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Carl Hiaasen: Racial lynchings, our own history of terrorism | Miami Herald Miami Herald

The victims, a man and a woman, were first tied to a tree.

Their fingers were hacked off and given out as souvenirs. Next their ears were chopped from their heads. A mob beat the man while a crowd of hundreds watched.

A large corkscrew was then used to mutilate both captives, who were tossed onto a fire and burned. While all this was happening, the onlookers — which included women and children — were served lemonade and deviled eggs.

This isn’t a scene the latest ISIS video in Syria. It’s a homegrown American atrocity that took place in 1904 in Doddsville, Miss.

A black man named Luther Holbert and a woman thought to be his wife were snatched by a lynch mob on suspicion of killing a white landowner. No prosecution, no trial, no finding of guilt.

The deaths were two of 3,959 “racial terror lynchings” in 12 Southern states between 1877 and 1950, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. The Alabama-based legal-rights group spent five years researching such murders, and how they were used to terrify African-American communities.

As horrified as we are by the beheadings aired by thugs of the Islamic State, the barbaric spectacles that for decades took place in town squares and public parks across the Deep South were no less monstrous.

Racial lynchings often were staged in a festive carnival atmosphere with large crowds. Sometimes enterprising printers peddled postcards featuring photos of the mangled dead body.

(Please click the link below to read this column on The Miami Herald site-

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/carl-hiaasen/article10771169.html )


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Common Dreams Highlights | Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Featured…

US Climate Plan ‘Treats the Wound But Does Not Stop the Bleeding’
by Lauren McCauley
As the White House unveils blueprint for emission reductions ahead of UN climate talks, groups warn that unless US moves beyond fossil fuels it will not avert climate catastrophe.

News…

Revulsion and Revolt: Backlash Against Indiana’s Pro-Discrimination Law Grows
by Jon Queally
‘To see folks actively speaking out and taking a stand, people you never thought would say something about it, it says a lot.’
With New Abortion Bill, Arizona Writes Medical Malpractice into Law
by Deirdre Fulton
‘This is unacceptable and not how safe medical care of any kind is provided,’ says women’s health advocate.
Seattle City Council Unanimously Declares Opposition to Fast Track, TPP
by Deirdre Fulton
‘Few things counterpose the interests of multinational corporations to the interests of workers, the environment, and democracy’ like the TPP, says councilmember Kshama Sawant.
From Original 15 to More Than 80, Student Loan Strike Numbers Grow
by Jon Queally
‘It’s been a month since 15 former students of the failing for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges said they would not pay a dime of their student loans because the school broke the law.’
‘Still Struggling’: Study of Gulf Species Contradicts BP’s Slick Corporate Spin
by Deirdre Fulton
‘It may take years or even decades before the full impacts are known, and more research is clearly needed,’ reads National Wildlife Federation report.
President Obama Grants Clemency to 22 Drug Offenders
by Lauren McCauley
Executive Orders issued to correct ‘outdated’ and overblown sentencing for non-violent drug offenders swept up in War on Drugs.
more news…

Views…

Trans-Pacific Partnership Proves Rules Are Rigged in Favor of the 1 Percent
by Katrina vanden Heuvel
Our global trade and tax policies have been and still are controlled by corporate and financial interests. They, not workers or consumers, write the rules.
The Real Way to Judge the US Climate Pledge
by Jamie Henn
If we don’t see global emissions peak and rapidly decline in the next few years, the world will be on track for disaster.
Honoring Cesar Chavez’s Birthday by Supporting the Farm Workers for Whom He Gave His Life
by Arturo Rodriguez
The United Farm Workers carries on Cesar’s legacy every day by aggressively helping farm workers organize, negotiate union contracts and win new legal protections.
Menendez Downfall Could Be Diplomacy’s Windfall
by Medea Benjamin & Katie Powers
Menendez plays loose with issues of war and peace.
Indiana Just Sentenced a Woman Convicted of Feticide to 20 Years in Prison
by Michelle Goldberg
Indiana’s law allowing discrimination against gay people is not the only reason that the state deserves our opprobrium. It’s also about to become the first state to imprison a woman for what it says is the death of a baby born after an attempted abortion.
When Being Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Israeli Is the Same Thing
by Robert Shetterly
On why I painted physician, author, and peace activist Alice Rothchild.
more views…

Newswire…

more newswire…

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Common Dreams Highlights | Monday, 30 March 2015

Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Featured…

Taking Aim at Clinton, Former Maryland Governor Says Presidency ‘Not a Crown’
by Lauren McCauley
Testing the waters for potential nomination bid, Martin O’Malley calls for a president willing to take on ‘wealthy, special interests.’

