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Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 24,195

Journal Archives

Graduating Class of 2015 Most Debt Burdened in History

43 million people are carrying $1.3 trillion in student debt. Josh Hoxie & Mayra Guizar examine the options on the table for dealing with this crisis. - May 18, 2015


Mayra Guizar is a senior at Western Washington University. She serves on the US Student Association Board of Directors as the Pacific Northwest Regional Chair. Mayra is also vice president of Western Votes! and the elections coordinator for the Western Washington University Associated Students.

Josh Hoxie joined the Institute for Policy Studies in August 2014 heading up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation. Josh's main focus is on addressing wealth inequality through the estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Josh grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attained a BA in Political Science and Economics from St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. Josh worked previously as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest serving independent in Congressional history, both in his office in Washington, DC and on his successful 2012 re-election campaign.


snip*Americans owe $1.3 trillion in student loans, with 43 million people, young, old, and everyone in between burdened with student debt. This debt has shaken the fundamental values of the nation's higher education system. Now the Republicans are proposing to cut $150 billion from student aid in the recently passed budget bill, including freezing the Pell program that helps needy students acquire higher education.

College costs have increased 1000 percent since the '70s. Students are graduating with an average of $25,000 to over $100,000 in debt, and often with an education that will not secure them a good-paying job.

in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13861

Anti-Palestinian amendments went down with TPA

May 13, 2015

Tuesday, when labor and environmental advocates who oppose the fast track Trade Promotion Authority breathed a sigh of relief as the Senate blocked the controversial trade legislation for now, advocates for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine joined them.

In late April, Congressional committees in the House and Senate passed a pair of little-noticed amendments to the controversial Trade Promotion Authority ‘Fast-Track’ legislation that would legislate support for Israel’s illegal settlements and would impede efforts to apply non-violent pressure on Israel to change its discriminatory policies towards Palestinians.

Congressional Democrats voted Tuesday to block the controversial ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Promotion Authority that would strip Congress of the power to amend trade deals. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated by the White House are opposed by labor and environmental groups because of the detrimental effect that they are likely to have on U.S. workers and environmental regulations. With the addition of the amendments relating to Israel, not only would damaging trade deals be negotiated in near secrecy without Congressional oversight, but U.S. trade policy would in future include combating Palestinian human rights advocacy and protecting Israel’s illegal settlements.

The proposed legislation would erase the distinction between Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies, effectively upending longstanding U.S. policy in the region. As J.J. Goldberg, writing for the Jewish Daily Forward, noted, “This week’s congressional committee measures appear to be the first-ever formal step toward U.S. government recognition of the settlements’ legitimacy. None of the Capitol Hill sources contacted appeared to be aware of the explosive significance of the ‘territories under the control of Israel’ clause.”

in full: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/241850-anti-palestinian-amendments-went-down-with-tpa

PayPal Blocks Donations for Report on Russian Actions in Ukraine

May 14, 2015

In response to PayPal's decision to block donations to produce print copies of an investigative report on Russian military involvement in Ukraine, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“One of the Russian government’s most effective tactics for stifling criticism of President Putin and the government’s human rights abuses is to accuse critics of conducting ‘political activities’ and claiming them to be improper or illegal,” said Susan Corke, director of Eurasia Programs. “It is disturbing, to say the least, that PayPal has supported those tactics by denying individuals the right to help pay for publishing ‘Putin. War,’ the work of murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. PayPal should immediately lift this ban, to help, rather than hinder, press freedom in Russia.”


The “Putin. War” report was published online on May 12, 2015. The bulk of the research and writing was done by Nemtsov, who was murdered in February 2015. His colleagues, including journalists, economists, and activists, completed the independent report in his stead. On May 14, 2015, PayPal blocked incoming donations for print publication, asserting, “PayPal does not allow its system to be used to collect donations for the activities of political parties or for political goals in Russia.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014, and received a democracy score of 6.29 on a scale of 1-7, with 7 being the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2014.


