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Category Archives: American Greed

The Man Who Killed Simba

Fury Erupts After Walter Palmer Is Named As Cecil The Lion’s Killer

Outcries could be heard around the globe after a Minnesota dentist was identified as the man who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.

Dr. Walter Palmer was named by the Telegraph as the man who paid $55,000 to hunt the famous 13-year-old animal, luring him out of Hwange National Park with dead meat, piercing him with a bow and arrow, and then following him for 40 hours before shooting him dead with a rifle. Cecil was ultimately skinned and beheaded.

Outrage ensued. People tweeted death threats directed at Palmer and posted contact information for his Bloomington, Minnesota, dental practice, BuzzFeed wrote. The Yelp page for his practice was flooded with over 6,000 reviews, lambasting Palmer for his actions and resulting in a one-star rating.

He closed his dental practice and shut the blinds at the office, but that did not stop people from leaving stuffed animals and notes outside the building in memory of Cecil, Fox’s Minneapolis station KMSP reported.

Cecil was wearing a GPS collar as part of an ongoing research project with the University of Oxford, according to the Guardian. After he was killed, the collar was removed.

“Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, but this shot didn’t kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said. “They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun. The hunters then found that the dead lion was wearing a tracking collar, which they unsuccessfully tried to hide.”

Palmer released a statement to the media, claiming he thought his hunt was legal:

I hired several professional guides, and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.

In 2006, Palmer pleaded guilty to killing a black bear in Wisconsin outside a permitted zone, NBC noted. He was given three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine.

Almost 400,000 people have a signed a petition on Care2 demanding justice for Cecil.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Africa, American Greed

 

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What Happened to That American Exceptionalism? There is None Anymore…

America has been on the decline since Raygun – despite on small moment of high achievement and expectations during the Clinton Administration.

The lang fall into mediocrity in America can be traced directly to the steps of the conservatives in America. Al most every country which is superior to the US in any category has a government and social system which conservatives would call “socialism”. Quite frankly – socialism is kicking our ass.

I am going to start with parts of an article in Fortune Magazine… 12 signs America is on the decline.

1. Median household income

Rank of U.S.: 27th out of 27 high-income countries

Americans may feel like global leaders, but Spain, Cyprus and Qatar all have higher median household incomes than America’s (about $54,000). So does much of Europe and the industrialized world. Per capita median income in the US ($18,700) is also relatively low–and unchanged since 2000. A middle-class Canadian’s income is now higher.

2. Education and skills

Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 23 countries

The US ranked near the bottom in a skills survey by theOrganization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which examined European and other developed nations. In its Skills Outlook 2013, the US placed 16th in adult literacy, 21st in adult numeracy out of 23, and 14th in problem-solving. Spots in prestigious US universities are highly sought-after. Yet higher education, once an effective way out of poverty in the US, isn’t anymore – at least not for lower-income and minority students. The authors quote studies showing, for example, that today 80% of white college students attend Barron’s Top 500 schools, while 75% of black and Latino students go to two-year junior colleges or open-admissions (not Top 500) schools. Poor students are also far less likely to complete a degree.

3. Internet speed and access

Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 34 countries

Broadband access has become essential for industry to grow and flourish. Yet in the US, penetration is low andspeed relatively slow versus wealthy nations—thought thecost of internet is among the highest ($0.04 per megabit per second in Japan, for example, versus $0.53 in the US). The problem may be too much concentration and too little competition in the industry, the authors suggest.

4. Health

Rank of U.S.: 33rd out of 145 countries

When it comes to its citizens’ health, in countries that are home to at least one million people, the US ranks below many other wealthy countries. More American women also are dying during pregnancy and childbirth, the authors note, quoting a Lancet study. For every 100,000 births in the United States, 18.5 women die. Saudi Arabia and Canada have half that maternal death rate.

5. People living below the poverty line

Rank of U.S.: 36th out of 162 countries, behind Morocco and Albania

Officially, 14.5% of Americans are impoverished — 45.3 million people–according to the latest US Census data.That’s a larger fraction of the population in poverty than Morocco and Albania (though how nations define poverty varies considerably). The elderly have Social Security, with its automatic cost-of-living adjustments, to thank, the authors say, for doing better: Few seniors (one in 10) are poor today versus 50 years ago (when it was one in three). Poverty is also down among African Americans. Now America’s poor are more often in their prime working years, or in households headed by single mothers.

