April 19, 2014

Full Show: Climate Catastrophe Now + The Most Important Question About Obamacare {aTV 001}

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Dennis talks with Dr. Jill Stein, President of the Green Shadow Cabinet about the recently published U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment on climate change. The findings, combined with the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, paint a picture of humanity committing a collective genocide and ecocide. The end of civilization scenarios, once projected for your grandchildren’s grandchildren are now a reality for anyone ho plans to be alive in 2050.

“The IPCC has finally stepped up to the plate in saying what we are up against,” says Dr. Stein, “but they have not begin to step up to the plate, in fact they are really not qualified to say how we fix this. The IPCC is not calling for radical transformation. They have yelled, ‘fire!’ and come out with a squirt gun. What they are calling for is not what we need.”

In the second half of the show, Dennis sits down with Dr. Margret Flowers.

Recently, Dr. Flowers initiated an online petition declaring herself a consciences objector to the Affordable Care Act and asking others to send a message to President Obama that the ACA is a scam.

“The most important conversation we should be having right now in the United States is not how many people are insured,” says Dr. Flowers “knowing that insurance is not protective, it’s: do we want to continue to treat healthcare as a commodity where people only get what they can afford, or do we want to join the rest of the industrialized nations in the world and treat healthcare as a public good and create a system where people can get what they need.”

Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) is a mother, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She was the 2012 Green Party presidential nominee and current president of the Green Shadow Cabinet. She is also an initiator behind the Global Climate Convergence, which is an education and direct action campaign running from Mother Earth Day to May Day. It seeks to build collaboration across national borders and fronts of struggle to harness the transformative power we already possess as a thousand separate movements springing up across the planet.

Dr. Margaret Flowers (MFlowers8) is a pediatrician from Baltimore who is an organizer at PopularResistance.org, co-directs ItsOurEconomy.us and co-hosts Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio. She is adviser to the board of Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the steering committee of the Maryland Health Care is a Human Right campaign.

Dennis Trainor, Jr. 
(@DennisTrainorJr) is a writer, host and producer. His documentary on the Occupy movement, American Autumn: an Occudoc, garnered critical praise from The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and more.  He also wrote and directed Legalize Democracy, a documentary short about the Movement To Amend the Constitution. Trainor was an embedded YouTube personality/media advisor on the staff of Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign and his work is regularly published on The Huffington PostTruth Out, The Real New NetworkPopular Resistance and several others.

This episode of Acronym TV was filmed at The Real News Network in Baltimore, MD.

Director - Jamar Jemison

Assistant Director + Camera op - Chris DeMillo
Audio - Charles Waters
Camera- Denise Rivera, Michael Johnson
Makeup - Kelsey Johnson
Writer – Dennis Trainor, Jr. 

* Disclosure: PopularResistance.org provides partial funding for Acronym TV


Global Climate Convergence, Obamacare, ACA, Affordable Care Act, Jill Stein, Dr. Jill Stein, Climate Justice movement, workers rights, Earth Day to May Day, Margaret Flowers, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Single Payer, Years of Living Dangerously, James Cameron Showtime, Dennis Trainor Jr,

March 31, 2014

Austerity and Corporate Counter-Insurgency Tactics

This rather disturbing account comes from Women & Gender Studies Department Director Lucinda Cole:

"Several faculty members have asked me to make public this post about corporate bullying at USM, so here it is. Thanks for all the support.

March 30, 2104

To the ‪#‎USMfuture‬ Student Who Asked Me That Question:

At last three faculty meetings I attended at the University of Southern Maine, armed guards hovered outside the door or circulated through the rooms, hands moving to their hip holsters whenever faculty members raised their voices. Never before in my 25 years at USM had I witnessed such shows of state force against the faculty, even when the campus mobilized in 1995 to demand the ousting of then-Chancellor Michael J. Orenduff, a protest that eventually lead to his departure for an institution in the southwest.

After Friday’s faculty meeting (March 28, 2014) of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, which was devoted, in part, to a controversial plan designed to reduce the number of departments in the college, an observing student asked me why so many faculty either remained silent or debated details of the plan without ever attending to its consequences for students, for shared governance, or for tenured faculty whose retrenchments will be played out in courts over the coming year. What drives this behavior, he asked—self-delusion or self-interest?

While both are likely candidates, I suspect the real answer is fear.

