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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,152

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The Judicial Assault on Unions


AlterNet / By Roy Ulrich

The Judicial Assault on Unions
Behind the recent appeals court ruling that has Republicans and big business elated.

January 31, 2013 |


It should come as no shock that Republicans in Congress would like to see the power of labor further diminished. The same is true of governors and state legislatures in red and purple states such as Wisconsin and Indiana. But now conservative courts have joined the fray.

Just this past week, the National Labor Relations Board was put in legal limbo — with the possibility that more than 300 of its decisions over the last year could be nullified — as a result of a federal appeals court in ruling in the nation’s capital that President Obama’s recess appointments to the Board were invalid.

Among the decisions that could be vacated are three recent rulings in which the Board had assumed a powerful role in telling companies that they can’t issue blanket prohibitions on what their employees say on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

The Board said workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on social media. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/judicial-assault-unions



The Judicial Assault on Unions


AlterNet / By Roy Ulrich

The Judicial Assault on Unions
Behind the recent appeals court ruling that has Republicans and big business elated.

January 31, 2013 |


It should come as no shock that Republicans in Congress would like to see the power of labor further diminished. The same is true of governors and state legislatures in red and purple states such as Wisconsin and Indiana. But now conservative courts have joined the fray.

Just this past week, the National Labor Relations Board was put in legal limbo — with the possibility that more than 300 of its decisions over the last year could be nullified — as a result of a federal appeals court in ruling in the nation’s capital that President Obama’s recess appointments to the Board were invalid.

Among the decisions that could be vacated are three recent rulings in which the Board had assumed a powerful role in telling companies that they can’t issue blanket prohibitions on what their employees say on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

The Board said workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on social media. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/judicial-assault-unions



Humans have already set in motion 69 feet of sea-level rise


from Grist:



31 Jan 2013 8:07 AM

Humans have already set in motion 69 feet of sea-level rise
By Chris Mooney




Last week, a much discussed new paper in the journal Nature seemed to suggest to some that we needn’t worry too much about the melting of Greenland, the mile-thick mass of ice at the top of the globe. The research found that the Greenland ice sheet seems to have survived a previous warm period in Earth’s history — the Eemian period, some 126,000 years ago — without vanishing (although it did melt considerably).

But Ohio State glaciologist Jason Box isn’t buying it.

At Monday’s Climate Desk Live briefing in Washington, D.C., Box, who has visited Greenland 23 times to track its changing climate, explained that we’ve already pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide 40 percent beyond Eemian levels. What’s more, levels of atmospheric methane are a dramatic 240 percent higher — both with no signs of stopping. “There is no analogue for that in the ice record,” said Box.

And that’s not all. The present mass-scale human burning of trees and vegetation for clearing land and building fires, plus our pumping of aerosols into the atmosphere from human pollution, weren’t happening during the Eemian. These human activities are darkening Greenland’s icy surface, and weakening its ability to bounce incoming sunlight back away from the planet. Instead, more light is absorbed, leading to more melting, in a classic feedback process that is hard to slow down. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/climate-energy/humans-have-already-set-in-motion-69-feet-of-sea-level-rise/



The Making of Global Capitalism


from truthdig:



The Making of Global Capitalism
Posted on Jan 31, 2013


This piece is the conclusion to Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin’s new book, “The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire” (Verso Books, 2012). It is used with permission and protected by copyright.


Although Marx discerned in the middle of the 19th century that a new class of capitalists was creating ‘a world after its own image’, it actually took until the beginning of the 21st century before ‘a constantly expanding market’ could be said to have fully spread capitalist social relations ‘over the entire surface of the globe’. Moreover, it was not a generic ‘bourgeoisie’ driven by competition to ‘nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere’ that alone made global capitalism after its own image. It took an empire of a new kind, founded on US capitalism’s great economic strength and centred on the capacities of the American state, to make global capitalism a reality. Yet no sooner did the task look to be more or less complete when the fourth great crisis of global capitalism (after those of the 1870s, the 1930s and the 1970s) spread rapidly across the world. Marx’s observation 150 years earlier, that the making of capitalism on a global scale was ‘paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises’ while at the same time ‘diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented’, seemed all too fully confirmed. And it was now the American empire that seemed to resemble ‘the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells’.

Given the severity and duration of the latest crisis in a global capitalist economy that the American state had been so central to constructing, it was hardly surprising to see a resurgence of pronouncements that US hegemony was coming to an end. As pundits of every persuasion once again blur the lines between a capitalist crisis and the decline of the US empire, it is especially important to recognize the central role which the American state continues to play in reproducing global capitalism. To be sure, the current crisis has amply demonstrated the many challenges and contradictions it faces in doing this, but it has also demonstrated that while the American empire is certainly not always able to control the spirits it has called up from the deep, it nevertheless remains critical to the system’s survival.

