pension costs, the federal government or the Postal Service?
The Postal Service argued that it shouldn’t be responsible for pension costs of vets that accumulated before taking a job at the post office. The Postmaster General pointed out that 90% of the obligation was incurred even before the Postal Service was established as an independent entity in 1971. Plus, the Postal Service gave hiring preference to veterans, so there were a lot of them working at the post office, and it was unfair that the Postal Service should have this obligation on its books.
President Bush’s administration argued, however, that the Postal Service should pay the full cost of its employees’ pensions, including those earned in military service, because the credits have pension value only by virtue of the Postal Service having hired veterans in the first place.
The Bush administration won the debate, and one of the Pension Reform Act’s main changes to the method of funding CSRS was that the responsibility for the veterans’ pension credits was transferred from the Treasury to the Postal Service. That meant the Postal Service incurred a $27 billion obligation, which came to about $1.5 billion a year in payments to the Treasury.
The Pension Reform Act did not, however, put an end to the controversy over who should be responsible for the military credits in the CSRS pension. Many people continued to argue that it was wrong for the Postal Service to get stuck with the obligation, while others maintained that the military credits were the Postal Service’s problem.
For example, the Acting Director of the OPM, Dan Blair, told the Senate in 2005 that he believed the Postal Service should continue to be responsible for the military credits. “Since the Postal Service uses and receives the benefits of this human capital tool in the form of recruitment and retention of its own employees,” said Blair, “it should pay for its full cost. There is no basis for the taxpayers to subsidize any element of the Postal Service's compensation package.” (Blair, by the way, would subsequently go on to become the first Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, the successor agency to the Postal Rate Commission.)
The Heritage Foundation, the right-wing think tank that has longed advocated privatization of the Postal Service, similarly argued that returning the burden of the military pensions to the government would “primarily serve to subsidize mass mailers while making it more difficult to bring federal spending under control.”
Such arguments prevailed in 2003 when the Postal Pension Reform Act was passed, but three years later, Congress would reverse itself and shift the military pension costs back to the Treasury. But that victory for the Postal Service came with a lot of strings attached, as we’ll see shortly.
Putting the reduced CSRS payments in escrow
In order to avoid the $71 billion surplus from accumulating in the CSRS, the OPM proposed legislation to reduce the Postal Service's annual payment from $4.7 billion to $1.8 billion for fiscal 2003 and to make similar adjustments in subsequent years. That meant, in effect, that the Postal Service would “save” almost $3 billion a year by making lower payments to the CSRS fund.
But Congress did not want to allow the Postal Service to keep this $3 billion a year. According to budget scoring, that would end up increasing the federal deficit. So Congress directed the Postal Service to use the first three years of savings (2003-2005) to pay down its debt of nearly $12 billion, owed to the Treasury for borrowing to help cover its deficits. After that, starting in 2006, the $3 billion in annual savings would be put into an escrow account while Congress decided what to do with it.
The 2003 Pension Reform Act thus reduced the Postal Service’s payments to the CSRS, but it also required the Postal Service to give $1.5 billion a year to the Treasury for the military credits and to pay out $3 billion a year (to repay loans and then into the escrow account).
Overall, then, the Act was basically a quid pro quo: The Postal Service got its CSRS pension payments adjusted, but it got stuck with a $27 billion bill for military service benefits, and it had to put the pension savings into escrow. The money was not returned to the Postal Service, which might have been used it to avoid a rate increase, to make capital improvements, or to expand its products and services.
Using the CSRS savings for retiree health care
While Congress was considering the postal pension legislation in 2003, the Postmaster General came up with a suggestion about how to handle the $27 billion in military pension costs. Transferring the obligation back to the government would essentially give the Postal Service the money, which would take money out of the Treasury and add to the federal deficit. So the Postmaster General suggested that the the money could remain in the Treasury and be put into a separate account designated as the “Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund.”
Such a move would return the obligation for vets’ pre-USPS pension obligations back to the government where it belonged, but the Treasury wouldn’t need to hand over billions to the Postal Service. (Most of that those billions, by the way, had been paid out long ago to veterans of World War II and Korea.)
As for CSRS savings, Congress was not very interested in simply letting the Postal Service have the $3 billion a year. In 2004, the CBO estimated that canceling the payments and letting the Postal Service keep the money would cost the unified budget $12.5 billion through FY2009 and $35.7 billion through FY2014.
A House committee chaired by Tom Davis came up with an idea similar to what the Postmaster General had suggested for the military credits. Davis recommended that the Postal Service set up a Retiree Health Benefits Fund, and the money going to the escrow account could be put into this new fund.
What this all boils down to is this: Congress did not want to transfer the $27 billion obligation for veteran pensions to the Treasury, and it did not want to reduce the CSRS payments by $3 billion a year. If had to do these things, something else needed to be done to balance out the costs to the Treasury. The solution was to create a Retiree Health Benefits Fund and to put the money there. That way it stayed in the Treasury, where it would help out with the federal budget.
Congress addresses the pension problem, again: The PAEA of 2006
By 2006, it was time for another round of postal reform, but the pension issues continued to cloud the debate. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), sponsored by Davis in the House, and by Collins and Carper in the Senate, did a number of things. It changed the rate system, turned the Postal Rate Commission into the Postal Regulatory Commission, and gave the Commission more power. It also addressed the retirement funds in several ways.
First, the PAEA relieved the Postal Service of responsibility for covering the costs of military experience. It transferred responsibility for costs related to CSRS military service credit from the Postal Service back to the Treasury, both retroactively and prospectively; this included all CSRS military service costs for postal employees since the inception of the Postal Service in 1971. That obligation for the $27 billion in military credits was thus returned to the Treasury, once and for all.
Second, the PAEA established the Postal Service Retirement Health Benefit Fund. The Postal Service thus shifted from a “pay as you go” model and began prefunding the health benefits of current and future postal retirees.
The RHBF was initially funded with $17 billion from the CSRS surplus associated with the shift in military pension obligations, plus the $3 billion that had been put in escrow from the suspension of the annual CSRS payment. The fund was thus quick started with $20 billion diverted from the CSRS.
Third, the PAEA required the Postal Service to make annual payments — ranging from $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion per year — into the RHBF over a ten-year period, from fiscal years 2007 through 2016, and to pay off the rest of its liability (as determined by the OPM in 2017) in the years 2017 to 2056.
Frontloading the payments
As the new GAO report states, “the payments required by PAEA were significantly ‘frontloaded,’ with the fixed payment amounts in the first 10 years exceeding what actuarially determined amounts would have been using a 50-year amortization schedule.”
The GAO report does not fully explain why that happened, though. The payments could have been amortized over a much longer period, like forty or fifty years, which would have led to significantly smaller annual payments. In fact, in 2005, when the OPM’s Dan Blair recommended creating a retiree health care fund, he suggested setting up a forty-year payment schedule.
In 2003 the GAO estimated that the Postal Service had "substantial" obligations associated with retirees' health benefits, somewhere between $40 billion and $50 billion. With $20 billion in the fund from the get-go, a payment schedule of forty or fifty years would thus have required payments on the order of a billion a year.
But the Postal Service was looking at the possibility of “saving” about $4.5 billion a year in reduced payments to the CSRS — $3 billion from reduced CSRS payments and $1.5 billion for not having to pay the military obligation. If only one billion were put into the RHBF, however, the Treasury would end up getting $3.5 billion less each year.
Congress needed a way to ensure that $4.5 billion kept making its way from the Postal Service to the Treasury. That’s essentially why Congress came up with a plan to frontload the fund with an aggressive ten-year schedule of annual payments of about $5.5 billion.
The USPS OIG puts it this way in a 2009 report: “Because the Administration and Congress required the new law [PAEA] to be budget neutral, the Act also required the Postal Service to make 10 payments to the Department of Treasury, approximately equal to the annual amount of the reduced payment from the escrow and military service relief, for the purpose of prefunding the Postal Service’s retiree health care liability.”
Mandating those huge payments wasn’t simply about ensuring that the Postal Service covered its retiree health care liability (a liability that wouldn’t come due for decades), and the size of the payments wasn’t based on actuarial calculations. The payments were all about making sure that the billions the Postal Service was overpaying into its pension fund would continue to help out the bottom line of the unified federal budget.
Pay now or pay later
That’s the history of how the $5.5 billion payments came about. They’ve been an onerous burden from the start, and the Postal Service hasn’t really been able to make any of the payments on its own. It has had either to borrow back from the Treasury or simply default on the payments.
The new GAO report analyzes several proposals about what to do about the problem, as proposed by the House, the Senate, the Administration, the Postal Service, and the OIG. The details are extremely complicated, and making projections about how the different proposals would work out is further complicated by several unknowns, like the rate of inflation for health care costs, future interest rates being earned by the money accumulating in the fund, the size of the workforce, and so on.
The gist of the report, however, is clear. Any significant reduction in the annual payments would jeopardize the Postal Service’s ability to cover its liabilities down the road. If the payments are smaller in the near term, they will be bigger in the long term.
The GAO acknowledges that “some stakeholders have argued that such prefunding is primarily responsible for USPS’s dismal financial condition and is unfair, arguing that no other entity is required to conduct such prefunding.” The GAO, however, dismisses this argument. It cites a 2011 OPM Inspector General report that said postponing prefunding would be “financially risky,” and it says that significantly reducing the payments now will increase the possibility that the Postal Service won't be able to make the larger payments that will come due decades from now.
As the GAO states, “OPM’s Inspector General reported that future USPS customers (ratepayers) will have to pay for expenses that the USPS is incurring today and added that deferring payments will likely hurt the USPS’s ability to compete in the future and affect its ability to improve its financial situation.”
The House, Senate, and Administration proposals
The proposals put forward by the House, Senate, and Obama Administration each requires significantly large payments into the RHBF, but they are calculated in different ways. It's not easy comparing apples and oranges, but the new GAO report does an excellent job explaining the different plans and possible scenarios. Roughly, here's what they come to.
The House bill reduces the 2011 payment from $5.5 billion to $1 billion, but increases the 2015 and 2016 payments from around $5.7 to $8 billion. Overall, for the four-year period 2013 through 2016, the House bill is actually more demanding than the current situation. It would require over $27 billion in payments, as contrasted with $23 billion required by current law.
The Administration bill eliminates the $5.5 billion payment for FY 2011, reduces the 2012 payment to $0.8 billion and the FY 2013 payment to $1.3 billion. But in 2014, the payments return to a level comparable to the one set under PAEA, i.e., about $5.5 billion. For 2013 to 2016, the total payments would come to $18 billion, less than current law’s $23 billion, but still a significant burden.
The Senate bill completely repeals the mandated payments for 2011 through 2016 and replaces them with a 40-year amortized payment schedule. It would also reduce the pre-funding requirement to 80 percent of the projected liability, as opposed to current law and the House bill, which aim for 100 percent. According to the GAO report, the payments would come to about $4.4 billion a year, or about $18 billion for the 2013-2016 period (roughly the same as the Administration’s proposal).
These three proposals thus require significant payments over the next few years and wouldn't do very much to relieve the Postal Service of the burden placed on it by PAEA. Two other proposals take a different approach, the Postal Service’s and the OIG’s.
The USPS proposal
The Postal Service proposes taking over the fund itself. The GAO does not consider this approach in any detail because it is working on a separate report on the topic. The Postal Service was apparently not happy that the GAO went ahead and issued its report without giving sufficient attention to the Postal Service's plan. In response to a draft of the report, the Postal Service said that “releasing this report is inappropriate because, in its view, the solution to managing its health care costs is to reduce the cost of future health care coverage by allowing USPS to sponsor its own medical plan.”
According to the Postal Service, “Having an affordable arrangement, utilizing best practices found in the private sector, will serve Postal Service employees and retirees well.” The phrase "best practices found in the private sector" probably means that the Postal Service would cut benefits for its retirees and bring them down to a level comparable to what's offered by private corporations. The private-sector comparability standard rarely means good things for postal workers.
On the other hand, making the Postal Service responsible for the retiree health care fund might be better than having Congress remain in charge of it. That would depend on many unknowns — like how much power postal workers and their unions had over the funds, how the funds were invested, how secure the funds were from being raided, and so on.
One thing is for sure. There are many investment firms out there that would love to get their hands on the $44 billion in the fund right now. The commissions on handling the investment of that money in the stock market would be huge. That may be why investment banks like Evercore (hired by the Postal Service for "restructuring advice") and Lazard (hired by the NALC) are so interested in the future of the Postal Service.
There's more about the Postal Service's proposal in this 2011 white paper. It's rather vague on the details about how managing the fund itself would save money, so it will be interesting to see what the forthcoming GAO report has to say on the subject.
The USPS OIG proposal
The Inspector General proposes yet another plan, informally called the Seal and Grow Approach. It’s a variation of the “pay as you go” method that was in place before the PAEA created the retiree health care fund. The Postal Service would stop prefunding and instead pay its share of premium payments for retirees and beneficiaries as they become due.
The existing fund would be left to grow with interest, with no other cash inflow or outflow, until the Postal Service’s liability was fully funded. The OIG estimates that the fund would grow from $44 billion (its level as of September 2011) to $90 billion in 21 years (its estimated liability at this time).
The OIG therefore argues that the $5.5 billion payments mandated by PAEA are completely unnecessary. According to a 2009 OIG report, “The Postal Service could pay on average $4.0 billion less each year from FYs 2009 to 2016 to prefund its retiree health benefits and still achieve the same level of funding anticipated under OPM’s assumptions.” In other words, rather than annual payments of $5.5 billion, the Postal Service could be paying about one billion a year for retiree health care.
The OIG also believes that it should not be necessary for the fund to be fully funded, as required by PAEA. The OIG notes that many businesses — if they even have a retiree health care fund — are targeted at much less than 100 percent. For example, the OIG found that 38 percent of Fortune 1000 companies that offer retiree health care benefits prefund them at a median funding level of 37 percent. The Department of Defense prefunds its retiree health benefits and it has a 100 percent target funded percentage, but as of September 30, 2010, it was funded at 38 percent. The OIG therefore says that it would be sufficient if the RHBF were funded at just 30 percent.
Congress to the rescue
While it may make sense for the Postal Service to prefund its retiree health care benefits at some level or another, it’s clear that the current mandate is the main cause of the Postal Service’s financial crisis. Diversion to the Internet, a weak economy, and the reduction in postal services (like slowing down First Class mail) are contributing factors, but they account for a relatively small portion of the deficit. The big problem is the health care mandate. It accounts for over 80 percent of the total deficit that's accumulated since 2006 ($33 billion out of $41 billion). As the OIG says, making prefunding payments at the current levels will simply bankrupt the Postal Service.
The payments — even when they aren’t made — are already having a terrible effect on postal operations. They make the monthly, annual, and cumulative losses look many times worse than they actually are. The staggering losses are cited constantly by Postal Service management to justify reductions in service, like cutting hours at 13,000 post offices under POStPlan, and they are demoralizing the workforce. The losses are the regular stuff of headlines, and it's no wonder that many people think the Postal Service is a defunct dinosaur heading off a fiscal cliff. That can’t be good for business.
Congress created this problem in 2006 when it tried to correct the earlier mistake of overfunding the CSRS. But mandating that the Postal Service frontload the retiree health benefit fund with an aggressive payment schedule was an even bigger mistake, and it has turned out to be a disaster.
It’s now up to Congress to fix its mistake. If past history is any indication, however, there’s little reason to be optimistic. Congress will probably do what it does best: fix one problem by creating several new ones.
I like this headline because WE THE PEOPLE and especially Democratic voters must remember CLINTON/OBAMA 1% GLOBAL WALL STREET NEO-LIBERALS are far-right wing economics-----so it is the right wing killing our USPS--privatizing all that is public because we do not fight reoccurring ELECTION FRAUD.
The Right Wing’s Assault on the Post Office – Smashing the Myth That It’s in Financial Trouble
Posted on October 6, 2015 by Yves Smith
The cuts to POST OFFICE operating funds used to pre-pay these hundreds of billions of dollars these few decades were used as an excuse to OUTSOURCE ALL MONEY-MAKING OPERATIONS the Post Office has-----so we saw PITNEY BOWES-----and postal machines that once were postal income now a private corporation. Then we saw private trucking corporations being brought in to AUGMENT postal long haul etc-----then when USPS designed a competitive package rate policies allowed a UPS and FED-X to DUMP THEIR PACKAGES AT POST OFFICE DROP SITES-----having the post office deliver packages those private corporations charged their customers MORE =====while getting that discounted price. The USPS lost billions of dollars in revenue from this DUMPING and consumers probably did not even know they were paying higher prices shipping with UPS/FED-X for packages handled by Post Office. These kinds of policies killed what would have been FREE MARKET COMPETITION-----THE POST OFFICE WAS LITERALLY BEING KILLED BECAUSE IT WAS NOT BEING ALLOWED TO COMPETE IN A FREE MARKET.
The myth our national media created was the never-ending mantra of SNAIL MAIL IS DEAD. Yes, US citizens do use email and less frequently mailed letters so postage had dropped over these few decades. The USPS had properties paid for -----it had infrastructure in sound working order and it did not need the volumes other carriers needed as they expanded nationally AND OVERSEAS. The bulk of expenses for a UPS or FED X was its overseas global corporation and yet we were told that the POST OFFICE was unfairly subsidized because its infrastructure was already paid from centuries of being in business. USPS was able to compete for package delivery by corporations and retail until its main money-making operations were OUTSOURCED.
The decision by an appointed Post Master General under CLINTON/BUSH to create satellites as in off-site private mailing stores ------created unnecessary expense and gave momentum in closing post office branches-----people stopped coming to post office to mail----to buy stamps because all that was OUTSOURCED. Of course now all those private mailing stores are going out of business after deregulating where people go to mail a post office package. All of these decisions ended costing the POST OFFICE more in operations while the public is being told these policies make things more EFFICIENT......
How the Postal Service Is Being Gutted
The plan to wreck the post office.
Mar 4, 2013 at 5:14PM
The United States Postal Service just announced that it is cutting Saturday delivery in August, moving to a five-day schedule as part of a multiyear effort to reduce costs and remain viable.
That's not the only change coming down in 2013. The USPS will close half of its processing centers, shutter more than 3,000 local branches, and eliminate about one-third of its workforce -- nearly 220,000 employees. It won't surprise you to learn that these moves will slow the delivery of first-class mail (i.e., letters) by one to three days, making citizens less reliant on the postal service and hastening its demise.
Why would the USPS take such radical measures? The simple truth is that the postal service is a fundamentally sound business, though not without its challenges. If you look closely, you'll see a concerted campaign to drive USPS out of business, despite the fact that it operates without government subsidies and, potentially, at a profit. It's being subjected to a politically manufactured crisis in order to ram through drastic change. But without the USPS, citizens will face much higher costs without better service. Below, I outline three common misconceptions about the USPS and explain why they're misleading.
Myth 1: The USPS' losses show that it's not a viable business
In the last decade or so, the USPS has been dogged by two significant changes. The most obvious is the advent of email, which has hurt postal volumes, especially first-class mail. That's a secular change that's not going away, and all the better for the many benefits it provides (spam notwithstanding).
The other change is political and imposes un-needed stress. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, forcing USPS to pre-fund the present value of 75 years of its pension and health-benefit fund in 10 years -- about $5.5 billion annually for a business mandated to break even.
Listen only to the recent headlines and you might think the USPS is about to drop off the face of the earth. After all, officially it spurted red to the tune of $15.9 billion in 2012. Look closer.
Exactly $11.1 billion of that loss was due to the pre-funding mandate and half of that ($5.5 billion) was deferred from 2011 when the USPS defaulted on its payment in order to fund operations. Below are the official numbers and my adjusted figures accounting for Congress's mandate.
Adj. operating expenses*
Adj. net loss
Source: USPS. *Subtracts $11.1 billion for 2012 due to delayed funding of 2011's mandate, $0 for 2011, and $5.5 billion for 2010.
The net losses look daunting. But adjust them for pre-funding to see the actual operating situation instead of the deeply red figures hyped by most media outlets.
That 75-year pre-funding mandate adds substantially to the post office's losses. This is a requirement that no other government agency, let alone a private company, must face. In short, the USPS is paying for people who aren't even employees yet -- in fact, may not even be born yet!
And the USPS has been a model for prudent squirreling. As of Feb. 2012, it had more than $326 billion in assets in its retirement fund, good for covering 91% of future pension and health-care liabilities. In fact, on its pensions, the USPS is more than 100% funded, compared to 42% at the government and 80% at the average Fortune 1000 company. In health-care pre-funding, the USPS stands at 49%, which sounds not so good until you understand that the government doesn't pre-fund at all and that just 38% of Fortune 1000 companies do, at just a median 37% rate. The USPS does better than almost everyone.
Pre-funding is a burden that other government-linked firms don't have to face, notably defense companies. Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) pension was underfunded by $13.3 billion as of Aug. 2012 -- nearly half of its market cap. Raytheon's (NYSE: RTN) was underfunded by $6 billion, more than one-third of its market cap, and Boeing's (NYSE: BA) by $16.6 billion, almost 30%. They have the luxury of profitability and time to fund their obligations. Another advantage: They can invest in a wide range of securities, while the USPS is forced to invest in only government bonds. Yeah, those bonds that, in some cases, pay less than 1% interest. So USPS has to save a lot more money now for the same payout later.
The cuts USPS is being forced to make are like eating dog food when you have a million bucks in the bank. The pre-funding mandate is completely ridiculous for a business that is mandated to break even. Where is the surplus cash going to come from, since it’s not from profits? In addition, this mandate forces USPS to cut investments in technology that would increase productivity and competitiveness, making USPS viable longer term. Even Congress is not so dense as not to see that its law creates a crushing burden.
Myth 2. Everyone knows that snail mail is dead, so USPS can't survive
Now, none of this denies that the USPS faces legitimate business challenges. Revenue declined 3% from 2010 to last year, though USPS did hold the line on overall costs. While mail volume has declined with the rise of email, it's still way more than 20 years a go, and certain segments, such as parcels, are actually growing. That fits with anecdotal evidence: Amazon.com and eBay, to name just two, are dead without efficient parcel delivery, but I now receive my bank statements via email.
One potential solution is to raise revenue. Currently, almost all revenue comes from the sale of postage. Why isn't the USPS raising postal rates? Consumers already receive a fabulous deal: Send a letter anywhere in the U.S. for a mere 46 cents. Compare that to European rates near $1 to deliver on the Continent. A back-of-the-envelope (ha!) calculation suggests that to break even USPS would have to raise rates 7% -- not quite 50 cents to send that letter to Hawaii in a few days. Hardly drastic.
Now, admittedly just raising postage is an overly simplistic solution, but it gets to a basic truth: lack of sales. Rates are overseen by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and prices must not rise faster than inflation. A postage stamp has increased just 12% in six years. That's another way that the USPS's mandate to operate like a business is stymied by overseers. Another major type of mail, bulk rate (ads), receives big discounts in exchange for pre-sorting mail, and could withstand higher postage, since they receive much more value than what USPS saves from pre-sorting. Fix: Allow USPS to price correctly.
Proper pricing is important for a business mandated to deliver everywhere for a fixed price, a burden not faced by private services. Of necessity, many locations, such as rural ones, lose money -- part of the price of a national postal service. Private services can simply leave a location if it's not profitable. In fact, private services rely on USPS to deliver to unprofitable locations for them.
Anything short of a massive rate hike would still give USPS cheaper service than FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS). Finding a postage price on their websites is byzantine and opaque. Try it if you've got a half-hour. And if traditional mail is dead, why are FedEx and UPS continuing to do so well?
The short answer is that they can price postage to be profitable (partially why their sites are so complex) and invest in growth areas -- both of which USPS can't do. Whenever USPS tries to enter a new arena, private competitors bleat to Congress. Examples abound: plans to develop an online payment system in 2000 (Internet industry cried foul); public copy machines (office supply stores); in-store sales of phone cards and money transfers; selling postal meter cartridges (Pitney Bowes objected). And, of course, rivals such as UPS complained, ultimately leading Congress in 2006 to restrict USPS to mail delivery.
The effects are huge -- costing USPS billions. And new services, it's estimated, could increase sales by nearly $10 billion annually, potentially covering the earnings gap. But Congress would have to agree to those changes after already tolling the USPS bell. In its latest annual report, USPS begs Congress, in the most obsequious bureaucratese possible, to let it raise revenue. The odds look slim.
Myth 3. Privatized mail delivery would be cheaper and more effective
This myth is often advanced by those who advocate privatizing the postal service, often invoking unions that are strangling the company or an inefficient bureaucracy. But USPS has continued to compete well as a business despite being run ragged by a Congress backed by big money.
USPS has invested heavily in modern systems to speed distribution, and, in fact, has partnerships with FedEx and UPS for "last mile" delivery. In particular, FedEx relies heavily on USPS, which delivered more than 30% of FedEx Ground shipments in 2011. To reframe this, the USPS provides service that is cheaper than what UPS and FedEx can provide for many locations. That's an implicit subsidy.
It's bad enough that USPS is forbidden from entering new markets. When it does well on its home turf, rivals turn to Congress, silencing USPS when it delivers better rates. As economist Dean Baker explains, "About a decade ago, the Postal Service had an extremely effective ad campaign highlighting the fact that its express mail service was just a fraction of the price charged for overnight delivery by UPS and FedEx. [They] went to court to try to stop the ad campaign. When the court told them to get lost, they went to Congress. Their friends in Congress then leaned on the Postal Service and got it to end the ads."
And when USPS tried to take advantage of web shopping? As Elaine Kamarck at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government explains. "But parcel shipments were generated by large organizations and the USPS was not allowed to negotiate discounts and thus lost business. It was forbidden by law from lowering prices to get more business. This resulted in the entirely incredible situation in the 1990s where the United States government negotiated an agreement for the delivery of U.S. government package services with Fed Ex because the USPS was not allowed to negotiate for lower prices!"
So, if USPS is just government bloat, as some ideologues would have it, then why would efficient free market players such as UPS and FedEx resort to the government? Shouldn't they simply compete USPS out of that express business?
This paradox reveals in stark detail the industry's game plan. Compete effectively where possible and then use political power to grab market share from USPS, with the ultimate goal of privatizing the postal system, or at least its profitable parts. This goal is emblematized by the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank founded by Charles Koch advocating the privatization of public services such as the post office. Frederick W. Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, was on Cato's board, and FedEx funds Cato.
The results of this game plan are well-documented and disastrous for citizens. Want to know what will go down if the postal service is privatized? (Not postage!) Take a look at the 2008 Chicago parking meter fiasco, where the city leased its meters for 75 years to an investor group. The city gave the concession while estimating lifetime revenue at just half what investors expected. Now 2013 marks the fifth year in a row that meter prices have gone up, and Chicago boasts the highest prices in the U.S. The final middle finger: Whenever the city closes streets (as for a parade), it has to pay investors the lost meter revenue.
Expect the same for postage rates and with reduced service.
So I envision two basic ways to privatize the postal service:
Now whichever strategy is chosen, there are two hidden plums in all this. First, USPS has the largest union in the U.S. For an investor, part of the return on this deal would come from busting the union, lowering wages, and shifting that profit into investors' hands, something Cato already supports highly.
Second, and perhaps sweeter, that well-funded USPS retirement account might be opened for raiding. An acquirer could invest in higher-return securities and adjust their return assumptions (not even unfairly), freeing tens of billions that could then be returned to investors. For context, FedEx and UPS have a combined market cap of $110 billion against nearly $330 billion in USPS retirement assets.
Foolish bottom line
If capitalism is about delivering the best goods and services at the cheapest prices -- and not about plutocrats wringing profits from the rest of us -- then why is the USPS being forced to slowly kill itself?
The privatization of public assets is something we've seen over and over and it rarely, if ever, works for the public. The example of Chicago parking meters is just repeated time and again. With a strong profit motive, private companies are highly incentivized to cut service to the bone and raise revenues as fast as possible. That's not in the interest of good public service, where the origins of the post office are.
Congress created the post office as a cabinet-level office in 1792 under specific Constitutional authority. In the past, its expansion into other services was seen as desirable, for instance in banking, when Congress formed the Postal Savings System. From 1911 to 1967, citizens deposited money at the post office and received interest. In 1970, the post office became the quasi-independent U.S. Postal Service. This move was significant, since USPS became a legal monopoly and forced it to operate without subsidies (good!), which were 25% of the 1971 budget. It also allowed the USPS to act more business-like, to borrow and invest.
But now especially, Congress, backed by big money sponsors, refuses to let the USPS act as a business. There's no reason, apart from political will, that reasonable changes -- yes, including modest price increases -- couldn't sustain a public postal system even with its significant challenges.
So the next time you hear about the postal service losing billions of dollars or being unable to compete, remember that it doesn't have to be this way.
In a move that mirrors what global Wall Street pols are doing to our public K-12 schools-----our public buildings which of course are often located on prime US city real estate are being sold while being moved or closed completely to strip mall or street locations looking just like any private storefront----which of course is no coincidence.....they want it to become a private store. We are seeing across the nation where Congressional and state pols are using insider influence to be that developer ------or business that owns what is a historical and well-built POST OFFICE BUILDING worth millions traded off for pennies on the dollar. All our Post Office infrastructure being sold ------because we are told it cannot make its budget while all outside accountability groups are proving our USPS has no OPERATIONAL SHORTFALL.
All of this is an ATTACK on our public assets and it has been done by CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA----not Trump-----far-right global Wall Street neo-liberals are driving this more than Republicans.
Two historic post offices in Connecticut get gutted
November 6, 2013
When the Postal Service sold two historic post offices in Connecticut, there was probably a general sense that they would be protected by preservation laws. But over the past few weeks, the post offices in Fairfield and Greenwich have been totally gutted, and a good portion of the Fairfield exterior has been destroyed as well. About all that will remain of these two structures is the shell.
Maybe there wasn’t much worth preserving inside these buildings, but it still comes as a shock to see pictures like those in the slideshow. Apparently all that matters of history is the facade.
Gutted in Greenwich
The post office in Greenwich was built in 1917, and it served the community for 95 years. In May 2012, the building was sold for $15 million to Peter Malkin, a Greenwich resident who also happens to own the Empire State Building. Mr. Malkin is a trustee emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and he apparently has a reputation for saving historic buildings.
When Malkin emerged as the buyer of the Greenwich post office back in May 2011, local officials said they were told the property would be rented by the high-end retailer Bergdorf Goodman. That deal fell through or it was a false rumor to begin with. The new tenant will be Restoration Hardware, a luxury brand in home furnishings.
Restoration Hardware describes itself as “a curator of the finest historical design the world has to offer,” so it is rather ironic that the “restoration” of the Greenwich post office has required a total gutting of the structure’s interior.
While the old Greenwich post office gets repurposed as a high-end retailer, the new post office in town is housed in a building that used to be a pet food store, for which the Postal Service pays over $21,000 a month in rent. As Evan Kalish observed on his website Going Postal, the two buildings make quite a contrast.
The historic Greenwich post office is on the National Register of Historic Places, so one might think that it would be protected, inside and out. But landmark status has turned out to mean a few more hurdles to overcome before the demolition could begin.
In September 2011, a news report said that any changes to the building would need to be approved by the state of Connecticut. According to documents filed with the Greenwich Town Clerk's office, "No construction, alteration or rehabilitation shall be undertaken or permitted to be undertaken that would affect the historic features … without consultation with and the express permission of the Connecticut Historic Preservation and Museum Division."
Well, all that consultation took place and the plans were approved — by the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, by the Historic District Commission, by the Architectural Review Committee, and probably by other government agencies as well. It sounds like the approval was quite enthusiastic.
According to the Greenwich Time, Donald Heller, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, “lavished praise” on the planned transformation of the landmark. "I felt very good about it," Heller said after seeing a presentation of the plans. "It's just a magnificent job. Isn't it gorgeous?"
Katie Brown of the Greenwich Historic District Commission also praised the architects for their commitment to preservation. "I think you've done a remarkable job," Brown said when she saw the plans. "It looks to me that they've made every effort to respect the building so it could be used in a modern way as a retail store."
In addition to approving the site plan, the Commission voted to give the building a historic designation, but it turns out that this designation didn't add protections to the building. As a representative of Malkin's company explained, the designation allows the Planning and Zoning Commission to disregard a requirement that the building have designated parking.
The new retail space will feature a deck with a sunken roof on the building's second floor. A 1936 addition to the building will be enlarged to create a landscaped courtyard displaying outdoor furniture.
