marble falls's Journal
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Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 04:49 AM
Number of posts: 10,155
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 04:49 AM
Number of posts: 10,155
- 2016 (40)
- 2015 (66)
- 2014 (63)
- 2013 (111)
- 2012 (4)
Posted by marble falls | Mon Aug 3, 2015, 09:30 AM (5 replies)
Posted by marble falls | Sun Aug 2, 2015, 11:39 PM (35 replies)
How the Latest Smear Campaign Against Bernie Sanders Collapsed Before It Started
The Vermont senator’s words were completely twisted. Here’s what he actually said.
By Zaid Jilani / AlterNet
July 31, 2015
This week, Bernie Sanders sat down with Vox.com for a lengthy interview on a variety of topics. One of the topics covered was the Vermont independent senator's views on immigration. Sanders' response to a question from Vox's Ezra Klein about whether the United States should have completely “open borders” has caused quite a bit of controversy. Here's the section in question:
KLEIN: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing ....
SANDERS: Open borders? No, that's a Koch brothers proposal.
SANDERS: Of course. That's a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. ...
KLEIN: But it would make ....
SANDERS: Excuse me ....
KLEIN: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn't it?
SANDERS: It would make everybody in America poorer —you're doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don't think there's any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.
The first blogger to pick up on this section and use it to bash Sanders was Vox's on Dylan Matthews, a young writer with a history of engaging in poorly researched conjecture. He wrote a post attacking Sanders, tweeting it out under the curious line that the senator “doesn't actually care about inequality” even though Sanders has spent much of his life fighting inequality in every dimension.
But the actual post is even stranger.
Matthews calls Sanders' view “ugly” because it treats American “lives as more valuable than the lives of foreigners,” and says he's “wrong about what the effects of an open-border policy would be on American workers.” Matthews cites a “Libertarian” website that claims the world GDP would increase between 50 to 150 percent and then a bunch of other random statistics to try to make the case that completely unlimited immigration would be positive for the United States.
At one point, he even throws in the example of Russian migration to Israel giving Israelis as a whole a higher standard of living. (He ignores that the influx caused such large social problems in Israel that the country sought billions in loans to assist it and caused a housing crisis that exacerbated the growth of settlements in Palestinian territory.)
The underyling point made by Klein and Matthews is also very strange: that the solution to global inequalities is for the United States and other rich countries to simply eliminate their borders and let everyone in. This ignores the problems that actually create global economic inequality: dysfunctional governing systems, exploitative supply chains and poor distribution of capital.
People don't come to the United States because as soon as they land on its shores, they are granted riches. Historically, they come here for access to jobs. When the jobs don't exist, they don't come here. During the Great Recession, both documented and undocumented immigration fell sharply. One of the practical results of the North American Free Trade Agreement was the collapse of the Mexican agricultural industry, which was flooded with highly subsidized agribusiness from the United States. What actually happened was that migration to the United States from Mexico dramatically increased, as workers tried to find new jobs to the north.
By Matthews' logic, it was good that NAFTA wiped out a section of the Mexican middle class, so they could risk their lives crossing a desert to come to the United States to be exploited for substandard-wage jobs rather than achieve the middle-class lifestyles they had in their own communities.
A number of other outlets joined in the pile-on after Matthews' missive, including ThinkProgress. But what was most interesting was the confirmation of Sanders' thesis that the idea of open borders is an ultra-right-wing Koch brothers idea. After he made his remarks, a number of right-libertarians wrote pieces slamming Sanders, including Daniel Bier of the so-called Foundation for Economic Education.
What's being lost in all of the sniping at Sanders is his actual record on immigration. Sanders is a son of a Polish Jewish migrant, and has spoken in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and ending detention quotas for undocumented immigrants. He vocally supported President Obama's immigration executive order and has called for going even further, such as including the parents of dreamers, putting him to the left of President Obama. Sanders voted in favor of 2013's comprehensive immigration reform bill, the primary piece of legislation immigrant advocates support. In 2003, he had a zero percent rating from the main anti-immigrant advocacy group, FAIR.
Despite all of this, it appears Sanders is being slammed for admitting a core truth about immigration in America: today, the corporate elite are advocates for more immigration not because they care about the hard-working families who risk everything to come here but because they absolutely do want workers to exploit for lower wages. The challenge for progressives is to be able to conduct a fair and humane immigration policy that defends human rights while not simply doing the bidding of Corporate America.
"I don’t think there’s any presidential candidate, none, who thinks we should open up the borders,” explained Sanders at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce later this week.
