On September 19, 2000, going on 16 years ago, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph reported: “Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement. “The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA.” The documents show that the European Union was a creature of the CIA. —Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China
These so-called “free trade agreements” are not trade agreements. The purpose of the “partnerships,” which were drafted by global corporations, is to make corporations immune to the laws of sovereign countries in which they do business. Any country’s sovereign law whether social, environmental, food safety, labor protections — any law or regulation — that impacts a corporation’s profits is labeled a “restraint on trade.” The “partnerships” permit corporations to file a suit that overturns the law or regulation and also awards the corporation damages paid by the taxpayers of the country that tried to protect its environment or the safety of its food and workers. The law suit is not heard in the courts of the country or in any court. It is heard in a corporate tribunal in which corporations serve as judge, jury, and prosecutor. In other words, the “partnerships” give global corporations the power to overturn democratic outcomes. Allegedly, Europe consists of democracies. Democracies pass laws protecting the environment and the safety of food and labor, but these laws democratically enacted reduce profits. Anything less than a sweatshop, with starvation wages, no environmental protection, no safety legislation for food or worker, can be overturned at will by global corporations under the terms of the “partnerships.” Only a traitor, a well paid one, could sign such a pact. Paul Craig Roberts, TTIP—American Economic Imperialism
William Buckley Vs Black Socialist (It’s On!): The Presidential candidacy ticket (Halstead/Boutelle) from the Socialist Workers Party finds itself on Firing Line with William F. Buckley, Jr. Tensions flare as issues of race and slavery arise.
While Marxists opposed the attempts of the US to blockade Cuba into submission and historically have demanded the abolition of the embargo, it is important to recognize that this change of tactics on the part of the American bourgeois is only the latest maneuver in its campaign to reverse all the economic gains of the Cuban revolution. It is also important to avoid falling into the trap of supporting one or the other imperialist party simply because it seeks to normalize relations in the interest of US corporations. Instead, Marxists oppose all attempts—whatever form they may take—of the American bourgeois to impose market capitalism on Cuba and defend the conquests of the revolution against these encroachments. Furthermore, Marxists recognize that the problems now facing the Cuban revolution stem from its isolation, a small island in the sea of world capitalism. In these conditions there are sections of the Cuban leadership which have embraced the so-called “Chinese model,” which would lead to capitalist restoration on the island. — Obama’s Visit to Cuba: A Spoonful of Sugar
Any effective response to the critical climate situation would need to include elimination of the military. This is often met with derision although it was the ostensible aim of the United Nations Charter. Sara Flounders’ remarkable 2009 article on the Copenhagen climate meeting tied together the military and climate change, but delinking of the two persists. She wrote that “with more than 15,000 participants from 192 countries, including more than 100 heads of state, as well as 100,000 demonstrators in the streets – it is important to ask: How is it possible that the worst polluter of carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions on the planet is not a focus of any conference discussion or proposed restrictions? …the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.” — The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Min. Farrakhan Should Join Anti-Police Terror Movement – and Stop Flirting with Trump:
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has said there are some things he likes about Donald Trump. What’s to like? asks Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Trump’s campaign statements “drip with racism and misogyny,” and “anybody with progressive inclinations shouldn’t be seeing things they like in him.” Dix noted that Farrakhan spoke under the banner of “Justice or Else” at a giant rally, last year. “But, there has been no justice; the police continue to brutalize and murder people. So – where’s the ‘or else?’ I don’t see the Nation of Islam in the streets saying: ‘This must stop,’” said Dix.
Both Clintons Neck Deep in African Blood:
Bill and Hillary Clinton are deeply implicated in the death of six million Congolese, said Claude Gatebuke, a Rwandan genocide survivor and co-founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network. Bill Clinton’s Rwanda policies put dictator Paul Kagame in power “in spite of the overwhelming evidence of the massacres Kagame committed” and his role “in the death of more than six million people in the Congo and other millions of people in the region.” Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state under President Obama, tried to suppress a United Nations report that documented Rwanda’s culpability in the ongoing Congolese bloodbath – the worst genocide since World War Two
Black Colombians Block Highway in Land Fight:
Thousands of Colombians of African descent blockaded the Pan American Highway, demanding respect for Black people’s ancestral land rights. Millions of Black Colombians have been displaced by seizure of their lands by multinational corporations, said activist Charo Mina-Rojas. Afro-Colombians also fear that FARC guerillas covet Black territories as part of a peace deal being negotiated in Havana, Cuba. “We are concerned that we are not sitting at that table,” said Mina-Rojas. “We know that FARC has an interest in areas where Black people are located. This is a territorial control issue.”
