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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: 68,274

Journal Archives

"State repression, unbridled self-interest, an empty consumerist ethos, and war-like values"

by Henry Giroux

Ten people were killed and seven wounded recently in a mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Such shootings are more than another tragic expression of unchecked violence in the United States, they are symptomatic of a society engulfed in fear, militarism, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and a growing disdain for human life. Sadly, this shooting is not an isolated incident. Over 270 mass shootings have taken place in the US this year alone, proving once again that the economic, political, and social conditions that underlie such violence are not being addressed.

State repression, unbridled self-interest, an empty consumerist ethos, and war-like values have become the organizing principles of American society producing an indifference to the common good, compassion, a concern for others, and equality. As the public collapses into the individualized values of a banal consumer culture and the lure of private obsessions, American society flirts with forms of irrationality that are at the heart of every-day aggression and the withering of public life. American society is driven by unrestrained market values in which economic actions and financial exchanges are divorced from social costs, further undermining any sense of social responsibility.

In addition, a wasteful giant military-industrial-surveillance complex fueled by the war on terror along with America’s endless consumption of violence as entertainment and its celebration of a pervasive gun culture normalizes the everyday violence waged against black youth, immigrants, children fed into the school to prison pipeline, and others considered disposable. American politicians now attempt to govern the effects of systemic violence while ignoring its underlying causes. Under such circumstances, a society saturated in violence gains credence when its political leaders have given up on the notion of the common good, social justice, and equality, all of which appear to have become relics of history in the United States.

In the face of mass shootings, the public relations disimagination machine goes into overdrive claiming that guns are not the problem, and that the causes of such violence can be largely attributed to the mentally ill. When in actuality, as two Vanderbilt University researchers, Dr. Jonathan Metzl and Kenneth T. MacLeish, publishing in the American Journal of Public Health observed that “Fewer than 6 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness.” ...............(more)


California woman sues police over beating during arrest over alleged seatbelt violation

A woman in Carlsbad, California is suing police after an officer punched her in the face while arresting her over an alleged seatbelt violation.

The New York Daily News reported on a police brutality suit brought by 40-year-old Cindy Hahn, who was arrested and beaten in 2013 as her two children, ages 7 and 11, watched.

According to Hahn’s complaint, on July 31, 2013, she and her children were leaving a birthday party when they came upon a vehicle which was unoccupied with its alarm blaring.

Police cruisers with their lights flashing surrounded the vehicle, but officers were allowing the alarm to blare. When Hahn — whose father is a police officer — asked an officer on duty why police weren’t shutting off the car alarm, the officer — identified in court documents as Officer Kenyatte Valentine — reportedly told her to mind her “own fucking business.”

Hahn used her cell phone to call the police non-emergency line to complain about Officer Valentine’s behavior. As she drove away, Valentine pulled her over claiming she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. He and another officer pulled her from the vehicle and pinned her to the ground. ....................(more)


American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy Protection After Losses

(Bloomberg) American Apparel Inc., the made-in-the-U.S.A. clothing chain known for provocative marketing and boardroom drama, filed for bankruptcy protection after years of losses and a feud with controversial founder Dov Charney.

As part of a prearranged Chapter 11 restructuring, the Los Angeles-based company will reorganize its debts, which have ballooned to levels exceeding its assets. More than $200 million of bonds will be exchanged for stock in the reorganized company, according to a statement on Monday. American Apparel will remain in business during the process.

Filing for bankruptcy is a “difficult decision that gives American Apparel the opportunity to rebuild the business,” said Bryan Roberts, an analyst with Kantar Retail. “Quite a few U.S. retailers have gone down this route and come out the other side.” ...........(more)


A Worrying Set Of Signals

A Worrying Set Of Signals
by Mauldin Economics • October 4, 2015

Positioning for a US Recession.

By John Mauldin, Mauldin Economics:

There is presently a bull market in complacency. There are very few alarm bells going off anywhere; and frankly, in reaction to my own personal complacency, I have my antenna up for whatever it is I might be missing that would indicate an approaching recession.

It was very easy to call the last two recessions well in advance because we had inverted yield curves. In the US at least, that phenomenon has a perfect track record of predicting recessions. The problem now is that, with the Federal Reserve holding the short end of the curve at the zero bound, there is no way we can get an inverted yield curve, come hell or high water. For the record, inverted yield curves do not cause recessions, they simply indicate that something is seriously out of whack with the economy. Typically, a recession shows up three to four quarters later.

