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Fri, 27 Nov 2020
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Cenk Uygur and Matt Taibbi: Why isn't Wall Street in jail?

MSNBC's Cenk Uygur and Matt Taibbi are aghast at the scale and depth of fraud that goes on day by day, steadily worsening until America's economy blows up. It's a class war, no doubt about it.


Handcuffs

Zero Tolerance Policies: Are the Schools Becoming Police States?

teacher spanking student
© n/a
"We end up punishing honor students to send a message to bad kids. But the data indicate that the bad kids are not getting the message." ~ Professor Russell Skiba

What we are witnessing, thanks in large part to zero tolerance policies that were intended to make schools safer by discouraging the use of actual drugs and weapons by students, is the inhumane treatment of young people and the criminalization of childish behavior.

Ninth grader Andrew Mikel is merely the latest in a long line of victims whose educations have been senselessly derailed by school administrators lacking in both common sense and compassion. A freshman at Spotsylvania High School in Virginia, Andrew was expelled in December 2010 for shooting a handful of small pellets akin to plastic spit wads at fellow students in the school hallway during lunch period. Although the initial punishment was only for 10 days, the school board later extended it to the rest of the school year. School officials also referred the matter to local law enforcement, which initiated juvenile proceedings for criminal assault against young Andrew.

Andrew is not alone. Nine-year-old Patrick Timoney was sent to the principal's office and threatened with suspension after school officials discovered that one of his LEGOs was holding a 2-inch toy gun. That particular LEGO, a policeman, was Patrick's favorite because his father is a retired police officer. David Morales, an 8-year-old Rhode Island student, ran afoul of his school's zero tolerance policies after he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and tiny plastic Army figures in honor of American troops. School officials declared the hat out of bounds because the toy soldiers were carrying miniature guns. A 7-year-old New Jersey boy, described by school officials as "a nice kid" and "a good student," was reported to the police and charged with possessing an imitation firearm after he brought a toy Nerf-style gun to school. The gun shoots soft ping pong-type balls.

Arrow Down

US: Borders Files Bankruptcy, Is Closing Up to 275 Stores

Image
© Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg
A stop sign stands in front of a Borders Group Inc. bookstore that closed last month in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Borders Group Inc., the second- biggest U.S. bookstore chain, filed for bankruptcy in New York today after management changes, job cuts and debt restructuring failed to make up for sagging book sales in the face of competition from Amazon.com Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Borders plans to keep operating and restructure with $505 million in so-called debtor-in-possession financing from lenders led by GE Capital, according to a statement. The 40-year-old chain listed debt of $1.29 billion and assets of $1.28 billion as of Dec. 25 in its Chapter 11 petition filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

The reorganization is only possible if Borders immediately closes 200 of its 642 stores, according to an emergency motion to sell furniture and merchandise filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court today. Sales need to start no later than Feb. 19 to take advantage of the President's Day long weekend, and another 75 stores may need to close if concessions aren't won from landlords, the company said.
Image
© Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg
A Borders Group Inc. bookstore that closed last month stands in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

"Closing the stores right away is essential because the Debtors are losing approximately $2 million per week at the closing stores," lawyers for Borders wrote in court pleadings.

Family

People Power! US, Wisconsin Teachers Protest Ed Budget, Union Cuts

Green Bay protest
© H. Marc Larson/The Green Bay Press-Gazette/AP Photo
Area residents turn out during a rally to protest Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill, at the Brown County Courthouse in downtown Green Bay, Feb. 16, 2011.
Governor's Proposal Would Strip Teachers of Their Union Bargaining Rights

Thousands of students across Wisconsin have the day off, again, as teachers continue to protest Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to limit their union bargaining rights.

Roughly 30,000 protestors gathered in Madison on Wednesday and thousands continue to pour into the state Capitol today. At least 15 school districts across the state canceled class Thursday as teachers threatened to stay home or called in sick.

"We've seen student walk outs, faculty teach-ins, citizens setting up camp overnight in the rotunda. Since Monday, spontaneous rallies have popped up in every corner of the state, denouncing Walker's extremist agenda," the president of the American Federation of Teachers in Wisconsin, Bryan Kennedy explained.

Comment: Now note in the following video how Fox's Stuart Varney, is attacking this attempt of the teachers to stand up to their rights: with twisting facts and pushing the attention of the viewer away from the matter at hand


And read also: Wisconsin Governor Threatens To Replace Union Workers With National Guard


Eye 1

Wisconsin Governor Threatens To Replace Union Workers With National Guard

winsconsin union protests
© Associated Press
State workers in Wisconsin are protesting a statement by Republican Governor Scott Walker that, union reps say, amounts to a threat to use the National Guard to help break the public union.

