Article 43


Monday, November 28, 2011

Poverty In Central Florida


The evolution of culture is ultimately determined by the amount of love, understanding and freedom experienced by its children… Every abandonment, every betrayal, every hateful act towards children returns tenfold a few decades later upon the historical stage, while every empathic act that helps a child become what he or she wants to become, every expression of love toward children heals society and moves it in unexpected, wondrous new directions.
- Lloyd deMause

No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.  The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being.
- Emma Goldman (Russian-American lecturer and activist, 1869-1940)

Last night on CBS’ “60 Minutes” was THE SECOND sad and inspiring STORY of homeless kids and their families in my ONCE MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD.


Homeless Children: The Hard Times Generation

Produced by Robert G. Anderson, Nicole Young and Daniel Ruetenik
CBS News
March 6, 2011, updated June 20, 2011.

Unemployment continues to hover around nine percent and job creation is so slow, it’ll be years before we get back the seven and a half million jobs lost in the Great Recession. American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers.

The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives. One of the consequences of the recession that you don’t hear much about is the record number of children descending into poverty. The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and the government projections of unemployment, it is estimated that the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent.

As we first reported last march, those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.

In SEMINOLE COUNTY, near Orlando, Fla., so many kids have lost their homes that school busses now stop at dozens of cheap motels where families crowd into rooms, living week to week.

Destiny Corfee, 11, joined the line at one local motel a year ago. “I never really noticed what people were actually going through until now; until we’re actually going through it too,” she told “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley.

Destiny’s parents David and Theresa never imagined their family homeless. Together they were making about $40 an hour detailing expensive cars. There was a three-bedroom home, vacations and extras for the kids. But both jobs went, and then the house. Evicted, they found that the homeless shelters wanted to split their family up - boys and girls.

“That was definitely something that I wasn’t gonna have, was being separated at a time like this. I figured the time like this that we needed to be together more than anything,” David Corfee said.

So David, Theresa, Destiny, Jorge and Chance, moved into their van.

“I was embarrassed that maybe one of my friends might see me. I don’t want anybody to know that I was actually in there,” Destiny told Pelley.

The van, according to Destiny, was parked at a WalMart.

“We would actually go in WalMart and clean our self up before we’d go to school,” her brother Jorge remembered.

“How would you do that?” Pelley asked.

“I would like wash my face, and like, take a tissue and wash my arms and stuff,” Jorge explained.

“We would bring the toothpaste and the toothbrush and the brushes so we’ll go brush our hair in the mirror and people would see us,” Destiny added. “And it would be kind of weird. But we worked through it.”

“Tell me about the motel that you’re living in now,” Pelley said.

“Well, it’s a lot better than the van!” Destiny replied.

But Jorge pointed out the living space is small: two rooms for the five of them. Their possessions, family photos - you name it - went into storage. And they lost it all, seized and sold, when they couldn’t pay that bill.

“Most of my stuff was in there; my scooter, my game system, all my games, my clothes. So I lost most of my stuff,” Jorge said.

“I had so many of my toys and things. My Barbie dolls, clothes, and it was just all gone,” Destiny said.

The neighborhood around the motel is scary, she added. “You hear on the news all the time about shootings, and it’s all right there.”

Nationwide, 14 million children were in poverty before the Great Recession. Now, the U.S. Census tells us its 16 million - up two million in two years. That is the fastest fall for the middle class since the government started counting 51 years ago.

One of the areas suffering the most is otherwise advertised as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” the counties around Disney World and Orlando. Just on Highway 192, the road to Disney World, 67 motels house about 500 homeless kids. The government counts them homeless if they have only temporary shelter.

In Seminole County schools, 1,000 students have recently lost their homes.

At CASSELBERRY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, students whose families are at the poverty level or slightly above qualify for the free lunch program. We talked with some of those kids with their parents’ permission.

When Pelley asked a group of students how many of them had gone to bed hungry in the last few weeks, many put their hands up.

Pelley got a number of responses when he asked, “Who can tell me what it’s like to feel hungry?”

“It’s hard. You can’t sleep. You just wait, you just go to sleep for like five minutes and you wake up again. And your stomach hurts, and you’re thinking ‘I can’t sleep. I’m going to try and sleep, I’m going to try and sleep,’ but you can’t ‘cause your stomach’s hurting. And it’s cause it doesn’t have any food in it.”

“And it’s like a black hole. And sometimes when I don’t eat, my stomach, you can hear it’s like growling. You can hear it.”

“Usually we eat macaroni, or we don’t or we drink water or tea.”

“My mom will sometimes make food and then she won’t have enough so at night we’ll just eat cereal or something. Other times, my parents will fight about money ‘cause they don’t have enough money to pay the food.”

“We have to sometimes take food from a church. It’s hard because my grandmother’s also out of work and we usually get some food from her.”

“It’s kind of embarrassing because the next day, you go to school asking kids if they want this, or if they want that. If they have cereal and they haven’t opened it yet, you go ask them if they want their cereal.”

We found a lot of families are making a choice between food and electricity: when Pelley asked how many of them had the lights turned off at their house, nearly all students put their hands up.

“How do you study when you don’t have the lights on at home?” Pelley asked.

“We have emergency flashlights, and I usually have to use them,” one student explained.

“I’ll just light candles and sit around in a circle of candles,” another said.

And another said, “I go out to the car and turn on the overhead and read out there and study.”

Ashley Rhea raised her hand to add something that we didn’t expect: “I kind of feel like it’s my fault that we don’t have enough money. I feel like it’s my fault that they have to pay for me. And the clothes that they buy for me.”

“They’re believing it’s their fault that they in this situation,” Beth Davalos told Pelley.

Davalos runs the Seminole County programs for homeless kids. “Our numbers go up every day. Between five and 15 new homeless students a day,” she explained.

And she told us something else is new: “When I first started this program eight years ago, homelessness lasted maybe two, three months. But now with it lasting three, six months, a year or two years, this is when children are developing who they are and their foundation is broken.”

When asked how these students are doing in school, Davalos said, “They’re struggling, it’s much harder. They’re more at risk for not doing well. They’re focusing on ‘How can I help mom and dad?’ We have so many students that want to quit school and go to work.”

Davalos is working to keep Jacob Braverman on track in school. His family lost their house suddenly in October. When he got off the bus that day, the door was locked.

“That was the last thing that I expected,” he told Pelley.

His mother, Rosa, lost her job. But the eviction was a shock. The bank told Rosa she had 30 days, but it was five days later that the cops moved them out. There’s a lot of chaos in foreclosures all across the country because of the sheer number of them.

There were a million last year, and another million are expected this year. In Florida, the counties with the highest foreclosure rates see some of the increases in child poverty.

Rosa was suddenly on the street, and like the Corfees, she faced splitting up her family. “This is what is important is family is wherever you are...together. It doesn’t matter if it is in your house, if it is in one room, or in your vehicle,” she told Pelley.