Although the newspapers have done a good job of presenting the numbers that the UMaine System provides to justify their reallocation of resources, and sometimes publishing counter-evidence, what the newspapers cannot capture is the culture of fear created by the anti-labor lawyers and their cronies on the Board of Trustees. This anti-labor culture is enacted by the President and Provost, the former brought out of retirement to implement their policies, the latter an appointee of a deposed University President. The Provost serves “at the pleasure of the President,” as he keeps repeating, which means that she can fire him if he steps out line or refuses to do her bidding. much as I, as Director of Women and Gender Studies, serve “at the pleasure of the Provost.” Our Dean in CAHS is herself an appointee of that same deposed president, her job deeply dependent on staying in the good graces of the President and the BOT.

This lack of job security has a chilling effect on the ability of Deans and Directors to contest the reallocation of resources and to protect their faculty against arbitrary decisions on the part of the Provost and President.
Long before the spectacle of tenured and tenure-track faculty being herded in to receive their retrenchment papers while students protested in the halls, this administration has been cultivating a culture of fear. Theo Kalikow’s appointment began with the creation of a “Leadership Institute” into which hand-picked members of the staff, faculty, and administration were inducted.

Their first assignment was to read a book called Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions. Written by John Kotter, formerly of the Harvard Business School, and advertised as a "low-threat tool” for changing organizations bound by tradition, the little book features members of the Penguin Leadership Council compelled to adjust to changing circumstances or die. The first of the Eight Step Process of Successful Change is to “Create a Sense of Urgency”; this sense of urgency, we’re told, must be reinforced continually because otherwise "they will say the danger was overstated and that any change is not needed.” Despite concrete evidence that the UMaine’s system so-called budgetary crisis was partly a product of strategic bookkeeping, faculty and staff have over the past two years been subjected to a series of expensive external consultants touting “creative disruption.” Meanwhile, faculty received an ongoing stream of ominous emails from the president’s office, one of the most dramatic being “Survival Is Optional.”

This onslaught of fear-mongering rhetoric has been underwritten by surprising, last-minute changes in contracts for untenured faculty; by the Provost’s Office creation of a Hunger Games-like competition for promotion, tenure, and sabbaticals; and by the President’s ongoing threats that some as-yet-to-defined axe will fall—“You aren’t going to like them,” President Kalikow kept saying. Her warnings were punctuated and reinforced by armed security guards escorting long-time employees from their offices, shows of unnecessary corporate violence that finally resulted in the highly-publicized (and videotaped) forced march of tenured, sobbing faculty into the Provost’s office.

Even worse, the administration encouraged faculty to turn against one other by suggesting that younger faculty could be “saved” if older faculty would retire. Some did, some didn’t. But this insidious practice encouraged faculty to turn on each other rather than on the administration, who claimed throughout that they, after all, were simply making USM “sustainable.”

Whether or not USM’s iceberg was indeed melting, this BOT, Chancellor, President, and Provost took a blow-torch to it.

To what end? According to Kotter’s book, the penguins formerly ensconced on their melting icebergs will become “nomadic,” moving from iceberg to iceberg, a practice that never lets up “until a new way of life becomes firmly established.” At this point, a “new system of rewards” will be offered, through which it is “ensured that changes would not be overcome by stubborn, hard-to-die traditions” (123). Translated to academic culture, this means that tenure-track positions will be replaced by lectureships and online classes; nationwide standards for tenure and promotion will give way to demonstrations of having promoted the new branding; and raises will be used to reward those who show willingness to forget academic values and to promote a “new normal.”

What the BOT and faculty underestimated in this plan, however, is the power of USM’s students to fight the model of education they are being offered, with its hordes of “nomadic” or contingent faculty and the death of academic values. They have put their bodies on the streets, and their considerable skills online to create a network of allies that some faculty, in their fear or self-interest, have been unable or unwilling to emulate.
And thus the guns. While USM students circulate information about the necessity for peaceful protest, instructing fellow students about what is legal and productive, the BOT and USM administration fall back on shows of potential violence. Having failed to subdue the students and faculty through threats to their livelihoods, they resort to implicit threats on life.

As faculty sit in college and university meetings, we do so after a prolonged period of emotional abuse and under the overt or covert threat of violence. Given the systematic sacrifice of our colleagues to this misguided attempt at re-branding USM, many of us are a little dissociated, unable to respond coherently or helpfully to the rapid changes in our job conditions. Some are positioning themselves for the “new system of rewards,” and others hope to hold on until they can afford to retire. I found out a few days ago that a colleague got a job offer from Northwestern--the best possible outcome for her, although a real loss for us and for our students. The administration promises another round of cuts to staff in conjunction with a presumably faculty-driven reorganization of programs in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
So-- to my student who has been fighting for us and for an education of which he can be proud, let me admit that faculty at USM are not only traumatized but are, as a group, often less brave than the students who fight for them. Our usual mode of critical thinking and civil debate has been tethered to the tenure system and to its guarantee, through teaching and scholarship, to free speech. Whether or not free speech disappears with the iceberg of job security remains to be seen. In the meantime, I thank you for reminding us through your words and actions of the principles that made the American public university system great.

