As a recent contractor working for KBR overseas in IRAQ. Our contract ended November 6, 2011. We were rushed into meetings sponsored by Human Resources at our base in Talil, Iraq.
At the meetings we were, hearded together in groups given hastily thrown together paperwork stating our contracts were terminated and told we would be leaving on the next available flight to Dubai. These meetings were supervised by Jessica Jeffery Human Resources Director. Make the jump»
Occupy Movement: Next Step Convergence
Joel S. Hirschhorn
There is a growing convergence of thinking about where the US Occupy movement should go as a next step to turning its values, concerns and commitments into changing what most Americans see as broken government under control of corporate interests. When it comes to political and social movements, history shows us that they usually fail not because they disappear, but rather because they become marginalized, unimportant despite a core group of committed people and groups. Make the jump»
Almost every major advance of the US economy has been nurtured or facilitated at some point by the active involvement and encouragement of the national government. It's been a partnership - sometimes uneasy, sometimes close, but a partnership - between government and free enterprise, that has led the development of the US economy. This role of the national government was deliberately written into the Constitution, and touches directly on Constitutional issues that the left has ignored, but which the wrong-wing has long waged a smear campaign against. These issues go to the heart of the question: What is the role and purpose of government? They include such specific issues as the General Welfare clause, states rights, implied versus enumerated powers, and the reach and scope of the Commerce clause.
Contrary to the idealized wrong-wing myth of the U.S. economy being founded on the principles of laissez-faire, the framers of the Constitution deliberately set out to create a central government strong enough to force the thirteen states into one national economy. To do this, the national government undertook a number of programs and policies to build and strengthen the national economy by encouraging and protecting manufactures and commerce, establishing a national banking system, and promoting and directly assisting the development of transportation. Make the jump»
#Occupy Wall Street continues to spin off new heroes.
"She wouldn't take my money. That was the day of the eviction of Zuccotti, the same day. And she'd been listening to the news all day, she saw everything that had happened."
"I can't charge you money, this is for the people," she said.
She was born in the projects. She opened up her home to us.
Commenter in response thread - "Throughout the United States a million conservative heads just exploded."
The above is a comment thread response to the posted excerpt of an interview with the 45-year old creator of the Verizon Building-projected 'bat-signal' designed to celebrate the two-month birthday of Occupy Wall Street.
"99% / MIC CHECK! / LOOK AROUND / YOU ARE A PART / OF A GLOBAL UPRISING / WE ARE A CRY / FROM THE HEART / OF THE WORLD / WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE / ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE / HAPPY BIRTHDAY / #OCCUPY MOVEMENT / OCCUPY WALL STREET / list of cities, states and countries / OCCUPY EARTH / WE ARE WINNING / IT IS THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING / DO NOT BE AFRAID / LOVE."
Yesterday, after a year of battering by the forces assembled by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and funded by the likes of the Koch brothers, progressive America finally successfully fought back. But the victory is small, and will prove Pyrrhic (as 2008 victories have proven to be) if progressives feel they can now relax. Make the jump»
This is a bit of a turn - the mundane world of corporate media - a group notoriously lax about its own fact checking, is fact checking.
So. The story. The LA Times did a little investigative reporting into a controversial contract for $200,000 awarded to a public relations company by a small public entity, the Central Basin Municipal Water District. Make the jump»
People & Power - The Koch Brothers
Al Jazeera may be perceived as having bias issues with some of the nuances on reporting intra-Arab stories but even there, Al Jazeera is one of my standard sources for in-depth reading of the players in the game.
But they recently have picked up on the powerful place of the Kochs in a generation of influence buying and selling in the government of these United States. I think this is a nice review of the current issues, including interviews with the Americans for Prosperity players, such as Tim Phillips.
"Yes, we've put substantial money into Wisconsin, I won't detail numbers but it's substantial."
The Mitten only held out a position paper when it saw The Primary Voter. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
'Cheshire Mitt,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only pushed out the position paper a little further. 'Come, it's pleased so far,' thought The Primary Voter, and she went on. 'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' Make the jump»
An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.
