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marmar

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: 64,701

Journal Archives

The Brink of Mass Extinction


Dahr Jamail | The Brink of Mass Extinction

Monday, 21 July 2014 09:24
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | News Analysis


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
- Native American proverb


March through June 2014 were the hottest on record globally, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In May - officially the hottest May on record globally - the average temperature of the planet was .74 degrees Celsius above the 20th century baseline, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The trend is clear: 2013 was the 37th consecutive year of above-average global temperatures, and since the Industrial Revolution began, the earth has been warmed by .85 degrees Celsius. Several scientific reports and climate modeling show that at current trajectories (business as usual), we will see at least a 6-degree Celsius increase by 2100.

In the last decade alone, record high temperatures across the United States have outnumbered record low temperatures two to one, and the trend is both continuing and escalating.

While a single extreme weather event is not proof of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), the increasing intensity and frequency of these events are. And recent months have seen many of these.

A record-breaking heat wave gripped India in June, as temperatures hovered at 46 degrees Celsius, sometimes reaching 48 degrees Celsius. Delhi's 22 million residents experienced widespread blackouts and rioting, as the heat claimed hundreds of lives.

Also in June, Central Europe cooked in unseasonably extreme heat, with Berlin experiencing temperatures over 32 degrees Celsius, which is more than 12 degrees hotter than normal. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25051-dahr-jamail-the-brink-of-mass-extinction



David Sirota: Is Cheap, Public Internet Possible?


Is Cheap, Public Internet Possible?
Major broadband companies face a new competitor in local government.

BY DAVID SIROTA


(In These Times) The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America’s information economy.

The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tennessee, where officials at the city’s public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices. A few years ago, those officials decided to act on that revelation. Like a publicly traded corporation, the utility issued bonds to raise resources to invest in the new broadband project. Similarly, just as many private corporations ended up receiving federal stimulus dollars, so did EPB, which put those monies into its new network.

The result is a system that now provides the nation’s fastest broadband speeds at prices often cheaper than the private competition. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press noted a few years back, “EPB offers faster Internet speeds for the money, and shows equal pep in both uploading and downloading content, with Comcast and AT&T trailing on quickness.” Meanwhile, EPB officials tell The Washington Post that the utility’s telecom services have become “a great profit center”–an assertion confirmed by a Standard & Poor credit upgrade notice pointing out that the utility “is now covering all costs from telephone, video and Internet revenue, as well as providing significant financial benefit to the electric system.”

This is great news for local businesses and taxpayers–but it is terrible news for private telecom companies, who not only fear being outcompeted and outperformed in Chattanooga, but also fear the Chattanooga model being promoted in other cities. In response, those telecom firms have been abandoning the standard argument about the private sector. Indeed, as the Times Free Press reported last week, rather than insisting the private sector has inherent advantages over the public sector, the firms have gone to court insisting “that EPB, as a public entity, would have an edge when competing against private companies, which would be at a disadvantage when facing an entity owned by taxpayers.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16970/The_Future_of_Internet_in_the_Public_Sector


TomDispatch: Requiem for the American Century


from TomDispatch:


Requiem for the American Century
Turning 70, Paragraph by Paragraph

By Tom Engelhardt


First Paragraphs on Turning 70 in the American Century That Was

* Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to “create the first great American Century.” Luce died in 1967 at age 69. Life, the pictorial magazine no home would have been without in my 1950s childhood, ceased to exist as a weekly in 1972 and as a monthly in 2000; Time, which launched his career as a media mogul, is still wobbling on, a shadow of its former self. No one today could claim that this is Time’s century, or the American Century, or perhaps anyone else’s. Even the greatest empires now seem to have shortened lifespans. The Soviet Century, after all, barely lasted seven decades. Of course, only the rarest among us live to be 100, which means that at 70, like Time, I’m undoubtedly beginning to wobble, too.