“As long as you’re with your family, you’re going to make it through all of this that’s been going on. All of it,” Jacob added.

Rosa, Jacob, Joey and the dog are all in one room, right across the street from their old home. The neighbors took them in. We’ve seen a lot of that in our stories on the recession - neighbors, even strangers, opening homes to the homeless.

We talked to the Bravermans at the neighbor’s house. They’ve been there three months and that is starting to worry them.

“I want to give the neighbors their own privacy you know? I don’t want to be invasive,” Jacob explained.

“So you miss your privacy from across the street. What else?” Pelley asked.

“Sometimes, you know, I have to go to the bathroom at night. And here I have to be really, really quiet, ‘cause if I wake them up, I don’t want to make them upset and get us kicked out,” he replied.

Homeless kids tiptoe in a world of insecurity, hoping to be invisible.

“People said that I talk too much, and now they say I don’t talk enough and that I’m really shy I guess,” Jacob said.

Asked if he thinks the situation has changed him, he told Pelley, “Yeah, and I haven’t realized it but I think I’ve gotten very mature in a very short amount of time.”

Look for the homeless in Seminole County, and you’ll find Robert Williams’ family of five in one motel room. He and his wife lost their tourism jobs several months back.

When Angel Abreau lost his construction job, he and his wife had to split their family among relatives. They see their three young children on weekends. And on Sunday evenings, when we saw them, the goodbyes are always painful.

Destiny Corfee’s family got out of the van and into a motel when her dad found a little day labor to scrape together a deposit for the room. He applied at car washes and Disney World; worked as a bricklayer’s assistant, but nothing steady.

As the hotel bill came due, David was short. He found himself prepared to do nearly anything to keep his family from being split apart by the homeless shelters.

“So as embarrassing as it was, I sat down with a magic marker, and I’ve seen these people on the road with these signs before, and I wrote a sign out,” he told Pelley. “It said, ‘Please help, family of five.’ Every truck that went by I would holler out to them, and let them see my sign. ‘Hey, do you need any help? Can I get a job? Do you need any help?’”

“I didn’t think that it was gonna have to come down to that. Like, he was actually gonna go and take the sign and show it to people. And I don’t want people to know that I, he’s my dad. I don’t want to be embarrassed by people,” Destiny said.

“You must have thought that you would never be that guy? The guy with the sign?” Pelley asked David.

“Never and in a million years did I think that that would be me. And I told my wife, ‘This is America. And America is full of wonderful people. And I’m gonna go out and see what I can do and see if there’s someone out there that can help us,’” he remembered.

He showed us the sign that eventually caught the eye of a woman who stopped to say she might have a job for him. “And sure enough that phone rang about a week later. She said, ‘David, I’d like to tell you you’re golden. That we have a job for you, and you can start Friday,’” he remembered.

“And that’s where you got the hat?” Pelley asked, referring to a University of Central Florida cap David was wearing.

“That’s where I got the hat,” David replied. “And I’ve been wearing this hat ever since.”

He’s a parking attendant, making $10 an hour - enough to keep the motel room, but not enough to get out. Jorge dropped out, in his senior year, to look for work, but Destiny is still picked up on the school bus route for homeless kids.

“And when things get better again we know that there are still people struggling. So we’ll be able to help out a lot more and we’ll understand what they’re going through,” she said.

“This opened your eyes to an America that you didn’t know existed?” Pelley asked.

“Mmm hmm,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”

We all hear about the recovery - that the recession ended in 2009 - but some things are getting worse before they get better. And child poverty is one of them.

America’s motel generation is growing fast.

Like the kids who came out of the Great Depression, this generation is being shaped by homelessness and hunger but also by memories of neighbors who opened their homes, and of families that refused to be broken.

Destiny and her family have moved out of the motel and into a modest home. Her dad now works for a landscaping company and is looking for a second job.

Jacob and his family have moved - temporarily - into subsidized housing.

Generous “60 Minutes” viewers responded to our story by helping both families, and by donating to the Seminole County School System. That has enabled the schools to launch additional food programs in the hope that students will no longer go to bed hungry.



Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars

“Guess what? It’s getting worse.”

Those were words that CBS News producer Nicole Young didn’t expect to hear about poverty in central Florida. After all, last year Nicole worked with Scott Pelley on a “60 Minutes” piece about families in that region who had lost their jobs, lost their homes, and moved into highway motels.

How much worse could it get? Well, Nicole learned from a school social worker that many of those families had run through their savings. Those motels were now unaffordable, and so some parents and their kids were living in their cars.

Nicole said she had to see it for herself, and on Overtime this week she tells us how she met and got to know the families that Scott profiles in his “60 Minutes” piece “Hard Times Generation,” which aired this Sunday.

While she was researching this piece, Nicole forged close bonds with the people she met, and was struck by their courage. One girl, high school freshman Arielle Metzger, lives with her father, brother, and dog in a small truck - and yet not even this hardship will sway her commitment to her schoolwork and education.

As you’ll see both on Overtime and “60 Minutes,” Arielle uses gas station bathrooms to wash up and get ready for school, and Nicole was again struck by the young woman’s composure.

“I remember when I was a freshman in high school,” Nicole told Overtime. “I remember how important it was to feel like a girl and thought of as a beautiful, young lady. The fact that I saw this young lady get up every day and fight this fight and try to go to school with a normal face, I felt for her. And I give the girl credit because most adults couldn’t handle that.”

To see Scott Pelley’s original March 2011 report on homelessness, also called “Hard Times Generation,” click HERE.


Posted by Elvis on 11/28/11 •
Section Dying America
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Verizon Snooping


Verizon Welcomes Users To The Opt-Out, Ad-Targeting Party

By Josh Constine
Tech Crunch
November 17, 2011

Verizon Wireless finally got around to sending a POLITE EMAIL to customers informing them that everything they do on their phones is now used to target them with ads. Policy changes implemented last month allow it to employ browsing history, search terms, location, app and feature usage, and demographic information it buys from other companies to power targeting. At least Verizon didnt title its privacy demolition notice ғGreater Choice like Google did this week. Users can opt out by phone or VerizonԒs website. Still, I see an alarming trend developing. Major digital service providers are implementing opt out data grabs, and their peers figure, Why canӒt we be evil too? Worst case is the government stops us all.

In just the last two days The Rootkit Of All Evil was discovered, Facebook revealed it tracks 90 days of users web browsing with cookies, and Google hit an anti-privacy homerun with its complicated nomapӔ location cataloguing opt out. Mobile device makers and web services giant are taking an EFAP (easier to ask for forgiveness than permission) approach. If regulation eventually comes down, theyӒre going to make sure they get as much data as they can first. This provides little incentive for other companies not to follow suit.

