Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 10,460
Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 10,460
** Excellent beginning.
By Michelle Diament
May 10, 2013
In an effort to identify better strategies to help young people with disabilities transition from school to work, a handful of federal agencies are seeking public input.
Starting Monday, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services as well as the Social Security Administration are kicking off a two-week so-called online dialogue.
The agencies are asking policymakers, educators, service providers, families and youth with disabilities themselves to share their thoughts through a Web interface on how to improve transition outcomes.
Federal officials say they hope to learn about regulatory and legislative barriers that young people with disabilities are facing in accessing employment, education, Social Security and health and human services. Ultimately, the input received on the website may help shape future policies and practices, they said.
in full: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/05/10/obama-transition-outcomes/17926/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri May 10, 2013, 02:29 PM (8 replies)
April 27, 2013 | Pepe Escobar
This is an abridged version of a lecture this week at the 13th Seminary of Political Solidarity Don Juan Chavez in memoriam at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
How cozy it would be to summon the retro-spirit of Burt Bacharach to define our geopolitical future and start singing, "What the world needs now / is love, sweet love".
Sorry to scratch the vinyl. We interrupt this lovey-dovey to bring you breaking news. You have been catapulted to the age of the new Hobbesian "hero" - digital and virtual as well as physical.
Casino capitalism - aka turbocharged neoliberalism - is ruthlessly destroying the last vestiges of the welfare state and the egalitarian consensus in the industrialized West, possibly with the odd Scandinavian exception. It has established a "New Normal" consensus, intruding into private lives, dominating the political debate and institutionalizing for good the marketization of life itself - the final act of fierce corporate exploitation of natural resources, land and cheap labor.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu May 2, 2013, 02:40 PM (1 replies)
A new report from Seton Hall University exposes government surveillance of attorney–client conversations
By Scott Horton
The military commissions at Guantánamo have been on hold for roughly two months now, stalled by a pressing question: Were the proceedings inside the state-of-the-art courtroom in fact being manipulated by the CIA? Back in 2009, the Obama Administration inherited a process that verged on being an international laughingstock. Political appointees had manipulated almost every step of the process, pressing to remove any doubt from the outcome. Ultimately, the thin veneer of legitimacy that remained was stripped away when military lawyers — both prosecutors and defense counsel — joined together to expose the political circus.
Team Obama promised to right this system. An interagency review process led to agreement on a significant number of reforms, and Brigadier General Mark Martins, the new chief prosecutor, made the rounds of law schools and bar associations, talking about the government’s intention to restore basic norms of justice to the process. He was persuasive, and even skeptics began to acknowledge that the proceedings had been set back on the path to respectability.
Today, however, that effort is a shambles. The military-commissions process teeters for the third time on the brink of collapse, thanks to the ham-handed snooping and manipulations of the intelligence community. The problems this time were first exposed by a moment of comic ineptitude. During a hearing in the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, journalists and other observers behind the Plexiglas barrier noted that the sound had suddenly gone dead as defense counsel David Nevin recited the name of a motion that referred to CIA black sites. “Who,” queried Judge James Pohl, “turns that light on or off?” He was referring to a flashing red light that indicated when the audio feed was being disrupted. Not the court, it turned out. In the best Wizard of Oz tradition, the man behind the curtain appeared to be in the employ of “another government agency.” Judge Pohl at first seemed indignant over this instance of external control over his courtroom, but later resumed the proceedings, apparently accepting the arrangement as beyond the purview of his pay grade.
While that affair soon dissolved into embarrassed jokes, it paved the way for far more serious charges. Defense counsel began to make noise about the severe limitations imposed on their confidential communications with clients, reporting that their messages were being intercepted, noting that government agents routinely seized approved communications during security sweeps of prisoners’ rooms, and, most seriously, expressing suspicion that their conversations were being monitored. These suspicions appeared to be confirmed when attorneys meeting their clients for conferences discovered that the “smoke detectors” installed in the ceilings above them were in fact supersensitive surveillance devices. Bar associations across the United States denounced all of these machinations as efforts by the U.S. government to undermine the most fundamental of fair-trial rights: the ability of a client to communicate in complete confidence with his counsel.
in full: http://harpers.org/blog/2013/04/a-final-act-for-the-guantanamo-theater-of-the-absurd/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Apr 22, 2013, 08:43 PM (5 replies)
By Pepe Escobar
PARIS - And now some breaking news coming from the Islamic Emirate of Syriastan. This program is brought to you by the NATOGCC corporation. Please also tune in for a word from our individual sponsors, the United States government, Britain, France, Turkey, the House of Saud and the Emir of Qatar.
