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

TAGS

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.



tags:

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

March 22, 2014

For White People Who Don't Understand Racism (Part 2)

And how stupid you sound when you say that racism doesn't exist...

March 20, 2014

No Logo: Or Why Shit Sucks Now

The Book No Logo was published in 1999.
Pay attention.

What Comes After Capitalism?

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org


What comes after Capitalism? Identifying the correct answer to that question, one I do not pretend to know, in addition to facing the fact that the question is a life or death one- on a global scale, is a basic requirement for the life, liberty, and happiness of the human race.

The financial system is nearing another crash, like the sub-prime mortgage crash of 2007 and 2008, writes Steve Rushton at Occupy.com in his report summarizing a recently published European Green Party paper, The Price of Doing Too Little Too Late.

Rushton outlines how investors, pension funds and banks are so heavily invested in companies that earn money by destroying the planet that when the actual wake-up call comes, when the alarm clock goes off and the climate change deniers and their corporate blood sucking psychopaths who pay for the propaganda that enables climate change deniers to pretend that there is still a debate to be had over the Apocalyptic course that human induced climate change has us on– when those people and those beliefs that together want to extract fossil fuel reserves when we KNOW that if the human race is to survive we must leave at least half of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground if not three quarters- when, all the Sean Hannity’s, and Sarah Palin’s and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma – he who, parenthetically it should be noted, likes to quote quotes Genesis 8:22 (While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease”)  and added, "God's still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we human beings would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous" – when Tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow all these aiding and abetting murders meet the fate of all our yesterdays that have lighted fools the way to dusty death and we wake collectively from our slumber brought on by the gears and the levers that operate the odious machine and we become so sick that we can not take part, even passively take part, and we come together like old flattop grooving up slowly to indicate to the people who own this capitalist machine that unless we are free, this machine will be prevented from working at all and we transition on a massive global shift towards more sustainable energy practices occurs, that funds with heavy carbon exposure- and that number is 95% of all global investment according to the study- will face a shock, that in fact, the carbon bubble will burst and bring own the global financial system.

Ok, that may have been a run on sentence.

To sum up: The economy will crash again, according to Rushton, because we are so addicted to constant growth, and quarterly capitalism that the global financial elite will march us to the edge of the 2 degree climate cliff just to squeeze some more profit from the products and systems that are killing us.

So add one more obstacle to slow the glacial pace (and I mean that in the pre-climate change era of the word) of a coordinated global effort to get the human race untied from the train tracks before the locomotive that is a 2 degree rise in global temperature: our inability to ditch the written and unwritten rules of capitalism.

Put that in your feedback loop and smoke it.




Tags

Capitalism, Anti-Capitalism, After Capitalism, Fossil fuel reserves, Climate change, Global warming, Resistance Report, Acronym TV,

What if being gay was the norm, and being straight was "queer?"

Psychopaths Run America, Wall Street, The World

March 19, 2014

Life from the POV of a rock

So imagine you were a rock, and you saw things in terms of geologic scale.
Humans would be a flash in the pan.

Protesting Illegal in Australia?

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org



Last week, the Legislative Council of Victoria passed the Summary Offence Act 2013, which outlaws the right to protest in Victoria, by a vote of 20-18.

Several activists involved in the Tunnel Picket protests were arrested during in Parliament as the voting was taking place. One of those activists, Sean Bedlam, is the subject of our interview today.

From September onwards the police in Victoria will have the power to ‘move on’ groups of people at their will, including those involved in peaceful protests and pickets. Those who refuse to comply with these orders can be issued with fines of $750, exclusion orders, and jail terms of up to 2 years.

