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Showing posts from February, 2018

West Virginia Teachers Win Pay Raise After Four-Day Walkout

Many of the thousands of West Virginia teachers who participated in a historic strike that kept every public school in the state closed for four days over the past week say that their fight for fair compensation is not over yet—despite a deal that was reached Tuesday evening that Governor Jim Justice says will give educators a five percent raise this year.  Read more.

A Congressional Hearing on the Endless War That Probably Nobody Watched

Taking "an important step towards a long overdue debate and vote," a bipartisan congressional hearing Tuesday afternoon put a spotlight on what is often dubbed a "blank check for war"—the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
For over 16 years—a time period spanning the George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations...read more.

Okinawans demand end to US military flights over schools

On the morning of December 7, a group of one-year-old students were getting ready to play outside at their nursery school on the Japanese island of Okinawa when the sound of a low-flying helicopter and a loud bang rang out.
"Some children let out a cry," recalls Eriko Miyagi, a childcare worker and mother of one of the students at the Midorigaoka nursery school.  Read more.

Active shooter in Russia’s Kazan, several injured

One National Guard officer was killed and two other people were wounded in an ongoing standoff with a shooter who opened fire in a residential block in the Russian city of Kazan.

The shooter, who is reportedly a 34-year-old local man, opened fire with a rifle in the south of the city, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan.  Read more.

170 Million in US Now Drinking Radioactive Water -- Is Yours Affected?

More than 170 million Americans, or around 52 percent of the entire population, may be at risk of radiation exposure through their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of the country's leading water testing organizations. The EWG published its findings based on a compendium of data collected from over 50,000 public drinking systems nationwide between 2010 and 2015.  Read more.

Police Assault Students After Protest at Chicago's Loyola University

Students at Loyola University in Chicago are protesting the racial profiling and assault of two students of color by campus police following a demonstration on February 24 -- and demanding that the university be held accountable for the actions of its officers and the climate that led to the brutality.
This was a blatant act of racism and brutality by a university whose own officials watched and did nothing to prevent the police assault, let alone step in to protect the students.  Read more.

Supreme Court Rules Immigrants Can Be Detained Indefinitely

In a decision that could be devastating for thousands who have been swept up by President Donald Trump's deportation dragnet and immensely profitable for the private prison industry, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that immigrants—including those with permanent legal status—do not have the right to bond hearings and can be detained indefinitely.  Read more.

Guns and Liberty

The proliferation of guns in American society is not only profitable for gun manufacturers, it fools the disempowered into fetishizing weapons as a guarantor of political agency. Guns buttress the myth of a rugged individualism that atomizes Americans, disdains organization and obliterates community, compounding powerlessness. Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny.  Read more.

New Tax Codes Causes Warren Buffett's Company to Rake in $29 Billion It Didn't Want

Adding to the mountains upon mountains of evidence that the American economy is thoroughly rigged in favor of the wealthy, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett told investors in a letter (pdf) over the weekend that his company saw a $29 billion boost in net worth that it didn't even earn—all thanks to the GOP tax cuts Buffett fervently lobbied against and said he didn't want.  Read more.

Oxfam Prostitution Scandal in Haiti Deepens Suspicions of Other NGOs

Gun Control will Not Cure a Society that Produces Monstrous Behavior

Why Are Top NSA Personnel Leaving in Droves?

US intelligence bodies haven't particularly enjoyed their time in the spotlight these last few years. The National Security Agency, or NSA, occupies a particularly complicated and frustrating place in the collective unconscious: It's an institution we must trust with our wellbeing on a daily basis, but it is also fundamentally unaccountable and untrustworthy. When was the last time you voted for an NSA director?  Read more.

More than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza died from Israeli blockade

The Gaza Strip's collective of charitable organisations said more than 1,000 Palestinians have died as a result of the ongoing Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave. 
The coordinator of the organisations, Ahmad al-Kurd, also said on Sunday that five premature babies born in the past few days died because of a lack of available medical treatment.  Read more.

West Virginia teachers walk out, shutting down all public schools

From the first minute Ellen Shepherd - a kindergarten-to-5th-grade special education teacher - picketed Thursday morning, along with other school employees in Elkins, West Virginia, community members showed their support.
"It was amazing," said Shepherd, who is also the president of the Randolph County Education Association. "People were stopping to offer support, coffee, doughnuts, stuff all day long," she added.  Read more.

Federal Court Rejects Trump Admin.'s Attempt to Suspend Methane Rule

A court has once again rejected the Trump administration's effort to suspend an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing releases of methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land.
"The decision," writes Meleah Geertsma, a senior attorney with NRDC, "once again sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with...read more.