It all started early this week, with a proclamation by the elusive leader of al-Qaeda Central, Ayman "The Doctor" al-Zawahiri, hidden somewhere in the Pakistani tribal areas; how come Double O Bama with his license to kill (list) and prime drone fleet cannot find him?
Al-Zawahiri called for all the Islamist brigades in the Jihad Inc business fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to found an Islamic emirate, the passport du jour leading to an Islamic caliphate.
Two days later, the Islamic State of Iraq - for all practical purposes al-Qaeda in Iraq - announced, via a video starring its leader Abu Bakr al-Husseini al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi, a mergers and acquisition spectacular; from now on, it would be united with the Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra, and be referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
in full: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-120413.html
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue Apr 16, 2013, 08:41 PM (0 replies)
America’s preeminent Modern Orthodox academic institution distances itself from 'student-initiated' award as critics call for financial pressure to cancel ceremony.
By Chemi Shalev | Apr.09, 2013 | 2:50 AM
Tensions are flaring at New York’s prestigious Yeshiva University and its Cardozo School of Law in the wake of growing protests against a decision to bestow an “International Advocate for Peace Award” on former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
The award, handed out by Cardozo’s student-run Journal of Conflict Resolution, is to be given to Carter on Wednesday at a ceremony at Cardozo’s Greenwich Village campus in Manhattan. Some Cardozo alumni have threatened to physically block Carter’s way when he arrives, while others have launched a public campaign to have both the ceremony and the award cancelled altogether.
Although the decision to salute Carter was announced only a few days ago, it still has the potential to develop into a major confrontation in light of Yeshiva University’s preeminent position in American Modern Orthodoxy, in which right-wing views on Israel, the Palestinians – and Jimmy Carter – are prevalent.
A so-called “Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni” has set up a website calling on Cardozo graduates to “condition any continued support of Cardozo, be it financial or otherwise, on the cancellation of this event.” Protests against the decision to honor Carter have also spread in the right wing and pro-settler blogosphere, and these have now been reinforced by Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, a long time critic of Carter and his attitude toward Israel.
in full: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/new-york-s-yeshiva-university-engulfed-in-controversy-over-jimmy-carter-peace-award-1.514424
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue Apr 9, 2013, 07:40 PM (8 replies)
Inequality has been rising in most countries around the world, but it has played out in different ways across countries and regions. The United States, it is increasingly recognized, has the sad distinction of being the most unequal advanced country, though the income gap has also widened to a lesser extent, in Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany. Of course, the situation is even worse in Russia, and some developing countries in Latin America and Africa. But this is a club of which we should not be proud to be a member.
Some big countries — Brazil, Indonesia and Argentina — have become more equal in recent years, and other countries, like Spain, were on that trajectory until the economic crisis of 2007-8.
Singapore has had the distinction of having prioritized social and economic equity while achieving very high rates of growth over the past 30 years — an example par excellence that inequality is not just a matter of social justice but of economic performance. Societies with fewer economic disparities perform better — not just for those at the bottom or the middle, but over all.
It’s hard to believe how far this city-state has come in the half-century since it attained independence from Britain, in 1963. (A short-lived merger with Malaysia ended in 1965.) Around the time of independence, a quarter of Singapore’s work force was unemployed or underemployed. Its per-capita income (adjusted for inflation) was less than a tenth of what it is today.
in full: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/singapores-lessons-for-an-unequal-america/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue Apr 2, 2013, 09:07 PM (8 replies)
Tsung Tsung, age 5
Have a happy Saturday, everyone
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sat Mar 30, 2013, 11:21 AM (24 replies)
March 22, 2013
Slate’s Matthew Yglesias writes columns about economics and finance. Yglesias has been writing about Cyprus, and my critiques of the policies he has been proposing are the subject of this column.
Here's the short background on Cyprus: The country is in a crisis and the EU is willing to bail out its collapsing banks only if Cyprus raises revenues. The EU is unwilling to make the banks’ sophisticated creditors – the bondholders – take any losses. The EU wanted the banks’ least sophisticated creditors – the depositors – to take losses, even if their deposits were small enough to be within the deposit insurance limit. The reality, which the EU wishes to obscure by calling its proposal a tax, is that that the EU was insisting that depositors no longer be fully protected from loss by government deposit insurance. The EU demand was made shortly after the EU and Cyprus’ government pledged that depositors under the insurance limit would suffer no losses.
Cyprus’ government’s duplicity was prompted by its close ties to Russian oligarchs who deposit the funds they loot from Russia in the failing Cypriot banks. Cyprus’ plan, therefore, imposed a hefty (6.6%) loss on (smaller) insured depositors in order to keep the percentage loss on huge depositors well in excess of the 100,000 euro insurance limit under 10 percent.