Sean Bedlam (interviewed here) is a comedian, artist and activist based in Melbourne. An active member of Occupy Melbourne and other social justice campaigns, Sean states:

“Activists in Australia are reaching out to people all over the world, particularly in America, because Australia is a client state of the United States (while at the same time) we are reaching out to the Indigenous people of Australia, the first nations, and that has become a burning central issue. Now, the powers that be know that if we are making contact with the powers that be around the world and if we are making contact with indigenous Australians, you’ve got an incredibly powerful network, and they don’t want the network to form.”

tags
Civil disobedience, protest, arrested, protestors arrested, Dennis Trainor Jr, Sean Bedlam, Australian law, Australia outlaws protest, Acronym TV, Resistance Report

March 18, 2014

2014 Brings Most Green Independent Party Candidates since 2004


15 Green Independents running for Legislature

Most Green candidates since 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Asher Platts, Chair, Maine Green Independent Party (207-776-5448)
March 18, 2014
AUGUSTA- Fifteen Green Independents have qualified for the ballot in 2014, the most since 2004. Among the 15 candidates are 5 candidates for State Senate, an all-time high for the Maine Green Independent Party.
Unlike the Democrats and Republicans, the Maine Green Independent Party and its candidates refuse to accept corporate and PAC funds.
Notable among candidates for Senate are 2012 candidate for State Senate Maine Green Independent Party Chair, Asher Platts (SD-28 Portland), 2012 candidate for State House and party treasurer Fred Horch(SD-24 Brunswick) and attorney and Single Payer healthcare advocate Alice Knapp (SD-23 Richmond).
Among the candidates for House are Portland Green Independent Committee chair Tom MacMillan (HD 38, West End, Portland), former state senate candidate and social worker Daniel Stromgren (HD 54-Topsham), Banking Reform advocate Randall Parr (HD-95 Appleton), and environmental advocate Paige K. Brown (HD 97-Norport).
“We have an outstanding group of candidates representing the more than 37,000 registered Green Independents statewide. From Northport to Topsham, Casco to Appleton, Mainers are stepping up, running for the Legislature and refusing to tolerate corporate-funded ‘politics as usual’" says state party chair Asher Platts.
“Having run previously in 2012, I know Portland’s West End is seeking a true community advocate in Augusta. I’m running again because we need a true representative in Augusta. ” said Portland Greens chair Tom MacMillan.

Maine State Senate:
SD 23: Alice Knapp, Richmond
SD 24: Fred Horch, Brunswick
SD 27: Asher Platts, Portland
SD 28: Danielle Unterreiner, Portland
SD 29: Mark Diehl, Cape Elizabeth

Maine House of Representatives:
HD 23: Michael Wakefield, Standish
HD 33: Bob Klotz, South Portland
HD 36: Samuel Chandler, Portland
HD 38: Tom MacMillan, Portland
HD 39: Benjamin Schattenburg, Portland
HD 41: Reed Berkowitz, Portland
HD 54: Daniel Stromgren, Topsham
HD 66: Lisa Willey, Casco
HD 95: Randall Parr, Appleton
HD 97:Paige K. Brown, Northport

For more information on the Maine Green Independent Party, visit www.mainegreens.org

March 17, 2014

Obama’s Drones Made Simple


Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org




Before the 2012 election, Obama told John Stewart of The Daily Show: “one of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.”
In a development that will shock nobody, no such legal architecture has been put in place to "reign in" Obama or any future POTUS.

Obama’s drone wars have killed more than 2400 civilians in countries that pose no threat to us and with whom we are not at war, and continue to mock international law and the U.S. constitution.

Among those targeted and killed have been United States citizens.
So what version of legal twister could the White House staff come up with to justify the President to be judge, jury, and executioner of people- including American Citizens- all over the world? For those of you (including Obama, apparently) who justify our drone wars as self defense, then let me ask you this:
How do you define self-defense? Think about it for a second.

Perhaps we should frame the question differently: Under what conditions can we justify the use of violence in our personal lives? I’m certainly no legal expert, but say a person breaks into your house looking to do you harm. Before you know what has happened, they have killed your brother. Sequences of nerve cells fire off shooting adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. Somehow your mind remembers, and your body approximates, some middle school karate kata and you render the intruder defenseless. Scrubbing the blood drippings from your carpet, you call the police, and some form of justice is administered.

We would all agree that is self-defense, yes? A justified (in the moral and legal sense term) use of force.

