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Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

LAYOFF ME!!!

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UNEMPLOYMENT EXPERT

I am more and more amazed every day at the conflicting stories in the news.

…that’s—this seems like such a big thing to do.’ But it’s because I care.

Fiorina’s expenditure of more than $16 million during her run for senator of California bought her 3,827,046 votes, which cost $4.35 apiece. During the six years she ran H-P as both CEO and chairwoman, she laid off 30,000 workers. With the endorsement of Palin, Fiorina called for repeal of Obama’s health-care legislation, overturning Roe vs. Wade, and returning California’s unspent stimulus funds to the Treasury.

 

ABC News’ Lisa Chinn and Jennifer Parker report: Republican ticket mates John McCain and Sarah Palin Monday blasted corporate executives who leave their company with a “golden parachute”  and pledged to “stop multimillion dollar payouts” to CEOs, seeming to forget their own top economic adviser Carly Fiorina walked away with $45 million, including a $21.4 million severance package when she was dismissed by Hewlett Packard in 2005.

 

November, 2008: Goldman Sachs notified roughly 3,200 employees this week that they have been laid off, part of previously reported plans to slash 10 percent of the firm’s global work force amid slumping markets, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

Two weeks ago, reports surfaced that Goldman planned to cut 10 percent of its staff, or almost 3,300 jobs, reflecting the weak economy and a cut back in proprietary trading. The cuts are an about-face for a company that as recently as September insisted its headcount would rise this year.

October, 2008: Goldman Sachs is on course to pay its top City bankers multimillion-pound bonuses – despite asking the U.S. government for an emergency bail-out.

The struggling Wall Street bank has set aside £7billion for salaries and 2008 year-end bonuses, it emerged yesterday.

Each of the firm’s 443 partners is on course to pocket an average Christmas bonus of more than £3million.

The size of the pay pool comfortably dwarfs the £6.1billion lifeline which the U.S. government is throwing to Goldman as part of its £430billion bail-out.

December, 2008: he payout, worth around £55,000 per employee, was confirmed as the Wall Street bank blamed “extraordinarily difficult operating conditions” for a fourth-quarter loss of $2.12bn (£1.4bn). It still achieved a $2.32bn profit for the full year to November, although this was sharply lower than last year’s $11.6bn.

A spokesman rejected reports that the bonuses could amount to as much as £4.3bn but said the pot totalled $2,6bn.

February, 2009:  Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs is drawing up plans to axe a further 10 per cent of its global workforce, placing the jobs of hundreds of British bankers at risk.

The programme – aimed at cutting costs as Goldman battles through the worst financial crisis in a generation – is in addition to the 10 per cent culled at the end of last year.

An insider said Goldman partners are drawing up plans for the next round of cuts, but added that a decision on specific numbers has yet to be taken.

Around 6,000 of Goldman’s 30,067 staff are employed in the UK. Under threat are middle ranking bankers as well as IT and administrative workers.

October, 2009: The New York-based investment firm turned another eye-popping profit Thursday, earning $3.2 billion in the third quarter, as revenue from trading rose fourfold from a year ago.

As Wall Street firms typically do, Goldman set almost half that sum aside to compensate its workers. Through the first nine months of 2009, the firm socked away $16.7 billion, enough to pay the average Goldmanite $526,814.

The bonus pool is on pace to hit $21 billion for 2009, which would match the record bonus payout of 2007.

Goldman said it won’t decide the size of the bonus pool till year-end. In any case, the payments will be substantial — and will come just one year after huge sums of taxpayer dollars were funneled to financial institutions.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/15/news/companies/goldman_taxpayer_gains.fortune/index.htm

September, 2010: Not too long ago, people were giddy about a resurgence in hiring on Wall Street. The good times seemed ready to roll. But then the economy faltered again, and top banks are finding it hard to regain their footing.

Now analyst Meredith Whitney has predicted that layoffs will litter Wall Street in 2011, as banks are again forced to downsize. “Over the next 18 months, Wall Street will go through yet another iteration of resizing not seen since the post-dotcom era,” she told clients, as noted by the New York Post.

January, 2010: Besides chest-thumping fourth-quarter earnings, Goldman Sachs also announced its bonus pool on Thursday. At $16.2 billion, the total is 20 percent lower than the firm’s 2007 level but still amounts to an average of just under $500,000 per employee.