Employers Steal $15B From Low Wage Workers Each Year

Momentum Is Building Across the South to End Money Bail

Last year, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) -- the region's largest queer liberation group -- initiated their Black Mama's Bail Out campaign to raise money to free poor Black women from jail while awaiting trial and to draw attention to what it calls "the immoral system" of cash bail that affects people of color disproportionately. Centered around Mother's Day, the campaign sought to honor the contributions that Black women make to the community and recognize the...read more.

Nearly Two Dozen State AGs File Suit to Block FCC's 'Illegal' Net Neutrality Rollback

Adding to the flood of opposition sparked by the publication of FCC chair Ajit Pai's net neutrality repeal plan in the Federal Register on Thursday, 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia officially filed suit against the Republican-controlled agency over its "illegal" attack on the open internet in a bid to prevent Pai's telecom-friendly rule from going to effect.  Read more.

The Big Pharma Family that Brought Us the Opioid Crisis

If the devil wears Prada, what do America’s most destructive drug pushers wear? They wear smiles. The drug pushers we have in mind here have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, enough fatalities to decrease overall U.S. life expectancy at birth for the last two years running. Yet no police SWAT teams have pounded down any doors hunting these drug pushers down.  Read more.

Young People Are Leading the Charge on Guns, Climate Change

The student survivors speaking out in the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting represent a significant element of igniting social change -- the mobilization of young people fed up with a rotten political-economic system that puts profits above all else. The courageous Marjory Stoneman Douglas students know that the NRA has effectively bought US elected officials. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio confirmed this during a televised CNN town hall on Wednesday night. When asked by Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky if he would stop taking donations from...read more.

The "Alt-Right" Is Building a White Nationalist Mass Movement With "Operation Homeland"

The "alt-right" didn't really enter the spotlight of mainstream US culture until it dropped back into the gutter. For the first years of its infancy, from the founding of "AlternativeRight.com" in 2010 until the popularization of the #AltRight hashtag in early 2015, members had focused on trying to rehabilitate the image of white nationalism.  Read more.

Employers Steal $15B From Low Wage Workers Each Year

Federal Government Abdicates Responsibility for Investigating Massive Equifax Data Theft

The "Alt-Right" Is Building a White Nationalist Mass Movement With "Operation Homeland"

The "alt-right" didn't really enter the spotlight of mainstream US culture until it dropped back into the gutter. For the first years of its infancy, from the founding of "AlternativeRight.com" in 2010 until the popularization of the #AltRight hashtag in early 2015, members had focused on trying to rehabilitate the image of white nationalism.  Read more.

Guns Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg When It Comes to US Violence

Think of mass shootings, or the approximate 10,000 gun homicides that occur a year in the US, as the top of a volcano that is erupting. All that molten lava has pushed itself through the caldera and resulted in explosive violence. You can also think of it as the tip of the iceberg, with a massive block of violence and rage floating beneath the surface.  Read more.

Saudi Arabia's Unholy Alliance with Israel

Mexico: 6.0 Magnitude Quake

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck in Mexico, early Monday. The quake is the second major tremor to hit the country in less than a week.
The quake hit 43 kilometers east of Oaxaca at a depth of 10 kilometers. There are currently no reports of lives lost or infrastructural damage. The quake struck at 12:57 a.m, according to the USGS.  Read more.

At White House Lie-In, Teens Call on Congress to 'Protect Kids, Not Guns'

Building on the nationwide mourning and outrage that followed a Florida school shooting last week that left 17 people dead, dozens of teenagers held a "lie-in" at the gates of the White House on Monday to protest years of congressional inaction on gun control and highlight the National Rifle Association's pernicious influence on the political process.  Read more.

Memories and Monuments: Destruction as a Path to Progress

Is the past ever really the past?   The history of humanity is filled with conflict and torment mixed with episodes of heroic struggle and bittersweet victories that resonate still today.  Books and buildings can represent cultural shifts that champion historic milestones, as can artistic monuments cast and carved in wood, metal or stone.
Art, architecture and other cultural artifacts can unite or divide, depending on who you ask.  So what’s the role of preservation in times of social and political upheaval, and does a strong desire for change justify censorship or demolition?  Read more.

A New 'Cancer Alley' for Appalachia

Why the Right Wing Is So Interested in Narrowing Down Education into 'Skills'

When California home health aide Maya Luna signed up for community college several years ago, she was after one thing: a better paying job. But taking classes in subjects like history, anthropology and art ignited a love of learning she didn’t know she had, and transformed her into a community activist. A clear success, right? Not if your goal is to mold the next generation of compliant employees.  Read more.

Iran denies 'hegemon' plans, denounces Saudi and Israel

Iran deflected accusations by Saudi Arabia and Israel that it was destabilising the Middle East, calling the two "US client states" who were trying to gloss over their "poor choices" and "strategic blunders". 
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming Iran for rising regional tensions, at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.  Read more.

