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marmar

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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

A New Gameplan for Taking Down Privatizers


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


A New Gameplan for Taking Down Privatizers
JULY 13, 2014

The outsourcing of public services to private go-getters has concentrated wealth the whole world over. The best answer to that concentration? That just may be new forms of public ownership.


By Sam Pizzigati


Analysts at the OECD, the Paris-based research agency, have just shared a grim prediction: If current trends “prevail,” all developed nations will show by 2060 “the same level of inequality as currently experienced by the United States.”

If we let those current trends continue, that conclusion sounds about right. But why on earth should we let those trends continue? The trends that have made our world so unequal don’t reflect some inevitable unfolding of globalization. They reflect wrong-headed political decisions. We can make different decisions.

Take privatization. Over the past four decades, governments all around the world have chosen to privatize a broad array of public services. These privatizations have generated vast new concentrations of private wealth, among them the $75 billion fortune of Carlos Slim, the world’s second-richest single individual.

Our privatizers are still seeking new worlds to conquer. In the United States, for instance, they’re aggressively going after public education, a near $.7 trillion annual jackpot. But privatizers today are increasingly facing as much resistance as opportunity. All over the world, publics are beginning to reject the privatization mantra. The privatizers, turns out, have a problem with their pitch.

“Privatization,” as the Guardian’s Seumas Milne put it last week, “isn’t working.” ...................(more)

- See more at: http://toomuchonline.org/a-new-gameplan-for-taking-down-privatizers/#sthash.aN1d81QB.dpuf



On behalf of Detroit DUers, I'd like to welcome Netroots Nation to the Motor City this week......





The big picture: We amplify progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Through our annual convention and other events, we strengthen the community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere.

The big event: The ninth annual gathering of the Netroots will be held July 17–20 in Detroit, MI. Netroots Nation 2014 will include 80 panels, 40 training sessions, inspiring keynotes, film screenings and other engaging sessions designed to educate, stimulate and inspire the nation’s next generation of progressive leaders.

Each year, thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists come together to make new connections, hone their organizing skills, share best practices and build stronger relationships with others working on the issues they care most about. And each year, some of the brightest minds in progressive politics come to Netroots Nation to speak with—and hear from—our community. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.netrootsnation.org/about/



An Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country?: The Empire as Basket Case


from TomDispatch:


An Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country?
The Empire as Basket Case

By Tom Engelhardt


For America’s national security state, this is the age of impunity. Nothing it does -- torture, kidnapping, assassination, illegal surveillance, you name it -- will ever be brought to court. For none of its beyond-the-boundaries acts will anyone be held accountable. The only crimes that can now be committed in official Washington are by those foolish enough to believe that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth. I’m speaking of the various whistleblowers and leakers who have had an urge to let Americans know what deeds and misdeeds their government is committing in their name but without their knowledge. They continue to pay a price in accountability for their acts that should, by comparison, stun us all.

As June ended, the New York Times front-paged an account of an act of corporate impunity that may, however, be unique in the post-9/11 era (though potentially a harbinger of things to come). In 2007, as journalist James Risen tells it, Daniel Carroll, the top manager in Iraq for the rent-a-gun company Blackwater, one of the warrior corporations that accompanied the U.S. military to war in the twenty-first century, threatened Jean Richter, a government investigator sent to Baghdad to look into accounts of corporate wrongdoing.

Here, according to Risen, is Richter’s version of what happened when he, another government investigator, and Carroll met to discuss Blackwater’s potential misdeeds in that war zone:

“Mr. Carroll said ‘that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,’ Mr. Richter wrote in a memo to senior State Department officials in Washington. He noted that Mr. Carroll had formerly served with Navy SEAL Team 6, an elite unit. ‘Mr. Carroll’s statement was made in a low, even tone of voice, his head was slightly lowered; his eyes were fixed on mine,’ Mr. Richter stated in his memo. ‘I took Mr. Carroll’s threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract.’”


When officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world, heard what had happened, they acted promptly. They sided with the Blackwater manager, ordering Richter and the investigator who witnessed the scene out of the country (with their inquiry incomplete). And though a death threat against an American official might, under other circumstances, have led a CIA team or a set of special ops guys to snatch the culprit off the streets of Baghdad, deposit him on a Navy ship for interrogation, and then leave him idling in Guantanamo or in jail in the United States awaiting trial, in this case no further action was taken. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175867/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_the_age_of_impunity/



Bob Beckel's non-apology for using a racial slur


(HuffPost) Bob Beckel addressed the firestorm surrounding his recent use of the term "Chinamen" on Monday's episode of "The Five," apologizing for using the term but refusing to say he was sorry for anything else he said about China.

Beckel used the derogatory name during an on-air rant about China on Thursday. He called the Chinese "the single biggest threat to the national security of the U.S." and said, "As usual, we bring them over here and we teach a bunch of Chinamen -- er, Chinese people -- how to do computers and then they go back to China and hack into us."

"I made some comments last week about Chinese people which apparently upset some people, for which I apologize," he began on Monday. "However I do not apologize for things I've said about China and won't go into the litany of it now, because there's too many China apologists in this country." .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/14/bob-beckel-addresses-chinamen-apology_n_5585784.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&ir=Politics



A New Gameplan for Taking Down Privatizers


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


A New Gameplan for Taking Down Privatizers
JULY 13, 2014

The outsourcing of public services to private go-getters has concentrated wealth the whole world over. The best answer to that concentration? That just may be new forms of public ownership.


By Sam Pizzigati


Analysts at the OECD, the Paris-based research agency, have just shared a grim prediction: If current trends “prevail,” all developed nations will show by 2060 “the same level of inequality as currently experienced by the United States.”

If we let those current trends continue, that conclusion sounds about right. But why on earth should we let those trends continue? The trends that have made our world so unequal don’t reflect some inevitable unfolding of globalization. They reflect wrong-headed political decisions. We can make different decisions.

Take privatization. Over the past four decades, governments all around the world have chosen to privatize a broad array of public services. These privatizations have generated vast new concentrations of private wealth, among them the $75 billion fortune of Carlos Slim, the world’s second-richest single individual.

Our privatizers are still seeking new worlds to conquer. In the United States, for instance, they’re aggressively going after public education, a near $.7 trillion annual jackpot. But privatizers today are increasingly facing as much resistance as opportunity. All over the world, publics are beginning to reject the privatization mantra. The privatizers, turns out, have a problem with their pitch.

“Privatization,” as the Guardian’s Seumas Milne put it last week, “isn’t working.” ...................(more)

- See more at: http://toomuchonline.org/a-new-gameplan-for-taking-down-privatizers/#sthash.aN1d81QB.dpuf



Aaron Swartz Can’t Fight the New Cybersecurity Bill, So We Must Do It


from truthdig:


Aaron Swartz Can’t Fight the New Cybersecurity Bill, So We Must Do It

Posted on Jul 13, 2014
By Thor Benson

In late 2011 and early 2012, activists, progressive politicians and Internet companies led in part by Internet freedom advocate Aaron Swartz came together to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Advertised as measures against copyright infringement, the bills would have opened any website that contained copyrighted material it was not authorized to publish on any of its pages to a forced shutdown. A site that unknowingly held a copyrighted image in a comment section, for instance, would have been eligible as a violator. Virtually everyone was susceptible to closure.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) followed SOPA and PIPA in April 2012. CISPA was worse than its predecessors, proposing that private companies be allowed to share user information, a provision that would have violated many privacy protections of the Internet. Recognizing this, Swartz fought again. “It sort of lets the government run roughshod over privacy protections and share personal data about you,” he said of the bill at the time. Again, he prevailed.

Now, a year and a half after Swartz killed himself, there is the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. CISA is a lot like CISPA, but could end up being even worse. Privacy and civil rights groups including the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are standing up to fight it. In an article about the bill, the ACLU’s Sandra Fulton wrote: CISA “poses serious threats to our privacy, gives the government extraordinary powers to silence potential whistleblowers, and exempts these dangerous new powers from transparency laws.” The bill has been approved by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and will move to the Senate soon.