All the best,
Lucinda Cole"

March 26, 2014

The Time For Obama To Pardon Snowden Is Now

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Now that President Obama is proposing that the NSA end its bulk collection of data, it is time that Obama take this narrative to the next logical conclusion and offer a full and unconditional pardon to Edward Snowden.

President Obama’s War on whistle blowers (he has charged eight individuals with Espionage, compared to only three under all previous presidents) needs to end.  His recent proposal, even though it was forced by the courts, and to a large degree Mark Zuckerberg and the other titans of the tech world who warned that the U.S. government spying programs would hurt business, is still an admission that Edward Snowden’s actions were justified.

As Michael Maiello, writing in Esquire puts it:
“This is the very essence of whistleblowing. Snowden brought information to   the public so that the public could reasonably demand changes from its leaders. Obama was seemingly happy to ignore the surveillance issue until forced, much as he was seemingly happy to hold an ambiguous view on same sex marriage until public opinion made vagaries impossible.”
The moral courage of Edward Snowden’s act of whistleblowing and Glenn Greenwald’s unimpeachable reporting have revealed what Chris Hedges has labeled a government drunk with power:
“drunk with the power to sweep up all your email correspondence, your tweets, your Web searches, your phone records, your file transfers, your live chats, your financial data, your medical data, your criminal and civil court records and your movements, those who are awash in billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars, those who have banks of sophisticated computer systems, along with biosensors, scanners, face recognition technologies and miniature drones, those who have obliterated your anonymity, your privacy and, yes, your liberty.”
That the White House and Congressional leaders have recently unveiled similar proposals to end the NSA bulk collection of phone records has less to do with a come to Jesus sober up moment and more to do with the fact that they were given an ultimatum by a court (and a 6 month deadline) to defend the constitutionality of collecting the data related to every phone call made by every US citizen.

Our constitutional scholar of a president could, of course, make no such case to continuing the phone collection program, and now seeks, he says, to win back the public’s trust.

One step towards winning back the public’s trust would be by granting Edward Snowden a full pardon. In addition to being a tactical move to counter the growing understanding that Big Brother is watching, it has the added advantage of being the right thing to do.

snowden pardon


Edward Snowden, NSA, Obama NSA, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Snowden leaks, Snowden pardon, The Intercept, Wikileaks, Resistance Report

March 25, 2014

Consumer Driven Destruction

Humanity could be facing the next great extinction event wrought by our only real enemies greed and avarice, yet most people would gleefully dance over the edge of the cliff than give up too many of their shiny toys made of raped Earth and the souls of sweat shop workers.

      The production “cycle” of your average piece of chain store merchandise involves an unsustainable level of resource and energy consumption before it can be mass marketed in as disposable form as possible. The end result of the this “cycle” is to end up in a land fill that covers the scares of our previous generations endeavors. On occasion these items are transformed into more products for another round or two, but the end result is always the same. Planed obsolescence fuels a capitalistic juggernaut that strip mines everything from metals to fish and blows the tops of unfathomably old mountains in order to get at the next commodity to strengthen the bottom line. As the bulk of society fattens it self on the resources of future generations, a segment of society leaches of wealth and capitol at a rate unseen in history. Inequality and poverty thrive even in the richest places in the world and the poorest live lives that are unimaginable to the majority of people in a country that is soothed into sleeping well at night by the light of the latest iToy. The cities and towns of America have become breeding grounds of apathy and ignorance and even those with good intentions lack the strength of numbers to achieve the scope with which their fellow man has damned them.
      First world nations enjoy an addiction to a life style that has spread inequality like a cancer and, as any other addiction, gives a sense of pleasure before the inevitable downfall. It's a life style that depends on an abundance of cheap labor and an infinite supply of resources to feed it, and as such, was doomed to the inevitable boom and bust cycle. Third world nations are exploited with a sophistication never dreamed of by the conquerors of old. The end of slavery with the coming of modernity simply replaced a direct evil with a subtle and insidious new one, that of debt. Wage slavery thrives in poor countries just as wage inequality thrives in rich ones and the poorest peoples of the world are nothing more than cogs in a very sophisticated machine. A machine that makes so much so easy and so fast that before you know it you've given up that wish can never be repaired, replaced, or replenished. 
       However all hope is not lost to us anymore than it's ever been and the power of capital has always been formed at the hands of the workers that drive the economy. No system of government, no matter how corrupt, can survive without the apathy or consent of those who keep the system running every day. The questions that face us are many. How much inequality do people put up with before reacting? How many busts can capitalism support before there are no booms? Will environmental changes bring about ruin in unpredictable ways or will humanity survive the trials ahead? Within the murky destiny of mankind lies a curtain truth. That apathy and ignorance in favor of creature comforts and a less frighting life will likely leave us with neither.