Verizon definitely scores points for titling the email Important notice about how Verizon Wireless uses informationӔ. Also, for laying out a clear grid of what data its using and how, shown below. The changes were added to its privacy policy a month ago, so even users who follow the emailҒs opt out instructions may have already given up data.

Most people only get automated billing notice emails from their wireless provider, so this will probably be ignored or overlooked by the majority of Verizons users. The privacy fun doesnҒt stop with ad targeting, either. Verizon can use all the data to generate business and marketing reports of anonymized data for itself as well as other companies.

AT&T graciously asked mobile users to opt in to ad targeting a few months ago. I bet theyre feeling like a goodie two-shoes now. I wouldnҒt be surprised to see it and other companies join the trend and launch more aggressive strategies to slurp up monetizable data.


Posted by Elvis on 11/17/11 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Standing Up To The Big Bad Boss


Do you know someone who reported an ABUSIVE BOSS to HR for HARASSMENT

NO MATTER how bad the WORKPLACE may be, and how many people may have EXPERIENCED similar ABUSE - those that do report - STAND ALONE.

In management school I was taught if anyone who worked for me complained about someone higher in rank giving her trouble - my job was to support the higher up to help protect the company from possible legal action. So, if you think Human Resource (HR) departments always do something to discourage the negative IMPACT a toxic workplace or mean boss can have in the office, or are always fair in their investigations - THINK AGAIN.  Corporate policy may be to downplay anything accusers say.

Mary - works for Elvis in Sales: “The director in accounting down the hall whose always yelling at people that don’t work for him - yelled at me again for getting the last can of pop from the soda machine, then called me an ugly bitch.”

Elvis - Mary’s supervisor: “Could it be you misunderstood and overheard him complaining to maintenance about the broken light switch?”

The articles below explain the dynamics for those brave enough, fed up enough, or stupid enough to report a BULLYING MANAGER.

Friends at work will probably betray you, and THE ODDS ARE four to one you’ll get FIRED for COMPLAINING, and fourteen to one the abusive boss won’t get as much as a slap on the wrist.

GETTING A LAWYER may be the only OPTION.


Bullying in the Schoolyard Is Not the Same as Workplace Bullying

By Janice Harper
Huffington Post
November 13, 2011

One of the fundamental weaknesses of the anti-bullying movement has been the failure to adequately distinguish between school bullying and workplace bullying. This distinction is critical to informed discussion and effective policy because the two forms of interpersonal aggression reflect vastly different power relations. In bullying in schools, the instigators of the aggression are children, and the enforcers of policy are adults who are not under the authority of the children whose behaviors they control.

Conversely, in workplace bullying, the instigators are very often people in positions of organizational leadership. Reporting a bully in the workplace puts the worker at risk of being targeted for ever more aggression if the person they charge with bullying has authority or influence over other workers. When that happens, workers quickly mobilize to protect their own interests, align with management, and recast the reporting worker as a trouble maker who must be removed from the workplace.

This latter process is termed “mobbing,” which is distinct from bullying in that it involves a group of people who become increasingly aggressive and increase in size provided they have been told by management that a worker is unwanted, that any reports about the worker are encouraged, and that any adversarial action taken against the worker is acceptable.

People behave very differently in groups than they do as individuals, and by treating mobbing and bullying as the same process, and not distinguishing between the power relations of bullying children and enforcing adults, and bullying workers and enforcing workers, the anti-bullying movement has, however unintended, cast itself as a pro-mobbing movement.

While purporting to condemn bullying, it has done no such thing; what it has instead promoted is the acceptance of shunning, gossiping, excluding, abusing, damaging, dehumanizing and eliminating anyone the larger group defines as a bully; in other words, it is considered quite alright to bully once the broader group reaches a consensus that the person targeted is a bully.

In a workplace setting, the consensus will almost always evolve to conform to the position of management that a particular “difficult employee” the one who differs in some marked respect, such as race, gender, age, political perspective or what have you; the one who has raised concerns about the workplace; the one who has made charges of discrimination or harassment; the one who has blown the whistle on unethical practices - is the problem, and that worker must go.

As the mobbing process develops, regardless of the workers past history or popularity, gossip will circulate about the worker, labels and accusations will ensue, secretive investigations will rapidly frighten, anger and exhaust the worker while heightening tension and fear among the workforce, and the mobbing target will be isolated. The target will almost inevitably be labeled as bullying as they make every effort to fight back, object to the treatment, and exhibit the erratic behavior that comes of being mobbed and shunned.

In a school setting, reaching a consensus on who has instigated the aggression will be significantly less influenced by power relations. The “mob” that forms around a bully on the schoolyard is comprised of other children under the influence of one or a few aggressive children. Intervening in this mob will not cost teachers, administrators and counselors their jobs; their perceptions of the interpersonal aggression will thus be more objective, and they will have greater influence over the children’s behavior if and when they do intervene.

The process of mobbing and the nature of group aggression has been poorly explored and rarely discussed in the anti-bullying literature, and the paucity of information on mobbing in comparison to that of bullying is striking. Vitriolic responses to any suggestion that the anti-bullying movement might constitute a witch hunt, cause more damage than it seeks to prevent or otherwise reflect weaknesses that merit examination demonstrate that group think over rational discussion has permeated the movement.

Interpersonal aggression, exclusion, shunning and cruelty have no place in any organizational setting, and until the anti-bullying movement begins to explore the distinctions between bullying and mobbing, individual interpersonal aggression and group aggression, and schoolyard bullying and workplace bullying, the power relations that make “bullying” possible will remain hiding in the shadows, enabling anyone, no matter how committed to cooperation, compassion and kindness, to be bullied right out the door.



Self-Defense for Bullied Employees

By Robert Mueller, J.D.

Almost half of all employees have been targeted by a workplace bully. According to a March 2007 study by the Employment Law Alliance, 44% of us have been bullied by an abusive manager or supervisor.

Here are some more statistics:

81% of bullies are managers.

50% of bullies are women, and 50% are men.

84% of targets are women.

82% of targets ultimately lose their jobs.

95% of bullying is witnessed.

And the statistic that causes the most indignation? It’s estimated that only 7% of workplace bullies end up censured, transferred, or terminated.

With new and better information, however, that last statistic can change. Employees no longer have to sit back and “take it.” Employees don’t have to quit. All targets or victims of workplace bullying can become what I call “workplace warriors,” using some tried-and-true self-defense strategies designed to restore power, dignity, and options to the bullied employee.

Myths and Truths about Bullying Bosses

Before we get into self-defense strategies, let’s clear up some common misconceptions about bully bosses.

Myth: It’s a good idea to confront your bully so he or she sees that you’re not afraid.
Truth: Personal confrontations with bullies are almost never productive.