News…

TPP Opponents Mobilize as Powerful Forces Seek to Ram Through ‘Fast Track’ Trade Authority
by Deirdre Fulton
Lawmakers in favor of the pro-corporate trade deals hope to vote on Fast Track legislation in mid-April.
Syria’s President Assad: US Airstrikes a Recruiting Bonanza for ISIS
by Jon Queally
Americans would like to ‘sugar coat’ the situation, says Bashar al-Assad, but the situation in his country is only being made worse by airstrikes.
‘Heart Over Hard’: Thousands Protest Austerity in Brussels
by Deirdre Fulton
Demonstrators call for Belgian government to tackle fraud and enact higher taxes on the rich.
GMO Seed Theft Equals National Security Threat, Argues Government
by Lauren McCauley
Defense attorneys say spying on alleged Chinese seed plotters in trade dispute signifies ‘breathtaking’ overreach.
After Talking to Washington Post About Low Wages, Hotel Worker Fired
by Common Dreams staff
In original profile, journalist wrote that Shanna Tippen’s experience ‘reflects a more realistic picture’ of life on minimum wage.
As Chaos in Yemen Continues, Air Strike Kills Dozens at Refugee Camp
by Deirdre Fulton
Roughly 500 new families arrived in the camp over the last two days, escaping bombings in other parts of the country.
more news…

Views…

There’s a Reason the Big Banks Aren’t Mad with Hillary
by John Atcheson
And Why Those Emails Matter
Why the NCAA Should Move the Final Four Out of Indiana
by Dave Zirin
“Here is a time to say that despite the branding, the swooshes and the ads everywhere, money is really not the most important part of college athletics.”
Report: Big Education Firms Spend Millions Lobbying for Pro-Testing Policies
by Valerie Strauss
Four top testing companies collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.
Balancing the Tensions of Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani
by Ralph Nader
“Above all, President Ghani wants to neutralize anybody or anything that undermines or distracts from his focus on building trust in government.”
You Owe Us, Corporations: Four Reasons Why, and One Way to Pay
by Paul Buchheit
Corporate profits are at their highest level in 85 years, growing by 171 percent in the first half of the Obama presidency.
Black America’s State of Surveillance
by Malkia Cyril
“Black people and other people of color have lived for centuries with surveillance practices aimed at maintaining a racial hierarchy.”
more views…

Newswire…

more newswire…

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Truthout Daily Digest | Saturday, 28 March 2015

Beyond Homan Square: US History Is Steeped in Torture

Adam Hudson, Truthout: When reports of torture in CIA black sites or Chicago’s Homan Square come out, it’s tempting to view them as historical anomalies, but they are not. Rather, state torture is the norm, a product of the slavery and imperialism on which the United States was built.

Read the Article

Louisiana Residents Convince EPA That Burning Explosive Waste Outside Is a Bad Idea

Mike Ludwig, Truthout: More than 18 million pounds of hazardous explosives are still sitting in bunkers at Camp Minden in Louisiana, after an explosion happened there more than two years ago. Officials haven’t agreed on how to clean up the wartime leftovers, but they have decided not to burn them in the open air.

Read the Article

Shaker Aamer: Hostage to the Special Relationship

Aisha Maniar, Truthout: Prisoner Shaker Aamer is not being held at Guantánamo Bay for anything he has done; he is a pawn in the power games of others.

Read the Article

A Window Into Congressional Intelligence Oversight

Jude Widmann, Truthout: The positions advocated in a recent essay in Foreign Affairs by Jane Harman, former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, reflect how weak, incomplete and outdated US intelligence oversight is.

Read the Article

The Divisive Euro: National Struggles and International Solidarity

Lorenzo Del Savio and Matteo Mameli, Truthout: While nationalist rhetoric has often been exclusionary and utilized by racist, right-wing factions, national struggles can also be an inclusionary means to stimulate solidarity among the oppressed, in Greece and other disadvantaged European nations, against the political and economic elites of the European Union.

Read the Article

Endless War: As US Strikes Tikrit and Delays Afghan Pullout, “War on Terror” Toll Tops 1.3 Million

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: As the United States begins bombing the Iraqi city of Tikrit and again delays a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new report has found that the Iraq War has killed about 1 million people. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War examined the toll from the so-called war on terror.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

The Fight of Their Lives: Can Adjuncts Finally Win a Living Wage?

Rebecca Burns, AlterNet: Seattle may have become one of the first cities to pass a $15 minimum wage last year, but the city’s adjunct instructors say that the dictum for fair pay has yet to penetrate the Ivory Tower. The next big fight for decent labor protections is heating up in academia.

Read the Article

Howard Zinn, “Finishing School for Pickets,” and Paula Giddings, “Learning Insubordination”

Howard Zinn and Paula J. Giddings, TomDispatch: In an excerpt from 1960, Howard Zinn observes the young women of Spelman College turning into protesters, while historian Paula J. Giddings vividly looks back on Zinn and the Spelman experience 55 years later.

Read the Excerpt and the Essay

Talk Climate to Me

Emily Schwartz Greco, OtherWords: While Florida Gov. Rick Scott openly questions whether climate change is occurring, he denies he’s muzzling his staff. But stories of Florida state workers and contractors getting the brunt of this censorship make his denial ring hollow.

Read the Article

Paul Krugman | Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal: Few Benefits, Many Questions

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: Why do some parties want this treaty so much? Because, as with many “trade” deals in recent years, the intellectual property aspects are more important than the trade aspects. We should never forget that protecting intellectual property means creating a monopoly.

Read the Article

Household Debt Is a National Crisis

LeeAnn Hall, OtherWords: The Obama administration should investigate all forms of predatory lending, including student loans, payday loans, medical loans, mortgages and credit cards. Our children, our neighbors, our parents, the sick and the struggling aren’t cash cows for bankers and lenders to milk.