March 24, 2014

Does The U.S. Want War With Russia?

Two weeks ago, when Liz Wahl quit her post as an RT host live on air claiming that she could not be part of a network that was “funded by the Russian Government” and was set on “whitewashing the crimes of Putin.”

Ms. Wahl then immediately went on a tour of all the 3 mainstream corporate outlets where she seemed to be auditioning for a role on a news show where she could whitewash the blowback inducing homicidal bull in a cultural religious and geopolitical china shop of U.S. foreign policy that I like to call Manifest Destiny’s Child.

Even Chris Hayes jumped on the bandwagon, celebrating Wahl as “incredibly badass”, but before you join the Liz Wahl fan club, take a moment to read the excellent follow up report from Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek, which outlines how Wahl’s attempt at a Networkesque type of movement was coordinated by the Neo-Conservative think tank foreign policy initiative. Blumenthal and Khalek report:
“Behind the coverage of Wahl’s dramatic protest, a cadre of neoconservatives was celebrating a public relations coup. Desperate to revive the Cold War, head off further cuts to the defense budget and restore the legitimacy they lost in the ruins of Iraq, the tightknit group of neoconservative writers and stewards had opened up a new PR front through Wahl’s resignation. And they succeeded with no shortage of help from an ossified media establishment struggling to maintain credibility in an increasingly anarchic online news environment. With isolated skeptics branded as useful idiots for Putin, the scene has been kept clean of neoconservative fingerprints, obscuring their interest in Wahl’s resignation and the broader push to deepen tensions with Russia.”
Despite the depth of the Blumenthal/Khalek piece that lays bare the machinations of, among other things, the very sadistic dangers and Apocalyptic flirtations of the military industrial complex married to a Straussian Noble Lie wherein the real life Dr. Strangelove’s who launched a Global War on Terror, CORRECTION, Global War on brown people in lands that have not declared war on us and pose no threat to us CORRECTION Global War on everything everywhere including US Citizens because in the USA journalism is the new terrorism, and our charming peace prize winning President maintains a kill list and claims more autonomy in using it than a mafia don … DESPITE all this most people here in the United States can be split into 2 camps when it comes to Russia.

In the majority camp you have people who think the U.S. support for Ukraine and saber rattling with Russia is just another chapter in the story book tale of the U.S. as a superpower spreading good, protecting freedom lovers the world over from tyrants and monsters like Putin, and in the minority camp you have people who think Ukraine is a 12 seed in the Eastern Bracket of their March madness office pool. An even smaller group, recognize that while Putin may not be a knight in shining armor, that this story is in fact a bit more nuanced than the plot of a fairy tale.

For those of us able to look at the world without tint of nationalistic goggles the mainstream corporate media Liz Wahl so desperately wants a job working for demands that we wear, one thing is crystal clear: The world still has two major nuclear powers, the United States and Russia. For decades, it has been the United States who has been the aggressor in this relationship. As Diana Johnstone, writing at Counterpunch puts it:
“Is Russia urging Quebec to secede from Canada so that the province can join a military alliance led by Moscow? Evidently not. That would be comparable, and yet mild compared to the recent U.S. gambit led by Victoria Nuland aimed at bringing Ukraine into the Western orbit. (…) Russia professes no hostile ideology, and only seeks normal relations with the West. What more can it do? It is up to Americans to come to their senses.”
Asking Americans to come to their senses is easier said than done.

For a country whose birth was founded on an occupation and then a genocide, whose wealth was built on the backs of slaves, and whose expansion was justified through a perverse notion of manifest destiny, denial has become a dominant part of our collective identity.

Does the U.S. want war with Russia?

Judging by our actions the next front of our perpetual war never seems like an if, but a when.


Russia, Ukraine Crisis, Ukraine Barack Obama, Russia Ukraine Video, War with Russia, War in Ukraine, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Dennis Trainor Jr