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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

Journal Archives

Born Disposable: Trump's War on Youth

By Henry A. Giroux,

We live in an age in which the welfare of children is no longer a measure of the degree to which a society lives up to its democratic ideals. In an age of growing fascism, those in power no longer view children as the promise of a future but as a threat to the present.

In particular, poor Black and Brown children are being treated as what Teju Cole calls “unmournable bodies.” Rather than being educated, many are being imprisoned; rather than living in communities that are safe and clean, many are relegated to cities where the water is poisoned and the police function as an occupying army.

In the age of Trump, children of undocumented workers are stripped of their humanity, caged in internment camps, sometimes sexually abused and subjected to the unethical grammars of state violence. Sometimes they lose their lives, as did two children from Guatemala who died while in custody of Customs and Border Protection: seven-year old Jakelin Caal and eight-year-old Felipe Gómez. In this way the dual logic of disposability and pollution becomes the driving force of a machinery of social death.

Removed from the sphere of justice and human rights, undocumented children occupy a ruthless space of social and political abandonment beyond the reach of human rights. This is a zone in which moral numbness becomes a central feature of politics, power and governance. How else to explain Republican Congressman Peter King responding to the deaths of these two children by praising ICE’s “excellent record,” stating that since there are “only two children that have died,” the death count is a testament to how competent organizations like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actually are. This is a fascist discourse marked by the rhetorical tropes of hate, demonization and violence. ...........(more)


Trump is a defeated man.....

Did you listen to any of his Pentagon speech? He was barely going through the motions. Completely lifeless -- he couldn't even fake it.
He sounds like someone' who knows his time is up and he's just waiting for the inevitable.

Oh, and cue the orchestra......

TEXRail opens for passenger service

(MassTransitMag) TEXRail, the new 27-mile commuter rail line connecting downtown Fort Worth to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport's Terminal B, entered service Jan. 10, after equipment issues pushed the opening of service back five days.

Trinity Metro says TEXRail a premium service with amenities such as seatback trays, work tables, USB charging ports, vertical bicycle racks, overhead luggage racks and a designated quiet car. Trinity Metro also notes that the train also offers level boarding, making it easy for passengers with bikes, strollers, rolling luggage or wheelchairs.

“We believe TEXRail is going to be a game changer for this region,” President/CEO Paul Ballard said. “Our new commuter rail line will give travelers the ease and convenience of taking the train to the airport and arriving on time. TEXRail will be a great option for airport workers and other people who work along the route.” ...........(more)


New home sales tank 19 percent to end 2018

(CNBC) The government shutdown hasn't completely stopped the flow of stunningly bad housing data.

Sales of newly built homes fell 18 percent in December compared with December of 2017, according to data compiled by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a California-based housing research and analytics firm.

Due to the partial government shutdown, official government figures on home sales for November and December have not been released. ....... (more)


"Normally working for the president of the United States is a career booster...

......something that looks good on your résumé. Trump’s presidency, however, is so chaotic, corrupt and potentially compromised by his foreign entanglements that anyone associated with him gets tainted — which is why after only two years he has already left a trail of broken men and wrecked reputations in his wake.”

-- Paul Krugman



Chris Hedges: The 'Private Governments' That Subjugate U.S. Workers

from Truthdig:

The ‘Private Governments’ That Subjugate U.S. Workers
by Chris Hedges

Corporate dictatorships—which strip employees of fundamental constitutional rights, including free speech, and which increasingly rely on temp or contract employees who receive no benefits and have no job security—rule the lives of perhaps 80 percent of working Americans. These corporations, with little or no oversight, surveil and monitor their workforces. They conduct random drug testing, impose punishing quotas and targets, routinely engage in wage theft, injure workers and then refuse to make compensation, and ignore reports of sexual harassment, assault and rape. They use managerial harassment, psychological manipulation—including the pseudo-science of positive psychology—and intimidation to ensure obedience. They fire workers for expressing leftist political opinions on social media or at public events during their off-hours. They terminate those who file complaints or publicly voice criticism about working conditions. They thwart attempts to organize unions, callously dismiss older workers and impose “non-compete” contract clauses, meaning that if workers leave they are unable to use their skills and human capital to work for other employers in the same industry. Nearly half of all technical professions now require workers to sign non-compete clauses, and this practice has spread to low-wage jobs including those in hair salons and restaurants.