Read the Article

Deep Dive: The White House’s New Memo on Drones and Privacy

Rachel Levinson-Waldman, Brennan Center for Justice: Last month, President Obama released a presidential memorandum on the domestic use of drones by federal agencies. The memorandum addresses the implications for privacy, civil rights and civil liberties. The memorandum takes some steps in the right direction, but leaves many questions unanswered.

Read the Article

BuzzFlash

Those Who Want Peace Have the High Moral Ground; Those Who Want Conflict Have the Power

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The bottom line is that war needs to occur in order to justify the US military empire.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Ted Cruz Is All About Repressing the Religious Rights of Non-Christians

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Co-Pilot Appears to Have Crashed Germanwings Plane on Purpose, Prosecutor Says

Read the Article at Reuters

Wealth vs. Money

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

“False Witnesses” Publish Deeply Flawed Study on Abortion Mortality in Mexico

Read the Article at RH Reality Check

WikiLeaks Leaks TPP Draft!

Read the Article at Daily Kos

Bring Snowden Home? European Panel Says It’s Time

Read the Article at WhoWhatWhy

Saudi Arabia Launches Yemen Air Strikes as Alliance Builds Against Houthi Rebels

Read the Article at The Guardian


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Australia Is Again Stealing Its Indigenous Children | Truthout

This is outrageous. It must be stopped. Why do these damn right wing fascist monsters always behave as if indigenous people are commodities? And seriously-WHO votes these freaks into office over and over after their behavior is plainly detrimental to our countries and most individuals? Is the brainwashing really so effective?
ohnwentsya

Australia Is Again Stealing Its Indigenous Children

Tuesday, 25 March 2014
By John Pilger, Truthout | News Analysis

Sorry day: Honor the stolen generation. (Image: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierre_pouliquin/2555742909/" target="_blank"> Pierre Pouliquin / Flickr</a>)Sorry day: Honor the stolen generation. (Image: Pierre Pouliquin / Flickr)Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. Truthout relies on reader donations – click here to make a tax-deductible contribution and support our work.

The tape is searing. There is the voice of an infant screaming as he is wrenched from his mother, who pleads, “There is nothing wrong with my baby. Why are you doing this to us? I would’ve been hung years ago, wouldn’t I? Because (as an Australian Aborigine) you’re guilty before you’re found innocent.” The child’s grandmother demands to know why “the stealing of our kids is happening all over again.” A welfare official says, “I’m gunna take him, mate.”

This happened to an Aboriginal family in outback New South Wales. It is happening across Australia in a scandalous and largely unrecognized abuse of human rights that evokes the infamous Stolen Generation of the last century. Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed-race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labor; many were abused.

Described by a chief protector of Aborigines as “breeding out the color,” the policy was known as assimilation. It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis. In 1997, a landmark report, “Bringing Them Home,” disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured “the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation … the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state.” The report called this genocide.

Assimilation remains Australian government policy in all but name. Euphemisms such as “reconciliation” and “Stronger Futures” cover similar social engineering and an enduring, insidious racism in the political elite, the bureaucracy and wider Australian society. When in 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized for the Stolen Generation, he added: “I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation.” The Sydney Morning Herald congratulated Rudd on a “shrewd maneuver” that “cleared away a piece of political wreckage that responds to some of its supporters’ emotional needs, but changes nothing.”

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been “removed.” This is five times the number when “Bringing Them Home” was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal – from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone.

Pat (not her real name) is the mother whose anguish was secretly recorded on a phone as four Department of Child Services officials, and six police officers, descended on her home. On the tape an official claims they have come only for an “assessment.” But two of the police officers, who knew Pat, told her they saw no risk to her child and warned her to “get out of here quick.” Pat fled, cradling her infant, but the one-year-old was eventually seized without her knowing why. The next morning a police officer returned to apologize to her and said her baby should never have been taken away. Pat has no idea where her son is.

Once, she was “invited” by officials to bring her children to “neutral” offices to discuss a “care plan.” The doors were locked and officials seized the children, with one of the youngest dragging on a police officer’s gun belt. Many indigenous mothers are unaware of their legal rights. A secretive Children’s Court has become notorious for rubber-stamping removals.

Most Aboriginal families live on the edge. Their life expectancy in towns a short flight from Sydney is as low as 37. Dickensian diseases are rife; Australia is the only developed country not to have eradicated trachoma, which blinds Aboriginal children.

Pat has both complied with and struggled bravely against a punitive bureaucracy that can remove children on hearsay. She has twice been acquitted of false charges, including “kidnapping” her own children. A psychologist has described her as a capable and good mother.

Josie Crawshaw, the former director of a respected families’ support organization in Darwin, told me, “In remote areas, officials will go in with a plane in the early hours and fly the child thousands of kilometers from their community. There’ll be no explanation, no support, and the child may be gone forever.”