6. Children in poverty

Rank of U.S.: 34th out of 35 countries surveyed

When UNICEF relative poverty – relative to the average in each society—the US ranked at the bottom, above only Romania, even as Americans are, on average, six times richer than Romanians. Children in all of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan fare better.

7. Income inequality

Rank of U.S.: Fourth highest inequality in the world.

The authors argue that the most severe inequality can be found in Chile, Mexico, Turkey — and the US. Citing the Gini coefficient, a common inequality metric, and data from Wall Street Journal/Mercer Human Resource Consulting, they say this inequality slows economic growth, impedes youths’ opportunities, and ultimately threatens the nation’s future (an OECD video explains). Worsening income inequality is also evident in the ratio of averageCEO earnings to average workers’ pay. That ratio went from 24:1 in 1965 to 262:1 in 2005.

8. Prison population

Rank of U.S.: First out of 224 countries

More than 2.2 million Americans are in jail. Only China comes close, the authors write, with about 1.66 million.

9. Life satisfaction

Rank of U.S.: 17th out of 36 countries

The authors note Americans’ happiness score is only middling, according to the OECD Better Life Index. (The index measures how people evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings.) People in New Zealand, Finland, and Israel rate higher in life satisfaction. A UN report had a similar finding.

10. Corruption

Rank of U.S.: 17th out of 175 countries.

Barbados and Luxembourg are ahead of the US when it comes to citizens’ perceptions of corruption. Americans view their country as “somewhat corrupt,” the authors note, according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based nonprofit. In a separate survey of American citizens, many said politicians don’t serve the majority’s interest, but are biased toward corporate lobbyists and the super-rich. “Special interest groups are gradually transforming the United States into an oligarchy,” the authors argue, “concerned only about the needs of the wealthy.”

11. Stability

Rank of U.S.: 20th out of 178 countries.

The Fragile States Index considers factors such as inequality, corruption, and factionalism. The US lags behind Portugal, Slovenia and Iceland.

12. Social progress index

Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 133 countries

A broad measure of social well-being, the index comprises 52 economic indicators such as access to clean water and air, access to advanced education, access to basic knowledge, and safety. Countries surpassing the US include Ireland, the UK, Iceland, and Canada.

“If America’s going to be great again, we’ve got to start fixing things,” Friedman said.

Just for the heck of it, I am going to add a couple more…

Economic Mobility

If you work hard you can achieve”…A poor kid has a better chance of achieving reaching the higher economic levels in other countries. The US lag is getting worse.

The following chart only compares the 27 industrialized countries. The US actually drops to 17th if you include Second World Countries.

Infant Mortality

Your baby has a 2.5 times greater chance of dying prenatal, or postnatal covering the first year of life than in Japan or Finland. For black mothers that is about 4 times greater.

The US ranks 27th of the 27 Industrialized Nations… Comparing it to all nations we are about 40th behind Cuba.

Suicide Rate

America is in the middle of the pack. However the rate of suicides in the US exceeds that of Libya, the Central African Republic, Brazil, and China to name a few. Mental health care in the US is seriously lacking.

Racial Discrimination and Violence Against Minorities (Ethnic or racial)

America is a sad 37th.

Educational Attainment

Guess what guys…America has dropped to 16th.

Face i…This country would be far better off deporting Republicans than Illegal Immigrants.

 

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The New Jim Crow — Slavery in America…In 2015

Slavery in America never really went entirely away. And while most of the news about slavery here, and the majority of cases involving human trafficking are in the sex trade – it is growing in other areas. Something on the order of 65-150,000 people are held in modern slavery in the US.

It’s Easy For Traffickers To Exploit Magazine Salespeople. But The Industry Can Change That

Traffickers have become so adept at exploiting their victims in broad daylight that you may have purchased an item from their menu of goods from the comfort of your own home.

“Knocking at Your Door,” a new report released by nonprofit Polaris, details how little oversight there is in the door-to-door sales industry, which makes it a ripe environment for traffickers to lure in vulnerable victims. Between 2008 and this year, 419 reports of possible human trafficking cases involving traveling sales crews were made to two organizations that support this specific demographic.

