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Truthout Daily Digest Friday May 2, 2014

William Rivers Pitt | Cliven Bundy: Clown Car or Trojan Horse?

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: The ongoing saga of freeloading Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is, on the surface, a perfect masterpiece of right-wing, clown-car stupidity. But Mr. Bundy’s most dedicated supporters were a couple of billionaire brothers named Charles and David Koch.

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Noam Chomsky | Red Lines in Ukraine and Elsewhere

Noam Chomsky, Truthout: This era’s most extreme international crime, the US-UK invasion of Iraq, was not a break in world order because the aggressors didn’t cross Russian or Chinese red lines. In contrast, Putin’s takeover of the Crimea and his ambitions in Ukraine cross US red lines.

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In Colombia, Free Trade Brings More Poverty and More Killings

David Bacon, Truthout: The free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia has produced a significant trade surplus for the United States, but a plan to protect Colombians has been totally ignored.

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Economy Adds 288,000 Jobs in April, Sharp Drop in Labor Force Leads to Plunge in Unemployment

Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research: The economy added 288,000 jobs in April. With upward revisions to the prior two months’ data, this brings the three-month average to 234,000. Voluntary part-time employment has been rising, which is a predictable effect of the Affordable Care Act.

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Brown‘s Bittersweet Legacy

Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins, OtherWords: What a bittersweet 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Educationruling. After making great progress toward integrating public schools, our nation reversed course. Resegregation gradually replaced integration as a leading educational indicator over the past 25 years.

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The Economic Plans of the Kiev Government Will Spell Ruin for a Great Many in Ukraine

Renfrey Clarke, Truthout: Ukraine’s “turn to the West,” in combination with austerity measures that will sharply reduce demand from the population and further cripple industry, will deindustrialize Ukraine and turn it into an agricultural and raw materials appendage of the EU.

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Don’t Let Net Neutrality Become Another Broken Promise

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Moyers & Company: The problem with the FCC is that “business and government are now so intertwined that public officials and corporate retainers are interchangeable.” FCC officials, including Tom Wheeler, transit back and forth through the revolving door between public service and lucrative private commerce.

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Tornado Survival Tips

Matthew Stein, Truthout: With thousands of flattened homes and numerous devastated communities in the aftermath of this week’s widespread tornadoes, it is worthwhile to revisit tornado safety tips.

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“Indigenous People’s Day” Will Be the Day We Regain Our Lands

Marta Molina, Waging Nonviolence: In Brazil, April 19 is “The Day of the Indian,” a commemoration imposed by whites in Brazil to supposedly remember the importance of indigenous cultures for the country. But the indigenous Guaraní people of Brazil have nothing to celebrate.

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Five Videos Worth Watching From the Senate Dark Money Hearing

John Light, Moyers & Company: In yesterday’s hearing on dark money, some very smart people shared their thoughts about big money’s corrupting influence on our democracy and what might be done to limit it. Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was one of them.

Watch the Videos and Read the Article

Amy Goodman | Brown Student Lena Sclove Speaks Out After School Lets Her Accused Rapist Return to Campus

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: The issue of sexual assault on college campuses has been in the spotlight this week with a White House task force urging schools to take action. But long before celebrities and senators entered the picture, the battle against sexual assault on college campuses was led by students who rose up to hold their schools accountable.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

The Lobbyists Behind Senate Failure to Advance Minimum Wage Increase

Jessica Desvarieux, The Real News Network: On Wednesday, the Harkin-Miller $10.10 minimum wage increase met its day on the Senate floor. In a 54 to 42 vote, the bill failed to advance – with the vote being split mostly along party lines.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript


Too Big to Jail Continues: DOJ May Charge Two Banks With Criminal Acts, but Not Hold Them Criminally Accountable

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: One of those breathlessNew York Times“insider” articles predicts that the Department of Justice will finally get at least two big banks to plead guilty to criminal charges. However, the forecast is that there will not be any significant criminal consequences.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Eugene Robinson | The Gruesome Inhumanity of the Death Penalty

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Carbon Dioxide Levels in Atmosphere Reach Terrifying New Milestone

Read the Article at Slate

Plumbing the Depths of Horror: The Hidden History of the United States

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Paul Krugman | Why Economics Failed

Read the Article at The New York Times

William Greider | Justice Sotomayor Speaks Truth to (White) Power

Read the Article at The Nation

Virginia Oil-Train Wreck Brings Demands for More Regulation

Read the Article at The Associated Press

How to Convince Conservative Christians That Global Warming Is Real

Read the Article at Mother Jones

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Daily Kos :: Cliven Bundy’s Forces Run Amok: What Would Happen if a Black “Militia” Took Over a White Town?