There aren't many photos of the interior before demolition on the Internet, perhaps because the Postal Service makes it difficult to take photographs of its properties, but the application for the National Register says this:
“The lobby is high, spacious, follows the curve of the front loggia and features brown and white terrazzo floors with red and white marble borders and black marble baseboards. Walls are white painted plaster and wood trim with classical moulding and ornamentation.”
The interior contained a mural depicting the founding of Greenwich, by artist Victoria Hutson Hutley of West Cornwall, done in 1939. It's being moved to the Havemeyer Building, which houses the Board of Education. Another mural was removed years ago and has apparently been lost.
Times change, and we change with them
The downtown Fairfield post office, 1262 Post Road, was built in 1936 under the New Deal. It sold last year for $4.3 million to a local investment group named Redgate Partners. That was about a half million dollars less than the $4.89 it was appraised at. (For more on other post offices sold for than less-than-market-value, see Peter Byrne’s article in in the East Bay Express and the full version of his report on Amazon.)
While the old post office gets repurposed, a new postal facility was opened in Fairfield just a few feet away, in a small retail space wedged between a photo shop and a children's bookstore. Evan Kalish's photographs again provide a telling contrast.
When the sale was announced back in May 2012, the new owners made it seem like they planned to preserve the property. In the CBRE press release announcing the sale, Russel S. Bernard, Managing Principal of Westport Capital Partners, is quoted saying, "This is a unique opportunity to acquire an iconic building in a community that values a downtown, pedestrian retail experience. We look forward to maintaining this as a premier property and shopping destination."
The developers’ proposal said they planned to “preserve the front façade and some interior portions of the building and remove the remaining structure and construct a new one-story retail building.” Overall, the 11,130-square-foot building will be reconstructed into a 17,000-square-foot structure.
According to an item about the sale in the Fairfield Citizen, “The sales transaction also requires that all original woodwork in the building's public lobby area be preserved and that the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office will have an opportunity to review architectural plans for any demolition or alterations to the building's wings that were added after the original construction. The original core of the building must remain.”
Judging by the photos, the wings are going and not much of the interior has been preserved. Only the front façade of the central part of the building remains. Most of the post office has been demolished — that’s the word used by the Fairfield Citizen.
As in Greenwich, the demolition doesn’t seem to have encountered much opposition among town officials. The Fairfield Economic Development Commission reviewed the proposal and approved it, and the panel’s chairman told the local news that it was “an interesting and nice plan.”
The post office — or what’s left of it — will be turned into a restaurant called Plan B Burger Bar, which advertises “humane beef” and a selection of “all natural boutique bourbons.”
There was a mural in the post office, painted in 1938 by New York artist Alice Flint. It has since been moved from the lobby of the post office to a second-floor conference room in the town hall. The mural depicts a couple on horseback in a procession symbolizing the passage of time. It’s entitled "Tempora Mutantur et Nos Mutamur in Illis," a Latin motto meaning “Times change, and we change with them.”
This is what happened under an Obama and Donahue as Post Master General-----our Congressional pols were part of this---they had a say as to which mail-processing centers closed or stayed open ----and it was these closures that made it impossible for the USPS to COMPETE in deliveries with UPS and FED-X----global Wall Street pols did this just so our USPS could not compete and they would then find this service unable to support itself. Trump didn't do this----Obama and Clinton neo-liberals in Congress did this all while PRETENDING our USPS was not able to support itself. Lying, cheating, and stealing our government assets.
So, here in Maryland I used to mail a letter to friends a few hours away in rural Maryland and it was delivered the next day----now with mail-processing centers closed and rerouted it takes three days to make this same trip. Now, if you are a corporation or retail store choosing between a UPS, FED-X, and USPS----and USPS no longer can make that one day delivery of course our USPS loses business and cannot compete. THIS IS DELIBERATE PUBLIC POLICY TO KILL THE USPS----
Each time the APPOINTED WALL STREET PLAYER POST MASTER GENERAL MAKES WHAT WILL KILL OUR USPS---HE/SHE ALWAYS SAYS ITS BECAUSE OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS WHICH IS A LIE
'Last week, the postal service relaxed standards that will slow delivery for 14 billion pieces of first-class mail from overnight to two-day service'.
Global Wall Street pols know this will kill any ability of our USPS to compete with UPS and FED X-----
January 14, 2015 4:33 PM
Lexington mail-processing center likely to begin closing in June, postal officials say
The mail-processing center on Nandino Boulevard will begin closing in June, according to a U.S. Postal Service schedule. The first phase of closing is scheduled to begin June 1, when the process for outgoing mail will be moved out of Lexington. Outgoing mail is all mail that is collected in the area that can go anywhere in the country.
Mail processing clerk Sandy Dove, who is a 17-year employee of U.S. Postal Service, sorted mail at the Lexington processing and distribution center in July 2014. Her husband also worked for the postal service.
By Greg Kocher - firstname.lastname@example.org
The mail-processing center on Nandino Boulevard in Lexington will begin closing in June, according to a U.S. Postal Service schedule.
The Lexington center is among 82 nationwide that the postal service plans to shutter in a new round of plant closings and consolidations. Mail-sorting operations now performed in Lexington are scheduled to move to Louisville. Some of those sorting operations were moved to Knoxville more than a year ago.
The first phase of closing is scheduled to begin June 1, when the process for outgoing mail will be moved out of Lexington. Outgoing mail is all mail that is collected in the area that can go anywhere in the country.
The Nandino center handles all outgoing mail for ZIP codes starting with 403, 404, 405 and 406. It includes Danville, Harrodsburg, Georgetown, Winchester, Mount Sterling, Paris, Richmond and Nicholasville.
About July 1, the process for "destinating mail" will be moved out of Lexington. Destinating mail comes into the Lexington processing center for delivery in Lexington and surrounding areas.
Postal service spokesman David Walton emphasized via email that the June 1 and July 1 dates could change.
About 290 Lexington employees will be affected by closing the Nandino processing and distribution center. The bulk of the employees there are members of the American Postal Workers Union Central Kentucky Local 2307, which represents 176 clerks, 16 truck drivers and 64 maintenance employees, said Austin Speed, floor steward for the union.
"We've started to resign ourselves to our fate," said Speed, a Georgetown resident who is a mail-processing clerk and who has worked at Nandino for seven years. "This is going to happen unless something happens in Congress," which he acknowledged was unlikely.
In a letter released last month, 30 U.S. senators urged Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to delay the start of any closings until the effect of the consolidations has been studied. Donahoe is scheduled to retire Feb. 1.
The senators cited a post office inspector general's report that found the postal service had failed to fulfill regulatory and statutory obligations to study the effect of the consolidations on service standards and to inform the public of the effect.
The postal service disputed the inspector general's report by saying it had met its transparency requirements.
Kentucky Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul were not among those who signed the letter. Walton said the postal service was working on a response to the letter.
As with past consolidations, "we have been able to place impacted employees in other positions without resorting to layoffs," Walton said. "Every effort will be made to reassign impacted employees when implementing this next phase of consolidations."
Speed said the postal service would try not to lay people off. "But the conditions under which you stay on with the postal service can be less than ideal," he said.
For example, Lexington employees will be given the opportunity to go into jobs within a 50-mile radius of Lexington.
"If you can't find a job within that area, you become unassigned," Speed said. "That means you continue on at Lexington, you clock in, you get on a bus to Louisville and do six hours of work and then come home. Or you may be converted into another craft. You may go from being a clerk to a letter carrier or a maintenance worker."
Walton was uncertain what will happen to the building on Nandino Boulevard when mail processing goes elsewhere. A full-service post office will remain there, at least initially.
"We could sell the entire building and lease space back from the new owners, or we could sell the building and relocate the post office to another nearby site," Walton wrote in an email message. "Nothing is off the table at this point."
The Nandino processing and distribution center opened in 1973. Closing it would save $8.7 million, including transportation and maintenance costs, the first year, Walton said last year.
Consolidating the processing at the 82 centers is expected to save about $750 million a year, or $3.7 billion over five years, the postal service has said. The 141 consolidations that have been completed saved about $865 million a year.
The postal service, which receives no taxpayer funding for operating costs, has recorded $26 billion in losses over the past three years and says it faces pressure from declining volumes of first-class mail, rising operating costs, and wage and benefit inflation.
Last week, the postal service relaxed standards that will slow delivery for 14 billion pieces of first-class mail from overnight to two-day service.
The postal service says the relaxed standards will help close a gap between revenue and expenses, including a congressionally mandated requirement to pre-pay billions of dollars in retiree health care costs.
This was the straw that would break the back of our USPS and its ability to provide any semblance of quality service and it was Obama and his GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYER APPOINTMENT DONAHUE who came up with this RIDICULOUS notion of simply making our USPS a kiosk in existing global corporation stores. They chose STAPLES no doubt because it was going out of business and needed more foot-traffic----foget what is good for our USPS-----
So, this PILOT PROGRAM-----which like any US city development plan is already pre-planned to MOVE FORWARD and is not a real pilot----is the door closing on our POST OFFICES-----it is being totally outsourced to global corporations while actual buildings keep being closed. They deregulate more and more ------now instead of postal employees----STAPLES employees can handle these kiosks. We have private mailing stores handing our USPS----now private STAPLES employees------and VOILA---WE NO LONGER HAVE A CONTAINED GOVERNMENT MAILING SYSTEM----it has been dismantled into a network that no one can assure is protected or can have quality service and that will kill our USPS.
Trump did not do this---Obama and Clinton neo-liberals in Congress did this and they did it to kill our USPS>
The goal for global Wall Street is to end letter carriers that are not private and EXPENSIVE. Paying a private bicycle delivery person to carry a piece of mail across town-----paying a train carrier to transport a letter across the country as had to be done BEFORE OUR WORLD-CLASS FEDERAL POSTAL SYSTEM was too expensive to 99% of Americans-----it allowed only those most wealthy to communicate especially in business.
UPS AND FEDX does not want the USPS LETTER BUSINESS AS THERE IS NO PROFIT TO IT---THEY SIMPLY WANT THAT PACKAGE DELIVERY BUSINESS AND THAT IS FOR WHOM GLOBAL WALL STREET POLS ARE WORKING.
As someone who came out to protest with these post office employees---I do not understand how US citizens can simply watch all these vital services be dismantled, deregulated and privatized away. Are people really thinking they will continue to access online communications?
USPS’s controversial deal with Staples headed to showdown over legality
By Lisa Rein July 8, 2015
Peter Menge, along with national leaders and local members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), make their way from Farragut Square to a Staples store in Northwest Washington to protest the USPS-Staples deal. (Marlon Correa/The Washington Post)The U.S. Postal Service’s outsourcing of stamp sales and other retail services traditionally offered by post offices to Staples has been a simmering wound with postal unions, with nationwide protests and calls for a boycott of the office-supply retailer.
[Postal Service partnering with Staples in another move with national retailers]
Now, one of the biggest labor battles in recent years is headed to Washington, where the National Labor Relations Board will rule in August on whether the Staples deal violates the Postal Service’s collective bargaining agreement with the American Postal Workers Union.
USPS launched a pilot program with Staples in 2013 to offer counter services in 82 stores. After the pilot ended last year, Staples became an approved shipper for the Postal Service. With both programs, Staples employees staff counters inside stores and offer a range of post office services. The shipping program is now operating in about 1,000 stores.
The cash-strapped Postal Service said the arrangement would help save on labor costs, the biggest expense on its balance sheet. But the deal was met with angry protests from the APWU, which represents about 200,000 employees, about half the postal workforce.
[Unions plan nationwide protests against Postal Service’s Staples deal]
The union said the Postal Service violated its collective bargaining agreement by illegally subcontracting work to Staples without bargaining first with the union. APWU called last year for a boycott of Staples stores and the company’s Quill.com Web site.
The average wage of a post office employee is $25 an hour. A sales associate at Staples makes about $8.50 an hour.
The union filed charges last fall with one of the NLRB’s regional offices, in Baltimore. The regional director ruled against the Postal Service in late June, finding that the union’s claims had merit and violated the National Labor Relations Act, according to the board. The Baltimore region director filed a complaint against USPS and ordered a hearing in August.
Local Politics Alerts
Breaking news about local government in D.C., Md., Va.
“This ruling represents an important step forward in the battle against the privatization of our nation’s public Postal Service,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in a statement.
“Every person who organized their friends and neighbors to boycott Staples and warned them about the dangers of allowing a private company to take over the mail helped us get to this point.”
[Postal unions, advocacy groups join forces to ‘save’ USPS]
Postal Service spokeswoman Darlene Casey said the agency could not comment since the issue is the subject of litigation.
USPS is required to file a response to the complaint by next week. An administrative law judge from the labor board is scheduled to hear the case at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 in Washington.
Here in Baltimore our USPS employees are demoralized-----so many of what was strong USPS jobs have been outsourced to as usual job classifications paying poverty wages. The number of employees in each post office is so small ------the public gets annoyed at waits---employees have no opportunity for breaks----I get classified mail with ONE DELIVERY WITH A NOTE TO PICK UP MYSELF---all of these policies are short-cuts taken for no reason-----and make people hate to use the service---as with our public transit---as with defunded and dismantling of public schools so people don't want to use it. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED ESPECIALLY DURING OBAMA-----
So, the damage was done by POST MASTER DONAHUE-----our USPS cannot function with those changes these several years and Obama knows this. Obama knows as well with this coming economic crash those POST OFFICE pensions and health benefits will not be there and that would be as early as 2017-----HE IS DOING NOTHING TO SAVE THE USPS---and whether a stamp rate increases or decreases has nothing to do with SAVING THE POST OFFICE.
Every US citizen is hurt by these attacks on what is the only communication outlet that would be affordable to all-----but low-income and working class will be hit earliest with no ability to communicate----
Every US citizen is hurt by these attacks on what is the only communication outlet that would be affordable to all-----but low-income and working class will be hit earliest with no ability to communicate----a primary concern for far-right authoritarian dictatorships----yes, Trump will continue CLINTON BUSH OBAMA------JUST AS HILLARY WOULD HAVE.
As New Postal Leader Takes Charge, Obama Calls for Major USPS Reforms
President Obama renewed his longstanding call to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service in his fiscal 2016 budget, saying the agency must be reformed to ensure its future viability.
Just one day after the Postal Service swore in its new postmaster general -- Megan Brennan -- Obama called for sweeping changes to modernize the cash-strapped agency, which the White House said would save a total of $36 billion over 11 years. Obama’s recommendations borrowed from recent legislative proposals that have failed to make their way through Congress, pulling no punches on the most controversial elements of postal reform.
Obama proposed the Postal Service cut Saturday mail delivery after volume declines to a level the White House expects USPS to hit in late 2018, a structure similar to the one put forward last Congress by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and former Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. The president’s plan would also allow USPS to phase out to-the-door delivery in favor of centralized or curbside delivery, while codifying the current policy of not closing rural post offices.
The White House pitched increasing revenue by providing postal management with more flexibility in creating new business opportunities, as well as boosting cooperation with state and local governments to offer services at post offices. Additionally, the budget plan called for making permanent the emergency price increase set to expire this year.
Obama also proposed restructuring the Postal Service’s requirement to prefund the health care of retirees. His plan would defer the fixed payments due in 2015 and 2016. Those payments would then be restructured into a 40-year amortization schedule starting in 2017. The proposal would provide more than $13 billion in relief to USPS through 2016.
Postal Service officials and some lawmakers have sought a much more aggressive approach to addressing the retiree health care issue, calling for a requirement that eligible retirees use Medicare as their primary health care provider.
The White House changed the language on modifying the delivery schedule, after calling for an immediate transition to five-day delivery in its fiscal 2015 blueprint. That proposal, the phasing out of door delivery “where appropriate” and making permanent the controversial “exigent” rate increase have proved major sticking points in Congress. Former House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., attempted to mimic Obama’s fiscal 2015 proposal in legislation last year. The measure cleared Issa’s panel along party lines but never received a full vote on the House floor.
The proposed 2016 budget would return to USPS any surplus payments it has made to the Office of Personnel Management for USPS’ share of the Federal Employees Retirement System. The Postal Service has complained that the lack of a USPS-specific calculation for those costs has led to significant overpayment, which the White House estimated at $1.5 billion. The White House called on OPM to create a new postal formula for the payments moving forward.
The Obama administration has included similar postal reform measures in previous budgets, though the president tweaked his 2016 plan to mirror some of the developments in Congress.
Also on Monday, newly sworn in Postmaster General Brennan sent a letter to employees, praising their dedication and promising a future “filled with opportunity.”
“We have a lot of momentum as an organization today,” Brennan wrote, “despite our financial challenges. We continue to take prudent steps to bring our costs and revenues into better alignment. However, the way we are structured today and the way we serve the public today will not be adequate to fully meet the demands of tomorrow's marketplace.”
Cuts will be among the necessary changes, she said. Or, put another way, will help create “the most efficient and productive network to support our growth in products.” Reforms will also include, however, more investments, faster innovation and greater empowerment of employees.
This is indeed to where the USPS jobs are going----no one is telling those millions of Federal employees they are the ones who will be downsized and out----BYE BYE to what was a strong veteran employment.
From UBER and LYFT-----to all our buses, taxis, and delivery trucks------there is no intention of creating jobs for drivers at UBER OR LYFT-----it will go the way of our USPS drivers----watch out UPS TEAMSTERS.
No Driver Needed?
Sep 28 2015
OIG Blog Category: Mail Processing & Transportation
Self-driving vehicles might seem like a plot device in a science fiction movie -- think iRobot or Total Recall – but actually, they’re already here. Google and other companies have been testing driverless vehicles for several years, and some aspects of semi-autonomous vehicle technology, like automatic parallel parking, are available in some new cars.
Analysts expect autonomous vehicle technology to hit the roads big time in the next few years, which could signal major changes for the shipping and transportation industries and supply chains. Earlier this year, Daimler became the first manufacturer to be granted a road license for an autonomous heavy-duty truck. The trucking industry –critical to U.S. Postal Service operations – could benefit from these technologies. Autonomous vehicles are designed to improve safe driving, and testing indicates they are involved in fewer accidents. The technology is expected to cut down on fuel costs by facilitating more efficient control of speed, including rate of braking and acceleration.
That’s not all. The technology could enable automated truck convoys, which would consist of a driver in a lead truck setting the pace and taking over the steering, acceleration, and braking of a line of trucks following closely behind. Drivers in those trucks can rest until their respective turns to lead, thus improving productivity.
Self-driving vehicles could take on the tasks of loading and unloading goods in warehouses. Kiva, a warehouse automation system that Amazon acquired in 2012, uses autonomous vehicle technology to transport movable shelves, retrieving products for the worker who keyed them into the system.
Autonomous technology could also revolutionize last mile delivery. DHL said in a 2014 report that it could eventually use specialized driverless cars to deliver packages to its centrally located, self-service Packstations. The company even suggested that one day the Packstations themselves could act as driverless cars, traveling across town delivering directly to wherever the customer is.
Some analysts believe that in the future, customers could rent shared autonomous vehicles and pre-program destinations for daily deliveries. Such a service would allow small businesses to offer a delivery service without having to maintain a fleet of delivery vehicles.
Driverless cars still face many hurdles – cost, technology, and regulatory, to name a few – before they are commonplace on U.S. highways. However, the technology has already shifted from hypothetical to reality, and it promises major changes in industries critical to the Postal Service. How do you see this technology changing the delivery market?
I WILL NOT BE BLOGGING FOR THESE FEW DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BE BACK ON MONDAY =======
Finishing this week on holiday public policy we have the markets surrounding our holiday decorations ------don't forget those Christmas Tree farms=====those farmer's markets with our holiday greens and mistletoe----and all those candles.
I love this discussion on one of our long-standing holiday traditions=====kissing under the MISTLETOE! It is getting harder to find as the trees on which it grows disappear and if like me you find some and it is on PRIVATE PROPERTY. People and their property rights don't seem to soften in the hunt for MISTLETOE.
Folks may not know this favorite of Christmas is indeed a PARASITE.
'Mistletoe is commonly hung over a doorway as a Christmas decoration. According to custom, two people who meet under it are obliged to kiss. After each kiss, a berry is picked until, alas, all the berries are gone, and no more kissing is allowed!
If you need a big smooch or you’re a naturalist, mistletoe is a treasure. If a tree`s health or structural integrity is a concern, it’s a parasite.
A bird (or sprig or kiss) in the hand is better than two mistletoes in the bush'!
Many families are still tied to the traditional HUNT IN NATURE for just the right greens, plants, and trees.
Where to Find Mistletoe
updated: Oct 05, 2016, 11:34 AM
By Edhat Subscriber
Does anyone ever see mistletoe anymore? I've been looking for it all over the valley so that I can do a project for my daughter's dance class and it is nowhere to be found!
2016-10-05 11:56 AM
I know there is some off Figueroa Mtn. Road, as you head up past Neverland and start to hit the switchbacks. Not sure if it is legal to harvest or not (from public lands).
2016-10-05 12:01 PM
Sycamore trees in the Valley.
2016-10-05 01:26 PM
There is some adjacent to the Nat. Hist. museum woods high up in a tree. Easiest to find after the leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees.
2016-10-05 01:26 PM
There's a lot out there right now. Take a drive up Happy Canyon Rd. and keep an eye on all the trees, not just sycamores (oaks, too). Be prepared to climb or bring pole loppers.
REX OF SB
2016-10-05 01:27 PM
On Alisal Road in Solvang there is a lot of mistletoe on the tree branches that hang directly over the road near Nojoqui Park. In the past, we've stopped and thrown sticks at the mistletoe to dislodge it. I wouldn't think this is illegal.
2016-10-05 02:05 PM
I want to thank everybody for all of their sightings… When I have my husband Available I will be on my adventure to locate some In the areas mentioned. It is such a nostalgic item I want to keep this tradition going And have not been able to see any around the valley lately. Thanks so much community
2016-10-05 03:17 PM
I doubt it's illegal as it is a fungus and not good for trees. Good luck in getting plenty. I like REX's way of harvesting.
2016-10-05 04:38 PM
When my daughter was in kindergarten, she came home crying, and after talking with her for a while, I figured out why she was soooo upset...
Turned out, the class was going on a field trip, and they were gonna cut some Mistletoe. My daughter thought they were gonna cut "toes" ....
So, I had a conversation about it with the wonderful teacher, Mrs. Brownett, and turned out there were other kids that were upset also, but she didn't know why....... Mystery solved!! The teacher explained exactly what Mistletoe was, and that it wasn't real toes.... No toes were gonna get cut off!!!
2016-10-05 06:06 PM
Mistletoe is a parasite, but it's no fungus, unless you mean the stuff like Athlete's Foot that astronauts get ;)
2016-10-05 06:14 PM
Awesome edhat responses -
2016-10-06 08:03 AM
Almost anyplace where there is a stream, river or even Andy riverbed, there is typically mistletoe. It is very prevalent in the SY valley.
2016-10-06 08:35 AM
It grow ild at the top of many sycamore trees, but it is not too easy to get down.
2016-10-06 09:35 AM
Fungus, parasite, what ever it's not good for the trees. I think I've seen it on oaks too.
Here is a folksy description of our fair holiday decoration tied to all kinds of warm traditions of kissing and fertility----and yes, mistletoe is poisonous. THAT DEADLY SIN COMING INTO PLAY NO DOUBT!
Lifeform of the week: Mistletoe
By Alex Reshanov in Earth | Human World | Science Wire | December 21, 2015
Mistletoe makes merry at its host’s expense.
The quaint holiday decoration you invited into your home and hung over your doorways is a vicious parasite that leeches nutrients from innocent host trees. It is riddled with cytotoxins, and its seeds are dispersed via bird crap. Merry Christmas.
Not all parasites are creepy-crawly worms or protozoans. Some are cheerful-looking shrubs with dainty white berries. Viscum album is one species of mistletoe*, a group of parasitic flowering plants in the order Santalales. It is an obligate hemiparasite. This means that while it does not derive all of its sustenance from a host plant, it does need some interaction with the host to reach its mature state.† As a hemiparasite, mistletoe need only steal from its host tree’s xylem, the transport tissue that handles water and water-soluble nutrients. It is gracious enough to eschew the host’s phloem, which transports sugars. This renders it less of a pathogen, as the host loses water but not food to the parasite.
Mistletoe bears a fruit that some birds find delicious. The seeds of these berries are covered in a gluey substance called viscin. Birds eat the berries and then fly off to another tree where they eventually expel the digested remains of the fruit, its viscin coating still adhering to the seeds. The sticky seeds cling to the new branch and begin to grow. As it enlarges, the plant forms a peg that drills through the host branch and eventually reaches the xylem. Now the parasite develops its haustorium, a root-like appendage that allows it to siphon nutrients from the host.
Coming to America
Viscum album is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is the original Christmas mistletoe, a leafy green shrub adorned with white berries. It has a wide host range, infecting over 450 tree species, including both hardwood and coniferous varieties. So, yes, hypothetically your Christmas mistletoe could attack your Christmas tree (were it still planted in the ground, of course).
In 1900, Viscum album made its way from Europe to the new world, as horticulturist Luther Burbank deliberately allowed the plant to infect trees in Northern California so that the parasitic shrub could be harvested for Christmas decorations. Over the past century it has expanded its territory by about four miles, which isn’t exactly cause for alarm. Despite Burbank’s efforts, most U.S. holiday make-out mistletoe is more likely to be Phoradendron flavescens, which is native to North America.
Can it hurt you?
Mistletoe contains strong cytotoxins (harmful to cells). Those festive white berries are fine for the birds, but you should definitely not add them to Christmas fruit cake. Nor should you feed them to your dogs or cats or children. Ingesting mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal problems and slow heartbeat, among other things. If anyone at your holiday party eats more than a couple of them, you might want to call poison control.
Can it help you?
Mistletoe may offer humans something beyond just a flimsy excuse to steal a kiss. In Europe, Viscum album extract (VAE) is widely used in the treatment of cancer, often under the name Iscador. The idea of mistletoe as cancer therapy was first proposed by Rodolf Steiner. Though more a philosopher than a scientist, Steiner delved into the idea of complementary medicine during the latter half of his life.‡
Clinical trials of VAE have not always demonstrated consistent results, and many doctors, particularly in the U.S., are skeptical of its efficacy. In Europe it is generally used as a complementary, rather than primary, cancer treatment, and is credited more with improving quality of life than increasing survival rates. Still, given the unpleasantness of cancer therapies, such an improvement would be a decent contribution to society. Especially for a parasitic lowlife like mistletoe.
What does this have to do with Jesus and/or kissing?
Mistletoe dressed up and ready to party. Image Credit: Dorocia.
As far as I can tell, very little. Like many peculiar holiday customs, mistletoe usage likely predates Christianity. It crops up in discussions of Norse mythology and Druid rituals, but nobody seems able to form a cohesive narrative of how it came to be that a person could demand a kiss if they managed to lure somebody under the hanging holiday decoration. Most references to mistletoe as a Christmas ornament appear in the 18th century or later, by which time its role was already established.
I consulted a few scholars of things European and didn’t get anything more concrete. I did, however, learn about a popular 19th century song called The Mistletoe Bough, which tells the whimsical, light-hearted tale of a young bride who suffocates in a chest while playing a game of hide and seek. How’s that for holiday cheer?
Of course most religions celebrating festivals include candles as LIGHT---especially in our long dark season of winter is critical to a message.
Kwansaa seems to advance a tradition close to Jewish Hannakah-------
Christians used to have a 12 days of Christmas but that seems to have been replaced by the month of BLACK FRIDAY shopping ======
The Seven Candles of Kwanzaa and What They Stand For
by Erika Winston
Family celebrating Kwanzaa while lighting the seven Kwanzaa candles
Kwanzaa was designed to promote unity within the African-American community. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created the cultural celebration in 1966. By combining customs from various African harvest ceremonies, Karenga developed a new tradition that is now widely celebrated around the world. Seven candles are burned throughout the week-long observance and each represents a different principal of Kwanzaa.
Lighting the Candles
Mishubaa Siba is a Swahili term for the seven candles of Kwanzaa. They symbolize the sun's light and power. Celebrants light one each night as they gather around the candles to celebrate and discuss the principal of the day. One of the candles is black, three are red and three are green. These colors are no accident. Red, black and green have been historically used to represent African-American organizations like the Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded by Marcus Garvey in the 1920s. According to the Association's website, the color black represents the people. Red represents the common blood of African ancestry. Green represents the rich natural resources of Africa.
The Black Candle
At the beginning of the celebration, all candles are placed on the kanara, or candelabra. The black candle is placed in the middle and all of the red candles are placed to its left. All of the green candles are located to the right. Since the main goal of Kwanzaa is to promote unity, the black candle is the first to be lit on December 26, the first night of Kwanzaa. It symbolizes umoja, which means unity. This first principal stresses the importance of uniting the family, as well as the community and nation as a whole. The black candle is also relit during each of the six remaining nights.
The Red Candles
During the remaining six nights of Kwanzaa, the red and green candles are lit from left to right. The far-left red candle is lit on the second day and it symbolizes kujichagulia, which means self-determination. The Official Kwanzaa Website explains that this principal encourages celebrants to define themselves through their words and creations. The next red candle, which is lit on the third day, is for ujamaa, or cooperative economics. This principal promotes the creation and support of community businesses. The final red candle is lit on the fourth day and it symbolizes kuumba, which is defined as creativity. Celebrants are encouraged to be creative and work to beautify the community.
The Green Candles
The three green candles are lit on the last three days of the Kwanzaa celebration, from left to right. The first green candle symbolizes nia, which means purpose. This principal promotes a collective purpose to build and restore the community, while lifting African-Americans to a level of greatness. Ujima is another principal represented by a green candle. It means collective responsibility, where people are encouraged to become their brother's keeper and work together towards solving each other's problems. The last green candle is lit on the last day of the celebration. It symbolizes imani, which is Swahili for faith. On this day, celebrants strengthen their belief in parents and teachers, as well as community leaders.
Let's get back to the ARTISAN in our holidays =====candles are just that holiday tradition where we can buy locally from our own crafts people---FORGET BED, BATH, AND BEYOND. Now, I go for a BEESWAX candle more than this whale oil industry when all that was whale looked like our all that is pig. America has a strong tradition in candle-making ---let's keep it all in the community.
OF COURSE WITH MONSANTO OUR HONEYBEES MAKE WAX CANDLE-MAKING AN ART OF RESTORING NATURAL BEE COMMUNITIES
'King likes to start by talking to guests about the two simple materials that make up candles: wax and wicks.
Honeybees were introduced to the colony around 1616, and by the mid 1700s it was common for colonists to keep bees for the benefit of both their honey and wax'.
'Beeswax candles were preferable to tallow candles, which were made of a waxy animal fat, because they burned cleaner and brighter while putting off less smoke'
This article first appeared In the Summer 1998 Issue of Historic Nantucket.
Beginning with Candle Making A History of the Whaling Museum
By Patty Jo Rice
It remains an enigma. In the same way the basic design of its spermaceti press belies the intricate nature of colonial candle manufacturing, the simplicity of the Richard Mitchell and Sons manufactory (today known as the Whaling Museum) belies the role Nantucket played in Colonial America, Great Britain, and, to a lesser degree, France. To put it simply, when Nantucket spoke, people on both sides of the Atlantic listened. Those listening ranged from common citizens to national leaders. The speakers were whaling merchants, referred to as Nantucketers, or, as Thomas Jefferson called them, Nantucketois.
Whaling merchants were savvy businessmen, among the first in the colonies to recognize the value of expanding business interests vertically as well as horizontally. By the turn of the nineteenth century, several were either directly or indirectly involved in all aspects of the whaling industry.
The art of manufacturing candles from the headmatter of sperm whales began in America around 1748. It is generally agreed that Jacob Rodriques Rivera, a Sephardic Jew living in Newport, Rhode Island, introduced the process after immigrating either directly or indirectly from Portugal (Hedges 1968, p. 89). In 1749, Benjamin Crabb petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for the sole privilege of making Candles of Coarse Sperma Caeti Oyle. The petition was granted, but Crabb never acted on his grant. Instead, he moved to Rhode Island and by August of 1751 was involved in the manufacture of candles. It is believed Crabb's manufactory burned and by 1753 he was involved in the construction and operation of a manufactory for Obadiah Brown, in Tockwotton, now India Point, Providence (Macy 1972, p. 78). This arrangement lasted approximately three years, after which Obadiah Brown and Co. became a leader in the manufacture of spermaceti candles and Benjamin Crabb dropped from view. By 1760, at least seven works were in operation: five in Newport, Obadiah Brown and Co. in Providence, and Joseph Cranch and Co. in Braintree, Massachusetts (Kugler 1980, p. 163).