In 2012, Coordinator-General of Remote Services for the Northern Territory Olga Havnen was sacked when she revealed that almost $80 million was spent on the surveillance and removal of Aboriginal children, compared with only $500,000 on supporting the same impoverished families. She told me, “The primary reasons for removing children are welfare issues directly related to poverty and inequality. The impact on families is just horrendous because if they are not reunited within six months, it’s likely they won’t see each other again. If South Africa was doing this, there’d be an international outcry.”

She and others with long experience I have interviewed have echoed the “Bringing them Home” report, which described an official “attitude” in Australia that regarded all Aboriginal people as “morally deficient.” A Department of Families and Community Services spokesman said that the majority of removed indigenous children in New South Wales were placed with indigenous caregivers. According to indigenous support networks, this is a smokescreen; it does not mean families and it is control by divisiveness that is the bureaucracy’s real achievement.

I met a group of Aboriginal grandmothers, all survivors of the first stolen generation, all now with stolen grandchildren. “We live in a state of fear, again,” they said. David Shoebridge, a State Greens MP, told me, “The truth is, there is a market among whites for these kids, especially babies.”

The New South Wales parliament is soon to debate legislation that introduces forced adoption and “guardianship.” Children under two will be liable – without the mother’s consent – if “removed” for more than six months. For many Aboriginal mothers like Pat, it can take six months merely to make contact with their children. “It’s setting up Aboriginal families to fail,” said Shoebridge.

I asked Josie Crawshaw why. “The willful ignorance in Australia about its first people has now become the kind of intolerance that gets to the point where you can smash an entire group of humanity and there is no fuss.”

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted withoutpermission.

JOHN PILGER

John Pilger is an Australian-born, London-based journalist, filmmaker and author. For his foreign and war reporting, ranging from Vietnam and Cambodia to the Middle East, he has twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism. For his documentary films, he won a British Academy Award and an American Emmy. In 2009, he was awarded Australia’s human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize. John Pilger’s films can be viewed on his website.

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Truthout Daily Digest | Sunday, 22 March 2015

Monica Jones to the UN: US Must Decriminalize Sex Work

Mike Ludwig, Truthout: Nearly two years ago, Monica Jones was walking to meet some friends at a neighborhood bar in Phoenix, Arizona, when she was picked up by an undercover cop and arrested for prostitution during a massive police sweep. Now, she’s in Geneva, Switzerland, taking her case to the United Nations.

Read the Article

Up Next on the GOP’s To-Do List: Selling US National Forests

Dan Faris, Truthout: In February, a conservation group held a mock auction of the Grand Canyon. They wanted to prove the absurdity of selling our protected national lands. Unfortunately, thanks to the GOP, this may be closer to reality than we could have guessed.

Read the Article

Don’t Fall for the Former Nigerian Dictator Playing Democrat

Adjoa Agyeiwaa, Truthout: Western media display bias and shortsightedness toward Nigerian presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator. However, Nigerian voters must not fall for his populist slogans of hasty change, which could result in the country backsliding to dictatorship.

Read the Article

Everyone’s Asking the Wrong Questions About Health Care in the US

Michela Dai Ziv, It’s Just Copper and Plastic: Instead of arguing over how many unborn children can dance on the head of a pin, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves how it is that a 25-cent birth-control device came to cost almost $1,000 in the United States, and why we seem unable to do anything about it?

Read the Article

Obama Seeks Fast Track for Trade Deal That Could Thwart “Almost Any Progressive Policy or Goal”

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: Congressional Democrats are openly criticizing the secrecy surrounding the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, just as President Obama begins a major push to pass the controversial deal.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

From Good Ole Boy to Progressive Activist: One Man’s Story

Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout: James Gustave Speth traces his transition from a “good ole boy” growing up in the segregated south to vocal anti-racist and environmental activist.

Read the Review

Voices From Solitary: “I Am Somebody’s Daughter”

Victoria Law, Solitary Watch: The following account is by Nicole Natschke, who is currently held in the segregation unit at Illinois’ Logan Correctional Facility, about three hours south of Chicago. She explains that even a few weeks in solitary confinement can have dire consequences on people’s physical and mental well-being.

Read the Article

“Data Trespass,” Wyoming’s Fancy Name for Ag-Gag

Sue Udry, Dissent NewsWire: Jonathan Ratner tests water. He visits streams in Wyoming, takes samples and tests them for E. coli. He’s been testing streams for years, concerned that waste from Wyoming’s 1.3 million cattle is polluting streams. And it is.

Read the Article

Medea Benjamin | Ten Things to Know About the GOP’s “Iran Letter” Sponsor

Medea Benjamin, PINKtank: Hailing from Arkansas, 37-year-old Sen. Tom Cotton boasts the title of being the youngest member of the Senate, but he spouts the old warmongering rhetoric of 78-year-old Sen. John McCain. From Guantánamo to women’s rights, here are 10 reasons why Tom Cotton is a dangerous dude.

Read the Article

The Dilemma of Soy in Argentina

Fabiana Frayssinet, Inter Press Service: Industrial soy production continues to expand in Argentina, pushing small farmers out of the countryside. It presents a challenge in a country where 70 percent of the food consumed comes from family farms, but which also needs the foreign exchange brought in by “green gold.”

