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Scuba

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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
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The Criminalization of Everyday Life

http://billmoyers.com/2013/12/09/the-criminalization-of-everyday-life/

Sometimes a single story has a way of standing in for everything you need to know. In the case of the up-arming, up-armoring and militarization of police forces across the country, there is such a story. Not the police, mind you, but the campus cops at Ohio State University now possess an MRAP; that is, a $500,000, 18-ton, mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle of a sort used in the war in Afghanistan and, as Hunter Stuart of the Huffington Post reported, built to withstand “ballistic arms fire, mine fields, IEDs and nuclear, biological and chemical environments.” Sounds like just the thing for bouts of binge drinking and post-football-game shenanigans.


Warren County Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree poses in front the department's mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, on November 13, 2013, in Queensbury, NY. The hulking vehicles, built for about $500,000 each at the height of the war, are among the biggest pieces of equipment that the Defense Department is giving to law enforcement agencies under a national military surplus program. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

That MRAP came, like so much other equipment police departments are stocking up on — from tactical military vests, assault rifles and grenade launchers to actual tanks and helicopters – as a freebie via a Pentagon-organized surplus military equipment program. As it happens, police departments across the country are getting MRAPs like OSU’s, including the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota. It’s received one of 18 such decommissioned military vehicles already being distributed around that state. So has Warren County which, like a number of counties in New York state, some quite rural, is now deploying Afghan War-grade vehicles. (Nationwide, rural counties have received a disproportionate percentage of the billions of dollars’ worth of surplus military equipment that has gone to the police in these years.)

When questioned on the utility of its new MRAP, Warren County Sheriff Bud York suggested, according to the Post-Star, the local newspaper, that “in an era of terrorist attacks on US soil and mass killings in schools, police agencies need to be ready for whatever comes their way… The vehicle will also serve as a deterrent to drug dealers or others who might be contemplating a show of force.” So, breathe a sigh of relief, Warren County is ready for the next Al Qaeda-style show of force and, for those fretting about how to deal with such things, there are now 165 18-ton “deterrents” in the hands of local law enforcement around the country, with hundreds of requests still pending.

You can imagine just how useful an MRAP is likely to be if the next Adam Lanza busts into a school in Warren County, assault rifle in hand, or takes over a building at Ohio State University. But keep in mind that we all love bargains and that Warren County’s vehicle cost the department less than $10. (Yes, you read that right!) A cornucopia of such Pentagon “bargains” has, in the post-9/11 years, played its part in transforming the way the police imagine their jobs and in militarizing the very idea of policing in this country.

Answer: Everything.

The problem with our schools.

The Progressive: 10 Questions about Obama’s Iraq Bombing

http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/08/187814/10-questions-about-obama%E2%80%99s-iraq-bombing

1. Is it constitutional? Only Congress has the right to declare war. Under what authority is President Obama sending U.S. warplanes back to Iraq?

...

5. President Obama cites the humanitarian crisis of the Yazidis. And yes, it is a crisis. But there are other humanitarian crises around the world—in Syria, in the Congo, in the Ukraine. Why Iraq and not the others?

...

7. What role is oil playing in all this? As Steve Coll writes in The New Yorker, “ExxonMobil and Chevron are among the many oil and gas firms large and small drilling in Kurdistan under contracts that compensate the companies for their political risk-taking with unusually favorable terms.”

...

10. What credibility does the United States have to claim it’s now on a humanitarian mission in Iraq to save innocent lives when it killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives from 2003-2011?


Funny, but I don't recall any of the Republicans complaining that Obama is subverting the Constitution. You'd think they'd be all over this, except for the fact they they just love war,war and more war. Also, sending American service men and women into the meat grinder to ensure Big Oil's profits is right in their sweet spot.

Mother Jones: When Did Republicans Start Hating the Environment?

http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2014/08/republicans-environment-hate-polarization


It's one of those facts that sweeps you back into an alien, almost unrecognizable era. On July 9, 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon announced to Congress his plans to create the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By the end of that year, both agencies were a reality. Nowadays, among their other tasks, they either monitor or seek to mitigate the problem of global warming—actions that make today's Republicans, Nixon's heirs, completely livid. To give one example of how anti-environment the right today is, just consider this ThinkProgress analysis, finding that "over 58 percent" of congressional Republicans refuse to accept the science of climate change.