Internet Monopolies Like Facebook and Google Have Become a Public Menace

The current moment in world history is a painful one. Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of dictatorships and mafia states, exemplified by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, are on the rise. In the United States, President Trump would like to establish his own mafia-style state but cannot, because the Constitution, other institutions, and a vibrant civil society won’t allow it.
Not only is the survival of open society in question; the survival of our entire civilization is at stake.  Read more.

Brother of Crooked Cop Says He Knows Who Killed Detective Suiter

Students, Teachers Call for Nationwide School Walkouts

As families continue to grieve and hold funerals for the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., students and educators are calling for a nationwide day of action including school walkouts to protest lawmakers' deadly inaction on gun control legislation.
The day set for the actions is April 20, which will be the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School.  Read more.

The Latest Schoolhouse Slaughter Shows We Have Been Defeated

Nothing symbolizes the foreclosure of the future like the slaughter of a nation’s young. And it’s so routine now — there have been at least eight this year at a school or college where someone was injured or killed — that attention will quickly fade, as it does with subjects one doesn’t intend to do anything about. Another word for that bitter fatalism is “defeat.” 
And we have been, in an important moral sense, defeated. We won’t do anything about it...read more.

Funding and high-quality teachers are the keys to educational excellence

Vietnam’s Lessons and the U.S. Culture of Violence

Back in October, 2016 I wrote an analysis entitled “Are Humans Natural-Born Killers?” It described and commented on research on the origins of human violence published in the science journal Nature. The conclusion offered in the article is that humans come from an evolutionary line that has the capability for violent behavior genetically built into it. It is a reasonable hypothesis. As just about every serious historian knows, the human propensity for lethal violence goes back as far as the evidence can take us — so far that there can be little doubt that this trait is inherited from our pre-human ancestors.  Read more.

Leader of Neo-Nazi Militia Says MAGA Hat-Wearing Florida Shooter Trained with Them

The leader of a white supremacist fascist militia said Nikolas Cruz, the suspected shooter who gunned down dozens of students at a Florida high school, was a member of his fascist organization. 
The spokesperson for a violent neo-Nazi group that calls itself Republic of Florida, Jordan Jereb, told the Associated Press that Cruz trained with the white supremacists in Tallahassee...read more.

Barry Bennell 'sexually abused' Gary Speed, victims say

Former British football coach Barry Bennell is facing sentence at a UK court on 50 offences of sexual abuse against 12 victims, aged between 8 -15 in the years 1979 and 1990.
In closing statements at Liverpool crown court in England, the prosecution said Bennell - who has been jailed three times before over sexual abuse - was a "child molester on an industrial scale".  Read more.

Jacob Zuma Steps Down as South Africa’s President

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, a master tactician who survived a string of corruption scandals and harsh court judgments during his nearly nine-year presidency, agreed on Wednesday night to step down, repudiated by the governing African National Congress Party, threatened by a no-confidence vote in Parliament, cornered by opposition parties and abandoned by millions of voters.  Read more.

Florida School Shooting: 17 Reported Dead

Seventeen people were killed in a shooting on Wednesday afternoon at a high school about an hour northwest of Miami, law enforcement officials said. The dead included adults and students.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect is in custody.
“This is catastrophic,” he said. “There really are no words.”  Read more.

Elizabeth Warren’s striking, bold speech responding to Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunts

Few controversies have dogged Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as long as attacks related to her claiming of American Indian ancestry. Warren has consistently stated that her mother is part Cherokee, but Warren is not an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, or the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees, the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.  Read more.

The Department of Labor Buried Evidence Showing It's Set to Steal Billions in Workers' Wages

Last week, President Trump's Department of Labor (DOL) hid an internal analysis that showed that its so-called tip-pooling rule would allow employers to pocket billions in workers' tips. They claimed that they were "unable to quantify" the rule's effects. But we now know that they did, in fact, conduct an analysis -- they just didn't want the American public to see the result, so they buried it.  Read more.

The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs

Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle pointed out, is a deviant form of government. Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain. “The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are perversions,” Aristotle wrote. The classicist Peter L.P. Simpson calls these perversions the “sophistry of oligarchs,” meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.  Read…

Corporate Looting: Sub-Saharan Africa Loses $100B A Year

FBI Ignores Violent Neo-Nazi Hate Group, While Surveilling Antifascists and Black Activists

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has no records on one of the most notorious neo-Nazi hate groups in the United States. At the same time, the FBI has acknowledged that it is actively "investigating" anti-fascists and surveilling Black activists.

Journalist Ken Klippenstein‏ filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FBI, asking for its records on Identity Evropa, a fascist group that is closely linked to white supremacist violence.  Read more.

