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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,312

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Gotta love Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! .......

...... I was just watching a DN! episode on YouTube, and Amy was running through the news headlines, which included ISIS, the Climate talks and the Jefferson County, Colo. school board's plans to change the history curriculum.
Now in all the corporate media's news stories on Jefferson County, they've used the school board's official language to describe the proposed changes: "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights"
Amy's words when describing the changes: "to promote corporatism and deference to authority."


Noam Chomsky: Resisting Empire for More Than Four Decades

Noam Chomsky: Resisting Empire for More Than Four Decades

Sunday, 05 October 2014 09:39
By Marcus Raskin, Haymarket Books | Book Excerpt

The Independent writes of Chomsky's Masters of Mankind, "A revelation ... This is a book woven through with hope and awe at all the people who slip beyond imperial control and establish real democracy ... a treasure-trove."

The following excerpt is the foreword to the Chomsky essays by activist and public intellectual Marcus Raskin:

Noam Chomsky's political activities and his understanding of the nature of language capacity may be described metaphorically as an unbroken band labeled universality. But his universality is no mystification aimed at masking truths and marginalizing truthful inquiries, nor is it the belief that all of public life must be the same everywhere. One side of the Chomsky strip is innateness, which presents humanity with the gift of language and therefore communication. Follow that strip of universality; you will note that there is imprinted on the strip a capacity that allows for rationality and moral action that can catalyze humanity's benign social purpose. We may even speculate that human nature contains a capacity for invariant empathy. We leap and conclude that humanity is more than a bunch of indivisible but empty monads unconnected except through their accidental collision; we further conclude that humankind is imprinted with an inexorable drive to create something better out of its raw material. We desire our shared knowledge to lead to love, and vice versa; we want power to be in service of both. Perhaps a humane world civilization might come into being in which universality does not assign a preferred place to any particular group, but in which all are joined in solidarity and mutual dignity with all others. However, when we look again we see that the strands of the strip are torn and they need repair. But how to repair them so that the band does not disintegrate? What are the tools we use to repair the tear? And who repairs the band of which we are an integral part?

For Chomsky, in the deepest personal sense, language becomes a critical means for the repair of the tear(s) of humanity; the structure of language is a wondrous feature of life that is simultaneously stable and infinitely malleable. In this, his views are radically different from those of Jean-Paul Sartre, who sees words and language as keeping us from the world as it is, or perhaps could be. For Chomsky, there are two courses in attaining repair and in creating something different, a new thing, a new organizational structure or alternative. One is in the spoken and written word, which comes from how we are hardwired. The other is the language of exemplary doing, where general propositions, for example about love and empathy, are made clear in action through lived experience. In politics, the body and mind are the tools to repair the body and mind. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/26584-noam-chomsky-resisting-empire-for-more-than-four-decades

Noam Chomsky: Only One Thing Will Make Israel Change Course

from In These Times:

Noam Chomsky: Only One Thing Will Make Israel Change Course
Israel’s brutalization of Palestinians through exercises like “mowing the lawn” will persist without a change in U.S. policy.

BY Noam Chomsky

On August 26, Israel and the Palestinian Authority both accepted a cease-fire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind.

The agreement calls for an end to military action by Israel and Hamas as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

This is, however, just the most recent of a series of cease-fire agreements reached after each of Israel's periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza.

Since November 2005 the terms of these agreements have remained essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it—as Israel has conceded—until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality.

These escalations are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance. The most recent was more accurately described as “removing the topsoil” by a senior U.S. military officer, quoted in Al Jazeera America. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17214/noam_chomsky_keeping_palestine_gaza_in_a_stranglehod

Dropping the "apologetic" language for supporting abortion rights

Abortion Isn’t a Necessary Evil. It’s Great
Progressives should admit it: We like abortion.

BY Sady Doyle

(In These Times) Katha Pollitt’s Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights is a deeply felt and well-researched book which argues that abortion, despite what any of its opponents might claim, is a palpable social good. Progressives, Pollitt says, can and must treat abortion as an unequivocal positive rather than a “necessary evil”; there is no ethical, humane way to limit abortion rights. The fact that Pollitt needs to make this argument in 2014, however, seems to indicate that pro-choicers have long been a little too nice for our own good.

Which is something Pollitt herself points out, many times. There are the obvious truisms about abortion ideally being “safe, legal, and rare,” sure. Pollitt also cites Roger Rosenblatt's formulation of “permit but discourage,” which makes it sound like reproductive autonomy is a form of social faux pas, like taking the last slice of pizza at the pizza party. Not criminal, sure, but are you sure you need it?

But the language of apology for abortion has seeped ever deeper into our language:

Anywhere you look or listen, you find pro-choicers falling over themselves to use words like “thorny,” “vexed,” “complex” and “difficult.” How often have you heard abortion described as '”he hardest decision,” or “the most painful choice” a woman ever makes, as if every single woman who gets pregnant by accident seriously considers having a baby, only a few weeks earlier the furthest thing from her mind, and for very good reason?

The end of the line, Pollitt says, is the sort of ridiculous decision made by Planned Parenthood in 2013 to move away from the term “pro-choice,” which “was itself a bit of a euphemism: Choose what?” We can hardly be expected to defend abortion effectively if we can't even call the procedure by name. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17216/abortion_isnt_necessary_evil_its_great_pro_choice

Locavore Losses: California’s Chefs, Artisans Feel the Drought

(Civil Eats) At Nopalito, if the local corn runs out, you might as well shut the doors. It’s typical for the restaurant’s two San Francisco locations to go through 200 pounds of California-grown organic masa in a single day. The grain is at the menu’s core, used in everything from tamales, to tortillas, to house-made chips.