If you’re picky, it’s only $498,000. Since it’s an average, a few people will rake in a lot, lot more and most Goldman employees will make less than half a million. Federal taxes will whittle that down to about $324,000. So what does that get you these days?

Unlike HP, GS got handouts from the government and those handouts ended up as bonuses to the higher ups.

On the other hand, do not attempt to tell me that HP does not get government handouts in the form of contracts with local, state and Federal agencies.

So both of these giants receive plenty of our tax dollars.

The other point to be made here is that every single quarter leading up to the crash in 2008 and every single quarter following that crash, GS has handed out bonuses that would total the gross national product of many nations.

And the shareholders in these corporations simply continue to let this continue—although the law has hamstrung the rights of these shareholders for sometime.

But there is a further cost to Americans related to these bonuses and the ability of the insiders to bleed the corporate coffers.

And that cost involves the discarding of thousands upon thousands of employees onto the street. The profits of these companies could have been used to keep people employed instead of making their way into the pockets of insiders.

There are medical costs related to these lay-offs, unemployment benefits related to these lay-offs, and loss of income taxes that would have been paid by the employees who were layed-off.

These lay-offs no doubt hurt the mortgage markets. People cannot make their mortgage payments on unemployment benefits.

And this Fiorina just flaunts this largess. I mean she campaigns with a message that the current administration is doing nothing to improve the unemployment levels in this country.

All the while she is spewing out these lies, we are looking at a woman who laid off over 6000 employees and robbed the company of 45,000,000 dollars plus. The math is easy here as far as I am concerned. One thousand people could have been kept on the payroll at HP at the average salary of an American Worker.

And I do not see any proposals in the offing that are going to do anything about this situation.

Nothing at all.

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SECRET AGENT MAN

I watched Traitor again last night. Great flick about a double agent. Less James Bond and more like Night of the Living Dead.

The hero is Samir Horn, a Sudanese-American; his father a Muslim and his mother an American. He was born on American soil and evidently had in his possession a proper birth certificate. And he is a practicing Muslim who deeply believes in his faith.

He is under deep cover as a Muslim terrorist and becomes a member of a terrorist cell. His cover is so deep, he has only one contact with someone at FEMA; an agent played by Jeff Daniels. No one else is privy to this ‘cover’ and our hero actually ends up on top of the ten most wanted list of terrorists.

Our protagonist is truly a volunteer. He was not coerced by our government to act the ‘betrayer’ of true believers. He was not under indictment and then ‘turned’ by the feds.

He ends up blowing up a building in Europe to prove his allegiance to the terrorist cause under orders of Daniels. The building was supposed to be empty but his actions killed eight people, injuring another nine; collateral damage as it were.

The fear of being found out by the cell, the fear of being killed by the forces he is working for is always present.

The cell sets upon a plan to terrorize America. And since the protagonist is American, he is the best tool the evil Muslims have. The plan is to use fifty Jihadists to get on fifty buses traveling throughout our country with bombs and simultaneously blow each of the fifty transports to smithereens.

Our double agent screws the jihadist pooch by getting all the suicide bombers to procure tickets on the same bus thereby blowing each other up on some lonesome highway to nowhere. The collateral damage is limited to one Ralph Kramden driving the bus thereby saving our Country and allowing Mrs. Kramden some survivor benefits.

I have an old paper back entitled Perpetua’s Passion by Joyce E. Salisbury. It is about a female aristocrat who goes gaga over the new Christian God at the turn of the third century in Rome.  She ends up a volunteer-martyr in a Carthaginian arena along with many of her volunteering cohorts.

Forget for a moment that the Christians, once they gained some power under Emperor Constantine a century later, sent pagans to death in those same arenas.

Some early Christians went willingly to their deaths in the arena. They were actually eaten by beasts of prey and sliced open by gladiators that could easily have played on the front lines of many modern day football teams.

Therefore, the film confirms a fact of human nature.. There are some people in this world with strange neuron connections will face death for their personal beliefs; civilians as well as soldiers will accept death willingly and some gladly for a cause.

But there will always be collateral damage in any cause.

Jihadists accept that others will die as a result of their ultimate sacrifice and this collateral damage is not just a consequence of their intended actions, it becomes the reason for their actions.

Jeff Daniels tells our hero that although it was a damn shame eight people died in the bombing which he ordered; but collateral damage must be expected in some instances.

The Jihadists expect collateral damage. Our spy agencies expect collateral damage. Double agents expect collateral damage.