Recidivism Begins in the State Legislature: Albert Woodfox, the former political prisoner who served 44 years in Angola’s notorious Angola prison, most of it in solitary confinement, has some ideas on crime prevention. He agrees that nobody wants to be victimized by crime. “But, if you don’t want to be a victim of crime, stop letting these politicians pass these laws that make it impossible for an ex-felon to get out and survive unless he commits a crime.” Woodfox spoke at a University of Pittsburgh Law School symposium on solitary confinement. Read moreListen
I celebrate May Day, but I don’t celebrate Labor Day — I just observe it. To me, Labor Day means the codification of the labor bureaucracy’s subservience to the capitalist class. That was the original purpose for the United States capitalist class when it made labor day a holiday. It was organized as such in opposition to the Labor Day that was/is celebrated everywhere else in the world — a demonstration class solidarity, — May Day! May Day was celebrated, in memory of the martyrs of the Haymarket Massacre in 1886 Chicago and the unending struggle of the world working class for their “unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
. . . May 1, 1886, became historic. On that day thousands of workers in the larger industrial cities poured into the streets, demanding eight hours. About 340,000 took part in demonstrations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other places. Of these nearly 200,000 actually went out on strike. About 42,000 won the eight-hour day. Another 150,000 got a shorter day than they had had before. Chicago workers supported the movement most vigorously. To combat labor organization and activity, Chicago employers organized and acted. Pinkerton detectives and special deputies were in evidence. Policemen were swinging billies and breading up knots of workers on street corners. At the factory gates of McCormick Harvester Co., where a strike meeting was being held on May 3, policemen swung their clubs and then fired into the running strikers….The speaker at the meeting was August Spies, a member of the Central Labor Union, which had supported the May First strike. He was also a member of a militant labor group that was at the time influential in the Chicago Labor movement. Six workers were killed that day and many wounded. Anger ran high through the Chicago labor movement. About 3,000 attended a protest meeting the next day at Haymarket Square….The Chicago press reported the speeches were less “inflammatory” than usual. Mayor Carter H. Harrison who was present testified later that the meeting was “peaceable.” But as it was about to adjourn, policement swooped down and ordered the audience to disperse. Then some unknown person threw a bomb. It exploded, killing a police sergeant and knocking several core to the ground. The police opened fire. At the end of the day, seven policemen and four workers lay dead. At once several Chicago labor leaders were rounded up and thrown in jail. Eight of these finally came to trial–Albert Parsons, August Spies, Louis Lingg, George Engel, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fieldon, Adolph Fischer and Oscar Neebe. The presiding judge helped pick the jury which was strongly anti-labor and hostile to the defendants. The trial lasted 63 days. All of the men were declared guilty of murder. All were given death sentences, except Neebe who got a 15-year prison sentence. A nationwide defense campaign won wide popular favor…At the last moment, as a result of widespread protests, the Governor of Illinois communted to life imprisonment the sentences of Fieldon and Schwab. It was reported that Lingg “committed suicide” in his cell. On November 11, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer and George Engel were hanged. On the gallows Spies cried, “There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.” Straightway the defense movement, now led by Albert Parsons’ widow, Lucy Parsons, turned to efforts to have the remaining three men freed. Fieldon, Schwab and Neebe were finally pardoned by Governor Altgeld in 1893. He was fully convinced, he said, of the innocence of all the eight men. Out of the eight-hour struggle which culminated in the strike of May 1, 1886, and its aftermath, the Haymarket tragedy, came international May Day. In Paris, France, on July 14, 1889, leaders from organized proletarian movements in many countries came together to form once more an international association of workers….At the first congress of the Second International, delegates listened to the story related by the United States representatives, considered a request from the American Federation of Labor for support of their eight-hour fight, and voted to make May 1, 1890, a day for an international eight-hour day demonstration. Demand for the eight-hour day became the main slogan of the international May Day celebrations. At a later congress, the International extended the purpose of the day to include wider labor demands and world peace. . . .
May Day was thus created by the workingmen themselves, in defiance of the capitalist class and its governments, and up to the present time the working people in many countries are compelled on the First of May to fight for their holiday at the sacrifice of their jobs, liberty, blood, and even life. When the police and cossacks of different countries appear on the scene on May Day it is always for the purpose of clubbing, maiming, arresting, and killing working people; for the police and cossacks recognize that May Day is the drilling day for the Social Revolution. The American Labor Day, on the contrary, was a “gift” which the workers received from their masters, the capitalists, through the capitalist politicians. That first Monday in the month of September was made a legal holiday under the name of Labor Day, at first by the legislature of one state some thirty years ago; the politicians of other states followed the clever example, so that at present Labor Day is a legal holiday all over the country. A vampire, when he settles down upon the body of a sleeping person and sucks its blood, is known to fan his victim with his wings, to soothe the victim’s pain, and to prevent him from waking up and driving the vampire away. So was the Labor Day created by the political agents of thc American capitalists to fan the sleeping giant, the American working class, while the capitalists are sucking its blood. American Labor Day can also be considered as a modern, capitalist version of the ancient custom of the days of serfdom and slavery. In those days the mastens, for recreation and amusement, often-times set aside one day to celebrate the “enthronment of slaves.” They would take a slave, take the chains off his limbs, put him on a mock throne, put a mock crown on his head and, bowing to him in mock humility and obedience, would humbly serve him and overwhelm him with flattery. And the Silly Fool on the mock throne would throw out his chest and swell with pride. But the day of mockery over, the chains were again clapped on his limbs, and the miserable slave, groaning, would resume his life of a beast of burden. Likewise with the unawakened American workman on Labor Day. On that day the chains of wage-slavery are, figuratively speaking, taken off his limbs; he is made the hero of the day; his masters, the capitalists, stand before him in mock humility; their spokesmen in the press, pul. pit and on their political platforms, overwhelm him with flattery; and the modern Silly Fool, likewise, throws out his chest and swells with pride. But, the day of mockery and of the Fool’s Paradise over, the masters, — who during this day are only slyly smiling-break out info sardonic laughter-though unheard by the slave — clap the chains back on his limbs and he again hears only the crack of the whip of Hunger and Slavery. . . .
Out of the eight-hour struggle which culminated in the strike of May 1, 1886, and its aftermath, the Haymarket tragedy, came international May Day. In Paris, France, on July 14, 1889, leaders from organized proletarian movements in many countries came together to form once more an international association of workers….At the first congress of the Second International, delegates listened to the story related by the United States representatives, considered a request from the American Federation of Labor for support of their eight-hour fight, and voted to make May 1, 1890, a day for an international eight-hour day demonstration.
Demand for the eight-hour day became the main slogan of the international May Day celebrations. At a later congress, the International extended the purpose of the day to include wider labor demands and world peace.
