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

Journal Archives

Angela Davis at Left Forum 2014

Published on Jun 4, 2014

On May 31, 2014, Political Activist/Author/Educator Angela Davis was a featured speaker, along with Harry Belafonte, at Left Forum 2014 on the topic "Reform and/or Revolution: Imagining a World with Transformative Justice". The event was held at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Professor Richard Wolff's Economic Update: Myths of Capitalist Efficiency (audio link)

Listen: http://rdwolff.com/content/economic-update-myths-capitalist-efficiency

by Richard Wolff.

Updates on Maya Angelou, Chilean students' victory, uneven = no recovery, Detroit's plan to demolish 40,000 houses, and housing market realities. Major discussions on (1) international movement of economics students challenging curricula and teachers, and (2) economics of advertising

Newsflash: Fukushima Is Still a Disaster

from truthdig:

Newsflash: Fukushima Is Still a Disaster

Posted on Jun 3, 2014
By Harvey Wasserman

The corporate media silence on Fukushima has been deafening even though the melted-down nuclear power plant’s seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches.

Ever more radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific.

At least three extremely volatile fuel assemblies are stuck high in the air at Unit 4. Three years after the March 11, 2011, disaster, nobody knows exactly where the melted cores from Units 1, 2 and 3 might be.

Amid a dicey cleanup infiltrated by organized crime, still more massive radiation releases are a real possibility at any time.

Radioactive groundwater washing through the complex is enough of a problem that Fukushima Daiichi owner Tepco has just won approval for a highly controversial ice wall to be constructed around the crippled reactor site. No wall of this scale and type has ever been built, and this one might not be ready for two years. Widespread skepticism has erupted surrounding its potential impact on the stability of the site and on the huge amounts of energy necessary to sustain it. Critics also doubt it would effectively guard the site from flooding and worry it could cause even more damage should power fail. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/newsflash_fukushima_is_still_a_disaster_20140603

Noam Chomsky | Edward Snowden, the World's "Most Wanted Criminal"

Noam Chomsky | Edward Snowden, the World's "Most Wanted Criminal"

Monday, 02 June 2014 09:46
By Noam Chomsky, Truthout | Op-Ed

In the past several months, we have been provided with instructive lessons on the nature of state power and the forces that drive state policy. And on a closely related matter: the subtle, differentiated concept of transparency.

The source of the instruction, of course, is the trove of documents about the National Security Agency surveillance system released by the courageous fighter for freedom Edward J. Snowden, expertly summarized and analyzed by his collaborator Glenn Greenwald in his new book, "No Place to Hide."

The documents unveil a remarkable project to expose to state scrutiny vital information about every person who falls within the grasp of the colossus - in principle, every person linked to the modern electronic society.

Nothing so ambitious was imagined by the dystopian prophets of grim totalitarian worlds ahead. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24071-noam-chomsky-edward-snowden-the-worlds-most-wanted-criminal

Infrastructure Sticker Shock: Financing Costs Exceed Construction

This piece first appeared at Web of Debt.

“The numbers are big. There is sticker shock,” said Jason Peltier, deputy manager of the Westlands Water District, describing Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two massive water tunnels through the California Delta. “But consider your other scenarios. How much more groundwater can we pump?”

Whether the tunnels are the best way to get water to the Delta is controversial, but the issue here is the cost. The tunnels were billed to voters as a $25 billion project. However, that estimate omitted interest and fees. Construction itself is estimated at a relatively modest $18 billion. But financing through bonds issued at 5% for 30 years adds $24-40 billion to the tab. Another $9 billion will go to wetlands restoration, monitoring and other costs, bringing the grand total to $51-67 billion – three or four times the cost of construction.

A general rule for government bonds is that they double the cost of projects, once interest has been paid.

The San Francisco Bay Bridge earthquake retrofit was originally slated to cost $6.3 billion, but that was just for salaries and physical materials. With interest and fees, the cost to taxpayers and toll-payers will be over $12 billion. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/infrastructure_sticker_shock_financing_costs_exceed_construction_20140601

Thomas Piketty: The Market and Private Property Should Be the Slaves of Democracy

Chris Hedges: We All Must Become Zapatistas

from truthdig:

We All Must Become Zapatistas

Posted on Jun 1, 2014
By Chris Hedges

Subcomandante Marcos, the spokesman for the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or EZLN), has announced that his rebel persona no longer exists. He had gone from being a “spokesman to a distraction,” he said last week. His persona, he said, fed an easy and cheap media narrative. It turned a social revolution into a cartoon for the mass media. It allowed the commercial press and the outside world to ignore traditional community leaders and indigenous commanders and wrap a movement around a fictitious personality. His persona, he said, trivialized a movement. And so this persona is no more.

