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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: 74,624

Journal Archives

Seeking Living Wage & Humane Conditions, Immokalee Workers Bring Fair Food Fight to Chipotle





Published on Oct 3, 2012 by democracynow

DemocracyNow.org - Members of the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers are urging the fast-food giant Chipotle to sign on to a fair food program already agreed to by McDonalds and Burger King. The Denver-based Chipotle has refused to sign a contract that would ensure a living wage and humane conditions for workers who pick the tomatoes it purchases. This weekend, the Immokalee workers will target a festival in Denver that is promoted by Chipotle, that features music, food, chefs and local farmers -- but no farm workers. We're joined by Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, a farm worker and organizer with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.


Berlin: From 'Poor but Sexy' to Rich and Unaffordable


from Der Spiegel:




Berlin was once an exception to the rule that cool cities have high property and rent prices. But those days are quickly ending. A new wave of private investors has led to skyrocketing prices, forcing low-earners to the city's periphery.

The Danish man who is taking Berlin away from Berliners prefers to be barefoot in his all-white loft office in the city's Kreuzberg neighborhood, though he is wearing flip-flops today. "Hi, I'm Jørn," he says. His last name, Taekker, has become synonymous with real estate speculation in the German capital. But for Katrin Lompscher, a member of the far-left Left Party in Berlin's parliament, it's a "symbol of evil."

Valeria Fiori, a native of Milan, walks up the stairs to Taekker's fifth-floor office on Paul Lincke Ufer, a street running along a canal in Kreuzberg. There is no elevator. Fiori is a little out of breath by the time she reaches the office. She is 61 and arrived in Berlin yesterday from Milan. She already owns three apartments in Berlin, and now she is buying a fourth from Taekker. "I have more confidence in Germany than in Italy," she says, adding that she hasn't spent her entire life saving money just to let the euro crisis destroy her retirement.

A few steps away from the street, three of Taekker's tenants are sitting on their rooftop deck. They don't want to see their names in print, so we'll call them Torsten, Henning and Jakob. "We really have nothing to do with all that," says Torsten. Their building has become an investment property, like many others in the area. "We just live here," says Henning. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/real-estate-boom-threatens-to-end-dream-of-affordable-life-in-berlin-a-859420.html



Keiser Report: Dirty Deeds of Wall Street Rat





In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert bring a bankster rat onto set to discuss the civil suit against JP Morgan's mortgage fraud.


Why Don’t Americans Care About Democracy at Home?


from truthout, via truthdig:



Why Don’t Americans Care About Democracy at Home?

Posted on Oct 3, 2012
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout


“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” —James Baldwin



Four decades of neoliberal policies have given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty. And its much vaunted ideology is taking over the United States. As a theater of cruelty and mode of public pedagogy, economic Darwinism undermines all forms of solidarity capable of challenging market-driven values and social relations. At the same time, economic Darwinism promotes the virtues of an unbridled individualism that is almost pathological in its disdain for community, social responsibility, public values and the public good. As the welfare state is dismantled and spending is cut to the point where government becomes unrecognizable - except to promote policies that benefit the rich, corporations and the defense industry - the already weakened federal and state governments are increasingly replaced by the harsh realities of the punishing state and what João Biehl has called proliferating “zones of social abandonment” and “terminal exclusion.”

One consequence is that social problems are increasingly criminalized, while social protections are either eliminated or fatally weakened. Another result of this crushing form of economic Darwinism is that it thrives on a kind of social amnesia that erases critical thought, historical analyses and any understanding of broader systemic relations. In this instance, it does the opposite of critical memory work by eliminating those public spheres where people learn to translate private troubles into public issues. That is, it breaks “the link between public agendas and private worries, the very hub of the democratic process.” Once set in motion, economic Darwinism unleashes a mode of thinking in which social problems are reduced to individual flaws and political considerations collapse into the injurious and self-indicting discourse of character. As George Lakoff and Glenn Smith argue, the anti-public philosophy of economic Darwinism makes a parody of democracy by defining freedom as “the liberty to seek one’s own interests and well-being, without being responsible for the interests or well-being of anyone else. It’s a morality of personal, but not social, responsibility. The only freedom you should have is what you can provide for yourself, not what the Public provides for you to start out.” Put simply, we alone become responsible for the problems we confront when we can no longer conceive how larger forces control or constrain our choices and the lives we are destined to lead.