Hell the entire Defense Industry in this country expects collateral damage. Our own weapons kill our own soldiers and contractors.

Anyway, this post is about a double agent working for the Feds.

James F. Hirni had the sort of political upbringing that GOP stars are made of: college class president, a stop at the Heritage Foundation, consecutive stints in the offices of Sen. Bill Frist (Tennessee), Sen. Jeff Sessions (Alabama), and Sen. Tim Hutchinson (Arkansas). “In this town, it’s not about how much you know, but about who you know,” he observed—a credo he lived and worked by as a lobbyist representing blue-chip clients such as Fidelity Investments.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-08/the-gops-donnie-brasco/?cid=topic:featured1

And what a credo indeed, kind of reminds me of Tom Tancredo. And here is some more credo:

In the interview, Hirni talked about the toll that the corruption investigation had on Abramoff and reflected on the challenges of raising money and building relationships in Washington.

“I think ethics is the single most important part of my job,” he said. “Once you violate ethics in this town, once you break that code, you break the trust.

Well Mr. Hirni got in a little trouble a couple years ago.

James Hirni, the former lobbyist who was charged last month in connection with the wide-ranging Jack Abamoff probe, pleaded guilty today to providing an all-expenses paid trip to the World Series in New York to two congressional staffers, including entertainment at a strip club and a chauffeur-driven SUV.

Hirni was at the time a lobbyist for an equipment rental company that was pushing legislation in Congress. He recently was fired from his job doing “Republican outreach” for Wal-Mart, after news of the charges surfaced.

But there is a twist to all of this. A ‘deal’ was struck by Hirni as part of his plea. He is now an informant for the Feds.

Today, he’s a designated government informant—the product of a plea deal with the Justice Department to spare him jail time. And lately, he’s been organizing fundraisers for such rising Republican stars as South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and possible 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

That the Abramoff associate is playing matchmaker for Haley and Santorum has left some members of South Carolina’s political community dumbfounded. Although the Department of Justice says that Hirni is free to pursue political work, some question the wisdom of having Hirni anywhere near the financial heart of South Carolina politics—especially because, according to the nature of his plea agreement, Hirni has avoided jail time by promising to cooperate with federal authorities.

Today, he’s a designated government informant…

Talk about double agents. I mean this Hirni is an OPEN DOUBLE AGENT.

It is not what you know, it is who you know. Trust is the most valued commodity in Washington DC.?

Here is a man who really loves his country.

All the while he is receiving money from reub organization, he is secretly telling the Feds everything he is doing.

“The more he cooperates, the more benefit he is going to get,” said Washington attorney Barry Pollack, who represented defendants in the Abramoff case. “They might as well be talking to a federal prosecutor when they are talking to him.”

Then, according to an online résumé, Hirni began operating a firm called the H2 Group, described as a “small Charleston, SC-based political consulting and fundraising company.”

Now at last the Feds can better keep track of all the bribing going on in DC, James Hirni can make a mint, and the repubs can better keep track of their bribes and such.

This would be like our Jeff Daniels character sending a message to the terrorist cell, informing them that Samir Horn is working for FEMA.

How much more brilliant can our government be?

There is no greater criminal organization in this country than the republican party. None. The Mafioso is small time compared to the criminal organization going under the GOP banner.

The members of the GOP conspire to:

Give aid and comfort to international corporations who have absolutely no allegiance to this nation or its citizens.

Funnel taxpayer funds to giant international corporations through no bid contracts; corporations owned and operated by members of the GOP.

Funnel taxpayer funds to arms dealers who sell our Department of Defense weapons and then turn around and sell those weapons to our enemies.

Funnel taxpayer funds to friendly corporations who in turn pay back a percentage of those funds to the GOP under the guise of campaign contributions.

Funnel taxpayer funds to friendly corporations who outsource their labor needs to foreign countries, denying United States citizens the right to work.

Funnel taxpayer funds to huge pharmacological concerns and vote to deny a quarter of our citizenry adequate health care.

Funnel taxpayer funds to huge conglomerates and vote against the minimum wage for our own workers; allowing the conglomerates huge profits and lower taxes.

Funnel taxpayer funds into huge conglomerates and continually vote against any regulation of their industries.

Funnel hundreds a billions of dollars to independent contractors through the Pentagon and consistently vote against the rights of the soldiers who risk their lives every single day protecting corporate interests in faraway lands.

And all the while these GOP criminals take bribes from the corporations to which they owe their allegiance.

