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Inside Story US 2012 - Ignoring America's poor

October 8 2012

by: Aljazeera

Tags: ,

Decline and Collapse

Walmart Strike: Dozens Of LA Workers Walk Off The Job In First-Ever Strike Against Retailer

October 8 2012

by: Kathleen Miles


For the first time in Walmart's 50-year history, workers at multiple stores have gone on strike, even though their jobs are not protected by a labor union.

More than 70 Los Angeles Walmart workers from nine stores walked off the job Thursday, workers and labor organizers told The Huffington Post.

About 250 workers and supporters protested outside the Pico Rivera Walmart store, carrying signs that read, "On Strike for the Freedom to Speak Out" and "Walmart Strike Against Retaliation." The workers said their complaints about working conditions and low pay have been met with threats, suspensions and terminations.

The strikers said they plan to return to work Friday. Some of the workers will speak at LA City Hall Friday to relay Walmart's response to the strike. The strike was coordinated by OUR Walmart, a labor group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that defends Walmart workers' rights.

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman told HuffPost that the protest was insignificant and claimed that less than five workers walked off the job. "This rally is just the latest publicity stunt by the UFCW to seek media attention in order to further their political agenda and financial objectives," he said. "Our stores in the community are staffed up and open for business as usual today. This event is not a factor," he added.

(Full Story...)




Decline and Collapse

Americans Continue to Struggle Post-Recession

October 2 2012



This week, we reported on the Pew Research Center’s findings that the 2000s were a lost decade for the middle class, as a result of declining household income and shrinking net worth over that 10-year period. Now, Pew reports that in the two years since the end of the Great Recession, Americans continue to shed resources.

 In fact, the decline of household median income in the last two years matched the drop that occurred during the recession itself, Pew reports. In 2009, when the recession ended, median household income was $52,195, and in 2011 (the most recent year available), it was $50,054, a decline of 4.1 percent. Back in 2007, before the recession, median household income was $54,489. That leads Pew to conclude that “recovery from the Great Recession is bypassing the nation’s households.”

 Those households are already in a weakened state. As Pew reported earlier, median net worth of middle-income families fell to $93,150 in 2010, compared to a peak of $152,950 several years earlier. And net worth is an important measure of financial security, since it offers households much-needed cash if they find themselves facing unplanned expenses or job losses. At the same time, median household income for middle-income families fell to $69,487 in 2010 compared to $72,956 at the beginning of the decade.

(Full Story...)



Death by Technology

Great Recession still slamming the middle class

October 2 2012

by: John W. Schoen



The poor stayed poor and the rich got richer, but the middle slipped a few more rungs down the economic ladder.

More than five years after the Great Recession began, the lingering impact of the worst downturn in a half-century continues to deplete the standard of living of middle-class American households.

Median household income, after adjusting for inflation, fell 1.5 percent last year to $50,054, according to the Census Bureau's annual report on income and poverty issued released Wednesday. The poverty rate, at 15 percent, remained stuck at the highest level since 1993.

For Ray Bober, 45, of Pittsburgh, whose unemployment benefits ran out this year after a family printing business failed several years ago, the dismal economy takes a toll every time he sends out another resume that goes nowhere.

“You have to learn to roll with the punches and laugh a little; it’s very depressing,” he said. “It takes a toll, especially this long. You want to reach out and shake your fist in the air and blame someone, but you can’t. The way it is, is the way it is. There’s nothing you can do about it but stay in the fight."

For millions of middle-class American households, the fight began well before the Great Recession destroyed more than 8 million jobs, or even before the financial collapse in 2008 that gave birth to the downturn. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has been dropping for 13 years.

The drop in income has been magnified by the persistent high unemployment, currently above 8 percent, which peaked at a monthly pace of more than 800,000 jobs shed in November 2008. On top of job growth that's been weaker than any recovery in a half-century, wages haven't budged since the recession ended.

Last year's drop in the median family household income has left income for those in the median 8.1 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the recession began, and 8.9 percent lower than the median peak in 1999.

(Full Story...)


Tags: , ,

Decline and Collapse | The Economy

Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Scanning Systems

September 28 2012


by: Lila Shapiro


Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) scanning  systems are one of the newest technologies in the hands of law enforcement. The system consists of several cameras mounted on a police cruiser, hooked up to a computer inside the vehicle. The image on license plates are scanned and matched with an on-board, real-time database. This database can be set with flags for vehicles that have been identified as

  • Stolen Vehicles
  • Wanted for an Amber Alerts
  • Expired Registration
  • Expired Insurance
  • Wanted as “Persons of Interest” for any investigation

Anytime of of these alerts is triggered, the officer in the vehicle is immediately alerted to your presence, and for what reason your car has been flagged.

