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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 72,733

Journal Archives

Reclaim Our Economy from Wall Street Public Banking: Funding the New Economy

Published on Jul 4, 2014

Birgitta Jonsdottir, Matt Taibbi, Ellen Brown and Gar Alperovitz have a conversation about Reclaiming Our Economy from Wall Street with Public Banking.

Thom Hartmann: Our economy is a house of cards!

Published on Jul 1, 2014

Thom rants on Paul Krugman's recent article in the New York Times and explains why our economic system is a sham!

Alito's Mayhem

from the Progressive:

Alito's Mayhem
By Philip Mattera

Is Justice Samuel Alito really that clueless? During the 2010 State of the Union address, he nervously mouthed the words “not true” when President Obama warned that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling would allow corporate special interests to dominate U.S. elections. A few days ago, Alito wrote an outrageous opinion in the Hobby Lobby case affirming the religious rights of corporations but insisting this would not do much other than prevent a few companies from having to include several kinds of birth control in their health insurance plans.

Alito’s claim about the narrow scope is already beginning to unravel. Although the written opinion suggested that only four types of contraception such as IUDs that religious zealots view as tantamount to abortion would be affected, the Court subsequently ordered lower courts to rehear cases in which employers sought to deny coverage for any form of birth control.

Business owners with other religious views contrary to federal policy will undoubtedly soon speak up. This is exactly what Justice Ginsburg warned about in her powerful dissent, calling Alito’s opinion “a decision of startling breadth” that enables “commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, [to] opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Alito was apparently so shaken by Ginsburg’s accusation that he felt a need to deny it at length. The denial is not only unconvincing, it is clumsy and takes Alito into some strange territory for a supposed business-friendly conservative. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://progressive.org/news/2014/07/187766/alitos-mayhem#sthash.djCh2XCE.dpuf

Left Forum 2014: Why Revolution Now

Published on Jun 4, 2014

Left Forum 2014, Opening Night Panel of " Why Revolution Now ?"
Amy Goodman, Moderator; Panel is: Cornel West - Marina Sitrin - Immortal Technique - Stanley Aronowitz. May 30,31-June 1,2014 at John Jay College in New York City.

Howard Zinn -- We Should Welcome the Collapse of the US Empire

Published on Jul 4, 2014

US GDP is a smaller percentage of global GDP than it was 20 years ago. Wars of choice (i.e. wars of US aggression) are becoming obsolete for the US. There is a lot of evidence the US empire is collapsing, and many people are worried the US is losing its ability to manipulate countries with policies it favors. Howard Zinn says this is a good thing, and accurately predicted the US will not be able to act unilaterally anymore, for example in Syria, where the US was blocked from any serious intervention by Russia and China. The US can no longer act alone, which is a good thing. The longest period of history without a global war was a multipolar world.

Howard Zinn says that we should welcome the collapse of the US empire and start massively spending on programs at home to stimulate the economy. Positions that ought to be basic economics (MMT) and common sense. He says we should work on problems such as poverty instead of military.

Governments Lie: Howard Zinn on Class Warfare, Immigration, Justice, Film and History (2007)

Bill Ayers on the Erosion of Teacher Tenure

(Truthout) If you flip through your yearbook from school, there's a chance you'll happen upon a picture of a teacher who was, in your estimation, a lousy educator. We've all had bad teachers who failed in some form or fashion to connect with you or the entire class and teach in a way that you truly learned about the subject. However, if you take that same yearbook, you will most likely find far more teachers who were effective educators. If you attended a public school (and some private schools) many of the teachers you had were tenured. That doesn't mean they couldn't get fired for ineffective teaching. It means they are afforded due process to explore claims made against them by students, parents, administrators, or interest groups who have a complaint.

Tenure means fair procedures are in place, bound by laws, policies, or agreements that protect teachers from arbitrary reasons for termination. For anyone who has served on a jury or even sat through a court proceeding, you know the process is slow, technical, and guided by laws that frame the case. If you were arrested on an arbitrary charge, the legal system (though flawed, and certainly rife with examples of miscarriages of justice) has protections built in through the 5th and 14th Amendments the Constitution that guarantee due process. If polled, do you think a majority of people would say they want to give up their right to due process? Yet, that's exactly what people want to see happen if teaching tenure is abolished. Spurred by misinformation, jealousy, or resentment, many people assume that tenure for teachers is tantamount to a lifetime job.

However, tenure for teachers is not designed to insure a lifetime job without any kind of repercussion for ineffective teaching, violations of law, policy, or agreements. Like the kind of due process one gets in the legal system, tenure is about due process; due process that's built into the contracts between teachers and school districts they work in. If you live in a state that has "at will" employment, it means that you, as an employee, have very few protections against arbitrary termination. If a boss or manager doesn't like you for whatever reason, they can "let you go" (i.e., fire you). It doesn't matter if you did a great job for that company or not, or how much you plead your case, if the employer says get lost, you get lost. Of course, "at will" means you can leave a job at a moment's notice, too. However, "at will" presumes that both the company and the worker have a kind of equal status in the economy, and overlooks other factors like economic conditions, age, gender, and sexual orientation in losing a job. Tenure is a bulwark against the capriciousness of "at will" employment, and is something that unions have fought long and hard to implement and keep as part of their labor contracts. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/24794-truthout-interviews-bill-ayers-on-the-erosion-of-teacher-tenure