The new crisis has confirmed more generally the continuing significance of states in global capitalism. Although the institutions of the European Union have more constitutional authority than other international organizations, their inability to intervene so as to resolve the debt crisis of their smaller member states is largely due to the internal political dynamics within other member states, above all Germany. The eurozone crisis also confirms a basic fact about the nature of both globalization and informal empire: state sovereignty is not effaced within it. This can be seen in the difficulties the American state has continually had to confront in getting the German state, from the time of the Herstaat banking crisis in the 1970s to the Mexican crisis in the 1990s to the crisis of the Euro today, to overcome its obsession with inflation and ‘moral hazard’ and to take its share of responsibility for containing crises. Yet this cannot be understood in terms of states, least of all Germany, retreating from free trade and free capital flows in favour of economic nationalism. After decades of economic integration, there are no national bourgeoisies like those that supported the fascist turn in Germany or Italy in the interwar period.

When the term ‘empire’ was openly embraced to characterize the American state at the time of the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 (including by some of its advisors), the stress was placed, in Niall Ferguson’s words, on the ‘potential advantages of a self-conscious American imperialism’ as against ‘the grave perils of being an “empire in denial”’. The anxieties of a Kansas farmer that ‘we are trying to run the world too much… like the Romans used to’ were taken as exemplifying not just the difficulties of mediating the American state’s international and domestic roles, but the loss of imperial vigour and discipline, the main measure of which, allegedly, was that the bill for Social Security in the US was larger than the bill for national security. Notably, it was not a new world of rival imperial states that occupied the minds of such analysts of US empire. The eyes cast askance at Germany and France over the tensions which the invasion of Iraq initially produced were largely overcome once these states introduced the motion at the UN to have it endorse the occupation a year later; while the US integration with China was such that Ferguson himself dubbed it ‘Chimerica’. With the typically absurd hyperbole that was so common in the years after 9/11, he rather claimed it was now only ‘non-state actors’ like criminal organizations and terrorist cells ‘who truly wield global power’. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/the_making_of_global_capitalism_20130131/



Beijing Air Akin to Living in a Smoking Lounge





(Bloomberg) Beijing’s air, which has exceeded the World Health Organization’s “healthy” limit every day this year, is similar to that in an airport smoking lounge.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows Beijing’s daily peak and average concentrations of PM2.5, the airborne particulate matter that raises risks for lung and heart diseases, as measured by the U.S. Embassy. The 2013 daily average was 194 micrograms per cubic meter, with an intraday peak of 886 on Jan. 12, the data show. By contrast, PM2.5 levels averaged 166.6 in 16 airport smoking lounges in the U.S., said a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Levels exceeded 1,000 in Fairbanks, Alaska during a 2004 wildfire that engulfed 6.6 million acres, the state’s website says.

“Unlike cigarette smoking, exposure to ambient air pollution is involuntary and ubiquitously effects entire populations,” C. Arden Pope III, a professor at Brigham Young University who studies the health effects of air pollution, said in an e-mail.

The city’s government this week ordered some cars off its roads, closed factories and recommended that its 20 million residents avoid outdoor activities as air pollution levels hit hazardous for a fifth consecutive day yesterday. Some flights from Beijing Capital International Airport were canceled because of low visibility. Premier Wen Jiabao said authorities should give people hope through actions. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/beijing-air-akin-to-living-in-smoking-lounge-chart-of-the-day.html




Beijing Air Akin to Living in Smoking Lounge





(Bloomberg) Beijing’s air, which has exceeded the World Health Organization’s “healthy” limit every day this year, is similar to that in an airport smoking lounge.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows Beijing’s daily peak and average concentrations of PM2.5, the airborne particulate matter that raises risks for lung and heart diseases, as measured by the U.S. Embassy. The 2013 daily average was 194 micrograms per cubic meter, with an intraday peak of 886 on Jan. 12, the data show. By contrast, PM2.5 levels averaged 166.6 in 16 airport smoking lounges in the U.S., said a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Levels exceeded 1,000 in Fairbanks, Alaska during a 2004 wildfire that engulfed 6.6 million acres, the state’s website says.

“Unlike cigarette smoking, exposure to ambient air pollution is involuntary and ubiquitously effects entire populations,” C. Arden Pope III, a professor at Brigham Young University who studies the health effects of air pollution, said in an e-mail.

The city’s government this week ordered some cars off its roads, closed factories and recommended that its 20 million residents avoid outdoor activities as air pollution levels hit hazardous for a fifth consecutive day yesterday. Some flights from Beijing Capital International Airport were canceled because of low visibility. Premier Wen Jiabao said authorities should give people hope through actions. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/beijing-air-akin-to-living-in-smoking-lounge-chart-of-the-day.html



Amy Goodman: Rosa Parks, Now and Forever


from truthdig:


Rosa Parks, Now and Forever

Posted on Jan 30, 2013
By Amy Goodman


On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., thus launching the modern-day civil-rights movement. Monday, Feb. 4, is the 100th anniversary of her birth. After she died at the age of 92 in 2005, much of the media described her as a tired seamstress, no troublemaker. But the media got it wrong. Rosa Parks was a first-class troublemaker.