The lower the wages the more abusive the conditions. Workers in the food and hotel industries, agriculture, construction, domestic service, call centers, the garment industry, warehouses, retail sales, lawn service, prisons, and health and elder care suffer the most. Walmart, for example, which employs nearly 1 percent of the U.S. labor force (1.4 million workers), prohibits casual conversation, which it describes as “time theft.” The food industry giant Tyson prevents its workers from taking toilet breaks, causing many to urinate on themselves; as a result, some workers must wear diapers. The older, itinerant workers that Amazon often employs are subjected to grueling 12-hour shifts in which the company electronically monitors every action to make sure hourly quotas are met. Some Amazon workers walk for miles on concrete floors each shift and repeatedly get down on their hands and knees to perform their jobs. They frequently suffer crippling injuries. The company makes injured employees, whom it fires, sign releases saying the injuries are not work-related. Two-thirds of workers in low-wage industries are victims of wage theft, losing an amount estimated to be as high as $50 billion a year. From 4 million to 14 million American workers, under threat of wage cuts, plant shutdowns or dismissal, have been pressured by their employers to support pro-corporate political candidates and causes.

The corporations that in effect rule the lives of American workers constitute what University of Michigan philosophy professor Elizabeth Anderson refers to as “private governments.” These “workplace governments,” she writes, are “dictatorships, in which bosses govern in ways that are largely unaccountable to those who are governed. They don’t merely govern workers: they dominate them.” These corporations have the legal authority, she writes, “to regulate workers’ off-hour lives as well—their political activities, speech, choice of sexual partner, use of recreational drugs, alcohol, smoking, and exercise. Because most employers exercise this off-hours authority irregularly, and without warning, most workers are unaware of how sweeping it is.”

“If the U.S. government imposed such regulations on us, we would rightly protest that our constitutional rights were being violated,” Anderson writes in her book “Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It).” “But American workers have no such rights against their bosses. Even speaking out against such constraints can get them fired. So most keep silent.” ...........................(more)


Trump Goes to Extreme Lengths to Hide What He and Putin Talk About Behind Closed Doors

(Rolling Stone) President Donald Trump has taken drastic measures to conceal his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a report in the Washington Post on Saturday. The bombshell story comes just one day after the New York Times revealed that the FBI opened a joint counterintelligence and criminal investigation into whether the president was working for Russia against American interests when he fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

Putin and Trump have met five times during Trump’s presidency, and few in the administration are aware of what the two leaders discussed behind closed doors. On one occasion, Trump even went so far as to confiscate his interpreter’s notes to prevent others from knowing what was discussed. Not even classified detailed records exist to document Trump and Putin’s conversations.

President Trump addressed the Post’s reporting during an on-air phone call with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and denied the allegations. “Anyone could have listened to that meeting. That meeting is open for grabs,” he said, referring to a conversation with Putin about Israel.

Pirro then asked the president if he has ever worked on behalf of Russia, and Trump replied, “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” but did not issue an outright denial.

Needless to say, this is all very unusual behavior for a United States president, and Trump has not attempted to conceal his interactions with other world leaders. ................(more)


The Wall Fiasco Now Illustrates All the Most Essential Elements of Trumpism

from Esquire:

The Wall Fiasco Now Illustrates All the Most Essential Elements of Trumpism
The utter disregard for reality, the hostility towards democracy, the lying, the chauvinism, the enablers, the cruelty, the vindictiveness. It's all there.

t is fast becoming wingnut dogma that the President of the United States should hock a loogie on the Constitution to get a win on The Wall. Quite simply, there is no "national emergency" at the border. There is a humanitarian crisis that Trump administration policies have exacerbated, but there is no "invasion." Donald Trump, American president, admitted this Wednesday when he said his threshold for declaring an emergency was if he couldn't make a deal with Democrats to get Wall funding. If there's actually a national emergency going on, surely there's no time to wait! It almost sounds like declaring an emergency has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, that the emergency is Trump might lose in these negotiations, and that this is merely a threat from the president in order to get some leverage in those negotiations because he currently has none.