A worldwide demonstration, as Rosa Luxemburg stated: “May Day is the autonomous, immediate stepping forward of the proletarian masses, the political mass action of the millions of workers who otherwise are atomized by the barriers of the state in the day-to-day parliamentary affairs, who mostly can give expression to their own will only through the ballot, through the election of their representatives. The excellent proposal of the Frenchman Lavigne at the Paris Congress of the International added to this parliamentary, indirect manifestation of the will of the proletariat a direct, international mass manifestation: the strike as a demonstration and means of struggle for the eight-hour day, world peace, and socialism.
The working people are the only people in whose presence I take off my hat. As I salute them, I honor myself.
The working people—and this is the day to write them in capital letters — has given me what I have, made me what I am, and will make me what I hope to be; and I thank them for all, and above all for giving me eyes to see, a heart to feel and a voice to speak for the working people.
Like the rough hewn stone from which the noble statue is chiseled by the hand of a sculptor, the Toiler is the rough—hewn bulk from which the perfect Human are being chiseled by the hand of Nature.
All the working people of the earth are necessary to the whole Working People — and they alone will survive of all the human race.
Labor Day is a good day to rest the hands and give the brain a chance— to think about what has been, and is, and is yet to be.
The way has been long and weary and full of pain, and many have fallen by the wayside, but the Unconquerable Army of Labor is still on the march and as it rests on its arms today and casts a look ahead, it beholds upon the horizon the first glowing rays of the Social Sunrise.
Courage, comrades! The struggle must be won, for Peace will only come when she comes hand in hand with Freedom.
The right is with the labor movement and the gods of battle are with the Working Class.
The Socialist Party and the Trade Union Movement must be one today in celebration of Labor Day and pledge each other their mutual fidelity and support in every battle, eco-nomic and political, until the field is won and the Working People is free. Forget not the past on Labor Day! Think of Homestead! Think of Latimer! Think of Buffalo! Think of Coeur d’Alene! Think of Croton Dam! Think of Chicago! Think of Virden! Think of Pana! Think of Leadville! Think of Cripple Creek! Think of Victor! Think of Telluride!
These are some of the bloody battles fought in the past in the war of the Workers for Industrial Freedom and Social Justice.
How many and how fierce and bloody shall be the battles of the future?
Comrades, this is the day for Working people to think of the Class Struggle and the Ballot—the day for Labor to clasp the hand of Labor and girdle the globe with the International Revolutionary Solidarity of the Working Class.
We are all one of — all workers of all lands and climes. We know not color, nor creed, nor sex in the Labor Movement. We know only that our hearts throb with the same proletarian stroke, that we are keeping step with our class in the march to the goal and that the solidarity of Labor will vanquish slavery and Humanize the World!
As a leader of the labor movement, Eugene Debs opposed Woodrow Wilson as the Socialist Party candidate in the 1912 Presidential Election. Later, he would continue to rally against President Wilson and his decision to take America into war — and be jailed for it under the Espionage Act. (He ran for President from Prison)
In 2009, in my city of San Francisco, The San Francisco Labor Council, hosted a $100 a plate breakfast for Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is an example of how far the labor bureaucracy has traveled in its quest for dues and a their higher standard of living. (By the price of the ‘breakfast’ one knew that the breakfast was not intended for rank and file workers.) This event and other ‘labor day events’ with politicians, are a codification of the labor’s bureaucratic cast’s open declaration of a partnership with capitalism and its role as an enforcer for capital against labor. This ‘partnership’ is politically expressed by the cast’s subservience to the Democratic Party.
The labor bureaucracy has no conception of ‘labors’ unending conflict with capital, but the bureaucracy does have an unending quest for union dues. (This policy has gotten so bad, that “my” International Union President, of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT.com), has sent out a DVD to every member, at considerable expense, to inform my brothers and sisters, by their own admission, that the union will sound and act like a boss! Union Painters who may be late to work, abuse coffee break, take too much time for lunch, or (God Forbid!) leave work early, will face the wrath, not of the boss but of the Union’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out Policy”! If you are caught three times in violation of these rules, then these painters are not only out of a job but out of the union!) Today, these bureaucrats have nothing to say about the bailouts to the banks, and also nothing to say about the theft of workers’ pensions and life savings as part of their partnership they have even led the way to cut workers’ wages! That is why I observe Labor Day but celebrate May Day. For more information, read my essay, The Fall of the Trade Union Movement.
