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marmar

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Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 70,184

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Frances Fox Piven | Extreme Poverty Has Been Used to Divide and Terrify Working People for Centuries


Frances Fox Piven | Extreme Poverty Has Been Used to Divide and Terrify Working People for Centuries

Sunday, 23 February 2014 00:00
By Frances Fox Piven, HarperCollins | Book Excerpt


In the following excerpted chapter, scholar Frances Fox Piven argues that the guarantee of a universal income would facilitate a new economic fairness and stability to a financial system careening out of control:


Most of the world is now in the grip of hyper-capitalism, what we call neoliberalism. This new system has brought us careening economic instabilities, worsening ecological disasters, brutal wars, a depleted public sector and poverty in the affluent global north, and the prospect of mass famine in the global south.

It seems high time to think about alternatives to the capitalist behemoth. I don’t know whether we will ultimately call the new ways of organizing our society "socialist," but the values that have inspired movements for socialism in the past should inform our search. Those values include a society with sharply reduced inequalities in both material circumstances and social status. Socialist movements also aspire to lessen the grinding toil now imposed on those who work for wages. They dream of an inclusive culture. They fight for democratic practices and policies in which influence is widely shared. And they believe in eliminating the pervasive terror in everyday life that is produced by the exigencies of capitalist markets and the arbitrary power of the state regimes that support those markets.

No matter how successful the new society is in equalizing earnings and assets, however, we will have to be concerned about the potential for poverty and hard times. This might result from exogenous shocks, such as a drought or earthquakes, or from internal economic disorganization, including the instabilities produced by efforts to transform our institutions. Moreover, there will always be people who are not well suited to the work that is available because of their physical health or personal disorganization.

How our society treats these people is of great importance. Morally, it is important because it is unnecessary and cruel for an affluent society to impose impoverishment and humiliation on some of its members. It is less often recognized that the treatment of the poor has a large bearing on the well-being of the entire society. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/21996-extreme-poverty-has-been-used-to-divide-and-terrify-working-people-for-centuries



Does the White House Really Think People Are That Stupid?


http://www.workinglife.org/2014/02/19/does-the-white-house-really-think-people-are-that-stupid/#sthash.EM8STsW3.dpuf


from the Working Life blog:


Does the White House Really Think People Are That Stupid?
Posted on 19 February 2014.


C’mon, seriously, has it gotten to the point of such desperation to pass middle-class crushing, poverty-enhancing trade deals that drive inequality that the White House treats its allies, members of Congress and activists as if they are idiots? That’s a rhetorical question.

This is a head-slapping, WTF moment:

Michael B. Froman, the president’s trade representative, tried to reassure Democrats on Tuesday that the administration would be sensitive to their concerns about workplace and environmental standards in putting together the new trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. He noted that as a candidate, Mr. Obama promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as Nafta.“And that’s exactly what we’re doing in TPP, upgrading our trading relationships not only with Mexico and Canada but with nine other countries as well,” Mr. Froman said in a speech at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group in Washington.

That assertion drew scorn from critics. “I don’t think that expanding on the Nafta model and extending it to nine more nations was what the unions, environmental groups or Democratic Party activists had in mind when Obama said he would renegotiate Nafta,” said Lori Wallach, a trade expert at Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group.


Uh, well, first, in case Mr. Forman and the White House cannot add, candidate Obama existed roughly six years ago. I think that campaign ended already, no? In the period since, the president has done nothing, zilch, nada to renegotiate NAFTA.The opposite: he continues to press for trade deals that as Lori Wallach points out above are precisely in the NAFTA-mold, including the TPP whose passage he so badly wants that he is willing to sacrifice the environment, which is precisely NAFTA-like.

And the Orwellian speak of Froman promising “upgrading our trading relationships” via the TPP is the exact opposite of renegotiating NAFTA.

It’s locking in that very model.

Stop lying.

Stop treating people–in theory, your on base, your supporters, the middle class, workers–like idiots.



Mirror, mirror on the wall.........