Once the manufacture of candles began, headmatter, sperm oil (oil from the blubber of the sperm whale), and whale oil (from all other whales) became separate products in the marketplace with headmatter commanding an average of three times the price of standard whale oil. Candles were considered a specialized element of the whale-oil trade and were priced as a luxury item. However, competition for headmatter made the cost of doing business equally high. In 1763, it was estimated that three-to-four manufactories operating at capacity could easily consume the average amount of headmatter brought in annually (Hedges 1968, p. 93). Complicating the picture, whaling merchants often mixed headmatter with sperm oil for shipment to Great Britain to avoid heavy English duties on the former. As a result, producers, i.e., whaling merchants, held the key to trade. They had the ability to evade the American market and ship directly to Great Britain, they could conspire to deny needed headmatter, or they could erect their own candleworks.
The need to be circumspect with Nantucketers was recognized as early as 1756. In that year, Henry Lloyd, a Boston factor, wrote to Aaron Lopez, a Newport candle manufacturer and merchant, warning against being too nice and critical with the Nantucket men for I can assure you that nothing can be done with them in that case; the only way is to make the best terms possible with them whenever you have occasion to purchase, but "tis vain to attempt to tie them down to any measures they do not like." (Byers 1987, p. 157).
Realizing their tenuous position in the marketplace, the candle manufacturers sought to do two things: prevent interested parties from entering into business and prevent Nantucket whalers from artificially inflating the price of headmatter. To do so they formed the United Company of Spermaceti Chandlers, generally referred to as the "Spermaceti Trust". The trust provided for eighteenth-century America its foremost example of attempted monopoly and price fixing (Kugler 1980, p. 168). At best, adherence to trust agreements was tenuous. By 1763 there were as many as twelve manufacturers in the colonies and accusation of pricing violations was commonplace. During this period, an unsuccessful attempt by John Hancock to wrest control of the oil market from Joseph and William Rotch kept the price of headmatter relatively stable. However, once Rotch secured his position prices rose as he turned his eye toward vertically expanding his business empire. Rumors circulated that he was in the process of building a candle manufactory.
William Rotch built Nantucket's first manufactory in 1770 at the head of Straight Wharf and began processing oil that winter. Trust agreements for 1774 bear his signature and show Rotch being allocated thirteen of every hundred and eighty-one parts of headmatter (Hedges 1968, p. 112). The entry of Nantucket whaling merchants into the candle market afforded them an advantage that was both strong and unique. Several were now directly involved in everything from building and fitting out ships to manufacturing raw materials into finished goods. The point was not lost on William Rotch, who, by 1775, was leveraging for a significantly larger annual allocation of headmatter.
The Revolutionary War ended large-scale candle manufacturing on the mainland and shifted the center of activity to Nantucket. By 1792, there were ten candleworks on island; within ten years the number jumped to nineteen (Starbuck 1964, p. 153; Byers 1987, p. 249). Among the early manufacturers was Richard Mitchell, Jr.
Born in Newport, the island's first Richard Mitchell moved to Nantucket around 1731 after marrying Mary Starbuck. He quickly became recognized as a prominent leader in both the Quaker and business communities. His son, Richard Mitchell Jr. also rose to prominence as whaler, merchant, and leader in the Quaker meeting. With the removal of William Rotch to France in 1785, Richard Mitchell, Jr. became Nat leading whaling merchant, owning more than twice as many vessels as any other island ship owner. Among his many land holdings was a triangular piece of land at the corner of what is known today as Broad and South Beach streets. It was here, at the base of "new north wharf" he established his manufactory. Upon his death, the manufactory passed to his son Paul. In March of 1846, Paul's sons, Frederick and Paul Jr., inherited the manufactory; that July it was destroyed in the great fire.
Late that same year, Richard Mitchell purchased the remains of the firm from his brothers. He constructed the current building and opened for business as Richard Mitchell and Son. In 1848, William Hadwen and Nathaniel Barney purchased the building and incorporated it into their operation. Few traces of its original purpose remain today. The largest artifacts are a press and the original tryworks foundation. To learn about the building and understand its purpose one must rely primarily on archival documentation. While the general nature of converting headmatter into spermaceti candles is documented, the exact process remains elusive. What is known is that it was a fairly lengthy process lasting from fall until the following summer. Nature played a role in the process and the work force floated between candlemaking and other island industries.
An average candleworks was capable of refining at least six hundred barrels of headmatter annually. Manufactories were often made of wood and generally measured 900 square feet with an adjacent storage shed averaging 720 square feet (Kugler 1980, p. 164). The purchase of the year.s supply of headmatter was made in the fall. At that time, a work force would be recruited to transport barrels to the works and begin the manufacturing process.
Unlike oil from whale blubber, headmatter was not tried out aboard ship. Upon arrival at the works, it would be poured into a large iron kettle and heated to remove any impurities and/or water. The remaining mixture was drawn off, stored in casks, and removed to a shed. A letter to Tench Francis, in Philadelphia, from Nicholas Brown and Co., Providence, describes the care given the mixture: .[The] manner we keep our Oil is this, when it Comes to us we Carefully Trim it, for which purpose we keep a Cooper whose Constant Business is when aney [sic] leaks to over hall it and Trim it anew. (Brown 1968, p. 92). During the ensuing winter, natural climatic cold would congeal the matter into a spongy and viscous mass.
On a "favorable day in winter when the weather slackened and the temperature rose" the congealed headmatter was shoveled into strong woolen bags and placed between the heavy wooden leaves of the spermaceti press. The post end of the press beam was lowered until it rested on the topmost leaf and locked into place with an iron pin. The free end of the press beam was lowered and pressing began. The oil drawn off "winter-strained sperm oil" was clear and considered to be the finest of all spermaceti oils. The material remaining in the bags was then reheated and molded into forty-pound chunks, called black cake.
In the spring, generally around April, the black cake would begin to show the presence of oil. Once again, it was shoveled into bags and placed in the press. The result was "spring-strained oil" considered to be inferior to winter-strained oil as it could not be used in the cold winter months. This pressing left the black cake compressed and waxy. The cakes were stored again, but this time in a warm rather than cool location until summer, when they were shaved or ground into flakes, placed in bags, and pressed a third time. What remained after this pressing was spermaceti; but despite being nearly pure, it was brown in color.
Again the spermaceti was ground. Shavings were then placed in a kettle and heated until liquefied. Water and an alkali, generally potash, were added. The mixture clarified and whitened the spermaceti; eventually, vapors from the hot mixture removed any residue from both the water and potash. Occasionally, beeswax was added to prevent granulation as the spermaceti cooled. Once cleaned, the mix was transformed into candles in only two days.
As with the whaling industry, the island.s candleworks led to the creation of other on-island product-related businesses. Account books show payments to local businesses for paper and boxes used in packaging (AB 402, 1817, n.p.; AB 150, 1783, n.p.). Wicking was also produced (AB 149, 1825, n.p.). After the 1846 fire, the candle industry never regained its earlier prominence. Demise became inevitable with the development of kerosene lighting. By 1869 records show only one works in operation employing two men (Warner 1866, p. 421). The Mitchell and Sons/Hadwen-Barney building was used as a warehouse and storage facility until its purchase by the Nantucket Historical Association in 1930. Today it serves as a constant reminder of Nantucket's early industrial and economic might and a time when her sons ruled the seas.
16 mins ·
· OMG! Hope the family hands out sunglasses to all that can find the door!
HUGE CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY OREGON OHIO HOLLY ST OH
HUGE CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY OREGON OHIO HOLLY ST OH See the 2009 video here http://www.yo…
Global Wall Street LOVES this consumerism!
OF COURSE THERE IS A NEW PRODUCT FOR ALL THAT=====but please if you are into these holiday decorating traditions do embrace this public policy
As someone who grew old driving around neighborhoods looking at Christmas light shows----Baltimore has its tradition of Hampden MIRACLE ON 34TH ST that is a great city tradition.
PUBLIC POLICY FALLS INTO ALL THESE TRADITIONS----corporate sustainability with SMART CITY home energy will make these kinds of displays far too costly IF indeed you are still able to be LANDED GENTRY owning a home.
Here in Maryland we are watching as larger and larger estates are allowed to be called AGRICULTURAL----MCMANSIONS with estates plus global corporate campuses that go on for miles--- will take all property once freely accesses for that evergreen hunt. No Sherwood forests in this ONE WORLD FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE.
Is it the husbands driving these outside decorations or do husbands have wives who push towards these displays? Are these tendencies uncovered during courtship or is this the compromising that comes with marriage?
LED Christmas lights smart choice for saving energy
By Kent Pierce Published: December 1, 2016, 12:52 pm Updated: December 1, 2016, 1:08 pm
NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – This is the time of year when many people are looking to decorate the house and trim the Christmas tree. If you like to decorate in a big way, you probably see a big spike in your electric bill this time of year, but with improvements in LED lighting technology recently, you can actually save a lot of money now.
Those LED lights are right next to the incandescents on the store shelf, but they do cost more. News8 asked United Illuminating Program Administrator Lisa Sarubbi what LED lights actually give you for that extra money.
“LEDs don’t have filaments or glass, so if you drop them, they’re not going to break,” Sarubbi said. “They last a lot longer, and they’re cool to the touch, so that there’s less of a risk of fire or shock.”
LEDs used to emit only a harsh, bluish light, but that has changed. Sarubbi showed us around the North Haven Home Depot, which has a display showing the LEDs have a warmer side.
“You can choose the warm white, which is more like a traditional incandescent bulb, but you’re still getting those energy savings,” Sarubbi said.
How much savings? At the Energize CT Center, a North Haven education space supported by United Illuminating and Eversource, they have both kinds of Christmas lights hooked up to an electric meter. Turning on the LED lights barely makes the wheel on that meter move at all. When you switch on the incandescents, however, that wheel spins much faster.
“Let’s say you want to light a 6 foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days,” Sarubbi explained. “If you do that with LED lights, you will pay 27 cents in electricity. If you do that with incandescent lights, you’ll pay $10.”
So you make your money back on your power bill, plus LED lights can do tricks.
“You can get holiday LED light strands that you can dim, or have color-shifting or even connected ones that you can control with your smart phone,” said Sarubbi.
If you are still on the fence about switching lights, you can take home some LEDs for free this Saturday at the Energize CT Center.
“We’re having a holiday light bulb exchange. So you can bring in any old, used, traditional incandescent lighting strand for the holidays, whether it’s the big old C9’s or these little ones and trade them in for up to 2 free energy-star certified LED lights while supplies last,” said Sarubbi
No matter what kind of lights you’re using, if there is any fraying or breaks in the wires, just throw the whole strand away and don’t use them, broken wires are a fire hazard.
We may be late in recognizing another dark winter season holiday but not forgotten is Milad un Nabi birth of Prophet Mohammed.
Milad-Un-Nabi 2016 - December 11 (Sunday) - December 12 (Monday)
Milad-un-Nabi is also known as Barawafat or Mawlid and marks the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. According to Islamic calendar the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad occurs in the third month, Rabi' al-awwal. The celebration of Milad-un-Nabi origin is said to be have been since 11th century in the Fatimid dynasty.
The birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet is remembered on 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal of the Islamic lunar calendar year by all Muslims.
The Holy Quran was revealed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The same day marks the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet.
In India and some other parts of the sub-continent Milad-un-Nabi is popularly known as as 'Barawafat'. The word 'barah' stands for the twelve days of the Prophet's sickness.
Mawlid falls in the month of Rabi' al-awwal in the Islamic calendar. Shias observe the event on the 17th of the month, coinciding with the birth date of their sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, while Sunnis observe it on the 12th of the month. The dates of celebrations in the Gregorian calendar varies each year.
Celebrating Bodhi Day for the 21st Century
12/08/2012 09:01 am ET | Updated Feb 07, 2013
Lewis Richmond Buddhist writer and teacher On Dec. 8 Buddhists the world over will celebrate Bodhi Day, the day when Siddhartha Gautama, on seeing the morning star at dawn, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree and became the Buddha, the “Awakened One.” Buddha’s enlightenment has for 2,500 years been the central article of faith for Buddhists of every school, sect and nationality, as well as being the unifying principle of all Buddhist teaching. For Buddhists everywhere Bodhi Day is an opportunity to acknowledge our dedication to the principles of wisdom, compassion and kindness — the distinguishing features of the Buddhist worldview. I also think it is an opportunity to understand the relevance of Buddha’s enlightenment to today’s world, where Buddhism is enjoying something of a renaissance at a time when a troubled planet needs kindness and compassion more than ever.
I think of three ways that the traditional story of Buddha’s enlightenment can be reassessed in the light of modern sensibility. The first has to do with Siddhartha’s identity as a man, a prince and a warrior. The second has to do with his intention. And the third has to do with humility.
Historically, Buddhism has been a male-dominated religion, and today’s inclusion of Buddhist women as equals is a revolutionary development. Scripture tells that the Buddha himself was reluctant to include women in his monastic order and down through the centuries Buddhist women have for the most part been treated as second class citizens. Historians can say this was culturally normative, but that is not an excuse. Recently an influential young Tibetan Lama announced in public that this historical bias against women was simply a mistake that now needed to be corrected. This is good.
The Siddhartha of scripture was born into privilege as a prince, and his spiritual journey has the archetypal quality of the warrior hero, making death-defying efforts, battling the delusions of Mara the Tempter, and achieving final victory in the face of difficult odds. Siddhartha was a loner, too. He abandoned his family in favor of the spiritual life; he had named his son Rahula, which means a fetter or chain. I doubt that these elements of Buddha’s story resonate much with women practitioners of today, who juggle the demands of work, relationship, family and children and still find time for spiritual practice. One of the ways we can rectify the “mistake” the Lama spoke of is to imagine a Buddha story and Bodhi Day that celebrates the experience of modern Buddhist women.
The first step in Buddha’s eight-step Path is Right Intention, and it is important to remember why Prince Siddhartha abandoned his royal privilege and set out on his spiritual journey. It was not to become famous, charismatic, wealthy or powerful. He already had all of that through his birth. His motivation was to solve the riddle of human suffering. Why do people suffer and cause suffering for others? How can their suffering be eased? This was Siddhartha’s life question. He came to realize that no privileges of birth were useful in solving this riddle. In ancient times or modern, very few people turn their back on wealth and power for such a reason. (St. Francis of Assisi was one Western exception.) The fact that Siddhartha did this is inspiring; that he pursued his spiritual question to the end is what we celebrate on Bodhi Day.
What about spiritual leaders of today? Some go on talk shows, attract large numbers of Twitter or Facebook followers, publish books and preside over spiritual centers and legions of rapt followers. The Buddha was not like that. He lived as a homeless mendicant and walked from village to village, devoting his life to easing the suffering of others. This is not to say he was naïve; when he needed a park or a forest for his monastic community he used his personal connections with local aristocrats to acquire them. Undoubtedly Buddha’s royal pedigree helped him as a spiritual teacher in numerous ways. But he clearly lived a life of humility — the most difficult of all spiritual virtues to inhabit and sustain.
Living in the light of humility, kindness and compassion is the deep lesson and timeless inspiration of Bodhi Day. When we celebrate Bodhi Day this year I hope that we can celebrate it as a 21st century holiday, embracing the full weight of Buddhism’s long history without being limited by it. Enlightenment exists partly outside of history and partly within it. The suffering of humanity and its causes persists today as it did in Buddha’s time; the life question of the Buddha remains — how do we overcome greed, anger and confusion and create a truly kind and compassionate persons and societies? What is our authentic response to the world’s pain as it exists today? To paraphrase an old teaching from the Zen tradition: every day is Bodhi day.
When we understand public policy broadly and know how the 99% feel about these issues then we come together as a 99% vs the 1%-------
Please don't hate ----don't fear-----we can respect one another especially during these festivals of light!
Saphala Ekadashi – Safala Ekadasi
Saphala Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of the moon in the month of December – January.
In 2017, the date of Saphala Ekadashi is December 24. The significance of Safala Ekadashi was explained to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna. It is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana. Fasting on Saphala Ekadashi is believed to help in cleansing the sins committed and it also opens the door of fame in earthly life. Ekadashi is a highly auspicious day dedicated to Lord Vishnu and it falls on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight in Hindu calendar.
Legend has it that Lumbaka, one of the four sons of a famous king, was always questioning the authority of Lord Vishnu. Due to this attitude, he was exiled. Lumbaka continued with his behavior and started plundering the wealth of poor villagers and made his home under a banyan tree. He started eating killing animals and ate the raw meat.
Once on Saphala Ekadashi day he fell very ill and as a result he kept a fast the whole day and stayed awake during the night and thus unknowingly he undertook the Safala Ekadasi Vrat. Next morning he felt good and realized that all this was due to the blessing of Lord Vishnu. He realized his mistake and returned to his father and lived a happy life.
All the normal rules associated with Ekadasi are observed during Safala Ekadasi.
Nothing says HOLIDAY PUBLIC POLICY like all that holiday cooking and eating! YEAH! Let's talk today about food public policy especially as it relates to our holiday meals.
We have shouted a warning earlier about how WHOLE FOODS has captured our organic market----literally pushing local organic markets out of business as MONOPOLIES ALWAYS DO. We are concerned about the goals a WholeFoods may have in undermining ORGANICS AND FAIR TRADE rather than being a leader in this. First, locating its headquarters in TEXAS where it was founded----TEXAS is of course ground zero for NO REGULATIONS OR OVERSIGHT----and it is definitely pro all that is NOT ORGANIC.
I have been a faithful shopper at WholeFoods for decades so I am not being a very good small organic farm activist but I am moving more and more that way. What I am seeing at WholeFoods here in Baltimore is a narrower and more narrow choice of brands moving mostly to its private 365 BRAND. As this pro-WholeFoods article states WholeFoods is about to create satellite food stores just for this 365 brand. Yes, 365 is the most affordable more so than what I buy at a SAFEWAY OR GIANT---which makes me think something is NOT KOSHER. KOSHER BEING A DIFFERENT ISSUE ALSO BEING CORRUPTED.
Another thing I am noticing at WholeFoods is much of the ingredients I have found very easily are now often not on the shelf when I shop. Whether their supply lines are down or ordering is lax----I am not getting the great service or feeling of food quality I have years in the past. Organic fruits and vegetables found with frozen centers that rot very fast -------very common these days. If one does not use that vegetable the first few days of buying----it will not be fresh very long meaning----these are not of the same quality we used to have from a WHOLEFOODS. I wonder if WholeFoods being that global market is selling what was its quality foods overseas getting a higher price while here in US we are getting lower and lower quality foods same as our national grocery chain stores.
Oct 26, 2015 | 5:55 pm
Whole Foods’ private label is hugely popular, but there are some things you may not know about it
Does "Organic" Matter?Does whether or not a product is organic really matter? New Yorkers weigh in.
Coming Up Next
Whole Foods is one of the best-known food stores in America, and has been nothing short of revolutionary in its approach to healthy and organic foods. Its private label line, 365 Everyday Value, is one of the keys to its success, but we bet that there’s a lot you don’t know about this line of hundreds of products.
10 Things You Didn't Know About Whole Foods 365 Products (Slideshow)
Whole Foods got its start in 1978, when founders John Mackey and Renee Lawson borrowed $45,000 to open a natural foods store in Austin. The next several decades are a story of rapid expansion and increasing cultural influence. Whether Whole Foods inspired the current movement toward eating healthier and less processed foods or is simply piggybacking on it is up for debate, but you can’t deny that the company plays a major role in the current conversation about what we put into our bodies.
Whole Foods was the first nationally certified organic grocer in the country; all their meat is antibiotic- and hormone-free, and animal welfare is a top priority. While the company certainly sells plenty of non-365 brand packaged goods, the hundreds of 365 products in every store are impossible to miss. Along with being reasonably priced, all 365 products are either certified organic or enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, and align with its list of “unacceptable ingredients” that will never appear on its shelves, which means that they’re also free of artificial flavorings, colorings, sweeteners, preservatives, and hydrogenated fats.
The 365 brand has become so trusted and popular that Whole Foods is actually co-opting the name for its new store concept, 365 by Whole Foods Market, a forthcoming “smaller-store format” with “modern, consistent design,… innovative technology, and… just the right product mix to ensure an efficient and rewarding shopping experience.” Even though Whole Foods has always prided itself on the transparency behind 365 (it’s more forthcoming about its private label than just about any other store), there’s still plenty to learn about it. Read on for 10 facts about Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value.
This is what we are seeing all around-----all great food labelling ---all great organic and hormone/anti-biotics/free range tied to a pricing scale all while investigations, data, research into product lines called fair trade are showing this food system is compromised. We are seeing this in all industries----more categories of supposed quality while not receiving this quality. One thing concerning to me-----their chicken is coming packaged in a way that looks very Asian. They are getting their seafood from Asia. This would explain the lower and lower prices at a food store claiming more and more quality.
'For others, Whole Foods is a symbol of capitalism‘s ills, a cornerstone of the “Industrialized Organic” complex that is contributing to the death of the small farmer'.
Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value: The Good, The Bad, and The Questionable
by 3p Contributor on Friday, May 25th, 2012
Originally Posted on EcoSalon
By Jessica Marati
For some, Whole Foods is a god-send – a convenient, well-stocked supermarket filled with a trustworthy, if somewhat overpriced, mix of natural and organic foods. For others, Whole Foods is a symbol of capitalism‘s ills, a cornerstone of the “Industrialized Organic” complex that is contributing to the death of the small farmer.
Most people I know lie somewhere in the middle: they can’t deny the appeal of a one-stop-shop for their healthy yuppie lifestyles, but they’re skeptical of how conscience-friendly a company can be once it’s grown into a publicly traded corporation. In this week’s Behind the Label, we take a look at the good and the bad of Whole Foods, with a particular focus on its in-house 365 Everyday Value® brand.
If you’re a natural foodie on a budget, you’re probably familiar with 365 Everyday Value, which encompasses a range of products from butter to body wash to balsamic vinegar. 365 products tend to be basic in nature and cheaper than their shelf-mates. But how trust-worthy are they?
Whole Foods had a humble start as a small natural foods store in Austin, Texas, started by 25-year-old college drop-out (and current CEO) John Mackey, his then-girlfriend Rene Lawson, and a staff of 19. Today, Whole Foods is a publicly-traded company with more than 310 stores in the U.S. and United Kingdom and plans for aggressive expansion in secondary markets over the next decade.
In addition to stocking a wide variety of organic, natural, and locally-sourced foods, Whole Foods also offers a number of generic products under its 365 Everyday Value® brand, which claims to “fill your pantry without emptying your pocketbook.” All 365 products are either certified organic or enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, which verifies that genetically modified organisms are not present in the product. As mentioned in the recent article Behind the Label on Kashi, verification from the Non-GMO Project can be difficult given the preponderance of genetically engineered crops in America, so Whole Foods’ commitment to this issue is worth noting.
Whole Foods has also been a heavy proponent of GMO labeling, a popular topic in the natural foods community.
Our goal at Whole Foods Market is to provide informed consumer choice with regard to genetically engineered ingredients (also known as GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms). Clearly labeled products enable shoppers who want to avoid foods made with GMOs to do so.
In addition to its stance on GMO transparency, Whole Foods’ quality standards have been recognized as being among the top in the industry, and the company maintains a list of “unacceptable ingredients,” which it says will never appear on its shelves.
The 365 Everyday Value® brand’s reputation hasn’t always been so squeaky clean. In 2008, a television report from WJLA in Washington, DC, questioned if consumers can trust Whole Foods 365 organic products if the label says that they are made in China. Standards are more lax in China, and the distance these products travels lessens the environmental benefit of choosing organic.
In a detailed rebuttal to WJLA, Whole Foods’ Organic Certification Coordinator Joe Dickson said that products from China can absolutely be certified organic. In the rebuttal, Dickson points out that USDA organic certification measures food integrity regardless of where in the world crops are grown.
Whole Foods Market is a pioneer in promoting and selling natural and organic foods and we have done more in our history as a company to promote and build organics than any other retailer … This is not “selling an image;” this is actually making sure that every one of our 275 stores is operating in compliance with the National Organic Standards and upholding organic integrity in everything they do.
Whole Foods’ assurances have done little to appease foods activists like the Organic Consumers Association, which picketed a Chicago Whole Foods in 2011 for selling genetically modified brands like Tofutti, Kashi, and Boca Burgers.
Whole Foods has taken major strides toward offering organic and GMO-free products at reasonable prices, particularly with its 365 Everyday Value® line. But naturally, the company’s growth and success have earned it many critics, including author and food activist Michael Pollan, who associated Whole Foods with what he calls “Industrialized Organic” in his popular book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey responded to Pollan’s claims in an open letter:
I am not sure if merely because of our size and success Whole Foods Market deserves the pejorative label “Big Organic” or “Industrial Organic,” or even to be linked to those categories. I would argue instead that organic agriculture owes much of its growth and success over the past 20 years to Whole Foods Market’s successful growth and commitment to organic. As an organization we continually challenge ourselves to be responsible and ethical tenants of the planet. Through our stores, large and small organic farmers, both local and international, can offer their products to an increasingly educated population that is more interested in organics every day.
Pollan, who professes much respect for Mackey and Whole Foods, responded:
After visiting a great many large organic farms to research my book, many of them your suppliers, it seems to me undeniable that organic agriculture has industrialized over the past few years, and that Whole Foods has played a part in that process–for good and for ill … And as I tried to make clear in my account of the organic industry, much is gained when organic gets big … But surely we can recognize all these important gains without turning a blind eye to the costs: the sacrifice of small farmers and of some of the founding principles of organic farming (its commitment to polyculture, for example; to “whole” rather than highly processed foods; to social and economic sustainability, etc.)
It all seems to trace back to the big corporation/small business dilemma: do you buy your organic kale and locally-harvested honey at the strip mall supermarket, or do you support your local farmers and neighborhood natural foods store? If price wasn’t an inhibitor, I’m sure most conscious consumers would go with the second option.
But even on Whole Foods’ shelves that conundrum exists. Buy the locally-sourced salad dressing for $13.99, or the generic 365 version for $3.99? The up-and-coming fair trade brand body lotion for $15, or the 365 cream for $5?
While I appreciate the lower-priced options, I can’t help but notice a disconnect. If Whole Foods wants to truly support local farmers and small businesses, the company should stop undercutting their offerings with its lower-priced, mass-produced, 365-branded items.
Food prices soared these several years as inflation soared with it----of course not the US FED it manipulated inflation as these few decades pretending it was still near zero. Why did some food prices drop this year? IT'S ELECTION YEAR FOLKS---IT ALWAYS DROPS. Here we see the price of pork is lower----what occurred a few years ago? China bought SMITHFIELD and as global Wall Street pols PRETEND that did not mean our pork would be processed in China---it actually is.
This coming economic crash with the US FED raising interest rates will see inflation soar even more----now that this 'ELECTION' is over.
Know what gets places my holiday cheer on hold? Global grocery chains forcing us into self-check-out lines. We are paying higher prices, bagging and checking our own groceries, while our grocer employees are seeing wages go down and down and down. I stand in long lines every time I go into a local SAFEWAY----
Here we are told consumer confidence is up because food prices have temporarily been lowered for election year.
Thursday, Sep 8, 2016 05:59 AM EDT
Cheap trick: Falling food prices are boosting consumer confidence — and the economy
Food prices keep on dropping, which is giving Americans extra cash to spend — unless you’re a vegan Angelo Young
The price of bananas is displayed on a digital price tag at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo - RTX2KM4W(Credit: Reuters)Leah Waters, a married mother of two boys, said she’s noticed a significant drop in some key items at Aldi, the German global discount supermarket chain she frequents in Oklahoma City. The store’s sales flyer this week touted eggs at 69 cents a dozen and chicken thighs at 69 cents a pound. A gallon of milk at the local Braum’s ice cream and burger outlet is about $2.50, some 50 cents less than a year ago.
“Eggs and milk, for sure,” Waters told Salon when asked about noticeable drops in food prices. But, she added, “canned goods and fresh produce are as expensive as ever.”
American household-budget planners like Waters are reaping a bounty these days as the United States is on track for its longest streak of falling food prices since the 1960s. While a relentless drought in California has driven up the prices of many varieties of fruits and vegetables, these costs are more than offset by steep declines in staple perishables.
Just look at the latest official data: Compared with last year, the average American city shopper is paying 2 percent less for pork chops, 5 percent less for boneless chicken breasts and 12 percent less for ground beef. A similar pattern is playing out with milk, cheese and white bread. Eggs prices are down the most, about 40 percent, to a nationwide average of $1.54 a dozen.
Couple those declines with an average 20 percent year-over-year drop in gasoline prices in July, and the daily pocketbook expenses of a typical U.S. household have declined significantly, freeing up cash to make other purchases in the economy. Presidential elections are so often determined by how comfortable the typical household feels about its economic conditions, and right now, consumers are more confident than they’ve been in nearly a year with just two months before they go to the polls. One reason is that they can stock their fridges without feeling the pinch.
While this drop in prices in the United States has been great for consumers — especially carnivores — it’s been hard on the U.S. farm belt, which just three years ago saw farmers and ranchers digging out from one of the worst droughts in recorded American history. Back then the weather drove up the cost of livestock feed used in the meat and dairy industries, sending prices skyward at the grocery store.
Today the opposite is happening as global demand for U.S. crops has withered. Recessions in Russia and Brazil and a slowdown in demand from China, the world’s second-largest economy, have knocked down the value of U.S. agricultural exports. The global slowdown has driven up the value of the mighty U.S. dollar relative to other major world currencies, raising the prices of U.S. exports, driving demand down further. This means U.S. grain silos are packed, lowering feed prices and encouraging overproduction. Meanwhile, low energy prices are making it cheaper to move refrigerated food around the country.
“If you’re a farmer it’s bad,” Gus Faucher, deputy chief economist at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, told Salon. “Lower food prices is certainly beneficial to the economy overall but there are pockets that are getting hit.”
Indeed, many dairy farmers are either dumping milk into manure pits or considering doing so. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently bought $20 million worth of cheese and $12 million worth of eggs and egg products for nutritional assistance programs in an effort to support farmers through the current gluts. And ranchers, who stocked up on cattle to take advantage of a post-drought rebound in 2014, are now set for a record year of beef production, which is lowering their profit margins. (Again, not everything is cheaper. Fruit and vegetable prices have risen 1.4 percent compared with last year and those for processed foods remain relatively unchanged since the raw ingredients used to make them are only a portion of the production costs.)
But Faucher said despite the harm to U.S. farmers and ranchers, the net effect of lower food prices benefits the economy — so long as core inflation, a measure of the cost of goods and services excluding gasoline and food prices, continues to rise. While low prices are welcomed by consumers, falling prices across an economy is a sign of trouble because it indicates that people, businesses and governments aren’t spending less money and this is a common symptom of economic recessions. Currently core inflation is lower than where the U.S. Federal Reserve believes it should be — a paltry annualized rate of 1.6 percent in July.
“If food prices are falling and other prices are falling, then it’s bad,” Faucher said. “If food prices are falling but other prices are rising, then there’s no risk of deflation.”
Analysts expect low prices for meat and dairy products to continue to lower grocery stores bills at least until the end of the year, which means the holiday season will be easier on household budgets. Unless, of course, you’re a vegan.
I went to WholeFoods on one holiday trip to buy duck----thinking of all those HUNTERS sitting in duck blinds in the fall as peak season for plenty of duck-----$15-20 a single duck breast. WOW----FORGET THIS RECIPE. So, I went for a substitute SCALLOPS----now I have to worry about the fact that scallops are one seafood most often found to NOT BE SCALLOPS---but shark or another white fish. FISH FRAUD RUNNING RAMPANT IN US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES.
For all those duck hunters here on our Eastern Shore---know how much money you could get from those hours sitting in duck blinds.
Holiday Dinners: Duck breast with crème fraîche and roasted grapes
by CHEF FRANK TERRANOVA, JOHNSON & WALES UNIVERSITY
Wednesday, December 14th 2016
Holiday Dinners: Duck breast with crème fraîche and roasted grapes
Yield: 6 servings
6 6-ounce duck breasts
1 tablespoon dried juniper berries, crushed in re-sealable plastic bag using flat side of mallet
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound purple seedless grapes, cut into small clusters
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
3 cups arugula
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream, stirred to loosen
Method of Preparation:
1. Using sharp knife, score skin of duck breast diagonally to create 3/4-inch-wide diamond pattern. Sprinkle crushed juniper berries and thyme over both sides of breast; press to adhere. Place on rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
3. Arrange grape clusters in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until skins are slightly crisp but grapes are still soft and juicy inside, about 14 minutes. Cool. (Can be made four hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
4. Sprinkle both sides of duck breasts with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add duck, skin side down; cook until almost all fat is rendered, about seven minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until skin is brown and crisp, about four minutes. Turn duck over and cook about three minutes longer for medium-rare. Let duck rest five minutes.