New Study Shows Free School Lunches Boost Earnings

A new study from a trio of economists proves the old adage that there's no such thing as a free lunch. According to their research, free lunch actually has payoffs -- to the tune of $11,700 more in lifetime earnings for future workers.
The study starts in the 1950s and 60s, when Sweden gradually rolled out high-quality, nutritious, free lunches to every child in its school system.  Read more.

Yes, Deniers, Millions of Americans are Among the Poorest People in the World

In 2015 it was reported that up to 50 million American adults had negative wealth and thus numbered among the poorest 10% of the world's adults. This was disputed by Vox writer Matthew Yglesias, who said, "..that's absurd. The poorest people in the world are the people with rock-bottom material living standards." 
It's difficult for many Americans to admit the truth about extreme poverty in our country. Read more.

Will Canada's NDP Finally Call for Sanctions on Israel?

Former US Ambassador Confirms the Obama Administration Spent at least $12 Billion On Overthrowing Syrian Government

The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country.
This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011.  Read more.

Uber and Lyft, Driving Drivers Into Poverty and Despair

Early on Monday morning, Douglas Schifter, a career professional taxi and limo driver in New York City, made one final trip, to lower Manhattan. Several hours earlier, he posted on Facebook a condemnation of leading politicians for allowing ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to gut the taxi industry in the city, forcing him and thousands of drivers into poverty. Parked in a rented black sedan at the gates of City Hall, he killed himself with a gunshot to the head.  Read more.

Unregulated Financial Markets Created a Stock Bubble

Trump's Palestine deal is a real estate transaction

As President Donald Trump continues to bluster and tweet his way through a chaotic presidency, the Middle East is simmering dangerously close to a boiling point. Wars in Yemen and Syria are still burning hard, the feud between Qatar and the so-called Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain trundles on with no apparent end in sight...read more.

Lyndon B. Johnson: The “Great Society” Civil Rights President

Without President Johnson there would be no Medicare or Medicaid.  There would be no Head Start program for toddlers and no Work Study program for college kids.  PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would not exist, and neither would the Federal 911 Emergency System.  There would be no Clear Air Act, no Freedom of Information Act, no National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.  And African Americans would not be fully enfranchised citizens with the (enforceable) right to vote without the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  All these heroic accomplishments make up just a partial list of Johnson’s incredible and noble achievements, which were all part of his vision for creating the Great Society.  Read more.

Kansas Teacher Scores Big Win for Israel Boycott, and Free Speech

French racism, anxiety and love for postcolonialism

At this year's Paris edition of Nuit des idees (the Night of Ideas), Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie made two remarks that caused a stir. The more widely publicised one was her gentle rebuke of interviewer Caroline Broue's question as to whether there are bookstores in Nigeria. Adichie replied, "I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question."  Read more.

Ram Truck Drives Over MLK's Legacy

Dr. King and The Ram

Super Bowl 2018 drew the smallest audience of any national championship game since 2009 but that didn’t quell the ruckus stoked by one of the mid-game ads. Listen carefully and there it was: Dr. Martin Luther King, pitching for...read more.

Israel Pays a Bounty of $5,000 and Arms for Each African Asylum Seeker Expelled

Poland's New Holocaust Denial Law Erases History

Slavery Is Mistaught and Misunderstood in U.S. High Schools

Just eight percent of American high school seniors can identify the cause of the Civil War; less than a third (32 percent) know which amendment abolished slavery in the U.S.; and fewer than half (46 percent) know that the “Middle Passage” refers to the harrowing voyage across the Atlantic undertaken by Africans kidnapped for the slave trade. These are only a few of the more unnerving findings from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which concludes that in classrooms across the country, the subject of slavery is as mistaught as it is misunderstood.  Read more.

The Reality Oprah Helped Us Create: Disempowering People From Changing an Unjust Society

The response to Oprah Winfrey's speech at the recent Golden Globe ceremony proves yet again that President Trump makes people with emotional intelligence look good. Yet despite hopes that Winfrey might be his 2020 opponent, enthusiasm for her candidacy has been widely critiqued. Objections have been raised to Winfrey's lack of political qualifications; her support for establishment agendas, such as the Iraq War (which she promoted); her billionaire status; and her resulting failure to critique the inequities of capitalism. Given that in modern US history, charismatic people in high places have perpetuated unending war, corporate overrule, prison privatization and environmental degradation, for a growing number of people, emotional warmth can no longer mask retrograde agendas.  Read more.

Ramsey Orta Imprisoned in Solitary Confinement for Filming Eric Garner’s Murder

Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the brutal murder of Eric Garner, has been placed in the SHU (Secruity Housing Units, essentially prisons within prisons) for 60 days, the latest in a pattern of targeted harassment and abuse. Orta is currently serving a disgusting four year prison sentence after he was targeted by the NYPD for filming the death of Garner at the hands of the NYPD back in 2014.  Read more.