That's a level of nuance that may be lost on bloggers who were quick to criticize Sanders, but it's one that working people in America and abroad understand. For Vox, however, nuance may not be the most profitable. Moiz Syed, who works at Wikimedia, pointed out on Twitter that Matthews' hit piece on Sanders popped up alongside a sponsorship from Walmart.
Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.
Posted by marble falls | Sun Aug 2, 2015, 11:19 PM (40 replies)
The Pentagon paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million to 'salute troops'
May 12, 2015, 11:16 AM 17,976 10
The NFL reportedly accepted millions of dollars from the defense department over the course of three years in exchange for honoring troops and veterans before games, the New Jersey Star Ledger reports.
The Pentagon reportedly signed contracts with 14 NFL teams — including the New York Jets, the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens — between 2011-2012 stipulating that teams would be paid sums ranging from $60,000-$1 million each (in federal taxpayer money) to pause before the start of games and salute the city's "hometown heroes," according to nj.com.
Agreements also include advertising on stadium screens and sideline 'Coaches Club' seats for soldiers.
Congress and the President recently imposed strict caps on military spending as part of an austere new budget.
The military has defended the funding it provides to the NFL, stating that it is an effective recruitment tool for soldiers.
"Promoting and increasing the public's understanding and appreciation of military service in the New Jersey Army National Guard increases the propensity for service in our ranks," National Guard spokesman Patrick Daugherty told nj.com, referring to the $377,000 the Jets received from the Jersey Guard between 2011-2014.
nfl veteransOtto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesMembers of the Seattle Seahawks run onto the field during ceremonies honoring veterans prior to the game against the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field on November 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.
Other teams that received taxpayer funds include the Cincinnati Bengals ($138,960) Cleveland Browns ($22,500), the Green Bay Packers ($600,000), Pittsburgh Steelers, ($36,000) Minnesota Vikings ($605,000), Atlanta Falcons ($1,049,500), Buffalo Bills ($679,000), Dallas Cowboys ($62,500), Miami Dolphins ($20,000), and St. Louis Rams ($60,000), according to a nj.com breakdown.
New Jersey senator Joe Pennachhio has since called for the teams to donate the money to charity.
"If these teams want to really honor our veterans and service members they should be making these patriotic overtures out of gratitude for free," Pennachhio told nj.com. "And the millions of dollars that have already been billed to taxpayers should be donated to veterans' organizations."
The payments are being criticized by some who say that the practice is not only unethical, but also hypocritical — citing a renewed focus on integrity and transparency, the NFL fined the New England Patriots $1 million and suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the team's alleged role in deflating footballs before games.
Many fans are aware that the NFL is a leading recruitment tool for the military — the National Guard advertisements displayed on stadium screens are clearly sponsored content.
But few fans know that the defense department is funneling taxpayer money into the NFL in exchange for veteran tributes.
"The public believes they're doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism," U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told the Star Ledger. "It leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
Posted by marble falls | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 09:50 PM (15 replies)
Allegiant Air pilot pleads with tower to make emergency landing
NORTH DAKOTA -- An Allegiant Airlines pilot declared a fuel emergency and had to land at a North Dakota airport even though the airport was closed for the Blue Angels practicing for their weekend air show, reports CBS News' Kris Van Cleave.
The pilot of Allegiant 426 can be heard arguing with the airport tower at the closed Fargo's Hector International Airport saying he doesn't have enough fuel to divert the plane. In an audio recording of the incident the tower can also be heard scolding the pilot.
"Your company should have been aware of this for a number of months," the tower controller can be heard saying.
"Ok, we'll follow up on that," the pilot responds.
Pilots question safety of Allegiant Airlines
Allegiant released a statement about the incident saying they are investigating.
"At this time, we are coordinating with the FAA and the airport to investigate all channels of communication regarding the flight and the circumstances leading to the declaration of emergency," Allegiant said.
In a statement the FAA said the Blue Angels were practicing in that airspace that day for their air show. There was a temporary flight restriction covering the airspace from noon to 5 p.m.
"The Fargo airport management had notified airlines of the planned airspace closure, practice and air show as far back as December, and NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) were issued 72 hours in advance," the FAA said. "It is a requirement for pilots to review NOTAMs before flight."
FAA said for this reason, all arriving flights had scheduled arrival times. Allegiant 426 missed its scheduled time, as it was an hour late departing from Las Vegas.