5. Divide arugula among six plates. Thinly slice duck breasts crosswise and fan out slightly; place one breast atop arugula on each plate. Drizzle crème fraîche over each breast. Divide grapes among plates.
I am looking at all those beautiful vinegars----oils-----and thinking are they really the quality they say? HO, HO, HO-----WE KNOW WHO'S BEING NAUGHTY----LET'S BE NICE.
My family are generations-old Chesapeake water men so I know a thing or two about fresh, local seafood being the real thing and it too often is not. Maryland sells more blue crab from Asia to its citizens and ships our Chesapeake Bay blue crab overseas for higher prices.
'Don’t buy products labeled “light” or “extra light” olive oil. They may be made with olive oil pulp treated with chemicals, and they may contain carcinogens'.
Food Fraud: Are you paying for scallops and getting shark meat?
By Ethel Tiersky
Jan 12, 2011
Does what’s in the package match what’s on the package? Not always. How often are consumers deceived and cheated by food manufacturers? Estimates say that 5-10% of the products on sale contain fraudulent claims. Now the food industry is urging federal regulators to do more to combat this deception. The FDA, the agency with the major responsibility for making sure that foods are labeled correctly, has been preoccupied with food contamination and unable to give food fraud the attention it needs.
Food fraud sneaks into our products in all these ways :
1) A cheaper ingredient is substituted for a more expensive one that that the label claims is being used. 2) A known food allergen is in the product, but the packaging doesn’t list it. (This deception or error can be deadly for allergic consumers.) 3) The product packaging makes untrue claims about the nutritional values or health benefits of the product. This occurs with foods and also with vitamins and supplements, especially with so-called diet pills, memory boosters, energy boosters, and sexual performance enhancers.
Here are some examples of food scams that have been uncovered:
• Expensive “sheep’s milk cheese”? Not really. It was made with cow’s milk, a food allergen that could make some consumers seriously ill.
• “Sturgeon caviar?” Nope. It was Mississippi paddlefish. But the consumer who pays top dollar for an exotic luxury item should get exactly that.
• “Scallops?” Maybe not. Cookie cutters have been used to turn shark meat or skate into scallop look-alikes.
• “Wild” salmon? Most of what’s sold as “wild” salmon is actually farm-raised.
• “Olive oil?” Often, it was wholly or mostly another oil that was cheaper to produce. This scam deprived misled consumers of the heart health benefits and taste they seek by cooking with real olive oil. (Read more about the international olive oil scam by clicking on the New Yorker link listed below.)
• “100% pure honey”? The price was high enough for top quality, but the product was diluted with sugar beets or corn syrup.
• “Pure maple syrup?” Not exactly. It was diluted with water and sugar.
• What could be in coffee? Dishonest manufacturers have used corn, sugar, soy, and even wood to cut costs and bulk up the product. The Brazilian Coffee Industry Association is cracking down on these cheaters. Since most Brazilian coffee is exported as beans, the impure ground coffee is primarily a Brazilian problem. Though not causing serious illness, the tainted brew does cause upset stomachs and burping.
Misleading illustrations and packaging blurbs often imply that a food is something other than what it really is. NutritionAction provides the following examples and more: Smucker’s Simply Fruit contains more fruit syrup than fruit, and the syrup doesn’t even come from the fruit pictured on the label but from some cheaper fruit. According to the box of Kellogg’s Eggo Nutri-Grain Pancakes, the product is “made with Whole Wheat and Whole Grain.” Yes, but they’re primarily made of white flour. Dannon’s DanActive claims to “strengthen your body’s defenses,” but the company’s own study did not prove that to be true.
Government agencies regularly post online notices of recalls due to the presence of undisclosed allergens.
Two recalls that ShelfLifeAdvice noticed recently were 1) Glutino Raisin Bread, which contained undeclared egg. (Consumers who have an allergy or sensitivity to eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions.) and 2) Zatarain’s Original Dirty Rice Mix, which contained unlisted wheat and barley ingredients. People who are allergic or sensitive to various ingredients—perhaps peanuts, eggs, milk corn, or specific additives or preservatives—depend upon accurate, complete listings of ingredients, and they suffer if listings are incomplete or outright lies.
Food fraud is nothing new. It has been on the scene since Roman times.
British food writer Bee Wilson has published a history of food rip-offs entitled Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee. According to James Morehouse, who is studying food scams for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, “It is growing very rapidly, and there’s more of it than you think.” An increase in imported foods may be one reason for the growing problem.
It is almost impossible for the individual consumer to detect these scams. But the food industry and the government can fight back. New high-tech tools (such as DNA testing) have made it easier to recognize fraud. DNA can be extracted from a wide range of foods (including fish, meat, rice, and coffee) and then compared to the DNA of a database of samples. Isotope ratio analysis can detect where products came from, for example, whether a fish was farmed or caught in the wild or whether caviar is imported or American-made.
The new technology is so easy to use that some New York City high school students, working with scientists, tested 66 foods sold in Manhattan and found 11 that were mislabeled. Large companies, in an effort to protect their brands, are also using the DNA testing.
So what can you do to protect yourself from food scams? Not a whole lot, but here are a few suggestions.
• Buy from reputable stores that you trust.
• When possible, purchase major American brands.
• Read the list of ingredients carefully. That can keep you from being misled by the implications of illustrations or slogans on packaging. The major ingredients of a food are listed ahead of the others, so you can identify the main ingredients, and the facts may surprise you.
• Sugar by any other name is still sugar. If the ingredient name ends in –ose it’s probably sugar, though it may be called high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or sucrose in an attempt to hide the fact that the product is loaded with sugar.
• Be especially careful when purchasing olive oil. In 1997-8, it was the most adulterated product in the European Union. Here are some tips on what to look for to get authentic, good-quality olive oil:
√ Don’t buy products labeled “light” or “extra light” olive oil. They may be made with olive oil pulp treated with chemicals, and they may contain carcinogens.
√ Look for these trustworthy certifications on labels of imported oils: IOOC, DOP, DO, or HAEPAO. Look for COOC on labels of California oils. The COOC website recommends specific brands, most of which are sold only on the Internet.
√ If it’s inexpensive, it’s unlikely to be real extra-virgin olive oil. That sells for at least $12 for a 500 ml. bottle and, for top quality, the price can be much higher.
Food scams go on all over the world—and, in many countries, to a greater degree than in the U.S. But that’s small comfort to consumers who have been cheated and/or sickened by deceptive labeling.
FARM TO TABLE------a WholeFoods is saying this as are more and more and more of our restaurants claiming to be ARTISAN------WHEN THEY ARE NOT. So, WE THE PEOPLE cannot even go out to dinner wanting a quality meal feeling secure we are getting for what we are paying. Higher and higher prices for lower and lower quality. Talking about patent protections----as this chef says REAL Artisan food regions are being fleeced as are we.
Watch to where you take the family for that farm to table fresh holiday meal------this is US cities as Foreign Economic Zones meaning our economy is filled with fraud and corruption.
This is a great video----this chef is sick and tired of our restaurants and specialty food all being FAKES.
Food Fraud at Uncle Jack's Steakhouse | Best Steakhouse in New York | New York Steakhouse
Published on Sep 26, 2013Here is perfect example of food fraud, or gross misinterpretation of where their beef comes from.
We personally don't know Willie and the people at Jack's Steakhouse. We are sure they are nice people with good intentions.
But we were not satisfied with the menu verbage and the staff's answers about the beef.
Again this is just our review and critic of Jack's.
We hope that they see this video as an opportunity to train staff better or be clearer about their food sourcing description.
We are happy to provide education to Jack's or any restaurant that wishes so.
Food mislabeling happens all the time from stores to restaurants. As a professional chef myself I am fed up with these thieves, liars and crooks that are ripping off consumers. So I'm speaking out against chefs, restaurants and companies that are misleading you. Always ask questions about your food. It's your right to know what you are eating. It's actually against the law for these crooks to scam you.
Caroling has gone the way of Halloween door to door----it is too dangerous-----people don't want others coming to their doors----or maybe it's just that everyone is not Christian celebrating Christmas. Wassailing and caroling began as simply a community of people wanting to bring cheer during this season of festivals and it included families having food and drinks to share with those walking and singing. THIS WAS THE 99% COMING TOGETHER AS ONE. Please consider tolerance whether of whom comes to the door or what religious faith----each religion has its own customs like this and we could learn so much by OPENING THAT DOOR!
SIMPLE FOODS OR DRINKS---SIMPLE GIFTS ------full of community!
Mumming is also an ancient pagan custom that was an excuse for people to have a party at Christmas! It means 'making diversion in disguise'. The tradition was that men and women would swap clothes, put on masks and go visiting their neighbors, singing, dancing or putting on a play with a silly plot. The leader or narrator of the mummers was dressed as Father Christmas.
The custom of Mumming might go back to Roman times, when people used to dress up for parties at New Year. It is thought that, in the UK, it was first done on St. Thomas's day or the shortest day of the year.
Different types of entertainments were done in different parts of the UK In parts of Durham, Yorkshire and Devon a special sword dance was performed. There were also different names for mumming around the UK too. In Scotland it was known as 'Gusards' in Somerset, 'Mumping', in Warwickshire or 'Thomasing' and 'Corning' in Kent.
In Medieval times, it had turned into an excuse for people to go begging round the houses and committing crimes. It became so bad that Henry VIII, made a law saying that anyone that caught mumming wearing a mask would be put in prison for three months!
One poem that people said when mumming was:
Christmas is coming, the beef is getting fat,
Please drop a penny in the old man's hat.
Over the years, this was changed into a very similar poem that is said by some carol singers today:
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,
Please put a penny in the old man's hat.
The early settlers from the UK took the custom of Mumming to Canada. It is known as Murmuring in Canada, but is banned in most places because people used it as an excuse for begging.
There's also a famous Mummer's Day parade New Year's Day in Philadelphia, in the USA, which lasts over six hours!
Mumming is still done in parts of the UK, USA and Canada.
EVEN KOSHER IS NOW CORRUPT EVEN IN THE US.
'Now, it takes some chutzpah to call the authorities unkosher, but some rabbis have rallied to Vadei's support for doing so. Conservative movement Rabbi Andrew Sacks says the kosher inspection system has become corrupt'.
Some Restaurants In Israel Declare A Kosher Rebellion
By Anthony Kuhn • Nov 30, 2012
All Things Considered
Originally published on December 13, 2012 5:41 am
The Carousela cafe in West Jerusalem is one of a handful of restaurants and cafes in Israel staging a bit of a rebellion by defying Jewish religious authorities who claim they are the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher, or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws.
Activists, rabbis and customers recently gathered in support of Carousela after the authorities threatened to fine the cafe if it claimed to be kosher without a certificate from the rabbinate. And now Carousela and four other restaurants are taking the authorities to court over the issue, according to The Times of Israel.
Cafe manager Jonathan Vadei says the rabbinate's kosher inspectors are not doing their job, and he and some colleagues have decided to form their own association to do it.
Now, it takes some chutzpah to call the authorities unkosher, but some rabbis have rallied to Vadei's support for doing so. Conservative movement Rabbi Andrew Sacks says the kosher inspection system has become corrupt.
"There are many restaurants and institutions where the inspector comes in once a month simply to collect a check and does not appear the rest of the month," Sacks says. "But beyond that, a serious problem is that the inspectors themselves are paid directly by the restaurateur. So there can be no objectivity."
But Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger of the Jerusalem Religious Council says any restaurant that calls itself kosher without a certificate is breaking the law. "To become a doctor you need certification; to become a lawyer you need certification; to be kosher, you need certification," Schlesinger says through an interpreter. "I don't know who is behind this. Probably interest groups, maybe with political interests in mind. The result will be anarchy."
For centuries before the modern state of Israel was established in 1948, there was no central authority over kosher inspections. They were done by private groups of rabbis, as they are in the United States.
"It was based on trust, and that's what we need to install again: the trust between the customer and the owner of the restaurant, without the monopoly and without all the other commercial interests of the chief rabbinate," says Conservative Rabbi Ehud Bandel.
But then the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, gave the rabbinate and ultra-Orthodox Jews a monopoly, not just over kosher inspections but over weddings and funerals too. It also granted the ultra-Orthodox special privileges, such as exemption from military service.
Now Israelis are questioning all of these monopolies and privileges.
Bandel says it is time to reclaim Judaism from the religious establishment. "It's up to us to make sure that the Knesset will change this legislation and enable freedom of religion and free market of religion, which will only be good for religious life here in Israel."
Some see this issue as part of a larger culture war between Orthodox and secular Jews. But Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria says that the two sides are just trying to find ways to live together and improve the city.
"For 15 years, the ultra-Orthodox were taking over, and the regular Orthodox and the liberal and the secular were leaving the city," Azaria says. "What happened over the past few years is we got a secular mayor, and that kind of changed something, and we got our self-confidence back and we're campaigning again to make sure the city is the way we want it to be."
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Transcript
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
In Jerusalem, a handful of restaurants and cafes are staging a kind of kosher rebellion. They're defying Jewish religious authorities who claim to be the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Jerusalem that the dispute is part of a wider debate about how the country should manage the relationship between synagogue and state.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Activists, rabbis and customers recently gathered in support of the Carousela Cafe in West Jerusalem. The city's rabbinate recently threatened to fine the cafe if it claimed to be kosher without the rabbinate's certificate. Cafe manager Jonathan Vadei says the rabbinate's kosher inspectors are not doing their job. And he and some colleagues have decided to form their own association to do it. He says he's determined...
JONATHAN VADEI: To show everybody what happening in this institution. It's not kosher at all. This institution is not kosher at all.
KUHN: It takes some chutzpah to call the rabbinate unkosher. And some rabbis have rallied to Vadei's support for doing so. Conservative movement Rabbi Andrew Sacks says the kosher inspection system has become corrupt.
RABBI ANDREW SACKS: There are many restaurants and institutions where the inspector comes in once a month simply to collect a check and does not appear the rest of the month. But beyond that, a serious problem is that the inspectors themselves are paid directly by the restaurateur, so there can be no sense of objectivity.
KUHN: But Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger of the Jerusalem Religious Council says any restaurant that calls itself kosher without a certificate is breaking the law.
RABBI ELIYAHU SCHLESINGER: (Through translator) To become a doctor, you need certification. To become a lawyer, you need certification. To be kosher, you need certification. I don't know who is behind this. Probably interest groups, maybe with political interests in mind. The result will be anarchy.
KUHN: Conservative movement Rabbi Ehud Bandel points out that for centuries before the modern state of Israel was established in 1948, there was no central authority over kosher inspections. They were done by private groups of rabbis, as they are in the U.S.
RABBI EHUD BANDEL: It was based on trust, and that's what we need to install again: the trust between the customer and the owner of the restaurant, and without a monopoly and without all the other commercial interests of the chief rabbinate.
KUHN: But the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, gave the rabbinate and ultra-Orthodox Jews a monopoly, not just over kosher inspections but over weddings and funerals too. It also granted the ultra-Orthodox special privileges such as exemption from military service. But Israelis are now questioning all of these monopolies and privileges. Rabbi Bandel says it's time to reclaim Judaism from the religious establishment.
BANDEL: It's up to us to make sure that the Knesset will change this legislation and enable freedom of religion and free market of religion, which will be only good for religious life here in Israel.
KUHN: Some see this issue as part of a larger culture war between Orthodox and secular Jews. But Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria says that the two sides are just trying to find ways to live together and improve the city.
RACHEL AZARIA: For 15 years, the ultra-Orthodox were taking over, and the regular Orthodox and the liberal and the secular were leaving the city. And what happened over the past few years is that we got a secular mayor, and that kind of changed something. And we also got our self-confidence back and we're campaigning again to make sure that the city will be the way we want it to be.
How will ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE HANDLE THINGS LIKE RELIGIOUS REGULATIONS TO FOOD AND DRINK? Well, it doesn't look good for Foreign Economic Zones that have absolutely no regulations. The answer for ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE may simply be NO RELIGION TOO.
This is a very good public policy issue for WE THE PEOPLE. How does religious requirements fit into our communities? Right now I suspect local Muslim and Jewish communities are policing their own food sources just as ALL US CITIZENS are having to do with our food resources!
'Anxious about the industry’s rampant corruption (half of all “kosher” food was not), price-fixing and bitter rivalries (including drive-by shootings in poultry markets), New York started the trend in 1915 with a bill saying that food labelled fit for Jews must comply with “orthodox Hebrew religious requirements”. But in the past 20 years courts in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have deemed such laws unconstitutional. New Jersey firms must merely produce documentary proof that their products are kosher'.
Malaysia and this Sultan of Brunei is known as one of the most brutal and enslaving of Foreign Economic Zones-----we don't want someone like that setting our standards but global 1% and their 2% love this guy!.
'Misuse of the halal label can mean jail. The Sultanate of Brunei is proud of its mark, the Brunei Halal Brand. It wants to certify products around the world'.
Food and religion
A meaty question
Who should regulate kosher and halal food?
Feb 9th 2013
Our other branch does kosher
KEEPING the government’s nose out of anything with a religious whiff is one of America’s founding principles. With this in mind on January 31st a federal district judge in Minnesota dismissed a lawsuit contending that Hebrew National, a big American meat-products brand, fraudulently labelled its hot dogs “100% kosher”. Critics had claimed that the meat used did not meet kosher requirements. The judge, however, ruled that since kosher is a standard “intrinsically religious in nature”, under the first amendment it was none of the court’s business. Triangle K, the certifying body that gave the wieners the kosher seal of approval, and its Orthodox rabbis, would have to rebut the critics themselves. Unhappy customers could always shop elsewhere.
Few Western countries have laws explicitly regulating kosher or halal products—chiefly meat produced by the ritual slaughter of animals, subject to particular standards of health or hygiene. Governments prefer to rely on private companies and market forces to do the job. If people find out certified items are not as pure as they claim to be, they stop buying them. When governments do get involved it is usually under the auspices of consumer protection or food safety. They have been wary of wading in on specifically religious grounds. But with Muslim populations swelling throughout Europe and the business of religiously approved goods booming, the question of how to regulate such products is becoming more urgent.
America has been battling with this issue for decades. Of its 50 states, 22 have introduced kosher-fraud laws over the past century. Anxious about the industry’s rampant corruption (half of all “kosher” food was not), price-fixing and bitter rivalries (including drive-by shootings in poultry markets), New York started the trend in 1915 with a bill saying that food labelled fit for Jews must comply with “orthodox Hebrew religious requirements”. But in the past 20 years courts in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have deemed such laws unconstitutional. New Jersey firms must merely produce documentary proof that their products are kosher.
Private certifiers have stepped into the breach. Five regulatory heavyweights (not including Triangle K) dominate the market, certifying products the world over. All the main kosher meat producers in America today adhere to the same stringent standard, “glatt kosher”, which includes especially careful examination of animals’ organs for any signs of illness that would render the meat unacceptable.
The only notable exception to this is Hebrew National, says Timothy Lytton of Albany Law School, who has written a book about kosher regulation (Hebrew National says it has “always stood by its kosher distinction and status” and a Triangle K rabbi says it made “kosher meat available to the greater American public, and not just the glatt consumer”.) The certifying bodies do a much better job than the government did, says Mr Lytton. They pounce on mistakes and are swift to admit their own. America’s kosher food industry generates $12 billion in sales a year so no one wants to lose customers because of sloppiness.
In Israel, by contrast, the state is closely involved, promoting the Chief Rabbinate’s kosher label as the only acceptable one. But those standards are the lowest common denominator, says Mr Lytton, and many religious Jews find them too lax. They insist on stricter checks from private companies which costs extra.
Still, Jews are more united than Muslims about the exact nature of their religion’s dietary rules. Jewish law leaves no doubt that stunning animals before slaughter is prohibited. Muslims disagree about that. Hundreds of halal-certification bodies operate, with varying standards and logos. They differ in their methods of slaughter. Some countries allow products containing a small percentage of non-halal ingredients to be classed as halal. Others do not. “Halal” pies and pasties recently served to Muslim prisoners in British jails turned out to contain traces of pork—but came from a supplier approved by the Halal Food Authority, one of two main British guarantors (it has now delisted the firm).
Tayyabs, a popular Punjabi curry house in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, Britain’s most Muslim area, does not even bother with certificates. The manager says that he knows and trusts his suppliers and his customers know and trust him.
That may work for a small, local restaurant but multinational firms cannot be so nonchalant. Last month McDonald’s and one of its franchises in Dearborn in south-east Michigan, which has the country’s highest concentration of Arab-Americans, paid $700,000 to settle allegations (which it denies) that it had falsely advertised its food as meeting Islamic dietary laws.
A worldwide standard for the $700 billion halal food market is one idea. Muslim countries, where governments see ruling on religious matters as part of their job, are keen to help. JAKIM, Malaysia’s department for Islamic development, takes responsibility for upholding halal standards. Misuse of the halal label can mean jail. The Sultanate of Brunei is proud of its mark, the Brunei Halal Brand. It wants to certify products around the world. That would help non-Muslim producers, such as Brazil, already one of the world’s largest exporters of halal meat, which are keen to expand in Muslim markets.
The importance of the halal label spreads well beyond food. Many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims want reassurances that medicines and make-up, for example, are free from animal products or alcohol. Websites are abuzz with the news of a halal nail varnish produced in Poland. Just don’t test it on animals.
BUYING A FAIR TRADE GIFT? PLEASE EDUCATE AS TO WHERE WE ARE WITH THAT PUBLIC POLICY!
'Fair Trade - is it fair? There really isn't an easy answer to this, but I would like to give those who are interested at least a little more information on the other less well researched side of this subject'.
Just as with the policies of organic, free range, anti-GMO the policies around FAIR TRADE have these few decades been not only corrupted but used to harm global food producers once tied to doing the right thing environmentally with food justice. Global grocers, food and drink venues like Starbucks claiming FAIR TRADE and charging more for being social benefit are often NOT BEING SOCIAL BENEFIT. The push to correct this by justice groups at a time when global shipping has become totally captured to monopolies and becoming too expensive for smaller shipping companies is questionable. The policies of Foreign Economic Zone have driven this corruption as now every nation wants to have products in this premium market. So, today we are seeing again lower-quality food product being sold as higher price-----
'Even worse, there are many instances, where the higher grade coffees are sold at a competitive price above the Fair Trade minimum and lower standard coffees are designated for the Fair Trade market where the minimum price can be demanded despite the low quality'.
Below is an article that may be written by a global citizen simply wanting to deregulate yet another market BUT HIS POINTS ARE RIGHT-ON. What was a left-social Democratic food policy has been corrupted to the point of being harmful to those growers wanting to do the right thing.
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Unfair Fair Trade
I have decided to speak up about something that is close to my heart for obvious reasons, and because I continually come across so much misinformation on the subject. I am also disturbed by the marketing hype that seems to allow lazy consumers to feel good about buying something that is not necessarily what it purports to be.
Fair Trade - is it fair? There really isn't an easy answer to this, but I would like to give those who are interested at least a little more information on the other less well researched side of this subject. Don't get me wrong, the principle behind providing a minimum price for the purchase of coffee or any other product for that matter, is a noble one. I am sure that many who market the official certified product believe they are doing something positive. But, the fact is, institutionalizing the pricing of coffee or other commodities does not necessarily solve the real problem, and in some cases may even unfairly penalizes those for whom it was intended.
Let's start with the fact that becoming 'Certified Fair Trade' is expensive. The bureaucratic and business hurdles needed to become certified are often too much and too expensive for the poorest farmers. So, by example, the biggest supplier of Fair Trade coffee to the United States is Mexico. Coffee laborer wages are 18 times higher in Mexico than in Ethiopia where Fair Trade coffee is much less well represented.
Secondly, the chosen method to acquire certification often results in farmers grouping together in cooperatives to defray the costs of certification. As a result, the coffee is then mixed together and what might be exceptionally good from one farm is rendered mediocre by the product eventually produced by the cooperative. Even worse, there are many instances, where the higher grade coffees are sold at a competitive price above the Fair Trade minimum and lower standard coffees are designated for the Fair Trade market where the minimum price can be demanded despite the low quality.
Thirdly, the Fair Trade label has been used by unscrupulous corporations who can garner goodwill and kudos for their company by claiming to support the poor farmers when actually they are simply using the lack of knowledge on the part of the consumer to increase sales.
The organization responsible for promoting Fair Trade in the US is called Transfair USA, and like any organization of its type, it requires millions of dollars to maintain. The consumer eventually pays for this extra expense and so, for potentially lower grade coffee from a cooperative, to compensate for the 'fair' price and the administrative cost and without really benefitting the truly poor farmers, we end up paying a premium.
So what is the solution to this conundrum? Well, in most cases, if you actually ask the farmers concerned, they will tell you that the problem does not really lie in procuring a good price for the coffee, but in the environment in which they actually produce the coffee. In Kenya, where the government controls coffee production and even the exporting of coffee through the coffee auction, corruption and exploitation results in having to pay inflated prices for milling and other processes mandated by the government. Then, the government takes its cut in the auction process, thus diminishing the money actually making its way back to the farmer.
This is an all too common situation, and highlights the real problem. If we believe in the operation of a free market economy, then why do we believe in what amounts to price fixing in the trading of certain commodities such as coffee? If farmers produce a great product, then the resulting demand will no doubt push the price up accordingly. At the heart of this problem is one of my own concerns with the US coffee market. The consumer just isn't discerning enough. If the majority of people who drink coffee would simply refuse to gulp down millions of gallons of poor quality beverage every day, and would be willing to pay for quality, then quality of the coffee would attract the appropriate price. If we wish to impact the lives of the farmers in countries where corruption and bad practice are stifling the farmers' ability to succeed, then we should make a stand just as we do when convenient with other countries on human rights abuses. If we truly want to help the farmers, then we should be working with them to improve practices and their environment in relationships across country borders that allow us to bring a truly exceptional product to the market place, for which they get their just rewards. This might take the form of investment in new equipment and updating practices. Though, the irony here is that Brazil, which is now highly mechanized in its coffee production has disposed of 10s of thousands of coffee related jobs for poor workers by the introduction of mechanization.
Fair Trade sounds good, means well and has the right starting point, but the outworking is not only flawed, it actually damages those who are unable to get on board, and it is tantamount to price fixing and inflates the underlying cost through unnecessary administration and certification costs.
At Buon Giorno, we will continually seek to purchase the best quality coffee from suppliers who are ethical enough to pursue relationships with farmers with no middle man and who are intent on increasing the proliferation of quality coffee in the United States just like any other product that has to rely on its quality to attract sales.
I DARE SAY THAT FREE MARKET IS NOT THE SOLUTION EITHER BECAUSE AS WE HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE FEW DECADES OF NAKED CRONY CAPITALISM WE HAVE NOT HAD FREE MARKET SINCE REAGAN/CLINTON.
There is nothing like BLACK FRIDAY=====the greatest shopping day after Thanksgiving to open the door to what will become the NEXT GREAT FRAUDS AND CORRUPTIONS this time the global 1% and their 2% fighting among one another moving that wealth to the top. Obama and Clinton neo-liberals spent these several years pushing, passing, and funding all that was needed to centralize control of all corporate patenting and profiteering to this same global 1% and their 2%. By creating IVY LEAGUE hedge fund corporate R and D facilities ----by creating a nepotism selective appointment process to the only people able to earn millions of dollars as 'university department heads' or global corporate R and D executives-----by tying all that free student labor bringing the most talented to this global hedge fund IVY LEAGUE corporate university only to have any successful product patented by that 'hedge fund university' and SOLD to that 1% and their 2% -----ALL PROCESSES OF PATENTING AND INDUSTRIAL WEALTH STAYS WITHIN THAT GLOBAL 1%.
THIS IS WHAT OBAMA AND CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS SPENT THESE SEVERAL YEARS CREATING---THAT IS MIKULSKI, SARBANES, CUMMINGS, AND CARDIN IN BALTIMORE AS WITH ALL CONGRESSIONAL POLS.
Now we hear of all these KNOCK-OFFS OF BRAND NAMES-----here we are told China is tops in counterfeiting. No what? Global Wall Street is tied to plenty of Chinese corporations and they can flood any market with any brand knock off to kill any new INNOVATION NOT TIED TO GLOBAL WALL STREET 1% AND THEIR 2%.
An anonymous reader writes
"Here is an article by Dr.Joe Stiglitz on how intellectual property reinforces inequality by allowing patent owners to seek rent (aka license / sue) instead of delivering goods to the society. From the article: 'At first glance, the case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, might seem like scientific arcana: the court ruled, unanimously, that human genes cannot be patented, though synthetic DNA, created in the laboratory, can be. But the real stakes were much higher, and the issues much more fundamental, than is commonly understood. The case was a battle between those who would privatize good health, making it a privilege to be enjoyed in proportion to wealth, and those who see it as a right for all — and a central component of a fair society and well-functioning economy. Even more deeply, it was about the way inequality is shaping our politics, legal institutions and the health of our population'.'"
Our national media let's us know our US PORTS OF ENTRY----Customs are filled with inspectors looking for trade counterfeiting----know who is protecting WE THE PEOPLE----NO ONE. All justice agencies are tied to protecting global corporations and this patent-counterfeiting will take trillions of dollars to protect.
One thing the SNOWDEN whistle-blowing showed WE THE PEOPLE was it is the US using NSA surveillance and spying that is behind MOST INDUSTRIAL corruption and indeed they will be the ones behind industrial brand counterfeiting targeted attacks. No doubt other nations will be doing so as well------the problem for Americans----open borders as Foreign Economic Zone ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE-----floods our US Ports of Entry with just this capability-----we don't want protectionism but we do not want a complete loss of the American people to create and sell ANYTHING.
China Dunks on Michael Jordan
By Jennifer Kovalcik on August 12, 2015 Posted in Trademarks
Michael Jordan has one of the best trademark brands in basketball and is by all accounts a worldwide legend. But, that didn’t help him prevent a Chinese company from registering multiple trademarks using a similar name and silhouette of a player on athletic shoes.
The Chinese company operates as Qiaodan Sports Co, where Qiaodan is a Mandarin version of Jordan and the name by which Michael Jordan is known in China. In addition to using the “Jump Man” silhouette, the company also uses Jordan’s jersey number – 23.
Michael Jordan asked the Beijing court to cancel Qiaodan Sports’ trademark registration but after several years of legal battles and multiple proceedings, he again lost. Jordan seems poised to appeal.
Knockoffs and imitators are prevalent in China. As more and more businesses operate on a global stage, there are two important trademark lessons that you can learn from Jordan’s epic battle with Qiaodan Sports Co.
Note, however, that a registration in mainland China might not be enough for your protection. Additional filings and registrations are recommended for separate countries and administrative provinces such as Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
If you file a U.S. trademark application, then you have a priority window of six months to file additional trademark applications in other countries under your U.S. filing date. This prevents a pirate from watching U.S. trademark filings (which they do), and beating you to the punch by immediately filing a foreign trademark application for the same mark.
In 2014, Customs had 436 seizures of shipments resulting in $2.6 Million (MSRP) just in major sports league apparel according to the department’s statistical report. For all industries, there were nearly 25,000 seizures of over $1.2 Billion in merchandise.
If Jordan (or Nike) recorded their U.S. Trademark Registrations with Customs, which I have to assume they did, they will have some protection to try to get Customs to stop the Qiaodan shoes advertised by AliExpress from being shipped into the United States, notwithstanding Jordan’s ongoing legal efforts in China.
For all you Jordan fans out there, check out this montage of Top 10 Slam Dunks. At only 5’3’’, I have no vertical leap, so am constantly amazed at how this man flies!
This is what a developing nation COSMOPOLITAN city looks like----tons of counterfeiting, illegal products, stolen products arriving through massive global ports AS PORT OF BALTIMORE HAS BEEN MADE THESE FEW DECADES. While national media focuses on the global corporate brand names tied to handbags, shoes, jewelry etc------it is our local crafts people who ultimately end up not being able to compete with everyday KNOCK-OFFS. From local crafts people making furniture, food products, textiles-----when these illegal port entries hit our community markets AND THEY ALWAYS DO----WE THE PEOPLE cannot even sell our own crafts.
