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The Palestinians’ last option: A struggle for equal rights

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Palestinians must shed the illusion of the current peace process and at least push for equitable rights.

                                23 Jun 2013               Aljazeera

Palestine

…Israel/Palestine is today one state. But it is an apartheid state which discriminates against non-Jews in favour of Jews. The Palestinian task now is to fight against this apartheid and mount a struggle, not for an impossible Palestinian state, but for equal rights under Israeli rule. They would need to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, which is now a liability that only camouflages the true situation, and then confront Israel, their actual ruler, directly. As stateless people under military occupation, they must demand equal civil and political rights with Israeli citizens, and apply for Israeli citizenship if necessary. That puts the onus on Israel to respond: either to ignore the five million Palestinians it rules, or vacate their land, or grant them equal rights.

Israel will reject all of these, but whatever it does will be against its own interests. And Palestinians at one stroke will have broken up Israel’s hegemonic hold on the political discourse and changed the rules of the lethal game being played against them….

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: the danger of E-Verify

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May 16, 2013   BORDC   Everify

Over the next several weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider Comprehensive Immigration Reform (S744), which would include a mandatory E-Verify system.  E-Verify is an internet-based program accessed by employers when processing new hires.  It compares information from an Employee’s Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records.  The potential for E-Verify to become compulsory is quite controversial for several reasons – namely its disregard for personal privacy, the unnecessary obstacles it imposes to employment, and the fundamental change that it would signify in the relationship between U.S. government and U.S. citizen.

While allegedly created to target undocumented individuals, E-Verify would negatively affect documented U.S. citizens as well.  Every job applicant would have to face an E-Verify background check, and unless the system is 100% accurate 100% of the time, these background checks will become a nightmare.  Chris Calabrese, Senior Legislative Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union explains:

When you make a giant list of everybody who’s able to work in the United States, that list has to be completely accurate, because if there are mistakes in it, the result is those mistakes – those mistaken people can’t work.

These citizens will be required to petition the government to correct the mistake, creating a bureaucratic nightmare that will likely stall their job hunting process by weeks (if not longer).  Calabrese calls this the “prove yourself to work” system that will hurt ordinary citizens.  This signifies a fundamental shift in relationship between government and populace – no longer are we innocent until proven guilty. We are now guilty until proven worthy of a job.  Gone will be the days of applying for a job, waiting on a quick background check, and becoming employed – now all citizens will have to wait for I-9s to be verified against a massive list of personal information housed by the government.

Beyond undue obstacles to employment lies an even more frightening truth about E-Verify: the invasion of privacy.  Shahid Buttar wrote in a previous article that Comprehensive Immigration Reform would likely become a Trojan Horse for larger government surveillance, and E-Verify is just one manifestation of that government surveillance.  Involving the government in something as routine as application for employment unnecessarily involves political bureaucracy in one’s personal life.  More disconcerting, though, is the fact that so much personal information would be available from a single database – a dream for identity thieves.

E-Verify is but one example of how the new programs proposed in Comprehensive Immigration Reform would affect all U.S. citizens, not merely a small percentage of undocumented individuals.  Like Next Generation Initiative (NGI), which would track individuals from city to city, scan not just fingerprints but irises and scars to help track and identify individuals, E-Verify signifies a broadening state of surveillance.  In an article about NGI’s expansion of biometric databases, Alternet wrote, “Advancements in the collection of biometric data are double-edged: there’s the treat of a massive government surveillance infrastructure working too well – e.g., surveillance state – and there are concerns about its weaknesses, especially in keeping data secure.”  The same can be said for E-Verify; it would likely be the gateway to a growing surveillance state, and the information stored within E-Verify would be susceptible to hacking.   While this country is in dire need of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we must be wary of “enforcement-first” immigration policies like NGI and E-Verify, which will only infringe on the rights of American citizens.

GOP: Rapists’ Procreation Protection Platform

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Republican Platform Panel Backs Blanket Ban on Abortion  Bloomberg News  08/22/12

Republican drafters of their party’s 2012 platform reaffirmed support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion that would allow no exception for terminating pregnancies caused by rape.

Written by laudyms

August 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Globalization and Debt: a return to slavery?