"Knowing the airspace was being used by the Blue Angels, the Fargo tower was waiting for the flight to come in, expecting it to divert to Grand Forks," the FAA said. "The pilots of Allegiant 426 would have been talking to the FAA's Minneapolis Center before entering Fargo's airspace, and would have been well aware of the Blue Angels practice."
Pilot pleads to land on closed runway
FAA said that the Fargo tower talked to Allegiant's operations and was assured that the flight did have an extra 45 minutes of fuel on board, as required by FAA regulation. This extra 45 minutes is required on all flights to enable diversions, if necessary.
Allegiant's operation center told the FAA the flight had an extra 45 minutes of fuel on board, but the pilot said otherwise, and requested landing at Fargo. It is unclear how many people were on board the flight.
The Blue Angels were moved to a holding area, and the flight landed without incident.
Allegiant has had a series of mechanical issues this summer, including smoke in the cockpit of a flight. And another where passengers evacuated to the wing.
A few weeks ago, CBS News reported that pilots of Allegiant were accusing the airline of cutting safety along with costs.
In a letter to the board of Allegiant Airlines, the union representing its pilots complained about what it says is the company's bare minimum approach to maintenance and safety.
The letter cited 38 potentially dangerous incidents between January and March of 2015 including engine failures, pressurization problems, smoke in the cockpit and radar issues.
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Posted by marble falls | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:19 PM (5 replies)
Israel exploits Syrian chaos to plan looting of Golan oil
Paul Fallon The Electronic Intifada 21 July 2015
Israeli soldiers patrol near the occupied Syrian town of Majdal al-Shams in the Golan Heights in 2011. Oren Ziv ActiveStills
According to Geoff Rochwarger, CEO of Afek, energy independence is the new Zionism.
The Afek oil and gas exploration company has almost completed its second drilling test in the Golan Heights, a part of Syria which Israel has occupied since 1967 and annexed in violation of international law.
The test is part of a three-year program to see if hydrocarbons in the area could lead to oil or gas for Israel.
Israel is fuel-poor and its domestic energy woes could be eased in the interim if the government progresses on deals in relation to the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.
In addition, Israel is now taking advantage of the chaos in Syria to look for precious resources to extract from the occupied Golan Heights.
Israel relies heavily on imports to meet its energy consumption, and with frequent vicissitudes with its neighbors, its need for energy resources continues to shape the nature of its occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as the Golan Heights.
With the Syrian government in disarray, Israeli authorities gave the go-ahead to Afek, a subsidiary of Genie Oil and Gas, to conduct drilling in 10 wells in the occupied Golan Heights in their search for fossil fuels.
According to Howard Jonas, chairman and CEO of Genie Energy Limited, the parent company of Genie Oil and Gas, the company’s team of experts believes that what lies under the Golan Heights could make Israel energy independent and “contribute to the diversification of the free world’s energy supply away from a crippling dependence on unfriendly sources” (see the Genie Energy annual report for 2014).
“Kill them all”
Genie Oil and Gas has some high profile investors and advisors: Media baron Rupert Murdoch, former US Vice President Dick Cheney, American hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt and British investment banker Jacob Rothschild are all members of the company’s “Strategic Advisory Board.”
Murdoch stated in 2013 that “Israel is the greatest ally of democracy in a region beset with turmoil and radicalism.” This was an audacious statement given his investment in a company breaking the basic tenets of international law.
The chairman of Genie Israel, Effie Eitam, who lives in the Golan Heights settlement of Nov, is a former military commander and member of the National Religious Party. He once referred to Palestinian citizens of Israel as a “ticking bomb” causing a “cancer” in Israel. He also told The New Yorker in 2004, that Palestinians were “creatures who came out of the depths of darkness” adding that “we will have to kill them all” before backpeddling slightly: “I know it’s not very diplomatic. I don’t mean all the Palestinians, but the ones with evil in their heads.”
Afek claims on its website that Syria’s occupied Golan Heights is part of the “State of Israel.” The company was granted a petroleum exploration license by the northern regional planning and building committee, in direct violation of international law by completely ignoring the Annex to the Fourth Geneva Convention — which applies to the occupied territory.
In February, an Afek subsidiary started drilling its first exploratory well and drilled to a depth of 1,000 meters. The samples extracted are now undergoing analysis and drilling continues. In the event that the company finds oil, it will request the required licenses to begin the production stage.
There are grave breaches of international law as well as environmental concerns at play here. Firstly, the type of oil expected in the area may not be in liquid form and could require fracking — a process that involves injecting large amounts of scarce water and toxic chemicals into the ground in order to force the hydrocarbons to the surface.