* The other day I sat down with an old friend, a law professor who started telling me about his students. What he said aged me instantly. They’re so young, he pointed out, that their parents didn’t even come of age during the Vietnam War. For them, he added, that war is what World War I was to us. He might as well have mentioned the Mongol conquests or the War of the Roses. We’re talking about the white-haired guys riding in the open cars in Veteran’s Day parades when I was a boy. And now, it seems, I’m them.

* In March 1976, accompanied by two friends, my wife and I got married at City Hall in San Francisco, and then adjourned to a Chinese restaurant for a dim sum lunch. If, while I was settling our bill of perhaps $30, you had told me that, almost half a century in the future, marriage would be an annual $40 billion dollar business, that official couplings would be preceded by elaborate bachelor and bachelorette parties, and that there would be such a thing as destination weddings, I would have assumed you were clueless about the future. On that score at least, the nature of the world to come was self-evident and elaborate weddings of any sort weren’t going to be part of it.

* From the time I was 20 until I was 65, I was always 40 years old. Now, I feel my age. Still, my life at 70 is a luxury. Across the planet, from Afghanistan to Central America, and in the poverty zones of this country, young people regularly stare death in the face at an age when, so many decades ago, I was wondering whether my life would ever begin. That’s a crime against humanity. So consider me lucky (and privileged) to be seven decades in and only now thinking about my death.

* Recently, I had the urge to tell my son something about my mother, who died before he was born. From my closet, I retrieved an attaché case of my father’s in which I keep various family mementos. Rummaging around in one of its pockets, I stumbled upon two letters my mother wrote him while he was at war. (We’re talking about World War II, that ancient conflict of the history books.) Almost four decades after her death, all I had to do was see my mother’s handwriting on the envelope -- “Major C. L. Engelhardt, 1st Air Commando Force, A.P.O. 433, Postmaster, New York 17, N.Y.” -- to experience such an upwelling of emotion I could barely contain my tears. So many years later, her handwriting and my father’s remain etched into my consciousness. I don’t doubt I could recognize them amid any other set of scribblings on Earth. What fingerprints were to law enforcement then, handwriting was to family memories. And that started me wondering: years from now, in an electronic world in which no one is likely to think about picking up a pen to write anyone else, what will those “fingerprints” be? .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175870/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_the_future_is_not_ours_%28and_neither_is_the_past%29/



The Brink of Mass Extinction


Dahr Jamail | The Brink of Mass Extinction

Monday, 21 July 2014 09:24
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | News Analysis


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
- Native American proverb


March through June 2014 were the hottest on record globally, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In May - officially the hottest May on record globally - the average temperature of the planet was .74 degrees Celsius above the 20th century baseline, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The trend is clear: 2013 was the 37th consecutive year of above-average global temperatures, and since the Industrial Revolution began, the earth has been warmed by .85 degrees Celsius. Several scientific reports and climate modeling show that at current trajectories (business as usual), we will see at least a 6-degree Celsius increase by 2100.

In the last decade alone, record high temperatures across the United States have outnumbered record low temperatures two to one, and the trend is both continuing and escalating.

While a single extreme weather event is not proof of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), the increasing intensity and frequency of these events are. And recent months have seen many of these.

A record-breaking heat wave gripped India in June, as temperatures hovered at 46 degrees Celsius, sometimes reaching 48 degrees Celsius. Delhi's 22 million residents experienced widespread blackouts and rioting, as the heat claimed hundreds of lives.

Also in June, Central Europe cooked in unseasonably extreme heat, with Berlin experiencing temperatures over 32 degrees Celsius, which is more than 12 degrees hotter than normal. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25051-dahr-jamail-the-brink-of-mass-extinction



Must Modern Economies Nurture Narcissism?


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


Must Modern Economies Nurture Narcissism?
JULY 19, 2014

To really take on grandiosity and greed, a new report from a prestigious CEO pay watchdog suggests, we may need to shove onto the global political stage the notion of a maximum wage.


