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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 67,873

Journal Archives

Special ed classroom assistant refuses to shake Rahm Emanuel's hand at budget hearing

Last night, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a public hearing on the city’s 2016 budget, the first such meeting he has held since 2011. For a mayor who is known for holding few public events or meetings with ordinary Chicagoans, this was a unique opportunity for residents to be heard in person by Emanuel. And the opportunity was seized by a dedicated group of parents currently out on hunger strike, demanding the reopening of Dyett High School in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side.

The activists, many of whom included members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Kenwood-Oakland Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), are demanding that Chicago Public Schools reopen Dyett as a district-run school rather than a "contract school" like a charter and accept the hunger strikers' proposal to reopen the school with a focus on green technology, as Yana Kunichoff explained for In These Times last week. They are now on day 16 of their hunger strike, and two participants have been hospitalized as a result of not eating.

One protester at the forum, Isaac Krantz-Perlman, a special education classroom assistant at Hanson Park Elementary, can be seen in a particularly memorable video refusing to shake the mayor's hand. ....................(more)


A New Plan for American Cities To Free Themselves of Wall Street’s Control

(In These Times) In August 2014, the Los Angeles City Council debated whether to call for the renegotiation of the city’s financial deals. A report by the labor-community coalition Fix L.A. found that the city had spent more than twice as much on banking fees in fiscal year 2013 as it had on street services.

To try to balance its budget, Los Angeles had enacted hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts over the previous five years. City jobs had been slashed by 10 percent, flood control procedures had been cut back, crumbling sidewalks were not repaired and alleys were rarely cleared of debris. Sewer inspections ceased entirely; the number of sewer overflows doubled from 2008 to 2013.

The campaign slogan wrote itself: “Invest in our streets, not Wall Street!”

At the city council debate, Timothy Butcher, a worker with the Bureau of Street Services, got up and said, “I don’t know a whole lot about high finance. I’m just a truck driver. But I do know, if I go to a bank and they give me a bad deal, I don’t deal with that bank any more. And I don’t understand why the city can’t use the same kind of concept on some of these big banks, saying, ‘Hey, help us out or, you know, we’re not going to deal with you any more.’ ”

The City Council approved the resolution unanimously.

It was a blow against both the austerity agenda and the iron grip of Wall Street on American cities. State and local governments in the United States rely on Wall Street firms to put together bond deals, manage their investments and provide financial services. For this, banks charge billions of dollars in fees each year. Public officials believe they have little choice but to cough up. When there are revenue shortfalls, cities typically impose austerity measures and cut essential community services, but Wall Street gets a free pass—payments to banks are considered untouchable. ......................(more)


More Evidence of Roundup's Link to Kidney, Liver Damage

More Evidence of Roundup's Link to Kidney, Liver Damage

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 00:00
By Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News | Report

Long-term exposure to tiny amounts of Roundup - thousands of times lower than what is permitted in US drinking water - may lead to serious problems in the liver and kidneys, according to a new study.

The study looked at the function of genes in these organs and bolsters a controversial 2012 study that found rats exposed to small amounts of the herbicide Roundup in their drinking water had liver and kidney damage.

It is the first to examine the impacts of chronic, low exposure of Roundup on genes in livers and kidneys and suggests another potential health impact for people and animals from the widely used weed killer.

"Given even very low levels of exposure, Roundup can potentially result in organ damage when it comes to liver and kidney function," said senior author Michael Antoniou, head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King's College London.

"The severity we don't know, but our data say there will be harm given enough time," he said. ..............(more)


One Day Soon, That Drone Overhead May Be Pointing a Taser at You

from truthdig:

One Day Soon, That Drone Overhead May Be Pointing a Taser at You

Posted on Sep 1, 2015
By Marjorie Cohn

North Dakota has just become the first state to legalize police use of drones equipped with “less than lethal” weapons, including rubber bullets, Tasers, tear gas, pepper spray and sound cannons. Now, police will be able to remotely fire on people in North Dakota from drones, much as the CIA fires on people in other countries.

Although drones in North Dakota will be limited to “less than lethal” weapons, some of these devices can cause injury or even death, according to Christof Heyns, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. He reported that rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas have resulted in injury and death. “The danger is that law enforcement officials may argue that the weapons that they use are labeled ‘less lethal’ and then fail to assess whether the level of force is not beyond that required,” Heyns wrote. The Guardian reports that at least 39 people have been killed by Tasers as far in 2015.

Heyns warned the U.N. General Assembly that the use of armed drones by law enforcement could threaten human rights. “An armed drone, controlled by a human from a distance, can hardly do what police officers are supposed to do—use the minimum force required by the circumstances,” he said.

