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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,210

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Gaze Upon the Danish Dream of Freedom


via truthdig:


Gaze Upon the Danish Dream of Freedom
Posted on May 28, 2013


Unlike the Danes, American society has abstracted freedom from its prerequisite of economic security. Vermonters learned of enviable Danish freedom in a series of town meetings this month with one of their senators, Bernie Sanders, and Peter Taksoe-Jensen, the Danish ambassador to the U.S.

“Large crowds came out to learn about a social system very different from our own which provides extraordinary security and opportunity for the people of Denmark,” Sanders wrote of the meetings in an editorial in The Huffington Post on Sunday.

Most Americans are gripped with “a massive amount of economic anxiety,” Sanders continued. “Unemployment is much too high, wages and income are too low, millions of Americans are struggling to find affordable health care and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider. “While young working families search desperately for affordable child care, older Americans worry about how they can retire with dignity. Many of our people are physically exhausted as they work the longest hours of any industrialized country and have far less paid vacation time than other major countries.”

Not so in Denmark. There, “social policy in areas like health care, child care, education and protecting the unemployed are part of a ‘solidarity system’ that makes sure that almost no one falls into economic despair. Danes pay very high taxes, but in return enjoy a quality of life that many Americans would find hard to believe,” Sanders wrote. Taksoe-Jensen told his American audiences that although Danes have a difficult time becoming obscenely wealthy, no one is allowed to be poor, Sanders noted. Minimum wage is twice what it is in the United States, and people who are unable to find jobs and care for themselves have a basic guaranteed income of $100 per day. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/gaze_upon_the_danish_dream_of_freedom_20130528/



Why America Needs An Education Spring


Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Education Opportunity Network
Why America Needs An Education Spring

by Jeff Bryant


Well, someone in the mainstream media finally had to ask the question.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, on his “All In” program on May 24, covered the forced closing of 50 public schools in Chicago – the largest incident of mass school closings in the nation’s history.

Joining Hayes were Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers’ Union, and education professor Pedro Noguera to discuss the rationale for the closures. Lewis said school administrators and Mayor Rahm Emanuel changed the rationale for the closings so many times that the case had become “murky.” Noguera declared the closings were “not a solution” for fixing or “reforming” schools.

Then Hayes dropped this: “Is this a strategy to – I’ll put it on the table: School closings as a strategy to kill public education?” .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/28-7



Working at the car wash.......with representation.


In a move that labor union officials said may be industry-changing, recently unionized car wash workers in New York City have ratified a contract with their employer, marking the first collective bargaining agreement in the U.S. car wash industry outside of California, the workers' union told HuffPost on Tuesday.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said workers at the Astoria Car Wash & Hi-Tek 10 Minute Lube in Queens voted overwhelmingly in favor of the contract, which increases wages from the current minimum wage of $7.25 to $9.18 after three years. The agreement also guarantees sick and personal days for workers and establishes a grievance process for complaints.

Unions, in concert with faith and community groups, have made a significant push in recent years to organize the mostly Latino immigrant workforces that clean cars in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Workers often toil for the minimum wage or less, handling potentially dangerous chemicals, with little or no job security.

Appelbaum called the contract "hugely significant." ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/28/car-wash-new-york-contract_n_3348685.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037&ir=Politics



Bernie Sanders: Something's Not-So-Rotten in Denmark


by Sen. Bernie Sanders


Danish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen spent a weekend in Vermont this month traveling with me to town meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. Large crowds came out to learn about a social system very different from our own which provides extraordinary security and opportunity for the people of Denmark.

Today in the United States there is a massive amount of economic anxiety. Unemployment is much too high, wages and income are too low, millions of Americans are struggling to find affordable health care and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.

While young working families search desperately for affordable child care, older Americans worry about how they can retire with dignity. Many of our people are physically exhausted as they work the longest hours of any industrialized country and have far less paid vacation time than other major countries

Denmark is a small, homogenous nation of about 5.5 million people. The United States is a melting pot of more than 315 million people. No question about it, Denmark and the United States are very different countries. Nonetheless, are there lessons that we can learn from Denmark? ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/what-can-we-learn-from-de_b_3339736.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037



Texas Police Tase Overweight Asthmatic to Death in Drug Raid That Uncovers No Drugs

May 28, 2013 |


On May 16th, Fort Worth police entered the home of Jarmaine Darden, 34, in search of cocaine. The raid, which does not appear to have uncovered any cocaine, ended with the 34-year-old father dead after police tased him multiple times.

Family members told CBS 11 that the 350-pound man, who'd been asleep on the couch when police came in, couldn't drop to the ground on his stomach as officers commanded because he suffered from asthma.

“They physically pulled him off the couch because, like I said, he was asleep. They pulled him off the couch and they tried to put him on his stomach. He can’t breathe on his stomach. He don’t even lie on the bed on his stomach,” said Donna Randle, the mother of victim Jarmaine Darden, 34.


According to what witnesses told CBS 11, Darden stopped breathing and died after police tased him the second time. An investigation into the incident is underway.