Professor Jeanne Theoharis debunks the myth of the quiet seamstress in her new book “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” Theoharis told me, “This is the story of a life history of activism, a life history that she would put it, as being ‘rebellious,’ that starts decades before her famous bus stand and ends decades after.”

She was born in Tuskegee, Ala., and raised to believe that she had a right to be respected, and to demand that respect. Jim Crow laws were entrenched then, and segregation was violently enforced. In Pine Level, where she lived, white children got a bus ride to school, while African-American children walked. Rosa Parks recalled: “But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.”

In her late teens, Rosa met Raymond Parks, and they married. Rosa described Raymond Parks as the first activist she had ever met. He was a member of the local Montgomery NAACP chapter, and, when she learned that women were welcome at the meetings, she attended. She was elected the chapter’s secretary. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/rosa_parks_now_and_forever_20130130/



Time of Useful Consciousness


from truthdig:


Time of Useful Consciousness

Posted on Jan 29, 2013
By Lisa Pasold


“Time of Useful Consciousness”
A book by Lawrence Ferlinghetti



Why write poetry in America today? So many reasons—to examine, to rant, to bear witness, to demand and seize the moment, to shout, to revel. The drive to communicate, to emulate Walt Whitman and hear the sound of America singing, has always enlivened the best of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s work. Ferlinghetti is now 93 years old, and he’s still listening, shouting and reveling in his new book, “Time of Useful Consciousness,” a lilting, imperfect series of poetic considerations, looping through the history of America.

Ferlinghetti has published more than 30 books of poetry, but he’s best known for his first book, “A Coney Island of the Mind,” which came out in 1958 and has since sold more than a million copies worldwide. Since then, Ferlinghetti has published innumerable poems, prose and essays, turned to painting—the cover of “Time of Useful Consciousness” is one of his pieces—and worked tirelessly to promote culture, poetry and the spoken word in San Francisco, largely through City Lights Bookstore, which he co-founded in 1953. He shows no sign of slowing down. This new book may not be his strongest, but its best moments reveal a mind as alert and alive as ever.

Ferlinghetti has long stood with protest poets and writers of engagement. He was arrested for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” in 1957. “Only the dead are disengaged,” he wrote half a century ago, his words as relevant today as then, a firm kick in the pants to any artist who remains silent against oppression.

Back then, Ferlinghetti argued that “. . . the wiggly nihilism of the Beat hipster, if carried to its natural conclusion, actually means the death of the creative artist himself. While the ‘non-commitment’ of the artist is itself a suicidal and deluded variation of nihilism.” “Time of Useful Consciousness” is a fresh missive from an elderly Beat who has always refused to sit down. The title, “Time of Useful Consciousness” (or TUC), refers to the elapsed time from the interruption of normal oxygen levels until an individual can no longer function usefully or take corrective action. TUC is not the time to total unconsciousness, but rather that moment when we can still react, still fight. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/time_of_useful_consciousness_20130129/



Chris Hedges: This Is What a Patriot Looks Like





Published on Jan 25, 2013

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges speaks at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center banquet Jan. 19, 2013. Hedges and others have sued President Obama and the Department of Defense to squash the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the government to pick up anybody they wish at any time and hold him however long they want---without charging the alleged offender with a crime and without notifying family members of his or her whereabouts. A federal court agreed and ruled the law unconstitutional; however, Pentagon lawyers immediately made an "emergency" plea to the appellate court, which stayed the law and set a hearing date for Feb. 6. Speaking to the MSPJC in Memphis, Hedges retraced the history of the corporate takeover of democracy and the U.S. government, and he said the only remedy is massive civil disobedience. Hedges' latest book is Days of Destruction; Days of Revolt.--Video by Citizens Media Resource



Fighting the other terror


from the Detroit Metro Times:


Fighting the other terror
Frontier Airlines suit puts spotlight on racial profiling

By Curt Guyette
Published: January 30, 2013


Though entirely composed, Shoshana Hebshi seemed just a bit nervous as she faced a clutch of reporters gathered for a news conference at the Michigan ACLU headquarters in Detroit last week.

It’s understandable that someone unused to staring into microphones and television cameras might be a little tense — especially when, as she claims, you are talking about something as terrifying and degrading as being hauled off an airplane at gunpoint at Metro Airport, thrown into a jail cell without explanation, and then forced to strip naked and told to bend over and cough.

Why?

Because, she claims, of her foreign-sounding name and her dark skin. Because, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, she was sitting on a Frontier Airlines flight next to a pair of men of South Asian descent. Two men who some on board thought were possibly Arab and seemed to be acting suspiciously, spending too much time in the restroom. Because there are times in America when fear of those who even appear to be foreign can trump the Constitution and the protections it is supposed to guarantee.

It didn’t matter that Hebshi, who lives in Sylvania, Ohio, is a solid American citizen.

The daughter of a Saudi man and Jewish woman, she was born in California and studied journalism at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, and attended Iowa State University as a graduate student. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://metrotimes.com/news/news-hits/fighting-the-other-terror-1.1436637



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