Gabe Rottman, a legislative counsel and policy adviser for the ACLU, spoke with Truthdig about CISA. He said the legislation resembles not only CISPA, but the proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which according to him would have been a better bill for protecting privacy and preventing government overreach. “It represented a compromise between the privacy community, industry and the folks pushing cybersecurity on the Hill,” he said of the 2012 legislation. That bill did not pass. CISA borrows some of its elements and removes its privacy and civil rights protections. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/aaron_swartz_cant_fight_the_new_cybersecurity_bill_so_we_must_20140713



Bill Maher Blasts ‘Useless Obama Hacks without a Shred of Intellectual Honesty’ (NSA spying)




Published on Jul 11, 2014

Bill Maher went after the left over NSA spying on Friday night; specifically, liberals who have refused to criticize surveillance under President Obama as opposed to, you know, when George Bush did it. Maher said, "If this was happening under Bush, liberals would be apoplectic. I'm sorry, but liberals are just sometimes useless Obama hacks without a shred of intellectual honesty."

Congresswoman Donna Edwards jumped in to make clear she's very apoplectic, saying Congress needs to set more limits on the NSA's dragnet and arguing for more privacy advocates who can take on the government in the name of individual liberties.

Ron Suskind added that for years, the government kept sneering at critics and asking where their proof is, and so the one great thing Snowden did was provide the proof.


Noam Chomsky on Free Market Capitalism





10 Things You Should Know About the American Seafood Supply


from Civil Eats:


10 Things You Should Know About the American Seafood Supply
By Paul Greenberg on July 8, 2014


The United States seafood supply is a marvel to behold in its illogic. In spite of the fact that we control more ocean than any country on earth, more than 85 percent of the fish and shellfish we eat is imported. But drill down deeper and it gets even weirder. Here are 10 things that you may not know about the fish on your plate.

1. Some Alaska salmon make a round trip to China.

Because of the incredible cheapness of Chinese labor, it is more cost-effective for seafood companies to freeze the salmon they catch in Alaska, send it to China, defrost it, bone it, and send back to the United States. This is also true of a large amount of our squid and the “white fish” and “fake crab” rendered from Alaskan pollock.

2. A portion of the bay scallops we import from China originally came from Martha’s Vineyard.

About half the bay scallops we consume come to us from Asia. But it’s fishier than that. In 1982, a Chinese seafood farming scientist came to Martha’s Vineyard’s Tisbury Pond and took 120 bay scallops back to Qindao. On the way, most of them died. But 26 survived. Those surviving scallops went on to become the genetic basis for a multimillion dollar industry, a portion of which is exported back to the United States.

3. The sixth most popular seafood in America is a fish that can breathe air and that you’ve probably never heard of.

The pangasius catfish is grown mostly in Vietnam and is primarily an export product. When its ponds get too low in oxygen because of overcrowding, the fish can stick its mouths above the surface of the water and take a breath of air. It is one of the few fish species that can do this.

4. Thailand, the largest producer of shrimp for export to the United States, has some serious problems.

In the last year, Thailand, which provides us with a huge quantity of shrimp every year, was struck by a new shrimp disease called Early Mortality Syndrome. It wiped out a billion dollars worth of shrimp. Then, last month, The Guardian revealed that a portion of the fish meal used to feed Thai shrimp is caught by vessels using slave labor. ..................(more)

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/07/08/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-american-seafood-supply/#sthash.5n0QOJWU.dpuf



Professor Richard Wolff: Global Capitalism July 2014 Monthly Update




by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON JULY 9, 2014

The lecture begins with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month. Then Professor Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For July 9, these include: 1. Americans’ falling household wealth expose “recovery” 2. New global debt bubble threatens 3. Most large US companies evade taxes by off-shore “havens” 4. GM’s scandal: 30 million vehicle recall, $50 billion subsidies.


http://rdwolff.com/content/global-capitalism-july-2014-monthly-update-0



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