Read the Article

Richard D. Wolff | Economic Update: Economics of Corruption

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout: This episode provides updates on a press conference concerning Janet Yellen and “Blockupy” protests in Europe against the European Central Bank and austerity. We also respond to questions on New York Mayor de Blasio signing a bill for worker co-ops and an important fight over the closing of Sweet Briar college.

Listen to the Audio Segment

BuzzFlash

Fox On-Air Propagandists Blare That Not Everyone Should Vote

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: When Fox pundits assert that only “informed” people should vote, that raises an important question. If being informed with actual facts is the standard, then no one watching Fox should be able to vote.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Mountaintop Mining Removal: It’s Time to Bring This Tragedy to an End

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Jon Stewart Eviscerates Fox for “Benghazi Race-Gasm”

Watch the Video at Comedy Central

Paul Krugman: Trillion Dollar Fraudsters

Read the Article at The New York Times

School Ties: College Students Rally for Prison Divestment

Read the Article at The Marshall Project

Federal Probe Launched After Black Mississippi Man Found Hanging From Tree

Read the Article at The Guardian

US Weapons Have a Nasty Habit of Going AWOL

Read the Article at Mother Jones

March 20, 2003: The United States Invades Iraq

Read the Article at The Nation


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Truthout Daily Digest | Saturday, 21 March 2015

As Gentrification Persists in San Francisco, Evictions Take New Forms

Adam Hudson, Truthout: As San Francisco rents continue to rise and gentrification spreads, unscrupulous landlords are using new tactics to evict tenants from affordable housing, including bullying residents, going “out of business” and misusing zoning laws.

Read the Article

The Increasing Concentration of Capital Precludes Democracy

Tariq Ali, Verso Books: The contradiction between the dense concentration of capital and the needs of a majority of the population is becoming explosive. But the hollowing out of democracy is not a process that can be reversed by parliamentary decree alone.

Read the Excerpt

UN Security Council: Right Venue for Iran Deal, Right Venue for Israel-Palestine

Robert Naiman, Truthout: The Netanyahu lobby has too much power in Washington for DC to be the center of a resolution to the conflict. That is precisely why the Netanyahu lobby has insisted that Washington must be the center of Israel-Palestine diplomacy.

Read the Article

Women Up in Arms: Zapatistas and Rojava Kurds Embrace a New Gender Politics

Charlotte María Sáenz, Other Worlds: Women are increasingly represented on governing councils and active in the armed ranks of resistance groups, but the real revolution is seen within the domestic sphere, where caring for children, health and home are shared labor between men and women.

Read the Article

Richard Falk on ISIS and Islamic “Essentialism”

Dan Falcone, Truthout: The international law and foreign relations scholar deconstructs “essentialism”: right-wing political commentators’ attribution of recent events in the Middle East, such as the ISIS beheadings or the destruction of Assyrian artifacts in the Mosul Museum in Iraq, to the essential character of Islam.

Read the Interview

Joseph Stiglitz on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: “This Is A Big Deal”

Alexandros Orphanides, In These Times: Proponents of the TPP argue that the agreement will encourage global economic integration, increase US competitiveness in a “dynamic Asia region” and stimulate political reform leading to more open markets. All this, they claim, will result in better jobs, wages and products.

Read the Article

Consumers Getting “Skinned” by Health Insurers

Wendell Potter, Center for Public Integrity: Conventional wisdom holds that consumer-driven health care has contributed to a slowing in the rate of medical inflation. It also undoubtedly has contributed to a very troubling phenomenon: people with health insurance who are no longer getting the care they need.

Read the Article

Why Did Miriam Carey Die After Wrong Car Move at White House Checkpoint?

Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté, Democracy Now!: As new details have emerged about two Secret Service agents accused of drunk driving into a White House security barricade, we look back to another Secret Service scandal – the shooting of Miriam Carey on October 3, 2013.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

Guiding Obama Into Global Make-Believe

Ray McGovern, Consortium News: This US pattern of exaggeration – making scary claims about Ukraine without releasing supporting evidence – has even begun to erode the unity of the NATO alliance, where Germany is openly criticizing the Obama administration’s heavy-handed use of propaganda against Russia.

Read the Article

Edison’s Bright Idea

Emily Schwartz Greco, OtherWords: It could take years to restore the equilibrium Big Oil banked on just a year ago. In the meantime, disruptive energy innovations will keep reducing and displacing demand for fossil fuels, and governments will step up green-energy mandates.

Read the Article

Science Denier Ted Cruz Doesn’t Understand NASA’s Core Mission at All

Steve Williams, Care2: Putting science-denier Senator Ted Cruz in charge of NASA’s funding oversight was never going to go well. Last week the Republican lawmaker really began flexing his muscles, claiming that NASA should focus only on space exploration and stop looking at more earthly matters.

Read the Article

The Brutal Winter That Wasn’t

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: People like Senator Jim Inhofe, America’s climate change-denier-in-chief, would tell you that this winter was proof that climate change and global warming are a big joke. But here’s the thing: In most of United States, this winter was not cold.

Read the Article

Fitness Devices Make it Harder to Lie to Ourselves

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: You might say that the truth will show up on the scale and your waistline eventually. Yes, but that’s too future-oriented. You need to guilt-trip yourself in the here and now.