Cliven Bundy’s Forces Run Amok: What Would Happen if a Black “Militia” Took Over a White Town?

by chaunceydevega May 01, 2014 12:26pm PDT

According to this report, Cliven Bundy’s armed “militia” is now harassing the residents of Bunkerville, Nevada.

Democrat Congressman Stephen Horsford, who happens to be African-American, has requested that local law enforcement intervene and stop Bundy’s armed hooligans from causing mayhem in and around Bunkerville, Nevada.

I offer the obvious counter-factual: what if a white Republican congressman wrote an open letter to local law enforcement demanding that they do their jobs and stop a group of black or brown insurrectionists from brandishing weapons, setting up checkpoints on public roads, and harassing white people?

Moreover, if Fox News and the Right-wing media were laid out on their collective fainting couch by two members of a group called “The New Black Panthers”, they whose “crime” was having the temerity to stand outside of a polling area while holding sticks and looking “mean”, what madness would ensue if Bundy and his brigands were people of color (or even white “liberals” or “progressives”)?

The feeble response by the federal and state government to Cliven Bundy’s welfare king revolt is both fascinating and important because it is one more example of how white skin privilege, Right-wing populist authoritarianism, conservatism, and white supremacy have helped to create a protected class of people in the United States.

Privilege consists of all those day-to-day things that a given person does not have to think about.

In the context of Cliven Bundy and the rise of the White Right in the Age of Obama, white privilege consists of the freedom for white conservative protesters and militia members to point guns at federal law enforcement agents–and to do so with the reasonable expectation that you will not be shot dead.

Moreover, if said white conservative was shot dead for brandishing a weapon and/or threatening the life of a federal law enforcement agent, white privilege almost guarantees that they will become a martyr and hero for movement conservatism.

White men like Cliven Bundy and his ilk can commit acts of domestic terrorism, shoot up schools, or openly defy the legitimacy and authority of the country’s first black President (and Attorney General–this latter point is central and critical to the White Right’s histrionics in the Age of Obama) and there will be no national discussion about Whiteness and White Masculinity. Why? They are just individual outliers who in the (white) popular imagination tell us nothing about “the ways of white folks”.

Like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi mind trick in Star Wars: A New Hope, in such instances, Whiteness tells its owners and adherents that “there is nothing to see here, move along”.

Local law enforcement in the United States are heavily militarized. This had led to the abuse of citizens, murder, illegal and unlawful invasions of privacy, and excessive force in black and brown, as well as poor white communities. Consequently, the local and state police in Nevada should be able to neutralize Cliven Bundy’s thugs with relative ease.

A complication.

What if Bundy’s “patriots” were part of a larger movement that succeeded in taking over a town, city, or region?

Drawing on operational doctrines and Pentagon war plans, Small Wars Journal explored how the United States military would navigate the political and legal challenges of putting down a domestic revolt.

Cliven Bundy’s antics, and those of the broader White Right in the Age of Obama, reveals the prescient nature of the scenario explored in “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A Vision of the Future”:

In May 2016 an extremist militia motivated by the goals of the “tea party” movement takes over the government of Darlington, South Carolina, occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council, and placing the mayor under house arrest. Activists remove the chief of police and either disarm local police and county sheriff departments or discourage them from interfering. In truth, this is hardly necessary. Many law enforcement officials already are sympathetic to the tea party’s agenda, know many of the people involved, and have made clear they will not challenge the takeover. The militia members are organized and have a relatively well thought-out plan of action.
With Darlington under their control, militia members quickly move beyond the city limits to establish “check points” – in reality, something more like choke points — on major transportation lines. Traffic on I-95, the East Coast’s main north-south artery; I-20; and commercial and passenger rail lines are stopped and searched, allegedly for “illegal aliens.” Citizens who complain are immediately detained. Activists also collect “tolls” from drivers, ostensibly to maintain public schools and various city and county programs, but evidence suggests the money is actually going toward quickly increasing stores of heavy weapons and ammunition. They also take over the town web site and use social media sites to get their message out unrestricted.

