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(thinkprogress.orgAs we’ve been noting, corporate profits have made it back to their pre-recession heights (even if corporate tax revenue hasn’t followed suit). In fact, in 2011, corporate profits hit their highest level since 1950. But as Bloomberg News noted today, this hasn’t translated into wage growthor more purchasing power for workers:

Companies are improving margins and generating profits as wage growth for the American worker lags behind the prices of goods and services…While benefiting the bottom line for businesses, the decline in inflation-adjusted wages bodes ill for the sustainability of economic growth as consumers may eventually be forced to cut back. […]

Of the 394 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that have reported since Jan. 9, earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 5.1 percent on average and beat analyst estimates by 3.2 percent. Some 70 percent of the companies have posted better-than-projected results.

This pattern has become all too familiar during the slow economic recovery. In fact, real wages fell in 2011, despite record corporate profits. “There’s never been a postwar era in which unemployment has been this high for this long,” explained labor economist Gary Burtless. “Workers are in a very weak bargaining position.”

Between 2009 and 2011, 88 percent of national income growth went to corporate profits, while just 1 percent went to wages, a stat that is “historically unprecedented.”

by Pat Garofalo

Source:
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/02/22/430190/corporate-profits-wages-2012/?mobile=nc

Pat Garofalo is Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Pat’s work has also appeared in The Nation, U.S. News & World Report, The Guardian, the Washington Examiner, and In These Times. He has been a guest on MSNBC and Al-Jazeera television, as well as many radio shows. Pat graduated from Brandeis University, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot, Brandeis’ community newspaper, and worked for the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life. src: truth-out.org

( on Feb 21, 2012 It’s been a tough night in Brussels where Eurozone ministers have reached a deal on a second bailout for Greece. It took them several hours to agree on the one-hundred-and-thirty-billion euro cash injection, expected to save the country from default. Earlier the Greek Parliament went through a storm of public outrage and several internal conflicts to approve the austerity measures demanded by international creditors.

(The Vast Minority) ATHENS is burning tonight, Sunday February 12. From the Greek Streets: “Tens of banks and other buildings are burning across Athens after today’s demonstrations. There are huge riots in Thessaloniki and Patra as well. The situation seems to be spiralling out of control.”

Reuters reports:  “Historic cinemas, cafes and shops went up in flames in central Athens on Sunday as black-masked protesters fought Greek police outside parliament, while inside lawmakers looked set to defy the public rage by endorsing a new EU/IMF austerity deal.

“As parliament prepared to vote on a new 130 billion euro bailout to save Greece from a messy bankruptcy, a Reuters photographer saw the buildings engulfed in flames and huge plumes of smoke rose in the night sky.

“The air over Syntagma Square outside parliament was thick with tear gas as riot police fought running battles with youths who smashed marble balustrades and hurled stones and petrol bombs.

“Many businesses were ablaze, including the neo-classical home to the Attikon cinema dating from 1870 and a building housing the Asty, an underground cinema used by the Gestapo during World War Two as a torture chamber.

“As fighting raged for hours, protesters threw home made bombs made from gas canisters as riot police advanced across the square on the crowds, firing tear gas and stun grenades. Loud booms
from the protests could be heard inside parliament. ‘Tear gas has reached the parliament chamber,’ said leftist lawmaker Panagiotis Lafazanis.

“‘Enough is enough!'” said 89-year-old Manolis Glezos, one of Greece’s most famous leftists.’They have no idea what an uprising by the Greek people means. And the Greek people, regardless of ideology, have risen.’

“Glezos is a national hero for sneaking up the Acropolis at night in 1941 and tearing down a Nazi flag from under the noses of the German occupiers, raising the morale of Athens residents.

“‘These measures of annihilation will not pass,’ Glezos said on Syntagma Square, visibly overcome by teargas and holding a mask over his mouth.”

Updates are still being posted on From the Greek Streets, though pages are not always available.

Here is the latest section of timeline:

00.22 A few hours ago, enraged demonstrators in the city of Corfu stormed the offices of the local ‘socialist’ MPs Gerekou and Dendias (an ex-minister of Justice), destroying them completely.

00.20 The town hall of the city of Volos is burning. Earlier, people had stormed the local tax office, destroying plenty of documents inside.

00.14 A demonstration has only just started in the city of Athens, with people roaming through the city’s streets and the police tucked away in the sidestreets.

23:07 Demonstrators attacked the Exarcheia Police station a few minutes ago.

23:45 Smoke from tear gas and burning buildings has covered central Athens. Clashes are still going on and the streets are full of people. Earlier, a lot of demonstrators tried to attack the house of the former Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the upper class district of Kolonaki (Anagnostopoulou st.)they clashed with the police units guarding the house.

Earlier a group of demonstrators tried to invade Acropolis police station. The police officers managed to protect the police station but several of them were injured while police vehicles in front of the station were burnt.

Early in the afternoon a DELTA motorcycle police unit, was trapped by demonstrators: people held a rope across the street throwing down the speeding motorcycles.

23.10 GMT+2 It is entirely impossible to estimate the number of people who have taken to the streets in Athens tonight. They are definitely in the hundreds of thousands – there are simply people everywhere.

23.07 GMT+2 The building of Marfin bank (the same building where three bank workers died on May 5, 2010) has been burnt to the ground.

23.05 GMT+2 A gun shop in Omonoia, Athens, has been looted.

23.02 GMT+2 Information about the alleged occupation of the town hall is confirmed: a group of people entered the building, only to be evicted and arrested by riot police a few minutes later.

22.42 GMT+2 The town hall of Athens has allegedly been occupied.

Also see the #syntagma hashtag on Twitter.

Keep up to date with the global insurrection – follow VM on Twitter

Source: http://vastminority.blogspot.com/2012/02/athens-is-burning.html

(torrentfreak.com) A new academic paper by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College has examined the link between BitTorrent downloads and box office returns. Contrary to what’s often claimed by the movie industry, the researchers conclude that there is no evidence that BitTorrent piracy hurts US box office returns. Internationally, there is a link between downloads and revenues, which the researchers attribute to long release windows.

With their unconditional support for SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, Hollywood is pressing hard for new legislation to curb piracy. The studios want ‘rogue’ websites to be censored and are calling on Google and Internet providers to take responsibility.

However, a new study reveals that movie industry itself has the key to decreasing piracy, without passing any news laws.

In a paper titled ‘Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales’ researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College examine the link between BitTorrent piracy and box office returns. As hypothesized, they find that international movie piracy losses are directly linked to the delay between US and foreign premieres.

In other words, the longer it takes before a movie is released internationally, the more box office revenues are impacted through piracy.

Read more:
http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-piracy-doesnt-effect-us-box-office-returns-study-finds-120210/

) Police in Oakland, California, have used tear-gas and flash-grenades as a 2,000-strong Occupy Oakland march turned violent, with some protesters claiming that rubber bullets had been also fired into the crowd. At least 300 people were arrested, police say.

The demonstrators attempted to take over a vacant building to use as their headquarters. As they began tearing down perimeter fences around the HenryJ. KaiserConvention Center, police declared an unlawful assembly and used force, according to the Oakland Tribune newspaper.