Sunday, February 28, 2016

#JillStein2016 Interviewed by Chris Hedges on The Problem and The Solution [Movements Must Stand Up & Fight Back]

#JillStein2016 on The Problem -- interviewed by Chris Hedges

#JillStein2016 on The Solution -- interviewed by Chris Hedges


Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Companies Boycotting Carrier for Decision to Move to Mexico" -- (See Video in Prior Blog Post About Carrier)


ANDERSON — Companies in Madison County who manufacture heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment are boycotting Carrier after the company announced it was moving from Indianapolis to Mexico, taking 1,400 jobs with it.
R.D. Poffenbarger, owner of 911 Heating and Cooling in Anderson, said he is taking a stand to support the Carrier employees whose jobs are being shipped overseas. The issue hits especially close to home for the Anderson native who saw what happened when Delco left the city.
“I had friends, friends’ parents who were left without work when (they) left and this brings back those thoughts,” Poffenbarger said.
Carrier announced the decision to its staff Wednesday. A video of the announcement posted to YouTube shows workers booing and yelling upon hearing the news.
"Throughout the transition, we must remain committed to maintaining the same type of quality as always," Carrier President Chris Nelson said, drawing a chorus of groans.
Nelson's comment that "(the move) will allow us to maintain the high level of quality and continue to serve an extremely price-sensitive marketplace," was greeted with a similar response.
Poffenbarger has been using Carrier products since he got into the HVAC business about 15 years ago. He disagrees with Nelson, saying he expects craftsmanship to suffer based on what happened to other companies that moved overseas.
Nelson called the move a "business decision" which, even if it could save the company some money, Poffenbarger disagrees with.
“We are not looking to get someone a fifth vacation home, we are looking to put in a quality product,” he said. “Why would we support someone who is taking away from our economy and moving to Mexico?”
Poffenbarger said he hopes if smaller companies can band together to take a stand, some larger companies will get the hint and join as well. He hopes if they can show Carrier how much business it stands to lose with the move it will deter other companies from following suit.

Pationizing Carrier Corp. Representative Informs Workers Their Jobs Are Going to Mexico -- Classic Capitalist Betrayal

Listen to him tell them to "quiet down" -- should have booed him off the stage & chased him to Mexico!  Remember the French workers who tore off their bosses' shirts????

"I Won’t Vote for Bernie Sanders: His Feeble Position on Israel is a Serious Progressive Problem" -- Steven Salaita

Bernie Sanders has run a smart and spirited campaign. Even if he eventually loses the Democratic primary, his rise from virtually nowhere to threaten Hillary Clinton from the left offers much-needed optimism in a time of dismal inequality. His invective against Wall Street is accurate and often courageous. He is the rare candidate who doesn’t traffic in patriotic or religious platitudes.
But I won’t be voting for him.
Sanders has long supported Israeli colonization, including the worst elements of its military occupation. I’ve had numerous arguments with friends about the extent and character of that support. Is it fair to call Sanders an adamant Zionist? Is he a Zionist at all? Does it even matter? How bad is he, really, in the spectrum of U.S. politics, where kowtowing to Israel has long been a prerequisite for the presidency?
We learn useful things about Sanders’s positions on Israel in relation to his competition, but comparison is unnecessary. Sanders periodically comments on Israel-Palestine. Here’s what we know: He’s not a raging ideologue. He doesn’t extol Israel. He hasn’t kissed Netanyahu’s ring. He recently declined to call himself a Zionist. Last year, though, he yelled at pro-Palestine activists and his platform on Israel-Palestine sounds agreeable but reproduces a failed status quo.
Sanders also has a record of funding or rationalizing terrible violence. We shouldn’t whisk away that record. It’s a material example of Sanders’s performance as a senator and has direct consequences on the lives of millions in the Middle East.
Supporters of Sanders say he’s not that bad, certainly not as bad as most contemporaries. This statement has no universal veracity. Sanders may not be bad according to a particular standard, but one cannot proffer this claim without subsuming Palestinians to an arbitrary pragmatism. Comments like “he’s not that bad” or “he’s better than most” are value judgments that shouldn’t be divorced from dynamic contexts of power and perspective. Those value judgments shift according to conviction, point of view, and geography.
Consider those who suffer the brutality of the Israeli military occupation Sanders has funded. In what way would they make sense of the notion that Sanders is worthy of support because he’s better than other politicians who fund their suffering?
When we’re asked to be pragmatic, the first question should be, “Pragmatic according to whose interests?” The second question should be, “Who determines the conditions of pragmatism?” Just because sucking up to Israel is a compulsion for politicians doesn’t mean it should be compulsory for voters. To say that we must accept a presidential candidate’s adulation of Israel for pragmatic reasons is to reinforce the normative power of Zionism. And to dismiss Sanders’s record on Israel as unimportant is to devalue Palestinian life.
Supporting Israel—by which I mean an unwillingness to criticize its ethnocratic structure—often sounds abstract. We do well to remember that human beings experience tremendous harm because of American economic and military aid to Israel. Thousands remain hungry and homeless in the Gaza Strip. Millions endure the daily indignities of life as occupied subjects. Refugees cannot return to their ancestral land. Children sustain psychological trauma. It is, in all, an ugly situation made worse by the cowardice of American politicians.
************************[last two paragraphs below]
Supporting Israeli ethnic cleansing is more than a flaw or an oversight. Until Sanders states an intention to defund Israel’s occupation, his proclamations about two states will continue to sound perfunctory and disingenuous, dull bromides uttered by a man who otherwise avoids them. And Palestinians will continue to exist as dispensable abstractions in American election drama.
Being better than Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz isn’t a cogent benchmark; it illuminates the insanely low standards of a dreadful political system. Sanders doesn’t need to merely be better than his competition; he needs to be better than the lapses that impede his own political vision.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