Don't advocate for Israel one more day, until you've done this

Whatever your politicYou don't know me. I'm just a guy from California who once fell in love with Israel, and stayed. But if you're a person who advocates for Israel in California or anywhere else outside of here, I have a message for you

It's the same message whether you belong to StandWithUs or J Street, the Republican Jewish Coalition or the New Israel Fund, AIPAC or Americans for Peace Now, the ZOA or Ameinu: Before you advocate for Israel one more day, you owe it to yourself and to Israel to do this: Download and open a report called "This is How We Fought in Gaza: Soldiers' testimonies and photographs from Operation 'Protective Edge' (2014)."

Read it until you can't go on. Then read it some more. Don't go back to advocating for Israel until you've read it to the end. It's not that long. Length is not the problem. Nor is language. It's just people talking.

Honesty is the problem. The calmly shocking honesty of scores of brave and deeply scarred soldiers who served in that war last summer. It won't be easy to read this, nor should it be.s, you should know this: These soldiers and the people of Breaking the Silence are Israeli patriots. They are advocating for Israel.


This is How We Fought in Gaza׳
testimonies and photographs from
Operation „Protective Edge ̋ (2014)

'If you spot someone, shoot': Israeli soldiers describe Gaza war

More than 60 Israeli soldiers have provided testimony on their time fighting in Gaza during Israel's summer 2014 assault on the enclave

May 4, 2015

A child sits among the rubble of Gaza after Israel's 50-day assault during the summer of 2014 (AFP)

A human rights group in Israel released a report on Monday including the testimonies of more than 60 soldiers which it says provides evidence the Israeli army may have committed “grave violations” of international law during their assault on Gaza last summer.

Soldiers told Breaking the Silence, a group comprised of former Israeli soldiers, that all Palestinians - civilians and fighters alike - were considered "targets" and that the invading Israeli forces wantonly destroyed swathes of Gaza’s residential areas.

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s 50-day war against Hamas - an estimated 70 percent of casualties were civilian - and some 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. On the Israeli side 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

Several testimonies given to Breaking the Silence describe the complete absence of rules of engagement in the war, and include allegations that Palestinian civilians were considered terrorists in Gaza.


Bernie Sanders On the Issues

The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.

Rebuilding our Crumbling Infrastructure
Addressing Climate Change
Real Tax Reform
Protecting the Most Vulnerable Americans
Health Care as a Right for All
Taking on Wall Street
Making College Affordable for All
Trade Policies that Benefit American Workers
Pay Equity for Women Workers
Raising the Minimum Wage

in full: https://berniesanders.com/issues/

Bernie’s Record

A relentless fighter for America's middle class and working families — a "practical and successful legislator."

In Congress, Bernie has fought tirelessly for working families, focusing on the growing gap between the rich and poor. The Almanac of American Politics calls him a “practical and successful legislator.” As chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Bernie worked across the aisle to “bridge Washington’s toxic partisan divide and cut one of the most significant deals in years,” according to Congressional Quarterly. In 2015, Bernie was tapped to serve as the Democratic Caucus’ ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.

Growing the Trade Union Movement

Creating Worker Co-Ops


Terrified citizens caught between Saudi Arabia and Iran as air strikes and blockade...

Full title: Yemen crisis: Terrified citizens caught between Saudi Arabia and Iran as air strikes and blockade threaten humanitarian disaster for millions

Friday May 1, 2014

Dozens of Saudi soldiers and Yemeni fighters have been killed in clashes on the border between the countries as five weeks of Saudi air attacks fail to bring the war to an end. Air strikes and heavy artillery fire in the southern port of Aden have left much of the city in ruins and the attempted incursion by Houthi fighters marks an escalation in a conflict seen regionally as part of the growing confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudi interior ministry has said three of its soldiers were killed along with dozens of fighters from the Houthi movement, which has seized control of much of Yemen, when the Houthis attacked a border post in Najran province.