Whether it is conventional oil or shale oil, fracking or drilling could lead to oil seepage into the underground water table, polluting Lake Tiberias — the biblical Sea of Galilee — potentially rendering local water supplies undrinkable and destroying the ecosystem for generations to come.
Looting Syria’s resources
The Golan plateau was occupied by Israel during the 1967 War. UN Security Council resolution 242 and several other resolutions since have called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territory and condemned Israel’s actions there.
These have included: annexation and imposition of Israeli law in 1981, an action the UN Security Council declared “null and void.” Israel has also transfered its own population into the area for the purpose of colonization and the use of the territory’s resources for its own economic interests.
The Golan’s fertile land and water resources have been a strategic interest for Israel and now its energy potential may bring huge financial rewards.
Despite international criticism, Israel’s inherently discriminatory and exploitative policies inside the Golan continue without sanction. Israeli ministers have voiced their desire to capitalize on the destabilization of Syria as an excuse to cement Israel’s illegal hold on the territory.
Whilst Israel continues to exploit the natural resources of the territories it occupies, the international community continues to do nothing to enforce its decisions as the occupation of the Golan verges on reaching the 50-year milestone.
The Syrian government had planned to build a pipeline across the Middle East into Lebanon and the Mediterranean for the European markets. It had signed agreements with Iran and Iraq towards this end.
With Syrian oil reserves in decline and the country in chaos, the government has no capacity to challenge the current Israeli exploitation of the country’s Golan resources.
It seems likely therefore that Israel will have a free hand to loot Syrian oil from the Golan, backed by the West.
Paul Fallon is a legal researcher and writer with Al-Marsad, a human rights group in the occupied Golan Heights.
Posted by marble falls | Sun Jul 26, 2015, 08:21 AM (6 replies)
Posted by marble falls | Sat Jul 25, 2015, 10:05 PM (27 replies)
Bernie Sanders Becomes the First Candidate to Speak Out on Sandra Bland: 'We Need Real Police Reform
Bernie Sanders Becomes the First Candidate to Speak Out on Sandra Bland: 'We Need Real Police Reform'
Days after tense confrontation with #BlackLivesMatter activists, Sanders decries 'all-too-common' problem.
By Sophia Tesfaye / Salon.com
July 24, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 9, 2015:- U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent -Vermont) speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club
Photo Credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com
Bernie Sanders released a forceful statement blasting the conduct of Sandra Bland’s arresting officer as “police abuse” and calling for “real police reform.” So far, Sanders is the only presidential candidate to speak publicly about the death of Bland while in police custody.
The arrest and subsequent death of the 28-year-old African American woman in a small Texas town set-off a national outcry last week after local officials ruled her death in a jell cell a suicide. Witness cell phone footage later released revealed Bland yelling during the arrest that the officer had slammed her head on the ground. Authorities said she hung herself with a plastic bag in a jail cell three days later on July 13. Following Sanders’ tense confrontation with #BlackLivesMatters activists at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix on Saturday, the independent Vermont senator added a passage to his stump speech in Houston on Sunday referencing Bland’s death, a reference the Texas Tribune said drew the longest and loudest applause from the crowd. “It is unacceptable that police officers beat up people or kill people,” Sanders told the audience in Houston. “If they do that, they have got to be held accountable.”
After dashcam video of Bland’s arrest was released last night showing the officer, who had pulled Bland over for what he described as failing to signal a turn, open Bland’s driver side door and threaten to “light her up” with his taser if she didn’t stop smoking a cigarette and exit the vehicle, Sanders was quick to release a statement Tuesday condemning the arrest:
This video of the arrest of Sandra Bland shows totally outrageous police behavior. No one should be yanked from her car, thrown to the ground, assaulted and arrested for a minor traffic stop. The result is that three days later she is dead in her jail cell. This video highlights once again why we need real police reform. People should not die for a minor traffic infraction. This type of police abuse has become an all-too-common occurrence for people of color and it must stop.
Two Texas state lawmakers have already called Bland’s arrest unlawful, but the two Texans running for president, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Governor Rick Perry have not yet commented on Bland at all. Sanders is the only presidential candidate to mention Bland on the campaign trail, so far. Activists have utilized the #SayHerName hashtag on social media to garner attention to the Bland case.
Posted by marble falls | Sat Jul 25, 2015, 09:52 PM (8 replies)
Tue Jun 16, 2015 at 06:55 PM PDT
Hillary Clinton's Record of Advocacy and Support of the TPP
I am linking the full contents of the source document as I wrote it and administer the group on facebook.
