Tag Archives | Politics

Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism

DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Street writes at CounterPunch:

Racism as Just an Economic Problem

The nominally socialist Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie “sheep dog” Sanders, from 95% white Vermont, has, it turns out, some race problems – at least five by my count. The first one, very much on his display in his speech to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s old organization the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) last July 25th, is his economistic tendency to downplay the significance of race and the importance of specifically anti-racist struggle.

Reflecting the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement that has arisen in response to racist police killings, Sanders addressed the SCLC to demonstrate his commitment to racial justice. He came armed with a surplus of terrible statistics on US racial disparities and institutional racism. Sanders seemed eager to wrap himself in the legacy of Dr. King. “Bernie” (as his liberal; and progressive fans like to call him) trumpeted his own youthful work in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

SAFT complicit in Gaza massacre

IMG_0105

Corporate Watch has identified SAFT, a battery manufacturer as a company that profited off of last year’s massacre in Gaza.

Corporate Watch says photos of last year’s massacre in Gaza “show that a military battery pack manufactured in the US by French company SAFT was discarded in the village of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip after one of the worst massacres of the attack.”

SAFT produces batteries used in the aviation, transport (tram and metro), oil and gas and telecommunications industries as well as for military use. The battery pack photographed in Khuza’a was given to the IDF by the United States, where SAFT has a significant presence.

Corporate Watch says as a part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, activists have a responsibility “to target companies involved in supplying equipment used by the Israeli military. Activists should consider campaigning for SAFT’s non-military contractors to drop their contracts with SAFT over its complicity in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.”

The photograph of the SAFT equipment in question comes from the IDF attack on the village of Khuza’a.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Let Hunter S. Thompson guide you through the election season

51m74hame4LI love the US election season. I think it’s because I live overseas now and I don’t have to sit through commercials or look at billboards, which is a blessed relief. Also, for better or worse my guy won the last two elections, and I joyfully took sustenance from the flowing tears of the Republicans standing around in abject shock that they had lost, then lost again. Each mouth agape in bewilderment, each wail of disbelief, each and every tear filled me like wine and I immediately wrote a letter to Apple demanding that they include a picture of Nelson Muntz in the emojis package for the next iPhone OS update. 

Of course, I was also around for the George W. Bush years when the shoe was on the other foot, watching the democrats run Frankenstein in 2004 and clawing at my hair when they seemed to actually expect him to win, as if a man who couldn’t excite a crowd if his hair suddenly caught on fire had a chance against the political skullduggery of Bush, Cheney, et al.Read the rest

Continue Reading

World Bank Critics Attacked and Jailed

Members of the Boeung Kak Lake community in Cambodia demonstrate at a police blockade in December 2012 on the second day of community activist Yorm Bopha’s trial, on trumped up charges apparently brought for speaking out on forced evictions linked to a World Bank financed project. © 2012 John Vink via HRW

Members of the Boeung Kak Lake community in Cambodia demonstrate at a police blockade in December 2012 on the second day of community activist Yorm Bopha’s trial, on trumped up charges apparently brought for speaking out on forced evictions linked to a World Bank financed project. © 2012 John Vink via HRW

Human Rights Watch says the World Bank critics were attacked by local governments, with almost complete impunity.

A report, by Human Rights Watch, entitled “At Your Own Risk: Reprisals against Critics of World Bank Group Projects” says that though the World Bank and many of the companies it invests in have “policies that require them to consult communities and safeguard against causing harm to them and the environment through their investments… in reality this often adds up to very little when communities come under attack.”

The organization says “people in Cambodia, India, Uganda, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere have faced reprisals from governments and powerful companies for criticizing projects financed by the World Bank and the IFC [which] failed to respond meaningfully to abuses that make a mockery out of their own stated commitments to participation and accountability…the World Bank Group has failed even to take appropriate action when people have suffered reprisals specifically because they were involved in bringing human rights concerns to the attention of Group officials.”