I'm not a Native American. I did not grow up on a Reservation. For the longest time, I had only been dimly aware of the extent and level to which Native Americans have been exploited, abused, repressed & discriminated against.
Even now, my awareness likely only begins to scratch the surface, and yet what I've learned over the past few years has brought anger, grief & frustration as my awareness of both past and present bureaucratic b.s. and institutionalized standards of cultural genocide has grown.
Recently, NPR put out a 3 part series called Native Survivors of Foster Care Return Home. (You can watch all three which are linked in the title.) Not too long ago, Metro Times posted a story called Chain of Sorrow that also speaks of the impact and legacy of Indian Boarding Schools.
It's a legacy of pain and sorrow that our nation should be ashamed of.
While reading the latter piece, a paragraph jumped out at me which can be read more than one way. The first way it occurred to me is likely due to my less-informed perspective - but, because of that, it may also be a reflection of a more wide-spread misunderstanding.
Here's the paragraph, with the emphasis on the phrase that stuck out for me:
"It wasn't just the boarding schools that brought this about. From the time Columbus landed in the New World, the assault on Indians, their culture and their religious ways has been relentless. Their sacred lands taken, the people murdered, the women raped and, at times, subjected to forced sterilizations, the deprivation of reservation life, the scourge of alcohol — all these had combined to cause his people to lose so much."
When I first read the paragraph, it didn't sit right - I couldn't understand what was meant by "the deprivation of reservation life" - it first processed in my mind as "children removed from the rez would be deprived of the quality of life on the rez"...which, in the article, was cited as being the reason ~why~ some parents let their children be taken in first place. So, my initial reaction/interpretation was - I hope - incorrect. It wasn't that a child was being deprived of life among their people on the reservation - it was the fact that conditions on the reservation itself were usually harsh and oppressive, becoming yet another aspect of the type of harm done to Native Americans as part of an ongoing (if not always externally recognized) way to continue the same cultural genocide that had begun so many years before.
In either interpretation, however, the paragraph itself was both damning and dismal.
What dismayed me and prompted me to write this article was the thought that immediately followed: what if my first reading of the phrase was the intended interpretation?
That would be pretty sad - for it would present an unchallenged view of the reservation as false equivalent of a way to preserve cultures and traditions.
Sure, there is some of that in reservation life - but, for peoples who were forcibly relocated to unwanted expanses of real estate and who previously harbored little concept of "personal property" the way the settlers conceived of it - how much of their cultural heritage was already compromised? And how much was destroyed in the process of "re-settling" them, or in the subsequent efforts to get them to conform & integrate?
It may be the only current place where the traditions are able to be upheld, but if the belief that it's "good" (versus a way to avoid total cultural extinction) is prevalent, then efforts to improve any relations or conditions are doomed...if not to failure, then to any sort of substantial reform without an awful lot of effort.
Efforts to undo (and prevent further) the whitewashing of our national history with regard to the treatment of Native Americans already have a tough row to hoe. If perspectives - and the associated Overton Window that helps frame them - are still predominantly akin to what my first reading of that paragraph came away with, then there's a very long way to go before beneficial change (for Native Americans, in their perspective) can occur.
A parting thought, also from the Metro Times piece:
"The realization of just how much was stolen from these people begins to set in. It wasn't just their land, or even their way of life. What was taken was their sense of self, leaving them spiritually wounded.
And it was done, in no small part, by taking their children."
Help spread the word & increase awareness: share the links to the Metro Times & NPR pieces. And share a link to Native American Netroots, too: there, people can find a great deal of information - both historical and current - about cultures, customs and ongoing issues.
Investigate Oakland Police actions on 10/25/11 against OWS Protesters
Our bureaucracy and law enforcement is practicing acts of violence and tactical terrorism against its own citizens. These citizens are fully backed by their legal rights afforded to them by the US Constitution. These acts are unacceptable on moral, legal, and humanitarian grounds. We the people will not stand for this abuse. This is about democracy. This is about human rights, your human rights.
