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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: 64,685

Journal Archives

Former "Hero" Cop Accused of Raping Women at Gun Point

A former police officer honored by the White House in 2009 faces charges of rape and other crimes, after allegedly forcing women to perform sexual acts at gunpoint.

In 2009, Richard DeCoatsworth was chosen by Vice President Joe Biden to sit next to first lady Michelle Obama during a Presidential address. The officer was praised for his valor. He was shot in the face during a routine traffic stop, but chased down his assailent despite his heavy injury. He retired on disability in 2011, reports WCAU-TV.

DeCoatsworth appears to be charged in two seperate incidents. According to the Daily Mail:

In one case, DeCoatsworth, 27, is accused of holding two women hostage and forcing them to take drugs and engage in sexual acts at gunpoint. In the other case, he’s accused of abusing his girlfriend, police said.

Local Philadelphia news outlets report that DeCoatsworth has been in trouble before. The Philly Post points out that in 2010 University professor Marc Lamont Hill accused DeCoatsworth of violating his civil rights during a traffic stop. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/former-hero-cop-accused-raping-women-gun-point

Iraq attacks kill at least 70 in Shia, Sunni areas

Iraqi officials say a car bomb in another Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad has killed 13 people, pushing today's death toll from a deadly wave of bombings and shooting attacks across Iraq to 70.

The officials say the latest blast struck on Monday afternoon in a busy market in the Shaab Shia neighbourhood of the Iraqi capital. A police officer says 25 people were wounded in the explosion.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

The latest violence comes after a string of car bombs and shootings tore through Shia and Sunni areas, escalating fears of a return to widespread sectarian bloodletting, officials said. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/05/20/iraq-sunni-shia-attacks.html

Hospitals Say “No” to Meat Raised with Antibiotics

from Civil Eats:

Hospitals Say “No” to Meat Raised with Antibiotics
By Sapna Thottathil, Lucia Sayre and Kendra Klein on May 20, 2013

On April 8, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center stepped into the debate about antibiotic use in animal agriculture. Under the guidance of physicians and foodservice staff alike, UCSF’s Academic Senate unanimously approved a resolution to phase out the procurement of meat raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics and urged all ten University of California campuses to do the same. This resolution is not just a symbolic decision – serving over 650,000 meals per year to patients, staff, and the community, and with a food budget of close to $7 million, UCSF and its food purchasing choices have the power to send a strong message to the market and to policymakers.

“There is overwhelming scientific consensus that overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a health hazard to people,” says Dr. Thomas Newman, a member of the Academic Senate who spearheaded the resolution with the help of the non-profit San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is in good company. Independent experts ranging from the World Health Organization to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences agree that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture cultivates antibiotic-resistant bacteria, threatening the long-term efficacy of antibiotics for human use.

Two thirds of the drugs that animals in our food supply get in their feed and water, from penicillins to macrolides, might sound familiar to anyone who has been to the hospital recently. In fact, eighty percent of all of the antibiotics sold in the U.S., almost 30 million pounds on an annual basis, are used for meat production. The majority are given to otherwise healthy animals in order to promote faster growth and to compensate for unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions.

“We believe that health care is best positioned to lead our society away from its addiction to antibiotics in animal agriculture,” says Gary Cohen, President of the non-profit organization Health Care Without Harm. He adds: “Hospitals have both the mission-critical rationale and the economic clout.” Health Care Without Harm works to leverage both health care’s healing mission and purchasing power on a range of sustainable food issues, from organic production to local food purchasing. UCSF is one of over 440 hospitals across the country that have signed Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge, which states that healthy food must come from a food system that is ecologically-sustainable, economically-viable, and socially-just. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2013/05/20/hospitals-say-no-to-meat-raised-with-antibiotics/

A Reversion to a Dickensian Variety of Capitalism

A Reversion to a Dickensian Variety of Capitalism

By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and the executive secretary of International Development Economics Associates. Cross-posted from Triple Crisis.