Yet, the harsh values and practices of this new social order are visible - in the increasing incarceration of young people, the modeling of public schools after prisons, state violence waged against peaceful student protesters and state policies that bail out investment bankers but leave the middle and working classes in a state of poverty, despair and insecurity. Such values are also evident in the GOP Social-Darwinist budget plan that rewards the rich and cuts aid for those who need it the most. For instance, the Romney/Ryan budget plan “proposes to cut the taxes of households earning over $1 million by an average of $295,874 a year,” but at a cruel cost to those most disadvantaged populations who rely on social programs. In order to pay for tax reductions that benefit the rich, the Romney/Ryan budget would cut funds for food stamps, Pell grants, health care benefits, unemployment insurance, veterans’ benefits and other crucial social programs. As Paul Krugman has argued, the Ryan budget “isn’t just looking for ways to save money (it’s) also trying to make life harder for the poor - for their own good. In March, explaining his cuts in aid for the unfortunate, (Ryan) declared, ‘We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.’” Krugman rightly replies, “I doubt that Americans forced to rely on unemployment benefits and food stamps in a depressed economy feel that they’re living in a comfortable hammock.” As an extremist version of neoliberalism, Ryanomics is especially vicious towards American children, 16.1 million of whom currently live in poverty. Marian Wright Edelman captures the harshness and savagery of the Ryan budget passed in the House of Representatives. She writes: Ryanomics is an all out assault on our poorest children while asking not a dime of sacrifice from the richest 2 percent of Americans or from wealthy corporations. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_dont_americans_care_about_democracy_at_home_20121003/



This Far-Right Supreme Court Is Reason Enough to Vote Obama


from truthdig:



This Far-Right Supreme Court Is Reason Enough to Vote Obama

Posted on Oct 3, 2012
By Bill Blum


We can take away two lessons from the first high-profile oral argument of the Supreme Court’s new term, which began Monday. Lesson No. 1 is that the court is already a hard-right institution. Lesson No. 2 is that the re-election of President Barack Obama is more crucial than ever if the court’s movement to the right is to be slowed or possibly reversed.

The argument—in the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum—involves an international human rights complaint brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) of 1789 against the giant oil conglomerate by 12 Nigerian nationals, all of whom have received political asylum in the United States and at least one of whom is now a U.S. citizen. The plaintiffs contend that Shell assisted and was complicit in the torture and killing of members of the Ogoni tribe in the Niger Delta carried out by the military dictatorship of Gen. Sani Abacha in the early to mid-1990s.

By its terms, the ATS authorizes federal courts to hear civil actions by aliens for torts “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” Although the statute was largely dormant for 200 years, a string of lower-court precedents issued since the 1980s breathed new life into it, sparking a small but important wave of human rights litigation targeting abuses stretching from Paraguay to New Guinea, from Liberia to Mexico. It made sense, therefore, that when the Kiobel plaintiffs were unable to find any semblance of justice in Nigerian courts, they joined the trend, filing suit in 2002 in New York.

