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Sam1

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Hometown: fly over country
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2005, 08:23 AM
Number of posts: 416

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Decriminalization doesn’t address marijuana’s standing as a drug of the poor

Massachusetts just opened its first marijuana dispensary, with many applauding the move. And as more and more states decriminalize the drug, polls show that most Americans believe that the costs of marijuana prohibition outweigh its benefits.

There are surely social benefits to legalization. For one, fewer marijuana-related arrests should slow spending on the war on drugs, which has been astronomically expensive and unsuccessful.

And fewer arrests should benefit minority communities that have experienced racially biased drug-law enforcement. Blacks, for instance, face nearly four times the rate of marijuana arrests as whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use and overall drug use between the two racial groups
Massachusetts just opened its first marijuana dispensary, with many applauding the move. And as more and more states decriminalize the drug, polls show that most Americans believe that the costs of marijuana prohibition outweigh its benefits.

There are surely social benefits to legalization. For one, fewer marijuana-related arrests should slow spending on the war on drugs, which has been astronomically expensive and unsuccessful.

And fewer arrests should benefit minority communities that have experienced racially biased drug-law enforcement. Blacks, for instance, face nearly four times the rate of marijuana arrests as whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use and overall drug use between the two racial groups



http://theconversation.com/decriminalization-doesnt-address-marijuanas-standing-as-a-drug-of-the-poor-42345

Tomgram: Michael Klare, A Future in Arms

Imagine for a moment that in 2010, China’s leaders had announced a long-term, up to $60 billion arms deal with an extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the Middle East, one that was notoriously repressive to women and a well-known supporter of the Taliban. Imagine as well that the first $30 billion part of that deal, involving 84 advanced jet fighters, was sealed in 2011, and that, since then, the sales have never stopped: several kinds of helicopters, artillery, armored personnel carriers, upgraded tanks, surface-to-air missile systems, even possibly a litoral combat vessel, among other purchases. Then include one more piece of information in the mix. In 2013, China added in “an advanced class of precision ‘standoff munitions’” -- missiles that could be fired from those previously purchased advanced jet fighters.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175705/

Tomgram: Steve Fraser, Mongrel Firebugs and Men of Property


Plutocracy The First Time Around
Revisiting the Great Upheaval and the First Gilded Age
By Steve Fraser



Part 1: The Great Upheaval

What came to be known as the Great Upheaval, the movement for the eight-hour day, elicited what one historian has called “a strange enthusiasm.” The normal trade union strike is a finite event joining two parties contesting over limited, if sometimes intractable, issues. The mass strike in 1886 or before that in 1877 -- all the many localized mass strikes that erupted in towns and small industrial cities after the Civil War and into the new century -- was open-ended and ecumenical in reach.


So, for example, in Baltimore when the skilled and better-paid railroad brakemen on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad first struck in 1877 so, too, did less well off “box-makers, sawyers, and can-makers, engaged in the shops and factories of that city, abandoned their places and swarmed into the streets.” This in turn “stimulated the railroad men to commit bolder acts.” When the governor of West Virginia sent out the Berkeley Light Guard and Infantry to confront the strikers at Martinsburg at the request of the railroad’s vice president, the militia retreated and “the citizens of the town, the disbanded militia, and the rural population of the surrounding country fraternized,” encouraging the strikers.

The centrifugal dynamic of the mass strike was characteristic of this extraordinary phenomenon. By the third day in Martinsburg the strikers had been “reinforced during the night at all points by accessions of working men engaged in other avocations than railroading,” which, by the way, made it virtually impossible for federal troops by then on the scene to recruit scabs to run the trains.


http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175976/tomgram%3A_steve_fraser%2C_mongrel_firebugs_and_men_of_property/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tomdispatch%2FesUU+%28TomDispatch%3A+The+latest+Tomgram%29

Charlie Hebdo & French ‘Secularism': Does it really just privilege White Christians?

This is a rather interesting and thought provoking essay on the understanding of secularism.

Commentators in France and elsewhere have taken the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as an occasion to reflect more broadly about Muslims in France. Many read the attacks as a sign of French Muslims’ refusal to integrate. They’ve asked whether Muslims can be fully secular and expressed doubt as whether one can be both Muslim and French.

Even as we try to make sense of what happened, however, we should be wary of myths about French secularism (laďcité) and French citizenship being spun in the aftermath of the attacks.

France understands itself and is often accepted as a preeminent secular nation that fully separates church and state and restricts religion to the private sphere.

The reality is more complicated, as more than 10 years of research on this issue have taught me.


http://www.juancole.com/2015/01/secularism-privilege-christians.html

What Charlie Hebdo says about laughter, violence, and free speech

But comedy – especially satire – has historically been used by the socially marginalized and powerless to deftly critique, deflate, and humanize those in power. Every royal court had its jester. Jonathan Swift made a modest proposal. Cartoonist Thomas Nast challenged the corruption of Tammany Hall. And nightly, many tune in to The Daily Show.

Laughter, therefore, is most effective when it comes from below to mock and diminish the powerful. Yet when laughter comes from above (the powerful) – and is aimed at the powerless – it often comes across as mean-spirited bullying. In this respect, the description of Charlie Hebdo as a bunch of “white men punching down” is an accurate characterization of the periodical’s cartoons – along with the anti-Irish, anti-black, and anti-women editorial cartoons we’ve seen throughout history.


