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Dystopia: Corporate Rule Breeding 'Global Class War'


Published on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

Dystopia: Corporate Rule Breeding 'Global Class War'
- Common Dreams staff

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, normally an opportunity for the global elite to congratulate one another on their continued dominance of world economic matters and policy victories, has been unable this year to ignore the growing popular movements that have risen to challenge many of the forum's fundamental prescriptions for growth and economic stability.


Further proving that the forum has taken a more pessimistic tone this year is the title of one of today's sessions, 'Seeds of Dystopia,' which mirrors the WEF's Global Risks 2012 Report, released earlier this month. Among those who share the financial worries of a continued economic slump and predict further social and political upheaval, is Nouriel Roubini. An economist and co-author of the book Crisis Economics -- and also known as Dr. Doom for some of his (accurate) predictions of past economic events (read 'meltdowns') -- Roubini spoke on today's panel. The Business Insider delineates some of Roubini's key points:

Roubini & Co. Scare The Crap Out Of Davos
'Social unrest, Roubini says, is tied directly to economic uncertainty'

•What is connecting everyone in the world these days is economic and financial insecurity, the rise of income and wealth inequality, challenges from poverty, unemployment effects of financial crisis.
•Freakouts about debt loads, moreover, are leading to budget cuts — which, in Europe, at least, are making the recession worse.
•225 million people worldwide are unemployed
•1 in 3 people on the planet are poor or unemployed
•1% of the world's families own 40% of the wealth
•Wages as a percent of GDP are at an all-time low
•Corporate profits as a percent of GDP are at an all-time high
•Current policies will lead to explosions
•This inequality is "Great Gatsby revisited"
•We're in a "vicious circle"... fiscal austerity to solve debt problem is making everything worse


No Arab Spring without women


No Arab Spring without women
By Najat Al-Saeid

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Under the banner of “No Spring without Women,” a Lebanese feminist organisation has organized a march in Beirut, as part of the 5th New Arab Woman Forum. The slogan of the march is “Sawa Sawa”, which in this context means “Let’s walk together, let’s make it together”, calling for a Spring that includes both men and women. Before getting the invitation to this march, my mind was already preoccupied with the future of Arab women after the revolutions and how women’s status might be impacted in each of the Arab countries. My concern is: can there be Arab union or organisation to sustain Arab women’s status in the post-revolution era?

Women in the Arab world have suffered in the revolutions, but the question now is, what will the outcome of all this suffering and sacrifice be? To date, the revolutions have not resulted in any improvement in women’s status. In Egypt, there are now voices saying that women should leave the revolution to men, and during a demonstration on International Women’s Day in March, men jeered at the women marching, telling them to go home and feed their babies.

On Dec. 21, 2011, women marched from Tahrir Square through the city, outraged by the image of a young woman kicked by troops and dragged along the ground. What’s more, there are no women on the committee that has been tasked with drafting the new constitution, though many are qualified to be. Since the revolution, the women’s quota in parliament has been abolished, which means there will be fewer women and their presence will barely make a difference.

Tunisian women have not suffered from the same abuses, but their legal position has not changed since the revolution. Tunisian women are trying to preserve their rights instead of winning new ones. One large party only, the Democratic Modernist Pole, has promised to install a woman as its leader.


The Washington-Wall Street Revolving Door Just Keeps Spinning Along, by Bill Moyers & M. Winship


Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by Common Dreams

The Washington-Wall Street Revolving Door Just Keeps Spinning Along

by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

We’ve already made our choice for the best headline of the year, so far:

"Citigroup Replaces JPMorgan as White House Chief of Staff."

When we saw it on the website Gawker.com we had to smile -- but the smile didn’t last long. There’s simply too much truth in that headline; it says a lot about how Wall Street and Washington have colluded to create the winner-take-all economy that rewards the very few at the expense of everyone else

The story behind it is that Jack Lew is President Obama’s new chief of staff -- arguably the most powerful office in the White House that isn’t shaped like an oval. He used to work for the giant banking conglomerate Citigroup. His predecessor as chief of staff is Bill Daley, who used to work at the giant banking conglomerate JPMorgan Chase, where he was maestro of the bank’s global lobbying and chief liaison to the White House.