Though the World Bank says it spoke out against some of these abuses and attempted to seek remuneration for the victims, their claims are contradicted by their subsequent choice to enable the perpetrators.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Varieties of Denialism

global-warming-denialism-04

Massimo Pigliucci writes at Scientia Salon:

I have just come back from a stimulating conference at Clark University about “Manufacturing Denial,” which brought together scholars from wildly divergent disciplines — from genocide studies to political science to philosophy — to explore the idea that “denialism” may be a sufficiently coherent phenomenon underlying the willful disregard of factual evidence by ideologically motivated groups or individuals.

Let me clarify at the outset that we are not talking just about cognitive biases here. This isn’t a question of the human tendency to pay more attention to evidence supporting one’s view while attempting to ignore contrary evidence. Nor are we talking about our ability as intelligent beings to rationalize the discrepancy between what we want to believe and what the world is like. All of those and more affect pretty much all human beings, and can be accounted for and at the least partially dealt with in the course of normal discussions about whatever it is we disagree about.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Israel Arrests Jewish Activist for ‘Nationalist Crimes’

Via Al Jazeera English:

A right-wing Jewish activist has been arrested after a Palestinian baby died in a West Bank firebombing, as police investigated online threats against Israel’s president for condemning “Jewish terrorism”.

The domestic intelligence service named the activist as Meir Ettinger, a grandson of Meir Kahane, a rabbi who founded the anti-Arab movement Kach and was assassinated in 1990 in New York.

Ettinger was arrested in Safed in northern Israel “because of his activities in a Jewish extremist organisation”, a Shin Bet spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Police said Ettinger, who is aged around 20, was suspected of “nationalist crimes” but did not accuse him of direct involvement in Friday’s firebombing.

Israeli media alleged that he was implicated in a June 18 arson attack on a shrine in northern Israel where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

Ettinger was due to appear in court on Tuesday for a custodial hearing, police said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ralph Nader’s Open Letter to Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders

(Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

(Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams.

Dear Senator Sanders,

You’ve come a long way without my advice, but now that you are running for president, you may be interested in these suggestions:

  1. You’ve taken progressive positions on “decent paying job programs” such as investing in repairing our country’s public works, raising the minimum wage, strengthening labor laws, opposing the good-job-exporting, corporate-managed trade treaties such as NAFTA and WTO, and creating a Youth Job Corps. Now you need to make major addresses in greater detail on each topic before large audiences. The media coverage of these events will be very helpful during primary season.
  2. You need to identify with local and regional issues as you travel around the country and appear with the citizen or labor groups championing these pathways to justice. Just about all major presidential candidates assiduously avoid such identification for fear of some taint or gaffe when dealing with less common topics.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

Bernie Sanders, Speak Up: War and Corporate Power Fuel Each Other

When we surveyed RootsAction supporters nineteen months ago, more than 80 percent said they wanted Senator Bernie Sanders to run for president.

Bernie Sanders. Photo: Jonathunder (CC)

Bernie Sanders. Photo: Jonathunder (CC)

 

That wish has come true. With a strong grassroots campaign, Bernie is eloquent as he denounces corporate power, economic inequality and “oligarchy.”

But he’s saying very little about crucial issues of war, militarism and foreign policy.

Militarism and oligarchy go together. Click here to urge Bernie Sanders to say so.

As of now, on his campaign’s official website, the page headlined “Bernie Sanders: On the Issues” says nothing at all about foreign policy, war or any other such topics.

So far, Bernie’s stump speech hardly mentions the huge military budget — and does not talk about how it is a massive roadblock for the scale of public investment in education, infrastructure and jobs that he is advocating.

Click here and put your name on the petition we’re launching today — “Bernie Sanders, Speak Up: Militarism and Corporate Power Are Fueling Each Other.”

While invoking the name and spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., so far in this campaign Bernie has detoured around Dr.Read the rest

Continue Reading