With money comes power, and these guys have plenty of money, so watch out America: the Koch Brothers wealth increased by $12B in 2014. They are after your food stamps and other nutrition programs. They want Obamacare dismantled … and same for the United States Post Office, Social Security and housing assistance programs. They want prison populations increased and public education, gone forever. They want to house our parents and grandparents in homes where they decide what food and care they will get.
I’ve been waiting for someone with authority to come out and say this. Now Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has, and a New York Magazine reporter expands on the theme: universal healthcare in America is a problem for capitalists (represented by the GOP), because it both frees workers from staying at a job just for the health benefits and it knocks down a barrier to entrepreneurship. Capitalism always need an underclass to exploit but quality universal healthcare will make it harder to exploit workers. The worker that can easily leave a job for better conditions, opportunity or pay is a worker who has negotiating strength and may even have enough money to compete with his boss.
All I can tell my fellow Dems is: if you want a true democracy in the United States, vote for Bernie Sanders because the competition ain’t looking so good. I’m sorry to report some disturbing facts I’ve learned about our Vice President, Joe Biden, who seems not to be the egalitarian playing-field leveler that his media image portrays him to be.
Along with Bill Clinton, Biden helped drastically increase the United States prison population. According to the ACLU 1 in 99 US adults are living in prison and, “One in 31 adults are under some form of correctional control, counting prison, jail, parole and probation populations.”
In the middle of Central Park between 82nd and 89th Streets, heading east from its Western border on Central Park West, sat a village in 1825 with a population of about 300 mostly free Blacks. Cynthia Copeland of the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History spoke to NPR about the smear campaign the press ran against the villagers in order to
…help justify destroying people’s homes and cemeteries, using eminent domain to make way for what would become the most visited city park in the country. The village was leveled in 1857, the same year construction began on Central Park.
Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, sets the record state on the question of what the reason was for the United States Civil War. In this interesting short video Col. Seidule makes the case that the single reason was slavery. Does a good job with it, too.
Here are some highlights:
The buzz term “States’ Rights” was coined by Southern state residents and referred to the right they believed they possessed, to continue slavery.
Anyone who thinks of criticizing Univision’s Jorge Ramos for confronting Donald Trump on August 25, should know what Ramos experienced with Trump before the confrontation … should also understand why Ramos felt it was important for him, as one of the US Latino community’s most notable leaders, to get Trump’s immigration policy out in the open and on record … and should definitely understand the sorry state into which United States journalism has fallen in recent decades. Those who do, will appreciate Ramos for taking a stand in defense of real reporting and will applaud his bravery and service to the public.
Led by Rapper-activist-actor Common joined Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council and actor-rapper-activist Common, thousands of Newark residents united to “Occupy the City” on Saturday, August 8, meeting at a designated location in each of Newark’s five wards at 3:30 pm and marching to the City’s historic downtown “Four Corners” at Broad and Market Streets for a huge anti-violence and community support rally.
Building on the success and support from Newark residents during his “Occupy the Block events, Mayor Baraka hosted the “Occupy the City” event to unite residents against despair, violence, and crime in Newark and to promote love, hope and empowerment. “Occupy the Block” is a community engagement tool modeled after the historic “Occupy” movement, which advocates the social disruption of harmful or ineffective social constructs. Marchers wore purple t-shirts specially made for the occasion.
The community policing model becomes completely distorted when policeman – the civil servants you’re most likely to see and interact with in the course of a normal day – are turned into revenue producing instruments by the cities they work for. When a police officer’s job depends on whether s/he can generate enough revenue to keep his employer out of bankruptcy, a lot of people are going to be unhappy. And some of those unhappy people are going to be people grievously harmed, or excessively fined, for behaviour that shouldn’t be a big deal.
At the Georgetown University #PovertySummit President Obama made some very real comments, tying his own background to modern society’s challenges in the areas of education and social investment; access to jobs, internet, transportation; mentoring, youth, fatherhood, families and community:
I am a black man who grew up without a father, and I know the cost that I paid for that. And I also know that I have the capacity to break that cycle, and as a consequence I think that my daughters are better off … For me to have that conversation does not negate my conversation about the need for early childhood education, or the need for job training, or the need for investment in infrastructure or jobs in low-income communities…
A justified but quiet uproar is taking place around the country in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calling Mexicans criminals and rapists:
The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. [Applause] Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
Sen. Ted Cruz is an elitist Cuban-American, representative of Cuban plantation owners who imported and exploited African slaves for generations. A lesson plan from PBS’ Black in Latin America feature shows that by persecuting Haitians the Dominican Republic is simply following Cuba’s tradition of persecuting dark-skinned workers once the workers have been exploited to breaking point. This is the Cuban history:
When revolution broke out in the French colony of Saint Domingue (later known as Haiti), sugar production there came to a virtual halt. This caused a sudden demand for sugar. Cuban plantation owners quickly stepped in to fill the gap created by neighboring Haiti, placing Cubans in a position to profit immensely. By the mid-1800’s, Cuba replaced Haiti as the world’s leading producer of sugar, making Cuban plantation owners very wealthy. Sugar is a very labor intensive and the increased pressure to fill market demand for this lucrative crop resulted in a high death rate among slaves. Plantation owners responded to the labor shortage by purchasing more slaves thereby reinvigorating the Transatlantic slave trade even after the British sought to curtail it.
Americans for Tax Fairness has published their findings of a Walmart tax evasion investigation. I’m not devious enough to quickly understand how Walmart is doing this, and I sure don’t know if what it’s legal, but I’m glad to know eyebrows are being raised.
Their scheme goes something like this: Walmart has lied in corporate earnings filings about how much money they’ve sent overseas. They have stashed that money in secret accounts, mostly in Luxembourg, to avoid paying United States taxes on it. An interesting sidebar is that they now Walmarts wants to bring a lot of that money back into the US in order to expand their operation – again, without paying taxes on the earnings it represents. This just stinks, don’t you think?
Christie has assaulted vulnerable New Jersey residents and labor rights all the years of his governorship. Next City shares the low-down on what Christie’s gotten away with, and how he’s done it.
Take public education: having promised when he was campaigning to take care of New Jersey’s teachers, after getting into office Christie proceeded to systematically destroy public ed, along with teachers’ and students lives and the bloodshed is far from over. Newark and Camden have been among the communities hardest hit.
Through analyzing what’s wrong with The Wire, Dave Zirin takes a hard look at what is missing altogether from supposedly progressive TV shows that supposedly delve into the social injustices that are screaming for attention all across the US recently. Interesting read. Dave says:
I always shoved it to the back of my mind when my friends in Baltimore – I live about 45 minutes from the city – almost uniformly would tell me they either did not like or would not watch the show. People were hostile toward The Wire for a multiplicity of reasons. Some felt it was like gangster rap for a more sophisticated audience, glorifying black-on-black hyper-masculine street violence while selling itself as somehow more literate and ennobling to consume. My friend Mark once pissed me off fiercely when he told me that my favorite show was “NWA for people who read The New Yorker.”
Fortune publishes the oddest stuff. This intriguing article covers the burgeoning artisanal food prison business, thriving because its labor force is prison inmates that earn – get this – 60¢ an hour. Although, Colorado Corrections Institute director Steve Smith points out, a whole $3-400 a month can be earned with incentives (emphasis mine). Naturally, the prison industry itself profits handsomely from these relationships as middleman and overseer, making it pretty clear what has been driving Big Money’s strategy to lock up 1% of the United States population. The US is returning to a slave labor model … and calling it “help” for prison inmates. UK politics professor Genevieve LeBaron says,