[font size="4"] ...... Who's the biggest GOP gubernatorial asshole of them all?[/font]

Professor Richard Wolff's Economic Update: This System Does Not Work (audio link)


Listen: http://truth-out.org/news/item/22003-economic-update-this-system-does-not-work

Updates on the Olympics; Chicago university faculty strike; Chevron's contempt; Gallup poll on unemployment; consumer debt rising again; Europeans opposing the privatization of water; and US adults marrying less to cope with the economy. Major discussions on how Soviet socialism actually worked and the decline and inadequacy of pensions in the US. Response to listeners on deflation in today's world economy.



California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom's about-face


In California, where Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much, the emergence of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state's highest-ranking Democrat to pull his support for Gov. Jerry Brown's high-speed rail project is being closely watched as the possible harbinger of political change.

Newsom has a knack for getting out in front on issues - most famously in his 2004 backing of same-sex marriage, and more recently in endorsing legalized marijuana. Although he was an early and ardent supporter of the bullet train, Newsom said in a phone interview Tuesday that "it's not the same system that was being promoted" when it first came before voters in 2008.

"We were selling a $32 billion project then, and we were going to get roughly one-third from the federal government and the private sector," he said. "We're not even close to the timeline (for the project), we're not close to the total cost estimates, and the private sector money and the federal dollars are questionable." ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/California-high-speed-rail-dealt-blow-by-Newsom-s-5246249.php



Chicago: Metra looks to lease rail cars from other states





Metra looks to lease rail cars from other states
Winter weather has exacerbated agency's shortage of spare coaches; patrons complain about crowding

By Richard Wronski, Tribune reporter
7:11 a.m. CST, February 20, 2014


With standing-room-only a common sight on Metra trains this winter because many cars were out of service for weather-related maintenance, the rail agency wants to lease extra coaches from other cities.

The blasts of arctic air exacerbated a long-standing problem: Metra has relatively few spare cars, and during rush periods especially, nearly every one of them is in use.

Metra officials said Wednesday that the agency has only about 36 "usable" spare cars out of a fleet of 837. Metra Executive Director Don Orseno said the agency wants to increase the number of spares to about 10 percent of the fleet, or about 80 to 85 cars.

That way, Metra would have more flexibility to remove cars from service for maintenance and other upgrades, as well as better handle winter storms like last month's. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-rta-metra-met-0219-20140220,0,3804390.story



William Ayers: Teach Freedom!


William Ayers: Teach Freedom!

Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
By William Ayers, HarperCollins | Book Excerpt


The following is a chapter by retired education professor William Ayers from the anthology. In it, Ayers advocates replacing a capitalist-oriented educational system with one that liberates students and their intellectual and creative capabilities.


From Imagine Living in a Socialist USA:

Analogy Test

Multiple Choice

High-stakes standardized testing is to learning as:

a. Memorizing a flight manual is to flying

b. Watching Hawaii Five-0 is to doing police work

c. Exchanging marriage vows is to a successful marriage

d. Reading Gray’s Anatomy is to practicing surgery

e. Singing the national anthem is to good citizenship

f. All of the above

.......(snip).......

Capitalist Education: Into the Wreckage

Schools serve societies, and every society is reflected, for better and for worse, in its schools. Every school is both a mirror of and a window into the defining social order. If one looks at the schools hard enough, one can see the whole of the larger society; if one fully grasps the intricacies of society, one will know something about how its schools must be organized, and why.

In a totalitarian society, schools are built to teach obedience and conformity, plain and simple. In a kingdom, schools teach allegiance to the crown. An ancient agrarian community apprentices the young to become participants in a rustic world of farming. With a theocratic regime come lessons in faithfulness and piety and devotion.