"The Super Bowl Promotes War" -- David Swanson


Pat Tillman, still promoted on the NFL website, and eponym of the Pat Tillman Foundation, is of course the one NFL player who gave up a giant football contract to join the military. What the Foundation won't tell you is that Tillman, as is quite common, ceased believing what the ads and recruiters had told him. On September 25, 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Tillman had become critical of the Iraq war and had scheduled a meeting with the prominent war critic Noam Chomsky to take place when he returned from Afghanistan, all information that Tillman's mother and Chomsky later confirmed. Tillman couldn't confirm it because he had died in Afghanistan in 2004 from three bullets to the forehead at short range, bullets shot by an American. The White House and the military knew Tillman had died from so-called friendly fire, but they falsely told the media he'd died in a hostile exchange. Senior Army commanders knew the facts and yet approved awarding Tillman a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion, all based on his having died fighting the "enemy." Clearly the military wants a connection to football and is willing to lie as well as to pay for it. The Pat Tillman Foundation mis-uses a dead man's name to play on and prey on the mutual interest of football and the military in being connected to each other.
Those on whom the military's advertising succeeds will not typically die from friendly fire. Nor will they die from enemy fire. The number one killer of members of the U.S. military, reported yet again for another year this week, is suicide. And that's not even counting later suicides by veterans. Every TV pundit and presidential debate moderator, and perhaps even a Super Bowl 50 announcer or two, tends to talk about the military's answer for ISIS. What is its answer for people being stupidly ordered into such horrific hell that they won't want to live anymore?

"Atmospheric CO2 Rocketed to 405.6 ppm Yesterday — A Level not Seen in 15 Million Years"

As CO2 levels hit a new record global high of 405.66 ppm yesterday, I couldn’t help but think that HG Wells could not have imagined a more perilous mechanism for exploring the world’s past.
For when it comes to testing the range of new climate extremes, the present mass burning of fossil fuels is like stepping into a dark time machine. As all that carbon hits the airs and waters, the climate dial spins backward through hundreds of thousands and millions of years. Speeding us on toward the hothouse extinction eras of Earth’s deep history. Now, not only is it driving us on through extreme weather and temperature events not seen in 100, 1,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 years, it is also propelling us toward climate states that haven’t occurred on Earth for ages and ages.
Ever since 1990, the world has experienced atmospheric CO2 levels in a range that hasn’t been seen since the Pliocene geological epoch. A period of time 2.6 – 5.3 million years ago hosting carbon dioxide levels ranging from 350 to 405 parts per million and global average temperatures that were 2-3 degrees Celsius hotter than 1880s levels. Overall, global sea levels towered about 80 feet higher than those humankind has grown accustomed to.
Annual mean CO2 Growth Rate
(Never has the Earth seen a CO2 build-up so rapid as the one produced by the human fossil fuel energy era. Rates of CO2 increase just keep ramping higher ever as the world’s climate sinks appear to be filling up. In this context, 2015 saw the swiftest pace of CO2 rise yet. Warming ocean surface waters can’t absorb as much CO2 as cooler oceans. And a record hot ocean during 2015 contributed to this extreme atmospheric CO2 accumulation. For the whole of the past year, CO2 built up in the atmosphere at a rate of 3.2 parts per million per annum. That’s well above the already raging pace of 2 parts per million average annual accumulation during the decade of the 2000s. Image source: NOAA ESRL.)
If global atmospheric CO2 levels had stabilized in this range, it’s likely that we would have eventually seen climates, temperatures, and sea levels that became more and more like those experienced 2-5 million years ago. A process that would have likely taken centuries to reach a final, far warmer climate state. One in which little to no ice remained upon Greenland or West Antarctica, and one hosting a substantial retreat of coastlines.
From 1990 through 2015, that was our climate context. The new world that was steadily settling into place. One that would eventually assert itself unless atmospheric CO2 levels were somehow drawn down to below 350 parts per million. It was kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, few experts really talked about it.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Leonard Peltier's 40th Anniversary Statement [40 Years is an Outrage! #FreeLeonardPeltier]