You can bet it will be the Guccis and the UGGS that this growing global security force works to protect.
"Most people don’t think twice about the Nike sneakers, Coach handbags, Gucci shoes and Cartier watches sold on the streets, in stores and over the Internet that aren’t what they appear to be," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. But he said supporting the counterfeit market cheats U.S. companies and employees'
US national media reporting on this explosion of counterfeiting and illegal products during our BLACK FRIDAY AND HOLIDAY SHOPPING says-----customs will burn/destroy all those counterfeit shoes, clothes, furniture. Now globally we have global CRIMINAL CARTELS ENSLAVING GLOBAL LABOR POOL TO FACTORIES PRODUCING KNOCK-OFFS while our global corporations enslave global labor pool in global factories producing brand names. All of this is happening because of global market expansion and Foreign Economic Zone development.
International smuggling ring used Baltimore as entry to U.S., authorities say
An international counterfeiting ring smuggled tens of millions of dollars worth of fake Coach handbags, Nike sneakers, Gucci shoes and Cartier watches into the United States though the Port of Baltimore, federal authorities charged Friday in announcing the indictment of the ring's members.
In the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation, a federal grand jury in Baltimore indicted nine people in a scheme to bring the bogus goods, made in Malaysia and China, into the country.
In a related investigation, London police nabbed six suspects Thursday and collected fake Versace, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Nike clothes, shoes and other items, in what officials said is among the largest seizures ever of counterfeit goods in England.
“This was not a mom-and-pop organization,” said John Morton, a U.S. Immigration and Customs assistant secretary, at a news conference. “This was organized crime on a grand scale. Millions were made by crooks, millions were lost by legitimate U.S. companies.”
Authorities said the ring planned to expand to counterfeit drugs next, and in September, one of the defendants sent a sample of counterfeit Viagra to a business in Maryland in hopes of finding a market.
The Maryland business, which purported to import and export products without paying taxes and customs duties, was actually part of the government’s undercover operation.
Three New Yorkers were indicted: Josephine O. Zhou, 32; Kin Yip Ng, 43, and Yenn-Kun Hsieh, 45.
Also indicted were Wai Hong Yong, 43, and Eng Cheng Kee, 40, of Malaysia; and Hexing Yang, 38, Chan Hong Xu, 40, Lidan Zhang, 39, and Kai T. Jaing, 25, all of China.
Yong, Kee and Yang were arrested in Guam, while other defendants were picked up in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. Xu is still at large.
Officials won’t say how they first got wind of the ring.
But when a container filled with 10,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers entered the Baltimore port in May 2008, undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who had infiltrated the ring were there to receive it, according to court papers.
The next month, the undercover officers delivered the sneakers to defendants in Brooklyn and were paid a $25,000 smuggling fee in cash.
The shipping containers kept coming, court papers say. First, thousands more Nike sneakers. Then, in January 2009, a container arrived with 25,000 fake Coach bags. That April, about 10,000 pairs of bogus Coach and Gucci shoes arrived.
In total, the ring smuggled in 500,000 fake Coach bags, 120,00 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes, 10,000 pairs of bogus Gucci and Coach shoes and 500 counterfeit Cartier watches, the indictment alleges.
The undercover officers were paid a smuggling fee for the deliveries. But they also were given tens of thousands of dollars of additional cash, and instructions to wire that money to accounts in Malaysia or a company in Asia. That cash was “laundered” through the undercover business, authorities said.
The fake items were headed to New York or New Jersey, where they would make their way onto the streets, into stores or to Internet sales sites.
"Most people don’t think twice about the Nike sneakers, Coach handbags, Gucci shoes and Cartier watches sold on the streets, in stores and over the Internet that aren’t what they appear to be," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. But he said supporting the counterfeit market cheats U.S. companies and employees.
The defendants face charges including conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States, trafficking in counterfeit goods and money laundering.
As CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA create an insular economic system for just the global rich in US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones WE THE PEOPLE are being told to BE THAT INNOVATOR AND PRODUCT-MAKER -----bring back ARTISAN CRAFTS------we of course have a once strong art school MICA being developed to be a global corporate crafts shop where students toil away for free while that global Master Crafts-person pockets millions.
This is what will be coming soon to all US cities -------INTERNATIONAL BAZAARS where we are told it is left social democratic to allow crafts from around the world fill our farmer's markets. Now, we have in modern times had these global artisan stores---what is coming is a complete inability for any American crafts person to compete in this simple local crafts trade.
Here is the PHILLIPINES a long-time Foreign Economic Zone with their 1% and their 2% sending their citizens into the global labor pool like no other. This is NOT SOCIALLY PROGRESSIVE it deliberately keeps any local citizens from being able to build a business.
EACH OF THESE NATIONS ARE ONE WORLD FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES------MALAYSIA, CHILE, KOREA, NIGERIA with the Netherlands and Switzerland being European nations already in colonialism
'The Spouses of the Heads of Mission: SHOM president Martine Boon Von Ochssee (Netherlands) with MasitahBintiAlang Ahmad (Malaysia), SHOM president Paulina S. Mayorga (Chile), Won Wha Soon (Korea), Caecilia Legowo (Indonesia), Omolara Evelyn Farounbi (Nigeria), and Gracita Tolentino (Switzerland)'
One can easily see these INTERNATIONAL BAZAARS taking place on the UNDERARMOUR COVE POINT GLOBAL RESORT CAMPUS. These events have always been part of our US cosmopolitan cities like NYC, LA, etc---when we make all of our US mid-size cities into these same global cosmopolitan cities there is no way for locals to compete.
Shop global, help local at the International Bazaar
(The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2013 - 12:00am
The Spouses of the Heads of Mission:
SHOM president Martine Boon Von Ochssee (Netherlands) with MasitahBintiAlang Ahmad (Malaysia), SHOM president Paulina S. Mayorga (Chile), Won Wha Soon (Korea), Caecilia Legowo (Indonesia), Omolara Evelyn Farounbi (Nigeria), and Gracita Tolentino (Switzerland)MANILA, Philippines - The International Bazaar Foundation Inc. (IBF), the Ladies of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM), and members of the diplomatic and consular corps will hold the International Bazaar on Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the PICC Forums I, II and III, CCP Complex, Pasay City.
The annual bazaar features unique and authentic products from different countries around the world.
There will be 35 embassies and six consulates showcasing the best of their local wares. Over 100 booths will also sell Filipino products. Guests can also sample traditional dishes from the featured countries.
Proceeds of the one-day event will be donated to the IBF, which will then use them for various projects such as scholarship grants to deserving students from indigent families, financial support for the elderly, abused and abandoned children as well as victims of calamities.
Apart from the International Bazaar’s array of goods, guests will have a chance to win the latest Hyundai Accent car courtesy of HARI Foundation Inc. (Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.) through its president and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo and IBF Inc. as the grand raffle prize.
There will also be airline tickets, kitchen appliances, hotel weekend packages and many more interesting prizes at stake when you buy a raffle ticket at P200.
IBF is headed by its chairperson Gretchen V. del Rosario, wife of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario. Other officers are Sylvia Farolan, president; Bambina Buenaventura, vice president; Rose Villamor, secretary; Alice Guerrero, treasurer; and Olivia Romulo, Margarita Tambunting, Marion Coscolluela, Consul General Fortune Ledesma, members of the Board of Trustees; Blessie Cabrera, special projects coordinator, Department of Foreign Affairs; and Nora Salazar, executive director.
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Tickets are available at P100, P200 for the raffle tickets at Tesoro’s outlets on Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City; and Mabini St., Ermita Manila. For inquiries, call 833-1320.
Here we see the pathway to patenting made almost impossible for a mid-size start up------global corporations were allowed to hit our US patent office with all kinds of patents from these few centuries of US patents and hold them for their own control. This covers a wide span of invention in the US including those inventions never brought to market. At the same time global corporations have the power to BLOCK smaller companies wanting to get a start-----Congress passed all these laws during Obama with a majority Clinton global Wall Street neo-liberal Congress. Think of our local crafts people trying to build a small business having to constantly compete with global counterfeit and illegal goods in local markets-----then think about this mid-size startup trying to patent and expand a business---then think about the global IVY LEAGUE hedge fund university R and D research facilities allowing only the global 1% and their 2% a pathway to patenting and gains from such.
We need to remember these same policies were installed in all Foreign Economic Zones overseas these several years by World Bank and IMF to do just this-----capture every aspect of growing market share and business to only that same global 1% and their 2%...coming now to US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones like Baltimore
Oct 4, 2013 @ 12:57 AM
For Most Small Companies Patents Are Just About Worthless
Todd Hixon ,
I blog about entrepreneurs, their world, and the new, new thing.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Update (Oct 7, 2014): It looks like patents are often useless for big companies, too. See the linked article on the wasteful smart phone patent litigation.
A widespread meme in the tech community holds that patents are a path to riches: an entrepreneur who solves a key technical problem and receives a patent can build a business on the technology and ride to glory. Xerox XRX +0.93% and Polaroid are celebrated examples (both now nearly extinct). But, IMHO, for most small companies today, patents are just about worthless. Many entrepreneurs misunderstand the value patents create, and how difficult they are to enforce.
It's not that simple ...
A patent is a sword, not a shield. It gives you the right to attack a competitor who makes commercial use of ("infringes") your patented technology. Contrary to common belief, it does not give you the right to practice your technology free of interference.
Patents are often quite narrow and hence can be circumvented: they might apply to a specific design element or combination of characteristics. They have effect only in the jurisdiction of the patent-granting authority: effective world coverage requires six to ten patents in different geographies.
The patented intellectual property is usually not sufficient to deliver the product. Lots of other intellectual property is needed, too, and others often have patents on some of that.
And, frequently two issued patents arguably describe the same thing. I once encountered two electronic circuit design patents that were identical except for the way in which the components are laid out (which does not affect function). Each design had received a patent (and the same person at the patent office had awarded both patents).
A murky situation often results. Let's say a new company ("TechCo) solves a key technical problem that enables new value for customers and launches a new business. But, TechCo will need to use a lot of other technology to build and deliver a complete product, e.g., the product design might be protected by a patent, but the manufacturing process might be subject to another company's "blocking" patent. And it won't always be clear how effective that blocking patent is: perhaps it's been issued, but arguably it’s vague or not original (grounds for invalidation), and until now the patent holder has not enforced it. Does TechCo have a problem? That’s a “definite maybe". The choice is to just go ahead and see, or seek a license, which could well be denied and will definitely get the patent holder's attention.
Enforcing your patent in the courts is a nightmare. Plan on 3-5 years and $3-$5 million to get to a judgment. And then there is the appeal ... Usually the stakes and time frame will be too much for a start-up. One of my portfolio companies sued a big company for infringement, and the judge has ruled that infringement occurred, but there are many legal maneuvers available, and the litigation clock and meter tick on in year four. We think the big company wants to make a statement: "let this be a lesson to small companies that have the temerity to sue us for infringement ..." Patent litigation is the true sport of kings.
It costs $20k-$30k to file a final (“utility”) patent. Some small companies make dozens of filings, spending a good fraction of a million dollars. When might this investment pay off?
There are situations where patents pay off. Drugs are a good example. Drugs are based on unique molecules that sell mainly on technical merits: efficacy, side effects, etc. Once this data is in, most successful drug start-ups are bought by a big drug company that has sales and manufacturing capability and lots of lawyers. The patent is indeed the lynchpin of value.
In the information technology world, patents have the most value in the hands of big companies, as part of patent “portfolios” so large that any competitor is bound to infringe some of them. They use this weapon to attack competitors (usually smaller ones) that lack patent portfolios: e.g., the lawsuits against Google GOOG +0.28%’s Android operating system. To defend itself, Google acquired Motorola, which owned a large relevant patent portfolio. Now Google can counter-sue. The usual result among the big companies is a stand-off, reciprocal licensing, or a patent pool wherein the major competitors share their patents, and new entrants are out in the cold. Five of the top global producers of light emitting diodes, for example, have established a formidable patent pool.
So it’s true that patents will be worth something when a company is acquired, but in my experience the value here is often not large. E.g., a company that had about 100 patents, some of them significant, was sold recently. The offers received indicate that the value of the patents alone was on the order of $10 million: under $100,000 per patent, which pays for the lawyers but very little of the R&D.
Ironically, patents can have more value to “patent trolls” than to small operating companies. Patent trolls buy up patents and use them to extract royalties from operating companies that have infringed them. They don’t sell any products, so they are not vulnerable to counter-suits. Patent trolls have had some notable successes, e.g., the $800m settlement RIM paid in its heyday.
My suggestions for a small technology companies*:
Foreign Economic Zones these several decades of REAGAN/CLINTON created a human capital distribution system designed by global Wall Street with Johns Hopkins being tops in this industry. What happens when one or more nations begin these slave trades----more and more nations find people willing to sell, trade, capture, and enslave as indeed exists today. So, a criminal cartel like global Wall Street hires global criminal cartels to find people to bring to Foreign Economic Zones. Then those criminal cartels get the idea WE WILL BUILD OUR OWN GLOBAL FACTORIES TO ENSLAVE PEOPLE making KNOCK OFFS, local crafts, etc that then fill the global PORTS of ENTRY. More, women and children have been enslaved by CLINTON.BUSH/OBAMA then all the slave trades of colonial Americas----giving each other awards for being civil rights, women rights, labor rights leaders.
The point for US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones is this: those thinking global corporate campuses create jobs----are not thinking beyond today. They not only kill any ability to have a decent job---they kill any attempts to create any businesses outside of this global economy.
ALL WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT 'LABOR AND JUSTICE' PLAYERS KNOW THIS.
See why there are so many wars around Africa----this decade super-sized Foreign Economic Zone development in Africa---under Obama
East Africa: Eritrean Regime - Enslaving Its Own Citizens
By Zeray Hailemariam
For the last decades the tiny country called Eritrea earned the reputation of political instability and terrorism exporter into the Horn of Africa. Isayas Afworqi of Eritrea was regarded as brutal dictator. The senior officials of Eritrea have been accused of countless crimes against humanity both at their home and outside.
The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions twice on Eritrean officials for their belligerence of supporting terrorists and terrorism in Somalia and for their refusal to withdraw from the territory of Djibouti. It is to be recalled that the UN Human Rights Commission established an independent inquiry body to report back on the serious human rights violation being committed in Eritrea. It released its report last June which exposed summer of executions, death, genocidal against specific ethnic groups, raping against under-age girls, slavery, detentions over the last 20 years.
The report concluded that genocidal acts are in the making and suggested more investigation should be conducted. The inquiry commission is also conducting its investigation which are expected to make its final findings public next June of this year. Scholars made it abundantly clear that the officials of Eritrea will be brought into international courts if found guilty of the top human crime.
Following these, the regional organisation, IGAD, came up with another report exposing the involvement of senior officials of the Eritrean regime in human trafficking and smuggling activities through established international criminal networks.
The 39-page report entitled, "Human Smuggling and Trafficking on the Horn of Africa-Central Mediterranean Route" was made public February 19, 2016 during a consultation meeting organized by the new ISSP office, which was opened in Addis Ababa.
The Security Sector Programme (ISSP) of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has recently released a report finding exposing the involvement of Eritrean higher authorities in human trafficking and smuggling activities inside Eritrea and outside. The report conducted in collaboration with SAHAN Pathfinders in Policy and Practice based in Kenya has detailed on how human trafficking and smuggling activities are being conducted in the Horn of Africa.
The new report is summarized and presented to the Addis Ababa-based diplomats and the press by Matt Bryden, chairman of SAHAN. The report describes the illegal activities that are taking place from the Horn of Africa via Libya to Europe as a "dangerous and organized illicit trade" which has claiming thousands of innocent lives particularly from Eritrea. All Eritrean migrants fleeing the forced conscription of the regime in Asmara have been reportedly slaughtered, killed, dead on their way to Europe via Sudan, Egypt or Libya.
The IGAD report exposed that Eritrean senior officials typically arrange for transportation to Sudan or Ethiopia without any immigration procedures, adding some prominent Eritrean human smugglers appear to rely upon the services of Eritrean diplomats abroad.
Accordingly, human trafficking between the Horn of Africa and Europe is run by a 'sophisticated and integrated international networks that derive massive profits from the mass movement of thousands of migrants and refugees.' The principal smugglers and trafficking kingpins who dominate the central Mediterranean Route are predominantly Eritrean in nationality who reportedly collaborate with military generals, security officials.
The study claimed that there are two groups of migrants from Eritrea; those who fled Eritrea on their own and those who claim to have been assisted. Those travellers said that they have contacted facilitators in and outside Eritrea for a safe passage out of the country.
Some migrants are also reported to have obtained Eritrean ID cards and passports at the Eritrean embassy in Khartoum. The report identifies some of the key Eritrean nationals involved in smuggling and trafficking. Among them is an Eritrean individual known as John Habtu a.k.a. Obama, Jemal Saudi, Maesho Tesfamariam, Medhane Yehdego, Ermias Girmay, Wedi Isaq, Futsum, Awet Kidane and Habtom Merhay, who is indicted in the US in 2010 and pleaded guilty to having smuggled several "first-class" migrants from Eritrea. The other smuggler is a man by the name Efrem Misgna, who according the report has been arrested in Italy, usually serves as an escort for Eritrean government and party officials when they visit Europe. Efrem is seen escorting Yemane Gebrab in Sweden, senior government official, during the latter's visit to Stockholm in 2012.
"Human trafficking is an issue related to security that demands concerted efforts from members of the IGAD region and the international community" Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of ISSP, who chaired the meeting, said.
It was also reported that migrants risk abandonment in the desert, kidnapping for ransom by criminal gangs and abduction or execution by militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS). The attendees expressed the urgency and need for international collaboration to respond to the problem. Some even demanded the Security Council to pass a resolution against the officials and criminals involved in the smuggling.
This new report indicated that - in the same year - 154,000 migrants entered Europe which out of these 39,000 migrants are from Eritrea, which is the second smallest country in Africa.
Higher officials of the Isayas regime make the payments and providing passports to illegal migrants after receiving US dollars. They also provide military and security vehicles so that the migrants would not be checked in the checking points and borders which in return the migrants pay much US dollars.
For example, General Teklai Kifle aka 'Manjus' the commander of Eritrea's western zone, under arrest now, has been accused by previous UN investigation of collusion with Rashaida smuggling networks in eastern Sudan.
It has been reportedly said that most senior Eritrean have been collaborating with the human traffickers and smugglers to hasten hundreds of thousands people to flee. Unfortunately, most of them are vanished, killed, slaughtered and burnt on the way. Eritrea is the second largest refugee producing tiny nation next to the war-torn Syria in the world. It is said that one quarter of the refugees over flooding Europe comes from Eritrea. Several Eritreans have left their country with the help of human smugglers and senior officials.
The international community, EU, USA, AU and most importantly the UN Human Rights Commission and UNSC should take serious measures against the very regime which is playing an destructive role in in the Horn of Africa and enslaving its own citizens.
The CARLYLE GROUP IS THE LARGEST GLOBAL HEDGE FUND----IT IS BUSH/CLINTON AND WHERE MUCH OF THAT TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN WALL STREET FRAUD ENDED----here we see the global corporations now thinking they are central in building a Foreign Economic Zone---the same corporations that killed our US cities like Baltimore. These are the executive 5% to the 1% who could care less about life, liberty, justice----JUST SHOW THEM THE MONEY
'The Founding Board of the organization includes the CEOs and leaders of Ramsey Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Johns Hopkins University, Capital One Financial Corporation, Dominion Resources, MedImmune, S&R Foundation, WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, Under Armour, The Carlyle Group, McKinsey & Company, MedStar Health, T. Rowe Price, Rally Health, and EY. The Partnership will focus on the high impact drivers of the region’s economic growth including':
The #1 economic problem for Baltimore City has been these few decades of all Federal, state, and local revenue and funding being diverted to Wall Street Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins which made most of the above the global corporations and hedge funds they are today. Just getting rid of Wall Street Baltimore Development would allow Baltimore communities to rebuild their local economies and MOVE BACK TO BEING AN AMERICAN CITY WITH A STRONG, STABLE ECONOMY.
Greater Washington Partnership to Spur Regional Economic Growth
Business WireDecember 14, 2016WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
A group of leading CEOs and entrepreneurs today announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration for the Greater Washington region—from Baltimore to Richmond—to address the critical economic issues facing the region and ensure it remains one of the world’s best places to live, work and build a business. The new Greater Washington Partnership (Partnership) will advance inclusive, actionable solutions that strengthen the regional economy and position Greater Washington as a leading global region and center for commerce and innovation.
The Partnership brings together civic-minded business leaders who share a commitment to the future of Greater Washington. It draws from a cross-sector of leading industries including health care, life sciences, energy, manufacturing, professional services, education, sports & entertainment and financial services.
The Founding Board of the organization includes the CEOs and leaders of Ramsey Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Johns Hopkins University, Capital One Financial Corporation, Dominion Resources, MedImmune, S&R Foundation, WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, Under Armour, The Carlyle Group, McKinsey & Company, MedStar Health, T. Rowe Price, Rally Health, and EY. The Partnership will focus on the high impact drivers of the region’s economic growth including:
“Our region, from Baltimore to Richmond, has all the building blocks for success – great universities, thriving industry, iconic spaces, sports and culture,” said Ted Leonsis, Founder, Chairman, Majority Owner & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Vice Chairman of the Greater Washington Partnership. “We can be a model for super city-regions around the world by recognizing our region’s connectedness and making the smart decisions today that enable living and working here to be seamless.”
“Collaboration is essential to developing sustainable and regional economic solutions,” said Peter Scher, Chairman of the Washington, DC region for JPMorgan Chase and Vice Chairman of the Greater Washington Partnership. “Complex issues like infrastructure, workforce development and our region’s global identity cannot be solved by government or the nonprofit community alone. We believe business leaders in the region have a responsibility to their companies, employees and communities to invest in solutions that drive growth and create greater economic opportunity.”
Recent efforts, including the Washington 2024 Olympic bid, affirm both the need and an appetite for a more coordinated, regional approach to capturing economic opportunities. In its evaluation of regional economic performance, the Greater Washington Partnership found that several issues are impacting the region’s long-term competitiveness including:
“As the nation’s leading region for university research and development, it is critical for our region’s leaders to foster further collaboration to drive entrepreneurship,” said Ronald J. Daniels, President of the Johns Hopkins University. “The partnership will connect the impressive assets in the region to attract and retain top talent, promote regional economic development and support the communities where we live and work.”
Please take a moment to Google this article to see how this problem with receiving goods and services grows especially as global Wall Street states BRICK AND MORTAR stores take too much profit. The amount of taxpayer revenue now being devoted to these protections---of patents, of products, of corporate profits is ALL OF WHAT USED TO BE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY.
head of research
Daniele di Stefano
head of engineering
Social media and luxury goods counterfeit: a growing concern for government, industry
and consumers worldwide
Fake luxury items proliferating online
Bots and AI as tools for online illicit trade
In search of ‘legitimate’ sellers of counterfeit goods
Key stats and features of fake accounts
Profile keywords and posting techniques
IM apps as top communication tools
Fraud and counterfeit activities on the web
Top countries involved
Top counterfeit brands
Interesting data about botnets
Illicit posts and hashtag search
The need for advanced detection systems
A difficult law
enforcement issue for Instagram
Even with such level of complexity, this business structure reveals its weak spots. Of course, there is no way to
prevent the on-going production and sales of counterfeit goods, particularly within certain countries. A possible
solution is instead trying to intervene at the level of the local amplifiers, that is, social media platform and IM apps.
These entities should develop adequate technical filters, deploy human resources and provide better management.
Cyber-cops and smart policing are also needed. Users should be more aware and be careful in avoiding such scams.
In other words, we must set up a coordinated, global strategy including all various stakeholders.
Based on data and information explained above, this strategy should focus on some crucial key-points: developing
and applying specific detection technologies (including the promising blockchain options), based on a working
group similar to Facebook’s ThreatExchange; direct involvement of and open info-sharing among producers,
authorities, hi-tech companies, consumer associations and other pertinent organizations (maybe through an
international communication center); entrust think-tanks and experts to come up with ad hoc policies and broader
initiatives for the long term; introduce new ways to verify legitimate e
-commerce individuals and companies;
promote a broader user awareness on this issue with public campaigns and other initiatives, both online
and on the ground.
In conducting our research, we met with representatives of major fashion companies: they were very angry and
frustrated about this unstoppable trend of online counterfeiting and its related damages. We talked with different
organizations and even with some doctors: they have pointed out that the lack of control and bad quality of
cosmetics and other products is quite harmful to our health. Not to mention an overall loss of income for businesses
and taxes to state coffers, a general loss of jobs and long
-term problems for several industries –coupled with other
indirect damages to our societies, well beyond the internet
In studying this phenomenon, we managed to
highlight some new strategies of today’s online counterfeit world. We believe that these data can actually help
institutions and companies to implement a smarter operative model to prevent such trafficking, or at lest to
considerably curtail it. We cannot forget that, in many instances, this illegal market is a driving force for organized
crime, exploitation of children, and even financing of terrorism. As for other global challenges that are facing us,
this new surge of online counterfeit activity requires a comprehensive strategy and a cross-sector collaboration.
Sooner rather than later
If you think these few decades of Robber Baron pols moving tens of trillions of American wealth to the top took LYING, CHEATING, STEALING---NO MORALS, NO ETHICS, NO RULE OF LAW---- SMOOTH OPERATORS------wait until our US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones fill with the global rich and their global labor pool from developing nations steeped in corruption and fraud. What do you want to be little Johnny and Sallie when you grow up?
A SMOOTH OPERATOR!
Sade - Smooth Operator (Official Video)
Sade's official music video for 'Smooth Operator'. Click to listen to Sade on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/SadeSpotifyA?IQid=SadeSO As featured on The…
BUYER BEWAREBirkenstock says Amazon is rife with counterfeits: How to avoid getting suckered into buying them
The real deal. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender)
July 23, 2016Amazon has reportedly been battling a rising tide of fakes this year, ever since the company opened the door for Chinese manufacturers to sell directly to US consumers on its site.
The problem has become severe enough that Birkenstock, the iconic German sandal maker currently enjoying a surge in popularity, is pulling its products from Amazon, according to a memo obtained by CNBC from Birkenstock USA’s CEO. Evidently the company felt the fake sandals on the site, which sell for about $20 less than the real product, were hurting its brand, and it will tell shoppers that Birkenstock products on Amazon can’t be trusted to be authentic. (We’ve reached out to Birkenstock and Amazon for comment and will update this post with any new information.)
But Birkenstock is just one of countless companies whose products are on the site, and far from the only one targeted by counterfeiters. While Amazon doesn’t suffer from the same ubiquity of counterfeits as the Chinese online marketplace Taobao, shoppers should nonetheless be wary of what they’re purchasing.
To know what to look out for, Quartz spoke with Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations and communications at NetNames, a global brand protection firm. The company works with clients including Adidas, Hermés, Calvin Klein, GoPro, Microsoft, and others to identify when their brands are being counterfeited online and to get the products removed as quickly as possible.
Fuller says just about every brand is vulnerable to counterfeiting, but popular categories include footwear, clothing and accessories, and electronics. The bad news is that it can be near impossible to know for certain if something is fake based on its Amazon listing. The best you can do is figure out if something seems suspicious, and even then it could be authentic. Still, there are red flags to watch for, and they’re useful for avoiding counterfeits on other marketplaces, too.
Figure out who the seller isThe first page of results you get in an Amazon search shows the brand of an item, but not necessarily the seller. For that information, you have to go to the product page.
The seller’s name may appear in different places, such as somewhere beneath the price or in a bulleted product description slightly further down. For clothing and footwear, you often need to select a size before that information appears.
See where it says how many are left in stock? The seller is listed just beneath. (Screengrab from Amazon.com)The most trustworthy products are the ones that Amazon or the product manufacturer are selling directly, but many of the products for sale on Amazon’s marketplace are from third-party retailers. (A recent report by the digital research firm L2 found that 81% of the product listings for the 29 fashion brands it tracked were from third parties.)
Many legitimate retailers use Amazon to clear their excess inventory, so a third-party seller doesn’t necessarily mean the product is fake. It does mean, however, that you should take a closer look, especially if it’s a great deal.
If it’s a third-party seller, do your researchAmazon commingles its own inventory with that of third parties in its warehouses, so just because Amazon itself ships a third-party item doesn’t mean it’s definitely authentic. Fakes have been found (paywall) mixed with Amazon’s own warehouse inventory.
It’s no wonder fakes can slip into the inventory at Amazon’s warehouses. (Reuters/Dylan Martinez)That means it’s worth checking the seller’s Amazon profile, even if Amazon is shipping the product. The seller’s name on the product page will often be hyperlinked so you can see their reviews easily.
If you’re still uncertain, search their name online. You could find that it’s a legitimate retail shop. You may also find a seller by the same name on other online marketplaces. Fuller says it can be worth checking Amazon’s other sites, such as amazon.co.uk or amazon.de, to see if the seller is present there.
In every case, look at what other customers have said. It’s often the best—or only—source of feedback you have.
Bad reviews are trouble, but so are exceptionally good onesAny review complaining of a fake product is obviously a warning sign.
But it’s also concerning if the reviews are uniformly positive. In the normal course of things, “there will nearly always be one or two issues where people don’t give a 5-star rating, because people don’t like giving a 5-star rating,” Fuller explains. Lots of good reviews aren’t a problem, but reviews that exclusively positive and effusive in their praise suggest the reviews themselves could be fake.
It’s a common enough problem that there are guides to spotting fake reviews on Amazon, and Amazon has even sued sellers over the practice.
And if the reviews are fake, you should probably be suspicious of the product as well.
Check if the product photos are originalIt’s good practice to examine product photos for signs that an item is fake. Online guides also exist for what to look for in certain items, such as Persol sunglasses, to determine authenticity. But as in online dating, images can be deceptive. “Obviously images can be copied from elsewhere,” Fuller says.
One trick he recommends is to download one or more of the images for the product you’re unsure about, and then use Google’s reverse image search, which looks for instances of an image online and others that are visually similar. The results can reveal whether the photos were taken from another site.
If they were, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product is counterfeit. The seller may have used an image to list the product without having to take their own photos. It’s not a great practice, but it can happen.
The safest route in that case is to contact the seller and ask for more information or original photos if possible. Amazon has a button to contact a seller on their profile page, and sometimes sellers will list their direct contact information as well. If they won’t provide their own photos, you may be better off looking for the item elsewhere.
If it’s too good to be true…“My favorite saying is: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” Fuller says. He cautions that we always need to be a little wary when shopping a big marketplace such as Amazon, which simply can’t police every single listing.
“If you look at, for example, the Birkenstock case, where people are selling items for 20% less than retail, I would be wary of that,” he says. “If it was being supplied directly by Amazon, they could be potentially doing a special offer. But if it was a private seller, and they were selling in quantity, that would be a concern for me.”
Most third parties on Amazon aren’t selling in bulk, which makes it tougher to spot counterfeits. It’s immediately fishy when a vendor on a site such as Taobao is offering, say, 500 pairs of Nikes far below retail price. Because of how the Amazon marketplace works, however, it’s less clear if the seller is just a normal retailer moving most items one at a time.
Inspect your purchaseDespite your best efforts before buying, there is no guarantee you’ll catch a fake. “If an individual seller is listing something, unless there is any type of test purchase or any type of genuine visuals of the item, it’s actually quite difficult to determine,” Fuller says.
The only surefire way to know is to examine the item itself. It’s the first thing you should do when receiving a product from an unfamiliar seller, particularly if the product was shipped from a country where counterfeits are common. Those are typically poorer countries with lots of low-cost manufacturing. A video on YouTube, for instance, describes Apple earbuds bought off Amazon that arrived from China and turned out to be fake.
Even up close, fakes can be hard to distinguish from the real thing. People frequently post videos on YouTube comparing what they say are real products and very convincing fakes.
Still, counterfeits are rarely made as well as the authentic product, so if an item doesn’t meet the standards of the manufacturer’s other products, you should be suspicious. Check the tags on the item too. Typos, misspellings, and poor printing are warning signs of a possible fake.
You should also look at the packaging. New products should come in the manufacturer’s packaging, and include whatever manuals or other printed materials you would normally expect with the product. Though they can be faked, too. Typos, misspellings, and misprints are signs to watch for.
If you do find that you’ve purchased a counterfeit item, contact the seller and Amazon immediately. And don’t keep it to yourself. Fakes hurt shoppers, the brands they knock off, and Amazon. User reviews—real ones—are vital to keeping a marketplace healthy.