When the leaders of the group hold a press conference to announce their goals, they invoke the Declaration of Independence and argue that the current form of the federal government is not deriving its “just powers from the consent of the governed” but is actually “destructive to these ends.” Therefore, they say, the people can alter or abolish the existing government and replace it with another that, in the words of the Declaration, “shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” While mainstream politicians and citizens react with alarm, the “tea party” insurrectionists in South Carolina enjoy a groundswell of support from other tea party groups, militias, racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, anti-immigrant associations such as the Minutemen, and other right-wing groups.

The insurrectionists will be defeated by the United States military. “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A Vision of the Future” details the process and its aftermath:
Federal forces continue to tighten the noose as troops seize and secure power and water stations, radio and TV stations, and hospitals. The final phase of the operation, restoring order and returning properly elected officials to their offices, will be the most sensitive.
Movements must be planned and executed more carefully than the operations that established the conditions for handover. At this point military operations will be on the downturn but the need for more politically aware military advice will not. War, and the use of federal military force on U.S. soil, remains an extension of policy by other means.

Given the invocation of the Insurrection Act, the federal government must defeat the insurrection, preferably with minimum force. Insurrectionists and their sympathizers must have no doubt that an uprising against the Constitution will be defeated. Dealing with the leaders of the insurrection can be left to the proper authorities, but drawing from America history, military advice would suggest an amnesty for individual members of the militia and prosecution for leaders of the movement who broke the law. This fictional scenario leads not to conclusions but points to ponder when considering 21st century full spectrum operations in the continental United States.

The Right-wing media helped to birth Cliven Bundy and the rise of the White Right in the post civil rights era. His armed insurrectionists are part of a cabal that includes a murderer’s row and rogues gallery of the most contemptible elements of the Right-wing such as the militia movement, the Koch Brothers, Fox News and its echo chamber, the Tea Party, white identity organizations, as well as Christian Dominionists and Reconstructionists.
These elements constitute a Venn diagram of civic ugliness and a collective threat to the Common Good.

Ultimately, when a white male conservative takes up arms against the federal government it is an act of “patriotism” and “courage”: Cliven Bundy is the myth of the American founding and frontier channeled through a violent, aggressive type of white masculinity which wraps itself in the vestments of the Constitution, the Bible, and the American flag.

Historically, when black and brown folks have taken up arms in self-defense against state tyranny and racism their deeds are reframed by the mainstream media and the (White) popular imagination as treason, rebellion, thuggery, and a threat to “law and order”.

If Cliven Bundy and his compatriots in armed insurrection were people of color (allowing for the occasional black or brown conservative token and human prop), he and they would quickly learn that Uncle Sam has little to no patience for those who openly defy his power and authority.

Prison, death, and/or the hospital bed would be their reward.


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He Dresses, She Slacks: Transgender Sex Roles

Thank you Grace! A lot of good questions here. I’ve always considered gender superfluous and just done as I pleased-much to the consternation of the narrow minded culturally boxed in sorts I encounter:-)
I’ve had a lot of transgender friends over the years, some were really psychologically distressed, others like my friend Courtland, seem vastly better adjusted than the average person.

I’ve always wondered why the majority go along with narrowly defined sex roles-or anytime really. Is it just easier to conform or do people really feel comfortable with such absurd limitations?
I feel very lucky to live in a time and place where the colonized can no longer force Native men to cut their hair and become dysfunctional like the settlers.

Grace Buchanan Audiobooks -- Let's Build Bridges Together -- renovating

I notice when people complain about weak sex roles. “Women should be women, and men should be men. “If we didn’t have rigid sex roles, might we all be “people” instead of “male” and “female”?

a "feminine" Barbie Doll contrasts with a "masculine" Lieutenant Worf action figure

Last month, the highest court in Australia decided to recognize some people as being of a non-specific sex. If we didn’t have rigid sex roles, would we all be “people” instead of “male” and “female”?

If we didn’t have rigid sex roles, what might be a reason for being transgender?

Let’s take a look at some of our ideas about sex roles, and think about what we want and expect from men and women, and from ourselves.

Transgender and Sex Role Considerations:

Social Sex Roles
Sex Roles in the Workplace
Value of Each Gender
Body Language
Social Expectations
Transgender Psychology Issues
Sexual Preference
Physical Characteristics

Social Sex Roles


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Truthout Daily Digest Thursday May 1,2014

May Day: While the World Celebrates Workers, the US Celebrates “Loyalty” and “Law”

Justin Doolittle, Truthout: Let us mourn the loss of May Day here in the United States, and defy it by expressing solidarity with workers all over the world and gratitude that the US government’s shameless attempt to replace May Day with contrived expressions of obedience and propaganda has so utterly failed.