February 6, 2016
Greetings friends, supporters and all Native Peoples.
What can I say that I have not said before? I guess I can start by saying see you later to all of those who have passed in the last year. We Natives don't like to mention their names. We believe that if we speak their names it disrupts their journey. They may loose their way and their spirits wander forever. If too many call out to them, they will try to come back. But their spirits know we are thinking about them, so all I will say is safe journey and I hope to see you soon.
On February 6th, I will have been imprisoned for 40 years! I'm 71 years old and still in a maximum security penitentiary. At my age, I'm not sure I have much time left.
I have earned about 4-5 years good time that no one seems to want to recognize. It doesn't count, I guess? And when I was indicted the average time served on a life sentence before being given parole was 7 years. So that means I've served nearly 6 life sentences and I should have been released on parole a very long time ago. Then there’s mandatory release after serving 30 years. I’m 10 years past that. The government isn't supposed to change the laws to keep you in prison — EXCEPT if you're Leonard Peltier, it seems.
Now, I'm told I'll be kept at USP Coleman I until 2017 when they'll decide if I can go to a medium security facility — or NOT. But, check this out, I have been classified as a medium security prisoner now for at least 15 years, and BOP regulations say elders shall be kept in a less dangerous facility/environment. But NOT if you're Leonard Peltier, I guess.
As you'll remember, the history of my bid for clemency is long. My first app was with Jimmy Carter. He denied it. Ronald Reagan promised President Mikhail Gorbachev that he would release me if the Soviet Union released a prisoner, but Reagan reneged. George H.W. Bush did nothing. The next app was with Bill Clinton. He left office without taking action even though the Pardon Attorney did an 11-month investigation (it usually takes 9 months) and we were told she had recommended clemency. George W. Bush denied that petition in 2009. And in all of the applications for clemency, the FBI has interfered with an executive order. That's illegal as hell!
Today, I'm facing another dilemma — an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). It's the size of an AAA battery. The doctor told me if it bursts, I can bleed to death. It's also close to my spine and I could end up paralyzed. The good news is that it's treatable and the operation has a 96-98 percent success rate. BUT I'm in a max security prison. We don't get sent for treatment until it is terminal.
As President Obama completes the final year of his term, I hope that he will continue to fight to fulfill his promises, and further the progress his Administration has made towards working in partnership with First Peoples. It gives me hope that this President has worked hard to affirm the trust relationship with the Tribal Nations. With YOUR encouragement, I believe Obama will have the courage and conviction to commute my sentence and send me home to my family.
Looking back on the 40 years of efforts on my behalf, I am overwhelmed and humbled. I would like to say thank you to all the supporters who have believed in me over the years. Some of you have been supporters since the beginning. You made sure I had books to read and commissary funds to buy what I may need to be as comfortable as one can be in this place. You made donations to the defense committee so we could continue fighting for my freedom, too. You all worked hard — are still working hard — to spread the word about what is now being called the most outrageous conviction in U.S. history. There are good-hearted people in this world, and you're among them. I'm sorry I cannot keep up with answering all of your letters. But thanks for the love you have shown me. Without it, I could never have made it this long. I'm sure of it.
I believe that my incarceration, the constitutional violations in my case, and the government misconduct in prosecuting my case are issues far more important than just my life or freedom. I feel that each of you who have fought for my freedom have been a part of the greater struggle of Native Peoples — for Treaty rights, sovereignty, and our very survival. If I should be called home, please don't give up on our struggle.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse…
Leonard Peltier