By Sam Pizzigati


Narcissists don’t happen to be particularly nice people. They preen. They grab. And they never ever really feel our pain.

Narcissists, some fascinating new business school research reminds us, also don’t make for particularly effective corporate CEOs.

This new research — out of the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona — examines the impact of CEO narcissism on corporate tax policies. That impact turns out to be fairly robust. The corporations that America most narcissistic CEOs run seem to be prone to engaging in highly risky corporate tax-avoidance maneuvers.

How did the authors of this new research, Kari Joseph Olsen and James Stekelberg, identify the narcissists in America’s top CEO suites? They used a variety of yardsticks, everything from the pay gap between CEOs and their fellow execs to the prominence of CEO photos in corporate annual reports.

In the end, the two business school researchers had no problem finding a statistically significant subset of CEO narcissists within the Fortune 500. And that hefty number of narcissist CEOs begs a rather obvious question: Do narcissists just naturally gravitate to America’s corporate pay summit or do the incredibly cushy rewards at that summit turn otherwise normal people into narcissists? .................(more)

- See more at: http://toomuchonline.org/must-modern-economies-nurture-narcissism/#sthash.hDZV5EuD.dpuf



Chris Hedges: The Actor and the Minister


from truthdig:


The Actor and the Minister

Posted on Jul 20, 2014
By Chris Hedges


BOSTON—On June 30 I was at the First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, which had turned its hall over to Michael Milligan, traveling the country performing his one-man play about a husband and wife trapped in our dysfunctional health care system. I arrived early at the stone church, whose present structure was erected in 1853, to help set up the chairs and clear the stage. The minister, the Rev. Terry Burke, who was a classmate of mine at Harvard Divinity School, officially retired that day after 31 years as a minister at the church. Burke, a non-smoker, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and his doctors have told him he has six to 12 months to live. He applied for Social Security disability and was denied. He consulted a lawyer. He well might spend his last months struggling to get the disability system to pay for the chemotherapy that sustains his life.

Michael Milligan confronted the callousness of our health care system when he cared for a friend with a serious illness. His play “Mercy Killers,” which he has performed nearly 200 times, chronicles the struggle with insurance companies, drug companies and hospitals that profit from medical distress and then discard terminally ill people when they no longer can pay. The hourlong drama, set in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, occurs in a police station where Joe, an auto mechanic originally from West Virginia, speaks to an unseen investigator.

“Mercy Killers” opens with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” playing. The song soon morphs into the sound of sirens. Joe explains how he attempted to care for his terminally ill wife, Jane, amid crushing psychological and financial pressures that put him half a million dollars in debt. His neighbors, he tells the police interrogator, held a bake sale to help out and raised $163.

Joe, who buys into the credo of the tea party and quotes Rush Limbaugh, is forced to set his ideology of individualism and self-reliance against a health care system—as well as a banking system that sold him a mortgage with an interest rate that rose—designed to feed corporate profit rather than care for the ill or protect the consumer. Milligan’s high-octane performance is raw with grief, rage and incomprehension. The stark set—a chair, a bright light and a table—highlights Joe’s loneliness, inadequacy and abandonment. And by the end of the play, a for-profit health care system that is responsible for more than 60 percent of all U.S. bankruptcies is no longer just a matter of statistics. Its reality is felt like the blast of a furnace. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_actor_and_the_minister_20140720



Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal


Henry A. Giroux | Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:57
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists anyway. As long as it doesn't break off, thinking has a secure hold on possibility. . . . Open thinking points beyond itself.
- Theodor Adorno

That is, there are no dangerous thoughts for the simple reason that thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise. . . . nonthinking is even more dangerous.
- Hannah Arendt



Thinking has become dangerous in the United States. As Paul Stoller observes, the symptoms are everywhere including a Texas GOP Party platform that states, "We oppose teaching of Higher order Thinking Skills have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental control" to a Tennessee bill that "allows the teaching of creationism in state's classrooms."

