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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,330

Journal Archives

NYU Grad Students Say They’re Ready to Strike

[font size="1"]NYU grad students, pictured here rallying last year, say they have enough votes to authorize a strike next week. (Christy Thornton)[/font]

(In These Times) If New York University administrators don’t start answering teaching assistant demands soon, the nation’s second most expensive college could experience a work stoppage as early as next year.

During a rally in Washington Square Park December 2, members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC, affiliated with United Auto Workers Local 2110) announced they were confident that its membership will authorize the union to strike by December 11.

Bargaining committee member Ella Wind, a Middle Eastern Studies student, said that NYU management had not substantively responded to union demands in the past three contract negotiation sessions over the past year. GSOC wants the university to implement an uniform health care coverage plan to teaching assistants—graduate students who teach undergraduate students—rather than differing plans depending on one’s specific school within NYU, Wind explained.

The union is also demanding tuition reimbursement and an improvement for teaching assistant dental benefits. Currently, graduate student instructors can pay into a program, cleverly called the Stu-dent Plan, where they receive dental care from NYU dental students, the union said. Instead, the union wants coverage under the faculty and administrators' dental plan. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17410/nyu_grad_students_strike

Watchdog Group Files DOJ Complaint Against Dallas Police, Alleging Racial Pattern of Excessive Force

(Truthout) Dallas Communities Organizing for Change (DCOC), a grassroots, Dallas-based police accountability group, has filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division alleging that the Dallas Police Department (DPD) has participated in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force against African-Americans and Hispanics, echoing a national trend.

According to the complaint, between July 2002 and July 2013, there were 185 police shootings reported by the DPD, with 58 resulting in a fatality. African-American and Hispanic fatalities accounted for 43, or 74 percent, of all lethal police shootings. Thirty-six of the 185 police shooting victims were unarmed.

Within that 10-year period, 33 African-Americans were killed, accounting for nearly 57 percent of all fatalities committed by Dallas police officers, a rate more than twice the population density of African-Americans as recorded by the 2010 US Census. An additional 10 Hispanics were killed in police shootings during the same period - a combined rate 48 percent higher than white police shooting fatalities.

"I think Dallas is pretty rife for (federal) intervention, because (the police department) is not listening, and one of the problems we have is, we have leaders who have their ears covered," said civil rights attorney Shayan Elahi, who is counsel for DCOC. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/27741-watchdog-group-files-doj-complaint-against-dallas-police-alleging-racial-pattern-of-excessive-force

New G20 Rules: Cyprus-Style Bail-Ins to Hit Depositors and Pensioners

New G20 Rules: Cyprus-Style Bail-Ins to Hit Depositors and Pensioners

Tuesday, 02 December 2014 10:17
By Ellen Brown, The Web of Debt Blog | News Analysis

On the weekend of November 16, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane, posed for their photo ops, approved some proposals, made a show of roundly disapproving of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board’s “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” which completely changes the rules of banking.

Russell Napier, writing in ZeroHedge, called it “the day money died.” In any case, it may have been the day deposits died as money. Unlike coins and paper bills, which cannot be written down or given a “haircut,” says Napier, deposits are now “just part of commercial banks’ capital structure.” That means they can be “bailed in” or confiscated to save the megabanks from derivative bets gone wrong.

Rather than reining in the massive and risky derivatives casino, the new rules prioritize the payment of banks’ derivatives obligations to each other, ahead of everyone else. That includes not only depositors, public and private, but the pension funds that are the target market for the latest bail-in play, called “bail-inable” bonds.

“Bail in” has been sold as avoiding future government bailouts and eliminating too big to fail (TBTF). But it actually institutionalizes TBTF, since the big banks are kept in business by expropriating the funds of their creditors.

It is a neat solution for bankers and politicians, who don’t want to have to deal with another messy banking crisis and are happy to see it disposed of by statute. But a bail-in could have worse consequences than a bailout for the public. If your taxes go up, you will probably still be able to pay the bills. If your bank account or pension gets wiped out, you could wind up in the street or sharing food with your pets. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/27754-new-g20-rules-cyprus-style-bail-ins-to-hit-depositors-and-pensioners

Noam Chomsky: Can We Save Our Democracy and History?

Published on Nov 25, 2014

On the occasion of Brooklyn for Peace's 30th Anniversary Gala honoring Noam Chomsky, recipient of the Pathmakers to Peace Award. Interview by Dr. Partha Banerjee, labor educator and human rights activist.
November 15th, 2014

Designated Driver (cartoon)


Chris Hedges: "The citizens' rights, the citizens' needs -- they're irrelevant."

Published on Nov 24, 2014
Interview with Chris Hedges at The Earth at Risk 2014 Conference and the moral imperative of resistance thru non-violent direct action and mass movements of sustained civil disobedience...