On the Transpacific Partnership; the trade deal that will cost American jobs, give power to multi-national corporations to sue the American tax payers' for creating laws that protect the environment, land, food/water supply, workers rights, and public health from their toxic policies and practices and create international tribunals staffed by multi-national corporations to hear the cases outside of US courts.
The US media has portrayed Clinton's record on this policy as undefined and tried to frame her obsfuscation on the subject as indicative of possible opposition while failing to report her direct involvement and advocacy of the policy as Secretary of State:
This article profusely praises Hillary's involvement in the TPP and highlights her direct involvement in playing a LEADING role in DRAFTING THE TPP.
Second page, fourth paragraph down:
"She’s pressed the case for U.S. business in Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries in China’s shadow. She’s also taken a leading part in drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade pact that would give U.S. companies a leg up on their Chinese competitors."
Hillary has referred to the Transpacific Partnership as the Gold Standard of trade agreements in 2012, here is the quote in context of the speech given at Techport, Australian on November 15, 2012. This speech was actively promoting and selling the TPP and it is utterly absurd that the media proceeds to report on Clinton's stance on the TPP as unclear, abstract, and unknowable. She has had direct involvement in creating the TPP and advocating its passage internationally, yet she is portrayed as an outsider to the issue and someone who has yet to form an opinion. It is disingenuous. Here is the direct quote from the speech with a link to the entire speech following the quote:
"So it's fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment".....
(thirteenth paragraph in article)
In 2011, Hillary Clinton spoke out in favor of the TPP in her remarks in Honolulu, HI at America's Pacific Century (November 10, 2011):
"There is new momentum in our trade agenda with the recent passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and our ongoing work on a binding, high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP. The TPP will bring together economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single 21st century trading community. A rules-based order will also be critical to meeting APEC’s goal of eventually creating a free trade area of the Asia Pacific."
(20th paragraph down from beginning at the start of Clinton's speech, after introductory remarks)
Hillary spoke out in 2013, again in favor of the TPP (Global Town Interview, Washington DC Town Interview)
Additionally, Clinton has a long history of utilizing placating language to her political base to denounce trade policies while continuing to speak positively about the legislation to her corporate backers. Here is a long litany of opposing positions Hillary has held as First Lady and Senator, including her contradicting positions on NAFTA (TPP is often referred to as NAFTA on Steroids):
"Speaking to union members at a debate in Chicago in August, Clinton said something her audience wanted to hear: "Well, I had said for many years, that, you know, NAFTA and the way it's been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers."
By contrast, in her 2003 autobiography, Clinton describes NAFTA as an "important. . . goal" of her husband's tenure. A year before, she told the centrist Democratic Leadership Council that NAFTA was one of her husband's accomplishments.
In the Senate, Clinton has voted for several trade deals fought by labor, including agreements with Singapore, Chile and Oman. The first two deals were opposed by 24 Senate Democrats, including three of her rivals for the Democratic nomination: Edwards of North Carolina, Biden of Delaware and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. Twenty-seven Senate Democrats opposed the Oman deal."
(2nd page, top paragraphs)
Given Clinton's direct involvement with the crafting of the TPP and her global advocacy for the policy, it is outright absurd that her position is being portrayed as unclear and unknown. Currently, she is attempting to triangulate her past positions with obfuscating rheoteric to present herself as skeptical and possibly against the TPP legislation.
Her record and history outright contradict these claims.
And, the White House has said as much:
Additionally, as hundreds of thousands of Americans have come together to fight to oppose the TPP, Clinton sought to dismiss the significance of the TPP as a 'process issue'....
She failed to oppose it, and she utilized triangulation to speak about how it could obtain passage:
“The TPA is a process issue. The issue for me is what’s in the deal” she said. “I think this is a chance to use this leverage so that the deal does become one that more Americans and members of Congress can vote for.”
“I believe that you take whatever happens to you in a negotiation, and you leverage it,” she said minutes later when pressed again on the topic.
This was countered by one of her democratic primary opponents, Martin O Malley:
Democratic rival Martin O’Malley quickly seized on what he called Clinton’s political dodge on the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, which he and progressives in Congress have come out strongly against.
“For the thousands of American workers whose jobs are on the line with TPP, fast track is not a ‘process’ issue, it’s a straightforward vote on their future and their livelihood,” O’Malley aide Lis Smith said in a statement.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/...
Posted by marble falls | Sat Jul 25, 2015, 11:30 AM (0 replies)