And all the while these criminals hide behind issues irrelevant to their true aims by calling for prayer in the classrooms, the end to abortion, guns in bars, and the rounding up of immigrants.

But not to worry; James Hirni, double agent is there to keep tabs on all of these matters

LORD GOVERNOR PERRY

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THE ELEPHANT IS SOMEBODY’S ROOM

Frank Rich in describing O’Donnell the candidate for Biden’s old Senate seat in Delaware gave the best description of the Republican Party I have come across in some time:

She gives populist cover to the billionaires and corporate interests that have been steadily annexing the Tea Party movement and busily plotting to cash in their chips if the G.O.P. prevails.

I was reading about Texas Governor Perry today and his particular brand of graft really struck me.

The Dallas Morning News came out with a story this weekend that Texas Gov. Rick Perry used the state’s Emerging Technology Fund to funnel some $16 million to firms that were backed by major donors to his campaign.

Created in 2005, Perry pushed for the fund, which is meant to encourage the development of new technology and attract researchers to the state. The grants — which have totaled $173 million since the fund’s creation — are overseen by the governor’s office and must be approved by the governor himself.

The lieutenant governor and speaker of the state house must also sign off, the News reports, but they wait for governor’s go-ahead before doing so.

On Perry’s own blog site you will be linked to gems like this:

Gov. Rick Perry today announced the state is investing $2.9 million through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) in three Houston area companies for the development and commercialization of their innovative biomedical technologies.

Ricky is so proud of this fund.

If you recall, back in March of last year we learned that:

From the center of a Houston hardware store, Gov. Rick Perry ignited a debate about Texas job cuts, business taxes and President Barack Obama’s so-called economic stimulus program Thursday by rejecting the federal government’s offer of $555 million in aid to the unemployed.

And this from today:

If you care about America, if you care about taking this country back, you find you a tea party. Get involved,” Perry shouted to thousands who gathered in Tyler in East Texas to see him with conservative talk show host Glenn Beck in April.

But as Perry campaigns for a third full term, he may have to look for a tea party himself. While members of the movement say Perry is preferable to Democrat Bill White, many are focusing their energy on down-ballot races, not the top-of-the-ticket contest.

After all, Perry’s record after 10 years as governor shows that he wields government power comfortably. And after 25 years in public life, he’s hardly an outsider.

He advocated seizing land from private owners to make way for the now-defunct Trans-Texas Corridor toll road and he ordered school age girls in Texas to be vaccinated against the HPV virus — an order that the Legislature overrode. He accepted stimulus money from Washington to balance the state budget. State agencies under his control seized more than 400 children from a polygamist compound in West Texas where men were suspected of marrying underage girls; eventually, many were returned to their parents. He endorsed moderate Rudolph Giuliani for president in early 2008, then John McCain.  http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D9IKVTQ80.html

Except for saving underage girls from a fate worse than death (no snark intended), I have no love for Governor Perry. If you recall he is the idiot who feels that pursuant to some treaties between the Republic of Texas and the USA in the 1840’s, secession is more than just a possibility in his mind.

And did you notice on his site that he likes to kind of call his state a republic?

I was intrigued by this now-defunct trans Texas Corridor, however.

So The Gov said to Texicans,

Give me fund

Texas said “Gov

You must be putting us on”

Perry said “No”

Texas said “What”

“You can do what you want to do

But we all gotta run”

So Texas said where do you want this bribin’ done

Perry said

“Right on Highway 61”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx1TaurjL1E

I followed up the link provided by  TPM and found this in the Dallas News:

Significant Perry donors are affiliated. Among them:

•$2.75 million to Terrabon Inc., a Houston company. Its backers have included Phil Adams, a college friend of Perry’s who has given his campaign at least $314,000.

•$1.75 million to Gradalis Inc., a Carrollton firm. Among its investors has been Dr. James R. Leininger, who has contributed more than $264,000 to Perry’s campaigns.

•$1.5 million to ThromboVision Inc., a Houston company. One of its investors was Charles W. Tate, who has donated more than $424,000 to Perry.

•$4.5 million to Convergen Lifesciences Inc. of Austin. The company was founded by David G. Nance, a former Perry appointee who has given the governor $80,000.

•$2 million to Seno Medical Instruments Inc. of San Antonio. Its investors have included Southwest Business Corp. and its subsidiaries, whose chairman, Charles Amato, gave Perry more than $32,000.