. . . As for the broader picture on how many hours people are working: The average workweek for full-time employees in the U.S. is nearly 47 hours, according to a Gallup report released last year. . . . — Is A 10-Hour Workday The New Norm? (2015)
. . . The new TORCH report finds
40,000 fatal cancers are predicted in Europe over the next 50 years
6,000 thyroid cancer cases to date, 16,000 more expected
5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia still live in highly contaminated areas (>40 kBq/sq.m)
400 million in less contaminated areas (>4 kBq/sq.m)
37% of Chernobyl’s fallout was deposited on western Europe;
42% of western Europe’s land area was contaminated increased radiogenic thyroid cancers expected in West European countries
increased radiogenic leukemias, cardiovascular diseases, breast cancers confirmed
new evidence of radiogenic birth defects, mental health effects and diabetes
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism: The ongoing presidential race in the United States has revealed a number of phenomena that seem to have been brewing under the surface of neoliberal austerity economics for years. For one thing, it has shown a widespread popular discontent with the status quo. For another, it has revealed that the American public is no longer averse to socialistic ideas. by Ismael Hossein-ZadehEnvironment:
The Devil Capitalism: Okay, here’s the proposition — you can have a good job, decent pay, lots of overtime, but only if you give me your grandchildren or maybe your great-grandchildren. Would you make this deal with the devil? by Gary Engler
. . . The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, and if one says that one is not good enough to have a job that is a solid quality job, if one is not good enough to have access to public accommodations, if one is not good enough to have the right to vote, if one is not good enough to live next door to him, if one is not good enough to marry his daughter because of his race, then at that moment, that person is saying that that person who is not good to do all of this is not fit to exist or to live. And that is the ultimate logic of racism. . . . — Martin Luther King
Little bitty Benton Harbor was the testing ground. It was the testing ground to see what they can get away with….It’s comin’ to your city next, whether you like it or not. — Rev. Edward Pinkney
Due to illness, CTU leader Karen Lewis was unable to run against Emanuel for mayor in the last elections. Chicago workers must continue to organize, lay the foundations for running an independent labor candidate against Emanuel as well as against Rauner at the state level. This can spark a major break from the parties of big business for the labor movement across the country. Teachers have been a bulwark against attacks on children in the age of austerity, and now this movement can and must spread to the political arena. The fight against cuts in education is inseparably linked to the struggles against mass incarceration, low wages, high rent, and police violence. These problems all have a common root: the for-profit capitalist system and its representatives in the Republican and Democratic parties. We must fight with the CTU, fight for a mass socialist party based on the working class, and fight for a socialist revolution. — Chicago Teachers Union Strikes Back
2016 presidential campaignBernie Sanders has endorsed President Obama’s troop escalation in Syria, once again showing that “he is no more ‘progressive’ than Obama on foreign policy, and just as dishonest – a true Democrat. Sanders will ultimately bow to Hillary Clinton, while still claiming that the Democratic Party can be transformed from the inside. However, millions will have witnessed that the campaign proves exactly the opposite ‑— and will seek alternatives. Read more
. . . Harriet Tubman was a shooter. She was an escaped slave. She undertook numerous missions to convey slaves to Canada along the underground railroad to Canada, armed with a pistol and saber. During the Late Unpleasantness Between the States, she acted as an armed scout for Union forces and participated in the Combahee River Raid. She was a Republican. . . . — Guns and the $20 bill
. . . These lesser known and cryptically reported episodes are illuminated by accounts of other more widely known characters. Harriet Tubman is generally depicted with a long gun or a revolver. Some modern researchers, seemingly squeamish about an armed Tubman, argue that her guns were always unloaded. John Parker of Ripley, Ohio defies such speculation. Parker aided the escapes of countless fugitive slaves. He recounts keeping, carrying, and fighting with guns, as well as an armed rescue of cornered fugitives from a river bank in Kentucky. . . . — Negroes and the Gun: Slaves, fugitives, freemen, and citizens
… that a majority of respondents in Harvard University’s survey of young adults said they do not support capitalism suggests that today’s youngest voters are more focused on the flaws of free markets. The word ‘capitalism’ doesn’t mean what it used to,” said Zach Lustbader, a senior at Harvard involved in conducting the poll, which was published Monday. For those who grew up during the Cold War, capitalism meant freedom from the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes. For those who grew up more recently, capitalism has meant a financial crisis from which the global economy still hasn’t completely recovered. . . . — Survey: A Majority of American Millennials Now Reject Capitalism
Our ability to secure new contracts to develop and manage correctional and detention facilities depends on many factors outside our control. Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities. This possible growth depends on a number of factors we cannot control, including crime rates and sentencingpatterns in various jurisdictions and acceptance of privatization. The demand for our facilities andservices could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction orparole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that arecurrently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs andcontrolled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted,and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behavior. Also, sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation with electronic monitoring who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. — Corrections Corporation of America, Form 10-K For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010
Mumia Quote. . . Elsewhere, the USA, Japan, and China have all attempted similar QE programmes in recent times, all to no avail. Yet Varoufakis is intent on Europe repeating a failed experiment again and again, at the expense of the working class. As for Europe’s democratisation, a “large democratic stimulus” is needed. What this means in practice is left to the reader to decide. Whether such a stimulus would rest on a movement of European workers and what form this should take is likewise not mentioned, leaving nothing more than an abstract call to build democracy with… democracy! Ultimately this book is more about Yanis Varoufakis than anything else: Embarking on this book as a wide-eyed student of Keynes, our protagonist is thrown aside by arrogant conquerors, only to return as a prophet of doom, foretelling an apocalyptic future for those who do not follow him. The foundation text for a new mass movement? Perhaps not. But as a Greek tragedy for our time it fits the bill quite well. — Book review: Varoufakis complains that Capitalism didn’t listen to him
Charter Schools: Bad for Education: “On the whole, charter schools do not perform better than public schools, even though public school are being defunded and demonized all the time,” said Dr. Shawgi Tell, professor of education at Nazareth College, Rochester, New York, and author of Charter School Report Card. Whether test scores improve or not, charter schools are bad schooling policy because “they represent privatization and marketization of education.”
Youth Incarceration Down, But Racial Disparities Increase: In the past decade, overall rates of youth incarceration have been cut in half, but disparity in Black youth incarceration has gone up by 15 percent, according to Josh Rovner, of The Sentencing Project. Rovner is an author of the new report, “Racial Disparities in Youth Arrests and Commitments.” He said young people are committing less crime. “There’s fewer kids being driven into the system in the first place,” said Rovner. However, Black teenagers are still more likely to be detained, prosecuted and committed to juvenile facilities than whites.
Million Student March Against Massive Debt: “Just last year, a million students defaulted on their student loan payments,” said Darletta Scruggs, an activist with the Million Students March and a member of the Socialist Alternative Party. “You can’t file bankruptcy on it, and our government will start garnishing your wages after a certain time. There are people whose Social Security checks are being garnished because of past student debt,” said Scruggs, speaking to host Solomon Comissiong, of Your World Report.