The Mayor Ms. Jean Quan ordered these attacks, and we request that she be investigated thoroughly for human rights violations against the American people. The police officers who obeyed her unconstitutional, unethical, and illegal orders are legally responsible for what they have done. They had a choice to obey or disobey, as their counterparts in Albany recently did. They proceeded with these actions and they are fully culpable for the choice they made and the harm and injuries that they caused. Make the jump»
Cross posted from Real Economics.
Without issuing a single concrete demand, the Occupy movement has already scored a significant victory: it has shifted the political discourse in USA back in a more progressive direction, examining real problems. Less than two months ago, most Americans watched morosely as USA elites “debated” the debt ceiling and vied to come up with the most “acceptable” program of austerity, including cuts in Social Security and Medicare at the federal level, and education and police and fire protection at the state and local levels.
Now, the focus of political discourse are the inequalities of wealth and income, and how they cripple our economy and democracy by allowing the rich a disproportionate role in setting national policies.
That is a monumental shift in political direction. Especially considering the billions of dollars the rich and wealthy have poured into trying to dominate the political process and public perceptions, such as by astro-turfing the so-called Tea Party.
Many people have wondered just who is behind the Occupy movement. If you don’t know, the idea of occupying Wall Street was first proposed by the Canadian culture-jammers, Adbusters. I have known about Adbusters for a few years now, because of their excellent work on revealing the darker sides of economic neo-liberalism, and our consumerist culture. (One of the best articles attacking neo-liberalism was Adbusters’ November 2007 take-down of leading economist Gregory Mankiw, Economic Indoctrination.) Make the jump»
Is GENOCIDE okay as “corporate business”? Chief Justice Roberts et al. will decide.
I am unsure as to what aspect of this story disturbs me the most.
That such an issue is a legal dispute in these United States, at all, the very incredible nature of the issue, or most simply, the fact that while it's incredible, that the danger is nightmarishly believable under the Roberts Court!?
Make the jump»
Commenting on for story that James O'Keefe has targeted a couple of progressive think tanks for his pranks:
Ryan Girdusky, a spokesman for Project Veritas, the 501(c)3 organization O'Keefe started, declined to confirm whether EPI was the subject of an ongoing investigation, arguing that it would undermine the remainder of the group's work.
"Ongoing investigation"? Oh, please. Maybe their idea of "investigation" is something like attempting to lure someone onto a houseboat for a sex sting. Or breaking into a Senator's office. Whatever it is, it is certainly unlike anything that has ever before been called "investigation." On his website, O'Keefe prides himself on being an exemplar for "modern-day muckrakers"--but he hasn't the patience to do the real research, the old-fashioned investigation that was the hallmark of the muckrakers of a century ago. Make the jump»
#OccupyWallStreet has issued an emergency appeal for support tonight, after New York City mayor (and billionaire) Michael Bloomberg directed NYPD to force the #OWS protesters out of the public space they have been camping in for over three weeks. Ostensibly, Mayor Billionberg wants the park area to be "cleaned," and so the protesters need to leave "temporarily."
The situation at the site of the #OWS camp is reportedly tense as police gather to begin their assault.
So, tonight, October 13, 2011, one more time, Mayor Billionberg and USA elites are showing us just how outrageously corrupt they have made America. A corporation giving unlimited contributions towards political campaigns: according to these elites, that is "free speech," and they even have a Supreme Court ruling, the notorious Citizens United v. FEC, that explicitly says so. Corporations have free speech rights, and no one can interfere, no matter how obviously corrupt our political system is made by the billions of dollars of corporate campaign contributions, and secret funding of attack ads.
But, American citizens camping in a public space to make an explicitly political message? Oh, no, no, NO, that is NOT free speech. Not in the United States of America, home of the free and land of the brave, on October 13, 2011.
I feel only shame and disgust for this sorry spectacle of cruelly twisted definitions of freedom. Corporations have rights. People don’t. And I feel loathing and contempt for the conservatives and economists and MBAs and rentiers and speculators and usurers, who have brought the republic to this nadir, with their evil, anti-human "free market" theology. Make the jump»