•$975,000 to Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc. of Houston. At the time of the award, one investor was William A. McMinn, who has contributed $152,000 to Perry.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/state/stories/100310dntexetfmain.2981294.html

The tea parties are idiots for following repubs. All Perry will ever do, all he has ever done, is funnel monies to the corporations who support him and deny their own economic interests.

EIPILOGUE

Corporate America finished the second quarter with “near-historic” profits, largely by cutting costs, laying off employees and streamlining operations, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Profits for companies in the S&P 500 soared 38 percent from the same period last year, hitting $189 billion, the WSJ says, the sixth-highest quarterly total ever. S&P analysts expect the trend to have continued in the third quarter.

Since 2008, corporate profits increased 10 percent — but revenue was down 6 percent, the WSJ says. To achieve the impressive quarterly results, companies have had, as the WSJ puts it, to “streamline” their operations. This means firing workers, outsourcing labor and shuttering unprofitable (or less profitable) divisions.

The robust state of corporate profits presents a paradox: companies won’t spend their money until the economy improves, but the economy won’t improve until they spend their money. An increase in hiring, for example, would help drive a recovery. The New York Times reports this “chicken-and-egg” phenomenon, noting that near-zero interest rates have encouraged companies to borrow money and simply hoard it because, as the NYT puts it, “they can.” Combined, companies have $1.6 trillion in cash, the paper notes. In the first quarter of this year, their cash reserves represented the highest percentage of assets since 1964.

“They are still holding on to more cash in the same way that Noah built the ark,” Gluskin Sheff chief economist David Rosenberg told the NYT.

OUTSOURCING

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THE FLAG OF PENNSYLVANIA

Aaaaaaaaaaaah, the smell of coal dust in the morning. This chapter on public corruption was supposed to begin with a discussion of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court scandal.

But I really cannot really begin the discussion unless I get into the issue concerning privatization of our penal institutions. Rummy and his neocon compadres call this new scheme ‘outsourcing’.

So I am stuck discussing the philosophy of outsourcing and why the concept SUCKS!!!

Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution and industry are privately owned and operated for a private profit; decisions regarding supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments are made by private actors in the market rather than by central planning by the government; profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

I do not have the space or the inclination to get into some long discussion of what capitalism is or is not. To me it is a concept that is easily condensed into this nice wiki paragraph.

Now Rummy, along with most of the other billionaires and their top employees, would tell you that ANYTHING state run sucks. Therefore the first rule he laid down as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush was that outsourcing was the goal of the Administration.  And since the DOD receives and pays out more money than any government in the world, Rummy’s philosophy became pretty important.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has enthusiastically embraced outsourcing. In a speech that drew little notice because it came on Sept. 10, he announced creation of a Senior Executive Council that “will scour the Department for functions that could be performed better and more cheaply through commercial outsourcing.” (SAA, 9/14/01)

We outsourced all sorts of DOD programs including our army. A significant number of our ‘troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED FORCES. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R40764.pdf

Just from a philosophical point of view, outsourcing does not make any sense or cents.

The magic of capitalism is that the means of production, demand, price, distribution and investments by private actors is that it MAKES MONEY. Government planning just interferes with the entire process. So say the fascist corporate oligarchs.

The problem with outsourcing is that ALL THE MONEY COMES FROM THE GOVERNMENT. So the object of any particular outsourcing is:

To make more money off of the government.

Some of these outsourcing programs are cost + so that when the company incurs more costs in fulfilling the government purpose, it gets more money from the government.

If you are manufacturing tires and your costs go up, you have to add those costs to the price of your tires. But when some other tire company figures out how to cut its costs in its manufacturing process, your tire company is going to lose customers.

But when you are the company doing business with the government, especially on a cost + basis, your one customer aint goin nowhere.

And when your company receives a no-bid contract through the DOD, you are competing with no one for the affections of your one customer.

This does not compute!!!

And yet it does. If there is nothing that the repubs hate more than communism, it is happy workers.