Global Rich Play “Shell Games” with Wealth: The now infamous “Panama Papers” revealed how elites from around the world hide their money in offshore tax havens. Americans were conspicuous by their relative absence because the U.S. provides lots of hiding places for ill-gotten gains. “The United States is a tax haven for global wealth,” said Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of the article, “Panama Papers Expose the Hidden Wealth of the World’s Super-Rich.” Said Collins: “If you’re a small business in the U.S. and you have to compete against a global company that’s playing these shell games, and you’re paying your fair share of taxes and they’re not, that’s an unlevel playing field.”
Hillary’s Conspiracies Against Democracy in the Americas: Back in 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “pretended it wasn’t a coup” when the Honduran military overthrew the country’s elected president, said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Clinton’s charade “helped the coup government dictatorship consolidate itself.” The U.S. has encouraged the “silent coup” in Brazil, where corporatist lawmakers are trying to impeach the left-wing president. “We know that the United States has always wanted to get rid of the left governments” in the region, said Weisbrot. Listen, Read more
Defenders of the NSA’s mass spying have lost an important talking point: that the erosion of our privacy and associational rights is justified given the focus of surveillance efforts on combating terrorism and protecting the national security. That argument has always been dubious for a number of reasons. But after a November 2015 ruling [.pdf] by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was unsealed last week, it’s lost another chunk of its credibility. The ruling confirms that NSA’s warrantless spying has been formally approved for use in general criminal investigations. The national security justification has been entirely blown. That’s because the secret court, over the objection of its hand-selected amicus, determined that once information is collected by the NSA for “foreign intelligence” purposes under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that information can be searched by the FBI for regular criminal investigations without any need for a warrant or prior court oversight. Although the FISC has signed off on the FBI’s procedures claiming this authority for years, this ruling from late 2015 may be the first time the FISC has actually considered their legality. —Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Secret) Court Takes Another Bite Out of the Fourth Amendment
Thursday, while the nation debated the relative size of Republican genitalia, something truly awful happened. Across the northern hemisphere, the temperature, if only for a few hours, apparently crossed a line: it was more than two degrees Celsius above “normal” for the first time in recorded history and likely for the first time in the course of human civilization. — The mercury doesn’t lie: We’ve hit a troubling climate change milestone
After one woman broke his heart, Khalil Abu Rayyan, a 21-year-old Michigan man, contemplated suicide. Then, when he confided his dark thoughts to another woman, she suggested he steer his violence toward other people. Both women, it turned out, were FBI honeypots, and one of the recorded conversations with Rayyan entered into ongoing court proceedings provides a rare glimpse into how federal informants work. The U.S. government now alleges that Rayyan, who has been indicted on federal gun charges, is an Islamic State sympathizer who talked of attacking a church in Detroit. Federal prosecutors have not filed terrorism-related charges, yet they are handling Rayyan’s indictment with the secrecy of a national security investigation. The government has proposed a “limited protective order” that “would have kept sealed anything that even summarized material the government deemed sensitive,” according to a filing by the defense, which has so far refused to accept the proposal. — Listen to an FBI “Honeypot” on the Job
Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, and suddenly there was light, and warmth, and the gathering at the hearth. The gods never forgave, and ever since periodically they thrust a torch into villains’ hands and watch the hearths burn and bring the roofs down. Civilization weeps, in Troy, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria. — The Fire Each Time
The CIA whistleblower returns to join Mnar Muhawesh on “Behind the Headline” to go into greater depth on Saudi Arabia’s role in manufacturing terrorism by re-writing the entire religious history of Islam and engineering hadeeth to serve its own political & oil interests. The effects of these efforts to re-write the history of a faith of over 1.5 billion people to suit the Saudi political agenda that limit women’s rights, promote radicalism and tyrannical leadership –are rippling across the region and the world, through radical groups like ISIS and the Nusra Front. These are some of the very same terror groups the United States claims to be fighting in its so-called “war on terror.” — Former CIA Agent John Kiriakou Takes Us Inside The Saudi Terror Factory w/ Mnar Muhawesh
Time to Grow Up Into a Living Earth Economy: Humanity has been acting like a willful child, demanding everything and leaving messes everywhere. It is time for our species to take the step to maturity, to acknowledge that care and cooperation are key to happiness — and even survival. By David KortenTomorrow is Too Late:
When people discuss the formation of political movements outside the Democratic party in this or any other season they like to talk about ideas and policies, but not so much about how to guarantee some semblance of small d democratic leadership of these movements, leadership responsible to members. The answer pretty much suggests itself. If your funders will inevitably choose your movement’s leadership, and you need your leadership to be responsible to your rank and file members, then you need to have dues paying members as your principal funders. Membership funding, with organization structured so that leaders are directly accountable to, selected and un-selected by members. That’s the model we should be exploring. This is the way genuine left and socialist parties and movements for the last hundred years have funded their operations all over world, a fact not much taught to so-called community organizers here. Until these old lessons about choosing internal democracy and membership funding over s big donors and self-perpetuating leaders are re-learned, it’s hard to see how a new political movement left of the Democratic party will ever take hold and grow. — Will Bernie’s Burnout Lead To A New Movement? Maybe, Maybe Not.