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 Taibbi: “Orwellian” SEC May Have Been Hiding Big Wall Street Crimes
By Sarah Seltzer | AlterNet

 

Shock Doctrine in Practice: The Connection Between Nighttime Robbery In the Streets and Daytime Robbery By Elites

By Naomi Klein / The Nation   When you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance.

 

Debt: The First Five Thousand Years

By David Graeber

Anthropologist David Graeber argues that it is only with a general historical understanding of debt and its relationship to violence that we can begin to appreciate our emerging epoch. Here he begins to fill in our historical knowledge gap

 

Americans Don’t Realize Just How Badly We’re Getting Screwed by the Top 0.1 Percent Hoarding the Country’s Wealth

By David DeGraw | Amped Status

 


Written by laudyms

August 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

Anarchy and Austerity: Why London Won’t Be the Last City to Burn

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Derek Thompson 

The Atlantic  Aug 10, 2011

The Great Recession gave birth to a lost generation across the world, where youth unemployment rates stretch into the 20s, 30s and even 40s. Those millions have responded with violence.

………… The theft and violence and street crime and lawlessness in London is shocking. But it’s not unique. Around the world, the burden of unemployment falls hardest on the young, who often respond with violence. The average jobless rate between 18-29 years was nearly 20% last year in OECD countries, the Wall Street Journal has reported. High unemployment was a factor in protests in Spain, uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

The connection between joblessness and violence comes to life in a timely August research paper Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2009, which found “a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability.” Authors Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth examined the relationship between spending cuts and a measure of instability they termed CHAOS — “the sum of demonstrations, riots, strikes, assassinations, and attempted revolutions in a single year in each country.”

Their conclusion: Austerity breeds anarchy. More cuts, more crime. This clickable graph helps to tell the story……

read more here

Written by laudyms

August 11, 2011 at 8:28 am

Corporate efforts to control State legislatures exposed!

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July 13, 2011        The Center for Media and Democracy has obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by corporations through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. We have analyzed and marked-up those bills and made them available at  ALEC Exposed.

Tell the IRS to investigate!

ALEC Exposed (A Project of CMD)

About ALEC Exposed

An open letter from CMD’s Executive Director, Lisa Graves

In April 2011, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. met behind closed doors in Cincinnati about their wish lists for changing state laws.  This exchange was part of a series of corporate meetings nurtured and fueled by the Koch Industries family fortune and other corporate funding.

At an extravagant hotel gilded just before the Great Depression, corporate executives from the tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, State Farm Insurance, and other corporations were joined by their “task force” co-chairs — all Republican state legislators — to approve “model” legislation. They jointly head task forces of what is called the “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC).

There, as the Center for Media and Democracy has learned, these corporate-politician committees secretly voted on bills to rewrite numerous state laws. According to the documents we have posted to ALEC Exposed, corporations vote as equals with elected politicians on these bills. These task forces target legal rules that reach into almost every area of American life: worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, taxes, health care, immigration, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The Center obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by companies through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. Those bills, which the Center has analyzed and marked-up, are now available at ALEC Exposed.

The bills that ALEC corporate leaders, companies and politicians voted on this spring now head to a luxury hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter for ALEC’s national retreat on August 3rd. In New Orleans, Koch Industries — through its chief lobbyist — and lobbyists of other global companies are slated for a “joint board meeting” to approve the bills with a rookery of Republican legislators who are on ALEC’s public board. Before the bills are publicly introduced in state legislatures by ALEC politicians or alumni in the governor’s offices, they will be cleansed of any reference to the secret corporate voting or who really wrote them.

With CMD’s publication of the bills, the public can now pierce through some of the subterfuge about ALEC, and see beyond the names of the bills to what the bills really do, alongside the names of corporations that lead or have helped lead ALEC’s agenda and accompanied by analysis to help decode the bills.

Many of the bills have obvious financial benefits for corporations but little or no direct benefit to the constituents that a particular legislator was elected to represent. Still, it may be tempting to dismiss ALEC as merely institutionalizing business as usual for lobbyists, except that ALEC’s tax-free donations are linked to it not spending a substantial amount of time on lobbying to change the law. ALEC has publicly claimed its “unparalleled” success in terms of the number of model bills introduced and enacted. But seeing the text of the bills helps reveal the actual language of legal changes ALEC corporations desire, beyond what can be known by the PR in their titles. ALEC says it has created a “unique” partnership between corporations and politicians. And it has.