Outsourcing ensures basic tenets of the repub party:

  1. Management must make at least 450 times the lowest worker’s pay. This is written in the Bible somewhere.
  2. It is even better if management can outsource to China or SE Asia or the Caribbean and therefore make at least 9000 times the average worker’s pay.
  3. The governmental managerial class earns only three or four times as much money as the average worker in his or her department; there is something un American about this—and it is also anti-Christian.
  4. When the public employee is entitled to a pension– that is an entitlement and there is something really wrong with entitlements; when a member of management in the private sphere is discharged with a golden parachute—all is right with the world because a golden parachute is ‘earned’. And this fact is also written in the Bible.
  5. When public employees have the right to equal opportunity, all hell will break loose. And tenure is an abomination to the Lord.
  6. When management must rule according to rules: it’s not fair.
  7. If you cannot hire your niece, what is the point of it all?
  8. The middle class must be destroyed; paying workers fair wages is not cost effective.
  9. My wife’s brother is a good as anybody, isn’t he? At least she thinks so!!!
  10. Who made all the money to begin with?
  11. We must grow up and realize that production is of the most important value of all!!!
  12. Where are my government contracts?
  13. I did not make it where I am today…living on a worker’s wage.
  14. Especially when I can make my wage based upon employees who make 50 cents an hour.
  15. Where are my Twinkies? Where is my latte?
  16. Rights, where are my rights to what I have stolen fair and square?

Well, these are the types of values that I ascribe to the managerial class.

From each according to his abilities….

But that is my bias!!!!

Let us look at a few examples of how this ‘system’ works.

Once upon a time, in coal country, a guy by the name of Greg Zappala had a brilliant idea as to how to make some money from outsourcing.

He had what some people call ‘contacts’.

Zappala was the son of a Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And Greg’s brother was the D.A. for Allegheny County Pennsylvania.

Well Greg got his buddy, Luzerne County Senior Judge Michael Conahan, to declare a certain Juvenile Detention Center unfit for habitation.

Then Greg Zappala, purchased the facility from the County.

Then Zappala, with low interest loans from the state, refurbished the center and sold it back to the county for fifty or sixty million dollars.

Then Zappala LEASED THE CENTER BACK FROM THE COUNTY.

And Zappala owns other Juvenile Centers.

Then he talked Conahan and  Judge Mark A. Ciavarella to start sentencing juveniles to the center.

Records show that in 2004 — Pennsylvania Child Care’s first full year of operation — Luzerne County spent $2.9 million to incarcerate juveniles at various detention centers and boot camps throughout the state, including Mr. Zappala’s centers.

That’s more than double the amount the county spent in 2002, the year before Pennsylvania Child Care opened. A breakdown of the amount spent by Luzerne County at each center where its juveniles were incarcerated was not immediately available.

Statewide, spending on juvenile detention increased 15 percent during the same time period, according to the state Department of Public Welfare, which reimburses counties for half of their costs for juvenile incarceration. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09046/949273-85.stm#ixzz10qaxKfQK

So Zappala ended up with more than just one privately run juvie center and was ripping off the state as well as the county—and I can imagine that some federal funds came his way also.

As kind of a thank you to Conahan, Zappala basically ‘kicked back’ some 2.7 million bucks in just four years for the judge’s help.

There are a number of suits against the state and the county for the torts committed by the Judges as well as the centers.

I will get into the damage to the children in the next couple days.

Suffice it to say that government outsourcing does not always work.

Children, thousands of them, have been injured and will suffer from those injuries for decades to come.

The county and the state will lose millions upon millions of dollars in their own civil courts.

Do you know that the judges had entered into a plea agreement as early as March of last year? They were to be incarcerated for 8 years and pay a $250,000 fine.

But the judges’ judge was pissed and would not allow this agreement without full confessions from the felons as well as full apologies.

Both judges had been walking around on a $1,000,000.00 bond since the plea agreement fell through last year.

And why were not all the assets of both judges confiscated by the State of Pennsylvania immediately under RICO? And RICO applied because it was part and parcel of the 48 count indictment against these animals.

At any rate, in July of this year, the judges decided to enter into a new plea agreement BUT SENTENCING AS NOT YET OCCURRED. They are walking around free as unjailed birds.

Although, I am pleased to announce, a new indictment was handed down a few days ago calling for the confiscation of all Judge Ciavarella’s assets as well as Judge Conahan’s assets. Thank the lord for small favors. http://www.torttalk.com/2010/09/ciavarella-re-indicted-in-luzerne.html

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=judge+conahan+luzerne+county&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGLL_enUS381US381&ie=UTF-8&aq=1&oq=Judge+Conahan

I maintain that this example of corrupt judges is just a symptom of a systematic illness known as ‘outsourcing’.

And it is also symptomatic of a Republican view of the universe.