Myth: The first thing an employee should do following a bullying incident is talk to management.
Truth: Management team members interpret any confrontation an employee might have with a boss as also being a confrontation with them, and without well-documented proof of a pattern of behavior, they will likely view the employee as the problem.

Myth: You should avoid your bullying boss whenever possible.
Truth: If bullies notice you’re ducking them, they will not see this as sensible avoidance but as cowering behavior.

Myth: Don’t look a bully right in the eye. It’s provocative.
Truth: On the contrary, maintain steady eye contact. If that is too difficult, then focus between his or her eyes or on the bridge of his or her nose. One bullied employee even removed his Coke-bottle-thick glasses before a meeting so he could maintain direct eye contact with his boss without feeling intimidated.

Myth: Get personal with a bully to diffuse some of his or her anger and to show him or her your human side.
Truth: Bullies not only don’t do the personal, most don’t tolerate it in others either. Details of your personal, spiritual, or emotional life are weapons in your antagonist’s hands.

Myth: Seek help from the company’s HR department. That’s what they’re there for.
Truth: HR can be the chilliest place any employee can visit and also one of the most dangerous. HR’s allegiance is to the employer and protecting the employer from legal claims. Approach rarely, with caution, and only when fully prepared.

Myth: It’s good strategy to relate your story to as many coworkers as possible, right after an incident, if possible.
Truth: Unfortunately, your story has a negative emotional quality that can repel listeners. Allies must be identified and groomed carefully before you enlist their support. Moreover, it’s better to be circumspect about sharing your storyחwritedown detailed notes about it first. You can present it in a more organized and effective way later, when the timing is strategically advantageous.

The Seven Types of Workplace Bullies

As you’ve already learned, bully bosses are as likely to be male as female. All bullies have certain personality traits in common, however. For example, bullies are impersonalif you go away, they will use exactly the same tactics on their next victim. They communicate only indirectly through the languages of rules and hierarchy. They often display status symbols and consider targets their trophies. They issue citations rather than employing give and take. And they are not particularly interested in business solutions.

Learn what to look for in these seven types:

Subtle bullies - These bullies torment their targets with quiet but piercing techniques.

Abusive bullies - These bosses hound a target employee without mercy.

Crude bullies - These people throw their weight around loudly and physically.

Raging bullies - These people intimidate everyone in the vicinity with their out-of-control anger.

Echo bullies - Not normally abusive, these bullies mimic bullying behavior with their own subordinates.

Ghost bullies - These bullies guide, mentor, and supervise lower-level bosses in bullying techniques and tactics.

Satellite bullies - These are people of stature who undermine the target by contributing to someone else’s bullying.

10 Self-Defense Tips for Bullied Employees

If you find yourself the target of a bullying boss, there are definite dos and don’ts in terms of how you should proceed. The most time-consuming aspectand the one that’s the most difficult and involved - is documenting the patterns of abuse and building and nurturing allies and supporters. You can find helpful advice and more detailed strategy information HERE.

Nevertheless, here are the basic strategies that will point you in the right direction.

Approach your bullying problem like a work project. Be methodical in how you behave, perform, document, and strategize. Take notes after an incident. Try to stay unemotional. Even though he or she is trying to make you think the opposite, it is the bully who has a serious personal and professional problem, not you.

Be a workplace warrior as you look for other work. Even as you put feelers out for other jobs, dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to vanquishing your abuser and not being a victim.

Sweat the small stuff. Documenteven the smallest incidents, which often become the most important, illustrating a pattern of bullying that might not otherwise be apparent. Teasing counts. Sarcasm counts. Ignoring or criticism counts. A very public glare or silent treatment counts.

Don’t let yourself get isolated. Every day, pick out someone you haven’t talked to for a while. Have a brief but focused, attentive conversation. Bullies work hard to alienate targets from their coworkers. Don’t let that happen to you.

Display self-esteem and broadcast positive attitude. Pay attention to how your appearancesuch as hair and clothesחis perceived by others. Have a comfy chair in your office for coworkers. Put fresh flowers on your desk. Decorate with tasteful art that will be pleasing to others. Make your personal space an oasis of calm and taste.

Try to stay in safe spots. Your abuser is less likely to attack when you are around other supervisors, known allies (particularly upright employees), and customers or other outsiders of importance to the employer. Make a list of those people and places.

During a bullying situation, excuse yourself. Don’t beat a hasty retreat, and don’t leave the building. Tell your abuser that you’re late for an appointment with HR, for example. Or casually excuse yourself to the restroom. Never enter the restroom if you are being pursued by a bully.

During an attack, try distracting your abuser. Pick up something physical as long as it’s not a threatening item - such as a critical file that needs the bully’s attention, or a note with an important phone number that needs to be called. Sometimes a simple distraction is enough to get him or her to stop.

Protect your personal information. Tell bullies as little as possible about your life, family, friends, hobbies, interests, religion, and so on. Information about you gives them power.

Hold your cards close to your vest. As you’re building a case against a bully boss, the less you talk about your story to others at work, the better. Controlling what you say, when you say it, and to whom needs to be part of your overall, well-organized strategy.

Where to Go for Help

After you have documented a substantial pattern of abuse, made allies, collected witness statements from well-groomed supporters, and done everything in your power to disarm your bully (such as putting a bouquet of flowers on your desk the day after an incident to show him or her that you are feeling just fine, thank you), then it may be time to seek outside help.

There are agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the Department of Labor. All of these have information at their websites that might be relevant or useful.

There are unions and, of course, your HR department. There are also many aid and support groups that focus on representing a special issue or population, such as women or members of a particular minority group. Among the more notable organizations are The National Organization of Women, La Raza, NAACP, and the Asian Law Caucus.

There are also attorney groups like the National Lawyers Guild that represent multiple cases, as well as the ACLU, which specifically defends our constitutional rights, such as those associated with the First Amendment. Labor attorneys and workplace-conflict counselors are other good options.

However you choose to deal with your bully boss, be a workplace warrior, not a victim.

About the Author:

Robert Mueller, J.D., is an expert on labor-management law, a widely recognized workplace-conflicts counselor and consultant, and the author of BULLYING BOSSES



Stop Big, Bad Bullies

By Helen Jensen
Workplace Violence
January 10, 2012

Most of us have either been one or combatted one during some point in our lives I am referring to a bully.

Bullying is an act of persistent, aggressive behavior which may include verbal, physical and written abuse. A bullyגs intentions are to intimidate and hurt others, physically and/or mentally; his primary purpose is to assert power and control over the target.

While most people are familiar with bullying as an adversity among children at schools, many are unaware of the fact that adults are also tormented by bullies at the workplace.

I, too, was unaware of this widespread problem until I was bullied by a tyrannical supervisor at my job a few years ago. I was nave and under the impression that adults were too mature and civil to behave in such a childish and vulgar manner.

The characteristics of an adult and child bully are very similar. In both cases, they behave in such an abusive manner because they are usually hiding their inadequacies or acting out of jealousy.

