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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,368

Journal Archives

Acceptance of same-sex couples is growing ..... until they start kissing and holding hands in public

from the Pacific Standard:

The notion that gay couples should be treated the same as straight ones has grown enormously in acceptance in recent years. But new research suggests there is a limit to all of this tolerance.

According to a research team led by Indiana University sociologist Long Doan, heterosexual Americans believe gay couples should have the same legal rights as straight couples. However, they remain uncomfortable with public displays of affection by gay and lesbian couples.

Surprisingly, the study finds gay men also take a relatively dim view of same-sex public kissing and hand-holding, while lesbians hold mixed opinions on the subject.

Writing in the American Sociological Review, the researchers describe a survey of 1,073 Americans—258 lesbians, 310 gay men, 240 straight women, and 265 straight men. They were randomly assigned to read a brief vignette about a couple that met, fell in love, and have been living together for the past two years. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/homosexual-lgbt-gays-rights-great-ixnay-pdas-public-display-affection-kissing-94953/

Hoo boy. Tonight is not the night to have a discussion with one of your conservative FB friends ....

....... Fox News talking point after Fox News talking point about the Michael Brown case. So willfully ignorant.

I had to delete the thread I started because reading it pissed me off so badly.

A hard truth from W.E.B. Dubois ......

Wall Street’s Takeover of American Pensions: ‘A Policy Justified Entirely on Ignorance’

via truthdig:

A key part of Wall Street’s $300 million expenditure on the recent midterm elections is the goal of moving as much of working Americans’ $3 trillion that sits in unguarded government pension funds into “privately managed, high-fee investments” as possible, Murtaza Hussain writes at The Intercept.

Hussain reports:

Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island all recently elected governors who were previously executives and directors at firms which managed investments on behalf of state pension funds. These firms are now, consequently, in position to obtain even more of these public funds. This alone represents a huge payoff on that $300M investment made by the financial industry, and is likely to result in more pension money going into investments which offer great benefits for Wall Street but do little for the broader economy.

But Wall Street’s agenda goes beyond any one election cycle. It has been fighting to turn public pensions into private profits for quite some time, steering retirement nest eggs into investments that are complex, charge hefty fees, and that generate big profits for management firms. And it has been succeeding. Of the $3 trillion in public assets currently in pension funds throughout the country, almost a quarter of that has already found its way into so-called “alternative investments” like hedge funds, private equity and real estate. That translates to roughly $660 billion of public money now under private management, invested in assets that are often arcane and opaque but that offer high management and placement fees to Wall Street financiers.

… In many cases, the decision to invest state pension money in alternative investments of questionable value seems to have been driven less by concern for the welfare of future pensioners (gasp!) than by political considerations and the concerted efforts of financial industry lobbyists. The simple fact is that these investments are not very good. While they offer lucrative fees for Wall Street middlemen, they have been shown to often significantly underperform against the market.

In addition to putting pension funds at risk, the flow of public money toward Wall Street “fundamentally alters the future shape of American society by changing how public funds will get spent,” Hussain writes. It’s money that could be spent on public projects that benefit local communities. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/wall_streets_takeover_of_american_pensions_20141124

Current "Reforms" Attempt to Drive Young People Out of Democracy

from truthout:

Henry Giroux: Current "Reforms" Attempt to Drive Young People Out of Democracy

Henry Giroux teaches at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and has written several books about youth, democracy and public education. In this interview with Camilla Croso, coordinator of the Latin-American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), Giroux talks about corporate interests in the privatization of education, attacks on the importance of schooling and the marginalization of youth under the current political and economic system.


Henry Giroux: Every country has its own context, but I think that what we have seen since the 1980s is the recognition on the part of the right that the educative nature of politics is really crucial and important. They want to take control of those institutions that produce particular kinds of subjects, dispositions, attitudes, particular modes of desire that are compatible with market values and market social relationships. So the school becomes a reproductive tool that aligns itself with the belief that the market has the ability to govern all of social life.