At a time when anti-intellectualism runs rampant throughout popular culture and the political landscape, it seems imperative to once again remind ourselves of how important critical thought as a crucible for thinking analytically can be both a resource and an indispensable tool. If critical thought, sometimes disparaged as theory, gets a bad name, it is not because it is inherently dogmatic, jargonistic or rigidly specialized, but because it is often abused or because it becomes a tool of irrelevancy - a form of theoreticism in which theory becomes an end in itself. This abuse of critical thought appears to have a particularly strong hold in the humanities, especially among many graduate students in English departments who often succumb to surrendering their own voices to class projects and dissertations filled with obtuse jargon associated with the most fashionable theorists of the moment. Such work is largely rewarded less for its originality than the fact that it threatens no one.

At the same time there are many students who find the esoteric language associated with dangerous thinking and critical thought to be too difficult to master or engage. The latter points to the fact that some theories may be useless because they are too impenetrable to decipher or that there are theories which support bad practices such as high-stakes testing, creationism, faith-based evidence, the spanking of children, incarcerating children as adults and other assumptions and policies that are equally poisonous. Theory is not inherently good or bad. Its meaning and efficacy are rooted in a politics of usefulness, accessibility and whether it can be used resourcefully to articulate frameworks and tools that deepen the possibility of self-reflection, critical thought and a sense of social responsibility. For instance, a theory is bad if it inadequately grasps the forces at work in the world and simply reproduces it as it is. Theory is also injurious when it is used to legitimate modes of inquiry and research that are bought by corporations, the military and other state and private institutions to legitimate dangerous products, policies and social practices.

Theory has no guarantees, and like any other mode of thought, it has to be problematized, critically engaged and judged in terms of its interests, effects and value as part of a broader enhancement of human agency and democratization. At their best, theory, thinking dangerously and critical thought have the power to shift the questions, provide the tools for offering historical and relational contexts, and "push at the frontiers . . . of the human imagination." (1) Moreover, theory functions as a critical resource when it can intervene in the "continuity of commonsense, unsettle strategies of domination" and work to promote strategies of transformation.(2) As Theodor Adorno observes, "Theory speaks for what is not narrow-minded - and commonsense most certainly is."(3) As such, theory is not only analytical in its search for understanding and truth, it is also critical and subversive, always employing modes of self and social critique necessary to examine its own grounds and those poisonous fundamentalisms in the larger society haunting the body politic. As Michael Payne observes, theory should be cast in the language of hints, dialogue and an openness to other positions, rather than be "cast in the language or orders." ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24869-henry-a-giroux-thinking-dangerously-in-an-age-of-political-betrayal



Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal


Henry A. Giroux | Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:57
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists anyway. As long as it doesn't break off, thinking has a secure hold on possibility. . . . Open thinking points beyond itself.
- Theodor Adorno

That is, there are no dangerous thoughts for the simple reason that thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise. . . . nonthinking is even more dangerous.
- Hannah Arendt



Thinking has become dangerous in the United States. As Paul Stoller observes, the symptoms are everywhere including a Texas GOP Party platform that states, "We oppose teaching of Higher order Thinking Skills have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental control" to a Tennessee bill that "allows the teaching of creationism in state's classrooms."

At a time when anti-intellectualism runs rampant throughout popular culture and the political landscape, it seems imperative to once again remind ourselves of how important critical thought as a crucible for thinking analytically can be both a resource and an indispensable tool. If critical thought, sometimes disparaged as theory, gets a bad name, it is not because it is inherently dogmatic, jargonistic or rigidly specialized, but because it is often abused or because it becomes a tool of irrelevancy - a form of theoreticism in which theory becomes an end in itself. This abuse of critical thought appears to have a particularly strong hold in the humanities, especially among many graduate students in English departments who often succumb to surrendering their own voices to class projects and dissertations filled with obtuse jargon associated with the most fashionable theorists of the moment. Such work is largely rewarded less for its originality than the fact that it threatens no one.

