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Showing posts from November, 2012

Hostess Failure Not Union's Fault

Campaign for America's Future - You’ve probably heard that Hostess is closing down and putting more than 18,000 people out of work because greedy unions asked for too much. It’s a lie. Ask yourself this: are the problems in our economy because working people get too much, or too little? And if this company can get away with driving down wages and cutting benefits, what will happen to your wages and benefits?  Read more.

The Missing Living Wage Agenda

Next New Deal - Now that the election is over, our hope is that we can finally move beyond the vacuous invocations of an imaginary middle class where everyone is in the same boat. It’s time to get real about the concrete policies needed to take on the multiple inequalities that run deep through the U.S. labor market. And we’re not talking about the “skills mismatch,” another red herring routinely flung into this debate by both sides (including by President Obama as recently as the last week of the campaign).  Read more.

Over 100 Workers Killed in Bangladesh Sweatshop Fire

The Naked Truth about San Francisco's Nudity Ban

Gypsy Taub @ Guardian UK - Scott Wiener (no, I am not trying to be rude: this is the guy's real name), the supervisor of the Castro district of San Francisco, introduced legislation that would ban public nudity city-wide. First offense is a $100 fine; third violation up to a $500 fine and a year in jail. Exemptions would be made for a few permitted events, such as the gay pride parade and the Folsom Street Fair.  Read more.

Tipping Point on Same-Sex Marriage

Tampa Bay Times - For 14 years, same-sex marriage proponents lost every popular vote. But the 2012 general election may well be remembered as the day that changed all that when three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — approved ballot measures to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Nine states plus the District of Columbia now recognize marriage for gay and lesbian couples. This is progress.  Read more.

When It Comes to Gaza, Don’t Let Obama Speak for Black Americans

Jesse Hagopian @ Common Dreams - As Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian territory of the Gaza strip rained bombs on civilian areas, President Obama reiterated his support of Israel, saying, "There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on people's homes."  Israel took advantage of this support to kill 162 Palestinians, compared to the 6 Israeli deaths, before a ceasefire agreement was reached between Hamas and Israel on Wednesday, November 21st.  Read more.

Occupy Sandy Serves 10,000 Thanksgiving Meals

Matt Pearce @ LA Times - This year, Aiman Youssef is thankful to be alive.

The 42-year-old Staten Island man said he used to have a $300,000 house he could be thankful for, and a car, and two vans full of things he was going to sell on EBay. Then Superstorm Sandy ruined all that and the rest of his neighborhood too, so just being alive is the best he can ask for right now.  Read more.

In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid

Amy Goodman @ Truthdig - “The Palestinian people want to be free of the occupation,” award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy summed up this week. It is that simple. This latest Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza is not an isolated event, but part of a 45-year occupation of the sliver of land wedged between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, where 1.6 million people live under a brutal Israeli blockade that denies them most of the basic necessities of life. Without the unwavering bipartisan support of the United States for the Israeli military, the occupation of Palestine could not exist.  Read more.

The Revolving Door from the Pentagon to the Private Sector

From Syria to Gaza: The West’s Humanitarian Double Standards Exposed

Common Dreams - As imagines pour out of Gaza of the dead and wounded; whole buildings and blocks destroyed by Israeli shelling, it might seem incomprehensible that anything positive could come out of this horrible situation. But I believe that something hopeful is developing. You see, one of the strongest ideological weapons that the propagandists in the West are able to use to provide cover for their geo-political interests in the Middle East is their supposed concern for the humanity of peoples subjected to “dictatorial and murderous” regimes. That concern became the justification for the war in Iraq, once the “weapons of mass destruction” hustle was exposed for the sham that it was, and was also the rationale for unleashing NATO against Libya and for the current support for the “rebels” in Syria. It has been an effective weapon. It has disarmed and marginalized anti-imperialist radicals, galvanized confused liberals into supporting U.S. intervention and silenced the U.S. domestic …

Walmart Strike: Why the Black Friday Protests Matter to the Future of US Jobs

Lilly O-Donnell @ PolicyMic.com - Walmart is notorious for treating its workers terribly, but this year employees are fighting back by hitting the retailer where it hurts: on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Walkouts and protests at locations around the country have already started, and a strike is scheduled for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas shopping season.  Read more.