In mid-September, Nopalito’s owner, Laurence Jossel, learned that Giusto’s, the Northern California grain processor and wholesaler from which Nopalito sources its flours, had run out of corn after severe drought conditions caused the product to dry up. “It’s been a mad scramble,” says Jossel. He and his head chef called restaurants all over the city, searching for a locally-grown equivalent, without luck. In a pinch, they settled on more expensive organic corn flour from Montana and some from as far as Mexico.

“We can’t run a restaurant based on (corn) without it,” says Jossel. With no end to the California drought in sight, chefs like Jossel, and many artisan food makers who rely on local food, are feeling the squeeze.

In January 2014, California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to severe drought conditions. Eight months later, with the continuation of one of the driest years on record, 95 percent of the state continues to suffer under “extreme drought conditions.” Reservoir levels are shockingly low and wells are going dry, a fact that lead Governor Brown to sign emergency groundwater regulation legislation on September 16. .............(more)

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/10/01/locavore-losses-californias-chefs-artisans-feel-the-drought/#sthash.h9QC27ZV.dpuf

NYT’s Belated Admission on Contra-Cocaine

from Consortium News:

NYT’s Belated Admission on Contra-Cocaine
October 4, 2014

Exclusive: Since the Contra-cocaine scandal surfaced in 1985, major U.S. news outlets have disparaged it, most notably when the big newspapers destroyed Gary Webb for reviving it in 1996. But a New York Times review of a movie on Webb finally admits the reality, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Nearly three decades since the stories of Nicaraguan Contra-cocaine trafficking first appeared in 1985, the New York Times has finally, forthrightly admitted the allegations were true, although this belated acknowledgement comes in a movie review buried deep inside Sunday’s paper.

The review addresses a new film, “Kill the Messenger,” that revives the Contra-cocaine charges in the context of telling the tragic tale of journalist Gary Webb who himself revived the allegations in 1996 only to have the New York Times and other major newspapers wage a vendetta against him that destroyed his career and ultimately drove him to suicide.

The Times’ movie review by David Carr begins with a straightforward recognition of the long-denied truth to which now even the CIA has confessed: “If someone told you today that there was strong evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency once turned a blind eye to accusations of drug dealing by operatives it worked with, it might ring some distant, skeptical bell. Did that really happen? That really happened.”

Although the Times’ review still quibbles with aspects of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series in the San Jose Mercury-News, the Times appears to have finally thrown in the towel when it comes to the broader question of whether Webb was telling important truths. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/10/04/nyts-belated-admission-on-contra-cocaine/

Robert Parry: Eyes Finally Open to Syrian Realities

from Consortium News:

Eyes Finally Open to Syrian Realities
October 3, 2014

Exclusive: For the past three years, Official Washington has viewed the Syrian civil war as “white-hatted” rebels against “black-hatted” President Assad, but finally some of the “gray-hatted” reality is breaking through, though perhaps too late, Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry

In late summer 2013, Official Washington was rushing to the judgment that the “evil” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had launched a barrage of missiles tipped with Sarin gas to slaughter hundreds of civilians in rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

It was inconceivable to virtually every person who “mattered” in Washington that there was any other interpretation of the events on Aug. 21, 2013. Washington Post national security columnist David Ignatius even explained the “big picture” reason why President Barack Obama needed to launch punitive bomb strikes against Assad’s government for crossing Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons.

“What does the world look like when people begin to doubt the credibility of U.S. power?” Ignatius wrote a week after the Sarin incident. “Unfortunately, we’re finding that out in Syria and other nations where leaders have concluded they can defy a war-weary United States without paying a price.

“Using military power to maintain a nation’s credibility may sound like an antiquated idea, but it’s all too relevant in the real world we inhabit. It has become obvious in recent weeks that President Obama … needs to demonstrate that there are consequences for crossing a U.S. ‘red line.’ Otherwise, the coherence of the global system begins to dissolve.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/10/03/eyes-finally-open-to-syrian-realities/

DOJ Asked To Review Baltimore PD

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore officials are looking for a U.S. Justice Department review of the city police department's procedures and policies after several cases of use of force by officers have resulted in millions of dollars in legal settlements and public outcry.

Commissioner Anthony W. Batts announced Friday that he was asking for a review. The move was backed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who said in an emailed statement that she welcomed any partners willing to work in reducing excessive force complaints. A day earlier, City Council President Bernard Young sent a letter to outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking federal officials to take a look at the department.

Young wrote that cases of people not charged with crimes suffering injuries at the hands of arresting officers "damage the fragile relationship between the city's police officers and citizens."

Since Batts was appointed in September 2012, he said he has disciplined roughly 30 officers found guilty of misconduct. The cases that resulted in millions in payouts came before Batts became commissioner. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/04/baltimore-police-doj-review_n_5931464.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&ir=Politics

Love this pic


Germany abolishes college tuition fees

Prospective students in the United States who can’t afford to pay for college or don’t want to rack up tens of thousands in student debt should try their luck in Germany. Higher education is now free throughout the country, even for international students. Yesterday, Lower Saxony became the last of seven German states to abolish tuition fees, which were already extremely low compared to those paid in the United States.

German universities only began charging for tuition in 2006, when the German Constitutional Court ruled that limited fees, combined with loans, were not in conflict the country’s commitment to universal education. The measure proved unpopular, however, and German states that had instituted fees began dropping them one by one.

“We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents,” Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement. Her words were echoed by many in the German government. “Tuition fees are unjust,” said Hamburg’s senator for science Dorothee Stapelfeldt. “They discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

Compared to American students, Germans barely had to pay for undergraduate study even before tuition fees were abolished. Semester fees averaged around €500 ($630) and students were entitled to many perks, such as cheap (often free) transportation within and between cities. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://thinkprogress.org/education/2014/10/01/3574551/germany-free-college-tuition/

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