Citing a $137 million budget deficit, Walker announced a plan last week which would essentially take away the public union's collective bargaining rights and slash benefits for state employees. Meanwhile, the share of corporate tax revenue funding the state government has fallen by half since 1981 and, according to Wisconsin Department of Revenue, two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes.

In the case of a walkout, Walker has put the National Guard on alert. Last week, he told reporters that the guard is "prepared" for "whatever the governor, their commander-in-chief, might call for," such as staffing prisons if guards go on strike.

Comment: Read also: People Power! US, Wisconsin Teachers Protest Ed Budget, Union Cuts


Megaphone

Algeria tried to block internet and Facebook as protest mounted

Algerian protesters
© EPA
Algerian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Algiers
Internet provision was blocked in parts of Algeria and there were claims of Facebook accounts being deleted as thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations.

The Algerian government was blamed by protesters for preventing access to internet providers across much of the capital, Algiers, and other cities including Annaba for much of Saturday morning and afternoon in an attempt to prevent planned demonstrations gathering pace.

Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

Black Cat

US: Two TSA agents arrested at JFK Airport for stealing $39K from passenger's bag

TSA thief
© Todd Maisel
Port Authority police arrested to TSA employees for allegedly stealing about $160,000 worth of property from plane passengers over a period of time.
Two TSA officers were busted Wednesday for stealing $40,000 from a bag at Kennedy Airport they thought belonged to a drug dealer, a law enforcement source said.

Under questioning, the pair also admitted swiping up to $160,000 from other unsuspecting passengers.

Rogue agents Davon Webb, 30, and Persad Coumar, 36, were busted after a sharp-eyed colleague blew the whistle.

They were charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and official misconduct. Each was held in lieu of $15,000 bail after their arraignment Wednesday night.

"TSA has a zero tolerance policy for theft in the workplace," the Transportation Security Administration said.

"The disgraceful actions of a few should not reflect negatively on the ... 50,000 TSA officers across the country who work each day to keep the traveling public safe."

Coumar X-rayed luggage destined for an American Airlines flight to Argentina on Jan. 30. Then he phoned Webb, who was assigned to the baggage belt area. Webb confirmed there was cash inside, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Brown said Coumar found $170,000 wrapped in tape. He took $40,000 and met Webb in a bathroom, where the employees hid the loot in their clothing, Brown said.

A TSA agent tipped off a supervisor, triggering an investigation by Port Authority cops.

Alarm Clock

UK: Baby boomers 'must pay for their own elderly care'

elderly woman hands
© Press Association
17 million Britons alive today will live to be 100, placing strain on the NHS and care systems
The post-war baby boom generation "has done pretty well for itself" and should be prepared to use its property wealth to pay for care in old age, a government adviser has said.

Lord Warner, who is drafting plans to reform the elderly care system, said it would be unfair to expect the working population to foot the bill for looking after their parents' ageing generation.

He warned that the "squeezed" middle-classes face potentially the greatest burden, amid concerns that it is already too late to help ease the "catastrophic" costs likely to hit the recently retired.

The former health minister called on insurance firms to develop "creative" new products to allow pensioners to protect themselves against being forced to sell their homes to pay for care and support.

But he warned that the independent commission drawing up reforms for the Coalition would have to consider how to exploit the "big chunk of potential" funding currently locked up in housing.

Economists suggested that a future system would see more pensioners who own their homes denied state funding to help them pay for care in old age.

A place in a nursing home costs an average of £36,000 a year but anyone with assets worth more than £23,250 receives no help at all from the state.

Britain's ageing population is projected to strain public finances further in the coming decades. An estimated 17 million people in Britain alive today will live to the age of 100. Experts predict that by 2026, the long term care and support system will have a funding shortfall of £6 billion without urgent reforms.

Briefcase

Hillary Clinton donors indicted

A federal grand jury indicted two Virginia men on Wednesday for allegedly trying to illegally reimburse donors who gave to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused the two men, William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi, of paying back $186,600 in contributions to the Senate and presidential campaign committees of a candidate for federal office, and obstructing the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the FBI.

Crusader

Pennsylvania, US: Baldwin Man Refuses To Take Down Crosses

Baldwin cross
A Baldwin man is refusing to take down his lighted crosses.

Carl Behr said he isn't going down without a fight at a Baldwin Borough Council.

"They're not coming down," he said. "Somebody's gotta make a stand against these people and I'm here to make it."

He pleaded his case at the meeting after they issued an order on Monday for the 25-foot cross to come down from his property within five days.

"It's been about the Lord since the beginning and if anyone tries to make me remove them, they will only anger the Lord," Behr said.