Now imagine it is years later that it is you breaking into someone’s house. It is not the home of the person who broke into your house, but it is in the same zip code.

Well it might be.

Actually, it is a few zip codes away from the where the person who broke into your house lives, but you want to make sure no one from this zip code ever breaks into your house again. And actually, you are not personally breaking in, your highly armored remote control plane is. You are sitting at home in yourSponge Bob underwear controlling the weapon with an x-box controller stuffing your face with Cheetos and scratching your groin.

You hover quietly for a few days, just staring at the resident, and then without warning you press a few buttons on your joystick and fire at the resident of the home, who – after all, lives in the same zip code as that person who broke into you’re your house all those years ago. You are more accurate with this rocket launcher compared to the shock and awe megaton bombs you used to drop in this neighborhood (or was it another neighborhood?) but this rocket business is still pretty messy and things get pretty broken and lots of people die.

Today, your rocket launcher fires, goes through the a window next to the residents head and hits an elementary school outside, killing the lucky and maiming many more.

This does not morally trouble you, and you are able to sleep easy at night knowing that no one from that zip code has broken into your home since you began your campaign in that zip code.

An international committee awards you a prize for promoting peace in the world, and you have an extra spring in your step having won an election for the second time that will allow you to oversee that kill list for another four years while enjoying restful nights sleep in a large white home at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.



Drones, Drone War, CIA, NSA, Obama, Obama Drone, Drones Program, Video, Jon Stewart Romancing the Drone, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Dennis Trainor Jr,

March 12, 2014

Obama on Between Two Ferns: Did He Get Across To The Young ‘Invincibles’?

Originally posted on PopularResistance.org

)

It is hard not to give Barack Obama points for his recent appearance on Between two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.

In genuinely disarming post-hipster fashion, the President was transparent about his reasons for appearing on the program. "I would not be here if I did not have something to plug, Zack,” the president informed his expertly inept host. And plug away he did, in a direct appeal to reach younger citizens to sign up at healthcare.gov.

Young people do not want to pay for health insurance.

Whether it is because they have better things to do with their disposable income or because, even after deferring on those student loans again, they do not have any disposable income because their McJob in this McConomy sucks, or whether it is because in their youth they feel invincible (or some combination of these reasons) young people are just not signing up. Which, in an insurance system that requires many people paying into the system who will not in fact use the system, is a major problem.

Baby Boomers, many of whom have long since left behind their bra burning days and traded in their revolutionary worldview for a hummer and a 3 car garage McMansion lifestyle, need to go to the doctor a lot more than the young invincibles, and need the young invincibles- whose suffering in the McConomy is a result, in large part, to the globalization the once revolutionary and now much more comfortable Baby boomers have by and large embraced, are not buying.

Which brings us to the absurd scenario in which President Obama, in a effort to meet the kids on their playing field, humbled himself to great comedic effect on funny or die to sell you me and just about everyone we know on INSURANCE REFORM - a massive theft from taxpayers and bonus to an industry that makes profit (and greed is good, right people?) only when it takes more money in (premiums) than it pays out (benefits).

In other words- Obama was in between two ferns selling you on the Mitt Romney program that benefits an industry that makes profits by denying people coverage.

What we need in this country is what every other developed country in the world already has- a single payer health care plan.  This would eliminate insurance for all but those who want to purchase supplemental plans and replace it with a health care program that treats health care as a human right.

Again, every other developed country in the world has bought into this, and it was sold to them without heads of state appearing on faux community TV programs.


****


tags
Between Two Ferns Barack Obama,Between Two Ferns, Zach Galifianakis, Zach Galifianakis and Barack Obama, Healthcare.gov, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Dennis Trainor Jr,

March 10, 2014

Zimmerman, At Gun Show, Wonders Why World Is Mad With Him

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org



George Zimmerman, singing autographs at a gun show in Orlando, Florida over the weekend, wondered why people are angry with him.

