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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
May 18, 2015

Chris Hedges: The Pathology of the Rich White Family

from truthdig:

The Pathology of the Rich White Family

Posted on May 17, 2015
By Chris Hedges

The pathology of the rich white family is the most dangerous pathology in America. The rich white family is cursed with too much money and privilege. It is devoid of empathy, the result of lifetimes of entitlement. It has little sense of loyalty and lacks the capacity for self-sacrifice. Its definition of friendship is reduced to “What can you do for me?” It is possessed by an insatiable lust to increase its fortunes and power. It believes that wealth and privilege confer to it a superior intelligence and virtue. It is infused with an unchecked hedonism and narcissism. And because of all this, it interprets reality through a lens of self-adulation and greed that renders it delusional. The rich white family is a menace. The pathologies of the poor, when set against the pathologies of rich white people, are like a candle set beside the sun.

There are no shortages of acolytes and propagandists for rich white families. They dominate our airwaves. They blame poverty, societal breakdown, urban violence, drug use, domestic abuse and crime on the pathology of poor black families—not that they know any. They argue that poor black families disintegrate because of some inherent defect—here you can read between the lines that white people are better than black people—a defect that these poor families need to fix.

Peddle this simplistic and racist garbage and you will be given a column at The New York Times. It always pays to suck up to rich white families. If you are black and parrot this line, rich white people are overcome with joy. They go to extreme lengths to give you a platform. You can become president or a Supreme Court justice. You can get a television talk show or tenure at a university. You can get money for your foundation. You can publish self-help books. Your films will be funded. You might even be hired to run a company.

Rich white families, their sycophants opine, have tried to help. Rich white families have given poor people numerous resources and government programs to lift them out of poverty. They have provided generous charity. But blacks, they say, along with other poor people of color, are defeated by self-destructive attitudes and behavior. Government programs are therefore wasted on these irresponsible people. Poor families, the sycophants tell us, will not be redeemed until they redeem themselves. We want to help, rich white people say, but poor black people need to pull up their pants, stay in school, get an education, find a job, say no to drugs and respect authority. If they don’t, they deserve what they get. And what the average black family ends up with in economic terms is a nickel for every dollar held by the average white family. ......................(more)


May 17, 2015

Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges: They Know Everything About You (pts III and IV)

Published on May 16, 2015
A debate emerges between Bob Scheer and Chris Hedges on whether the state can reform its own surveillance practices and whether it can be held accountable by appealing to constitutional principles

May 16, 2015

'Itís a warning shotónot only against whistleblowing but against basic communication......'

from The Nation:

CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to Prison: The Latest Blow in the Government’s War on Journalism
It’s a warning shot—not only against whistleblowing but against basic communication with journalists by government employees.

Norman Solomon May 12, 2015

The sentencing of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on May 11 for espionage ends one phase of a long ordeal and begins another. At age 47, he has received a prison term of 42 months—three and a half years—after a series of ever more improbable milestones.

The youngest of six children raised by a single mother, Sterling was the only member of his family to go to college. He graduated from law school in 1993, worked briefly at a public defender’s office, and then entered the CIA, where he became one of the agency’s only African-American case officers. In August 2001, Sterling became the first one ever to file a lawsuit against the CIA for racial discrimination. (His suit, claiming that he was denied certain assignments because of his race, was ultimately tossed out of court on grounds that a trial would jeopardize government secrets.) Soon afterward, the agency fired him.

Sterling returned to his home state of Missouri and restarted his life. After struggling, he found a professional job and fell in love. But the good times were short-lived. One day in 2006, the FBI swooped in for a raid, seizing computers and papers at the small home that Sterling and his fiancée shared in a suburb of St. Louis. Slowly, during the next four years, without further action from the government, the menacing legal cloud seemed to disperse. But suddenly, a few days into 2011, Sterling was arrested for the first time in his life—charged with betraying his country.