Eventually, Kiobel made its way to the Supreme Court for oral argument in February to test the narrow question of whether the ATS could be applied to corporations. But as happened in the infamous Citizens United case—which commenced with a narrow focus before expanding exponentially to rewrite the law of campaign finance—the justices ordered Kiobel to be re-argued Oct. 1 to address the larger issue of whether the ATS can ever apply to acts committed on foreign soil, especially those involving foreign corporations and foreign sovereigns. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/this_far-right_supreme_court_is_reason_enough_to_vote_obama_20121003/



A Farm Bill Only Monsanto Could Love


from YES! Magazine:


A Farm Bill Only Monsanto Could Love
Three provisions in the bill would make it more difficult to regulate the safety of genetically modified crops. Consumers fight back with a flurry of organizing.

by Corey Hill
posted Oct 03, 2012


Hidden among the cluttered news cycle of this election season is a crucial debate about genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

September 30 marked the expiration of the 2007 Farm Bill, and the 2012 replacement is now sitting in the House of Representatives. It is unlikely that Congress will vote on the bill until after the elections, so food-safety advocates are ramping up their outreach efforts around this issue in advance of any decision.

What’s the big deal with the new bill? Most importantly, the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill contains three industry-friendly provisions, numbered 10011, 10013, and 10014. Collectively, they have come to be known as the “Monsanto Rider,” and the name is entirely appropriate. If passed, this bill would make it more difficult to stem the tide of GMO foods hitting store shelves.

These three provisions in the 2012 Farm Bill would grant regulatory powers solely to the United States Department of Agriculture, preventing other federal agencies from reviewing GMO applications and preventing the USDA from accepting outside money for further study. The bill would also shorten the deadline for approval to one year, with an optional 180-day extension. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/a-farm-bill-only-monsanto-could-love



Pope Benedict's butler accuses Vatican police of inhumane treatment

(Guardian UK) The pope's former butler has lifted the lid on a secret world behind the Vatican walls during a dramatic cross examination as he stood trial for stealing and leaking the pontiff's private letters.

In a surprise statement, Paolo Gabriele claimed innocence before three Vatican judges and accused Vatican police of mistreating him while in custody.

The 46-year-old father of three said that after his arrest in May he had been held for up to 20 days in isolation in a room so narrow he could not stretch out his arms, and where the lights were kept switched on 24 hours a day, damaging his vision.

He added that Vatican police had put him under psychological pressure, denying him pillows on his first night in custody. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/02/pope-benedict-butler-vatican-police-inhumane



Lawsuits part of effort to get state officials to comply with (MI) medical marijuana law


from the Detroit Metro Times:


Activists vs. bureaucrats
Lawsuits part of effort to get state officials to comply with medical marijuana law

By Larry Gabriel
Published: October 3, 2012


Medical marijuana laws generally get bureaucratic pushback from administrators, politicians and law enforcement unhappy with the changes made by citizens' initiatives. Michigan medical marijuana activists claim that is the case with the Michigan Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which oversees the Michigan Medical Marihuana program (MMMP).

LARA has definitely been remiss in processing applications and issuing registration cards to patients and caregivers in the past. Although Rae Ramsdell, director of LARA's Bureau of Health Professions, claims to have caught up on a backlog of applications since buying new card-printing machines, complaints about receiving cards late still circulate among activists.

In addition, LARA has not convened a review panel to consider adding qualifying conditions to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program registry as required by the law passed in November 2008. After nearly four years, that still hasn't happened.

On Sept. 19, the Detroit-based law office, Cannabis Counsel PLC, filed a lawsuit in Ingham County against LARA Director Steven H. Hilfinger and Ramsdell on the behalf of plaintiff Martin Chilcutt, a nearly 80-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who founded the group Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access. The suit requests a court order that would force the officials to follow the law. ........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://metrotimes.com/mmj/activists-vs-bureaucrats-1.1382149



Why Don’t Americans Care About Democracy at Home?


Why Don’t Americans Care About Democracy at Home?

Posted on Oct 3, 2012
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout


“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” —James Baldwin



Four decades of neoliberal policies have given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty. And its much vaunted ideology is taking over the United States. As a theater of cruelty and mode of public pedagogy, economic Darwinism undermines all forms of solidarity capable of challenging market-driven values and social relations. At the same time, economic Darwinism promotes the virtues of an unbridled individualism that is almost pathological in its disdain for community, social responsibility, public values and the public good. As the welfare state is dismantled and spending is cut to the point where government becomes unrecognizable - except to promote policies that benefit the rich, corporations and the defense industry - the already weakened federal and state governments are increasingly replaced by the harsh realities of the punishing state and what João Biehl has called proliferating “zones of social abandonment” and “terminal exclusion.”