That’s more than any other industry except domestic work.

While advertisements typically indicate that workers must be at least 18 years old, children are hardly spared from this industry.

A decade ago, the Child Labor Coalition estimated that more than 50,000 children were forced to work for groups that sell magazines, the Atlantic reported earlier this year. But Reid Maki, CLC coordinator, believes that number hasn’t budged much since.

It’s become this little world of people operating in the shadows, and they’ve become very good at working the system,” Maki told the news outlet. “There are so many areas of magazine crews operating just outside the law that seem unconnected, but they’re not. They keep one step ahead of the authorities.”

But those figures likely belie the full picture considering that victims are often too fearful to come forward and report their traffickers.

The traveling sales industry is particularly appealing to traffickers because the crews rarely stay in one place for long and itinerant sales workers are considered independent contractors. That means they’re exempt from federal and state minimum wage requirements, overtime and other employment protections, according to the report.

And when businesses are flagged for questionable practices, they can change their name and register in another state with ease.

The bulk of such cases involve magazines sales, specifically.

Of the 357 cases that were reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, 64 percent referenced magazine sales.

Many publishers aren’t even aware that such rings exist, and often don’t have the resources to monitor all of their selling agents.

The corrupt selling agents have developed a layered system that hooks vulnerable people and traps them with threats, force and manipulation…more

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Republicans and Welfare

 

Poor people are “animals”…

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2015 in American Greed, Domestic terrorism

 

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How Slavery Built America

Saw this one on my Amazon Reading List, downloaded it – and have been reading through it the last week or so on my way to work on the subway.  Historian Edward Baptist’s treatise on how slavery made America has been greeted with both strong objection from the usual suspects as well as hailed for it’s detailed treatment of a complex historical subject, the ramifications of which still impact American Society today. What Baptist documents is what us students of American History have suspected for a very long time, but until this book – no one really documented it and brought it out front.

What Baptist succinctly points our and documents is the “capitalism” which grew this country from it’s founding in the early 1600’s to an industrial powerhouse owes it roots, and its foundation to slavery. Far from the oft repeated “land of economic opportunity”, slavery generated over half of this country’s economic might, and the worth  of slaves alone constituted over 1/6th of the total wealth of the nation prior to 1860. This one smacks the”Southern Myth” regurgitated by conservative right wingers dead between the eyes.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

 

Part of a book review by the NY Times. Follow the link for the whole article.

A Brutal Process

‘The Half Has Never Been Told,’ by Edward E. Baptist

For residents of the world’s pre-­eminent capitalist nation, American historians have produced remarkably few studies of capitalism in the United States. This situation was exacerbated in the 1970s, when economic history began to migrate from history to economics departments, where it too often became an exercise in scouring the past for numerical data to plug into computerized models of the economy. Recently, however, the history of American capitalism has emerged as a thriving cottage industry. This new work portrays capitalism not as a given (something that “came in the first ships,” as the historian Carl Degler once wrote) but as a system that developed over time, has been constantly evolving and penetrates all aspects of society.

Slavery plays a crucial role in this literature. For decades, historians depicted the institution as unprofitable and on its way to extinction before the Civil War (a conflict that was therefore unnecessary). Recently, historians like Sven Beckert, Robin Blackburn and Walter Johnson have emphasized that cotton, the raw material of the early Industrial Revolution, was by far the most important commodity in 19th-century international trade and that capital accumulated through slave labor flowed into the coffers of Northern and British bankers, merchants and manufacturers. And far from being economically backward, slave owners pioneered advances in modern accounting and finance.

Edward E. Baptist situates “The Half Has Never Been Told” squarely within this context. Baptist, who teaches at Cornell University, is the author of a well-­regarded study of slavery in Florida. Now he expands his purview to the entire cotton kingdom, the heartland of 19th-­century American slavery. (Unfortunately, slavery in the Upper South, where cotton was not an economic staple, is barely discussed, even though as late as 1860 more slaves lived in Virginia than any other state.) In keeping with the approach of the new historians of capitalism, the book covers a great deal of ground — not only economic enterprise but religion, ideas of masculinity and gender, and national and Southern politics. Baptist’s work is a valuable addition to the growing literature on slavery and American development.