The “People’s Brazil Front” and the “People Without Fear Front” (that the Marxist Left is part of) has said it does not recognise any legitimacy in any government coming out of this process, and calls for mobilisation in the streets to defeat the right wing, calling for a National Workers’ Assembly on May Day. The Marxist Left will do its utmost for the victory of this National Workers’ Assembly. There a fight from below should begin against all the institutions, to defend the working class and youth and open the way to expropriate the expropriators. — Brazilian impeachment unleashes forces the ruling class will regret
Progressives at home and abroad are happy about how far “left” the campaign debates and rhetoric have gone in this year’s Democratic Party presidential primary race. But five harsh realities suggest that such enthusiasm should be qualified. First, the debates and rhetoric have been nowhere nearly as radical as required in a time when the capitalist profits system (endorsed by the nominally socialist presidential contender Bernie Sanders) is generating an environmental catastrophe that has emerged as the biggest issue of our or any time. (The cultural theorist Frederic Jameson has written “that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” The irony is that capitalism is quite tangibly, materially, and empirically – no imagination required – ending livable ecology). — Where Presidents and People Make History
Whereas, most leading climate scientists are not willing to honestly expose their greatest fears, as discovered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! while at COP21 in Paris this past December, interviewing one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Kevin Anderson of Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, who said: “So far we simply have not been prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly… many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.” — Global Warming and the Planetary Boundary
The absolute intransigence of the U.S. mass incarceration regime is most dramatically on display in Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s own special investigative task force has concluded that the “police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” The report backs up that conclusion with a now-familiar recitation of statistics that show, by the numbers, the raw nature of the police as an occupying army that perceives that its mission is to stop, humiliate, frame, physically abuse, torture and kill Black and brown people. Seventy-four percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police last year were Black. Seventy-two percent of those stopped on the street but who were not arrested, were Black. Three quarters of those singled out for tasering were Black. And, the bulk of the remainder were Latino. – Glen Ford, There’s Only One Cure for Chicago Police Lawlessness: Black Community Control
New York Does Elections Like It Does Wall Street: With Its Finger on the Scale: New York State has the toughest financial fraud law in the country. Under New York’s 1921 Martin Act, the State Attorney General’s office can bring both criminal or civil charges. Despite that important fact, no CEO or CFO or key executive of any major Wall Street bank has been prosecuted by the New York State Attorney General for their role in the 2008 crash — which crippled the U.S. economy and has left the nation with GDP growth of two percent or less ever since. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Nellie Bailey, longtime tenants activist and co-host of Black Agenda Radio, told the conference that “housing activists are engaged in class warfare with finance capital for living space. We have to build a national movement that is a broad tent, that will bring in progressive forces” that can unite around principles of unity. — Black Agenda Radio
As the EPA notes: Cesium-133 is the only naturally occurring isotope and is non-radioactive; all other isotopes, including cesium-137, are produced by human activity. So there was no “background radiation” for caesium-137 before above-ground nuclear testing and nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl. — Comparing Japan’s Radiation Release to “Background Radiation”
Still, the Japanese government has reported estimates to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. According to those estimated levels, reactors 1, 2, and 3 had been in operation on March 11, 2011, and all three suffered meltdowns. Those three reactors released 1.5×1016 Becquerels of Cs-137, which would make it a release of 168 times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima bombing. And this is only material released into the atmosphere-at least according to Japanese government estimates. — An Insider’s Exposé of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
After a period of months following its initial formation, Momentum — the pro-Corbyn movement inside and around the Labour Party — has taken the significant step of becoming a membership based organisation. By taking steps to tighten up the organisation of Momentum, the position of the Left within the Labour Party will be strengthened. This, in turn, will serve to solidify Corbyn’s position against the right wing of the Labour Party who are set on removing him. — Britain: Corbyn strengthened as Momentum moves forward: time to go on the offensive
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader with 60% of the vote has transformed the political landscape in Britain. The fact that some 400,000 registered to vote shows that there are certain revolutionary features to the situation. The left-reformist Michael Meacher described the Corbyn phenomenon as “the biggest non-revolutionary uprising of the social order.” This situation is clearly far from ’normal’. by Socialist AppealBritain: Dodgy Dave’s tax affairs – What is to be done?: Following the Panama Papers leak, David Cameron has faced relentless scrutiny over his tax affairs. by Ben Gliniecki Health, Education and Welfare:
I think one of the most important things for all of us to keep in mind is that these problems can’t be solved simply through elections…My concern with endorsing candidates is that, given our two-party system, we are often seduced into believing that if we just vote for the right guy–or the right gal–then everything will be fine, when in reality, we are going to have to build a new party or an independent movement. — Michelle Alexander
New York Primary’s Dirty Little Secrets Come Out of the Shadows : According to OpenPrimaries.org, 43 percent of Americans identify as politically independent. In New York state, voters who haven’t chosen a party affiliation total more than 2 million – more than 20 percent of all registered voters in New York. Unfortunately for them, they will be shut out of tomorrow’s New York primary where the stakes for the country’s future have never been greater. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Yet another standoff between clean drinking water and mining profits has taken shape in Colombia, where two corporations insist their right to pollute trumps human health and the environment. As is customary in these cases, it is clean water that is the underdog here. Two million people are dependent on water from a high-altitude wetlands, which is also a refuge for endangered species, that a Canadian mining company, Eco Oro Minerals Corporation, wants to use for a gold mine. The wetlands, the Santurbán páramo in the Andes, has been declared off-limits for mining by Colombia’s highest court due to the area’s environmental sensitivity. Eco Oro is suing the Colombian government because of this under the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The dispute will likely be heard by a secret tribunal that is an arm of the World Bank, even though the World Bank has provided investment capital for Eco Oro to develop the mine. . . . — There’s no place for clean water under ‘free trade’
A 2016 study also shows that in England the young have lower basic skills than their counterparts in Europe. Monsanto’s secret studies revealed that glyphosate caused cataract as well as cancers. The incidence of cataract surgery in England increased tenfold between 1968 and 2004. Few can avoid the pollution of water, soil and air by genotoxic and teratogenic herbicides, insecticides and other industrial chemicals. Governments and Regulators only measure a small fraction of them. Human health depends on biodiversity. Food depends on natural pollinators. The devastating effects of these silent killers on us and our environment do not distinguish between farmers or city dwellers, the wealthy or the poor, between media moguls, editors or their reporters, Monsanto or Syngenta Executives, Prime Ministers or Presidents. Humans and the environment are being silently poisoned by thousands of untested and unmonitored chemicals. — The British Medical Journal is unaware of the links between Cancer Research UK and the Pesticides Industry
Report: UC Davis focused on web image after pepper spraying: Public Records Act request show some payments were made in hopes of eliminating negative search results for the school and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, . . . who became chancellor in 2009, the university has substantially increased its strategic communications budget from $2.93 million the year the embattled chancellor took over to $5.47 million in 2015. Katehi has more recently been under fire for joining the boards of a textbook publisher and a for-profit university.