Daley replaced Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who once worked as a rainmaker for the investment bank now known as Wasserstein & Company, where in less than three years he was paid a reported eighteen and a half million dollars.

The new guy, Jack Lew – said by those who know to be a skilled and principled public servant – ran hedge funds and private equity at Citigroup, which means he’s a member of the Wall Street gang, too. His last job was as head of President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget, where he replaced Peter Orzag, who now works as vice chairman for global banking at – hold onto your deposit slip -- Citigroup.


Gingrich's Death Penalty for Pot


Gingrich's Death Penalty for Pot
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 08:47

In 1996, when he was in Congress, Newt Gingrich proposed to amend the Controlled Substances Act to include a provision for the death penalty for anyone who brings two ounces of marijuana or other drugs into the country.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson slams Gingrich, who's running for the Republican presidential nomination. "Some of Speaker Gingrich’s ideas over the years are nothing short of scary," says Johnson. "The War on Drugs is a failure, and bold steps are in order to align drug policy with reality and humanity. But Newt Gingrich’s notion of bold is not what we need."

About H.R. 4170 (Drug Import Death Penalty Act of 1996), Johnson notes: "Anyone coming home to the U.S. and caught carrying enough marijuana (two ounces) to distribute would be sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole - or if caught twice, would be sentenced to death."

Gingrich recently defended this position when he stated: "We need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we're going to have drugs in this country. Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that. They've been very draconian. And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country."


Oklahoma GOP Introduces Bill That Attacks Evolution And Climate Change


GOP Introduces Bill That Attacks Evolution And Climate Change
January 22, 2012
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.

Republicans in Oklahoma have introduced the sixth anti-evolution bill of 2012. Introduced by State GOP Senator Josh Brecheen, SB 1742 would force the state board of education to assist school staffs in promoting “critical thinking, logical analysis, open and objective discussion of scientific theories including, but not limited to, evolution, the origin of life, global warming, and human cloning” and says that teachers “may use supplemental textbooks and instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.”

In other words, this bill is covertly requiring the state board of education to encourage schools to teach opposing views of climate change and evolution even though those opposing views have no scientific facts to stand on. The bill claims that it isn’t promoting a religious doctrine, but the problem is that the bill is modeled after the 2008 Louisiana bill that requires schools to teach creationism. SB 1742 also allows teachers to use alternate book materials in addition to the regular textbook, which means teachers could theoretically bring a Bible to school and call it a “supplemental textbook.” Besides, there are no scientific theories that debunk evolution and climate change. Both theories are widely accepted by nearly all scientists. That leaves pseudo-science theories like creationism as the only choice for schools to utilize as an opposing theory. The bill for some reason also declares an emergency of some kind which I can only assume is the emergency being declared by religious groups on the right who think Christianity is being discriminated against.


United States Congress: A Graveyard for Democracy and Justice


Published on Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Common Dreams

United States Congress: A Graveyard for Democracy and Justice

by Ralph Nader

The editor of The Hill, a newspaper exclusively covering Congress, said that Congress was not going to do very much in 2012, except for "the big bill" which is extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation, which expire in late February. That two month extension will likely reignite the fight between Democrats and Republicans that flared last month.

In 2012, Congress, the editor implied, would be busy electioneering. That is, the Senators and Representatives will be busy raising money from commercial interests so they can keep their jobs. There won't be much time to change anything about misallocated public budgets, unfair tax rules, undeclared costly wars, and job-depleting trade policies that, if fixed, would increase employment and public investment.

So this year, Congress will spend well over $3 billion on its own expenses to do nothing of significance other than shift more debt to individual taxpayers by depleting the social security payroll tax by over $100 billion so both parties can say they enacted a tax cut! That is what the Democrats in Congress and the President call a significant accomplishment.