“The entire system, but above all its media, plays the game of creating celebrities who it later destroys if they don’t yield to its designs,” Marcos declared.

The Zapatistas form the most important resistance movement of the last two decades. They are a visible counterweight to the despoiling and rape of the planet and the subjugation of the poor by global capitalism. And they have repeatedly reinvented themselves—as Marcos has now done—to survive. The Zapatistas gave global resistance movements a new language, drawn in part from the indigenous communal Mayan culture, and a new paradigm for action. They understood that corporate capitalism had launched a war against us. They showed us how to fight back. The Zapatistas began by using violence, but they soon abandoned it for the slow, laborious work of building 32 autonomous, self-governing municipalities. Local representatives from Juntas de Buen Gobierno, or Councils of Good Government, which is not recognized by the Mexican government, preside over these independent Zapatista communities. The councils oversee community programs that distribute food, set up clinics and schools and collect taxes. Resources are for those who live in the communities, not for the corporations that come to exploit them. And in this the Zapatistas allow us to see the future, at least a future where we have a chance of surviving.

“This figure was created, and now its creators, the Zapatistas, are destroying it,” the EZLN spokesman said to roughly 1,000 people who turned out for a May 24 memorial in the village of La Realidad for a Zapatista teacher, José Luis Solís López, who was murdered by Mexican paramilitary members. “And we saw that now, the full-size puppet outfit, the character, the hologram, was no longer necessary. Time and time again we planned this, and time and time again we waited for the right moment—the right calendar and geography to show what we really are to those who truly are.” ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/we_all_must_become_zapatistas_20140601

London is raising its congestion pricing charge

The congestion charge in London will rise by £1.50 next month in order to remain an effective deterrent for motorists.

The increase of 15 per cent, from £10 to £11.50, is the first price change since 2011 and will take effect from June 16, Transport for London announced on Wednesday.

Motorists using the auto pay system, and fleet customers, will pay £10.50 per day while further changes including direct debit payments for auto pay customers, online discount applications and easier reimbursement for NHS patients and staff will be available from next year.

TfL said the price hike was necessary to “ensure the charge remains a relative deterrent to all but the most essential journeys into the centre of London”, and will bring in £82.7 million over the next five years which can be spent improving transport in London. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10860784/Congestion-charge-to-rise-by-1.50.html

Streetcar Funding Slashed By D.C. Council

Streetcar Funding Slashed By D.C. Council
Mayor Warns Network is Imperiled

Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 10:03 AM

Funding is being slashed for a future D.C. streetcar system that would stretch from Benning Road west to Georgetown and from Anacostia north to Takoma.

The D.C. Council on Wednesday gave initial approval to a budget that scales back Mayor Vincent Gray's ambitious plan to spend close to $900 million dollars over the next six years on streetcars. Instead, Council Chair Phil Mendelson proposed putting $400 million into the 22-mile trolley network over six years.

In justifying the decrease, Mendelson said that the D.C. Department of Transportation has not been spending the amount available to it on existing streetcar construction, primarily the 2.5-mile-long route on H Street and Benning Road NE and a short segment in Anacostia. According to him, DDOT has been given $214 million for streetcar-related work since 2006, but has only spent $109 million of it.

Mendelson also said that the funding mechanism for the streetcar funding — a percentage of the cash the comes from future revenue increases — concerned him. Gray wants to set aside 25 percent of all future annual revenue increases, using the 2015 fiscal year as a baseline. Mendelson is instead proposing that the percentage come from growth relative to the previous year, and not use 2015 as a baseline. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/streetcar-funding-slashed-dc-council/

Zinn-sational Sunday morning to everyone ........

..... Just felt like sharing one of my favorite Howard Zinn quotes:

[font size="4"]“I was astonished, bewildered. This was America, a country where, whatever its faults, people could speak, write, assemble, demonstrate without fear. It was in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. We were a democracy...

But I knew it wasn't a dream; there was a painful lump on the side of my head...

The state and its police were not neutral referees in a society of contending interests. They were on the side of the rich and powerful. Free speech? Try it and the police will be there with their horses, their clubs, their guns, to stop you.

From that moment on, I was no longer a liberal, a believer in the self-correcting character of American democracy. I was a radical, believing that something fundamental was wrong in this country--not just the existence of poverty amidst great wealth, not just the horrible treatment of black people, but something rotten at the root. The situation required not just a new president or new laws, but an uprooting of the old order, the introduction of a new kind of society--cooperative, peaceful, egalitarian.”[/font]

― Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

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