The plan was terrible for Cyprus, terrible for insured depositors, and very dangerous to banks in the European periphery (because it could spark large withdrawals of insured and non-insured deposits from such banks). The plan was also a political failure that enraged most Cypriots into opposing the deal. Yglesias’ response to the plan was a March 18, 2013 column praising it: “Two Cheers for the Cyprus Bailout.”
The part that Yglesias liked best about the plan was causing depositors – including the fully insured smaller depositors – losses. The single worst aspect of a terrible plan is what Yglesias cheered. In fairness to Yglesias, he wrote that the losses imposed on the largest depositors should have been larger and the losses on the insured depositors smaller. He did not, however, call for Cyprus and the EU not to breach their promises not to force losses on the insured depositors. His position was that the magnitude of the betrayal of insured depositors be reduced (“It’s perhaps not possible to entirely spare middle-class savers, but they can be cut a much better deal than this.”) Yglesias’ one sentence summary of his position reads: “The plan to punish Cypriot bank depositors is hideously unfair, but it contains the germ of a great idea.”
in full: http://www.alternet.org/economy/spin-alert-slates-matthew-yglesias-gets-it-all-wrong-cyprus?paging=off
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri Mar 22, 2013, 08:02 PM (0 replies)
Instead of cuts and tax hikes on working people, elderly and veterans, it is time for "higher taxes on the wealthy".
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2013 12:31
"We pay for Social Security all of our lives, through the regressive payroll tax, and most Americans know this even if some of us have been tricked into believing that Social Security contributes to the overall deficit," says author
Barack Obama "prefers" it. Nancy Pelosi is willing to consider it. The AARP, organised labour, and progressive Democrats in and out of elected office are entirely opposed.
It is "Chained CPI", the new favourite bit of jargon being tossed around in very serious policy circles as a possible bargaining chip in a budget Grand Bargain. The consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of inflation that is used to calculate cost-of-living-increases for programmes like Social Security. The "chained CPI" is a different method of calculation that presumes that when the price of one product goes up, people will simply buy something cheaper. Using this formula to calculate Social Security, veterans' benefits, and other programmes (including, for instance, Pell grants that help lower-income students afford college) would amount to a cut in benefits.
Republicans and many Democrats - including, apparently, the President - want to do it. They want to establish the wildly popular New Deal social safety net as part of the problem and they want to cut it. And this little scheme sounds enough like not cutting benefits that the objective press is able to pretend that it is just a technocratic adjustment, really, instead of what it is. (It is also a stealth tax increase.)
Yet Obama's economic adviser Gene Sperling noted in a Reddit discussion last week that "protections" from the cuts would be necessary for "low-income Americans, certain veterans, and older Social Security beneficiaries". If we need to protect people from it, how is it good policy?
in full: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201331994650651342.html
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu Mar 21, 2013, 07:57 PM (3 replies)
Rashid Khalidi on how the United States sustains the failure of the Israel–Palestine peace process
By Scott Horton
March 18, 2013
Columbia University historian Rashid Khalidi served as a Palestinian adviser during U.S.-brokered talks over a future Palestinian state. Now he has authored Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East, a stinging attack on the role played by American representatives during the process. His book offers a perspective that Americans rarely hear: one that chronicles America’s steps and links them directly to the stagnation and failure of the entire process. I put six questions to Khalidi about his book:
1. Let’s start with a look into the future. You say that Washington’s partiality for Israel in Middle Eastern affairs has thus far cost it very little, largely because the Arab world consists of states where the opinion of the masses counts for very little — but that Washington may face a sort of democratic day of reckoning as the Arab world moves towards democratic governance. On the other hand, the consensus view in the recent Foreign Affairs special issue on the Arab Spring was that democracy was hardly yet in prospect. How far off do you think this day of reckoning is, and what form do you expect it to take?
Institutionalized functioning democracy is not yet in prospect in most of the Arab world. It may be a long way off. But I doubt that this region can permanently remain an anomaly in the world as a whole, which for decades has seen a trend toward more democratic governance, from East and South Asia to Eastern Europe and Latin America. The Middle East as a region is unusual in that because of its strategic importance it has long been subject to a high degree of external interference. It is also home to bastions of monarchical autocracy in the form of several Arab Gulf regimes, which are fighting a ferocious rearguard action against democracy.
But Arab peoples have demonstrated a profound aspiration for change in Egypt, Tunisia, and several other countries. We shall see whether that will eventually triumph, and whether Arab public opinion will finally have a say in policy-making on Palestine and other matters, or whether external meddling and the partisans of the awful Arab status quo will continue to prevail. If the latter happens, it will probably only be a matter of time until we see another series of explosions like those of the past two years. In any case, continuing to link American policy on Palestine to the persistence of this rotten and undemocratic status quo is a typically short-sighted approach.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Mar 18, 2013, 02:38 PM (0 replies)