Archive for September, 2011

Is the United States Postal Service in crisis? Is it necessary to eliminate an additional 220,000 full-time jobs (since 2007, the USPS has cut 110,000 jobs) and shut down another 3,700 post offices (since January, 280 post offices have been closed) and 300 processing centers by 2015, scale back services and cut retirement benefits?

Not according to Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union:

Guffey says the plan “ignores the fact that the USPS has massive surpluses in its pension accounts. The overpayments could and should be used to resolve the Postal Service’s cash crisis.”

Why then is a crisis being manufactured? According to Gray Brechin, project scholar of the Living New Deal Project at the University of California-Berkeley’s Department of Geography,

“This is about dismantling the Postal Service, getting rid of unions, privatization, and selling post office buildings to developers.”

Brechin says Congress has successively demanded that the USPS run itself more like a business since making it a quasi-corporation in 1971. “For the free-market fundamentalists, the idea that anything should be government, anything should be in the public domain is absolutely anathema,” he says. “They want to get rid of everything. I think the postal reform act in 2006, which most of us never heard about, was a back door way to destroy the postal service. It seems to be deliberate.”

Special mention

The earth continues to rotate

Posted: 27 September 2011 in Uncategorized
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The world may be going to hell in a handbasket but the earth still does rotate on its axis.

How do we know?

> John Taylor is teaching Economics 1 in CEMEX Auditorium, named after the Mexican-based global cement company.

> The Boston Red Sox are once again losing big at the end of the season, and may become the first team in Major League Baseball history to fail to make the postseason after holding a lead of nine or more games in September.

I’m just saying. . .

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Protest of the day

Posted: 27 September 2011 in Uncategorized
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Members of the four postal unions and community supporters will rally later today, in a national day of action to protect the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and to save 120,000 jobs.

Special mention

Protest of the day

Posted: 26 September 2011 in Uncategorized
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Thousands of California nurses, members of National Nurses United, went on strike for 24 hours last Thursday. Then, a quarter of them were locked out for a further four days by the hospital chain Sutter Health and the independent Children’s hospital in Oakland.

One patient died on Saturday, when she was administered a “non-prescribed dosage of medication” at lethal levels by a stand-in nurse.

[ht: rm]

* Maybe not the entire world but certainly the corner of the world Alessio Rastani operates in.

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Economic policy may have failed but those at the top were saved.

Here’s the argument:

Economic policy in the United States and Europe has failed, and people are suffering.

Economic policy failed for three reasons:  (1) policymakers focused on enabling offshoring corporations to move middle class jobs, and the consumer demand, tax base, GDP, and careers associated with the jobs, to foreign countries, such as China and India, where labor is inexpensive; (2) policymakers permitted financial deregulation that unleashed fraud and debt leverage on a scale previously unimaginable; (3) policymakers responded to the resulting financial crisis by imposing austerity on the population and running the printing press in order to bail out banks and prevent any losses to the banks regardless of the cost to national economies and innocent parties.

The argument itself is not remarkable. What is notable is that it is made by Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.