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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
August 29, 2013

Want Military Action? Look No Further Than Your Local Police

via truthdig:

Want Military Action? Look No Further Than Your Local Police
Posted on Aug 29, 2013

It seems fitting that as Washington revs up for another avoidable military confrontation, we remind you all of the increased militarization of police forces around the country. And like Chekhov’s gun, if a weapon is introduced in the first act of a play, you know it’s going to be used by the third.

Salon offers a chilling roundup of “11 over-the-top U.S. police raids that victimized innocents,” detailing moments in recent years in which police departments geared up for war stomped all over Americans’ civil liberties. Despite the “Keystone Kops” feel of some of the incidents, these were very real and very dangerous actions instigated by police, most without what a reasonable person would consider even minimal cause. For example:

In Indiana, a SWAT team raided an 18-year-old girl’s house smashing her windows and throwing flashbangs inside, despite the fact that the girl had her front door open and was just watching TV. In a case of mistaken identity, someone else in the street had signed onto the girl’s open WiFi network and was making threats about police. Once the police realized their error, they advised the girl to secure her WiFi account.

Their target was actually a teenage boy who admitted he had a “smart mouth” and a dislike for cops but denied making any threats. According to Gizmodo, the boy had posted a message that read, “Cops Beware! I’m proud of my country but I hate police of any kind. I have explosives made in America. Evansville will feel my pain.”

Note the lack of a specific threat, or even a clear path of information to the person posting the message. The 18-year-old girl was lucky; a SWAT raid on a Detroit house ended with the shooting death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was sleeping on a couch. The militarized cops had the wrong address of a murder suspect. And they also had a television crew in tow, making the increased militarization of American police part of your nightly entertainment package. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/want_military_action_look_no_further_than_your_local_police/

August 29, 2013

Racketeering Then and Racketeering Now

from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:

Racketeering Then and Racketeering Now
AUGUST 24, 2013

Back in Al Capone’s day, Prohibition helped give rise to a rash of epic crime-boss fortunes. In our day, deregulation has spawned on Wall Street an entire new generation of fabulously rich racketeers.

By Sam Pizzigati

What crimes did Al Capone, the notorious 1920s crime boss, have his henchmen commit? Did Capone’s thugs go around robbing convenience stores? Did they burglarize homes? Or lurk in the shadows and mug innocent passersby?

None of the above. Capone and his fellow kingpins of “organized crime” left high-risk, low-return illegality to the lowlife. Kingpins like Capone ran rackets instead. They sold “protection.” They loan-sharked. Most lucratively of all, they bootlegged outlawed alcohol.

Rackets like these guaranteed returns both steady and steep. Capone at one point was clearing $100,000 a week.

Racketeering, of course, is still going strong. But the getup of our contemporary racketeers has changed somewhat. Our most highly compensated racketeers today don’t wear fedoras. They fill power suits. Our top racketeers these days don’t run from the law. They run Wall Street. ....................................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/racketeering-then-and-racketeering-now/#sthash.TsBKMnxM.dpuf

August 29, 2013

Reign of tarragon: How to start an herb share with neighbors

from Grist:

Reign of tarragon: How to start an herb share with neighbors
By Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Inspiration may strike anywhere, but gardens seem to host a disproportionate number of epiphanies, don’t you think? Put Newton under an apple tree and bam, gravity. George de Mestral dreamed up Velcro after coming home from a nature stroll covered in burrs. And then there’s me in my backyard, picking through a patch of lemon verbena.

“Whatcha looking for?” my neighbor Adrian, who happened to be in the backyard at the time, asked.

“Dill,” I said. We needed the stuff for a new salad recipe, and I’d come out to check our yard’s communal herb patch. (Nobody knows who planted them, so they’re considered up for grabs.) Unfortunately, I was coming up empty.

“Oh, we’ve got some dill. Lemme see if it’s still good,” he said, disappearing into his kitchen and reemerging with one of those flat plastic herb cases. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/living/reign-of-tarragon-how-to-start-an-herb-share-with-neighbors/

August 29, 2013

Alabama Repug wants Toni Morrison book banned

An Alabama legislator who does not support efforts to repeal the sweeping U.S. education initiative known as the Common Core Standards says he believes the reading list issued in conjunction with the standards needs to be revised.

State Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) told Alabama Media Group this week that he believes The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, should be banned from high school libraries, despite the fact that this book is on the Common Core Standard’s recommended reading list for 11th-graders. His call for the ban comes after he caught flak from the GOP for opposing plans to repeal the national education standards.

Common Core Standards have been adopted in more than 40 states as part of an effort to homogenize education across the county. Alabama adopted the standards in November 2010 and will implement them this school year.

"The book is just completely objectionable, from language to the content," Holtzclaw told Alabama Media Group. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/bill-holtzclaw-toni-morrison-book_n_3832480.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

August 29, 2013

The inimitable Howard Zinn

[font size="4"]With the indiscriminate nature of modern military technology (no such thing as a "smart bomb," it turns out) all wars are wars against civilians, and are therefore inherently immoral. This is true even when a war is considered "just," because it is fought against a tyrant, against an aggressor, to correct a stolen boundary.

When a nation issues ultimatums, it leaves no room for compromise and ensures that war will continue.

I enlisted in the Air Force. I volunteered. I was an enthusiastic bombardier. To me it was very simple: it was a war against fascism. They were the bad guys; we were the good guys. One of the things I learned from that experience was that when you start off with them being the bad guys and you being the good guys, once you've made that one decision, you don't have to think anymore, if you're in the military. From that point on, anything goes. From that point on, you're capable of anything, even atrocities. Because you've made a decision a long time ago that you're on the right side. You don't keep questioning, questioning, questioning. You're not Yossarian, who questions.[/font]


August 29, 2013

Bush Library Rewrite Website Presents Democratic Version Of President's Legacy

WASHINGTON -- The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened May 1 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas after much anticipation. The $250 million library brought together all living presidents for a dedication ceremony on April 25, where they showered praise on the 43rd president of the United States.

But according to the Democratic nonprofit group Bridge Project, which focuses on "exposing the conservative movement's dishonest tactics," the library's version of the Bush legacy suffers from selective memory loss. Bridge Project thus created a library of its own Thursday, in the form of a website BushRewrite.org, which the group said will "rectify the falsehoods and omissions of the Bush library."

The timing coincides with the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a low point of Bush's two-term presidency. The Bush library has already been accused of glossing over Katrina, which killed 1,833 people and destroyed an estimated $81 billion in property. The library overlooks the Bush administration's delayed reaction and includes no pictures of the desperate crowds at the at the Louisiana Superdome or the New Orleans Morial Convention Center -- images that quickly spurred suggestions that race was a factor in the muted federal response.

The halls of the Bush library ignore other disturbing facts, the Bush Rewrite states on the website, which The Huffington Post viewed before it went live. "The Bush White House was plagued by a series of scandals and controversies" and "policy failures," the website says. It contains pages with what Bridge Project calls a "stark reminder" of Bush's true legacy, ranging from the economy, which revisits events preceeding the 2008 financial collapse, to war and national security, which highlights the Bush administration's torture and rendition programs. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/bush-library-rewrite_n_3833623.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

August 29, 2013

University Tries to Nip Professorsí Union in the Bud

from In These Times:

University Tries to Nip Professors’ Union in the Bud
A cautionary letter–and the rumored retention of a notorious union-buster–show Northeastern is nervous about adjunct faculty organizing.


What does a research university in Boston have in common with the corporations Pfizer, Cablevision and IBM?

It’s retained the same union-busting law firm used by major corporations to thwart employee organizing efforts, according to Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Adjunct Action, which is attempting to unionize contingent faculty at private colleges across Boston, says that it’s learned that Northeastern University has secured the services of the labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis. The move could signal intensified efforts by university administrations to trounce organizing drives among contingent faculty, which have been gaining momentum in several cities.

Adjunct Action has had modest success since beginning efforts this spring to unionize non-tenure-track faculty at private colleges across Boston. Part-time faculty at Bentley University and Tufts Colleges have already filed for union elections, which will be held this fall. Adjuncts at Northeastern have formed an organizing committee and other schools are well on their way, say union organizers.