Consciously or unconsciously, when the bourgeois start to worrying about “outsiders” interfering in their system, what they actually express is the fear of the working class taking an interest in the way society is run, and interfering in their affairs. When the next global downturn arrives, the period between that crisis and 2008 will mark a watershed period in the history of the capitalist system. It will be characterised as one in which the system, far from developing, burned away many of the reserve layers at its disposal, economically, socially and politically, which had acted as “cushioning” in 2008. This will give the class struggles of the not-too distant future a far sharper character. The struggle on the part of the bourgeois will be far more desperate. The struggle on the part of the working class will take place after a period in which sick and enfeebled capitalism has been able to do nothing to solve its fundamental problems. Illusions that previously existed have been burned away, many defenders of the old system discredited. This is something we must prepare for, and intervene in, to build the forces of Marxism. — Capitalism’s depleted reserves
. . .The final stages of capitalism, Marx wrote, would be marked by developments that are intimately familiar to most of us. Unable to expand and generate profits at past levels, the capitalist system would begin to consume the structures that sustained it. It would prey upon, in the name of austerity, the working class and the poor, driving them ever deeper into debt and poverty and diminishing the capacity of the state to serve the needs of ordinary citizens. It would, as it has, increasingly relocate jobs, including both manufacturing and professional positions, to countries with cheap pools of laborers. Industries would mechanize their workplaces. This would trigger an economic assault on not only the working class but the middle class—the bulwark of a capitalist system—that would be disguised by the imposition of massive personal debt as incomes declined or remained stagnant. Politics would in the late stages of capitalism become subordinate to economics, leading to political parties hollowed out of any real political content and abjectly subservient to the dictates and money of global capitalism. . . . — Chris Hedges
Capitalism’s depleted reserves: The capitalist crisis of 2008 was rescued by an enormous transfusion of public money into the banks. The system has been on life-support ever since. by Ben Peck
Alternate Inflation Charts: The CPI chart on the home page reflects our estimate of inflation for today as if it were calculated the same way it was in 1990. The CPI on the Alternate Data Series tab here reflects the CPI as if it were calculated using the methodologies in place in 1980. In general terms, methodological shifts in government reporting have depressed reported inflation, moving the concept of the CPI away from being a measure of the cost of living needed to maintain a constant standard of living.Consumer DebtThe Fed Sends a Frightening Letter to JPMorgan and Corporate Media Yawns: Yesterday the Federal Reserve released a 19-page letter that it and the FDIC had issued to Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on April 12 as a result of its failure to present a credible plan for winding itself down if the bank failed. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Socialist Alternative is walking the well-traveled path of opportunism in supporting Bernie Sanders — a Democratic Party senator impersonating a “revolutionary” socialist. Their rare criticism of Sanders is presented within a supportive framework developed by the national leadership. Basically, they advise him on what he should say or do to get elected and are loyal fellow travelers. Bernie, for his part, ignores every overture. The problem with SA’s “Bernie Tactic” is that they are for Bernie and against (sort of) the capitalist party he clings to. They say they will not register voters as Democrats, but members should take part in caucuses if they can and vote for Bernie in primaries where being a registered Democrat is not required. Apparently they are under the illusion that the road to an independent working class party is through, or at least beside, the Democrats. Some in their own membership are calling this magical thinking. SA is hungry to traverse the territory between being a small propaganda group and “one with influence” and the Bernie Tactic is supposed to be smart politics. It is not. It’s criminal to confuse and/or deceive voters about the true nature of the anti-worker, pro-war Democratic Party. It’s a tactic that always fails to radicalize anyone. — Socialist Alternative’s twisted “Bernie tactic”
Just as with the Occupy Movement of a few years ago, the task of containing and neutralizing the Movement will fall to Democratic administrations in the nation’s big cities. — COINTELPRO Alive and Well in Los Angeles
. . . We published three journal articles showing that babies born in the West Coast in the nine months after Fukushima had a 16% jump in defective thyroids, compared to little change in the rest of the country. It’s time that health researchers stop its corrupt approach to Fukushima, and produce some actual statistics on changes in disease and death rates among affected populations – in Japan and in other countries. Not coming to grips with the truth will only raise the chance of another catastrophic meltdown in the future, raising the already-enormous number of casualties from nuclear power. — Fukushima Five Years After: Health Researchers Turn Blind Eye to Casualties
That is the argument; but as Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, observes: ‘The notion is that the economy’s poor economic performance is not due to the failure of economic policy but to people hoarding their money. The Federal Reserve and its coterie of economists and presstitutes maintain the fiction of too much savings despite the publication of the Federal Reserve’s own report that 52% of Americans cannot raise $400 without selling personal possessions or borrowing the money.’ — The War on Savings: the Panama Papers, Bail-Ins, and the Push to Go Cashless
This is neoliberalism hard at work. It champions privatization of public assets, one of its founding principles, or put another way, when the chips are down and prices at rock bottom, and when the people are looking down in despair, shift state assets to private enterprise. This is a universal principle of neoliberalism. The Chinese understand the neoliberal game and feast upon it. — Greece Loses its Soul
We are no more immune to the forces of decay and death than were ancient Athens, ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the Mayans, the Aztecs, Easter Island, Europe’s feudal society of lords and serfs, and the monarchal empires in early 20th-century Europe. Human nature has not changed. We will react as those before us reacted when they faced collapse. We will be increasingly consumed by illusion. We will seek to stop time, to prevent change, to embrace magical thinking in a desperate effort to return to an idealized past. Many will suffer. This time, collapse will be planetwide. There will be no new lands to conquer, no new peoples to subjugate, no new natural resources to plunder and exploit. Climate change will teach us a brutal lessen about hubris. The wages of sin, as Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans, is death—first moral and intellectual death and then physical death. The first, we already are experiencing. It would be reassuring to believe we could as a species avoid the second. But if human history is any guide, we are in for it. And the worse it gets, the more we seek to thwart change through magical thinking, the more our eventual extinction as a species is assured. — Chris Hedges, The Wages of Sin