I know from my correspondence and conversations that I am not the only one who is concerned with the general complacency in the markets. But then, we’ve had this “bull market in complacency” for two years and things have generally improved, albeit at a slower pace in the current quarter.

With that background in mind, the generally bullish team at GaveKal has published two short essays with a rather negative, if not ominous, tone. Given that we are entering the month of October, known for market turbulence, I thought I would make these essays this week’s Outside the Box. One is from Pierre Gave, and the other is from Charles Gave. It is not terribly surprising to me that Charles can get bearish, but Pierre is usually a rather optimistic person, as is the rest of the team.


A Worrying Set Of Signals

By Pierre Gave
Sept. 28, 2015

Regular readers will know that we keep a battery of indicators to gauge, among other things, economic activity, inflationary pressure, risk appetite and asset valuations. Most of the time this dashboard offers mixed messages, which is not hugely helpful to the investment process. Yet from time to time, the data pack points unambiguously in a single direction and experience tells us that such confluences are worth watching. We are today at such a point, and the worry is that each indicator is flashing red.

Growth: The three main indices of global growth have fallen into negative territory: (i) the Q-indicator (a diffusion index of leading indicators), (ii) our diffusion index of OECD leading indicators, and (iii) our index of economically-sensitive market prices. Also Charles’s US recession indicator is sitting right on a key threshold (see charts for all these indicators in the web version).

Inflation: Our main P-indicator is at a maximum negative with the diffusion index of US CPI components seemingly in the process of rolling-over; this puts it in negative territory for the first time this year.


Corporation vs. Nation: The Ultimate Showdown

Corporation vs. Nation: The Ultimate Showdown
by Don Quijones • October 3, 2015

No Trial, No Judge, No Jury

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

A secluded private courthouse in Washington DC is currently the scene of a gargantuan legal battle that could have serious ramifications for all of us. Yet virtually nobody knows about it.

On one side of the battle is the tiny, poverty-crippled Central American nation of El Salvador; on the other is Pacific Rim, a Canadian mining company that was acquired by the Australian corporation Oceana Gold in 2013. At stake is the basic issue of who owns what in tomorrow’s world.

Putting Gold Before Water

In 2009, Pacific Rim filed a private lawsuit – what is referred to in the impenetrable jargon of modern globalism as an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – against the government of El Salvador for $301 million, equivalent to just over 2% of the country’s $24 billion GDP. As BBC World reports (in Spanish), the amount is equivalent to three years’ combined public spending on health, education and security.

The company argues that El Salvador unfairly denied its mining permit after it began an exploration process for gold mining, costing it hundreds of millions of dollars of “potential future profits.”

ISDS was originally intended to insulate investors from the costly consequences of expropriation, but it is now increasingly being used by companies to claim future profits foregone as a result of government legislation aimed at protecting the public, as well as to intimidate governments into changing or abandoning such legislation. ...............(more)


Cop Threatens Innocent Pregnant Woman and Her Fiancé with a Shotgun for Filming Them

Memphis, TN – A video uploaded to Facebook yesterday afternoon, is causing serious backlash against the tactics being used by police to serve an arrest warrant.

As the video begins, several heavily armed men can be seen arresting a man who appeared to be fully compliant with their instructions. Within seconds this “typical” arrest would become yet another example of the incredulous behavior we so often see in the Police State.

As the camera pans upward, one of the men noticeably has his weapon trained on the man filming the incident. The man filming immediately asks them why they have a gun pointed in his direction, to which one paranoid cop replies, “So we don’t get shot.”

The man who uploaded the video, identified as Corterian Bay Wright, according to his Facebook page, responds by informing the militarized force that he was the one that brought the man being placed under arrest to the door. While having a shotgun aimed directly at him, he continues to plead with the heavily armed thugs to “Put the guns down.” ...................(more)

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/overzealous-cop-takes-aim-innocent-pregnant-woman-boyfriend-filming-mans-arrest/#ty4LHu8hxbaLF8W0.99

Aides sue Courser, Gamrat for wrongful termination

from the Freep:

Two fired aides to former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat — whose affair and cover-up of the matter led to historic proceedings to expel them from office — are suing their former bosses for wrongful termination and violation of whistle-blower protection laws.