I Lost My Daughters in Gaza Last Time. Surely the Bloodshed Has to End

Izzeldin Abuelaish @ Guardian UK - I was shocked to read of it. Another massacre. How many more massacres can Palestinians stand? How many can onlookers tolerate? Surely, now it's time to face reality: military means and violence will never put an end to this conflict. The notion of occupied and occupier must finish.  Read more.

Beleaguered Europe, Back in the Spotlight

Paul Krugman - So, American voters have spoken and set the nation firmly on the path to destruction, according to the evangelist Franklin Graham — God's wrath for gay marriage, you know. So we can relax a bit on that front and turn our attention back to Europe, which remains, as the economist Tim Duy says, very grim.  Read more.

Man who armed Black Panthers was FBI informant, records show

Center For Investigative Reporting - The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.

One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities.  Read more.

When a Celebrated Activist Turns Out To Be an FBI Informant

Trevor Griffey @ Truthout - Richard Aoki was a well-known activist in the San Francisco Bay Area - celebrated for his role as one of only a handful of Asian American members of the Black Panther Party, a leader in UC Berkeley’s Third World Liberation Front in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a mentor to a generation of left-leaning activists.  Read more.

Liberals and Progressives Happy but Not Elated About Obama's Re-Election

Rabbi Michael Lerner @ Truthout - Many Americans sighed with relief the day after the 2012 election that they had beaten back a powerful right-wing assault. There was little enthusiasm about what we had achieved in retaining Obama, but much joy that for the moment the most reactionary forces in American life were held at bay. Liberals and progressives are happy, but not elated, at the outcome.  Read more.

As US states Legalize Marijuana, Is This the End of the War on Drugs?

Guardian UK - Last week was a momentous week, the beginning of the end, perhaps, of a national depravity – the "war on drugs". The voters of Colorado and Washington passed measures to legalize marijuana, amounting to local shifts, for the moment. So we shouldn't delude ourselves that the country will be transformed overnight, but the public thinking, the public spirit is being transformed. Finally, there is a growing realization that this "war" has produced nothing but a legacy of failure. And who wants to be associated with failure?  Read more.

Public School Teachers Spend Billions of Their Own Funds on Student Needs

Elenor J. Bader @ Truthout - Meryl Johnson, a Cleveland, Ohio, high school English teacher, estimates that she spends $400 to $500 a year on supplies for her students. "I have a pretty extensive classroom library because of all the books I've bought over the 41 years I've been teaching," she begins. "At times I've bought sets, 35 or 40 copies of one text, for my students. Why? Because there's so much red tape to go through if you ask the district to buy them."  Read more.

Sandy Sweeps Away New York City's Only Day Laborer Center

In These Times - A storm surge from Hurricane Sandy unmoored the Bay Parkway Community Job Center, New York City’s only center for day laborers, and moved it a couple hundred feet inland from the Bensonhurst shore, cracking one of its walls in the process. Ligia Guallpa of the Worker Justice Projects, which operates the center, and Lionel, one of the center’s founders, tried to show it to me Tuesday afternoon, but the New York Police Department objected.  Read more.

Citizens United Rebuked

Mike Ludwig @ Truthout - Voters approved ballot measures in two states and more than 120 cities in several states calling upon legislators to pass an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling that unleashed the deluge of unfettered campaign spending that helped make 2012 the most expensive election season in history.  Read more.

Noam Chomsky: My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison

Noam Chomsky @ Truthout - Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force.

And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world's largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade.  Read more.

