Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for February 1st, 2011

Road to riches/road to ruin

Posted by Charles II on February 1, 2011

An economic overview of how to achieve full employment, by Robert Pollin, Boston Review (via t/o), showing how the policies that we have adopted lead to high unemployment:

“Employment conditions in the United States today, in the aftermath of the 2008-09 Wall Street collapse and worldwide Great Recession, remain disastrous – worse than at any time since the Depression of the 1930s. Since Barack Obama entered office in January 2009, the official unemployment rate has averaged more than 9.5 percent, representing some fifteen million people in a labor force of about 154 million. By a broader definition, including people employed for fewer hours than they would like and those discouraged from looking for work, the unemployment rate has been far higher – 16.5 percent, on average.”

FWIW, I think that much deeper reform needs to be done than Pollin suggests. Would we rather pay young men to sit in prison, or pay them to repair roads? Do we just need to spend more money on education, or is there a need to raise the levels of curricula and teaching methods? How much money gets wasted in the frequent job changes and periods of unemployment that people are forced to endure to accommodate the demand of companies for “flexibility”? I think if we sat down and considered how we organize and conduct work, we would find that much of what we do doesn’t need to be done, and that many things we should be doing, we aren’t. But there’s no doubt that Pollin points toward the direction steps should be taken.

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He fits right in with the rest of the G-8

Posted by Charles II on February 1, 2011

Kourosh Ziabari, Smirking Chimp:

There [is] evidence[] which indicate that Berlusconi has had close relations with the Sicilian Mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, which is a criminal syndicate that emerged in mid 19th century in Sicily. According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, the allegations of Berlusconi’s connection with mafia intensified when he entered politics in the early 1990s and became Prime Minister for the first time in 1994…

He [Gaspare Spatuzza, a Mafia turncoat] also made the incendiary claim that Mr. Berlusconi had provided support for a spate of deadly bombings by the mafia in 1993, in return for political support.”

…Mr. [Marcello] Dell’Utri [a founding member of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party] arranged for mafia protection for several companies run by Silvio Berlusconi.

However, cooperation with mafia and terrorist groups is a simple instance of Berlusconi’s scandals. His extensive record of false accounting, tax fraud, corruption and bribery of police officers and judges are almost known to everyone in Italy.

According to a report published by The Sunday Times on October 27, 2009, Berlusconi was accused of tax fraud and false accounting over the acquisition of TV rights by Mediaset, the television company which he owns, and should have attended a trial over the allegations which were directed at him; however, he evaded the court hearings several times, claiming that he was busy with “constitutional duties”. As said by The Sunday Times, Berlusconi had offered $600,000 in bribes to an English tax layer named David Mills to give false testimony on his behalf in corruption trials in the 1990s. Following the revelation of this unprecedented debacle, David Mills was sentenced to 4 years and six months in prison while Berlusconi survived imprisonment thanks to the impunity law.

…Milan prosecutors submitted to the Italian parliament a dossier containing statements, reports and wiretap transcripts which depicted extravagantly sordid scenes of Berlusconi’s immoral affairs with Italian girls. The Economist reported on January 20th that the documents gathered by the Italian lawyers portrayed “orgiastic parties staged at the home of Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, involving more than 20 half-naked women, and a room for what are known to participants as “Bunga Bunga” sessions, equipped for pole-dancing, with wardrobes full of skimpy nurses’ and policewomen’s uniforms.”

The elites throughout the world have increasingly indulged in this kind of stuff. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between prime ministers and crime bosses. Heaven knows, we common folk have our faults. But when a person is elevated to a position of high trust, every tiny fault is magnified. We need better– much better leaders.

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Buh-Bye, Tony!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 1, 2011

Looks like, after watching him fail as a Republican Party treasurer and as a businessman, the Coopers have decided to stop trusting Tony Sutton with their money:

While Sutton was at the helm of the Republican resurgence, the Baja Sol restaurant chain he ran as CEO was adrift. It shrunk to 10 restaurants from 23 as its revenues took a beating in the recession. Immigrant rights protesters outside its doors can’t have helped build a positive image, either.

So Sutton announced yesterday [January 17] he was handing day-to-day operations of the company to Bridget Sutton, his wife and the firm’s president, and he was moving on to a position with Minneapolis-based P.R. firm Public Affairs Co.

The position? Sounds rather nebulous to me:

Public Affairs Co. announced Monday it is launching a joint venture with longtime Republican strategist Tony Sutton and his new Winning Strategies consulting firm.


Sutton recently founded Winning Strategies to serve as a grassroots advocacy firm. The firm’s offerings include issue campaigns, message development, media relations, business communications, ballot initiatives and government affairs.

Two things here:

1) I think he spells “grassroots” A-S-T-R-O-T-U-R-F. Or perhaps K-O-C-H. Or even maybe C-O-O-P-E-R, if the TCF father and son team haven’t totally soured on him.

2) Note that he’s not in a position where he has to deal with anybody’s money, aside from whatever paychecks, if any, he himself is getting.

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