Read the Article

BuzzFlash

Rick Scott’s Ban on State Officials Acknowledging Global Warming Imperils Florida

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Although Florida’s coast is in danger of permanent flooding due to global warming, Governor Rick Scott has reportedly issued a gag order on state officials, prohibiting them from even mentioning climate change.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Community Rights vs. Corporate Rights: Citizens Fight for Home Rule Against Fracking and Pipelines

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

UN Panel to Consider US “Failure” to Clear Up Racial Murders of Civil Rights Era

Read the Article at The Guardian

Charles P. Pierce: There Is No Republican Middle

Read the Article at Esquire

Black Women’s Lives Matter: A Chant Less Often Heard

Read the Article at Ravishly

We’re Pumping So Much Groundwater That It’s Causing the Oceans to Rise

Read the Article at Mother Jones

Obama Proposes Mandatory Voting, Says it Would Be “Transformative”

Read the Article at ABC News

The Unbearable Cruelty of the GOP Budget

Read the Article at Reverb Press


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Truthout Daily Digest March 17, 2015

Henry A. Giroux | Higher Education and the Politics of Disruption

Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: Higher education has been hijacked by the corporate elite, who have made learning about free-market principles and personal security rather than the public good and promoting democracy and justice. Academics and social movements must reclaim the university and transform it into a public space.

Read the Article

Amid Evidence of Illnesses, Activists Call on Electronics Industry to Boost Workplace Safety

Nicki Lisa Cole, Truthout: More than 200 scientists and environmentalists have challenged electronics companies to prioritize workers’ health and safety and stop polluting the communities around their factories.

Read the Article

Workers Behind Effective Campaigns Are Now on Trial for Racketeering

Michelle Chen, The Nation: The Laundry Workers Center’s courageous tactics have proved successful in challenging their employer’s power. Now the LWC is facing its own challenge in court, accused of illegally “conspiring” to protest against a boss. Fortunately, the law is on the workers’ side.

Read the Article

Israeli Opposition Calls Out Netanyahu for Racist Attack on Arab Voting

Robert Naiman, Truthout: Congressional Republicans apparently see Netanyahu as their “supreme guide” for determining US policy toward Iran. So, the top foreign policy adviser, if you will, to congressional Republicans on Iran policy is an Israeli leader whom the mainstream political opposition in Israel sees as a racist.

Read the Article

Senator Whitehouse Exposes ALEC Climate Change Denial

Jamie Corey, PR Watch: This week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse took to the Senate floor to call upon the United States to “wake up” to the damaging effects of climate change denial and the fossil fuel industry funding received by groups that promote it, including the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Read the Article and Watch the Video

The SEC’s Andrew Bowden: A Regulator for Sale?

Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: Bowden, who clearly sees himself as an upstanding person, is nevertheless a textbook case by virtue of how deeply captured he is, and his refusal to scrutinize the comfortable, career-advancing assumptions that have worked so well for him.

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The Big Dick School of US Patriotism: And What We Make of It

Nan Levinson, TomDispatch: “We live in a state of pervasive national security anxiety. There are various possible responses to this low-grade fever that saps resolve, but first we have to face the basis for that anxiety – what I’ve come to think of as the Big Dick School of Patriotism.”

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Depaving Cities, Undamming Rivers: How We’re Undoing the Damage

Diane Brooks, YES! Magazine: The largest dam-removal project in history reached completion last fall, when excavators dredged the final tons of pulverized concrete from the Elwha River channel in western Washington State. All around the United States, people are stepping up to help a damaged planet heal.

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Will the Photo ID Mess Be Repeated in 2016 or Resolved by the Supreme Court?

Ernest A. Canning, The Brad Blog: There are some key decisions from the US Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Latino voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

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Dangerous Diplomacy: US Praises Mexico and Honduras, Targets Venezuela

Cyril Mychalejko, teleSUR: President Obama declared Venezuela an “extraordinary threat to national security” on March 9 on the basis of alleged human rights abuses and political corruption. This is part of an ongoing US campaign of aggression toward Venezuela.

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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Last Year Was the Hottest Year Ever, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: The rate of human-caused global warming is going to soar in the next decade; new legislation would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana; each of us may carry more than 100 genes from other organisms; and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

BuzzFlash

Koch Brothers Are Endangering the Planet by Funding Climate Change Denial

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The Koch brothers, the most noted billionaires in the crusade to corral US democracy into an oligarchy, are back in the news for their funding of climate-denial flummery.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Top 10 Arguments for Raising the Minimum Wage

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Jon Stewart Rips Texas Over Gay Marriage Ban “Hate Cake”

Watch the Video at Comedy Central

Drought-Stricken California Only Has One Year of Water Left, NASA Scientist Warns

Read the Article at The Guardian

Iraqi Offensive for Tikrit Stalls as Casualties Mount

Read the Article at The Washington Post

“Radicals of a Different Sort”: How the Reactionary Right Is Plotting to Steal the White House

Read the Article at Salon

Inside the Senate GOP’s Self-Made Debacle on Sex Trafficking and Abortion

Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Oregon Is First State to Adopt Automatic Voter Registration

Read the Article at the Associated Press


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Charles Eisenstein | The New and Ancient Story #41 “What Are We Greedy For?”