At the same time there are many students who find the esoteric language associated with dangerous thinking and critical thought to be too difficult to master or engage. The latter points to the fact that some theories may be useless because they are too impenetrable to decipher or that there are theories which support bad practices such as high-stakes testing, creationism, faith-based evidence, the spanking of children, incarcerating children as adults and other assumptions and policies that are equally poisonous. Theory is not inherently good or bad. Its meaning and efficacy are rooted in a politics of usefulness, accessibility and whether it can be used resourcefully to articulate frameworks and tools that deepen the possibility of self-reflection, critical thought and a sense of social responsibility. For instance, a theory is bad if it inadequately grasps the forces at work in the world and simply reproduces it as it is. Theory is also injurious when it is used to legitimate modes of inquiry and research that are bought by corporations, the military and other state and private institutions to legitimate dangerous products, policies and social practices.

Theory has no guarantees, and like any other mode of thought, it has to be problematized, critically engaged and judged in terms of its interests, effects and value as part of a broader enhancement of human agency and democratization. At their best, theory, thinking dangerously and critical thought have the power to shift the questions, provide the tools for offering historical and relational contexts, and "push at the frontiers . . . of the human imagination." (1) Moreover, theory functions as a critical resource when it can intervene in the "continuity of commonsense, unsettle strategies of domination" and work to promote strategies of transformation.(2) As Theodor Adorno observes, "Theory speaks for what is not narrow-minded - and commonsense most certainly is."(3) As such, theory is not only analytical in its search for understanding and truth, it is also critical and subversive, always employing modes of self and social critique necessary to examine its own grounds and those poisonous fundamentalisms in the larger society haunting the body politic. As Michael Payne observes, theory should be cast in the language of hints, dialogue and an openness to other positions, rather than be "cast in the language or orders." ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24869-henry-a-giroux-thinking-dangerously-in-an-age-of-political-betrayal



The Criminalization of Black Youth and the Rise of Restorative Justice


The Criminalization of Black Youth and the Rise of Restorative Justice

Sunday, 20 July 2014 00:00
By Max Eternity, Truthout | Interview


In the spring of 2014, on two separate occasions, African-American teenagers - a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy - were pushed through windows by police. Fortunately, both teens survived their encounter, though it was a very close call for the boy. No reports of white teens being pushed through windows by police have been discovered. These violent incidents are just a couple of examples of how, for many African-Americans, youth offers little hope and few niceties.

"Black children are dehumanized to such an extent that they aren't perceived as children at all," writes Margaret Kimberly in "Police Target Black Children." Citing a new report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Kimberly says African-American children "are assumed to be older, less innocent and inherently guilty."

Along with racial profiling and other legal harassment, like stop-and-frisk, being pushed through a window by police has apparently become a new reality for brown-skinned kids. Yet how is such aggression and violence justified by law enforcement, and are these incidents to be imagined as mere coincidence - or explained as reflective of black pathology rather than police pathology?

Among extrajudicial deaths at the hands of police and white vigilantes, the tragic stories of Travon Martin and Oscar Grant have garnered media attention, but are also highly contested narratives. Less talked about is the institutionalized climate of fear that has been normalized for brown-skinned youth - the daily domestic terror by police. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/24816-the-criminalization-of-black-youth-interviews-with-kai-wright-and-allen-nance



Richard Wolff: "We can't even discuss public banking? We can't discuss converting banks into coops?"


Listen: http://rdwolff.com/content/economic-update-economic-realities


by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON JULY 19, 2014


Updates on big bank fines, Tracy Morgan sues Walmart, highway trust and taxes, extreme wealth inequality in the Hamptons. Major discussions of workers self-directed enterprises and Oxfam's data on extreme global wealth inequality. Response to listeners on relation of wages to prices and on economic "value" of solar, wind and green energy vs coal, oil, gas and nuclear.


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