Employees who are overachievers and popular among co-workers often fall prey to a workplace bully. Bullies feel threatened by any employee who outshines them, especially ones who are more competent than they are. They will undermine their target, attempting to make them seem inferior. They believe humiliating and belittling them in front of others will boost their own worth, and that they will gain respect from co-workers.

Whether it is a child or adult being bullied, the inflicted effects can be toxic to physical and mental health. It frequently causes them to experience post-traumatic stress syndrome and in many cases, victims turn to suicide.

Always remember that health is much more vital than wealth. It is crucial for people working in a hostile work environment to defend themselves and stand up to bullies in an effort to extinguish the abuse. This especially applies to workers who are parents, because it would be hypocritical of them to not tolerate their children to be bullied at their schools if they themselves tolerate being bullied at their workplaces.

Everybody will struggle with an abundance of challenging and unhappy times throughout life; its unavoidable. Life is fleeting; passed time is irreplaceable. Unnecessarily living miserably in a toxic environment five days a week is not only a waste of one’s most precious and valuable asset time - but also hazardous to physical and mental health and in extreme cases, deadly.


Posted by Elvis on 11/17/11 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bad Moon Rising Part 46 - The Big Oil Lies


We are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process, rebuild the unity and confidence of America.
- President Jimmy Carter, 1979

We have it in our power to act right here, right now. I propose $6 billion in tax cuts and research and developments to encourage innovation, renewable energy, fuel-efficient cars, and energy-efficient homes.
- President Bill Clinton, 1998

I think that in ten years, we can reduce our dependence so that we no longer have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. I think that’s about a realistic time frame. That’s why I’ve focused on putting resources into solar, wind, biodiesel, geothermal. These have been priorities of mine since I got to the Senate, and it is absolutely critical that we develop a high fuel efficient car that’s built not in Japan and not in South Korea, but built here in the United States of America.
- President Barack Obama, 2008

We don’t have to wait on OPEC anymore. We don’t have to let them hold us hostage. America’s got the energy. Let’s have American energy independence.
- Rick Perry, CNN Debate, October 18, 2011

We must become independent from foreign sources of oil. This will mean a combination of efforts related to conservation and efficiency measures, developing alternative sources of energy like biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and finding more domestic sources of oil such as in ANWR or the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
- Mitt Romney

Drilling The Big GOP Lie: The US Exports More Gasoline Than It Imports

By Ray Medeiros
January 2nd, 2012

The Republican Party seems to think Americans are stupid and will not dig into the factsӔ that they spew. This is especially the case with oil drilling, exploration and so called energy independence.

The Republicans have told the American people that we need to drill for more oil, build refineries and build pipelines all in the name of energy independence. Yet as CNBC pointed out in December of 2011, the United States is EXPORTING more refined fuel, gasoline, than it imports for the first time in 50 years.

“For all refined petroleum products, the U.S. in the first 10 months of 2011 exported 848 million barrels and imported 750 million. Lipow said he believes this if the first time since World War II that the U.S. will be a net exporter of refined petroleum products, but government data on the EIA website only goes back to 1973.”

So, why are gas prices increasing across this country? Why are we still at about $3.30 a gallon when we are exporting more now than we did under Reagan, Bush, Clinton or Bush Jr.? We were told by the Republicans that drilling a refining will decrease the cost of oil and bring us to energy independence.

I have reported before, that oil is sold on the global market. This includes oil drilled and extracted here in the United States. Every drop of oil is sold on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, so if we increase oil production in this country, the ONLY people that benefit are the sellers of the oil. Rather than selling 1 million barrels a day, they end up selling 1.5 million barrels a day. It doesnt decrease the cost of oil or gas.

In the CNBC REPORT it stated, that the U.S. exported 1.07 million barrels a day of distillates, which includes diesel fuel, double the 557,000 barrels two years ago and up from last yearҒs 870,000 barrels.

Once again, under the so called oppressive Obama regulations, production has increased, just like under ObamaCare hiring increased dramatically in the healthcare industry. The lies and misinformation on the right rely on American ignorance.

The ONLY real solution to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to increase energy efficiency, like the light bulb law, and green technology. Increasing oil production only increases the wealth of oil barons and speculators. While we are at it, all oil produced in America should be only for the American economy. Once all oil needs are met at home, then we should export our excess.



Energy Independence - The Big Lie

By JimQ
Washington’s Blog
November 14, 2011

It is too bad that our 255 million cars cant run on hot air. American presidents have propagated the Big Lie of energy independence for the last three decades. The Democrats have lied about green energy solutions and the Republicans have lied about domestic sources saving the day. These deceitful politicians put the country at risk as they misinform and mislead the non-thinking American public. They have been declaring our energy independence for 30 years, but we import three times as much oil today as we did in the early 1980’s. The CPI has gone up 350% since 1978, but the price of a barrel of oil has risen 800% over the same time frame. Today, I hear the same mindless fabrications from politicians and pundits about our ability to become energy independent. Any critical thinking analysis of the hard facts reveals that the United States will grow increasingly dependent upon other countries to supply our energy needs from a dwindling and harder to access supply of oil and natural gas. The fantasy world of plug in cars, corn driven vehicles and solar energy running our manufacturing plants is a castle in the sky flight of imagination. The linear thinking academic crowd believes a technological miracle will save us, when it is evident technology fails without infinite quantities of cheap oil.

I know the chart HERE requires some time to grasp, but I’m sure the average American can take five minutes away from watching Jersey Shore, Dancing with the Stars, or the latest update of the Kardashian saga to understand why the propaganda about energy independence is nothing but falsehoods. You have U.S. energy demand by sector on the right and the energy source by fuel on the left. Total U.S. energy use is nearly 100 quadrillion Btu. In physical energy terms, 1 quad represents 172 million barrels of oil (8 to 9 days of U.S. oil use), 50 million tons of coal (enough to generate about 2% of annual U.S. electricity use), or 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (about 4% of annual U.S. natural gas use).

Please note that 37% of our energy source is petroleum, which supplies 95% of the energy for our transportation sector. That means your car and the millions of 18 wheelers that deliver your food to your grocery stores and electronic gadgets to your Best Buy. You can’t fill up your SUV with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy or sunshine. Without the 7 billion barrels of oil we use every year, our just in time mall centric suburban sprawl society would come to a grinding halt. There is no substitute for cheap plentiful oil anywhere in sight. The government sponsored ethanol boondoggle has already driven food prices higher, while requiring more energy to produce than it generates. Only a government solution could raise food prices, reduce gas mileage, and bankrupt hundreds of companies in an effort to reduce our dependence on oil. Natural gas as a transportation fuel supplies 2% of our needs. The cost to retro-fit 160,000 service stations across the country to supply natural gas as a fuel for the non-existent natural gas automobiles would be a fools errand and take at least a decade to implement.