One consequence is that social problems are increasingly criminalized, while social protections are either eliminated or fatally weakened. Another result of this crushing form of economic Darwinism is that it thrives on a kind of social amnesia that erases critical thought, historical analyses and any understanding of broader systemic relations. In this instance, it does the opposite of critical memory work by eliminating those public spheres where people learn to translate private troubles into public issues. That is, it breaks “the link between public agendas and private worries, the very hub of the democratic process.” Once set in motion, economic Darwinism unleashes a mode of thinking in which social problems are reduced to individual flaws and political considerations collapse into the injurious and self-indicting discourse of character. As George Lakoff and Glenn Smith argue, the anti-public philosophy of economic Darwinism makes a parody of democracy by defining freedom as “the liberty to seek one’s own interests and well-being, without being responsible for the interests or well-being of anyone else. It’s a morality of personal, but not social, responsibility. The only freedom you should have is what you can provide for yourself, not what the Public provides for you to start out.” Put simply, we alone become responsible for the problems we confront when we can no longer conceive how larger forces control or constrain our choices and the lives we are destined to lead.

Yet, the harsh values and practices of this new social order are visible - in the increasing incarceration of young people, the modeling of public schools after prisons, state violence waged against peaceful student protesters and state policies that bail out investment bankers but leave the middle and working classes in a state of poverty, despair and insecurity. Such values are also evident in the GOP Social-Darwinist budget plan that rewards the rich and cuts aid for those who need it the most. For instance, the Romney/Ryan budget plan “proposes to cut the taxes of households earning over $1 million by an average of $295,874 a year,” but at a cruel cost to those most disadvantaged populations who rely on social programs. In order to pay for tax reductions that benefit the rich, the Romney/Ryan budget would cut funds for food stamps, Pell grants, health care benefits, unemployment insurance, veterans’ benefits and other crucial social programs. As Paul Krugman has argued, the Ryan budget “isn’t just looking for ways to save money (it’s) also trying to make life harder for the poor - for their own good. In March, explaining his cuts in aid for the unfortunate, (Ryan) declared, ‘We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.’” Krugman rightly replies, “I doubt that Americans forced to rely on unemployment benefits and food stamps in a depressed economy feel that they’re living in a comfortable hammock.” As an extremist version of neoliberalism, Ryanomics is especially vicious towards American children, 16.1 million of whom currently live in poverty. Marian Wright Edelman captures the harshness and savagery of the Ryan budget passed in the House of Representatives. She writes: Ryanomics is an all out assault on our poorest children while asking not a dime of sacrifice from the richest 2 percent of Americans or from wealthy corporations. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_dont_americans_care_about_democracy_at_home_20121003/



Republicans in tight Senate races run from Mittens


(Bloomberg) Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, pressed this week as to whether he is distancing himself from his party’s presidential nominee, avoided a direct answer, saying he and Mitt Romney are “two different people.”

“He’s out campaigning all over the country,” Brown said of Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, during an Oct. 1 debate against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. “I’m running in Massachusetts.”

From Boston to Honolulu, Senate Republican candidates are putting some space between themselves and their nominee as President Barack Obama opens a lead in national and state polls.

In Connecticut, Linda McMahon stayed away from Sept. 30 fundraisers headlined by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. In Nevada, U.S. Representative Dean Heller skipped a chance to share the stage with Romney at a Sept. 21 rally at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In a North Dakota television ad, Republican Senator Rick Berg says he will “serve as a check on Obama’s failed policies,” a phrase that skips past Election Day and Romney’s chances of winning. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-03/republicans-in-close-senate-races-keep-romney-at-distance.html



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