We will segue this week into public policy surrounding holiday practices looking at labor and justice. When I hear US citizens black, white, or brown say history isn't important-----oh, that is white history or brown history or black history and does not pertain to me-----THE GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2% HAVE BEEN AT THIS GLOBAL MARKET ENRICHMENT FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS LYING, CHEATING, AND STEALING FROM ASIAN, AFRICAN, LATIN AMERICAN, EUROPEAN, AND AMERICAN CITIZENS. If WE THE PEOPLE do not know what colonization and enslavement looked like a thousand years ago------several centuries ago----WE WILL NOT RECOGNIZE IT COMING BACK---AND IT ALWAYS DOES. That global 1% and their 2% are black, brown, and white----we must know from where they all are coming.
I'M NOT A ROCKET SCIENTIST I SIMPLY SPEND A FEW HOURS EACH DAY READING BROADLY ALL PUBLIC POLICY JOURNALS ACROSS ALL POLITICAL STANCES.
I posted what may be a complicated article for public policy beginners but labor and justice knows these concepts.......
KEYNESIAN VS NEO-LIBERAL/LAISSEZ FAIRE ECONOMICS.
Our American Founding Fathers fought a Revolutionary War to get away from EMPIRE-BUILDING LAISSEZ-FAIRE LIBERAL ECONOMICS-----and installed what was for centuries in the US a KEYNSIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC economics. Labor and justice thrived under Keynsian economics and are enslaved under EMPIRE-BUILDING LAISSEZ-FAIRE.
CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA ARE DESPERATE TO NOT RETURN TO KEYNSIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY GOING SO FAR AS TO RIG ELECTIONS IN THE US.
MAKING PUBLIC POLICY OUT OF EVERYTHING IS WHAT WE DO----WE THE PEOPLE have seen first hand how far-right, authoritarian, Libertarian extreme wealth and extreme poverty can CHANGE OVERNIGHT!
GET RID OF THESE GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS!
'What matters from the Keynesian perspective, however, is not so much Scrooge’s new-found generosity to the gentleman who had solicited him earlier on behalf of the poor but his extravagance in spending his own money. Not only does he have the little fellow standing outside his window fetch the poulterer’s man with the prize turkey but he also promises him half a crown if he returns with the man in five minutes. Scrooge is suddenly willing to pay two and a half shillings to a boy for five minutes’ work, which is what Bob Cratchit, working six days a week, was paid for a whole day’s labor. On top of that, Scrooge is eager to send the poulterer’s man with the turkey by cab to Camden Town, more than five miles from the City of London, in order to deliver the turkey to the Cratchit family. So, while we don’t learn how much Bob Cratchit’s new, increased salary will be, we do recognize that Scrooge is quickly learning how to take pleasure in spending his money and is doing so in high style.
"The Primitive Keynesianism of Dickens's A Christmas Carol" was originally published in vol.30, Studies in the Literary Imagination,no.1(1997):pp.51-66
The primitive Keynesianism of Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol'Lee Erickson 18 December 2009
The traditional interpretation of Scrooge is of an avaricious miser graced by visitations which convert him into an enthusiast for Christmas. But from a Keynesian point of view, Scrooge is a hoarder with an obsession for maintaining almost complete liquidity in deflationary times like the early 1840’s. Even then, Dickens recognised the problem and understood the cure…I.
Dickens’s description of Scrooge bespeaks distasteful personal experience with money-lenders. We know from the first pages that Scrooge is the most cold-hearted of penny-pinchers: “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone. Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” Further, although Scrooge has inherited a fortune as Jacob Marley’s business partner and sole surviving heir, he is still living in Marley’s old chambers in a building where all the other rooms are being rented as commercial offices and where a wine merchant has stored his casks in the cellars. Scrooge has changed nothing about the rooms, added nothing to them, and spends almost nothing on his own creature comforts. He has only a low fire for himself on a bitter winter night and takes only gruel for his cold. Further, as we later discover, his scavenged belongings would bring only a few shillings and pence from the rag-and-bone shop man. Indeed, although Scrooge is a rich man, he has spent almost nothing of his wealth but instead apparently has hoarded his money as liquid capital for his firm, which has a place on the Royal Exchange and evidently handles foreign exchange and discount bills. That is, he deals in private and commercial credit.
His financial practice is represented by the “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel” that weigh down old Marley’s Ghost, and which the Ghost says are also weighing down Scrooge. To remain financially sound, Scrooge has remained extremely liquid so as to have cash and to meet any bill presented to him for immediate payment. However, as John Maynard Keynes remarks in his General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, ”of the maxims of orthodox finance none, surely, is more anti-social than the fetish of liquidity”. The worst thing an individual can do in financial crises and the thing that, according to Keynes, has the most “disastrous, cumulative, and far-reaching repercussions” is not to spend one’s income on either investment or consumption, but to hoard it, as Scrooge has done, under lock and key.
As Scrooge’s fiancée Belle rightly points out, the psychological motivation for Scrooge’s economic behaviour is fear. In releasing him from their engagement, she tells him that, “You fear the world too much” and that, “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach”. In particular, Scrooge worries about losing his reputation for being a financially sound businessman. In this regard, like others of his time, Scrooge feared not just the Sprit of Christmas Yet to Come but the financial future, which seemed likely in the deflationary moment of December 1843 to be very bleak. On Tuesday, December 19, 1843, the day that A Christmas Carol appeared… the prices of goods in England had been falling for the past four years and had fallen during that time a total of 22.72 percent. During this period, the rate of deflation had thus been 5.68 percent a year; and, in particular, retrospective price indexes show that prices had fallen and the purchasing power of a pound had risen by five-and-a-half percent from the end of 1842 to the end of 1843. As a consequence, those with income in excess of their needs were spending no more at present than they had to spend, since they expected that tomorrow their pounds would likely buy more. Further, demand for borrowed money was historically low since most businessmen feared that they would not only have to pay back their debts in more valuable pounds but also that the demand for goods would continue to decline and reduce the return on any new investment…
By thinking that things will get worse, Scrooge has profited in the declining market that has prevailed since Marley’s death seven years before on Christmas Eve, in 1836. Indeed, his constant discovery that every pleasant thing is “humbug” represents his immediate discounting of any present pleasure against future pain. This general fear of the future felt by the English financial markets in 1843, and especially by Scrooge, is symbolically transmuted by the Ghost of Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas, who, like the Fates, offer progressively more frightening consequences of not spending one’s money and who allow Scrooge to imagine a fate worse than his own bankruptcy and death.
In this atmosphere of business pessimism, there were more goods being produced than there was effective demand to consume those goods. As the Spirit of Christmas present shows Scrooge, the stores and shops are overflowing with good things to eat on Christmas Day:
“The poulterer’s shops were still half open, and the fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.”
The very amplification of Dickens’s catalogue attests to the abundance available, even begging, to be consumed. Indeed, the English were ironically in the midst of a Malthusian glut or what Carlyle, writing in Past and Present also in 1843, accurately identified as “over-production”. And, of course, when Scrooge awakens from his visions on Christmas Day, the large prize turkey is still hanging in the local poulterer’s shop and has not yet been purchased by anyone. However, as we are shown by the Spirit of Christmas Present, the Cratchits, who only have Mr.Cratchit’s fifteen shillings a week and the prospect of a position paying five shillings and sixpence a week for the young Master Peter Cratchit, must make do at their Christmas dinner with a greasy goose “eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes”, a small pudding “like a speckled cannon-ball,” followed by apples and oranges and “a shovel–full of chestnuts on the fire”...
If the Bob Cratchits of England cannot possibly afford to buy the prize turkeys in the local shops, those with incomes like Scrooge can. For this reason, A Christmas Carol in both its message and its physical appearance as a book was aimed at wealthy readers and sought to create an atmosphere of cheerful consumption. As Keynes remarks, in his proposal for curing the crises of confidence which afflict the economic life of the modern world, “a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectation, whether moral or hedonistic or economic”. Scrooge obviously is in accord with Keynes’ thinking, for as he wakes up from the visitation of the Christmas Spirits (and I can’t help but think here of Alastair Sim playing the role in the 1951 film, A Christmas Carol) he declares, “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am merry as a schoolboy. I am giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”. Scrooge’s transformation is also signalled by the bubbling over of his sudden access of good humour after he has impulsively and extravagantly spent his money and has ordered the cab to Camden Town: “The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried”. It is certainly the impulsive, spontaneous character of Scrooge’s new beneficence that Dickens emphasises.
Dickens explicitly counters the gloomy Malthusianism that had previously informed Scrooge’s first response to the gentlemen raising charitable donations: “If they would rather die… they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”. Dickens’s vision of the Cratchits’ Christmas dinner imagines a humanity quite different from the one portrayed in the following extraordinary and controversial passage from the 1803 edition of Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population:
“A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents, on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour, has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has no business to be where he is. At nature’s mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own orders, if he do not work upon the compassion of some of her guests. If these guests get up and make room for him, other intruders immediately appear demanding the same favour. The report of a provision for all that come, fills the hall with numerous claimants. The order and harmony of the feast is disturbed; the plenty that before reigned is changed into scarcity; and the happiness of the guests is destroyed by the spectacle of misery and dependence in every part of the hall, and by the clamorous importunity of those, who are justly enraged at not finding the provision which they had been taught to expect. The guests learn too late their error, in counteracting those strict orders against all intruders, issued by the great mistress of the feast, who, wishing that her guests should have plenty, and knowing that she could not provide for unlimited numbers, humanely refused to admit fresh comers when her table was already full.”
Such a remorselessly self-righteous vision has no place for those like Tiny Tim who is a “fresh comer” at a full table and who is likely, as the Spirit of Christmas Present tells Scrooge , to be hurried away to the grave. In just this spirit, William Bridges Adams, a noted railway inventor, reviewing Henry Hengist Horne’s New Spirit of the Age (1844) for the Westminster Review, sneered in passing at Dickens’s Christmas Carol:
“ A great part of the enjoyments of life are summed up in eating and drinking at the cost of munificent patrons of the poor; so that we might almost suppose the feudal times were returned. The processes whereby poor men are to be enabled to earn good wages, wherewith to buy turkeys for themselves, does not enter into the account; indeed, it would quite spoil the dénouement and all the generosity. Who went without turkey and punch in order that Bob Cratchit might get them – for, unless there were turkey and punch in surplus, some one must go without – is a disagreeable reflection kept wholly out of sight.”
Adams explicitly recalls Malthus’s logic that for every person eating there must be someone starving and that the demand for goods far outstrips both the supply of those goods and the ability to pay for them. Further, as a sceptical representative of the dismal science of political economy, Adams clearly cannot imagine that either turkeys or punch could ever exist in surplus or that consumer demand might ever be in need of stimulation.
Ironically, in Dickens’s world everyone is potentially a beggar at “nature’s mighty feast”, for even Scrooge finds that he must ask to be admitted to his nephew’s Christmas dinner. Scrooge, who felt that the prisons, Union work-houses, Treadmill and Poor Law furnished sufficient “Christmas cheer of mind or body to the multitude”, is soon lectured to by the Ghost of Christmas Present about his own possible worthlessness in heavenly eyes:
‘ “ Man,” said the Ghost,” if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! To hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”’
The man with more money is cautioned against thinking of himself as much more than “the Insect on the leaf,” which fortunately has food and by pure chance lives above “his hungry brothers in the dust.” To think that one’s good fortune somehow gives one the right to decide whether someone else has the right to live or die is to Dickens obviously morally wrong.
Victorian readers and hearers of A Christmas Carol found irresistible its message to eat well at Christmas and to invite others to do so. Perhaps the best-known reaction to A Christmas Carol is that of Thomas Carlyle. Jane Welsh Carlyle, in a letter to Jeannie Welsh of December 28, 1843, tells how after her husband had read the presentation copy that Dickens had sent him earlier in December, he was inspired to hold a series of dinners:
“A huge boxful of dead animals from the Welshman [Mr.Redwood] arriving late on Saturday night together with the visions of Scrooge – has so worked on Carlyle’s nervous organisation that he had been seized with a perfect convulsion of hospitality, and has actually insisted on improvising two dinner parties with only a day between – Now the Improvisation of dinner parties is all very well for the parties that eat them, simply, but for those who have to organise them and help to cook them, c’est autre chose ma chere! I do not remember that I have ever sustained a moment of greater embarrassment in life than yesterday when Helen [her cook] suggested to me that “I had better stuff the Turkey – as she had forgotten all about it”! I had never known “about it”!
But rather than admit her ignorance to her servant, Mrs. Carlyle then triumphantly recalls her success: “I proceeded to stuff the Turkey… ‘Fortune favours the brave’ – the stuffing proved pleasanter to the taste than any stuffing I ever remember to have eaten – perhaps it was made with quite new ingredients! – I do not know!” Perhaps thinking of Carlyle, Thackeray, at the end of his February 1844 review in Fraser’s Magazine of A Christmas Carol, comments on the story’s effect upon its readers:
“A Scotch philosopher, who nationally does not keep Christmas-day, on reading the book, sent out for a turkey, and asked two friends to dine – this is a fact! Had the book appeared a fortnight earlier, all the prize cattle would have been gobbled up in pure love and friendship, Epping denuded of sausages, and not a turkey left in Norfolk. His royal highness’s fat stock would have fetched unheard-of prices, and Alderman Bannister would have been tired of slaying. But there is a Christmas for 1844, too; the book will be as early then as now, and so let speculators look out.”
There is also an especially touching instance of a New England manufacturer who, after hearing Dickens read the story in Boston on Christmas Eve in 1867, gave his employees the next day off and beginning the next year gave all his employees a Christmas turkey. No doubt, many others were similarly inspired.
What matters from the Keynesian perspective, however, is not so much Scrooge’s new-found generosity to the gentleman who had solicited him earlier on behalf of the poor but his extravagance in spending his own money. Not only does he have the little fellow standing outside his window fetch the poulterer’s man with the prize turkey but he also promises him half a crown if he returns with the man in five minutes. Scrooge is suddenly willing to pay two and a half shillings to a boy for five minutes’ work, which is what Bob Cratchit, working six days a week, was paid for a whole day’s labor. On top of that, Scrooge is eager to send the poulterer’s man with the turkey by cab to Camden Town, more than five miles from the City of London, in order to deliver the turkey to the Cratchit family. So, while we don’t learn how much Bob Cratchit’s new, increased salary will be, we do recognize that Scrooge is quickly learning how to take pleasure in spending his money and is doing so in high style.
The #1 issue in the US for labor and justice-----PROTESTING AND CLOSING NEO-LIBERAL ECONOMICS AT UNIVERSITIES -----and creating media outlets promoting what for me is a successful Keynesian social capitalism.
Here is the problem for WE THE PEOPLE-----this video shows US citizens confusing the issue of OBAMA BEING FROM KENYA-----with Keynesian economics. This title suggests Obama is a KEYNESIAN as national media has these several years but Obama was always HAYEK/LEO STRAUSS LAISSEZ-FAIRE the opposite of Keynesian. CLINTON/OBAMA were sold as Keynesian because they allowed MASSIVE LOOTING OF OUR US TREASURIES AND DIRECTED THOSE TRILLIONS TO A SELECTED FEW GLOBAL RICH. We see government intervention into the US economy but it has nothing to do with KEYNESIAN stimulus----it is GLOBAL LAISSEZ-FAIRE because all of that US Treasury money went to global 1% and their 2%.
HAYEK MEETS LEO STRAUSS GIVES US CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA.
FDR and NEW DEAL social democracy was called Keynesian because the Federal stimulus went to rebuilding our US economy creating conditions for American consumers to have money in their pockets for consuming American-made products. That is supply and demand and any citizen qualifying for a small business loan----hired by government projects were assured that ability to accumulate wealth and were encouraged to spend by being able to own homes----by cars-----go on vacations. Government stimulus back then did not go to corporations because---- the US after the 1929 economic crash needed to rebuild a REAL FREE MARKET by growing business competition.
Obama had no intention of using Federal money for US free market growth----he was sending that money to global 1% and their 2% in crony, corrupt, and selective enrichment. That is HAYEK AND LAISSEZ-FAIRE.
Obama Is Not A Keynesian, He's An American!
Uploaded on Nov 4, 2010A few people from the stewart/colbert rally letting the reporter know that they dont think President Obama is a KEYNESIAN.
Taking Hayek Seriously
influence: Barack Obama is the #1 Hayekian in the World
Posted on March 1, 2009 by Greg Ransom
Ask your average economist what Friedrich Hayek’s central claims in economics are — the claims that made Hayek the most controversial economist in the world over the last 100 years — and the likely answer will be: 1) Hayek claimed that the market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production; and 2) that there is a connection between the freedom of the marketplace and freedom more generally. The first of these in the economics literature is often called “The Hayek Hypothesis”. The second claim is sometimes referred to as “The Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis”.
These have been massively controversial and contested claims. But the current President of the United States, Barack Obama, is a believer in both, as Obama confessed to New York Times reporter David Leonhardt on Aug. 20, 2008: “The market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production. And I also think that there is a connection between the freedom of the marketplace and freedom more generally.”
How did Obama come by his understanding and belief in the Hayek Hypothesis and the Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis? Well, no doubt in part because Obama was reading Hayek and Friedman in the 1980s. Indeed, one of Obama’s closest intellectual associates is Hayek quoting U. of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, now a member of the Obama administration. And another is Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, who explains his understanding of economics this way: “What’s the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today? What I tried to leave my students with is the view that the invisible hand is more powerful than the [un]hidden hand. Things will happen in well-organized efforts without direction, controls, plans. That’s the consensus among economists. That’s the Hayek legacy”.
No matter what you might think about the unfolding of contemporary political events, the world isn’t what is was in the 1930s and 1940s when the “Hayek Hypothesis” and the “Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis” stood as a shocking challenge to mainstream “progressive” thinking. As historian Alan Brinkley points out, the intellectual environment shifted decisively soon after the publication of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, even if it took decades for for “mainstream” economists — such as Paul Samuelson — to finally “get it”, and although it must be admitted that a few — such as Robert Heilbroner — never quite did. We are no longer living in the 1930s. And we shouldn’t pretend that we are.
And finally, it should be noted that the great intellectual “hero” of the 1930s — John Maynard Keynes — didn’t believe in either the Hayek Hypothesis or the Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis, as Roger Garrison and Ralph Raico explain. So for all the talk of “going back to Keynes” the talk in its most important sense is mere fantasy — we can’t go back again because it is impossible for us once again to be as economically and as politically naive as was John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s.
The right wing Republicans and then far-right Bush neo-cons HATED Keynesian economics because it lifted all boats and allowed WE THE PEOPLE accumulate wealth to be that consumer that drove the most successful US economy ---and indeed the best economy in world history. Right wing corporatists did not like Keynsian because it took control of the economy away from global Wall Street and corporations and kept US economy stable and free market small business, regional businesses strong competing against corporations for market share---TAKING ALL THAT PROFIT FROM THOSE NASTY GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2%.
THAT IS THE ONLY REASON CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA REPRESENTING THE GLOBAL RICH HATED OUR SOCIAL DEMOCRACY.
'And finally, it should be noted that the great intellectual “hero” of the 1930s — John Maynard Keynes — didn’t believe in either the Hayek Hypothesis or the Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis, as Roger Garrison and Ralph Raico explain. So for all the talk of “going back to Keynes” the talk in its most important sense is mere fantasy — we can’t go back again because it is impossible for us once again to be as economically and as politically naive as was John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s'.
While government intervention prohibited another Wall STreet fraud from bubbles and bust economic enrichment of a few-----all those local economies across the US kept corporations from creating economic stagnation and workers were able to accumulate wealth not caring if corporations came or went. Keynesian economics KEPT WALL STREET PLAYERS FROM USING OUR ECONOMY FOR BOOM BUST SELECTIVE ENRICHMENT----and it created structures to assure oversight and accountability of our economy stopping further economic disruptions for several decades......until CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA brought back LAISSEZ-FAIRE turning government revenue funding into GLOBAL WALL STREET AND GLOBAL CORPORATE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION.
IT WAS THE LAISSEZ-FAIRE HAYEK/LEO STRAUSS THAT KILLED OUR US ECONOMY NOT KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS.
Keynesian Economics Explained: What is it? How is it Implemented? Why doesn’t it Work?
May 16, 2014 by John-Pierre Maeli 1 Comment
I’ll be frank with you… many Americans are downright pathetic when it comes to economics.
They don’t know much, if anything about how the economy works. And it’s a problem you and I are having to deal with today.
Politicians, economists, and misguided hippies think they can throw money at the economy to fix it. But it doesn’t work that way.
It might work when you’re planting a “victory garden.” You can spread the seeds anyway you like. You can even sprinkle water like a drunk Russian spilling his vodka all over the pavement.
It’s a garden. How bad can it get?
But that’s not how the economy works.
However, John Maynard Keynes would say otherwise. His economic theories have influenced politicians ever since the Great Depression, regardless of party affiliation.
And the US is still feeling the effects of Keynesian policies to this day.
This is why it’s necessary for you to understand what Keynesian Economics is.
What is Keynesian Economics?
I can go at this two ways. One from a strictly economic theory viewpoint, or one from a policy standpoint. I’ll be focusing mostly on the policy side of things. It’s easier to see the ramifications, not to mention understand it.
Simply put, Keynesian economics is the idea that the Free Market can be tweaked through government intervention. This “tweaking” translates into pumping money into the economy 90% of the time. It’s important to know that Keynes’s economic theory doesn’t consist solely of deficit spending.
The main themes behind John Maynard Keynes’s economic theory are that…
Lowering taxes, removing government regulations and reducing government spending are the typical responses taken by classical economists. Increased deficit spending, taxes, regulations and government control in the market are the typical Keynesian responses.
Keynesian Economics then, is the excessive use of the government to fix the economy. It believes that the state can remedy the ills of the market.
Why Doesn’t it Work?
Deficit spending is a big part of how Keynesian economics is used in the US and other nations.
What is deficit spending?
Well, it’s when the government borrows and spends a ton of money. This money is directed into public sector and welfare programs that are meant to raise consumer spending. You can’t spend money if you don’t have a job.
To Keynes, unemployment was a problem that the government had to fix. The best way to fix it is by hiring unemployed Americans. Who hires these people? The government does.
Now here’s the fun part…
The government pays these new employees right?
Where do they get the money to pay them?
From taxes on products, businesses, income, etc.
What do these once unemployed government employees use to buy their goods?
They use their government paychecks (aka taxpayer money).
You smell where I’m stepping?
The reason why deficit spending doesn’t work is because it’s a circular cycle. Here’s what I mean…
It’s like if your friend took a twenty dollar from you, waited a few hours, and then gave it back to you after you cut his grass.
Did you earn anything back? You had the exact same amount of money in the beginning.
taxing the employed so the gov. can fix highways that didn’t need fixing.
This is the essence of Keynesian Economics. The government gets its revenue from Americans through taxes. You have to raise taxes and borrow to do deficit spending. That means there’s less money in the private sector. Later on, the government gives it back, saying it’s “stimulus.”
But in reality, they’re handing you back money you already had before they taxed you.
The only stimulus that’s happening is to the coffers of the state and politicians.
Why the State Can’t Create Demand
One factor of Keynes’s belief is that low spending, coupled with a low demand for goods and services, causes unemployment in economies (especially in recessions).
His answer to this is to use government policies to create demand, or at least increase it.
This is a gross misunderstanding of how the market works.
The government can’t control market forces. Whenever it tries, it fails miserably. Corruption and monopolies ensue, as do price hikes and unemployment.
Ever heard of the Invisible Hand of the market theory? It says that there’s an invisible force that guides market actions and keeps everything in working order. This isn’t some weird cultish spiritual doctrine. It’s the principle that the market can self-regulate itself without outside forces (i.e. the state) intervening.
You can’t control that. It’s not possible.
Where the gov. tries to control the market, corruption & waste occur. Creating or boosting demand means that you’re going against the natural flow of the market. You’re fighting the consumers’ power by saying they should want a specific product more than they do.
Why Government Jobs Are a Lie
Keynesian economics claims that it can fix high unemployment through government work programs. Either the government hires workers directly, or they hire them indirectly (building highways, dams, etc).
How does the government fund these job creation programs?
They can do it by taxing, borrowing, and printing money. All three choices hurt the economy one way or another.
However, the prevailing wage has come to be known as the union wage. Union wages are routinely viewed as the best in a community and are routinely adopted for government work projects.
As you know, unions aren’t known for their low wage standards. As a result, public work programs are paying their laborers jacked up salaries that go against supply and demand laws.
The high wage job that’s created replaces low wage jobs in the area. As always government jobs kill private sector jobs.
Also, most of the money allocated toward public work programs don’t go to pay laborers. The majority of it pays administration fees.
The federal government’s own Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported that during the 1970s only 2 per cent of all the money allocated for local public works programs went to persons previously unemployed. Much of the money apparently went to “the lawyers, accountants, engineers, and consultants” brought in to plan the programs and to workers already employed. [emphasis added]
Why can’t the government create jobs? Because it takes money from the private sector and uses it to pay hiked up wages and government employees who enjoy comfy jobs.
Two Popular Examples of Keynes’s Economics at Work
I could name several examples of Keynesian economic policies at work. But for time reasons, I’ll leave you with two specific real world pictures of it at work. The first is the New Deal, and the second is the recent stimulus packages.
Why is the New Deal the first example?
The New Deal was one of the first large scale stimulus programs in American history. You could argue that it legitimatized deficit spending in American politics.
Between the NRA allowing companies to create monopolies propped up with government force. To the AAA totally messing up the agricultural industry. All the way to CPA and WPA programs putting Americans to work building dams, roads, sewers and the like.
The New Deal spent money the US didn’t have to fix a problem they had no business in.
At the core of the New Deal was the belief that the government could solve the spending, manufacturing, and unemployment problems the US was facing.
Put Americans to work with government programs. Bring spending up by allowing businesses to raise prices and wages, while cutting supply. Stop farmers from overproducing by paying them to not grow crops and destroy sections of their crops and livestock.
Why is the New Deal a perfect example of Keynesian economics at work?
Because it used massive deficit spending measures to pump the economy back to life.
Why are the recent stimulus packages the second example?
Yes, there have been several stimulus programs over the past few years. In 2008, Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act, costing around $152 billion. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed in 2009, and will cost over 831 billion between 2009 and 2019.
Another stimulus package is being pushed by Obama. It would cost around $302 billion and would include a $600 million grant program to create jobs rebuilding infrastructure.
Deficit spending (these costs are being added to the debt), job creation programs, and private corporations being given government aid to stay alive (too big to fail).
This is Keynesian economics in action.
Stop gov. stimulus and let the “too big to fail” businesses fail. Say no to Keynesian Economics.
Believing that Keynesian economics works is the wider of the two paths. It’s the easier one to walk on.
It doesn’t take much faith to stick to and trust.
The narrower path is believing in the Free Market. It’ll work itself out.
However, if you’re feeling like screwing things up then government intervention is the way to go.
Keynesian economics is the art of control. You’re trying to control the market through government programs and money pumping. You’re trying to take matters into your hands. You think you can tweak the economy.
Well, you’d be wrong.
You can’t control, manage, or tweak the market.
You can’t do it with government regulations, stimulus, or agencies. You can’t do it, period.
This is the ultimate failure of Keynes’s theory. He thought he could mold the market into something better by way of government interference.
It's no coincidence that this article is written by someone interested in small business------Laissez-faire kills free market for the 99%. If FDR social Democratic Keynesian economics were allowed to continue without CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA we would have seen more and more US citizens lifted----less and less use of Federal safety net programs-----we would have needed less and less government intervention BECAUSE our US economy would really have been FREE MARKET, STABLE, AND HEALTHY. That is why CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA were desperate to bring the US economy down ------they did not want this social Democratic KEYNESIAN economic model to SUCCEED.
Hayek/Leo Strauss are the neo-liberal/neo-conservative laissez-faire economists wanting that empire-building, accumulating wealth anyway you can LAISSEZ-FAIRE back in Europe and the US. It was Leo Strauss who said----TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR----THEN DO WHAT GLOBAL WALL STREET SAYS. This gave us CLINTON/BUSH PRETENDING to be left social democratic or right conservative Republican when they were both global 1% and their 2% extreme wealth and extreme poverty.
It was CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA that made Federal spending especially on social safety nets soar these few decades because they were defrauding these programs by the hundreds of billions----that is not Keynesian----that is LAISSEZ-FAIRE.
by Angie Mohr
British economist, John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) wrote his seminal "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" in 1935. This book has been the cornerstone of economic practice for many countries, including the United States, for decades. Keynes believed that government should manage consumer demand through policy and taxation, thereby avoiding inflation and unemployment, the results of too much and too little demand, respectively. Keynesian economics has several positive outcomes.
Higher Employment Levels
In recessionary periods, employment drops off and unemployment rates soar as businesses cut back on the size of their workforce. Lack of employment then decreases consumer demand for products and services as families tighten their belt. Thus, a dangerous downward spiral is created. When the government steps in to financially stimulate businesses, those companies begin to hire once again. When the government invests in public works projects, they directly increase employment. With both methods, the downward spiral is halted.
Stabilization of the Banking Industry
As witnessed during the 2008 to 2009 recession, instability in the American economy led to banks and other lending institutions tightening up on lending. Without access to funding, small business start-up and growth halted, and the real estate industry suffered as mortgages were difficult to obtain. When the government steps in to guarantee loans, lenders are more confident in providing the capital needed in both the business and consumer markets.
Tighter Control on Government Spending
While Keynesian theory allows for increased government spending during recessionary times, it also calls for government restraint in a rapidly growing economy. This prevents the increase in demand that spurs inflation. It also forces the government to cut deficits and save for the next down cycle in the economy.
New Tools to Monitor a Country's Economic Output
One of Keynes' goals was to be able to monitor the total economic output of a country, an action that, at that time, had not yet been done in America or England. Keynes developed the precursor to the Gross National Product, in which the health of the economy can be measured by its production versus its capacity. By understanding and measuring these indicators, a government is better able to predict recessionary and inflationary cycles, and is thus better equipped to step in early to intervene in negative situations.
Moderation of Interest Rates
In an overly-stimulated economic cycle, the demand for loans to increase consumption and investment outstrips lenders' abilities to provide them. This causes increases in interest rates, fueling inflation. Under Keynesian theory, government spending in such a market is curtailed, lowering the overall demand for loans and cooling off interest rates and, ultimately, inflation.
Below we see the REAGAN/CLINTON era installation of LAISSEZ-FAIRE NEO-LIBERALISM ECONOMICS around the world---Asia, Latin America, US-----I showed how Latin America was as devastated by these decades of massive frauds and government corruption with extreme wealth for 1% and their 2%....that occurred because of the policies below-----all of this dismantled social democracy breaking down all public sector oversight and accountability ---outsourcing all that is public and then allowing systemic fraud and corruption -----MANIPULATION OF INTEREST RATES AND INFLATION DATA hiding real inflation and unemployment to justify zero interest rates for the corporations and rich. This is exactly what Clinton/Bush/Obama did here in the US with the US FED committing systemic Wall Street fraud from Greenspan to Bernanke---now Yellen. THIS IS ALL LAISSEZ-FAIRE ----and all the policies below dismantled our KEYNESIAN economic policies that created stable economies, free markets, and broad wealth distribution.
FUGIMORI was simply installed to be that Clinton/Blair/de Silva--------pretending to bring left social policy while always intending to install World Bank/IMF policies deliberately moving all wealth of each nation to those global 1% and their 2%.
THE CONGRESSIONAL POLS FROM CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA WERE ROBBER BARON POLS KNOWING THEY WERE KILLING AMERICA AND ITS PEOPLE.
'However, many do not attribute the Fujishock to Fujimori. In the 1980s, the IMF created a plan for South American economies called the Washington Consensus.
The document, written by John Williamson in 1990, consists of ten measures that would lead to a healthy economic policy. Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) caused the Peruvian government to follow the guidelines set by the international finance community. The ten points were:
Reordering of public expenditure
Tax reform (Broadening)
Liberalization of interest rates
Competitive exchange rate
Liberalization of foreign direct investment
Deregulation of barrier entry and exit, safety regulations, and governed prices
Property rights for the informal sector
The IMF was content with Peru's measures, and guaranteed loan funding for Peru. Inflation rapidly began to fall and foreign investment capital flooded in. The privatization campaign involved selling off of hundreds of state-owned enterprises, and replacing the country's troubled currency, the inti, with the Nuevo Sol'
This is when we knew for sure our National Public Media was taken by global Wall Street......it is well documented that Obama came to office a HAYEK NEO-LIBERAL LAISSEZ-FAIRE POL and he left office the same---but here is NPR telling us Obama was Keynes. NPR also sold Obama as a second LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FDR----when Obama was a third far-right global Wall Street BUSH TERM.