The green energy Nazis despise coal and nuclear power, which account for 31% of our energy supply. They want to phase coal out. They aren’t too fond of fracking either, so there goes another 23% of our supply. You might be able to make out that itsy bitsy green circle with the 7% of our supply from renewable energy. And more than half of that energy is supplied by hydro power. Less than 2% of our energy needs are met by solar and wind. For some perspective, we need to use the equivalent of 17 billion barrels of oil per year to run our society and solar and wind supplies the equivalent energy of about 300 million barrels of that total. I think our green energy dreams will come up just a smidgen short of meeting our demands. Nothing can replace oil as the lifeblood of our culture and there is no domestic supply source which will eliminate or even reduce our dependence upon the 10 million barrels per day we import from foreign countries. There are some hard truths that are purposefully ignored by those who want to mislead the public about the grim consequences of peak cheap oil:

The earth is finite. The amount of oil within the crust of the earth is finite. As we drain 32 billion barrels of oil from the earth every year, there is less remaining within the earth. We have drained the cheapest and easiest to reach 1.4 trillion barrels from the earth since the mid 1800s. The remaining recoverable 1.4 trillion barrels will be expensive and hard to reach.

The United States has about 2% of the world’s proven oil and gas reserves, but consumes 22% of the world’s oil production and 27% of the world’s natural gas production.

Demand for oil will continue to rise no matter what the United States does, as the developing world consumption far outstrips U.S. consumption. Oil is fungible and will be sold to the highest bidder.

The concept of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) is beyond the grasp of politicians and drill, drill, drill pundits. EROEI is the ratio of the amount of usable energy acquired from a particular energy resource to the amount of energy expended to obtain that energy resource. When the EROEI of a resource is less than or equal to one, that energy source becomes an energy sink, and can no longer be used as a primary source of energy. Once it requires 1.1 barrels of oil to obtain a barrel of oil, the gig is up.

There is a negative feedback loop that revolves around oil supply, oil price and economic growth. As demand continues to rise and supply is more difficult to access, prices will rise. Since oil is an essential ingredient in every aspect of our lives, once the price reaches $120 to $150 a barrel economic growth goes into reverse. Demand crashes and investment in new sources of energy dries up. Rinse and repeat.

Finite World

World oil production peaked in 2005 has been flat since then, despite a continuous stream of promises from Saudi Arabia that they are on the verge of increasing production. Even though worldwide oil production has clearly peaked, the oil industry PR whores and government agencies continue to project substantial production growth in the future. The mainstream media trots out Daniel Yergin whenever it wants to calm the masses, despite his track record of being 100% wrong 100% of the time. The brilliance of his July, 2005 Op-Ed shines through:

“Prices around $60 a barrel, driven by high demand growth, are fueling the fear of imminent shortage that the world is going to begin running out of oil in five or 10 years. This shortage, it is argued, will be amplified by the substantial and growing demand from two giants: China and India. There will be a large, unprecedented buildup of oil supply in the next few years. Between 2004 and 2010, capacity to produce oil (not actual production) could grow by 16 million barrels a day - from 85 million barrels per day to 101 million barrels a day a 20 percent increase. Such growth over the next few years would relieve the current pressure on supply and demand.”

Oil production capacity has not grown by one barrel since Yergin wrote this propaganda piece. This is despite the fact that prices have almost doubled, which should have spurred production. The current energy independence false storyline the Bakken Formation - has gone from production of 10,000 barrels per day in 2003 to 400,000 barrels per day now, while the hundreds of millions invested in developing the Canadian tar sands have increased production by 50% since 2005. Despite these substantial increases in output, worldwide production has remained flat as existing wells deplete at the same rate that new production is brought online.

global liquids production ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

The facts are there is approximately 1.4 trillion barrels of recoverable oil left in the crust of the earth. We currently suck 32 billion barrels per year out of the earth. This means we have 44 years of oil left, at current consumption levels. But we know demand is growing from the developing world. Taking this fact into consideration, we have between 35 and 40 years worth of recoverable oil left on the planet. That is not a long time. Additionally, the last 1.4 trillion barrels will much more difficult and costly to extract than the first 1.4 trillion barrels. The remaining oil is miles under the ocean floor, trapped in shale and tar sands, and in the arctic. Despite these hard facts, governmental agencies and politicians continue to paint a rosy picture about our energy future. I watched in stunned amazement last week as five bozos on the McLaughlin Group news program unanimously proclaimed the U.S. would become a net exporter of oil in the coming decade. Do these supposedly intelligent people not understand the basic economics of supply, demand and price?

It seems the governmental organizations always paint the future in the most optimistic terms, despite all facts pointing to a contrary outcome. The EIA predicts with a straight face that oil production will rise to 110 million barrels per day, while the price of a barrel of oil remains in the current $100 to $125 per barrel range. Non-OPEC production has been in decline since 2004, but the EIA miraculously predicts a 15% increase in production over the next 25 years. OPEC production has been flat since 2005, but the EIA is confident their 50 year old oil fields will ramp up production by 25% in the next 25 years. Does the EIA consider whether OPEC even wants to increase production? It would appear that constrained supply and higher prices would be quite beneficial to the OPEC countries. And then of course there is the unconventional oil that is supposed to increase from 4 million barrels per day to 13 million barrels per day, a mere 325% increase with no upward impact on prices. These guys would make a BLS government drone blush with the utter ridiculousness of their predictions.

eia world oil price figure 31 lg ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

The picture below is an excellent representation of how the easy to access oil and gas of the earth have been tapped. They were close to the surface. The remaining oil and gas is deeper and trapped within shale and sand. The new technology for extracting gas from shale has concerns regarding whether fracking and disposal of waste water can be done safely, especially near highly populated areas. The relationship between fracking and earthquakes could also prove to be problematic. The wells also have rapid decline rates. Add a mile of ocean to the picture below and you have some really expensive to access oil and potential for disaster, as witnessed with the Deep Water Horizon.

Natural Gas Image from Energy Information Agency ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

The EIA projects natural gas supply to grow by 10% between now and 2035 due to a 300% increase in shale gas supply. It seems the EIA believes the fantasy of 8 Saudi Arabias in the Bakken formation of North Dakota and decades of gas within the Marcellus Shale. These fantasies have been peddled by the natural gas industry in order to get support for their fracking efforts. This false storyline is damaging to the long-term planning that should be taking place now to alleviate the energy scarcity that is our future. In 2006 the EIA reported the possibility of 500 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken formation, based on guesswork. The U.S. Geological Survey has since scaled this back ever so slightly to 3.65 billion barrels, which is six months of U.S. consumption. The deceptions peddled regarding Marcellus shale are also colliding with reality. The U.S. Geological Survey recently produced an estimate of Marcellus Shale resources, which will cause the EIA to reduce its estimate of shale gas reserves for the Marcellus Shale by 80%. The price of natural gas is currently $3.54 MMBtu, down from $13 a few years ago. Extracting natural gas from shale has high capital costs of land, drilling and completion. It is not economically feasible below $6 MMBtu.