This isn’t the first time that a university has retained a union-busting law firm. Reached by e-mail, New York University (NYU) professor of social and cultural analysis Andrew Ross notes that the NYU administration retained both Jackson Lewis and Proskauer Rose during a protracted fight with its Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC), which lost recognition after its contract expired in 2005. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/15531/northeastern_tries_to_quelch_adjnuct_unin/

August 29, 2013

The Outsiders: How Can Millennials Change Washington If They Hate It?

from the Atlantic:

The Outsiders: How Can Millennials Change Washington If They Hate It?
Young people are eager to serve and to change the world. They just have no faith that public service or elected office are the way to get it done.

RON FOURNIER AUG 26 2013, 6:00 AM ET

Forget what you’ve read about the “Me, Me, Me Generation.” Here are four things you probably don’t know about the 95 million Americans born between 1982 and 2003:

1. Millennials, in general, are fiercely committed to community service.
2. They don’t see politics or government as a way to improve their communities, their country, or the world.
3. So the best and brightest are rejecting public service as a career path. Just as Baby Boomers are retiring from government and politics, Washington faces a rising-generation “brain drain.”
4. The only way Millennials might engage Washington is if they first radically change it.

The first three conclusions are rooted in hard data I’ll share below. For a least a decade, experts have struggled to understand why civic-minded Millennials are rejecting public service and politics. Beyond the why, I wanted to understand what it means: What happens to U.S. politics over the next two or three decades if the best and bright of the next generation abandon Washington? So I talked to them -- at elite public high schools in suburban Washington and Boston, at Harvard University’s Kennedy School for Government, and on Capitol Hill. In all, I conducted more than 80 interviews with Millennials as well as pollsters, demographers, and generational experts. They brought me to my fourth conclusion: What Millennials have in store for the political system is revolutionary. Maybe worse.

“They’ve been told all their lives to wait in line,” former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says. “But they’re of a mind to say, ‘OK, while I’m waiting in line I’ll blow your stuff up.”

You’ve heard the knocks against Millennials. They’re narcissistic, coddled, and lazy, not to mention spoiled. But there’s more to their story. The largest and most diverse generation in U.S. history is goal-orientated, respects authority and follows rules. Millennials are less ideological than their Baby Boom parents (more on that later) and far more tolerant. In addition to famously supporting gay rights, polls show they are less prone to cast negative moral judgments on interracial marriages, single women raising children, unmarried couples living together and mothers of young children working outside the home. While their parents and grandparents preferred to work alone, young Americans are team-oriented and seek collaboration. Wired to the world, they are more likely than past generations to see the globe’s problems as their own. Millennials are eager to serve the greater community through technologies, paradoxically, that empower the individual. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/the-outsiders-how-can-millennials-change-washington-if-they-hate-it/278920/

August 28, 2013

Why is the first-round of the U.S. Open spread over 3 days?

And today there's the threat of thunderstorms all day. ....... STOOPID.

August 28, 2013

Wow, just wow. ...... Grand Wizard Joe Walsh at it again.

Joe Walsh Commemorates March On Washington With Racially-Charged 'I Have A Dream' Rant

Nearly a year removed from a one-term stint in office, former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington with an eyebrow-raising list of issues he believes are plaguing the black community.

In an address on his radio show billed as "My Own Dream For America," Walsh unleashed a line of racially-charged comments, headed by his view that African-Americans suffer from "dependency on the government plantation."

From Walsh's show's website:

I have a dream that young unmarried black women will say "no" to young black men who want to have sex.
I have a dream that today's black leadership will quit blaming racism and "the system" for what ails black America.
I have a dream that black America will take responsibility for improving their own lives.
I have a dream that one day black America will cease their dependency on the government plantation, which has enslaved them to lives of poverty, and instead depend on themselves, their families, their churches, and their communities.

Walsh was soundly defeated in Nov. 2012 by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D). The Tea Party favorite has turned heads with race-related remarks in the past, headed by his belief that President Barack Obama is "a historic figure" who was only elected because he is black. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/joe-walsh-i-have-a-dream_n_3830217.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

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