Where Baptist breaks new ground is in his emphasis on the centrality of the interstate trade in slaves to the regional and national economies and his treatment of the role of extreme violence in the workings of the slave system. After the legal importation of slaves from outside the country ended in 1808, the spread of slavery into the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico would not have been possible without the enormous uprooting of people from Maryland and Virginia. Almost one million slaves, Baptist estimates, were transported to the cotton fields from the Upper South in the decades before the Civil War.

The domestic slave trade was highly organized and economically efficient, relying on such modern technologies as the steamboat, railroad and telegraph. For African-Americans, its results were devastating. Since buyers preferred young workers “with no attachments,” the separation of husbands from wives and parents from children was intrinsic to its operation, not, as many historians have claimed, a regrettable side effect. Baptist shows how slaves struggled to recreate a sense of community in the face of this disaster.

The sellers of slaves, Baptist insists, were not generally paternalistic owners who fell on hard times and parted reluctantly with members of their metaphorical plantation “families,” but entrepreneurs who knew an opportunity for gain when they saw one. As for the slave traders — the middlemen — they excelled at maximizing profits. They not only emphasized the labor abilities of those for sale (reinforced by humiliating public inspections of their bodies), but appealed to buyers’ salacious fantasies. In the 1830s, the term “fancy girl” began to appear in slave-trade notices to describe young women who fetched high prices because of their physical attractiveness. “Slavery’s frontier,” Baptist writes, “was a white man’s sexual playground.”

The cotton kingdom that arose in the Deep South was incredibly brutal. Violence against Native Americans who originally owned the land, competing imperial powers like Spain and Britain and slave rebels solidified American control of the Gulf states. Violence, Baptist contends, explains the remarkable increase of labor productivity on cotton plantations. Without any technological innovations in cotton picking, output per hand rose dramatically between 1800 and 1860. Some economic historians have attributed this to incentives like money payments for good work and the opportunity to rise to skilled positions. Baptist rejects this explanation.

Planters called their method of labor control the “pushing system.” Each slave was assigned a daily picking quota, which increased steadily over time. Baptist, who feels that historians too often employ circumlocutions that obscure the horrors of slavery, prefers to call it “the ‘whipping-machine’ system.” In fact, the word we should really use, he insists, is “torture.” To make slaves work harder and harder, planters utilized not only incessant beating but forms of discipline familiar in our own time — sexual humiliation, bodily mutilation, even waterboarding. In the cotton kingdom, “white people inflicted torture far more often than in almost any human society that ever existed.” When Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans in his Second Inaugural Address of the 250 years of “blood drawn with the lash” that preceded the Civil War, he was making a similar point: Violence did not begin in the United States with the firing on Fort Sumter.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in American Greed, Black History

 

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Get No Respect! President Obama’s Credit Card Denied

AmEx’s Exclusive Black Card… Apparently “Leave home without it”

President Obama’s credit card got rejected last month. Here’s what happened next.

Presidents, they’re just like us — their credit cards get declined.

President Obama’s credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York.

“I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was — during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,” Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. “It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were — they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.”

And, yes, Obama had to defend himself.

“I was trying to explain to the waitress, you know, I really think that I’ve been paying my bills,” Obama said. “Even I’m affected by this.”

Obama has been concerned about the state of his credit before. In Austin in July, he ordered more than $300 worth of barbecue and realized he didn’t have enough cash. So he pulled out his credit card but asked trip director Marvin Nicholson if it was good before handing it over to the cashier. Nicholson assured Obama that the card – photos show it as a black JP Morgan card – would work, and apparently it did.

Despite this, when Obama went to a boutique grocery store in Minneapolis in June he paid for $82.55 in groceries with cash. At the time, he said he only carried cash and his driver’s license in his wallet.

Cash is king. I imagine there is a bit of a reshuffle going on at JP Morgan who issued the President the black VISA (not AMEX) Card, which looks like this –

And if you have to ask…No, you can’t afford it.

Would seem that if these guys were on top of their game, and doing what they should be doing for this level of customer – they would figure out a way to know it is actually THE President using the card…

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in American Greed

 

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Morgan Freeman – The Future of Green

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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