Former aides Keith Allard and Ben Graham say they were fired because they refused to engage in a cover-up of the affair, including sending out an anonymous e-mail authored by Courser that accused the Lapeer County Republican of being a drug addict and sexual deviant. Court records show Allard and Graham filed a joint lawsuit Friday in Ingham County Circuit Court against the two former representatives, both tea party conservatives who are running for re-election for their same House seats.

Allard said Saturday that he and Graham want their reputations restored after Courser and Gamrat disparaged them — in retaliation, Allard said, for not cooperating in the cover-up.

“It’s very important that people know we weren’t a part of some Lansing mafia, some conspiracy,” as Courser alleged in media interviews, Allard said. “There needs to be some legal remedy for this because of the effect it has on your reputation and your future employment prospects.”

Courser could not be reached for comment Saturday. ...............(more)


Every Republican 2016 Candidate Turns Down Invitation From Latino Conference

WASHINGTON -- When hundreds of Latinos gather next week for a candidate forum at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute conference, they won't hear from any Republicans, though not for a lack of trying on the part of the organizers.

CHCI spokesman Irving Burbano said the group contacted every presidential campaign except that of GOP candidate Donald Trump about the Oct. 7 candidate session, but only two Democratic candidates are scheduled to attend: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton won't be at that session, but is speaking at the conference the following day.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute hosts a public policy conference in Washington every year with Latino leaders and officials, as well as an appearance from President Barack Obama. Organizers expect more than 1,000 people this year for the conference and more than 500 at the candidate forum specifically.

Candidates often have busy schedules. But at a time when they are competing for Latino votes, very few are seizing the chance to speak to this ready-made audience. ...................(more)


The way to kill a complex city is to chase out all the poor people – and their food

The way to kill a complex city is to chase out all the poor people – and their food
Samantha Gillison

When greed makes a place like New York, London or San Francisco unaffordable, the non-wealthy leave, and the city loses the smells and tastes that made it great

(Guardian UK) Once upon a time, as Gore Vidal observed, New York City was a delightful place to live – especially if you were an impoverished foodie. Legendarily delicious eateries abounded, everyone had a favorite dive bar and, if you got bored of the local places, endless interesting, tasty yummies awaited discovery throughout the five boroughs. But the past is a foreign country: things are done differently there.

Here in the present (where we’re stuck) New York is the most expensive city in the world and much less delightful. Although, with an enormous amount of disposable income you can eat quite good food and, with an obscene amount you can dine adventurously – even, I’ve heard, sublimely.

Anthony Bourdain, professional authentic and globe-trotting foodie, is seemingly trying to address the Zurich-ification of Manhattan by converting one of the largest shipping piers on the Hudson River into a mega-food market. “Think of an Asian Night Market,” he described, attempting to help The New York Times’ reporter envision the incipient 155,000 square foot “Bourdain Market”. “Eating and drinking at midnight.” You know, fun? Remember that?

When economists discuss formerly-great American cities like New York and San Francisco, they use terms like super-gentrification, extreme gentrification and hyper-gentrification but, to put it simply, the way to kill a city as thrilling, complex and alive as the New York of Warhol and Basquiat, of Duke Ellington and the Ramones, of James Baldwin and Susan Sontag, is to unleash the hounds of unchecked greed and chase out all the poor folks. And when they leave, the city loses its savor: it loses its intoxicating smells, its unique flavors, its ability to interrupt your long night of the soul with life-affirming, belly-filling, joy. ...................(more)


More of that "collateral damage"

An airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan, apparently launched by US forces, has killed at least 16 people including nine medical charity workers and three child patients.

Here is the Guardian’s latest story and here is what we know so far:

• The hospital, run by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), in Kunduz, a city in northern Afghanistan, was hit several times and badly damaged during sustained bombing at 2.10am UTC on 3 October.

• The charity has confirmed 16 deaths, of whom nine were staff and seven were patients, and at least 37 wounded in the incident, of whom 19 were staff. At the time of the bombing, 105 patients and their carers, and more than 80 MSF international and national staff were in the hospital (see 3.46pm).

• None of the international doctors volunteering at the facility were hurt (see 9.41am). .................(more)


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