Saturday READ – 27 July 2013
Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* U.S. LAWMAKERS BLAST GUANTANAMO’S $2.7 MILLION PER PRISONER COST
By Patricia Zengerle, Reuters
Democratic lawmakers pushing to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay said on Wednesday its cost has skyrocketed to $2.7 million per inmate this year and argued it is too expensive to keep open while the country is fighting budget deficits.
“This is a massive waste of money,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the base.
Guantanamo has been dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth, and President Barack Obama in May cited its cost – then calculated at about $900,000 per prisoner – as one of many reasons to close it.
Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, testified during the hearing that the current cost of operating the facility has jumped to $454 million in the fiscal year ended September 30, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, or about $2.7 million for each of the 166 inmates.
Smith said overall, $4.7 billion has been spent running Guantanamo since the facility opened in 2002.
By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend about $60,000 to $70,000 at most to house their inmates, analysts say. […]
* BANKERS OWN THE WORLD … AND ARE ULTIMATELY DESTROYING IT
By Chris Martenson, PeakProsperity
In every era, there are certain people and institutions that are held in the highest public regard as they embody the prevailing values of society. Not that long ago, Albert Einstein was a major public figure and was widely revered. Can you name a scientist that commands a similar presence today?
Today, some of the most celebrated individuals and institutions are ensconced within the financial industry; in banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. Which is odd because none of these firms or individuals actually make anything, which society might point to as additive to our living standards. Instead, these financial magicians harvest value from the rest of society that has to work hard to produce real things of real value.
While the work they do is quite sophisticated and takes a lot of skill, very few of these firms direct capital to new efforts, new products, and new innovations. Instead they either trade in the secondary markets for equities, bonds, derivatives, and the like, which perform the ‘service’ of moving paper from one location to another while generating ‘profits.’ Or, in the case of banks, they create money out of thin air and lend it out – at interest of course.
Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take away from them the power to create money, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money.
~ Josiah Stamp – Bank of England Chairman, 1920s
Because these institutions and individuals accumulate vast sums of money for their less-than-back-breaking efforts, they are well respected if not idolized by most. Many of the most successful paper-accumulators are household names. They get invited to the best parties, are lured by major networks to appear on their shows, speak at the biggest conferences, and their views and words find an easy path to the ears of millions.
But this is more than just an idle set of observations for the curious. It’s actually a critically important phenomenon to be aware of. For the current configuration of financially powerful entities has, at the tail end of a decades-long debt-based money experiment, achieved an astonishing concentration of power, money, and influence.
We raise this topic because our work centers on changing the conversation towards the things that really matter while there is still time to engineer a better outcome, and that requires illuminating the status quo and having a conversation about whether it needs to be modified. Unfortunately, those at the center of the status quo are not at all interested in having any such conversation, because all of their accumulated power depends on maintaining things as they are.
Money is power.
And history has shown that power is never ceded spontaneously or willingly. […]
* INVESTIGATE MICHAEL HASTING’S DEATH
Abby Martin takes a closer look at the death of award winning journalist Michael Hastings, featuring interviews with Michael’s close friend, Joe Biggs, who suspects his death was not an accident, and Kimberly Dvorak, an investigative journalist who has been conducting an investigation into the anomalies despite stonewalling from the LAPD.
* DETROIT CHAPTER 9 BANKRUPTCY OBJECTIONS DENIED
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge
The judge has decided to over-rule both objections and that nothing with regard the Chapter 9 process is held up.
- *DETROIT JUDGE OVERRULES OBJECTIONS CLAIMING BANKRUPTCY INVALID
- *DETROIT JUDGE SAYS HE HAS POWER TO GRANT GOVERNOR SUIT IMMUNITY
- *DETROIT BANKRUPTCY FILING IS VALID, FEDERAL JUDGE RULES
- *DETROIT BANKRUPTCY ELIGIBILITY TO BE DECIDED IN FEDERAL COURT
Now, we proceed to the Federal eligibility hearing (whether the city is eligible to proceed with Chapter 9). Remember this took almost a year with Stockton, CA. For now, Unions 0 – Orr 1 but it seems like neither side will be a winner when this is all over (which makes sense as while there is the law and the Obama-law, there is simply no money).
The current plan (for now rejected by creditors) means a 90% loss for muni-worker retirees, 81% loss for unsecured creditors, and a 75% loss for secured creditors.
A federal judge has put a stop to lawsuits threatening Detroit’s bankruptcy and declared that he will handle any challenges.
The decision Wednesday after two hours of arguments is a victory for Detroit. A county judge last week said Gov. Rick Snyder ignored the Michigan Constitution and acted illegally in approving the Chapter 9 filing, the largest ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy.
Retirees sued, claiming their pensions are protected by the constitution and are at risk in a bankruptcy.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes suspended any pending lawsuits and barred new ones. He says his court will be the exclusive venue for any legal action regarding the bankruptcy. […]
* THE GHASTLY ACCOUNT OF MARTA – POLICE ABUSE IN ITALY
* HOW SUCCESSFUL COOPERATIVE ECONOMIC MODELS CAN WORK WONDERFULLY … SOMEWHERE ELSE
By Frank Joyce, AlterNet
Capitalism rests on a foundation of myths, the first of which is that there is no alternative.
Years ago food critic Ruth Reichl declared, “There is no bad food in Italy.” She was right. Within Italy, the Emilia Romagna region is thought by many to offer the best food of all.
But that is by no means its only distinction. What I did not appreciate until a recent trip to Bologna, is that major components of the entire economy are organized as co-ops. That includes global market manufacturing businesses, facilities management, social services, transportation, food and wine production, banking and other financial services and food sales from small markets to nationwide supermarkets and hypermarkets (similar to Meijer).
Capitalism rests on a foundation of myths. One of them is that capitalism somehow “invented” entrepreneurship. Another is that capitalism provides the only “market” economy. Then there is the self-proclaimed virtue of capitalism that only capitalism is compatible with “self-reliance” and individual responsibility. (The reality of course is that most people are utterly dependent on capitalists for jobs, financing, education, transportation, health care, shelter and just about everything else.) Capitalism also presents itself as the model of “efficiency,” when in truth it generates enormous waste of all kinds.
Finally, the biggest whopper of all is that There Is No Alternative. All of this is nonsense. The economy of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and its largest city, Bologna, is living proof.
Even though Emilia Romagna has a “leftist” history, co-ops did not arise as an “anti-capitalist” phenomenon. Many of the largest and most successful co-ops trace their origins back to the 19th century. Understanding that markets—a place where buyers and sellers meet—were in existence for thousands of years before capitalism privatized ownership of the means of production, co-ops offer a different way of organizing economic activity.
Production co-ops empower workers to create products and services. The manufacturers of Emilia Romagna make industrial machines, ceramic tile and many other products. They are multi-billion-dollar businesses that compete successfully in the global market. Likewise Manutencoop, from its art-filled and architecturally spectacular headquarters in Bologna, coordinates facilities management (janitorial, security, building maintenance etc.) for schools, hospitals and shopping malls throughout Italy.
Many co-ops contract with the government to provide various services. While this is similar to “outsourcing” as we would describe it in the US, the result is very different because the intent is not to drive down the wages, benefits and working conditions of those doing the work. […]