Of course, his genius-brain disciples are fully on board with the United States president abusing the powers vested in him to get a Win with The Base. Fabricating an emergency to seize funds not appropriated by Congress—a clear violation of the Constitution's separation of powers—is a lawless and nakedly authoritarian act. Yet Lindsey Graham, a man who used to call Trump a "kook" who was "unfit for office," now thinks he should seize extraordinary executive powers under false pretenses. What happened to that guy?

And then there's Lou Dobbs, the Benjamin Button stunt-double who hosts a show on the Fox Business Network. Dobbs has decided to embrace the rhetoric and methods of full-on authoritarianism.

Dobbs: Trump should "declare a national emergency, and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country"
— Brendan Karet 🚮 (@bad_takes) January 11, 2019

Just sweep aside democracy while you're at it, Lou.

Remember: the president shut down the government single-handedly. Senate Republicans passed a bill to keep government open in December, and Paul Ryan was ready to get it through the then-Republican House. But it didn't include Wall funding, and Rush Limbaugh started saying mean things about Trump on the television, so our president went nuclear and refused to sign anything without funding for the Big, Beautiful Middle Finger From White America Monument. Since Democrats took control of the House, they passed a bill similar to the Senate Republican bill. Mitch McConnell refuses to put a bill his caucus essentially already passed up for another vote, because that would put Trump in the position of having to veto a bill to reopen the government—thus illustrating the simple reality that it is the president who is holding the government hostage. ..............(more)


At Taxpayers' Expense, Fed Paid Banks $38.5 Billion in Interest on "Reserves" in 2018. Here's How

From WolfStreet:

At Taxpayers’ Expense, Fed Paid Banks $38.5 Billion in Interest on “Reserves” in 2018. Here’s How
by Wolf Richter • Jan 10, 2019 • 94 Comments

Normally, this would be ironic: The Fed doesn’t need to borrow; it creates money when it needs some. So it wouldn’t pay interest. But these are not normal times.

The Fed reported its preliminary results this morning for the year 2018. The headline is that it sent $65.4 billion of its profits to the US Treasury Department in 2018, and that this amount had plunged by 18.5% from the remittances, as they’re called, in 2017, and by 44.1% from the peak of $117 billion in 2015.

The Fed earns interest income on the huge pile of securities it holds. After covering operating expenses, interest expenses, and some other items, it is required to remit the rest to the Treasury Department – to the taxpayer.

Therefore, the amounts in interest expense the Fed pays the banks on their “Excess Reserves” and “Required Reserves” comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket and its transferred to the banks to become bank profits, and thereby bank executive bonuses and stock holder dividends, funded by the dear taxpayers. And this amount was huge in 2018: $38.5 billion! ..........(more)


24 Eye-Opening Traveler Tweets That Show The Dangers Of A Government Shutdown

24 Eye-Opening Traveler Tweets That Show The Dangers Of A Government Shutdown

Depending on your point of view, the United States and the United Kingdom can be seen as great bastions of liberal democracy, progress, and freedom; or imperial powers struggling to hold on to the power and wealth accumulated largely through colonialism and war.

Either way, the rest of the world looks on in curiosity as the governments of these once great nations decide to disengage from hard-won international treaties and agreements, put their fingers in their ears to economic realities and begin to build walls around themselves, now that they aren't allowed to just take from everyone else anymore.

But while Donald Trump stokes nonsensical fear of terrorist hordes, flooding over the border to justify his precious wall for 'national security,' people are finding themselves in real and present danger due to the government shutdown he has called to get his way. Hundreds of thousands of government workers are being stood down or are working without pay, including those critical to the safety of air passengers, such as airport security workers and air traffic controllers. ........ (more)


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