Here is one possible answer:

Here is the thing, George, people know that it is not an aberration for a wanna be cop like you to patrol a neighborhood with a loaded gun and, upon seeing an African American kid whom you did not recognize, assume that kid was a threat, and then tail that kid with your itchy finger on the trigger of your loaded gun and initiate and then escalate a situation that resulted in that unarmed kid murdered and killed by you, Georgie.

It is more than that, however. People are angry at the ALEC written stand your ground laws that, while it played no direct role in your not guilty verdict, played a very direct role in the culture that empowered you to cruise around packing heat. In the case of stand your ground, the NRA wrote the law, and worked with ALEC to grease it through the legislature and get it passed into law in 2005, and the rate of legally justifiable homicides in Florida has tripled since then.

You see this is America, where corporate profits drive legislation. So George, in some ways, you are a lightning rod for something much bigger than even your cowardly murder. Even more than that, people are angry with you George for something that you did not do- they are angry with you because you are the beneficiary of a justice system that at every level oppresses people of color in general and African Americans in wildly disproportionate ways. The fact that you, George, are a person of color adds some nuance to this previous point, but it does not change the fact that you must know in you gut that if Trayvon Martin was named Cody and was popping an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie above his blond surfer boy lochs, he would not be dead, and if you were stupid enough to have killed him, you would be in a jumpsuit behind bars, having been convicted of murder in a case that would not have made you famous.

Aura Bogado writing for The Nation after the Zimmerman verdict noted that it was White Supremacy that acquitted George Zimmerman- a view that  “one that is suspicious of black men in his neighborhood, is one that adheres to white supremacy. It was replicated in the courtroom by his defense, whose team tore away at Rachel Jeantel, questioning the young woman as if she was taking a Jim Crow–era literacy test.”

We are angry with you George, because you are the face of a horrible cancer on the body politic of American life.

Like any cancer victim George, we just want our cancer to go away, even as we ask ourselves what we could have done to bring this cancer upon ourselves.



tags
George Zimmerman, Gun show, NRA, Stand your ground, George Zimmerman guns, George Zimmerman gun show, Acronym TV, Resistance Report,

March 6, 2014

Is Minimum Wage Another Distraction? Let's talk Basic Income, Shall We?

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org



Cheri Honkala of the Poor Peoples Economic Campaign and Vice President of the Green Shadow Cabinet joins the host Dennis Trainor, Jr. and the Resistance Report panel (Nicole Carty (The Other 98%), Julianna Forlano (Absurdity Today) and Joel Northam (Acronym TV Contributor) - to discuss the jobs crisis in the United States, the perpetually underemployed, and the impact of a raise in the minimum wage versus a policy that guaranteed an income for all.




Cancer is Capitalist



It’s often said by those on the left, somewhat glibly, that capitalism is a cancer on the earth, or that capitalism follows the mindset of the cancer cell-- infinite growth. But is that really the case? Perhaps it’s that cancer is a form of capitalism instead?

From an article in Harper’s Magazine about facial tumors in Tasmanian Devils:
...uncontrolled reproduction begins when a single cell accumulates enough mutations to activate certain growth-promoting genes (scientists call them oncogenes) and to inactivate certain protections (tumor suppressor genes) that are built into the genetic program of every animal and plant. The cell ignores instructions to limit its self-replication, and soon it becomes many cells, all of them similarly demented, all bent on self-replication, all heedless of duty and proportion and the larger weal of the organism. That first cell is (almost always) a cell of the victim’s own body.

Asher Platts (PunkPatriot.com) explores what happens when you reverse the analogy and view our biological systems through the lenses of economics, capitalism, socialism, cooperation, and competition.

March 5, 2014

An Open Letter To The Middle Class (spoiler alert: F*ck You)

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org



Dear Middle Class:

Fuck you.

Perhaps I should back up a bit and try that again.

One of the most frustrating things for me on those occasions when I get suckered into listening to the mainstream media is the lamentation and hand wringing over the shrinking middle class.

While I don’t have any money in the bank and the only assets I have are a computer a video camera and a rusty old mountain bike, most people would look at where I live and where my children go to school and label me squarely in the middle class.

I usually accept that label.