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I’m so grateful for all the wonderful thinkers and activists, like Charles Eisenstein who are helping to shift our world from lack to plenty; from misery to joy, from greed to generosity. It’s not always easy to shift or open up our own perspective and understanding of things. Even when we are actively seeking such change the natural tendencies of our brains can generate resistance. The talent Eisenstein has for illuminating new perspectives and ideas is phenomenal. I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say reading his work can often be transformative. Thank you all for all you do to shift our world to this blessed future!

ohnwentsya

What are we greedy for?

A lot of people reacted to my comment on Facebook the other day that greed is more a symptom than a cause of our current system, with all its inequities. I’m asked, What is the cause of greed? First I’ll say what I think greed is: Greed is the insatiable desire for that which one doesn’t really need, or in amounts beyond one’s needs.

When we are cut off from the fulfillment of our basic needs we seek out substitutes to temporarily ease the longing. Bereft of connection to nature, connection to community, intimacy, meaningful self-expression, ensouled dwellings and built environment, spiritual connection, and the feeling of belonging, lots of us over-consume, overeat, over-shop, and over-accumulate. How much do you need to eat, to compensate for a feeling of not belonging? How much pornography to compensate for a deficit of intimacy? How much money to compensate for a deep sense of insecurity? No amount is enough.

The causes of our separation from all these things pervade every aspect of our culture. I was just reading yesterday an article about indigenous parenting practices. The author described how children rarely cried, because their needs were consistently and immediately met: constantly held day and night, given the breast on demand until they were three or four years old, and so on. It evoked memories of my childhood – though by our cultural standards extremely loving – in which I was nonetheless alone a lot, hungry for attention. Most of us in the West spent huge amounts of time alone: alone in the hospital nursery, alone in a crib, alone in a stroller, crying to have our needs met, and eventually adapting to them not being met. We toughened up and became used to a world where there is never enough, where we have to struggle and grasp and cling for fear of loss. Even the breast, the archetypal experience of plenty, was often denied, limited, or cut off before we were ready.

Perhaps such an upbringing is necessary in our cultural context. Otherwise we go through life trusting, unguarded, soft, easily exploited. We are prepared from birth for a competitive, dog-eat-dog economy. You can see how that deeply programmed insecurity can manifest as an innate tendency toward greed. It makes greed seem like our default state, and generosity seem like a hard, contra-natural attainment.

Various aspects of our economic system reflect this programming. For example, consider usury, which I described in Sacred Economics as the lynchpin of our system. The lender is fundamentally someone who has more money than he needs right now (that’s why he has the funds to lend), but instead of saying, “I don’t need it right now, you use it,” he says, “I’ll only let you use it if I end up with even more.” It fits right in with the mentality of scarcity and control. It fits in with a life experience that has taught, “There isn’t fundamentally enough. You have to grasp for it, ensure it, control those outside of you so that they will continue to meet your needs. Because if you don’t, your needs will not be met.” Because, most of us have not had enough of the experience of our needs being effortlessly met.

This psychology of interest, writ large, forms the playing field upon which the bankers and CEO’s and pension fund managers and politicians and even the small savers operate. Certainly, some of these take the greed to appalling extremes, but even without the shenanigans of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, the financial imperative to convert all natural and social capital into money would continue. The megabanks and hedge funds are the cleverest and most ruthless game-players, but the result – ecocide and impoverishment – is written into the rules of the game.

When I describe the experience of early childhood, I don’t mean to simplistically blame greed on only that. All aspects of our culture conspire to strip us of our connection and belongingness. Let me name a few more:

– Religious indoctrination into self-rejection.

– Schooling the keeps children indoors, fosters competition, and accustoms them to doing things they don’t care about for the sake of external rewards.

– Hygienic ideology that fosters a fear and rejection of the world.

– Immersion in an environment composed of standardized commodities, buildings, and images.

– The alienating effects of living among inorganic shapes and right angles.

– Property rights that confine us most of the time to our homes, commercial environments, and a few parks.

– Media images that make us feel inferior and unworthy

– A surveillance state and police culture that leave us feeling untrusted and insecure.

– A debt-based financial system in which money is systemically scarce: there is never enough money to pay the debts.

– A legal culture of liability in which everyone is assumed to be a potential opponent.

– Patriarchal belief systems that oppress the inner and outer feminine, confine intimacy, and make love a transaction.

– Racial, ethnic, and national chauvinism, that makes some of our human brothers and sisters into Others.

– An ideology of nature-as-resource that cuts us off from our connectedness to other beings and leaves us feeling alone in the universe.

– Cultural deskilling that leaves us as passive, helpless consumers of experiences.

– Immersion in a world of strangers, whose faces we don’t recognize and whose stories we don’t know.

– Perhaps most importantly, a metaphysics that tells us that we are discrete, separate selves in a universe of Other.

I could name another hundred of these. They compose the water in which we have been swimming, coloring our basic conception of self and world, our basic experience of being human. By no means are they the totality of anyone’s experience. The deeper truth of interconnection, of interbeing, always breaks through in one way or another, putting the lie to the illusion of separation. And these breakthroughs will happen more and more as the world of separation crumbles.