Based on the known facts and a realistic view of the future, there will be less supply of oil and natural gas as time goes on. We can already see the impact of these facts today. Even though Europe and the U.S. are in recession, the price of oil continues to rise. The developing world continues to demand more oil and the supply is stagnant. Stunts like withdrawing oil from the Strategic Reserve are foolish and politically motivated. Is the world then running out of oil then? No, but any increase in future global oil production will be modestly incremental and production could be thrown off course by any number of possible events, from an Israeli attack on Iran to (another, but successful this time) al Qaida attack on Saudi ArabiaҒs Abqaiq oil refinery. Any forecast regarding future oil production and prices isnt worth the paper it is written on unless consideration to wars, revolutions and terrorism are factored into the equation.

We Don’t Matter

Americans like to think we are the center of the universe. Those who propagate the misinformation about U.S. energy independence are clearly math challenged. The total proven oil reserves in the world total 1.4 trillion barrels and the United States has 22 billion barrels of that total, or 1.6% of the worlds oil. The U.S. burns 7 billion barrels per year, so we have enough oil to survive for three whole years. The U.S. consumes 22% of the worldҒs oil despite having 4.5% of the worlds population and less than 2% of the world’s oil. Do these facts lead you to the conclusion the United States will be exporting oil in the near future?

saupload oil res global ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

When you hear the pundits breathtakingly describe our vast natural gas resources you would think we are the dominant player in this market. Not quite. The United States has 4% of the worlds natural gas reserves. Predictably we consume 22% of the worldҒs natural gas. Russia controls 25% of the worlds natural gas reserves, with the Middle East countries controlling 40% of the worldҒs reserves. The pundits can hype our vastӔ supplies of natural gas, but the facts clearly reveal it is nothing but hype.

Proved Natura Gas Reserves 2010 ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

The U.S. is consuming less oil than it was in 2005. U.S. consumption is not the crucial factor in determining the price of oil today and our consumption will matter even less in the future. Emerging market countries, led by China and India, will be the driving force in oil demand in the coming decades. According to the IEA, Non-OECD [emerging markets] account for 90% of population growth, 70% of the increase in economic output and 90% of energy demand growth over the period from 2010 to 2035.Ӕ

global energy demand 2 ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

This demand is being driven by the growth in vehicles in emerging markets. The U.S. market has reached a saturation point, but China, India and the rest of the world are just beginning their love affairs with the automobile. The accumulation of facts regarding both supply and demand should even convince the most brainless CNBC talking head that the price of oil will continue to rise. The 2008 peak price of $145 per barrel will not hold. The tried and true American method of ignoring problems until they reach crisis proportions will bite us in the ass once again.

car ownership oil demand ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THE BIG LIE

Slippery Road Ahead

The concept of EROI is incomprehensible to the peak oil deniers. When Larry Kudlow or one of the other drill, drill, drill morons proclaims the vast amount of oil in North Dakota shale and in Alberta, Canada tar sands, they completely ignore the concept of EROI. Some estimates conclude there are 5 trillion barrels of oil left in the earth. But, only 1.4 trillion barrels are considered recoverable. This is because the other 3.6 trillion barrels would require the expenditure of more energy to retrieve than they can deliver. Therefore, it is not practical to extract. When oil was originally discovered, it took on average one barrel of oil to find, extract, and process about 100 barrels of oil. That ratio has declined steadily over the last century to about three barrels gained for one barrel used up in the U.S. and about ten for one in Saudi Arabia.

The chart below clearly shows the sources of energy which have the highest energy return for energy invested. I dont think I’ve heard Obama or the Republican candidates calling for a national investment in hydro-power even though it is hugely efficient. The dreams of the green energy crowd are shattered by the fact that biodiesel, ethanol and solar require as much energy to create as they produce. Tar sands and shale oil arent much more energy efficient. It’s too bad Obama and his minions hate dirty coal, because has the best return on energy invested among all the practical sources.

Worse than the peak oil deniers are those who pretend that oil isnt really that important to our society. They declare that technology will save the day, when in reality technology can’t function without oil. Without plentiful cheap oil our technologically driven civilization crashes. We are addicted to oil. Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of three-and-a-half gallons of oil and more than 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day each. You might be interested in a partial list of products that require petroleum to be produced.

The propaganda blared at the impressionable willfully ignorant American public has worked wonders. The vast majority of’ Americans have no clue they have entered a world of energy scarcity, a world where the average person is poorer and barely able to afford the basic necessities of life. This is borne out in the vehicles sales statistics reported every month. There have been 10.5 million passenger vehicles sold through the first 10 months of 2011. In addition to the fact they are purchased using 95% debt and financed over seven years, the vast majority are low mileage vehicles getting less than 20 mpg. Only 1.8 million small energy efficient vehicles have been sold versus 6.1 million SUVs, pickup trucks and large luxury automobiles. Americans have the freedom to buy any vehicle they choose. They also have the freedom to not think and ignore the facts about the certainty of higher prices at the pump. By choosing a 20 mpg vehicle over a 40 mpg vehicle, theyve sealed their fate. How could the average soccer mom get by without a Yukon or Excursion to shuttle Biff and Buffy to their games? Have you ever tried to navigate a soccer field parking lot in a hybrid? The horror!

The American public has been lulled back into a sense of security as gas prices have receded from $4.00 a gallon back to $3.40 a gallon. This lull will be short lived. Oil prices have surged by 15% in the last two months, even as the world economy heads into recession. The link between high oil prices and economic growth are undeniable, even though the deceitful pundits on CNBC will tell you otherwise. Ten out of eleven recessions since World War II were associated with oil price spikes. Gail Tverberg sums up the dilemma of energy scarcity for the average American:

“High-priced oil tends to choke economies because high oil prices are associated with high food prices (because oil products are used in food growing and transport), and peoples salaries do not rise to offset this rise in food and oil prices. People have to eat and to commute to their jobs, so they cut back on other expenditures. This leads to recession. Recession leads to lower oil consumption, since people without jobs can’t buy very much of anything, oil products included. In some sense, the reduction in oil extraction is due to reduced demand, because citizens cannot afford the high-priced oil that is available.

But don’t worry. The rising oil and food prices will only impact the 99% in the U.S. and the poorest dregs across the globe that spend 70% of their income on food. The 1% will be just fine as they will bet on higher oil prices, therefore further enriching themselves while the peasants starve. The market for caviar, champagne, NYC penthouses, and summer mansions in the Hamptons will remain robust.