What global Wall Street and national media are trying to do is hide the fact that global 1% and their 2% spent these few decades literally looting our Federal, state, and local treasuries INCLUDING WHAT THEY ARE CALLING GOVERNMENT STIMULUS/SPENDING. We know all the stimulus went to global Wall Street----to corporations expanding overseas---not here in the US-----AND TO TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS. One third of REAGAN/BUSH/OBAMA so-called KEYNESIAN government spending were tied to tax breaks for the rich. Obama and his $20 trillion US Treasury bond fraud-------where is that US city deemed Foreign Economic Zone spending going? To further cripple FREE MARKET ----further cripple labor and wages----all tied to global corporate campuses and global Wall STreet.
THIS IS NOT WHAT KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS WAS EVER MEANT TO LOOK LIKE.
'The Obama administration is betting that won't happen. They're trusting this theory. They're trusting Keynes'.
This is what created those bogus reports of Obama being a socialist---Obama being like FDR----when Obama was the biggest global Wall Street laissez faire global slave trading empire-building do anything to profit CHARLES DICKENS' far-right Libertarian.
It's no coincidence that HAYEK wrote ON THE ROAD TO SERFDOM
Barack Obama Has America Turning to Hayek
Posted on August 15, 2009 by Greg Ransom
Since the beginning of the Obama administration, thousands of Americans have picked up copy of F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and are reading it for the first time — or they’re digging out a dusty old copy and they’re re-reading it for the first time in ages. Chance at rightofcourse is doing it. So is Mark at DEPT HAWK. Glenn Beck is doing it. And so is Lynnae. And they are not alone.
If you’re doing it to, I’d like to hear from you.
HAYEK IS LAISSEZ-FAIRE IS THE OPPOSITE OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS.
Obama Gives Keynes His First Real-World Test
January 29, 20091:42 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
English economist John Maynard Keynes, seen here circa 1940, believed no one in America was smart enough to run it.
John Maynard Keynes is an unlikely hero for our time.
Keynes, a British economist who died more than 60 years ago, inspired President Barack Obama's plan to save the U.S. economy with a massive round of government spending. The British economist published his big theory, the one underpinning most of what Obama intends to do, in 1936.
By the 1980s, many believed Keynes' ideas were utterly discredited. But he is the man who came up with the then-radical notion that a government can pull a country out of a deep recession by spending a lot.
Many would argue that Keynes' 73-year-old theory is being tested, right now, for the very first time. One Keynes biographer, Lord Robert Skidelsky, portrays Keynes as a fascinating figure, equal parts genius and jerk. Keynes ran with the Bloomsbury Group, which included painters and writers such as Virginia Woolf. The Bloomsbury crowd was known for free love and raunchy language, but even they complained in letters to each other that Keynes was too dirty for them.
Keynes could be just as shocking when it came to academic theory, sounding like a socialist one moment and fanatically defending free markets the next.
The one constant was Keynes' faith in the elite. He generally believed that almost any problem could be solved by getting together young men who had been schooled at Cambridge and asking them to take over. He even wanted Cambridge men to run America, because he didn't think anyone in the U.S. was smart enough. He also didn't like Jews, the French or the working class.
Keynes wrote that these Cambridge-led government boards should do everything from running individual companies to determining how many babies should be born and, cryptically, of what quality. Keynes was, after all, on the board of directors of the British Eugenics Society.
Americaphobe To The Rescue
Fast-forward to modern-day America, when the livelihoods of millions of working people are in peril. Who does the national leadership turn to but a bigoted Americaphobe who hates working-class people.
Keynes became this season's go-to solution because of his masterpiece prescription for how to get out of a global depression — The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
"I've read the general theory five times," says Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University. "The first time I read it, I was maybe 18." Cowen has been reading Keynes' book again, this time writing notes and conducting a discussion on his blog, Marginal Revolution.
Cowen says Keynes corrected what he saw as a fundamental error in the economics that had come before. Classical economics teaches that if there's a downturn, the economy will eventually sort itself out. If people aren't buying enough, prices will drop to a point where people start spending.
Keynes' radical insight was to look out the window in the 1930s and see that sometimes things don't right themselves. The economy goes into a downward spiral. The usual dynamic of supply and demand breaks down.
"A failure of effective demand is what he called it," says Alan Blinder, a Princeton economist who served as economic adviser to President Bill Clinton. Basically, people aren't spending enough money, either because they don't have any or because they got laid off or are afraid they're about to get laid off.
If people aren't spending enough money, there's no way for the economy to automatically adjust. During the Great Depression, no one had figured out how to get people spending again. Then came Keynes.
"The Keynesian prescription is if all else fails, the government can spend the money," Blinder says. Normally, in a free-market economy, the public doesn't look to the government to prop up spending. "But Keynes' idea, which was revolutionary at the time, is if the private sector won't do it, then the public sector can do it as a fill-in stopgap," Blinder adds.
Did Keynes Cure The Great Depression?
Like lots of fellow Keynesians, Blinder says Keynes' theory played out in the 1930s, with government spending pulling America out of the Depression. That's become the standard line in school textbooks. But Keynesians say it wasn't so simple as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt getting inspired by Keynes and spending his way out of the crisis.
Yes, Roosevelt expanded government spending, with an alphabet soup of programs. But he never spent as much money as Keynes said he should have. He also did all sorts of things that Keynes opposed, like raising taxes and trying to balance the budget. Keynes said those steps would cancel out any positive effect from spending. Roosevelt bothered Keynes so much that the economist sent him at least one scolding letter.
Then, finally, geopolitical events took over, and World War II forced Roosevelt to spend as much money as Keynes wanted.
Like Prescribing Crack For Coke Addicts
Keynes died in 1946, right after the war, and economists have been fighting about his ideas ever since. One main question is whether Keynes actually got America out of the Depression.
His disciples came to believe that his theories could be used much more precisely — that Keynesian principles could help control the economy more closely than Keynes ever believed possible. Blinder cites a triumphant sense among Keynesians that by carefully tweaking taxes and spending, they could overcome booms and busts — that they could permanently eliminate recessions.
"There was a view that developed in the 1960s, and developed excessively one must admit in retrospect, that we could steer the national economy pretty well — not perfectly, but pretty well," Blinder says. He calls the confident optimism among Keynesians of the time almost laughable. "This was a watch that we were repairing."
One way the economy is not like a watch is that you can repair a watch without politicians. Politicians took the Keynesian message that government spending can be good and ran with it. They paid for the war on poverty and the war in Vietnam. They sent a man to the moon. All the while, they piled up the federal budget deficit, convinced that Keynes gave them a free pass.
Prescribing Keynesianism to some politicians is like prescribing crack to a coke addict. In the 1970s, the patient hit rock bottom. The U.S. had high unemployment, and the Keynesian solution stopped working. The national government spent and spent, but unemployment only got worse. Then came inflation, something Keynesians had no answer for.
IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN THE ELECTION OF REAGAN AND THE IMMEDIATE INSTALLATION OF GLOBAL WALL STREET NEO-LIBERALISM THAT STOPPED THE KEYNSIAN ECONOMICS OF CARTER/NIXON.
The Return Of Keynes
After the economic misery of the 1970s, it was the Keynesians' turn to walk in the wilderness.
"When I took macroeconomics in the 1980s and early 1990s, the textbooks explained the basic system, but then spent a few chapters showing why the Keynesian system did not work," remembers economist Chris Edwards, now of the avowedly anti-Keynesian Cato Institute. The think tank was founded in 1977, near Keynesianism's lowest point. Edwards says he thought the debate of Keynesianism was settled in the 1980s.
Now, with the new stimulus package before Congress, the Keynesians are back — and economists across the spectrum are calling for government spending. Where are the theorists who oppose it? "I thought this sort of kindergarten Keynesianism, as I call it, the simple idea that the government can spend more money to grow the economy, had died in the 1970s," he says. "But I was wrong."
Edwards is part of a school of thought that replaced Keynesianism. The discipline of economics includes many different groups — the monetarists, the Chicago school and supply-side economics. The Keynesians used taxes and government deficits as their main tools for steering the economy. The anti-Keynesians thought you could have the same effect just by using the central bank — the Federal Reserve — to carefully control interest rates. If the economy overheats, raise rates. If it starts to sputter, lower them.
The Keynesians and anti-Keynesians fought some bitter battles through the 1980s. But by the time of the Clinton administration, most economists agreed on the basics: Some of Keynes' ideas are useful, but in a post-Keynesian world, the interest rate is the most effective tool.
This view held sway until a month ago — Dec. 16, 2008, to be precise. That's the day the Federal Reserve tried to stabilize the economy by lowering the interest rate all the way down to zero percent. The Fed can't go lower, but the economy has kept worsening. The one effective tool seemed to have stopped working.
The Great Experiment
Economists and policymakers started looking around for some other way to fix things. They dusted off some old books and found that there's one guy in particular who'd given a lot of thought to get out of a situation like this.
"So, here's the way Keynes would have done it," Blinder says, sketching points on a blackboard in his office.
The Keynesian formula is straightforward. First, you estimate how much the economy should be producing — given all the people and factories and offices. Blinder's guess is $15 trillion. Then you look at what the economy is actually producing. He puts that at $14 trillion.
The government shouldn't have to spend the entire trillion-dollar shortfall. That's because of something called the "Keynesian multiplier." Every dollar the government spends produces more than a dollar in spending throughout the economy. If the government pays you to build a bridge, you spend your paycheck on rent and food and so on, and then your landlord and grocer have money. Using Keynesian math, you can figure out exactly how much the Obama administration should spend.
Blinder taps his chalk, winding up his calculations. "That would lead you to conclude that you needed about $650 billion as a stimulus," Blinder says. "Voila! That's the kind of number they're talking about right now. You see it in the newspapers every day, a number in that range."
Right now, a lot of economists are supporting the idea of a stimulus package. There are people you'd expect, like Paul Krugman, a proud Keynesian at The New York Times. There are also some surprises, like President Ronald Reagan's chief economic adviser, Martin Feldstein.
Many of the economists say they just don't know whether the Keynesian approach will work. Financial catastrophes don't happen often enough to prove theories like his. In fact, as economists like Blinder will tell you, this is the problem with economics.
"The biggest problem with learning things in economics is the inability to do controlled experiments," Blinder says. "So we don't have, unlike what is the case in many sciences, the definitive experiment. This experiment they did in the 1920s proved that Einstein was right about the perturbation of Mercury. It proved. We can never do that in economics. The best you can have is a really good theory. It's not going to work perfectly in a textbook manner all the time."
Anti-Keynesians say this massive stimulus package is too risky an experiment on an unproven theory. It might not get America out of the recession, they say. It might cause vicious inflation and a bloated government, and leave a trillion more dollars in debt as a constraining burden on Americans' children and grandchildren.
The Obama administration is betting that won't happen. They're trusting this theory. They're trusting Keynes.
Here is Clinton/Bush/Obama-----and here is the World Bank and IMF coming into developing nations in Asia and Latin America set to install Foreign Economic Zones under global neo-liberal economic policies. Sovereign citizens exported as slave labor -----global labor pool brought in as slave labor----all nations' natural resources taken-----all to the benefit of the global 1% and their 2%------this is LIBERTARIAN LAISSEZ FAIRE----coming to our US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones----
THE OPPOSITE OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS.
HILLARY/TRUMP SAME PEOPLE----
Please take time to Google this video as it shows you the FAKE SPENDING CALLED KEYNSIAN ECONOMICS DURING CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA THAT WAS SIMPLY GLOBAL WALL STREET LAISSEZ-FAIRE LIBERTARIANISM---
Mint Press News added a new video: Economic Imperialism Explained in 2 Minutes.
June 1 · Former 'economic hitman' John Perkins explains how the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve are responsible for global poverty and political corruption.
Subscribe to (y) Mint Press News -> http://mintpress.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe/post…
We shared yesterday how UNDERARMOUR global corporate campus sees itself as being that CORPORATE SOCIALISM----its satellite businesses will include all activities we associate with our public community/rec centers. UnderArmour stated it plans to open 30 of these community centers and below we have a promise by our raging Wall Street player of a Mayor Rawlings-Blake----to sell our public garages downtown to pay for what will become those UNDERARMOUR community centers. Jack Young as City Council President even lead a CITY CHARTER CHANGE TO ENSURE THESE UNDERARMOUR COMMUNITY CENTERS ARE FUNDED.
In Baltimore ALL PUBLIC COMMUNITY CENTERS---PUBLIC RECREATION CENTERS----now public athletic fields have been or are being privatized and taken over by global corporations calling this SOCIAL BENEFIT CORPORATE SOCIALISM. Even our public golf course is now in the hands of private investors who RENT THE COURSE back to the city. At every turn citizen taxpayers in Baltimore are now RENTERS-----SUBSIDIZING OPERATIONS OF PROPERTY OWNERS THAT ARE GLOBAL INVESTMENT FIRMS AND GLOBAL CORPORATIONS. So, who are those employees ----they are very well-behaved-----with the MASTER PLAN-----doing all that Wall Street Baltimore Development says without question. It's the only way to get a job in Baltimore. It is also why there is absolutely no REAL left activism----and this is what exists in far-right, authoritarian, dictatorships. Folks not understanding how a Hitler, Stalin, MAO ---all far-right corporate/industry power fascists---this is it. Every aspect of public voice, public ownership, public governance is gone----deliberate high employment killing all local economic growth so people are forced to DO AS THEY ARE TOLD.......well, I guess the EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE APPOINTED BY JOHNS HOPKINS AND UNDERARMOUR KNOW BEST AS TO WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHY, AND TO WHAT GOAL OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN ARE TRACKED FROM PRE-K TO CAREER IN GLOBAL LABOR POOL.
Remember WELLNESS is all the health care that 90% of Americans will access and these will be BUSINESSES tied to global health systems and their managed care......Wall Street players making sure all this falls into the hands of global corporations while throwing a few million in pay-to-play for temporary local small businesses.
None of this is left leaning or Democratic ---it is far-right wing global 1% Reagan/Clinton neo-liberalism with Bush/Hopkins global 1% Wall Street global neo-conservativism------all while candidates run as DEMOCRATS. EXTREME WEALTH AND EXTREME POVERTY always sold by Wall Street players like these Baltimore pols as helping the poor, the old, the disabled, helping labor with jobs-----while killing all of the above.
Mayor renews pitch to sell city garages to fund rec centers
At a Tuesday news conference, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake talked about her plan to renovate the city's recreation centers and pushed city council to reconsider her plan to fund the project by selling parking lots. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)
Pamela WoodContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Baltimore mayor says city will invest $136M in 40 recreation centers, athletic fields and pools in city.Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is again calling on the City Council to consider her year-old plan to sell four city-owned parking garages to raise money for improvements to recreation centers and pools.
Speaking Tuesday at the Rita Church Fitness and Wellness Center in Clifton Park, which opened in 2013, the mayor pitched a $136 million multiyear plan for park, pool and rec center improvements around the city.
Selling four city-owned garages downtown would speed the pace of the renovations, Rawlings-Blake said. The city estimates a sale could raise $60 million.
"This plan could happen in six years or 26 years," Rawlings-Blake said. Money from the garages "would significantly help."
City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young has refused to allow the mayor's bill to move forward, saying he wants the recreation plan to include two big new centers, on the east and west sides. Young also questions whether it is a good idea to sell the garages and forgo their revenue, saying the money could gradually pay for recreation improvements.
City needs more rec centers, less bickering Through a spokesman, Young accused the mayor of resorting to "political theatrics" when the parties should be negotiating to resolve their differences.
"These kind of games that we've seen with trying to negotiate through the media, they just don't serve anyone and they need to stop," spokesman Lester Davis said.
Howard Libit, a spokesman for the mayor, said all council members were invited to the news conference. The mayor met with most of them to discuss her recreation plans over the past week.
"We were clear with how we would finance the plan in an accelerated fashion. I don't think we were trying to stick it to him. The mayor has been asking the council to give her bill a hearing," he said.
Councilman Brandon Scott, who joined the mayor at her news conference, said it is important for the city to move forward in positive ways such as expanding recreational opportunities.
"We have to put aside our egos," he said. "This is not about us."
The garages, located on West Lombard Street, South Eutaw Street, St. Paul Place and Water Street, generate a combined $2.8 million in profits per year.
The city operates 40 recreation centers and does not intend to close any of them, administration officials said. Rawlings-Blake came under fire three years ago for closing four centers and turning over 10 to other operators.
She said Tuesday those "tough choices" put the city in a better financial position to improve other facilities, among them the Rita Church Center, an $8 million renovation of an old pavilion that now includes a fitness center, computer lab, kitchen, game room and multipurpose room. An expansion will open in 2016.
Rawlings-Blake touted recreation projects already complete or in the works, including the $4.5 million Morrell Park Community Center that opened last summer, the $11.5 million Cherry Hill Fitness and Wellness Center that will open in 2017 and the $12 million Cahill Fitness and Wellness Center that is scheduled to open in 2017.
The mayor's plans unveiled Tuesday include rehabilitating or building 11 fitness and wellness centers that would cater to people of all ages at a cost of $84 million.
Another $20 million would pay for renovating five community centers and $20 million more would go to upgrading four outdoor sports centers. Upgrades to four existing outdoor pools and three "spray pads" would cost roughly $13 million.
Rawlings-Blake said her recreation plans will help achieve her goal of adding 10,000 new families to the city, both by attracting new families and giving current residents a reason to stay.
Below we see the national corporate charter chain getting all this funding for athletic fields, wellness centers, new everything including being tied to what will be those global corporate COMMUNITY CENTERS-----this is one of the largest global corporate pre-K chains that now have elementary, middle and high schools all privatized corporate and owned by the same NYC Bloomberg GREAT SCHOOLS rated vocational tracking school marketers.
This is to what all funding Baltimore City Hall says will rebuild our public parks, public athletic fields, public community centers, public rec centers, AND will be the only source of PUBLIC LIBRARY----as PRATT LIBRARY is outsourced and eliminated. This is the WRAP-AROUND format that has all that was public services and programs now installed into global corporate schools and no matter how much they PRETEND LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES AND NON-PROFITS are tied to them ---these will ALL BE TOTALLY GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERAL EDUCATION VOCATIONALLY TRACKED SCHOOLS.
Here we have former very, very, very, very global neo-conservative Johns Hopkins BEN CARSON---making his donation -----investment into a corporate chain school.
So, our public schools are not getting athletics fields, wellness centers, our communities are not getting public parks or rec centers-----all these taxpayer funding is building global corporate schools ----
Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill
Baltimore, MDOn March 3, 2011 members of the Baltimore Rotary Club delivered dictionaries to third grade students at two Ben Carson Reading Room Schools: Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle and Patapsco Elementary/Middle School. We thank the Rotary Club for their dedication to helping Baltimore’s youth.
Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School
Reading can take you to new heights, especially if you’re a student at Cherry Hill Elementary School in Baltimore City! Nestled high above the reading room is a loft for children to stretch out, relax and enjoy their favorite books. Thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Baltimore City, the room is also furnished with comfy beanbag chairs, brightly colored pillows and books galore.
305 W. Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
Phone: (410) 828-1005
Fax: (410) 828-1007
Make a Donation to the Carson Scholars Fund
Carson Scholars Fund.
All Rights Reserved.
Site by August
Friendship Academy operates an approved private elementary, middle and high school program for students ages 5-21 that can include mental health services for students who may need them. Friendship Academy is licensed by the PA Departments of Education and Welfare. Recognized as experts in the area of special education and mental health, Friendship Academy staff also provide training and consulting services to area agencies and school districts. In addition, Friendship Academy is a training site for university programs in special education, social work, psychology, counseling, pediatrics and nursing.
Friendship Academy serves as an educational placement option for students ages 5 to 21 with serious emotional and behavioral challenges. Our students receive highly specialized instructional services with a maximum of 1:4 staff-to-student ratio, assuring each child the tailored attention needed to reduce frustration and foster success. We emphasize research based standards driven reading, writing and math instruction that encourages children to see themselves as capable and creative. In addition to academic skills, our program includes opportunities for artistic success through art and music therapies.
Partial Hospital Program
Friendship Academy offers a psychiatric hospital program that provides intensive treatment during the day to children and adolescents. The treatment program emphasizes a skill based approach, including emotional management and problem solving. Students are also taught cognitive behavior therapy skills to improve perception of self, situations, and critical events.
Friendship Academy also offers outpatient services. Outpatient therapy provides mental health services for children and adolescents with less intense behavioral health needs. Outpatient therapy may be a good fit for those preparing to return to public school or move toward independence. Services might include any combination of individual, family, group and medication management. The clinical team will help determine the best level of care for a child.
Friendship Academy Brochure
Friendship Academy 2016-2017 calendar
For more information and to refer a student to Friendship Academy call 412-365-3800.
255 S. Negley Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
'Friendship Academy of Science and Technology is a
transformation school with an outside operator whose contract
is up for renewal in 2012–13. Final plans for this building will
take into account the outcome of that renewal process'.
Here is Friendship Academy tied to STEM-----of course it is in the global East BAltimore Johns Hopkins campus and if you Google this article you will see these PUBLIC K-12 SCHOOLS being build all over the city. This is the only employment for citizens wanting to be TEACHERS------AND MOST ARE FILLED WITH TEACH FOR AMERICA---ADJUNCT PART-TIME OR TEMPORARY STAFFING.
When a Catherine PUGH says she know education policy this is what she knows-----all of this will be tied to testing and evaluations having appointed committees EVALUATING which of these global corporate schools a child should attend. These schools look just like those same global corporate schools in all Foreign Economic Zones----so global labor pool will be sent here, there, everywhere as global Wall Street wants. All the $1 billion school building bonds are building these corporate campus schools while ALL OF BALTIMORE'S PUBLIC K-12 ARE BEING CLOSED.
of Science and Technology
Program: Renew the operator’s contract for a three
recommendation from renovate in Year 3 to renovate in Year 2, relocating the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology program so that a new elementary/middle school can be housed in this building
Friendship Academy of Science and Technology (FAST) is an operator-run school that serves students in grades 6 to 12,
with a focus on career preparation in environmental science, biosciences, medical sciences and computer networking.
As part of its portfolio review last year, City Schools granted the operator a one-year contract extension, with the proviso that the operator participate in a renewal review again this year. As
part of its portfolio review this year, City Schools again took FAST through the renewal process to determine whether the contract
with the operator should be recommended for renewal. This
analysis generated Developing ratings in the areas of
academic performance and climate and an Effective rating for financial management and governance.
Based on these ratings, City Schools
recommends renewing the operator’s contract for a three-year term.
FAST occupies the Canton building, located in the southeast part of the city where there is severe overcrowding in the elementary grades and growing demand for seats in pre-k to grade 5.
Last year, schools in the area served 6,001 students with a capacity
to serve just 5,336.
To alleviate this overcrowding, as part of its portfolio review this year, City Schools recommends moving FAST to another district
building, moving up the current recommendation to renovate the
Canton building in Year 3 of the 21st-Century Buildings Plan to renovating it in Year 2 and creating a new elementary/middle
school in the building to serve the southeast area. The district will identify a new location for FAST for 2016.
By renewing the operator contract for FAST for three years, City Schools retains the ability to bolster its college and career readiness programming, the diversity of its school portfolio and the
opportunity to work with FAST to make it a stronger school option. By moving the program and repurposing the Canton building for a new elementary/middle school, the district
reduces overcrowding at other, nearby schools with elementary grades and creates a new school in a newly
renovated building for students in southeast Baltimore.
Implementation requires full funding of the 10-year plan.
Friendship Academy of
Science and Technology
230 = Friendship Academy of Science and Technology (Canton Building); 47 = Hampstead Hill; 215 = Highlandtown
#215; 228 = John Ruhrah; 237 = Highlandtown #237; 327 = Patterson Park
Friendship Academy of
Science and Technology
School/building number: 338/230
Address: 801 S. Highland Avenue, 21202
Planning area: Eric Southern
RENOVATE OR REPLACE
Not a City Schools Building
1 Mile from School
1/2 Mile from School
Rationale for Recommendation
The Facility Condition Index (FCI) is an indicator of the basic
condition of the building. It compares the cost of renovating an
existing building to the cost of constructing a new building of the
same size; in general, an FCI greater than 75 percent indicates that
constructing a new building should be considered. Estimated costs
are $18,804,813 to renovate the Canton Building and $24,209,412
to replace it, giving an FCI of 77.7 percent. This FCI suggests
that renovation or replacement should both be considered. The
historic significance of the building will be taken into account in
determining the appropriate action.
The target Educational Adequacy Score is 80 for district
buildings in which instruction occurs. The Canton Building has
an Educational Adequacy Score of 54.4, indicating that it does not
meet the standard for supporting excellent teaching and learning.
The acceptable utilization rate for City Schools buildings is 65
to 100 percent. With a 2011–12 functional capacity of 916 and a
projected 2016 enrollment of 835, the Canton Building is on track
to be utilized at a rate of 91.2 percent.
Friendship Academy of Science and Technology is a
transformation school with an outside operator whose contract
is up for renewal in 2012–13. Final plans for this building will
take into account the outcome of that renewal process.
Here we see Obama and Clinton neo-liberals installing what is this very, very, very far-right wing authoritarian RE-EDUCATION corporate structure into what all American public schools will be enfolded. They call this SPECIALIZED TEACHING and if one looks broadly we see ALL AMERICAN CHILDREN COULD BE LABELLED SPECIAL NEEDS----remember they are telling us US students are ranked last ----I looked at this special needs designation and indeed the United Nations has the same global education corporations calling themselves SPECIAL NEEDS in all Foreign Economic Zones---and they will be tied to vocational tracking by testing and evaluations for an assigned vocational track.
THIS IS INDEED FAR-RIGHT FASCISM-----IT IS NOT TRUMP IT IS THESE TWO ABSOLUTELY MORALLY AND ETHICALLY BANKRUPT PEOPLE ----ARNIE DUNCAN AND OBAMA----GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS EXTRAORDINAIRE---with the rest of the CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA POSSE.
HERE IS MARYLAND SKEWING ITS DATA AS USUAL-----
'Furthermore, the department will judge states on how many special education students actually take NAEP. In some states, big percentages of students with disabilities are excluded; in Maryland, for example, 66 percent of special needs students were excluded from the fourth-grade reading test'.
Obama expands use of standardized tests for special-needs and American Indian students
By Valerie Strauss June 27, 2014
President Obama delivers remarks next to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. (YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS )President Obama recently told graduates at the University of California, Irvine, that people who deny the science behind climate change are just as wrong as people who say the moon is “made of cheese.” Congress, he said, “is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence” about climate change and call it a hoax.
He’s right about that. But his administration is doing some denying of its own — refusing to accept extensive research on the proper use of standardized tests.
The president and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have for years been using student standardized test scores to hold students, teachers and principals “accountable” even though assessment experts say they aren’t reliable enough to be used for that purpose. Assessment experts say that tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were designed and nothing else, yet the administration keeps finding additional ways to use standardized test results in ways that are questionable.
Earlier this week, Duncan announced that the administration was tightening its oversight of states in regard to how they educate special-needs students, applying more stringent criteria. From now on, the department will not only consider whether proper procedures are being conducted but on outcomes, including how well these students score on standardized tests and the achievement gap, based on test scores, between students with and without disabilities.
How well special education students perform on a test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, will be one of the factors considered. This marks the first time that NAEP scores have been attached to any education policy that has potential consequences; the Education Department could withhold federal funds to states that don’t comply with the new special education regulations, though officials there said that is not something they want to do. But NAEP, a test given every two years to a nationally representative sampling of students, wasn’t designed for this purpose. When asked by reporters about whether using NAEP for this purpose was turning it into a high-stakes test, Duncan said, “I wouldn’t call it high stakes.” He said his department was using NAEP because, however “imperfect,” it was the “only accurate measurement we have.”
Furthermore, the department will judge states on how many special education students actually take NAEP. In some states, big percentages of students with disabilities are excluded; in Maryland, for example, 66 percent of special needs students were excluded from the fourth-grade reading test.
Apparently, the department believes that more testing will help special education students achieve more in school. But since No Child Left Behind started, the standardized test-based “accountability” era more than a dozen years ago, there has been no evidence to show that standardized tests have improved student achievement, or that linking test scores to teacher evaluations has created better teachers.
Special education isn’t the only area that the Education Department has new standardized testing plans. Duncan announced earlier this month that the department was going to reform the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education.
Nobody would argue that the agency, responsible for the education of tens of thousands of American Indian students, isn’t over-ripe for reform: The agency has had 33 directors in the last 35 years and student outcomes in the education programs and residential facilities for Indian students that it supports are awful.
Bureau director Charles Roessel admitted as much at a Senate hearing last month:
The BIE supports education programs and residential facilities for Indian students from federally recognized tribes at 183 elementary and secondary schools and dormitories. Currently, the BIE directly operates 57 schools and dormitories and tribes operate the remaining 126 schools and dormitories through grants or contracts with the BIE. During the 2013-2014 school year, BIE-funded schools served approximately 48,000 individual K-12 American Indian and Alaska Native students and residential boarders. Approximately 3,800 teachers, professional staff, principals, and school administrators work within the 57 BIE-operated schools. In addition, approximately twice that number work within the 126 tribally-operated schools….
The BIE faces unique and urgent challenges in providing a high-quality education. These challenges include: difficulty attracting effective teachers to BIE-funded schools (which are most often located in remote locations), the current Interior regulatory requirement that BIE-funded schools comply with the (23 different) states’ academic standards in which they are located, resource constraints, and organizational and budgetary fragmentation. A lack of consistent leadership — evidenced by the BIE’s 33 directors since 1979 — and strategic planning have also limited the BIE’s ability to improve its services. Furthermore, over the years, federal American Indian education has been contracted or granted to tribes in approximately two-thirds of the BIE school system, but the BIE’s management structure and budget have not evolved to match the BIE’s long-term trajectory of increased tribal control over the daily operation of schools. Currently, the Department is funding approximately 67 percent of the need for contract support costs for tribally-controlled schools. Each of these challenges has contributed to poor outcomes for BIE students.
But will grant competitions and standardized test-based evaluations of teachers actually help? That’s what the administration said it wants to do: Initiate efforts that are very similar to the Race to the Top contest for federal K-12 education funding that required state competitors to promise to make specific Duncan-approved reforms, including linking teacher evaluation to test scores. Does the administration really think that controversial evaluations will entice more teachers to schools that are already facing teacher shortages?
For years assessment experts have been warning about misusing standardized tests. They have said that a popular way of linking student test scores to teacher evaluations, known as “value-added measures” or VAM, is not valid or reliable. In fact, the American Statistical Association, the largest organization in the United States representing statisticians and related professionals, said in an April report that value-added scores “do not directly measure potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes” and that they “typically measure correlation, not causation,” noting that “effects — positive or negative — attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors that are not captured in the model.”
A 2009 warning by the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences stated that “VAM estimates of teacher effectiveness should not be used to make operational decisions because such estimates are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.” The Educational Testing Service’s Policy Information Center has said there are “too many pitfalls to making causal attributions of teacher effectiveness on the basis of the kinds of data available from typical school districts,” and Rand Corp. researchers have said that VAM results “will often be too imprecise to support some of the desired inferences.”
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These are just a few of the many reports on this issue, yet Duncan and Obama keep right on denying this extensive research. I recently asked the Education Department what Duncan thinks of all this research, and department spokesman Dorie Nolt said in an e-mail, reflecting Duncan’s position:
“Including measures of how well students are learning as part of multiple indicators of educator effectiveness is part of a set of long-needed changes that will improve classroom learning for kids. Growth measures are a significant improvement over the system that existed before, which failed to produce useful distinctions in teacher performance. Growth measures — including value-added measures — focus attention on student learning and show progress. While these measures are better than what existed before, educators will continue to improve them, and sharp, critical attention from the research community can help.”
As to whether Duncan is aware of the latest research, she said:
We keep track of all major research on this topic.
They keep track of it, but they choose not to believe it. Who does that sound like?
Why are the 99% of American teachers leaving? Because global neo-liberal education has nothing to do with American quality of life and broad democratic education and it takes a 5% to the 1% to want to install these policies on our children.