Just now my wife walked past me and gave me the most tender kiss. In that moment I felt completely at home. Have you ever been held in an experience of intimate connection and felt your wants diminish, felt the logic of control disintegrate?

We can go to war against the greedy, but it will solve nothing. It will in fact exacerbate the problem, because it will strengthen the field of Separation, which at its basis is a war against the other, a war against nature, a war against ourselves, a war of each against all.

Instead of war, what is the systemic version of that tender kiss? What will transform the atmosphere of scarcity that we are so accustomed to that it seems like reality itself? Because the “atmosphere of scarcity” is everywhere, everything must change. Sacred Economics describes the economic dimension of that kiss in the form of a lot of nuts-and-bolts economic proposals – reversal of usury, restoration of the commons, elimination of economic rents, a universal basic income, internalization of costs, economic localization, and so on. What they have in common is that they draw from a new and ancient story that no longer holds us separate. And, they contribute to a world that no longer drives us to separateness.

But greed is a symptom of a malady far transcending economics. As the list above suggests, no aspect of our society will be untouched in the revolution of love that is underway.


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Common Dreams Highlights Thursday, 12 March, 2015

Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Featured…

With TPP at ‘Make-or-Break Point,’ Fast Track Foes Prepare for Battle
by Deirdre Fulton
Stakeholders in the U.S. who have lined up against the agreement also see the next few weeks as a critical turning point in the fight over Fast Track and the so-called “free trade” deals that authority is designed to promote.

News…

Sanders: Iran Letter Shows GOP Senators Just ‘Itching for War’
by Jon Queally
Despite the rhetoric of the letter, there is no evidence showing Iran has an active nuclear weapons program and the nation’s leadership has repeatedly stated that it has no current ambitions for such a program.
On Ukraine, Will Obama Heed Call for Caution?
by Lauren McCauley
Obama’s reluctance contrasts the opinions of other lawmakers and officials, who in recent days have continued to push for sending armaments.
Ferguson Police Chief, City Manager Resign
by Nadia Prupis
Both men were named in the U.S. Justice Department’s scathing report on the racist and unconstitutional policing and municipal court system in the city.
Scientist Who Exposed Health Impacts of Burn Pits in Iraq Awarded Rachel Carson Prize
by Lauren McCauley
The team’s findings matched samples of titanium and magnesium found in the lungs of U.S. veterans who had been exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. Savabieasfahani says she is hoping to expand her research in Iraq, now that people “are more aware of the situation.”
In Turnaround, Swedish Supreme Court to Hear Assange Appeal
by Nadia Prupis
Assange has repeatedly argued that extradition to Sweden will allow him to be sent to the U.S., where he faces espionage and conspiracy charges for his role in publishing a cache of military and State Department documents in 2010.
Unjust Public Policies Drive the Massive Racial Wealth Gap in America: Study
by Sarah Lazare
It is vital “to find new opportunities to address the way that we’re constantly perpetuating this disparity between black, white and Latino families,” Ruetschlin continued.
The Women are Coming, and They Mean Peace: Historic March Across Korean DMZ Announced
by Andrea Germanos
The walk is spearheaded by Women De-Militarize the Zone, an effort founded by writer and peace activist Christine Ahn, who wrote that “the DMZ continues to divide the Korean peninsula with recurring tensions that serve as a sobering reminder of the possibility of renewed war.”
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Fukushima: Amidst Radioactive Ruins, Renewable Energy Revolution Soars
by Harvey Wasserman
It’s a fight we can’t afford to lose. It’s a victory we must soon embrace … with the utmost relief and joy.
The Student Debt Time Bomb
by Chuck Collins
This debt keeps young people from starting families, buying houses, and taking risks on new businesses. It also exacerbates the growing problem of wealth inequality and declining social mobility, since it gives debt-free graduates from wealthier families an enormous head start over their peers.
Official Washington’s Delusions on Delusions
by Robert Parry
The chasm between reality and the U.S. political/media elite continues to widen with Official Washington’s actions toward Iran and Russia making “the world’s sole remaining superpower” look either like a Banana Republic (on Iran) or an Orwellian Dystopia (regarding Russia).
After Ringling’s Announcement, What’s the Next Elephant in the Room?
by Paul Shapiro
For too long, we’ve ignored the consequences of our actions against the animals with whom we share our planet, and the results have been profoundly regrettable for both them and us.
A Lesson from Fukushima: A Safe, Clean Energy Future Will Be Nuclear-Free
by Kendra Ulrich
Relying on nuclear to fulfill Japan’s climate obligations is betting the future of the planet and generations of people to come on a politician’s fantasy.
The Risks of Mishandling the Tikrit Offensive
by Sharif Nashashibi
It requires inclusivity and respect for human rights. Otherwise, ISIL will either make a comeback, or will be eclipsed further down the line by another jihadist successor.
Will Podemos Rescue Spain’s Unemployed Youths?
by Mark Weisbrot
Unemployment is what matters most; there is substantial evidence that long-term unemployment has numerous social costs besides loss of income, including on mental and physical health, suicide rates, life expectancy, and the well-being of the children of the unemployed.
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