These schools might be “excellent” by some standards or measures, but whatever else is taught - math or music, literature or science - the most important lessons are those that teach how to function in a specific social order. South Africa under apartheid had beautiful palaces of learning and small state-of-the-art classes for white kids - and overcrowded, dilapidated, ill-equipped classes for the African kids. That made perfect, if perverse, sense: privilege and oppression were on opposite sides of the color line, and everyone understood that hard, cruel fact. German schools in the early twentieth century produced excellent scientists, athletes, artists, and intellectuals, and they also produced submission and conformity, moral blindness, obtuse patriotism - and people for whom a pathway straight into the furnaces for some of their fellow citizens seemed acceptable. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/21955-william-ayers-teach-freedom



William Ayers: Teach Freedom!


William Ayers: Teach Freedom!

Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
By William Ayers, HarperCollins | Book Excerpt


The following is a chapter by retired education professor William Ayers from the anthology. In it, Ayers advocates replacing a capitalist-oriented educational system with one that liberates students and their intellectual and creative capabilities.


From Imagine Living in a Socialist USA:

Analogy Test

Multiple Choice

High-stakes standardized testing is to learning as:

a. Memorizing a flight manual is to flying

b. Watching Hawaii Five-0 is to doing police work

c. Exchanging marriage vows is to a successful marriage

d. Reading Gray’s Anatomy is to practicing surgery

e. Singing the national anthem is to good citizenship

f. All of the above

.......(snip).......

Capitalist Education: Into the Wreckage

Schools serve societies, and every society is reflected, for better and for worse, in its schools. Every school is both a mirror of and a window into the defining social order. If one looks at the schools hard enough, one can see the whole of the larger society; if one fully grasps the intricacies of society, one will know something about how its schools must be organized, and why.

In a totalitarian society, schools are built to teach obedience and conformity, plain and simple. In a kingdom, schools teach allegiance to the crown. An ancient agrarian community apprentices the young to become participants in a rustic world of farming. With a theocratic regime come lessons in faithfulness and piety and devotion.

These schools might be “excellent” by some standards or measures, but whatever else is taught - math or music, literature or science - the most important lessons are those that teach how to function in a specific social order. South Africa under apartheid had beautiful palaces of learning and small state-of-the-art classes for white kids - and overcrowded, dilapidated, ill-equipped classes for the African kids. That made perfect, if perverse, sense: privilege and oppression were on opposite sides of the color line, and everyone understood that hard, cruel fact. German schools in the early twentieth century produced excellent scientists, athletes, artists, and intellectuals, and they also produced submission and conformity, moral blindness, obtuse patriotism - and people for whom a pathway straight into the furnaces for some of their fellow citizens seemed acceptable. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/21955-william-ayers-teach-freedom



Professor Richard Wolff's Economic Update: The Death of the Middle Class (audio link)


Economic Update: The Death of the Middle Class

Thursday, 13 February 2014 15:18
By Richard D Wolff, Economic Update / Truthout | Radio Segment



Listen: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/21860-economic-update-the-death-of-the-middle-class


Updates on polls showing most Americans want less inequality; why Tea Party types fixate on government debt; and why French right-wing and other far-right parties gain support. Major discussion on US businesses recognizing the death of the middle class; the contradictions of Germany's position within Europe's economic crisis; and part 1 of an analysis of what the USSR was. Response to listeners on why official unemployment targets are 4-6.5 percent rather than feasible and better 0-0.5 percent.



Roger Penske touts M-1 Rail project as Detroit's 'home-run project'




(Detroit Free Press) Construction of Detroit’s M-1 rail project is scheduled to begin this spring, but officials still are evaluating specific designs of the streetcars that will run up and down Woodward from downtown to New Center.

The rail development is expected to create 700 construction jobs and it could take two years to build, project leaders said during a presentation to the Detroit City Council today.

The project’s construction manager, Stacy and Witbeck, and M-1 officials have developed a plan to maximize the opportunities for Detroit businesses to get work on the project.

“This is a home-run project for the city of Detroit,” Roger Penske, chairman of the M-1 Rail board of directors, said today. “I kind of look at it like the Super Bowl was in 2006. Maybe we can get the same kind of impact we had that time.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20140218/NEWS01/302180145/M-1-Detroit-streetcards



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