Since her death, many eulogies of Thatcher have spoken of her as a revolutionary. Thatcherism (along with the associated Reaganomics) is seen as a radical transformative agenda that changed the face of economy and society. But seen from the developing world decades later, much of this agenda appears familiar, in the form of structural adjustment policies that have been forced upon different countries at different times by international institutions.

Given the broad contemporaneity of these strategies, it is a moot point who “inspired” whom, or just how original those ideas were. But it is certainly true that they contributed to shaping policy dialogue in fundamental ways, and thereby left a continuing (if unfortunate) legacy. Consider just five significant elements of this legacy, most features of which are now found across the world and especially in developing countries.

First, and possibly the most well-known: the attack on organised labour and the resulting drastic reduction in workers’ bargaining power. This occurred not just through the instrument of unemployment (or fear of it) used to discipline workers, but through regulation and legal changes as well as changing institutions. This is now an almost universal feature, except in societies such as in Latin America where recent political changes have generated some reversal.

Second, financial deregulation and significant increases in the lobbying and political power of financial agents. This has led to the massive expansion and then implosion of deregulated finance, with the crisis affecting the real economy in terrible ways. It has also contributed to deindustrialisation and the rentier economy. The UK today is clearly one, with its focus on the City of London as its most prominent “industry” – but this is increasingly the fate of countries that are much lower in the development and per capita income ladders. .....................(more)

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/05/a-reversion-to-a-dickensian-variety-of-capitalism.html#W6lfBiBu57JoklmV.99

Despite sequester, high-level federal executives slated to get bonuses

By Lindsay Wise | McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — An elite group of federal employees is set to receive cash bonuses despite this year’s automatic budget cuts, according to a report that a Senate subcommittee issued Friday.

The report revealed that members of the government’s highly paid Senior Executive Service _ who make up less than 1 percent of the federal workforce _ had received more than $340 million in bonuses from 2008 through 2011. The bonuses came on top of annual salaries that ranged from $119,000 to $179,000.

In a process known as sequestration, $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts took effect March 1, forcing the government to slash services and furlough workers. A month later, the Obama administration froze bonuses for the vast majority of federal workers.

But by law, agencies still must pay bonuses to Senior Executive Service employees who meet certain performance criteria, the report said. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/17/191611/despite-sequester-high-level-federal.html#.UZoTuDcrTTp#storylink=cpy

Drones Over the Homeland: From Border Security to National Security

Drones Over the Homeland: From Border Security to National Security

Sunday, 19 May 2013 00:00
By Tom Barry, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it is the "leading edge" of drone deployment in the United States. Since 2005, DHS has been purchasing Predator drones - officially called unmanned aerial systems (UAS) - to "secure the border," yet these unarmed Predator drones are also steadily creeping into local law enforcement, international drug-interdiction and national security missions - including across the border into the heart of Mexico.

DHS will likely double its drone contingent to two dozen unmanned UAS produced by General Atomics as part of the border security component of any immigration reform. The prominence of border security in immigration reform can't be missed. The leading reform proposal, offered by eight US senators, is the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 - which proposes to spend $6.5 billion in additional "border security" measures, mostly high-tech surveillance by drones and ground surveillance systems.

Most of the concern about the domestic deployment of drones by DHS has focused on the crossover to law-enforcement missions that threaten privacy and civil rights, and that, without more regulations in place, the program will accelerate the transition to what critics call a "surveillance society." Also alarming is the mission creep of border drones, managed by the DHS' Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agency with increasing interface between border drones, international drug interdiction operations and other military-directed national security missions.

The prevalence of military jargon used by US Customs and Border (CBP) officials - such as "defense in depth" and "situational awareness" - points to at least a rhetorical overlapping of border control and military strategy. Another sign of the increasing coincidence between CBP/Office of Airforce and Marine (OAM) drone program and the military is that the commanders and deputies of OAM are retired military officers. Both Major General Michael Kostelnik and his successor Major General Randolph Alles, retired from US Marines, were highly placed military commanders involved in drone development and procurement. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16422-drones-over-the-homeland-from-border-security-to-national-security

Juan Cole: The Lotto Symbolizes the False Promises of Barracuda Capitalism

The Lotto Symbolizes the False Promises of Barracuda Capitalism, and it Won’t make you Happy to Win