More McCarthyism Aimed Against Academic Freedom and Dissent

More McCarthyism Aimed Against Academic Freedom and Dissent

Saturday, 05 July 2014 13:40
By David Palumbo-Liu, Truthout | Op-Ed

Recently Truthout featured a piece by Chip Gibbons entitled, "'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Signatory to a Boycott of Israel?' The BDS Movement and the Return of McCarthyism." In it, he outlines the censorious measures taken against those who support BDS, most particularly academic organizations such as the Association for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Gibbons mentions the legislation put forward in New York and Maryland (note that this also occurred in Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kansas and South Carolina), as well as the actions of the Jewish Community Center to vet and censor artistic and cultural performances.

Another practice that smacks of McCarthyism is the misuse of state and federal law to pressure universities to restrict criticism of Israel on campus. In a previous piece I wrote of the use of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to stifle and punish protests on campus under the pretense that such protests harm the feelings of "Jewish students." In its rejection of the vast majority of such complaints, the US Department of Education declared that the kinds of protest events that were the basis of complaint "constitute expression on matters of public concern directed to the University community. In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience."

One of the most active groups that have been monitoring college and university campuses for any hint of criticism of Israel has called for the investigation and interrogation of teachers suspected of engaging in anti-Semitic behavior. The Amcha Initiative says its mission is "to investigate, document, educate about, and combat anti-Semitic behavior on college and university campuses in America and the institutional structures that legitimize it and allow it to flourish." Its objectives are "to investigate and document the problem of campus anti-Semitism in our extensive database and through investigative reports; to organize and carry out campaigns to address campus anti-Semitism that include communicating with university, state and federal leaders about the problem and possible solutions, engaging grassroots activists, and collaborating with other legal and educational organizations; to educate the Jewish community and the general public about the problem of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses; (and) to foster grassroots activism to act locally and nationally to combat campus anti-Semitism across the country." The problem is that in many cases, here as elsewhere, "anti-Semitism" is a code word that covers any criticism of Israel - a legitimate complaint against ethnic and religious prejudice is appropriated as a kind of Trojan horse to disarm political criticism. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24745-more-mccarthyism-aimed-against-academic-freedom-and-dissent

San Francisco’s Healthy Corner Store Movement: Getting it Right

from Civil Eats:

San Francisco’s Healthy Corner Store Movement: Getting it Right
By Susana Hennessey Lavery on July 4, 2014

Despite its reputation as a Mecca of farmers markets and foodie culture, San Francisco is also home to quite a few people who lack access to good, whole food. In the low-income Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, for instance, residents have an 8- to 14-year decreased life expectancy compared to their neighbors in other parts of the city. This is due in large part to diet-related illnesses like diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension and other types of heart disease. In addition, nearly 42 percent of adults in San Francisco are overweight or obese, and only one-third of those adults eat three or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

As in most of the rest of the country, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that unhealthy food, beverages, alcohol, and tobacco products are disproportionately promoted in low-income neighborhoods or food “swamps”—areas with a lot of food but not much that is healthy.

A Community Responds

Alarmed by the growing nutrition-related illnesses in their community and inspired by a 2006 city-wide summit on dietary disparities, a large group of Bayview residents, community-based organizations, city agencies and others formed a working group called Southeast Food Access Working Group (SEFA). The goal was to create a “vibrant and robust food system” for people living in Bayview-Hunters Point by improving food access and diets through awareness and education, and developing community gardens.

SEFA’s first priority was to improve healthy food and retail grocery options in the neighborhood. In 2007, its members conducted and released a survey of resident food preferences that clearly showed a strong demand for healthy retail options. They also found significant retail “leakage” of $38 million as more than half of the survey respondents frequently traveled outside the neighborhood to buy groceries. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2014/07/04/san-franciscos-healthy-corner-store-movement-getting-it-right/#sthash.7s8bb65I.dpuf

The Cost of Iraq War Immunity

from Consortium News:

The Cost of Iraq War Immunity
July 5, 2014

If Official Washington were not the corrupt and dangerous place that it is, the architects and apologists for the Iraq War would have faced stern accountability. Instead, they are still around – holding down influential jobs, making excuses and guiding the world into more wars, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

By Paul R. Pillar

The Iraq War, as Heather Marie Stur tells us, should not be lumped together with the Vietnam War as blindly and repeatedly as many seem wont to do. Although the two military expeditions both rank among the costliest blunders in American history, there are indeed many differences between the two.

Stur is correct to emphasize differences over similarities, but she completely misses the most significant differences — significant partly because of their implications for avoiding similar blunders in the future.

Difference number one sets the invasion of Iraq in 2003 apart not only from the intervention in Vietnam but from almost every other substantial use of U.S. military force. There was no policy process leading to the decision to launch the war.

Whether invading Iraq was a good idea was never on the agenda of any meeting of policymakers, and never the subject of any options paper. Thus no part of the national security bureaucracy had any opportunity to weigh in on that decision (as distinct from being called on to help sell that decision to the public). .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/05/the-cost-of-iraq-war-immunity/

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