There is no escape from the ravages of higher priced oil. There is plenty of oil left in the ground. But, the remaining oil is difficult, slow and expensive to extract. Oil prices will rise because they have to. Without higher prices, who would make the huge capital investment required to extract the remaining oil? Once oil prices reach the $120 to $150 per barrel range our economy chokes and heads into recession. We are trapped in an endless feedback loop of doom. The false storyline of renewable energy saving the day is put to rest by Gail Tverberg:

Renewables such as wind, solar PV, cellulosic ethanol, and biogas could more accurately be called ӓfossil fuel extenders because they cannot exist apart from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are required to make wind turbines and other devices, to transport the equipment, to make needed repairs, and to maintain the transport and electrical systems used by these fuels (such as maintaining transmission lines, running-back up power plants, and paving roads). If we lose fossil fuels, we can expect to lose the use of renewables, with a few exceptions, such as trees cut down locally, and burned for heat, and solar thermal used to heat hot water in containers on roofs.Ԕ

Predictably, the politicians and intellectual elite do the exact opposite of what needs to be done. We need to prepare our society to become more local. Without cheap plentiful oil our transportation system breaks down. Our 3.9 million miles of road networks will become a monument to stupidity as Obama and Congress want to spend hundreds of billions on road infrastructure that will slowly become obsolete. The crumbling infrastructure is already the result of government failure, as the money that should have been spent maintaining our roads, bridges and water systems was spent on train museums, turtle crossings, teaching South African men how to wash their genitalia, studies on the mating habits of ferrets, and thousands of other worthless Keynesian pork programs. If our society acted in a far sighted manner, we would be creating communities that could sustain themselves with local produce, local merchants, bike paths, walkable destinations, local light rail commuting, and local energy sources. The most logical energy source for the U.S. in an oil scarce scenario is electricity, since we have a substantial supply of coal and natural gas for the foreseeable future and the ability to build small nuclear power plants. The Fukushima disaster is likely to kill nuclear as an option until it is too late. The electrical grid should be the number one priority of our leaders, as it would be our only hope in an oil scarce world. Instead, our leaders will plow borrowed money into ethanol, solar, and shale oil drilling, guaranteeing a disastrous scenario for our country.

The United States is a country built upon the four Cs: Crude, Cars, Credit, and Consumption. They are intertwined and can’t exist without crude as the crucial ingredient. As the amount of crude available declines and the price rises, the other three Cs will breakdown. Our warped consumer driven economy collapses without the input of cheap plentiful oil. Those at the top levels of government realize this fact. It is not a coincidence that the War on Terror is the current cover story to keep our troops in the Middle East. It is not a coincidence the uncooperative rulers (Hussein, Gaddafi) of the countries with the 5th and 9th largest oil reserves on the planet have been dispatched. It is not a coincidence the saber rattling grows louder regarding the Iranian regime, as they sit atop 155 billion barrels of oil, the 4th largest reserves in the world. It should also be noted the troops leaving Iraq immediately began occupying Kuwait, owner of the 6th largest oil reserves on the planet. Oil under the South China Sea and in the arctic is being hotly pursued by the major world players. China and Russia are supporting Iran in their showdown with Israel and the U.S. As the world depletes the remaining oil, conflict and war are inevitable. The term Energy Independence will carry a different meaning than the one spouted by mindless politicians as the oil runs low.


Bad Moon Rising
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10
Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15
Part 16 - Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20
Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24 - Part 25
Part 26 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30
Part 31 - Part 32 - Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35
Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44 - Part 45
Part 46 - Part 47 - Part 48 - Part 49 - Part 50
Part 51 - Part 52 - Part 53 - Part 54

Posted by Elvis on 11/15/11 •
Section Bad Moon Rising • Section Revelations
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Super Screwing

On the ‘Super Committee’s’ Menu: Social Security Cuts and Tax Hikes
How the debt panel plans to slowly raise taxes and cut the growth of Social Security

By Alex M. Parker
US News
November 7, 2011

As the Congressional super committee searches for common ground on the federal budget, one idea is getting more and more notice. The lawmakers are considering a tweak to the formula the government uses to estimate the annual increase in the cost of living. While it sounds like a technical change only budget wonks would notice, it would affect nearly every American, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars in increased taxes and decreased Social Security payments if put into place. And because it includes a mix of entitlement cuts and increased revenue, it’s an idea which both Republicans and Democrats on the committee have supportedthough with some heavy reservations.

The government currently uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index to determine cost-of-living increases for Social Security benefits, and also to adjust income tax brackets upwards each year. But many economists have been urging the government to switch to the so-called chained CPI, which tries to better take into account changes that consumers make in the face of higher prices. If you like apples but the price gets too high, you might try bananas and contain your overall grocery costs, even though you’re not getting the exact food you want. The chained CPI would take into account those adjustments, and on average the difference lowers the annual rate of price increases by about 0.3 percent.

By “chaining” the CPI, the government would pay out less in Social Security payments each year than it otherwise would, and most Americans would see slightly increased taxes as their incomes increase faster than the income tax brackets rise. At first, it would hardly be noticeable, but over time it could make a difference of hundreds of dollars. Overall, it would save the government at least $200 billion over the next decade.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats unveiled their proposals to super committee members last week, and according to a Congressional aide, the cost-of-living tweak was in both plans. But because the adjustment would cut more money from Social Security than it would raise from tax hikes, Democrats consider it to be a major concession, something they would only agree to if the GOP is also willing to compromise on other issues, the aide says. For the parties, this is one of the few areas where they are able to find common ground. The move could be billed as a technical adjustment, rather than a tax hike, allowing the GOP to maintain that they haven’t broken their promise not to raise taxes. And the mix of new revenues and entitlement changes is along the lines of the “balanced deal” Democrats have long been advocating.

But it’s still a controversial idea. Any cuts to the social safety net or tax increases are sure to draw fire, no matter how small. The retiree advocacy group AARP has opposed using it as a way to cut the deficit. Democrats outside the super committee have also blasted it. Staffers for Michigan Rep. Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, circulated studies last week showing that the chained CPI could cost a new retiree as much as $560 per year by the time he or she is 75 years old.

The chained CPI would also raise taxes, although not in the top-heavy way tilted towards millionaire and billionaires that Democrats favor. In fact, because it would affect how all of the tax brackets are affected, it would affect 73 percent of income earners by 2021, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. The group also estimates that it would be felt by taxpayers of all incomes, with those making between $30,000 and $40,000 seeing the biggest percentage tax increase, at 0.3 percent. The study showed that in the year 2021which the center uses as an example to measure how the increase would build up over timeחa taxpayer in that range would see pay about $135 more than they would otherwise.

The super committee must find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings by the end of the month, or automatic, across-the-board cuts are triggered. As the day grows nearer, both sides are grasping for areas of compromise, though that raises the likelihood their choices will leave some key constituencies angry.


Posted by Elvis on 11/13/11 •
Section Dying America
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