The system can also be matched with the owner of the vehicle via a DMV database. So if you are the owner of a car, and have a

you can find yourself stopped by the police in a heartbeat, just for driving down the street, and not committing any traffic violation.

How Many License Tags Can They Scan?

A license plate scanner can capture thousands of tags per hour. A police car parked on the side of the highway can scan virtually every car license plate in sight. They can successfully identify a vehicle going in the other direction down the highway at 70 mph.

Every time an image is captured, it is saved with the time, date, and location by GPS coordinates. So the police now have a record of where your vehicle was spotted at the time of the scan.

Can The System Make Mistakes?

Definitely, no system is flawless. Sometimes the optical character recognition will guess wrong. If it can’t decide which letter is on a plate, it will search the database for hits on both options. So it is entirely possible to be pulled over mistakenly based on a hit from the license plate scanner.

(Full Story...)



Death by Technology

Americans Are Literally Being Worked To Death

September 28 2012

by: Micheal Snyder


Are you constantly tired and do you feel incredibly stressed almost all the time?  Well, that means that there is a really good chance that you are a typical American worker.  Even though our incomes are going down, Americans are spending more time at work than ever before.  In fact, U.S. workers spend more time at work than anyone else in the world.  But it was not always this way.  Back in 1970, the average work week for an American worker was about 35 hours.  Today, it is up to 46 hours.  But there are other major economies around the globe that are doing just fine without burning their workers out.  For example, the average American worker spends 378 more hours working per year than the average German worker does.  Sadly, for many Americans work is not even finished once they leave the office.  According to one recent survey, the average American worker spends an extra seven hours per week on work tasks such as checking emails and answering phone calls after normal work hours have finished.  Other Americans are juggling two or three jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  Americans are busier than ever and work is often pushing the other areas of our lives on to the back burner.  What this also means is that "family vacations" are becoming increasingly rare in the United States.  In fact, Americans spend less days on vacation than anyone else in the industrialized world.  While some would applaud our "work ethic", the truth is that the fact that we are being overworked is having some very serious consequences.  In fact, as you will see below, Americans are literally being worked to death.

(Full Story...)



Death by Technology | Decline and Collapse

Kroger Rejects GMO Milk: The Tipping Point?

September 22 2012

by: Ken Roseboro


Most Americans don't understand GMO foods. But that appears to be changing. Surveys consistently show that a majority of Americans are unaware that more than 70% of processed foods they eat contain ingredients from GE corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton. But Kroger's recent ban of sales of GMO milk suggest something is afoot. Clearly Americans are increasingly aware of one GE product in their food, and they don’t like it. The food industry is now responding. Food retail giant Kroger recently announced that by February 2008 all the milk processed by the company will be from cows not injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone known as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or rBGH. It's a significant change.


Reached tipping point

Kroger’s announcement is the latest indication of an rBST-free trend sweeping the nation’s dairy industry. The number of dairies using the hormone is falling like dominoes across the country. All milk produced in Oregon is now rBST-free. rBST-free dairy producers include, among others, Wilcox Dairy in Washington, Great Plains Dairy in North Dakota, Darigold Farms and Meadow Gold in Montana, Associated Food Stores in Utah, Sinton Dairy in Colorado, Byrne Dairy in New York, Garelick Farms in New Jersey, and H.P. Hood in Massachusetts. Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy processor, has converted to rBST-free production in several of its New England facilities, and grocery giant, Safeway, has done the same in Washington and Oregon. In May, Publix Super Markets, with 900 stores in the South—hardly a hotbed of anti-genetic engineering activism—went rBST-free in its branded milk products.

The trend isn’t limited to dairies. Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill is serving only rBST-free sour cream in all of its 530 or more restaurants.

Rick North of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility says two events brought the rBST-free trend to a tipping point. First, coffee retailer Starbucks asked all its dairy suppliers to go rBST-free, and then California Dairies, which produces 8% of the milk supplied in the US, banned the use of rBST by this month.


Like “steroids for athletes”�

All these dairies are going rBST-free for one reason: consumers don’t want genetically engineered hormones in their milk. The dairies say they are simply responding to this demand. “We wanted our customers to enjoy the wholesome goodness of milk, without added hormones,”� said Publix’s director of media and community relations, Maria Brous.

(Full Story...)



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