This however is what lead me to post the essay.

Recently I was teasing my eight-year-old daughter, thinking I was being playful and celebrating what she had gotten wrong in an adorable way. She hit me in the leg and I reminded her that in our house “we use words, not hands.” She said she didn’t know what to say. Unable to carry on the conversation, she responded with a different language: violence.


http://theconversation.com/what-charlie-hebdo-says-about-laughter-violence-and-free-speech-36057

An interesting article on Henry Ford and the 5 dollar wage

This Day in Labor History: January 5, 1914

January 5, 2015 | Erik Loomis

On January 5, 1914, Henry Ford announced his famous $5 a day wage to his workers. Ford is often lauded for his efforts here and he was surely forward-thinking in creating this salary. But this post will also challenge his reputation as a good employer, for Ford expected plenty in return from those employees, far more than any employee should have to accept.



http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/01/day-labor-history-january-5-1914

Book Review: Gregory Wood: Retiring Men: Manhood, Labor, and Growing Old In America, 1900-1960


December 21, 2014 | Erik Loomis

Gregory Wood’s Retiring Men examines the intersection between masculinity, work, and retirement in the first six decades of the twentieth century. He argues that the crisis over retirement in a changing economy shaped connections between manhood and work during these years, an issue of real importance in the unstable economy of the New Gilded Age.

At the core of Wood’s book is the desperation of older workers in the American workplace of the early twentieth century. Work has long been at the center of identity for American men. Men have long held the single-income household dear, however fleeting in reality. Even more dear is the ability to support oneself and not have to rely on family or charity. But as industrialization became more intensive and mechanized in the early twentieth century, with faster machines and larger factories requiring hordes of young, strong workers, older men found themselves out of work. That included men as young as 40. And there was simply nowhere for many of them to go. Wood’s book is filled with the words of desperate men, despairing over their economic plight. With work considered the proper state for men, the lack of work meant the lack of manhood. The many letters and statements Wood quotes from the aging and unemployed are heartbreaking. Railroad conductor MS Thornton was finished at 47. He told a reporter, “Premature white hair told heavily against me. At 35 I was gray and at 40 I suppose I looked like a man of fifty.” His boss fired him and gave his job to a younger man. Some men dyed their mustaches and hair, but in this period, the quality of dyes were so bad that they could damage the skin or poison you. In 1902, the Los Angeles Times published a letter on a hair dye ingredient. It included “sugar of lead,” “tincture of cantharides,” “lac sulphur,” ammonia, and other fun things.

China’s Pivot toward Europe may Cut USA out of Deal

from Informed Comment.


By Pepe Escobar | (Tomdispatch.com) —

November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9th.

Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train. At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.

You may not have the faintest idea where Yiwu is, but businessmen plying their trades across Eurasia, especially from the Arab world, are already hooked on the city “where amazing happens!” We’re talking about the largest wholesale center for small-sized consumer goods — from clothes to toys — possibly anywhere on Earth.

The Yiwu-Madrid route across Eurasia represents the beginning of a set of game-changing developments. It will be an efficient logistics channel of incredible length. It will represent geopolitics with a human touch, knitting together small traders and huge markets across a vast landmass. It’s already a graphic example of Eurasian integration on the go. And most of all, it’s the first building block on China’s “New Silk Road,” conceivably the project of the new century and undoubtedly the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade.


http://www.juancole.com/2014/12/chinas-toward-europe.html

Close this chapter of America’s use of torture (it’s over). Look ahead to the next chapter.

The debate has ended. Next comes the squawking by politicians and policy gurus, which serves important purposes. Members of the outer party (i.e., the kind of people that write and read these kind of posts) need entertainment and a sense of participation. The news media need clickbait to get readers, and content to fill the space between ads. “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Cut to the chase; this summary can help us remember the key points:
1.Under Bush Jr our high government officials authorized torture.
2.The CIA tortured (incompetently) but gained little or nothing of use.
3.Medical and legal professionals violated the canons of their profession to assist.
4.We, the citizens of America, knew about it but did nothing (a large fraction applauded).
5.Our leaders stopped torturing at their discretion, and remain unapologetic about it.
6.The only person punished was John Kiriakou, the CIA operative who blew the whistle (and went to jail for it).
7.President Obama approved it by hiring those responsible for high office (e.g., John Brennan) and shielding everyone responsible from punishment.

To see the future we turn to John Brennan — senior CIA officer under Bush and Obama, vocal advocate of torture, who ran the “extraordinary rendition” program that sent people to be tortured abroad. A man who knows about these things. When asked about future use of torture at his December 11 press conference, he gave us a word salad — with a clear meaning.

With identity crisis in police, more Fergusons inevitable

Recent social unrest across the country protesting the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York has reopened wounds and revealed deeply rooted tensions between citizens and police, especially in ethnic minority communities.

These incidents of real or perceived police misconduct followed by social unrest and riots are not new. In the 1960s there were the Watts Riots. In the early 1990s there were five days of rioting in reaction to the videotaped Rodney King beating.

An examination of the history of policing shows that this cyclical pattern can be explained by fundamental changes in policing over the past century.


The comments on "asshole control" are especially noteworthy.


http://theconversation.com/with-identity-crisis-in-police-more-fergusons-inevitable-35237
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