The indictment included seven counts under the Espionage Act, the 1917 law that President Obama’s Justice Department has used to prosecute more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. The key charges accused Sterling of “unauthorized disclosure of national defense information,” alleging that he gave details of a secret CIA operation to a journalist while falsely characterizing it in negative terms. The government contended that Sterling should remain in custody until trial because—with “underlying selfish and vindictive motivations”—he would try to “retaliate in the same deliberate, methodical, vindictive manner.” A judge rejected that argument and released him on bond. But Sterling’s arrest had triggered his immediate firing by Anthem Healthcare (where his work as a medical fraud investigator won a national award for uncovering $32 million in bogus charges), and suddenly even low-wage employment was out of reach. As a breadwinner, Sterling was toast. His wife, Holly, a social worker, continued to bring in a modest income as they waited for the trial. ...................(more)


May 16, 2015

Dave Zirin: Itís Not Tom Brady We Should Be Worried AboutóItís Roger Goodell

from The Nation:

by Dave Zirin

For most of this week I’ve resisted delivering a steaming hot take about this “deflategate” story because I could not force myself to give even the slightest of fucks. It’s been difficult to care about the bereaved and aggrieved Patriots nation of fans who are in full froth over their Super Bowl–winning team being branded as cheaters. I also wasn’t overly concerned with the tarnishing of quarterback Tom Brady’s legacy. If anything, this story only mattered to me insofar as I truly wondered—since the NFL believes that the Patriots swindled their way through the playoffs—why they didn’t have to just give up their precious Lombardi Trophy. After all, forfeiting the championship was the brutal judgment delivered unto the USA Little League Champions Jackie Robinson West. I wanted to challenge Roger Goodell to go to the South Side of Chicago and hold a public lecture on why a billion-dollar football entity and their jet-setting golden boy quarterback was not being held to the same standard as the first all African-American Little League team.

But then something about this story burrowed under my skin like an inch-sized tick: the financial penalty levied against the Patriots. While Boston wept over Brady’s four-game suspension and howled over the team’s loss of draft picks, that $1 million fine stuck in my craw. I know a million bucks seems like piffle for a franchise with a market price in excess of $2.5 billion. But like nothing else, this $1 million fine signifies the rebooted and refortified arrogance of Roger Goodell. After a year when the commissioner’s job was on the ropes as he stood humbled over his historic bungling of domestic violence issues in his league, Goodell is feeling his oats. This fine represents an audacious, “Empire Strikes Back” level of self-regard. He might as well find an aircraft carrier to land on, with a Mission Accomplished banner in the background.

So what makes this seemingly small fine such an act of hellacious hubris? According to the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL cannot issue any fine in excess of $500,000. How did this become 1 million bucks? Well, according to “Goodell logic” the Patriots are fined $500,000 for deflating the balls and another $500,000 for Tom Brady’s “refusal to cooperate” with the investigation. Like Kuato from Total Recall, it’s a fine within a fine! In other words, Brady would not disclose his phone records and assorted affects that could tie him to the conspiracy of the flaccid balls and Goodell is sending a message that not coming clean is a punishable as well as unpardonable sin. ......................(more)


May 16, 2015

Chris Hedges Makes His Case for Revolt (audio link)

Listen: https://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/05/12/chris-hedges-protest-revolt (audio link is at the top of the page)

Upset Now? Chris Hedges Thinks Tomorrow Could Be Even Worse
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, now peace activist Chris Hedges says revolutions come in waves and cycles. And the world is ripe for a new one.

Chris Hedges went out into the world as a journalist. Covered war and more all over for years. And came back an activist. Warning first against war, and then more. Against what he calls a corporate takeover of power globally. Against the crushing of the possibility of real change through democracy. Against what he sees as a profit-driven rush to environmental catastrophe, and maybe the extinction of the human race. The only answer now, says Hedges, is revolt. Even if it hurts. It’s a hard message, and he knows it. This hour On Point: Chris Hedges on the case for revolt.

May 15, 2015

103 years ago, that asshole Ty Cobb attacked a fan

from the Detroit Metro Times:

103 years ago, that asshole Ty Cobb attacked a fan
Posted By Michael Jackman on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 7:15 am

Nobody in baseball history quite earned the description of "infamous" like Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb, who played with the Tigers from 1905 to 1926. As we wrote about him in our round-up of the Tigers' "All-star oddballs" ...

He was known as a bigot with a short temper and a penchant for sadism. One local sportswriter described his style of play as “daring to the point of dementia.” A later Tiger player said Cobb regarded the game as “something like a war,” recalling that “every time at bat for him was like a crusade.” Cobb inspired fear in his opponents and hatred in his teammates. His reputation as a dirty player was well-known — his contemporaries described how he’d sharpen his cleats in the dugout, then slide feet-first into a bag with those razor-sharp spikes aimed high. Given his thirst for blood and spurred soles, it’s hardly surprising his career record for stealing home (54 times) still stands. It’s also not a shocker he retains the dubious honor of committing more errors (271) than any American League outfielder.