Outsourcing is not capitalism.

Outsourcing is just another means for corporations to feed at the public trough. Outsourcing allows corporations to provide lower wages and benefits for employees who would survive much better as government employees. Outsourcing is a great means of providing huge benefits for the few as opposed to the many.

Outsourcing is a misuse of public funds.

American Ignorance Part Daux

I was going to write about how I thought people, like those on the right, could go through school and even get college degrees and still remain ignorant of the world around them. How could this be ? I though I might get a handle on it. But now that I have done some research, I am still at a loss.
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Torture Five-0

I have fond memories of cop shows, from Dragnet to Hill Street Blues to CSI, but I have noticed that there has been less and less regard for the rights of televised suspects as time goes on. Adam-12 once had Martin Milner complaining about some guy pulling an, “I am a citizen” routine, but he and Kent McCord were generally as polite and courteous as could be, though somewhat wooden. The heroes of Hawaii Five-O, like Kam Fong playing Chin Ho Kelly above, were comparatively wooden, too, but they managed to solve their cases without beating up their suspects.

My friend Rog turned me on to CSI and later raved about 24. I started to watch CSI, and became a fan, but never caught up with 24. Later I read that torture had become a mainstay of the series. Lovable Weird Guy Donald Sutherland’s son Kiefer played Jack Bauer, and somehow Jack always had to either torture some evil dude or let a mall full of innocent children die. I wasn’t interested in watching that, but I saw similar scenarios creeping into other series.

For example, I was a fan of Star Trek: Enterprise, the Trek prequel with bony Jolene Blalock as hot Vulcan T’Pol and Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer. Even without a Prime Directive, Archer, who watched water polo videos with his puppy, seemed like the least aggressive of Star Trek captains early on. In the wake of 9/11, the show was rewritten to have the Earth attacked by alien meanies called the Xindi, and Archer became all-too-willing to pummel any other aliens they captured to find out more about the Xindi. That was about when I stopped watching the series.

Saturday night, CBS reran the first episode of the remake of Five-O, which is Hawaii Five-0, with a zero. Steve McGarrett is played by Alex O’Loughlin, a fellow I liked from the Moonlight series, where he played a vampire PI that could go about during the day as long as he wore his Foster Grants. The new Danno, James Caan’s son Scott, was OK, and the new Chin Ho, Daniel Dae Kim, had been good on Lost, and the new Kono, Grace Park, was a bikini babe. But when McGarrett was offered a job as head of a task force with complete immunity, I groaned. Eventually they caught up with some nasty grinning Asian who knew something but wouldn’t talk. The solution – hit him in the face with a large ash tray. He tells them everything because as we know from 24, torture always works perfectly.

After Five-0, they reran the first episode of Blue Bloods, with Len Cariou and Tom Selleck as scions of a family of NYC cops named Reagan. Actually they aren’t all cops – one daughter is a district attorney. I’ve liked Selleck both as goofy Thomas Magnum and gruff Jesse Stone. The rest were all new to me. Right at the beginning, someone unseen in a white van snatches a young girl off the sidewalk. She’s around ten years old, with diabetes. That’s important because it added a time constraint. They find critical evidence, and Detective Reagan, Selleck’s son BTW, soon finds the suspect, who isn’t talking. The missing girl needs her insulin, pronto, so the obvious thing to do is to shove the suspect’s head in the nearest toilet. He tells them everything because as we know from 24, torture always works perfectly.

They find her still alive, and everyone is happy, except the lady Judge, who is just this close to releasing the perp to kill again, and the DA,  Selleck’s daughter BTW, who has no untainted evidence to mount a case. So at least the writers stipulated to the fact that physical coercion is technically against the law. But it didn’t matter because amazingly fast police work uncovered another crime in the perp’s past, and they extradited him to a state where he could be executed – so everyone was really happy.

Except me. Because it ain’t never that simple.

An End to Privacy – What’s Left of It

It’s being reported in the NYT that the Obama administration is seeking the broad ability to require all providers of Internet based communications services to enable government intercept of any and all communications as government sees fit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html

It’s not bad enough that this nation is leaking the private data of citizens via careless business operations without a care. No. That’s not good enough. Now government officially wants in on the act and is sure to be at least, if not more abusive than the private sector.

This country keeps going the wrong dam way on everything under the sun. I’ve been known to rant about dumb Americans. As it turns out our national leadership is at the top of the heap when it comes to being dumb.

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