It is easier than telling the whole world that am in my mid forties with no savings, no retirement plan, no 401K- and I live the life of a new media freelancer; check to every increasingly small check. These facts would make my middle class friends uncomfortable.

But I digress. The reason I say “fuck you” to the middle class is that holding onto the status of middle class requires a poor class.

There would be no middle, without the poor. That 1 in 5 kids in the United States live below the poverty line is both immoral and a requirement of our system. This system holds as its very center, heartbeat and myth of the American Dream the cherished “middle class.”

George Carlin frames it this way:

“The upper class keeps all of the money and pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes (and) does all of the work. The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class… keep ‘em showing up at those jobs.”

So what is to be done? We hoist ourselves on our own petard when we allow the Koch brother fueled narrative that Wal-Mart and Fast Food workers who are struggling to attain a living wage should be grateful to have a job, any job, in this climate.

We know our elected officials are not responsive to the people, but to the ruling elite and yet we still argue over Obama or Romney or Pelosi or Boehner as if these politicians are even listening to us.

We cling, no worse, we teach our children to invest in the false American Dream that if we only work a little harder, or go into more educational debt that we would be able to grasp the brass ring and wear proudly the label of American Middle class.

That label would be made in Bangladesh, mind you, by a child working six days a week 16 hours a day and making 30 bucks a month but you would be proud to wear that middle class label just the same, and in doing so do you- we, I- not only endorse the conditions of poverty that, because of its very existence, defines the middle class, we insure that poverty will continue.

We need new language, a new system based on equity and fairness and not on exploitation and oppression and until then I say fuck the middle class.

I quit it.




The Myth of a Post Racial America


Originally posted at PopularResistance.org



Last week, President Obama unveiled his My Brothers Keeper initiative one day after the anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin and as the nation still grapples with the hung jury on the murder charge in the Michael Dunn case, the white male in Florida who killed the unarmed African American teenager Jordon Davis after an argument about loud music.

Mychal Denzel Smith, writing about the Dunn verdict in The Nation, lamented:

“We scream “Murder! Lynching!” We desperately reaffirm for ourselves and our children the value of black life in a country that declares us worthless.

The cynic in me starts to believe this is exactly what white people want. It’s as though our cries of “Murder! Lynching!” only make it easier for white America to accept black death.

I want to believe differently. But it’s hard not to see the same scene play out over and over again and not think that there’s a pleasure derived from seeing black suffering, then being berated by black rage. It starts to feel as if we’re trapped in some sadomasochistic fantasy of white American imagination.”

Dennis Trainor, Jr. (host)

The Resistance Report panel; Nicole Carty (The Other 98%) Joel Northam (Acronym TV contributor) and Julianna Forlano (Absurdity Today) and special guest Mychal Denzel Smith (The Nation)



March 4, 2014

Ukraine Uprising: U.S Hypocrisy + Russian Aggression VS. Movement of the Squares



Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

http://youtu.be/jeGcYKnr13s


After two months of protestors in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych has been ousted and yet, with support from Russia, remains defiant. As U.S Secretary of State offers aid to Ukraine, he managed to tell Face The Nation (with a straight face) ““You just don’t in the 21st Century behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext.”

As Glenn Greenwald, writing at The Intercept points out:  The supremely sycophantic Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer – as he demanded to know how Russia would be punished – never once bothered Kerry (or his other Iraq-war-advocating guests, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius) by asking about any of that unpleasantness (is it hard at all for you to sermonize against invasions of sovereign countries given, you know, how often you yourself support them?)

Do the unfolding events in that country add up to a Revolution or an orchestrated coup? Kateryna Rubin, an expert in Ukraine and Russian history, joins the panel to discuss.

The Resistance Report panel for March 3 was made up of Nicole Carty (The Other 98%) Joel Northam (Acronym TV contributor) and Julianna Forlano(Absurdity Today). Dennis Trainor, Jr. served as host.



tags

Landlords on Wall Street: The New Housing Scheme

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org



Laura Gottesdiener, in this exclusive report, pulls back the curtain on a massive land grab that has once again turned our homes into dangerous financial products and reports on the growing movement of tenants and housing advocates are fighting back driven by a conviction that housing is not a market commodity, but a human right.