On the field, he was famous for violence, but off the field it was his almost sociopathic personality that won him headlines. In 1907, a black groundskeeper greeted Cobb in a way the ballplayer felt was too familiar, and hothead Cobb violently attacked the man; when the groundskeeper's wife tried to intervene, he began choking her, and might have killed her had a catcher not knocked Cobb out cold. In 1908, when a black laborer complained to Cobb about how he'd just walked through freshly poured asphalt, Cobb went into attack mode again, earning a battery charge.

But the most outrageous incident might be what happened more than a century ago today. While playing against the Highlanders in New York, Cobb was so incensed by remarks from a heckler named Claude Lucker that he charged into the stands and attacked the man. As Cobb began beating and stomping the man with those razor-sharp cleats that had punished so many basemen, a crew of his teammates held people at bay. Some in the crowd protested, since Lucker had lost all of one hand and most of the other in an industrial accident, and couldn't defend himself with his fists. A cry went up: “Cobb, that man has no hands!” Cobb reportedly yelled back in a psychotic rage, “I don’t care if he got no feet!” Protected by his teammates, the beating went on until a cop and an umpire led Cobb away. ..................(more)


May 15, 2015

Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Plunged in May by Most in Two Years

(Bloomberg) Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in May by the most in more than two years as Americans’ views on the economy dimmed.

The University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment dropped to 88.6, the lowest since October, from 95.9 in April. The 7.3 point decrease was the largest since December 2012. The outcome was lower than the lowest estimate of 68 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

News that the world’s largest economy stalled last quarter shook Americans’ outlook, while the tick up in fuel costs since early March also contributed to the gloomier perceptions. While slightly lower than in the prior month, households still held relatively upbeat views on incomes, a sign spending will be sustained.

“The decline was widespread among all age and income subgroups as well as across all regions of the country,” Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, said in a statement. “To be sure, the recent decline in consumer confidence does not indicate an incipient downturn in consumption and residential investment. Rather the data indicate a reluctant acceptance on the part of consumers that economic growth will remain near the same lackluster pace recorded during the past several years.” .............(more)


May 15, 2015

David Sirota: Why Legal Weed Is the Future

from In These Times:

Why Legal Weed Is the Future
Despite confusing legal landscape, the marijuana economy gets growing.


The convention floor at Denver Airport’s Crowne Plaza on a recent afternoon could have been the trade show for any well-established industry – gray-haired execs in conservative suits mingling with office park dads in polos and fresh-out-of-college types in brand-emblazoned T-shirts. Only this is a new kind of business conference with a special Colorado theme: legal weed.

After Colorado voters legalized marijuana in 2012, more states and cities are considering a similar path for themselves. At the same time, the cannabis market is looking less like a music festival and more like a Silicon Valley confab—upscale, data-driven and focused on investors.

Vendors and potential financiers at last month’s Marijuana Investor Summit here in the Mile High City say the current market for legal cannabis is more than $3 billion in the 23 states that have already legalized the drug for medicinal or recreational use. Expanding that market, they say, will require not just drug reform legislation, but also a consistent infusion of capital at a time when the marijuana economy still exists in a legal gray area – one where the drug is permitted in some states, but still outlawed at the federal level.

“It’s going to take time, but it’s a great opportunity,” said Chris Rentner of Akouba Credit, a Chicago small business lender exploring the possibility of working with marijuana businesses. “For people that think everyone is a stoner lying on the sidewalk passed out, it’s going to take time for them to get comfortable with it. But there’s too much money in it. We just need to figure out the risk associated with it, but if we can find a way where it makes sense legally, then why wouldn’t we try to be in this market?” ...................(more)


May 15, 2015

Permafrost Thaw Would Have Runaway Effect on Carbon Release

This Creative Commons-licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network.

LONDON—An international team of scientists has settled one puzzle of the Arctic permafrost and confirmed one long-standing fear: the vast amounts of carbon now preserved in the frozen soils could one day all get back into the atmosphere.

Since the Arctic is the fastest-warming place on the planet, such a release of greenhouse gas could only accelerate global warming and precipitate catastrophic climate change.

That the circumpolar regions of the northern hemisphere hold vast amounts of deep-frozen carbon is not in question.

The latest estimate is 17 billion tonnes, which is twice the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and perhaps 10 times the quantity put into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution. ..............(more)


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