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“Rising Voices for a New Economy” Connects the Dots

Sam Knight, Truthout: “Rising Voices for a New Economy” brought over a thousand activists together in Washington DC to protest rising economic inequality, poverty and family-destroying deportations in the absence of immigration and other structural reforms.

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Taking Back Cinco

Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, Truthout: From no acknowledgment at all, to a proud celebration of “Mexican-ness,” to a commercialized beerfest, Cinco de Mayo has seen many transformations in the last half-century. It is time to transform it again and recover meaning.

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The Untold, Real-Life Story of the Prison in “Orange Is the New Black”

Victoria Law, Waging Nonviolence: The Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, is the prison made famous by Piper Kerman’s memoir-turned-Netflix-show “Orange Is the New Black.” It’s also where the real-life group Families for Justice as Healing got its start.

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The Working-Class Mini-Revolts of the 21st Century

Jeremy Brecher, Labor Network for Sustainability: Each of these 21st century mini-revolts, whether or not successful in realizing immediate objectives, succeeded in transforming the understanding of the world and of the possibilities for action for millions of people.

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In Spite of Corporate Lobbyists, Vermont Residents Organize to Raise the Wage

Jonathan Leavitt, Truthout: While legislators in the Vermont State House seem to more often be swayed by Koch-funded lobbyists than the concerns of their constituents, The Vermont Workers’ Center and other activist groups are organizing to win livable wages in the state.

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The Serendipity of Social Media – Sevim Irmak’s Fight for Her Country

John de Graaf, Truthout: The author of Affluenza learns the power of social media to help him understand the world beyond his borders, specifically the strange case of neoliberalizing and fundamentalizing Turkey.

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Execution Chaos: Witness Recounts Botched Killing That Caused Oklahoma Prisoner’s Fatal Heart Attack

Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now!: Oklahoma death row prisoner Clayton Lockett was injected with an untested cocktail of lethal drugs and died of a heart attack after a botched execution Tuesday night. Journalist Ziva Branstetter was present and discusses what she witnessed.

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This Land Isn’t Your Land, This Land Is Their Land: An Empire in Decline (City by City, Town by Town)

Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch: As the US economy starts to look more like the old economy of the Great Depression, the divide between rich and poor seems to grow ever starker. Peter Van Buren has been traveling the Rust Belt, taking the temperature of a land with a significant fever. Here’s his account.

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The Neoliberal Turn in American Health Care

A. W. Gaffney, Jacobin: The failings of the Affordable Care Act are rooted in a long shift away from the idea of a truly universal health care. The law leaves intact a system of health care based on key neoliberal beliefs including the “moral hazard” of free care and the primacy of health consumerism.

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Economic Update: Shameful Economics

Richard D. Wolff, Economic Update / Truthout: Updates on Alabama prison/slave labor; automobile irrationalities; and the California drought. Major discussions of cutting public employee pensions; cutting state support for public higher education; and lotteries as disguised taxes on middle and poor Americans. Responses to listener questions on the Federal Reserve “creating” money and why corporations operate overseas and then want government (taxpayers’) support for corporations’ foreign operations.

Listen to the Radio Segment

Take Roots Action:

The FCC is proposing to end the open Internet in favor of a system that favors corporate content. The Internet is pushing back, trying to save itself.

You can help: Tell Chairman Wheeler and the rest of the FCC that we will not stand any move to end net neutrality.


The BuzzFlash commentary for Truthout will return soon.

World Health Organization Calls for Urgent Action to Preserve Power of Antibiotics and Make New Ones

Read the Article at The Guardian

Egypt Mass Death Sentences: 60 Percent of Defendants Not Present at Scene of the Crime

Read the Article at BBC News

Military Sexual Assault Reports Skyrocket 50 Percen

Read the Article at RT News

Why Is Alaska Fighting the Cleanup of Chesapeake Bay?

Read the Article at Grist

Hawaii Raises Its Minimum Wage to $10.10 an Hour, Strikes a Big Blow Against Tipping

Read the Article at Slate

Natural Gas CEO Pulls in $142 Million, Despite Company Never Turning a Profit

Read the Article at Al Jazeera America

This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant, Then the Government Made His Family’s Life Hell

Read the Article at Mother Jones