Chicago CTA Ride the Rails: Red Line to Howard

German Government May Say 'Nein' To After Work Emails

(NPR) All of us are familiar with the sound a smartphone makes when an email or text has arrived. Our somewhat Pavlovian response is to pick up the device, see who the message is from and read it.

In Germany, a growing number of these emails come from the boss contacting employees after work. That's not healthy, say experts on work-related stress, including psychologist Gerdamarie Schmitz in Berlin, who is feeling the technological encroachment herself.

"This horrible phone I have with me, and so I get emails," she says. "I check them because I can check them, and I get that What's App message from my clients. So of course there's also, after hours, a constant stress that has not been there before, absolutely."

And it also crosses a sacrosanct line in Germany between work and leisure, says Hanns Pauli, who is the health and safety expert for the Federation of German Trade Unions. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/12/01/366806938/german-government-may-say-nein-to-work-emails-after-six

Chris Hedges: Alcatraz: A Prison as Disneyland

from truthdig:

by Chris Hedges

SAN FRANCISCO—I took the ferry from Pier 33 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero to Alcatraz. I stepped onto the island from the gangway, walked up the hill to the old prison entrance and was given a portable audio guide. I spent two hours going through the corridors and cells where horrific suffering and trauma crushed human beings. Alcatraz purportedly had the highest insanity rate of any federal penitentiary of its era.

I was regaled through the headset with stories about famous Alcatraz inmates including Al Capone, Robert “Birdman” Stroud and George “Machine Gun” Kelly, escape attempts, the 1946 armed uprising that was ruthlessly put down by the Marine Corps, and intrepid FBI agents who hunted down the nation’s most notorious criminals and brought them to justice. In this binary, cartoon narrative of good guys and bad guys, of cops and gangsters, even the repugnant J. Edgar Hoover was resurrected as a virtuous symbol of law and order.

At the end of the tour—5,000 people a day, some 1.4 million a year, visit the prison—we were funneled into the gift shop. It was possible to buy T-shirts, replica blue prisoner shirts, replica tin prison cups and other Alcatraz souvenirs. We were encouraged to take cards from a wooden rack and mail them to foreign governments on behalf of selected prisoners of conscience. The message was clear: In the United States those in prison deserve it; in foreign lands they are imprisoned unjustly. The Disneyfication of Alcatraz is the equivalent of turning one of Stalin’s gulags into a prison-themed amusement park. Prisons are institutionalized evil. And whitewashing evil is a moral monstrosity.

The Alcatraz narrative as presented by the National Park Service ignores the savagery and injustice of America’s system of mass incarceration, in which we today imprison 25 percent of all the world’s prisoners although Americans are only 5 percent of the global population. It ignores our decades-long use of torture, isolation and trauma to turn prisoners into psychological cripples. It ignores that most prisoners are poor and never had adequate legal defense. It ignores how people of color in our urban “internal colonies” are worth nothing on the streets but, in cages, each generates $40,000 to $50,000 a year for corporations. It ignores that prisoners are repeatedly punished and given longer sentences not for crimes they committed while free but for amorphous infractions such as “disrespect” and “agitation” done in prison. It ignores the prison system’s one-sided “justice” that denies prisoners a fair hearing. It ignores that a guard is God, that he or she can verbally and physically abuse a prisoner without repercussions. It ignores that prisons are despotic fiefdoms. It ignores the daily humiliation, despair and pain of those trapped inside. It ignores that prisoners who initially believe in the system, who think justice is possible, are usually the first to have psychological breakdowns or commit suicide. It ignores—and here is the greatest crime—the deep and profound humanity of many of the prisoners themselves, who are as caring, intelligent and loving as those outside the walls. It ignores, finally, who we are as a nation, how callous and brutal we are to the dispossessed and how we revel in stories of violence and human degradation. This excitement, and this fictitious narrative of good and evil, is possible only if we see prisoners as less than human. And this is a task perfected to an art at Alcatraz by the National Park Service, and by popular culture. Anyone who truly grasped what took place at Alcatraz, and what is taking place in prisons across the country, would weep. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/alcatraz_a_prison_as_disneyworld_20141130

Are Humans Going Extinct?

Are Humans Going Extinct?

Monday, 01 December 2014 09:45
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Interview

Some scientists, Guy McPherson included, fear that climate disruption is already so serious, with so many self-reinforcing feedback loops already in play, that humans are in the process of causing our own extinction.

August, September and October were each the hottest months ever recorded, respectively. Including this year, which is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded, 13 of the hottest years on record have all occurred in the last 16 years.

Coal will likely overtake oil as the dominant energy source by 2017, and without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change.

This is dramatically worse than even the most dire predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which predicts at least a 5-degree Celsius increase by 2100 as its worst-case scenario, if business continues as usual with no major mitigation efforts. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/27714-are-humans-going-extinct

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