Schools are public spaces and by default, they are at odds with a market rationality. The people who control corporate power globally, today, have no interest in the public, public values or public goods. Actually, the public as a democratic public sphere that encourages critical dialogue and an engaged citizenry is the enemy of the market for them because it's a non-commoditized sphere that basically can produce all those things that are considered hazardous to corporate interests. That is, it produces people who can imagine otherwise and hence act otherwise; it can produce people who believe in thoughtfulness, critical exchange, civic courage social responsibility, and are more than willing to hold power accountable. Public spheres are places in which thinking becomes dangerous and, in that sense, they have to be shut down.

Furthermore, there is an enormous effort on the part of the right, all over the globe, to privatize these public spheres and to turn them into risk-free investments for accumulating capital and profits for the relatively few, for the rich, for politicians, all of whom then can make enormous amounts of money off them. They can disempower faculty, they can treat students as consumers and they can basically use them as a way to accumulate capital.

How do you think corporate power can be constrained?

Right off, it is crucial to make corporate power and its effects visible. And that means not just material relations of power but also the ideologies that legitimate corporate power. This means that it is crucial to recognize that there is no correlation between corporate power and democracy. When corporate power speaks in the name of democracy, it basically lies and the ideological assumptions that drive corporate power have got to be challenged. Let's talk about three of them. First of all, the notion that the only obligation of citizenship is consumerism is morally bankrupt and politically reactionary. It is degrading to claim that people simply need to be shoppers to fulfill their role as citizens. This ideological monstrosity both undermines any viable notion of citizenship and makes a mockery of democracy.

Secondly, the apostles of neoliberalism argue that the only notion of agency that matters is a kind of extreme radical individualism in which self-interest and the ethos of unbridled competition are the only motives that drive people. Self-interest, carried to extremes, undermines modes of solidarity that are absolutely essential to any society that wants to survive. And extreme competition breeds a survival of the fittest way of life that generates a society that celebrates violence, war and a culture of cruelty. A society that does not care to exercise a certain kind of compassion for other people is in trouble. It is a society that not only kills the radical imagination; it promotes a form of civic and political death. Equally important, hyper individualism feeds the myth that people are responsible for all of the problems they face thus downplaying or making invisible the broader systemic and structural problems that plague neoliberal societies that extend from massive poverty, unemployment, and inequality in wealth and income to the defunding of the welfare state. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27617-henry-giroux-marginalized-youth-must-challenge-the-system-that-oppresses-them

Splendid Zinn

"I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions--poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed--which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished."

-- Howard Zinn

Uncle Sam Needs Some Better Nephews

from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:

Uncle Sam Needs Some Better Nephews
NOVEMBER 22, 2014

The kingpins of Congress have spent years carving tax loopholes that help America’s CEOs fleece the federal treasury. Now these kingpins are pushing a corporate tax ‘reform’ that ignores the loopholes.

By Sam Pizzigati

Average Americans have a choice at tax time. They can pay their taxes or risk going to jail for tax evasion.

America’s corporate CEOs have a different set of tax-time choices. These CEOs can have the corporations they run pay Uncle Sam or they can have their corporations pay more to their CEOs.

Guess which way lots of CEOs are leaning. Better yet, read Fleecing Uncle Sam, the just-released report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Center for Effective Government that tallies up the choices top CEOs are actually making.

This new Fleecing Uncle Sam study looks at the 100 U.S. corporations that last year shelled out the most in CEO pay. Of these 100 companies, 29 paid Uncle Sam less in taxes than they paid their CEO in compensation. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/uncle-sam-needs-better-nephews/#sthash.7dPdY3vL.dpuf

Chris Hedges: Why We Need Professional Revolutionists

from truthdig:

Why We Need Professional Revolutionists

Posted on Nov 24, 2014
By Chris Hedges

No revolt can succeed without professional revolutionists. These revolutionists live outside the formal structures of society. They are financially insecure—Vladimir Lenin spent considerable time in exile appealing for money from disenchanted aristocrats he would later dispossess. They dedicate their lives to fomenting radical change. They do not invest energy in appealing to power to reform. They are prepared to break the law. They, more than others, recognize the fragility of the structures of authority. They are embraced by a vision that makes compromise impossible. Revolution is their full-time occupation. And no revolution is possible without them.