Posted on 05/18/2013
by Juan Cole

Late capitalism in the United States is a process whereby more and more of the national income is going every month to a smaller number of people at the top, while the average wage of the average worker has been virtually static in real terms since 1970. All the extra money the US has made in the past 40 years, in other words, has gone and is going straight to the 1%. (Actually, the top 1/10 of one percent has experienced even more gains). From 1979 to 2007, the top 1 percent experienced income growth of 275 percent. In contrast, 90 percent of us saw a raise of $59 in our annual incomes from 1969 to 2011. This new, extreme income inequality is becoming entrenched and the US now has less opportunity for upward mobility for its young people than many countries in Europe.

Why people put up with this gouging is a great mystery. But hope is the great social stabilizer. Corporate media in the US constantly send the message to people that they are around the corner from getting rich. Failing that, just buying a new pair of jeans can raise your status among your peers. Most people don’t compare themselves to those in higher income groups. They make their friends, typically, among those who earn roughly what they do. So apparently if you’re up $61 from 1966 you’re happy enough to be two dollars ahead of the average of $59.

One of the social control mechanisms deployed in a plutocracy to keep people quiet while their pockets are being picked is the lottery. It is a scam. Not only are you more likely to be hit by lightning than to win one, but the institution itself is regressive. If you started at 20 and put $5 a week into the stock market, you’d likely get 12% return on your money, so when you were 70 it would be a very substantial amount of money ( try it here). Put the same 5 dollars a week into a lottery, and you likely get nothing at all. So the lottery punishes the poor, both absolutely and in terms of opportunity costs, and its main social function is to create false hope that the billionaires will let you join them. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.juancole.com/2013/05/symbolizes-barracuda-capitalism.html

Canada: Stephen Harper government buying ads to promote job grant program that doesn’t exist

OTTAWA—The Harper government is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising a program that does not yet exist.

Prime-time ads began airing this week during NHL playoff games — currently the priciest advertising real estate on the dial — that tout a new federal Canada Jobs Grant for training workers.

The trouble is, the freshly announced program is at present little more than a concept that has yet to be negotiated with provincial governments, and requires buy-in from employers as well.

Peter Van Loan, the Conservative government House leader, described the Canada Jobs Grant last week as a “proposal that needs to be fleshed out and developed fully.” ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/05/19/stephen_harper_government_buying_ads_to_promote_job_grant_program_that_doesnt_exist.html

Chris Hedges: Rise Up or Die

from truthdig:

Rise Up or Die

Posted on May 19, 2013
By Chris Hedges

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones—in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery—is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.

The Department of Justice seizure of two months of records of phone calls to and from editors and reporters at The Associated Press is the latest in a series of dramatic assaults against our civil liberties. The DOJ move is part of an effort to hunt down the government official or officials who leaked information to the AP about the foiling of a plot to blow up a passenger jet. Information concerning phones of Associated Press bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., as well as the home and mobile phones of editors and reporters, was secretly confiscated. This, along with measures such as the use of the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers, will put a deep freeze on all independent investigations into abuses of government and corporate power. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/rise_up_or_die_20130519/

Michael Moore: The Real IRS Scandal Is That 'They Let General Electric Not Pay Any Taxes'

Americans are focusing on the wrong IRS scandal, according to Michael Moore.

During an appearance on “Real Time With Bill Maher” earlier this week, the activist filmmaker accused the Internal Revenue Service of not doing its part to collect enough taxes from profitable corporations. The IRS has come under fire over the past week after news broke that the agency targeted Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status. The IRS acting director resigned Wednesday over the scandal.

“The real problem with the IRS is that they let General Electric not pay any taxes -- and 50 other corporations -- that’s the real scandal,” Moore said.

In an email to The Huffington Post on Sunday, GE spokesman Seth Martin wrote that the company paid $3.2 billion in cash income taxes worldwide, including in the U.S., in 2012. In addition, he stated, GE paid more than $1 billion in other state, local and federal taxes. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/19/michael-moore-irs-scandal_n_3303395.html?ir=Politics&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

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