What are the circumstances that have led us to hold a congress such as the one we’re going to convene? Was it a question of principle to do it in April [i.e. exactly five years since the last Congress]? Could we not have waited a few more months so that the activist base as a whole would have an opportunity to read and express opinions on the documents, before they go to the Congress? I must say that I see no justification whatsoever for us committing the ‘grave political error’ of convening a Congress without the mass of grassroots activists — which I consider to be the real party — having access to the documents to be approved by the Congress in order to discuss them. Have we given up on being a Leninist party? I am yet to hear anyone tell me that. — Esteban Morales, The kind of Congress many of us wouldn’t have wanted
The United States was never meant to be a ‘Democracy’:
. . . If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability. Various have been the propositions; but my opinion is, the longer they continue in office, the better will these views be answered. . . . — James Madison, Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787
. . .The Panama Papers, containing info on thousands of shell companies set up to avoid taxes and hide assets for over four decades from 1977 to 2015, are all about millionaires and billionaires and the politically connected “sticking it to” average citizens of the world by hiding money from fellow countrymen’s taxation policies and/or theft of state funds and laundering money. It is outrageously heinous and deserving of criminal incrimination and/or tarring and feathering whilst run out of town on a rail. It also begs the question of how many more rich pillagers are out there. . . . — The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime
. . . Some American intellectuals like Chris Hedges believe the public should/will revolt. “Hedges’ message is clear: Popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.” (Source: Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, Truthdig.com). Some American intellectuals like Chris Hedges believe the public should/will revolt. “Hedges’ message is clear: Popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.” (Source: Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, Truthdig.com). “Inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization” somehow fit together like peas in a pod; maybe because both originate from the same greedy, rapacious, devouringly insatiable thirst for opulent riches, at any cost. And, it’s proving to be a badge of cowardliness. — The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime
One of the deadliest strikes against civilians in Yemen’s year-long war involved U.S.-supplied weapons — The year-long campaign of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen reached a new low last month with a deliberate attack on a marketplace full of civilians that killed over 100, including 25 children, and a new report has found that the bombs that did the killing came from the United States. — American Bombs Killing Civilians in Yemen, Report Finds
On April 1, a group of prisoners from Ohio, Alabama, Virginia, and Mississippi called for a “nationally coordinated prisoner work stoppage against prison slavery” to take place on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison riot. “We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves,” that announcement reads. “They cannot run these facilities without us.” — Prisoners in Multiple States Call for Strikes to Protest Forced Labor
Lessons of the Panama Papers: Yes, the rich are different from us — they stole our money A vast web of lies and corruption protecting the super-rich is revealed — and it’s only the tip of an evil iceberg By Andrew O’HehirHealth, Education and Welfare:
This is actually not the first time Mossack Fonseca has been exposed. Investigative journalist Ken Silverstein released a report in December 2014 detailing how the law firm works with oligarchs, money launderers and dictators. A year and a half later, however, the release of a gargantuan cache of the company’s records show just how far this network of corruption spreads around the globe. The release of the Panama Papers comes mere days after the revelation of another scandal involving the shadowy company Unaoil. An explosive investigation found that the Monaco-based company exploits the widespread corruption in the Global South, charging multinational corporations multi-million dollar fees and then bribing government officials in oil-rich countries in order to get good deals for these companies. In the process, the little-known firm fuels inequality and helps destabilize natural resource-rich conflict areas in these countries, some of which are also implicated in the Panama Papers scandal. Both leaks shine further light on the international schemes of economic and political elites. — Inside the Panama Papers: Massive leak shows just how extensive corruption is worldwide, implicating politicians, human traffickers and drug dealers
It’s hard to know where to start in tallying up the explosive revelations in the Panama Papers, an analysis of leaked documents from global law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Yes, we’ve known for a while now that the shadow financial system was growing. But it’s another thing to take in 11.5 million documents showing the way in which Mossack Fonseca was working with big name financial groups like UBS, HSBC, Société Générale, and many others to help elites from the Communist Party leadership of China, to soccer star Lionel Messi, to global financiers hide cash in offshore havens around the world. It’s just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. “The size of the leak is unprecedented, but the tricks Mossack Fonseca has allegedly used for its clients are neither new nor surprising. Anonymous shell companies and the failure of governments to require lawyers, corporate service companies, or banks to collect beneficial ownership information on clients leave the door wide open for dirty money to flow around the globe virtually unhindered,” says Heather Lowe, the Director of Government Affairs for Global Financial Integrity, a Washington DC-based consultancy. — Time Magazine, The Panama Papers Could Lead to Capitalism’s Great Crisis
It is interesting but not at all mysterious that there are no Americans named in the Mossack Fonseca documents. The reason is simple. U.S. law so clearly favors the rich that they have no need to go offshore to form shell corporations. They can do so legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada. Rich people everywhere know it too. No need to go to Panama or Switzerland. The U.S. is now the best tax haven on the planet. Hopefully the corporate media will decide to cover that story too. — Freedom Rider: The Panama Papers Problem