So what happened to the GOP, from the time of Nixon to the present, to turn an environmental leader into an environmental retrograde? According to a new study in the journal Social Science Research, the key change actually began around the year 1991—when the Soviet Union fell. "The conservative movement replaced the 'Red Scare' with a new 'Green Scare' and became increasingly hostile to environmental protection at that time," argues sociologist Aaron McCright of Michigan State University and two colleagues.

So is that causal explanation right? Before getting to that question, let's examine the study itself. For starters, it is pretty much undebatable that Americans today are polarized over environmental issues. In a figure in their paper, McCright and his colleagues visualize this polarization by charting the average League of Conservation Voters environmental scores for congressional Democrats and Republicans from 1970 through 2013:



One of the items then listed is "the environment" or "improving and protecting the environment." Here's how many Americans responded to that question over time by saying that we're spending "too little" on environmental protection, separated by political party membership:

Robert Reich: How We Ended Up With Corporations That Serve Shareholders, Not Customers

http://billmoyers.com/2014/08/12/the-rebirth-of-stakeholder-capitalism/

Patagonia, a large apparel manufacturer based in Ventura, California, has organized itself as a “B-corporation.” That’s a for-profit company whose articles of incorporation require it to take into account the interests of workers, the community and the environment, as well as shareholders. The performance of B-corporations according to this measure is regularly reviewed and certified by a nonprofit entity called B Lab.

To date, over 500 companies in sixty industries have been certified as B-corporations, including the household products firm “Seventh Generation.” In addition, 27 states have passed laws allowing companies to incorporate as “benefit corporations.” This gives directors legal protection to consider the interests of all stakeholders rather than just the shareholders who elected them.

...

Although the law didn’t require companies to maximize shareholder value, shareholders had the legal right to replace directors. The raiders pushed them to vote out directors who wouldn’t make these changes and vote in directors who would (or else sell their shares to the raiders, who’d do the dirty work).

Since then, shareholder capitalism has replaced stakeholder capitalism. Corporate raiders have morphed into private equity managers, and unfriendly takeovers are rare. But it’s now assumed corporations exist only to maximize shareholder returns. Are we better off? Some argue shareholder capitalism has proven more efficient. It has moved economic resources to where they’re most productive, and thereby enabled the economy to grow faster.

There’s Another Mammoth Global Trade Agreement You’ve Never Heard Of

http://billmoyers.com/2014/08/12/theres-another-mammoth-global-trade-agreement-you%E2%80%99ve-never-heard-of/

Most progressives are, by now, familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the proposed trade deal that would link the United States with Pacific Rim powerhouses like Australia and Japan. Wonkier corners of the left are equally conversant in the intrigue of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a pact that would couple the United States and the European Union. Like-minded critics would do well by memorizing yet another trade acronym: TISA, or the Trade in Services Agreement. Judging by the stakes and the ultra-secrecy of the negotiations, it could easily be the worst of the bunch.

Here’s what we know: Fifty countries, including the United States, the EU nations, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey, have been in TISA talks since 2012. The resulting agreement will set the terms for almost 70 percent of global trade in “services”: everything from banking and construction to telecom and tourism.

The public got its first glimpse of the treaty on June 19, when WikiLeaks published a draft of the agreement’s chapter on financial services. It wasn’t pretty. The text included proposals to extend new “market access” guarantees to all participating states and fresh limits on the ability of nations to “discriminate” against foreign financial firms. The section hasn’t been finalized, but the leak confirmed what TISA skeptics feared: The United States and EU are leading the charge to block countries from imposing domestic regulations on the multi-trillion-dollar services industries.

...

In the United States, TISA’s biggest cheerleader is the Coalition of Service Industries (CSI), a lobbying titan that includes the likes of AT&T, Citigroup, Deloitte, Ebay, Google, Microsoft and Walt Disney. CSI, in turn, has helped prop up “Team TISA,” a broader business alliance whose 6 co-chairs represent a comically nefarious cross-section of corporate America: Citigroup, IBM, Liberty Mutual, MetLife, UPS and Walmart.

Next Time Someone Says Women Aren't Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.



We can call off the wars!

Interesting thought from a most interesting woman.

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