Waging War on Poverty Is About Class Identity | Cheri Honkala Interview



Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

http://youtu.be/B5QYPiqk6hg


The co- founder and national coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and vice president of the Green Shadow Cabinet. Cheri is nationally and internationally respected for her anti-poverty work. Honoring the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign of 1967-68 Cheri inspires a new generation of leaders working to end poverty.

In this exclusive interview, Dennis Trainor, Jr. and Cheri Honkala discuss the Earth Day to May Day Climate Convergence, the U.S. Social Forum, and what motivates a life of social justice organizing.




March 3, 2014

VIDEO: Class, Race, and War - Resistance Report One-Hour Pilot




Viewer support keeps this going. Fund with a one time donation or click here to become a monthly sustainer of Acronym TV

Host Dennis Trainor, Jr. navigates a lively panel discussion with Nicole Carty (The Other 98%), Julianna Forlano (Absurdity Today), and Joel Northam (Resistance Report contributor).

Special guests also include Mychal Denzel Smith (The Nation), Kateryna Ruban (expert in Ukraine and Russian history), and Cheri Honkala (Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign).

Segment 1 | The Myth of a Post Racial America
ResistanceReport_Pilot_7329
Mychal Denzel Smith of The Nation joins us for our first segment to discuss the myth of a colorblind or post racial America and if the possibility exists for a black politics that is liberating.

Segment 2 | Ukraine: A Grassroots revolution or a Coup Orchestrated by the West? ResistanceReport_Pilot_7411
After two months of protestors in Maedon Square in Kiev, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych has been ousted and yet, with support from Russia, remains defiant. Do the unfolding events in that country add up to a Revolution or an orchestrated coup? Kateryna Rubin, an expert in Ukraine and Russian history, joins the panel to discuss.

Segment 3 | Raise the Minimum Wage or Guaranteed Income for All?
ResistanceReport_Pilot_7542
Cheri Honkala of the Poor Peoples Economic Campaign and Vice President of the Green Shadow Cabinet joins the panel to discuss the jobs crisis in the United States, the perpetually underemployed, and the impact of a raise in the minimum wage versus a policy that guaranteed an income for all.

Segment 4 | Housing: Market Commodity or Human Right?
ResistanceReport_Pilot_7397
Laura Gottesdiener, in this exclusive report, pulls back the curtain on a massive land grab that has once again turned our homes into dangerous financial products and the growing movement of tenants and housing advocates are fighting back driven by a conviction that housing is not a market commodity, but a human right.

Segment 5 | Cheri Honkala Interview
ResistanceReport_Pilot_7511
The co founder and national coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign and vice president of the Green Shadow Cabinet. Cheri is nationally and internationally respected for her anti-poverty work. Honoring the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign of 1967-68 Cheri inspires a new generation of leaders working to end poverty.

In this exclusive interview, Dennis Trainor, Jr. and Cheri Honkala discuss the Earth Day to May Day Climate Convergence, the U.S. Social Forum, and what motivates a life of social justice organizing.

Segment 6 | An Open Letter To The Middle Class
Host Dennis Trainor, Jr. delivers an open letter to the Middle Class, with some help from George Carlin.

This episode of the Resistance Report is distributed through special arraignment with Free Speech TV and produced in partnership with PopularResistance.org and the viewers like you who support Acronym TV.

ResistanceReport_Pilot_7358

Post Racial America, Maidan Square, Kiev, Ukraine, My Brothers Keeper, Housing Recovery, Wall Street, Minimun Wage, Viktor Yanukovych, Russian, Putin, Guaranteed income, George Carlin, Class, Class war, EU, Neo-liberalism, Ukraine coup, Ukraine revolution, Cheri Honkala, Laura Gottesdiener, Mychal Denzel Smith, Joel Northam, Nicole Carty, Dennis Trainor Jr, Pamela Brown