Tasers are supposed to save lives by allowing police to de-escalate dangerous situations without using their guns. But critics say they are over-used and can prove deadly, most often by causing cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest, including in otherwise healthy individuals. Hundreds of incidents of death or injury have been reported, leading to multiple lawsuits against police departments and Taser International, a manufacturer of the weapon. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/texas-police-tase-overweight-asthmatic-death-drug-raid-uncovers-no-drugs



Train derails in Maryland, explosion reported


WHITE MARSH, MD.— Baltimore County fire officials say a train has derailed in a Baltimore suburb and an explosion was heard in the area.

A fire spokesperson says the train derailed about 2 p.m. Tuesday in White Marsh. The spokeswoman says it was not known if there were any injuries.

Photos and video on TV stations showed a large plume of smoke rising from the area. At least three rail cars could be seen off the tracks.


http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/05/28/train_derails_in_maryland_explosion_reported.html


Engineering Empire: An Introduction to the Intellectuals and Institutions of American Imperialism


Engineering Empire: An Introduction to the Intellectuals and Institutions of American Imperialism

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:55
By Andrew Gavin Marshall, The Hampton Institute | News Analysis


Educating yourself about empire can be a challenging endeavor, especially since so much of the educational system is dedicated to avoiding the topic or justifying the actions of imperialism in the modern era. If one studies political science or economics, the subject might be discussed in a historical context, but rarely as a modern reality; media and government voices rarely speak on the subject, and even more rarely speak of it with direct and honest language. Instead, we exist in a society where institutions and individuals of power speak in coded language, using deceptive rhetoric with abstract meaning. We hear about 'democracy' and 'freedom' and 'security,' but so rarely about imperialism, domination, and exploitation.

The objective of this report is to provide an introduction to the institutional and social structure of American imperialism. The material is detailed, but should not be considered complete or even comprehensive; its purpose is to function as a resource or reference for those seeking to educate themselves about the modern imperial system. It's not an analysis of state policies or the effects of those policies, but rather, it is an examination of the institutions and individuals who advocate and implement imperial policies. What is revealed is a highly integrated and interconnected network of institutions and individuals - the foreign policy establishment - consisting of academics (so-called "experts" and "policy-oriented intellectuals" and prominent think tanks.

Think tanks bring together prominent academics, former top government officials, corporate executives, bankers, media representatives, foundation officials and other elites in an effort to establish consensus on issues of policy and strategy, to produce reports and recommendations for policy-makers, functioning as recruitment centers for those who are selected to key government positions where they have the ability to implement policies. Thus, think tanks function as the intellectual engines of empire: they establish consensus among elites, provide policy prescriptions, strategic recommendations, and the personnel required to implement imperial policies through government agencies.

Among the most prominent American and international think tanks are the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Bilderberg meetings, the Trilateral Commission, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Atlantic Council. These institutions tend to rely upon funding from major foundations (such as Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie, etc.) as well as corporations and financial institutions, and even various government agencies. There is an extensive crossover in leadership and membership between these institutions, and between them and their funders. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/16621-engineering-empire-an-introduction-to-the-intellectuals-and-institutions-of-american-imperialism



Robert Scheer: Congress Still Puts Out for Wall Street


from truthdig:


Congress Still Puts Out for Wall Street

Posted on May 27, 2013
By Robert Scheer


What does it take to make a Wall Street banker squirm with shame? Not content with having swindled tens of millions of Americans out of their homes and life savings, the very bankers who caused the biggest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression are now subverting government regulations designed to prevent comparable disasters in the future.

Top of the list of those responsible are the hustlers at Citigroup, once the world’s largest financial conglomerate, and a leading practitioner of the sordid behavior that caused the housing meltdown. Indeed, Citigroup was allowed to form as a merger of the investment banking of Travelers and the federal insured commercial banking of Citicorp only because lobbyists for those institutions successfully engineered the reversal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law that had banned such combinations.

Then when the new monster banks moved to exploit the subprime housing market with all sorts of financial gimmicks, their lobbyists succeeded in freeing all such trading in so called derivatives from any significant regulation.

The banks were so successful in marketing those often toxic assets that the federal government had to step in when the bubble burst and save Citigroup from bankruptcy, with a direct infusion of $45 billion in taxpayer funds and a guarantee of more than $300 billion of Citigroup’s bad paper. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/congress_still_puts_out_for_wall_street_20130527/



Consumerism and Its Discontents


Consumerism and Its Discontents

Monday, 27 May 2013 10:56
By Charles Derber, Truthout | Op-Ed


A quiet revolutionary struggle is brewing in the minds of the US "millennial" generation, those 80 million Americans between ages 16 and 34. They are wrestling with the fundamental edict of capitalism: Buy and you shall be happy. The millennials have not rejected consumerism, but they have also not embraced it fully. They experience its very real downsides - that also afflict millions of older Americans and go to the heart of capitalist sustainability and morality.

Recent polls by marketing firms and the respected Pew Research Center show strong environmental concerns among millennials, but hint at a broader issue: whether consumerism itself makes for a good life and society. Americans, especially the young, love their computers and sleep with their iPhones next to their pillows, but still worry about the negative sides of consumerism.

Technology itself may be contributing to what commentators have called the "death of ownership" culture, since the issue is not owning a book or television set, but having access through the web. Technology is changing the very idea of ownership. But broader factors - including the very availability of so much "stuff" - are contributing to making consumerism less new, exciting and "cool." ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16582-consumerism-and-its-discontents



Yep.





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