So far the air strikes have failed to force back the Houthis. The involvement of a Saudi-led Sunni coalition has connected the crisis firmly with the broader conflict between Sunni and Shia branches of Islam that is inflaming much of the region. The United Nations says that more than 1,200 people have been killed and 300,000 forced to flee their homes as a result of Saudi bombing and ground fighting, which is particularly intense in Aden.

“The scene is disastrous, not just in the streets where fighting is going on but inside houses where families are often trapped and terrified,” Ahmed al-Awgari, an activist in Aden, told Reuters. “Women and children have been burnt in homes, civilians have been shot in the streets or blown up by tank fire.”


International Workers’ Day: The most invisible workers of all

May 1. 2015

Photo by Ron Amir, 2012, from a series depicting the lives of Palestinians working in Israel. The persons photographs are unrelated to the witnesses.

A couple of weeks ago we spoke with a number of Palestinian workers who live just a few dozen kilometers from where they work in Israel, but the difficulties involved in reaching their place of work mean they remain at their place of work all week, away from their families and home environment. At times, they must confine themselves to living in rough conditions at their workplace, with no option of leaving it. As one worker told us: “I feel like I’m working in a small prison".

On International Workers’ Day, the first of May, think of the workers who are the most invisible of all: the Palestinians. Give a thought to the tens of thousands who have a work permit, yet must stand for endless, humiliating hours on line at a crowded checkpoint, people for whom every moment of their daily routine is part of a struggle for survival, for whom getting safely home is not a given. Under such conditions, a struggle for fair pay, reasonable working hours and a pension is no more than a distant pipedream.

This reality is a direct outcome of the policy of Israeli authorities who prevent the development of an independent Palestinian economy that would provide employment to West Bank residents. Work in Israel is the only option available to many Palestinians. Some are granted work permits, others are not, but the rights of all these people are infringed upon even before reaching their place of employment. The Israeli authorities, responsible for most of these violations, are well aware of this reality, yet do nothing to change it.

Workers' testimonies:


Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

World View: Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign

Patrick Cockburn
Sunday April 26, 2015

Yemen is short of many things, but weapons is not one of them. Yemenis own between 40 and 60 million guns, according to a report by UN experts published earlier this year. This should be enough for Yemen’s 26 million people, although the experts note that demand for grenades that used to cost $5, handguns ($150) and AK-47s ($150) has increased eightfold. Whatever else happens, the war in Yemen is not going to end because any of the participants are short of weaponry.

Yemeni politics is notoriously complicated and exotic, with shifting alliances in which former enemies embrace and old friends make strenuous efforts to kill each other. But this exoticism does not mean that the war in Yemen, where the Saudis started bombing on 26 March, is irrelevant to the rest of the world. Already the turmoil there is a breeding ground for al-Qaeda type attacks such as that on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The collapse of the country into a permanent state of warfare will send waves of boat-people towards Western Europe or anywhere else they can find refuge. It is absurd for European leaders to pretend that they are doing something about “terrorism” or the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean when they ignore the wars that are the root causes of these events.


Tawakkol Karman calls for ousted Yemeni President Saleh to be put on trial

Friday, 24 April 2015


US court rejects lawsuit against charity funding of settlements

April 25, 2015 4:26 P.M. (Updated: April 25, 2015 4:26 P.M.)

"Price tag" attack on a Palestinian monastery in 2013. (AFP/File)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The US Court of Appeals in New York has rejected an appeal from a group of 13 Palestinians seeking damages for alleged "terrorist attacks" by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported Friday.

The complaint was filed against US-based charities that financially support settlements, alleging that such support leads to terrorist activity and is in violation of US anti-terrorism laws, reported Israeli news source Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The USA Patriot Act enacted in October 2001 prohibits citizens from "knowingly providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization."

Plaintiffs in the case argued that charities were financially supporting terrorist activity by funding settlers who have carried out acts of violence against Palestinians and their land, and desecrated houses of prayer.

in full: http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=765080
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