Will someone call a psychiatrist? This is a Congress that is beyond dysfunctional. It is an obstacle to progress in America, a graveyard for both democracy and justice. No wonder a new Washington Post-ABC news poll found an all time high of 84 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing.


Arizona School District Wipes Latino American History Off the Map


.Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by Common Dreams

Arizona School District Wipes Latino American History Off the Map

- Common Dreams staff

A catastrophe in slow motion has played out in Arizona schools over the last several years as anti-immigrant sentiment crept into state legislation guiding how and what kind of Mexican American and indigenous history could be taught in classrooms across the southwestern border state. What may have seemed absurd until recently is now a reality as boxes of banned books will now be gathered up and locked away.

Jeff Biggers, who has covered the ethnic studies ban in Arizona extensively, reported at Salon:

As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. According to district spokeperson Cara Rene, the books “will be cleared from all classrooms, boxed up and sent to the Textbook Depository for storage.”

Facing a multimillion-dollar penalty in state funds, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially ended the 13-year-old program on Tuesday in an attempt to come into compliance with the controversial state ban on the teaching of ethnic studies.


This is the list of textbooks cleared from the classrooms, according to KGUN 9 in Tuscon:


Critical Race Theory– Richard Delgado

500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures – edited by Elizabeth Martinez

Message to AZTLAN – Rodolfo Corky Gonzales

Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement – Arturo Rosales

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos – Rodolfo Acuna

Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire

Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 Years – Bill Bigelow

Dogs Now Welcome At Domestic Violence Shelter Thanks To Heroic Pooch


Dogs Now Welcome At Domestic Violence Shelter Thanks To Heroic Pooch

A Great Dane who saved his owner's life by protecting her from her boyfriend's physical abuse has now inspired the local domestic violence shelter to allow companion pets, KCTV 5 News Kansas City reports.

The Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, became the first shelter in the area to accept pets after receiving a desperate call from a woman whose boyfriend had attempted to beat her with a hammer, KCTV reported.

The woman told emergency hotline operators that she escaped death only because her Great Dane had jumped on top of her and absorbed most of the blows. Undeterred, the boyfriend threw both the woman and her dog out a second-story window, and the two were seriously injured.

She refused to accept a space at The Rose Brooks Center, however, when she learned that they didn't accomodate pets.


Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. while perpetuating the racial divide


Published on Friday, January 13, 2012 by CommonDreams.org

Report: Massive Movement Needed to Fix 'Perverse Concentration of Wealth'
Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. while perpetuating the racial divide

- Common Dreams staff

Martin Luther King's dream of racial equality is far from reality.

Census Bureau figures show the U.S. on track to be a majority minority nation by 2042. But if the trends of the last 30 years continue, according to a new report, the economic racial divide is set to increase.

The non-partisan group United for a Fair Economy's (UFE) ninth annual MLK Day report, State of the Dream 2012: The Emerging Majority finds that racial economic divide will remain "disastrously large and will threaten the stability of the entire economy."

While the numbers of people of color in the nation surge, this fact alone is not enough to change the economic reality. From the report:

In the age of mass media and Citizens United, money buys influence, and the national income and wealth will remain over-whelmingly in the hands of Whites – a small group of Whites at that.


Democratic Host Committee securing Charlotte parks for convention week


by RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36 Staff
Bio | Email| Follow: @RadBerkywcnc
Posted on January 10, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Democratic Host Committee securing Charlotte parks for convention week

Updated Wednesday, Jan 11 at 2:10 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NewsChannel 36 has learned that the Democratic Convention Host Committee is lining up a number of city parks for the week of the convention in September.

The Host Committee has already secured the right of first refusal to use almost all the city's parks, according to a spokesperson, and that could mean limited access or no access for the public during the convention.

"I'm about freedom and liberty," said James Bailey at the Occupy Charlotte encampment at the old city hall.


The Host Committee spokesperson also pointed out that arrangements were started to reserve the parks during the time the city was bidding to win the convention and that was long before the Occupy Charlotte camp was established.

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