More concerning is this---the goals of preK - career college tied to global corporate campus apprenticeships for free labor is having online classroom lessons and testing where a teacher is replaced by EDUCATION TECHS----and these of course will be global labor pool.
' And, both black male and female teachers express that they are often hired to be rule-enforcers, not educators. According to the teachers we spoke with, stereotypes and additional roles are not only placed on teachers of color by fellow teacher colleagues, but also often by school administration'.
Black Teachers Are Leaving the Teaching Profession at Staggering Rates. But Why?
Sep 30, 2015 by Ashley Griffin
A new report from the Albert Shanker Institute shows that teachers of color (including black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian, and multiracial) — and especially male teachers of color — are underrepresented in the workforce, with large gaps in representation between teachers and students of color. What’s particularly astounding, though, is the share of black teachers in the workforce that declined in nine major cities across the U.S. over the last 10 years. New Orleans and Washington, D.C., saw the most significant declines at 24 percent and 28 percent, respectively, while trends for Hispanic teachers were more positive and stable across time. So, what is happening with our nation’s black teachers? Why are the numbers so low and continuing to decline?
The problem is both recruitment and retention. Of the two, recruitment seems more tangible and actionable, with retention of black teachers having less obvious solutions or strategies for improvement. Research shows teachers of color, specifically black teachers, can be more motivated to work with students of color and in hard-to-staff schools. Teachers of color are also disproportionately concentrated in high-need schools (urban, low-income with high proportions of students of color). But, teaching in poor schools and teaching black and brown kids is not why they leave the profession.
They leave because of working conditions. Research from the Shanker report indicates that teachers of color feel they don’t have a voice in education decisions and have limited professional autonomy in the classroom. The bottom line is that across the nation teachers of color are placed in schools that are more likely to have less desirable working conditions. And this impacts their desire and willingness to stay.
This study begins an important conversation by documenting the problem. But this quantitative exploration of data needs qualitative support to provide a deeper understanding of teachers’ perceptions regarding their practice, challenges, and general experiences in education. This will help administrators know better how to retain teachers of color in a profession that desperately needs them. It is also why we are currently engaged in a research study to better understand these very issues.
We have conducted more than 28 focus groups across five states, in an attempt to understand the experiences, issues of practice, and perceptions of current education issues — as well as educational themes most critical to — black and Hispanic teachers. Much like in the quantitative data provided by the Shanker report, our preliminary findings reveal the need for school organizations to take into account the distinctive needs of teachers of color and the unique workplace challenges they face. For example, black teachers often feel their decision to teach in hard-to-staff schools has a negative consequence on how they are perceived — they feel labeled as “bad teachers.” And, both black male and female teachers express that they are often hired to be rule-enforcers, not educators. According to the teachers we spoke with, stereotypes and additional roles are not only placed on teachers of color by fellow teacher colleagues, but also often by school administration.
While we continue to collect data, research like the Shanker study ignites questions about what supports need to be in place to ensure teachers of color are, in fact, acknowledged for their unique contributions and provided targeted professional development to address the unique challenges they face. I hope that our work and the work of others continues this dialogue and helps to find solutions to the needed improvements in recruitment and retention of teachers of color.
Those NEW teachers installed as Teach for America, VISTA, adjunct business people are leaving as fast as our professional career teachers because they are simply being used to install corporate education structures----global Wall Street doesn't care if these structures actually help students learn----it is making a global market and RACING TO THE TOP is about maximizing profits for those global education schools. Now we have a SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS that will need---our course---more global labor pool in our classrooms being marched down to that EDUCATION TECH facilitating online lessons.
As Trump's new Labor Secretary says-------we love global labor pool because they are glad to simply have a job and indeed it will be global labor pool having no history of strong US public schools and education that will be trained overseas and brought to these global corporate campus K-career college schools.
Global Bush/Hopkins Wall Street neo-cons POSE CONSERVATIVE in selling that this is all about breaking down another labor union to create FREE MARKETS-----while Clinton/Obama Wall Street neo-liberals POSE SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE in selling its all about better teachers---more resources----readiness for that job for underserved communities----AND GLOBAL ONE WORLD EDUCATION IS ABOUT NEITHER.
Education & Family
More new teachers leaving profession says ATL leader
By Judith Burns Education reporter
Image caption ATL leader Mary Bousted warned of a crisis in the supply of new teachers into the profession
Record numbers of new teachers are leaving the profession within a year of qualifying, according to a teachers' union's analysis of official figures.
The latest figures, for 2011, show just 62% of newly qualified teachers were still in teaching a year later, the ATL annual conference has heard.
This is a steep drop from 2005 when there were 80% still in teaching after a year, says the union.
This is a "crisis of teacher supply" said general secretary Mary Bousted.
"Teachers are leaving in their first year, or not starting teaching when they have completed their training," said Dr Bousted in her speech to the union's annual conference in Liverpool.
"That's almost 11,000 qualified teachers never entering the profession - taking work elsewhere. Work with better pay and reasonable workload."
The union's analysis draws on official Department for Education figures for 2011.
The researchers added the figures for teachers who left the profession within their first year in service to figures for newly qualified teachers who never actually practised as teachers.
The results suggest that in 2011 some 10,800 newly qualified teachers never entered service after completing their training, just over a third (38%) of the total.
"Why are we losing the next generation of teachers, that new blood for the profession which should be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of promise and ambition?" asked Dr Bousted.
"Is it, I wonder, because trainee and newly qualified teachers see very early on just what teaching has become and decide that they do not want to be a part of it?
"Is it that they learn as they work with exhausted and stressed colleagues that teaching has become a profession which is incompatible with a normal life?
"Trainee and newly qualified teachers cannot fail to understand that, despite Michael Gove's intentions, teaching has become a profession monitored to within an inch of its life."
Dr Bousted said fear of the demands of Ofsted had led many head teachers to impose an excessive bureaucratic load on staff, "filling forms, inputting data, using three different coloured pens for 'deep marking' and so on".
The increased workload adds "not one jot to the quality of teaching", she said.
This exodus from teaching "could not happen at a worse time", said Dr Bousted.
"We need our teachers and lecturers now, more than ever, if we are to face the challenge of change.
"A tsunami of curriculum and qualification changes threaten to engulf schools and colleges as Ofqual, the qualification agency, marches on - leaving dismay and devastation in its wake," she told the conference.
Dr Bousted concluded with a reminder that it is education professionals and not politicians who raise standards.
She warned that failing to improve the lives of education professionals risked politicians reaping "the bitter reward of parental fury when there is no teacher for their child".
In challenge to politicians to act she warned that this was no threat, but "a crisis of your own making".
Here we have the global corporate campus becoming all that was public. From job training to education------from parks and rec-----all tied to global UnderArmour. So, who needs Federal K-12 funding to go to public schools instead of just sending them here to what is clearly an UnderArmour corporate campus satellite. UnderArmour now gets the revenue for supplying Baltimore's school athletic ware-----police uniforms------it builds athletic fields all while not paying a dime of taxation and receiving almost a billion in CORPORATE CAMPUS SUBSIDY.
Here we see media calling this great stuff-----UnderArmour expanding these global corporate campus satellites all over Baltimore all tied to being that job trainer-----public education-----apprenticeship tracker. We hear in this video Wall Street Baltimore Development 'labor and justice' organizations already moving to partner with this global corporate campus structure. It is of course what Foreign Economic Zones in Asia look like where Asian citizens are connected to corporations in every aspect of their lives----THAT IS THE GOAL HERE IN US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES.
It's called TOTALITARIANISM-----far-right authoritarian corporate SOCIALISM.
OH, WOW---THIS CAPTURE OF ALL THINGS BALTIMORE BY TWO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS LIKE HOPKINS AND UNDERARMOUR IS REALLY NEAT AND COOL.
THIS IS IT FOLKS----RIGHT HERE IN BALTIMORE
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin in 2003 to describe the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin believed that the United States is increasingly turning into an illiberal democracy, and uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" to illustrate similarities and differences between the United States governmental system and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union. In Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, inverted totalitarianism is described as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics. In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.
Under Armour ponders brick-and-mortar sales in an internet age
Caption Under Armour re-imagines a community center in East Baltimore
Caption Basketball players' successful shoe lines
Natalie ShermanContact ReporterBaltimore Sun
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank: "We must find ways to be compelling in-store."Under Armour is looking for new ways to make in-person shopping exciting, as customers increasingly make purchases online, CEO Kevin Plank said at a real estate conference in New York City this week.
The Baltimore-based sports apparel brand has started installing what it calls a "greatest hits wall" that has as its focus a rotating device that looks something like a slot machine to highlight different products. The company also has developed shopping apps that allow customers to scan items in a store with their phones, which then shows videos featuring the firm's athletes.
"None of us believes that retail will ever go away," Plank said in his speech Monday at the International Council of Shopping Centers. "As we all battle with what mobile is going to mean and what e-commerce is going to mean to us, we must find ways to be compelling in-store, ensuring that physical reality stays exciting."
The article above announced with great FANFARE by Baltimore's captured media talks of 30 of these UnderArmour satellites-----each having UnderArmour cafes----UnderArmour Fitness Centers----UnderArmour athletic ware-----UnderArmour donates public school uniforms with their logos-----backpacks---in exchange for almost a billion dollars in TAXPAYER SUBSIDY.
Think about the Affordable Care Act privatizing away our Federal Medicare and Medicaid----sending all public health trusts--from Veteran's Administration to Federal, state, and local government employee health care plans into these private state health systems where over 80% going to 90% of Americans will be pushed to PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE ONLY. WELLNESS MANDATED BY MANDATED HEALTH INSURANCE.
So, global Johns Hopkins/KAISER already has monopoly control growing in Baltimore and it would tie all Baltimore citizens to health care plans mandating UNDERARMOUR WELLNESS CENTER routines. VOILA----now UnderArmour gets that Medicare/Medicaid health care funding----all that WRAP-AROUND SERVICES funding tied to schools----
THIS IS WHAT BALTIMORE CITY HALL POLS ARE REFERRING TO WHEN THEY SAY ONCE CLOSING PUBLIC COMMUNITY REC CENTERS---NOW THEY ARE GOING TO OPEN THEM ONLY THEY WILL NOW BE CONTROLLED BY CORPORATE NON-PROFITS LIKE THIS UNDERARMOUR CENTER.
Then think about the RACE TO THE TOP----where complete privatization of our K-12 sends all that Federal education funding to UnderArmour corporate campus job training and education centers-----with pre-K testing tied to global corporate campus Johns Hopkins having that appointed panel telling parents and students just where JOHNNY WILL BE TRACKED K-CAREER COLLEGE. UnderArmour of course will be one of those vocational school campuses receiving what used to be public school funds.
THINK WHAT HAPPENS TO WE THE PEOPLE WHEN A GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS OF JOHNS HOPKINS AND UNDERARMOUR with satellite centers in all communities become ALMOST THE ONLY EMPLOYER!
This was written in 2010----since then these UnderArmour cafes are opening in most communities----and indeed they will push out of business local cafe owners......
Business & Developmentby Brew Editors1:41 pmFeb 25, 2010
New Under Armour Cafe leaves neighboring eateries hungry for customers
Tension has broken out this week over at Tide Point over something pretty simple….lunch.
According to Locust POV, it all started with Under Armour’s recent decision to open an in-house cafeteria at its Tide Point campus this week: “the Hungry and Humble Cafe.”
Hungry employees seem to like it, POV reports, but nearby restauratuers….eh, not so much. They complain that their business is waay off. With the sluggish economy and some companies in the area laying people off, small businesses there are already hurting, they told POV.
For those not knowing Chinese Foreign Economic Zone SHENZHEN was conceptualized by global Wall Street and CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA global neoliberalism. The global 1% and their 2% play with political labels like communism---socialism ---left of center social democracy----corporate state vs communist state. We have called China TOTALITARIAN because the politburo controlled all Chinese corporations ----state corporations. The Chinese politburo has been these decades millionaires and billionaires. They are simply extremely rich while keeping their Chinese citizens extremely poor by PRETENDING to be left communists.
Here we see the global security forces and surveillance structures found in all Foreign Economic Zones---now coming to US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones. Is it a coincidence that the blocks in Washington DC harboring Johns Hopkins SAIS---and Brookings Institution is called the GOLDEN TRIANGLE? Of course not.
This is the MASTER PLAN US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES unfolding in Baltimore with Baltimore City Hall and Maryland Assembly pols MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD NEW CITY policies. Wall Street Baltimore Development 'labor and justice' organizations bring out the old, children, labor, relgious leaders, black, brown, and white to cheer these very, very, very, very, very bad policies.
'The Chinese city of Shenzhen is serving as the testing grounds for Golden Shield. With more than 200,000 surveillance cameras already installed — and that number expected to rise to two million cameras in three years, Shenzhen’s citizens will likely be the most “watched” people in the world'.
Chinese Totalitarianism, American-Style
07/31/2008 07:12 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
John W. Whitehead Attorney, President of The Rutherford Institute, and author of ‘Battlefield America’
“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”—Thomas Jefferson
“China is becoming more like us in very visible ways (Starbucks, Hooters, cellphones that are cooler than ours),” observed Naomi Klein in Rolling Stone in May 2008, “and we are becoming more like China in less visible ones (torture, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, though not nearly on the Chinese scale).”
Klein’s expose, “China’s All-Seeing Eye,” sheds light on how U.S. defense contractors have been helping China build the prototype for a high-tech police state that will be put to the test with the upcoming Beijing Olympics. It’s a must-read for anyone who is concerned that one more terrorist attack is all it will take for the U.S. to cross over into a totalitarian police state.
The reach of the technology being implemented is alarming. Think electronic concentration camps, complete with high-tech surveillance systems and internet and cell phone censorship programs. What is more disconcerting is the extent to which U.S. companies have helped China oppress its people.
In the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Congress actually passed legislation that was intended to prevent U.S. companies from helping Chinese authorities suppress human rights and democracy. Since then, American corporations have been working to side-step the prohibition while exploiting every loophole and simultaneously lobbying Congress to lift the restrictions and allow them free play in China’s homeland security market.
This includes security and communications giants such as IBM, General Electric, United Technologies, Honeywell, DuPont and Motorola, as well as technology giants such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. The motivation, of course, is money. According to Klein, “the global homeland-security business is now worth an estimated $200 billion — more than Hollywood and the music industry combined.” Thus, for the sake of greed, these companies have become turncoats to freedom, completely selling out America’s once-cherished ideals of democracy.
Take Operation Golden Shield, for instance, a massive surveillance system tied into a central database containing photos and information on every Chinese citizen. This intelligence project will give the Chinese government the unprecedented ability to track the movements and activities of its citizens. Coincidentally, the American mastermind behind the facial-recognition software being used by China dubbed his plan for a similarly vast security network in the U.S. “Operation Noble Shield.”
“The end goal,” says Klein, “is to use the latest people-tracking technology—thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon: a place where Visa cards, Adidas sneakers, China Mobile cellphones, McDonald’s Happy Meals, Tsingtao beer and UPS delivery (to name just a few of the official sponsors of the Beijing Olympics) can be enjoyed under the unblinking eye of the state, without the threat of democracy breaking out.”
The Chinese city of Shenzhen is serving as the testing grounds for Golden Shield. With more than 200,000 surveillance cameras already installed — and that number expected to rise to two million cameras in three years, Shenzhen’s citizens will likely be the most “watched” people in the world. Every camera in the city will be networked to one central location that will be armed with the latest facial recognition software from the American company L-1 Identity Solutions. The system will be able to scan a face and match it to a picture from the central database in a matter of seconds. To supplement the cameras, Chinese citizens will be required to carry electronic national ID cards that are also linked to the central database, giving China an unprecedented ability to track its citizens — only one small step removed from a total Orwellian security state.
China, of course, has been moving in this direction for a long time. Its handling of the Tibetan riots earlier this year is just a precursor of what it hopes to accomplish in terms of eradicating dissent, limiting access to “dangerous” information and controlling its population. As Klein noted, “every supposedly liberating tool of the Information Age — cellphones, satellite television, the Internet — [was] transformed into a method of repression and control.” For example, internet access was cut off and outgoing cell phone calls were blocked, while residents found themselves besieged with propaganda text messages from government officials. Video footage pulled from surveillance cameras was also edited to make the Tibetan protesters appear to be the aggressors; still images were posted on the internet as part of an all-out manhunt to capture the demonstrators.
The amazing thing about all this is that American taxpayers are funding China’s authoritarian efforts. Our taxes fund research grants for companies like L-1 Identity Solutions, which in turn sell the technology to China, which then uses it to quell freedom and dissent. Other companies are reportedly just as guilty of selling out: Google built a special Chinese search engine that blocks sensitive material, Microsoft took down political blogs at the behest of the Chinese government, and Yahoo! has handed over e-mail account information that led to the arrest and imprisonment of a high-profile Chinese journalist, to mention just a few.
And if you think what happens in China stays in China, you’d better think again. As Klein warns, “The global corporations currently earning superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”
Make no mistake: what we see in China today is the prototype for an electronic concentration camp in the U.S. The groundwork has already been laid. American cities keep installing greater numbers of surveillance cameras. The government continues to amass record amounts of data on its citizens through the use of private data-mining companies. And American telecommunications companies have been given a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, by way of congressional legislation, retroactively pardoning them for illegally turning over customer information to the National Security Agency. If the government can simply order the telecommunications companies to take illegal actions with no repercussions, what’s to stop it from ordering them to shut down cellular service during protests in America?
“I don’t know of an intelligence-gathering operation in the world that, when given a new toy, doesn’t use it,” remarked Steve Vickers, a former head of criminal intelligence for the Hong Kong police who now leads a consulting firm. This is as true for the United States as it is for China. If American security organizations are given the same tools as the Chinese, there is no reason to think they will not use them to the same extent.
The article below is too long to post but please Google it to see what was in the 1990s THE MASTER PLANS in designating US cities as Foreign Economic Zones under Clinton. Clinton was the one pushing this corporatization of our public universities and public schools AND he was the one installing this concept of vocational K-career college apprenticeships to global corporations because that is the model used overseas in Asian Foreign Economic Zones. Here we see the term used in Baltimore and I'm sure across the US------universities as ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS. Well, if all the universities are global research corporations as in Baltimore or being ready to be enfolded into that research campus---if all the Wall Street Development Corporation COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS are led by global Wall Street players---then that model of UNIVERSITY AS ANCHOR becomes total control by this global corporate campus. As Clinton and global Wall Street says----no more Federalism needed as governing becomes GOVERNANCE. Not much WE THE PEOPLE in GOVERNANCE. Not much WE THE PEOPLE in global corporate campuses and their corporate research universities.
CONGRESS CREATED THESE DESIGNATIONS BACK AT END OF CLINTON BEGINNING OF BUSH----ALL FAR-RIGHT WING GLOBAL WALL STREET ECONOMICS.
There are those terms almost all Americans have learned to hate----both Republican and Democrat----that PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP and here is that term for global CITY STATE----
-'that make up what Brookings Institution studies of
metropolitan America call “city-regions” '
Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
, Volume 17, Number 3, p. 7, (2013)
Eugenie Birch, David C. Perry, and Henry Louis Taylor, Jr.
Much has been made recently of the role of place-based
institutions in the development of cities and regions
(AITF, 2009). In fact, the whole notion of the “city”
as a “region” is becoming rather compatible with the broader
21st century geography of “urban”
(Brookings Institution, 2008)
For humans, the whole concept of the “urban” is taking on a species-(re)defining nature. Almost everyone, especially beginning with the work of geographer David Clark (2002)
and moving forward to demographers, such as the United Nations’ global specialist George Martine (2007), suggests that the human species has been forever altered—with more people now living in “urban” rather than rural settlements. Everyone in this emerging urban majority may not live in a city’s downtown district, but everyone does live in some form of conurbation or metropolitan city or region.
Just as the social and demographic conditions of everyday life
for a majority of humans are shifting in the early 21st century, so too
are the governmental structures related to these residential groups.
In no place is this shift in the metropolis of human settlements more apparent than in the United States, where the conditions of policy nostrums and practices of the central federal government have increasingly “devolved” or otherwise shifted to the state and, especially, the local levels.
Practitioners and scholars alike call this the shift from government to “governance.” Presidents, starting with Harry S. Truman and ending with Bill Clinton, have termed this ongoing re-definition of federalist government the move to what another president, Richard Nixon, most brazenly called the “new federalism” (Biles, 2011).
At the local level, with the fiscal and structural re-invention of the local state well advanced, two operative words have become popular: “partnership” (between institutions, both private and public) and “privatization”—the outsourcing of policies and outright selling of services to private sector providers.
In the midst of such devolutionary and/or privatizing shifts
to the local state, or what is called in Europe the “localization” of
the central state (Gaffikin & Morrissey, 2011), the re-invigoration of
“place” has become increasingly apparent. Even more clear has been the “paradox” that such reinvigoration of place in the service of the human species creates in the “space of flows”
(Castells, 1997, p. 378) between and among the nodes of the “globalizing network societies” (Castells, 1997) of modern city/regions. Some practitioners call this the emergence of a global-local political economy
Copyright © 2013 by the University of Georgia. All rights reserved. ISSN 1534-6104 8
Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
, and they shorten the entire frame of political economic reference with the term “glocalization.” However such practice is contextualized going forward in the 21st century, the
role of place and the place-based institutions of cities and regions
will be recast in new importance as one of the driving conditions
of modern urban development and change.
Although market institutions and the corporate and productive capacities they offer are certainly central to the modern
development of place, non-market, place-based institutions are
also key “anchors” of place, for by their practices, they “root” or otherwise “moor” the people of the urban in place. The role of such anchor institutions is not static or un-dynamic. In fact, it is just the opposite—grounded in geographic fluidity
(Bauman, 1999), or what social scientist Paul Ylvisaker once called the “elastic meanings” (Ylvisaker, 1989, Chapter 2)
Good examples of such place-based anchor institutions are universities, hospitals (“eds and meds” as the University of Pennsylvania’s Ira Harkavy calls them in
AITF, 2009), community foundations, local governments, and key
infrastructure services. All these and more have the potential to be exemplars of such urban anchor institutions—at once “fluid” and dynamic and, at the same time, rooted in place. Hank Webber and Michael Karlström (2009) suggest that such institutions and the conditions they exhibit are key to the geography of place and thereby “anchor” the community in real and palpable ways, saying that “anchor institutions are those non-profit or corporate entities that, by reason of mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers or employees, are geographically tied to a certain location” (p. 4).
Readers will learn from many of the authors in the essays of
this thematic issue of the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and
Engagement that the leadership of such place-based institutions seeks to understand and evolve their impact on their urban and rural communities. The question for all local anchor institutions is:
What do anchor institutions do to advance their communities’
As the title of this collection and the topics of the essays suggest, this is a thematic issue dedicated to the role of the university
as a place-based, urban anchor institution. The literature tells us,
as suggested above, that the notion of “urban” now stretches well
beyond city limits, including the regions (suburban, ex-urban, and
peri-urban) that make up what Brookings Institution studies of
metropolitan America call “city-regions”
(Brookings Institution, 2008)
It is important to underscore the evolving contextual geographies
of the actors in the essays that follow by suggesting that the spatial
immobility of anchor institutions in central cities was considered
Obama and Clinton neo-liberals set the stage for the closing of all US public universities with the plan to enfold them into private global IVY LEAGUE corporate campuses. The policies doing that----tying hiring quotas to whether universities were productive and qualify for Federal funding----states did the same---at the very time sending hundreds of billions of Federal spending to build research facilities on campuses of those IVY LEAGUES assuring they would control hiring. This was of course aimed at ending access to liberal arts and humanities for WE THE PEOPLE. This is why we have been shouting that a US city deemed Foreign Economic Zone---like Baltimore will see all those public universities---like Coppin/Morgan State, University of Maryland Medical System, University of Baltimore, Baltimore City Community College-----all these once strong public universities will see less and less and less funding--with the economic crash from US Treasury and municipal bond debt fraud killing all government funding resources. See that happening in our K-12 public schools as well? This is why a Baltimore City Center will be one great big GLOBAL JOHNS HOPKINS CORPORATE CAMPUS----BLOOMBERG UNIVERSITY TO THE WORLD---with each university campus creating its own industrial tracking---like PEABODY is to music----MICA is to art-----U of Baltimore and UMMS Law School is to global corporate law---but all these once independent entities will fall under one employment category---
THIS IS CALLED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT----GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS SOCIALISM-----WHERE GLOBAL WALL STREET CARES FOR ITS HUMAN CAPITAL.
We are saying in all industries in the US------chairs are being removed regarding climbing the economic ladder. Middle-management was downsized-----corporate R and D are being downsized----middle-class professionals like teachers, health care, union laborers, even politicians being downsized as US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones create fewer voting districts---these pols aren't working for us anyway ===all the public policy, public agencies being run out of these global corporate campuses. When schools are consolidated under global online charter chains there goes those employees and here we see what has been happening as our universities go corporate. Those once university department heads are now CEOs overseeing all that FREE LABOR ----they are earning salaries like any global executive while all other employees are heading towards $20-30 a day.
Charts: When College Presidents Are Paid Like CEOsAs higher ed becomes more corporate, administrators' salaries are rising while their employees' are staying flat.
Jaeah Lee and Maggie SevernsSep. 5, 2013 5:00 AM
It's been a tough few years for people working in higher ed: As the recession hit, pay for faculty stagnated, and schools have been struggling with budget cuts and the rising cost of providing education. There's one notable exception to this trend: Pay (and perks) for college presidents is on the rise. There are a lot of possibilities as to why this is happening, and none of them make the world of higher education look very good.
In the past, universities have made the case that incentives—often in the form of exit bonuses, deferred compensation, and loan forgiveness—are necessary to attract top talent, particularly highly skilled, and oftentimes high-profile, administrators. Yet some incentives simply cross the line, says Claire Potter, a professor at the New School who writes frequently about salaries for college administrators. Providing faculty with mortgages for homes is a common practice, she explains, but a few colleges have taken to forgiving those mortgages, essentially turning a loan into a cash payment. "There are two kinds of mortgages in play," Potter says. "One is the type that the university cosigns for you to get faculty in. The other is to give them a mortgage that essentially puts money in people's pockets."
Potter thinks the need to attract top talent is understandable, but within bounds. "As soon as you are getting extreme compensation at the expense of others, that's when it becomes a problem." Depending on the type of institution, between 2011 and 2012 a university president made about three times as much as a typical full-time professor at public schools. At private institutions, a president made about four times as much as a typical professor.
Part-time and adjunct professors, who make up a growing share of faculty, earn just a fraction of what executives make, at about $2,700 per course. A part-time professor with a master's degree teaching eight courses makes about $19,200 annually, according to a recent survey by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce. "Universities have so radically increased their use of part-time employees to do teaching and other services," says Cary Nelson, a former president of the American Association of University Professors who teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Many of those people are simply no longer earning a living wage."
The number of presidents who make more than $1 million is also on the rise, and is no longer limited to private universities. As of this year, four presidents of public colleges are making more than $1 million, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis.
Meanwhile, financial perks for executives are becoming more common and more extravagant. Nelson and Potter see a variety of factors contributing to this: For one, executive pay across many industries has risen sharply in recent years, and universities are run more like businesses than they were in the past. An underlying cause may be the composition of college boards of trustees, which are increasingly made up of high-powered individuals from the corporate world as opposed to a broader mix of alumni. In 2010, trustees with "business occupations"—including executives and administrators of a large corporation; a banking, financial, insurance, or real estate company; or a small business—made up about 42 percent of trustees at public university and 53 percent of those at private institutions, according to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.
"Often the trustees of universities are themselves CEOs," wrote the authors of a 2006 study in the Journal of Higher Education that looked at the potential influence of university trustees who also serve on corporate boards. "The salaries of CEOs have risen dramatically in the past decade. Where the networks of corporate directors and trustees are dense and overlapping, as CEO compensation in the corporate sector increases, a similar logic may well be applied to CEO compensation in private universities."
In 1994, the study's authors write, two private research university presidents made more than $500,000 (more than $788,000 in current dollars). By 2003, there were 42. While public institutions lag behind private ones—in 2004, 17 presidents of public research institutions were members of the "$500,000 Club"—they are likely to adopt similar practices over time. "The market for presidents spans private and public sectors, and so long as supplemental private resources are available, allows the publics to use private sector practices to leverage their boards for similar compensation packages."
As executive compensation packages become more lavish at some universities, it sets new standards for what's acceptable across the field, Nelson says. "You end up with a labor force in higher education that's very comparable to that of a corporation that is simply seeking to extract labor at the lowest possible cost. Is that the ethical model that higher education should emulate?"
Look how Baltimore's far-right wing global Foreign Economic Zone pols always make these repressive ONE WORLD policies sound left social democratic----its all about library and bus passes only when it really is about this same Chinese security surveillance system
'To supplement the cameras, Chinese citizens will be required to carry electronic national ID cards that are also linked to the central database, giving China an unprecedented ability to track its citizens — only one small step removed from a total Orwellian security state'.
Of course the growing job category in Baltimore is military ---policing---security all global corporations as with any global Foreign Economic Zone
Baltimore City ID cards would benefit students, homeless and illegal immigrants if bill passes
4:32 PM, Nov 28, 2016
7:45 AM, Nov 29, 2016
WMARBALTIMORE, Md. - A new bill would give Baltimore residents the option to get a city ID card, allowing access to recreation centers, libraries and even the ability to open a bank account.
Sponsor Councilman Brandon Scott said this bill started with Baltimore City Public School students.
"Now the school system is issuing IDs that they can use on the bus and once we pass this legislation, they can use this ID to get their library cards, you know Pratt Library, to gain access to a rec. center of Baltimore City as well," he said.
Scott said this could save the city money, by issuing only one, universal, card instead of three or four to each student.
After looking at similar programs in Washington D.C. and New York, Scott and the city council expanded the bill to include adults.
"Homeless people are never going to have the documentation needed to get a state ID and when you talk about victims of domestic violence, a young woman who's been beaten by her husband and she ran away in the middle of the night. You're never going back to that house to get the information needed to get a state ID because you simply don't and shouldn't have to do that," Scott said.
He added recently released criminals and illegal immigrants would also benefit from the card.
"A lot of focus is on the immigrant population because of the President Elect. While that is a very important part of this, for me, we need to protect the immigrants that we have here, we have to protect the refugees that we have here," Scott said.
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The card would also cut down on arrests, according to Scott, saying many people are arrested simply because they don't have a valid ID.
To get an ID, Baltimore residents can provide an array of information to the city. A few options are any valid U.S. ID, Social Security Number, Passport, Visa, a utility bill, or lease agreement.
One group against the bill, the Federation For American Immigration Reform, said these cards make it easier for illegal immigrants to get services. FAIR Media Director Ira Mehlman said this bill "seems to be primarily geared toward illegal aliens in Baltimore," and provides false identification with information the city can't verify.
Scott said the city will do its due diligence in verifying the information provided, if the bill passes. He said the information residents provide will then be destroyed once a card is issued, to protect the resident.
"We will not be collecting people's information and trying to do big brother with it," Scott said.
Mehlman said that is directly against the laws of the federal government, and would interfere with deportation efforts.
In Maryland, several groups, like CASA, ACLU, and the Mayor herself, support this bill. Scott said he is confident it will pass when the vote on Monday, Dec. 5 takes place.
From there, it will take about a year to implement the cards, according to Scott. He said the city is working to create discounts with stores to encourage more people to get the card, and he's working on making the card MTA applicable.
"There are so many people who need services and can't access them primarily because of identification," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in support of the card.
If approved, this could be the last bill the mayor signs into law.
#1 job category in Baltimore and Maryland is global security corporations especially tied to global security in US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones----same thing installed in Chinese Foreign Economic Zones. Cyber-security is ONE WORLD SMART CITY SECURITY. Homeland security policies tied to ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE SMART CITIES----started under Bush but soared under Obama ----now we will have all this blamed on Trump who is the DICTATOR. All of these several years of Obama were extreme global corporate fascism yet this term has not been used until Trump.
All of these Baltimore-area cyber security firms are hiring
Mar 28, 2014, 7:30am EDT
Carolyn Proctor Research Director Baltimore Business JournalIt’s you against the bad guys — and technology is your weapon. Finding new and better ways to guard against cyber threats is crucially important these days, and new talent who are up for the challenge are in demand.
While surveying the cyber security companies around Baltimore for our annual Top 25 List, I also asked them all whether they are hiring in the coming months. Here are all of the affirmatives:
Cindy Walsh is a lifelong political activist and academic living in Baltimore, Maryland.