There are environmental, economic and political grass-roots movements, largely unseen by the wider society, that have severed themselves from the formal structures of power. They have formed collectives and nascent organizations dedicated to overthrowing the corporate state. They eschew the rigid hierarchical structures of past revolutionary movements—although this may change—for more amorphous collectives. Plato referred to professional revolutionists as his philosophers. John Calvin called them his saints. Machiavelli called them his Republican Conspirators. Lenin labeled them his Vanguard. All revolutionary upheavals are built by these entities.

The revolutionists call on us to ignore the political charades and spectacles orchestrated by our oligarchic masters around electoral politics. They tell us to dismiss the liberals who look to a political system that is dead. They expose the press as an echo chamber for the elites.

The revolutionist is a curious hybrid of the practical and the impractical. He or she is aware of facing nearly impossible odds. The revolutionist has at once a lucid understanding of power, along with the vagaries of human nature, and a commitment to overthrowing power. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_we_need_professional_revolutionists_20141123

All-too-believable satire

from the Daily Currant:

Sarah Palin: Send Immigrants ‘Back Across Ocean’ to Mexico

Sarah Palin said today that illegal immigrants from Mexico should be put on boats and sent back across the ocean to their home country.

In an interview with Fox News tonight, the former Alaskan governor was asked about President Obama’s new plan to partially legalize some of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in America. Palin dismissed the president's idea as “amnesty” and offered an unconventional solution of her own.

“If I were Obama I’d put all 11 million of these folks on boats and send them back to Mexico,” she opined. “The liberal media says it’s impossible to deport that many people. But I say we can do it if we have enough ships.

“Let’s commandeer all the cruise ships, all the fishing vessels and all the yachts those fat cat Obama donors own. And then let’s pack ‘em full of illegals and send these people on a one-way cruise to Mexico City. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://dailycurrant.com/2014/11/20/sarah-palin-send-immigrants-back-across-ocean-to-mexico/

Hollywood Left Turns Out to Celebrate Howard Zinn’s Legacy

from The Progressive:

Hollywood Left Turns Out to Celebrate Howard Zinn’s Legacy

Rocker Tom Morello brought the house down––and the crowd of 800 to their feet ––with rollicking renditions of Bruce Springsteen and Woody Guthrie songs at a Los Angeles event celebrating the publication of the 10th anniversary edition of Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Seven Stories Press). Co-edited by the late Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, the hefty volume contains quotes by indigenous people, slaves, abolitionists, suffragettes, labor organizers, agitators, anarchists, communists, feminists, and dissidents of many stripes representing the marginalized.

This updated version of Voices adds passages from whistleblower Chelsea Manning, anti-surveillance Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gleen Greenwald, anti-globalization activist/author Naomi Klein, and other resistance figures. A host of Hollywood heavyweights, including Kerry Washington (Scandal, Django Unchained), Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) and Benjamin Bratt (Traffic), read various quotations from Voices during the Nov. 13 show at Downtown L.A.’s Japanese Cultural & Community Center.

Introducing the talents participating in the sold-out performance, Arnove noted sadly that the occasion was “bittersweet” as this was the first edition since 2004 of Voices––a companion book to Zinn’s classic text A People’s History of the United States––to be released after the historian’s 2010 death at age 87. But Arnove, who co-produced the Oscar-nominated documentary Dirty Wars and compiled the additions for this third edition of Voices, asserted, “I am very confident that Howard is very much with us in spirit… and I also feel that Howard is with the strikers who are striking at the docks at L.A.’s port and with the Walmart workers who are sitting in today––and at Ferguson, Missouri.”

Singer/songwriter Joe Henry then kicked off the event with a moving performance of a 1971 Bob Dylan song about prison guards killing Black Panther and so-called “Soledad Brother” George Jackson. ..............(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/11/187913/hollywood-left-turns-out-celebrate-howard-zinn%E2%80%99s-legacy#sthash.SA8h1120.dpuf

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