It is a worrisome marriage of corporations and politicians, which seems to normalize a kind of corruption of the legislative process — of the democratic process–in a nation of free people where the government is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, not the corporations.

The full sweep of the bills and their implications for America’s future, the corporate voting, and the extent of the corporate subsidy of ALEC’s legislation laundering all raise substantial questions. These questions should concern all Americans. They go to the heart of the health of our democracy and the direction of our country. When politicians — no matter their party — put corporate profits above the real needs of the people who elected them, something has gone very awry.

As President Teddy Roosevelt observed in response to corporate money corrupting the democratic process a century ago, “The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth . . . . The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.”

–Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy

P.S. ALEC anointed the billionaire Koch Brothers as two of the first few recipients of its “Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award.” Smith argued that self-interest promoted more good in society than those who intend to do good. “Greed is good!” is how Oliver Stone translated this concept to fiction on screen.

On that score, perhaps, the award was apt, except that ALEC apparently ignores Smith’s caution that bills and regulations from business must be viewed with the deepest skepticism. In his book, ”Wealth of Nations”, Smith urged that any law proposed by businessmen “ought always to be listened to with great precaution . . . It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

One need not look far in the ALEC bills to find reasons to be deeply concerned and skeptical.Take a look for yourself.

Take Action! Send a letter today to ALEC’s corporate leaders telling them to DUMP ALEC!

See also:

How business lobbies bought all the laboratories of democracy

By Alex Pareene       – ALEC’s dream of a world where industry writes every state law

Let’s Drink to the Slobbering Classes: Joe Bageant 1946-2011

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Americans who get no respect today are like those who 

built this country. Mostly used and tossed aside.

“When you’re easily replaced and are devalued you no longer  pretend to have a choice. To feed your family you work harder and for less and without benefits. You eat shit and you ask for seconds. Eating shit eventually makes you bitter and resentful of anyone who does not appear to be eating their share of shit. So you feel that anyone else who gets a break, especially a government-assisted leg up is cheating you. From resentment it is only a short skip to hatred and the illogical behavior that comes with hatred. Like voting Republican against your own best interests.”

April 12, 2005            by Joe Bageant

Let’s Drink to the Slobbering Classes

A sordid tale of work release, hyenas and liberal weakness

Raise your glass to the hard working people
Let’s drink to the uncounted heads
Let’s think of the wavering millions
Who need leaders but get gamblers instead
– “Salt of the Earth,” The Rolling Stones

I stopped into Larry’s Gas ‘n Grubs for my regular morning commuter coffee mug refill and lo and be damned! There was my hirsute 300-pound friend Poot working at the counter. I said, “What the hell are you doing ringing up my coffee at this crap stand? You’re supposed to be a welder, fat boy!”

It turns out that Poot, who’d lost his job with a metal fabricator, took on a little private contracting work. However, he couldn’t afford to get his contractor’s license and was busted for working without one. And got thrown in jail for it too. Somehow I would have thought it was a lesser offense than that.

Now he is on jail work release to work at Larry’s Gas ‘n Grubs, an area 6-location chain of convenience stores that regularly hires work release labor at super cheap rates. By court order Poot must work there at least until August and pay the great state of Virginia a big chunk of his wages for the privilege. This represents nothing less than chattel slavery under the local judicial system, impressments of the same sort as have always been practiced on blacks and poor whites here in the slave states. Throw them in jail, and then farm them out on work release to local industry and businesses in cahoots politically with local law officials and courts. In fact, in a new twist on the game, the masters of our little Virginia banana republic brought in a huge regional jail. It is now a provider of cheap local work release labor, even as the taxpayers foot the bill for housing and feeding the jailbirds, and the jailbirds seldom return to their hometowns up nawth, choosing instead to shack up with the fetching local wenches. You Yankees have no idea what Bush’s election has kicked off in the American South. Our congenital penchant for punishment and press gang labor has ushered in a new era of prison building unseen since the days of Uncle Joe Stalin. Down here we know what to do with uncooperative folks like the hapless Pootie and the dope fiends our prison industry imports in from seven other states: Lock ‘em the fuck up and make a profit on ‘em. Rehabilitation, Republican style.