Massachusetts voters approve ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana

Boston.com - People with debilitating medical conditions and permission from their doctors will be able to buy marijuana from state-sanctioned distribution centers starting next year. Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question that makes Massachusetts the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. With 49 percent of the vote counted, 63 percent had voted in favor of the measure, 37 percent against it.  Read more.

Study: Predicted 6ºC Rise by 2100 Should End "Business as Usual"

Common Dreams - A new report by a global accounting firm announced Monday that businesses around the world are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of climate change and issued a warning, citing their extensive analyses of world economies, that global temperatures could rise by as much as 6ºC by the end of the century.

"This isn't about shock tactics, it's simple maths," said Leo Johnson...read more.

The Great Betrayal – and the Cynicism of Calling it a Grand Bargain

William K. Black @ New Economic Perspectives - Robert Kuttner has written much of the column I intended to write on this subject, so I will point you to his excellent column and add a few thoughts.

Kuttner wrote to warn that Obama intends to seek a “grand bargain” causing the U.S. to adopt the type of austerity program that threw the Eurozone back into a gratuitous recession.  Read more.

San Francisco: Zero Waste by 2020

Other Worlds - East Coast residents have spent the last few days surveying storm damage, calculating how long it might take for water-clogged coastal towns to drain, and waiting half-days in gas lines before returning to cold and darkened homes. Meanwhile, more than 8,000 displaced by last week's cyclones in Chennai scrape together the basics of survival, Manila residents clean up from torrential August floods, and Beijing re-evaluates city infrastructure after July's deadly typhoon. The message is clear: climate change is real, and it’s serious. One way cities can significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent the escalation of global warming is by implementing zero waste practices.  Read more.

California's Prop 35: Targeting the Wrong People for the Wrong Reasons

Melissa Gira Grant @ RH Reality Check - California voters hold the power this Election Day to decide if many thousands of people convicted of prostitution-related offenses in their state must now register as sex offenders. These are their neighbors, their friends, their family—whether they know it or not—and many are women: trans- and cisgender women, poor and working class women, and disproportionately, they are women of color.  Read more.

The Antidote to Ayn Rand

Jeffrey Mikkelson @ Truthout - The last word of Ayn Rand's dystopian novella Anthem is "EGO." Grasping the significance of this forbidden word is a kind of divine revelation for the novel's protagonist, signaling his emancipation from the benighted, collectivist society into which he was born. I read Anthem in the 8th grade and, like many adolescents introduced to Rand's seductive brand of egoism, I was attracted to her heroic depiction of strong-willed, self-reliant individuals fighting against the mediocrity and stupidity of society.  Read more.

Outside Election Spending Up 400% Since 2008

PR Watch - Reported spending by outside groups like Super PACs and dark money organizations has topped $1.11 billion, a 400 percent increase over total spending in 2008, according to a new analysis from Demos and U.S. PIRG.

"On Election Day, we're all supposed to have an equal say," said Adam Lioz, Counsel for Demos. "But, next week a small group of millionaires and billionaires will have more influence than millions of middle class families."  Read more.

Progressives Need to Use Language That Reflects Moral Values

Mark Karlin @ Truthout - Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, writes of "The Little Blue Book" (authored by George Lakoff and Elizabeth Wehling): "Blending insight and rigor, Lakoff and Wehling have produced a Rosetta Stone that translates progressive ideas into fundamental human values that will resonate with Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs." Lakoff is the foremost authority on "framing" political messaging to reflect personal and group values.  Read more.

Obama's strategy of silence on climate change

Guardian UK - The invitation to the White House in the spring of 2009 struck Barack Obama's allies in the environmental movement as a big moment: a clear sign that climate change was on his radar and that the president was eager to get to work.

The event was indeed a turning point, but not the one campaigners expected. Instead, it marked a strategic decision by the White House to downplay climate change – avoiding the very word – a decision some campaigners on the guestlist say produced the strange absence of climate change from the 2012 campaign, until hurricane Sandy blew it right back on the political agenda.  Read more.