Drone manufacturers in North Dakota lobbied hard to stymie efforts that would have required police to obtain warrants before using drones. Al Frazier, a sheriff’s deputy who pilots drones, revealed their motivation. He told The Daily Beast, “I think when you’re trying to stimulate an industry in your state, you don’t want things that would potentially have a chilling effect on (drone) manufacturers.” ................(more)


How US Police Turn Drivers into Moving Targets

from Guardian UK:

Moving Targets
US police have fatally shot 30 people in moving vehicles this year, despite federal guidelines advising them not to. Why have police departments pulled the trigger on drivers rather than reform?

Tommy Maness had no choice but to shoot, they said.

Called to tackle a supposed late-night fight at a roadside diner in Alexander City, Alabama, the 34-year-old police corporal saw Emerson Crayton Jr, a young black man, hurry into his Ford SUV in the restaurant’s parking lot and start the engine.

Maness knocked on the driver’s window and told Crayton to get out. But Crayton, 21, reversed out of his space. Then he turned his wheels toward Maness, police chief Willie Robinson alleged, and “tried to run over the officer”. Maness “could not get out of the way of the vehicle”, so instead he fired his Glock pistol into it at least three times. Crayton, who was unarmed, died from a shot to the head.

According to an Alabama state bureau of investigations file on the shooting obtained by the Guardian, however, things unfolded differently.

Maness acknowledged to investigators that, in fact, he “sidestepped the truck” as he shot. A recording from his body camera showed that despite the SUV continuing to move forward after the driver was shot, Maness was not struck. Actually, the vehicle swung sharply away from him as it brushed by and headed to the highway.

“It’s a straight cover-up,” Crayton’s father, Emerson Sr, said at his home in nearby Dadeville. “Fact is, the officer did get out the way.” Asked about the video footage in an interview in his office, Robinson repeated: “People see what they want to see.” ....................(more)


Bank of Japan Drops Ball, Gvt. Pension Fund Stops Buying Stocks, Nikkei Plunges, J-REITs Eviscerated

Bank of Japan Drops Ball, Government Pension Fund Stops Buying Stocks, Nikkei Plunges, J-REITs Eviscerated
by Wolf Richter • September 1, 2015

On Tuesday, Japanese stocks took the worst drubbing of the major Asian stock markets. The Nikkei plunged 725 points or 3.84% to 18,165. On August 10, it had set a multi-year high of 20,808. At the time, Japanese stocks gleamed; they’d elegantly skirted the China swoon. But over the past three weeks, the Nikkei has dropped 12.7%.

Japan has some, let’s say, issues. Private consumption dropped 0.8% in the last quarter, and GDP dropped 0.4%. The economy shrank in six of the past 12 quarters. That’s how well Abenomics has worked out for the economy.

But during that time, stocks have more than doubled! That’s where the real impact of Abenomics has been.

To his credit, Shinzo Abe decided to achieve a national consensus on how to deal with Japan’s mountain of government debt and mega-deficits that add to it every year. He ran on that platform in 2012: Japan would print itself out of its fiscal troubles. And the price would be paid over time by the Japanese people.

The Bank of Japan had been engaging in QE before the term had even been invented, buying Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and equity ETFs as part of its policy. But under Abenomics, its purchases skyrocketed, purposefully strangling the JGB market, thus taking complete control over it. ...................(more)


Professor Richard Wolff: "Americans....haven't been fooled by the recovery hype."

Listen: https://kpfa.org/episode/economic-update-august-28-2015/

Economist Richard Wolff breaks down the week’s volatility in global stock markets, China’s economic conditions and explains the drop in price of oil and the economics of the Northwest’s forest fires, Amazon 80,000 seasonal worker’s without pensions and more.

Professor Richard Wolff: "Americans....haven't been fooled by the recovery hype."

Listen: https://kpfa.org/episode/economic-update-august-28-2015/

Economist Richard Wolff breaks down the week’s volatility in global stock markets, China’s economic conditions and explains the drop in price of oil and the economics of the Northwest’s forest fires, Amazon 80,000 seasonal worker’s without pensions and more.

Infographic: A History of Debt Forgiveness and Relief

from YES! Magazine:


Dead-cat bounce fizzles, U.S. benchmarks violate support

(MarketWatch) The U.S. markets’ recovery attempt has fizzled, and the major benchmarks are once again traversing less-charted territory.

Consider that each index has violated first support, strengthening an already bearish longer-term technical backdrop.

Before detailing the U.S. markets’ wider view, the S&P 500’s SPX, -2.59% hourly chart highlights the past two weeks.

As illustrated, the S&P has failed to sustain its rally attempt atop the 1,971 mark, detailed last week. (The August weekly closing low).

The S&P closed Monday at 1,972, and Tuesday’s early downturn places it in less-charted territory. ...................(more)


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