But getting back to Poot. When crap happens to working people, it’s usually a domino line of crap. It is bad enough that Poot lost his apartment when he landed in the hoosegow, and will have to find a new one in August, along with a new job, unless he decides to starve to death by remaining at Gas ‘n Grubs. He also lost his truck along the way. I am almost willing to bet that his life will never recover from this setback. Meanwhile, something even worse has come of this run-in with American penology’s gulag system of white trash labor: By court order Poot cannot set foot in Burt’s Tavern until August. He may not survive such a blow.

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We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!

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Quote of the Week           We Ain’t Got Time to Bleed


We Ain’t Got Time To Bleed. It’s Time for the Revolution.

“You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit…we are bleeding…but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! “

-Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, April 12, 2011

“Walking through walls” — Israeli IDF invasion of Nablus

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“Imagine it—you’re sitting in your living room, which you know so well; this is the room where the family watches television together after the evening meal. . . . And, suddenly, that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris, and through the wall pours one soldier after the other…… The children are screaming, panicking. . . . Is it possible to even begin to imagine the horror experienced by a five-year-old child as four, six, eight, twelve soldiers, their faces painted black, submachine guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall? ”

Nakatomi Space

While watching Die Hard the other night—one of the best architectural films of the past 25 years—I kept thinking about an essay called “Lethal Theory” by Eyal Weizman—itself one of the best and most consequential architectural texts of the past decade (download the complete PDF).

In it, Weizman—an Israeli architect and prominent critic of that nation’s territorial policy—documents many of the emerging spatial techniques used by the Israeli Defense Forces in their high-tech, legally dubious 2002 invasion of Nablus. During that battle, Weizman writes, “soldiers moved within the city across hundred-meter-long ‘overground-tunnels’ carved through a dense and contiguous urban fabric.” Their movements were thus almost entirely camouflaged, with troop movements hidden from above by virtue of always remaining inside buildings. “Although several thousand soldiers and several hundred Palestinian guerrilla fighters were maneuvering simultaneously in the city,” Weizman adds, “they were so ‘saturated’ within its fabric that very few would have been visible from an aerial perspective at any given moment.”

Worthy of particular emphasis is Weizman’s reference to a technique called “walking through walls”:

Furthermore, soldiers used none of the streets, roads, alleys, or courtyards that constitute the syntax of the city, and none of the external doors, internal stairwells, and windows that constitute the order of buildings, but rather moved horizontally through party walls, and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors.

Weizman goes on to interview a commander of the Israeli Paratrooper Brigade. The commander describes his forces as acting “like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing. We were thus moving from the interior of homes to their exterior in a surprising manner and in places we were not expected, arriving from behind and hitting the enemy that awaited us behind a corner.”

This is how the troops could “adjust the relevant urban space to our needs,” he explains, and not the other way around.

Indeed, the commander thus exhorted his troops as follows: “There is no other way of moving! If until now you were used to moving along roads and sidewalks, forget it! From now on we all walk through walls!” Read the rest of this entry »

What “Free Trade” Has Cost The World- globalization makes peons of us all

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March 14, 2011      OurFuture.org By Dave Johnson

If you take a job away from someone who is paid a reasonable wage because they enjoy the protections and prosperity of democratic government, move it across a border, and give it to someone living under a thugocracy, forced to work for pennies with no protections whatsoever, it should be just plain obvious that the worker on our side of the border and the worker on the other side of the border are not going to be better off. And when you do this on a massive scale it just stands to reason that most people on both sides of the border are going to be worse off.

But propaganda being what it is we were somehow convinced to try a worldwide experiment in taking good jobs from democracies and turning them into bad jobs in thugocracies. Now, of course, the experiment has run its course and we can see the results.

Worker Against Worker

Setting worker against worker enabled a few people to get really, really really wealthy and powerful and use that wealth to become even more wealthy and powerful. Our country is in decline, burdened by massive trade deficits because the ones with vested interests in cheap labor won’t let us won’t take on the mercantilists, burdened by budget deficits because those vested interests have bought low taxes and government subsidies, our infrastructure crumbles because multinational business leaders refuse to invest here, with no more need of us as workers, and the resulting hollowed-out middle class can’t consume anymore. Other countries also suffer from similar stresses.

Out of this situation a new global elite has emerged, contemptuous of democracy and government and any power but the power of their own money. In country after country, these top few won’t share the proceeds with their own, either, while they keep the world from approaching solutions.

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