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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,639

Journal Archives

Another Descent Into Hell

Another Descent Into Hell

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:47
By Richard Lichtman, Truthout | Op-Ed

I sometimes think I can remember exactly how I came to my present estimate of Israel, but of course it was prepared very slowly, laboriously and largely unformulated over time. The fact that my current understanding has very deep roots does not mean that its growth was simply an extension of earliest held beliefs, nor rather a reversal, instead. It was neither of these. Not all developments proceed by enlargement of a previous moment, or a strict negation of what has gone before.

My current recollection begins with my sense of my mother, father and the extended family made up of many uncles, aunts and grandparents. I was born in 1931, and so I reached what I can regard as my developing political sensibility at roughly the time Israel created itself as an independent state. But long before that historically articulated event of such enormous importance in my nuclear family, I had the growing sense of what is was to be Jewish, achieved not through intellectual accomplishment, but through the sense of family relations in which the fact of Judaism was of paramount importance.

Of course, being Jewish meant not being gentile, so my identity, as perhaps all identities, was formed by negation, by coming to understand what I was not, and this sense is most acute when one cannot help but realize that one is weaker, subordinate and dependent upon another segment of the population. Those who are dominant in any society rarely reflect on their own identity unless it is challenged by a group that expresses dissatisfaction with their hierarchical arrangement. And this experience was paramount to me as a child and even long into by developing adulthood.

Now, in the midst of the chaos and terror that Israel is unleashing upon Palestine, I tend to think of myself neither as Jewish nor gentile, but as one horrified by what is occurring there as viewed not through the lens of any particular religion, but rather through an identity composed of a commitment to justice and mercy that continues to be eviscerated. This may seem pompous and grandiose, but it is my sense, and I bear it with very great sorrow. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/25313-another-descent-into-hell

Construction underway on Detroit's light rail line

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – The sounds of jack hammers pulverizing concrete replaced the roar of engines Monday on Woodward in downtown Detroit as construction began on the M-1 Rail project.

Crews closed Woodward between Grand Circus Park and Campus Martius to start construction on the 3.3-mile project – which runs from Jefferson to Grand Blvd. – to bring light rail to Detroit.

The start of the project marked the start of an effort to bring a railway system back to Detroit after nearly 50 years.

“This is history,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who sees the project as the start of something larger. “We ultimately need to build this rail not just to Grand Blvd., but out to 8 Mile and out to Pontiac.” ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://m-1rail.com/history-made-construction-starts-m-1-rail-project/

D.C. streetcar operator training begins this week

WASHINGTON (WJLA/AP) –The D.C. Department of Transportation began training streetcar operators in traffic for the first time Monday, along H Street and Benning Road in Northeast Washington.

Transportation officials say each operator will train with supervisors under various traffic scenarios—part of the process in order to be certified to carry passengers.

“It allows the operators to become very familiar with the alignment, understanding where the stops are, where the calls are,” said DDOT Deputy Associate Director Ralph Burns. “It also gives them a sense of understanding of how to be more safe.”

Passenger service is expected to start later this year, something many locals are looking forward to. The project is already running a year behind schedule. .......................(more)

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/08/d-c-streetcar-operator-training-begins-this-week-105726.html#.U994CNyMOBs.twitter#ixzz39Waz9pIk

The United States' Farm-Grown Terrorism

The United States' Farm-Grown Terrorism

Monday, 04 August 2014 15:15
By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed

Let's talk about America's farm-grown terrorism epidemic.

Back on September 11th, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Since 9/11, our government has spent over $7.6 trillion on military and homeland security operations in response to the deaths of those roughly 3,000 souls.

Now, compare that to the fact that each year, 23,000 Americans die from antibiotic-resistant infections, and another 2 million get sick.

That's the equivalent of nearly eight 9/11's per year. But our government isn't doing a thing about it. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25373-the-united-states-farm-grown-terrorism

Shock Doctrine, Ukraine edition

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Hudson Report.
Now joining us is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Thanks for joining us, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON, PROF. ECONOMICS, UMKC: Good to be here, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: So, Michael, we've been covering Ukraine quite extensively. And I know you've been keeping track of things on the economic front. What's the latest?

HUDSON: Well, one of the things that has not been in the news is that a recent Senate bill, 2277, directed the U.S. Agency for International Development to begin guaranteeing loans for the tracking of oil and gas in the Ukraine. And Vice President Biden's son has become the head of the biggest fracking company in the Ukraine. And what's not usually known is that the armies from Kiev that are marching into the Eastern of Ukraine have been basically protecting the fracking equipment.

Now, for the last nine months, local cities in the east in Ukraine have said, wait a minute, we want local control over the fracking. The people in the city of Sloviansk wanted to oppose the shale gas field from being developed, 'cause they said, look, this is going to destroy our water supply and our land. And essentially what Kiev is doing is saying, well, you're terrorists if you're opposing the oil drilling.

Now, just imagine in this country if President Obama and Vice President Biden were to send troops into upstate New York, which has opposed oil/gas drilling, and bombed Rochester, bombed Buffalo, and began just bombing the cities and shooting the opponents of the fracking. That's exactly what's happening in the Ukraine. And they're doing this supported by the World Bank. The whole attempt is to make Ukraine independent from having to get the gas imports from Russia. And yet already the neighboring Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Germany, they've all--Germany's halted the shale gas drilling for seven years because they worry it's going to destroy the groundwater. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25365-how-world-bank-and-imf-plan-to-dismantle-ukrainian-economy

Classic Bill Maher New Rules: Ammosexuals

Just click the Watch This Video on You Tube link if it won't work on DU.

Bill Maher: Oh the Places You'll Go...and get kicked out of. (funny take on anti-immigrant fervor)

Chris Hedges: Why Israel Lies

from truthdig:

Why Israel Lies

Posted on Aug 3, 2014
By Chris Hedges

All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.

I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, become children caught in crossfire. I was in Gaza when F-16 attack jets dropped 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on overcrowded hovels in Gaza City. I saw the corpses of the victims, including children. This became a surgical strike on a bomb-making factory. I have watched Israel demolish homes and entire apartment blocks to create wide buffer zones between the Palestinians and the Israeli troops that ring Gaza. I have interviewed the destitute and homeless families, some camped out in crude shelters erected in the rubble. The destruction becomes the demolition of the homes of terrorists. I have stood in the remains of schools—Israel struck two United Nations schools in the last six days, causing at least 10 fatalities at one in Rafah on Sunday and at least 19 at one in the Jebaliya refugee camp Wednesday—as well as medical clinics and mosques. I have heard Israel claim that errant rockets or mortar fire from the Palestinians caused these and other deaths, or that the attacked spots were being used as arms depots or launching sites. I, along with every other reporter I know who has worked in Gaza, have never seen any evidence that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.”

There is a perverted logic to Israel’s repeated use of the Big Lie—Große Lüge—the lie favored by tyrants from Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to Saddam Hussein. The Big Lie feeds the two reactions Israel seeks to elicit—racism among its supporters and terror among its victims.

By painting a picture of an army that never attacks civilians, that indeed goes out of its way to protect them, the Big Lie says Israelis are civilized and humane, and their Palestinian opponents are inhuman monsters. The Big Lie serves the idea that the slaughter in Gaza is a clash of civilizations, a war between democracy, decency and honor on one side and Islamic barbarism on the other. And in the uncommon cases when news of atrocities penetrates to the wider public, Israel blames the destruction and casualties on Hamas. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_israel_lies_20140803

Inside Our Profoundly Unequal ‘New Normal’

from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:

Inside Our Profoundly Unequal ‘New Normal’
AUGUST 2, 2014

Wealth’s current tilt to the top sometimes seems almost eternal. But can our economy ‘self-correct’? A provocative new paper out of the developed world’s official research agency contemplates our tomorrow.

By Sam Pizzigati

The Commerce Department released some revised figures on America’s economy last week. Previous numbers, Commerce researchers noted, had overestimated the share of the nation’s income going to workers and underestimated the share going to America’s asset-rich.

“Everything’s coming up roses for people who own a chunk of American capital,” observed Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless after the new stats emerged. “What we’ve seen in the economic recovery is inequality on steroids. The market is giving wealthy people a very good run.”

That “very good run” has actually been lasting a very long time. Since 1982, the income share of America’s top 1 percent has more than doubled, from 10.8 percent in 1982 to 22.5 percent in 2012.

Americans down below those top 1 percent heights, meanwhile, haven’t been on much of a run at all. They’ve been falling. The wealth of the typical American household has dropped nearly 20 percent since 1984, says a new Russell Sage Foundation study.

As of June 2014, adds a new analysis of private sector wages, average American worker real wages have dipped 16.2 percent since 1972, their record high point. .............(more)

- See more at: http://toomuchonline.org/inside-our-profoundly-unequal-new-normal/#sthash.8m8KeUTP.dpuf

How did things get this bad? Polarization, dysfunction and the collapse of everything

from Salon:

How did things get this bad? Polarization, dysfunction and the collapse of everything
We've had gridlock and partisan media before. So why do we seem so divided now, with such corroded institutions?


Excerpted from "The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community"

The United States hasn’t reached the level of dysfunction that paralyzes Jamaica. But judging from the exasperation Americans now feel about Washington’s ongoing failure to tackle the nation’s big challenges—the tendency of Congress to let issues come to the breaking point before piecing together a temporary solution—it seems we may be headed in that direction. Faith in the capacity of government to lead has fallen to a record low. And it’s not clear to anyone—save those who pray for the return of what they think would be “real” leadership—what might be done to turn things around.

Explanations for the gridlock abound. Many on the left blame recalcitrance within the conservative movement—Republicans, they claim, cave in too frequently to the irresponsible demands of Tea Party activists. Others cite the nefarious influence of the filibuster, which allows a minority of senators to block substantive bills supported by the broad majority. Some argue that gerrymandering—the manipulation of legislative districts to guarantee the outcome of an election—has polarized the House of Representatives.

But while Democrats fault Republicans and conservatives blame progressives, most of the country is simply fed up. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 72 percent of Americans believe that the country is off on the wrong track. While a majority of Americans believed that “the government is really run for the benefit of all people” in 1987, the figure has since plummeted. During the government shutdown of 2013, 70 percent of Americans disapproved of the way the Republican Congress was handling budget negotiations and 61 percent disapproved of their Democratic counterparts.10 So the nation’s despair isn’t directed at any single party or institution; it extends across the aisle.

If Americans from across the political spectrum can agree on anything, then, it’s that Washington can’t get out of its own way. Something has changed to preclude the collegiality of earlier eras. As PBS interviewer Charlie Rose often points out in conversations with the nation’s leading thinkers, Washington now seems fundamentally incapable of arriving at optimal solutions. Too often, Congress is compelled simply to kick the can down the road. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/03/how_did_things_get_this_bad_polarization_dysfunction_and_the_collapse_of_everything/

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