The London Riots: Put on Your Seatbelt Main Street

From The Bradenton Times:

by John Rehill
August 13, 2011

Dateline London: Over 1,200 arrested; 16,000 police, and the violence just moves to other towns. Children as young as 9 years old are being arrested by police. Prime Minister David Cameron says, “If your old enough to throw a rock through a window, your old enough to go to jail.” Are the London riots a harbinger of things to come?

Those watching the carnage both nearby and worldwide cry out:

How can these young people just run through town smashing and breaking everything-don’t they care about the things they are destroying?

What they are doing is against the law-don’t they care about the law?

Burning buildings and looting and turning over cars- don’t they know that the people who own those cars, didn’t do anything to them? 

Answers: No, No, No.

Desperate people do desperate things. If there’s a message from Main Street England to Main Street America in this mayhem and chaos, it’s that hoodlums and vandals are acting badly, put on your seat belts.

In England, like every where else, it’s not just the austerity gutting the coffers or acts like the one in which police shot the unarmed and then lied to cover it up, that’s causing all of this unrest. It’s not just a few bad apples convincing others to let the thief inside of them run with somebody else’s goods. It’s a culture gone sideways, the creed of winner take all. I got mine and we don’t care about you, so get out of the way.

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John F Kennedy said, “Make a peaceful revolution impossible and you guarantee a violent one.” Why has history always proven that true so many times? Kennedy was a student of history and understood the toils of the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the 20th century. He studied the rise and fall of colonialists and oligarchs in Europe and Africa. He was very familiar with how mass inequities fuel peasant revolts and how the disenfranchised can loose their self-worth and take to the streets.

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Target Comes Under Fire Around the World

From In These Times:
By Michelle Chen
August 12, 2011
The retail giant Target is under fire from all sides, for union-busting at home and labor violations overseas. The reports that have come out in the past several weeks highlight a continuum of cruelty in the global supply chain.

Though WalMart has long served as labor’s arch nemesis, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has lately zeroed in on Target as a new battlefield—with its hundreds of thousands of employees and recent expansion into the supermarket sector. Although UFCW Local 1500 recently lost a vote to unionize a branch in Valley Stream, New York, their campaign deftly exposed Target’s arsenal of intimidation and smear tactics, which ranged from anti-union websites to leaflets warning that a yes vote might ruin the company and force the store to close.

Now plastered across the blogosphere, the propaganda campaign has steeled the outrage at the company’s resistance to unions. Organizers have announced they will keep up the fight:

Target’s honeymoon is over, the national attention from the election at Valley Stream showed the American public the type of company they really are, one who has little respect for the hard working people who make their company so successful.  Target still has the opportunity to change, and they should start by respecting their employees.

UFCW still aims to unionize all Target stores in the New York area, the AP reported in July. And Target’s “victory” over UFCW ironically has become an inspiration for organizers (reflecting perhaps labor’s desperate state as well as yearning for fresh motivation):

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500+ Mass. Residents Confront Scott Brown on Anti-Jobs Votes

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Can We Have Health Reform Without an Individual Mandate? Yes, It’s Called ‘Medicare for All’

I hate to admit it but many of the right wing working people, the folks I meet at gun shows and various other places are right about Obama Care being oppressive with its mandated purchase of Private Corporate Health “Insurance”.  It reduces the poor who do not have employer paid Health Care to indentured servants forced to give up as much as half of their already substandard wages to enrich the corporations.

This is unconscionable when so many are either unemployed or under-employed and already receiving less than a living wage.

This aspect of Obama Care demonstrates that his commitment is to the corporations and not to ordinary people.

From The Nation:

John Nichols
August 13, 2011

The essential vote on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel that ruled that the individual-coverage mandate in President Obama’s healthcare reform is unconstitutional did not come from a reactionary Republican appointed by Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.

Rather, it came from respected jurist whose two appointments to the federal bench—first as a judge for the Northern District of Georgia in 1994 and then to the 11th Circuit in 1997—were made by then-President Bill Clinton. No, Judge Frank Mays Hull is not a raging lefty, but nor is she a right-wing judicial activist. A former law clerk for Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle, who as the chief justice of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1960 to 1967 led the court in issuing a series of epic decisions on behalf of civil rights, Judge Hull has a reputation as a moderate defender of the rule of law who has earned reasonable marks for her pragmatic and decidely mainstream interpretations of the Constitution.

So why did Hull join with another member of the appeals court panel (Chief Judge Joel Dubina, an appointee of George H.W. Bush) to form the 2-1 majority that rejected the individual mandate while affirming the rest of the law? Perhaps it was because one can favor sweeping healthcare reforms—including an expansion of Medicare—while still believing that it is wrong to require Americans to buy insurance from for-profit insurance companies.

Hull telegraphed her thinking with repeated questions during June oral arguments in Atlanta regarding the case. Noting that “the panel spent a significant amount of time discussing whether the mandate is ‘severable’ from the rest of the law,” Politico pointed out that: “Hull in particular asked the federal government three times where the line should be.”

Ultimately, Hull and Dubina came to the conclusion that the individual mandate could, and should, be removed from an otherwise constitutional plan.

Why? Because, as the judges wrote in their majority decision: “This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives.”

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Michele Bachmann Heckled in Iowa

London burns – causes & consequences of the riots – an anarchist perspective

From Worker’s Solidarity Movement:

Date: Sat, 2011-08-13 17:43

The police killing of Mark Duggan resulted in four nights of rioting across England. The immediate trigger was the killing itself, and the disrespect shown by the police to Mark’s family and friends. But the riots rapidly broadened to expressions of a more general anger and alienation; an anger that was all too often unfocused and striking out at the nearest target of opportunity. This resulted in widespread destruction of resources in already deprived neighborhoods and some anti-social attacks on bystanders. Despite this, the roots of the riots lie in the economic and political conditions of these districts, and not in ‘poor parenting’ or ‘mindless criminality’. These conditions were created by the very politicians and business elite who now call for a return to normality and repression.

The riots happened at a particular moment, a moment when capitalism is in deep crisis. Indeed the riots occurred at the same time as yet another crash in global markets. The two competed with each other to be the lead story on the news. This is not a coincidence; the crash, and the cuts unleashed to impose it’s costs on ordinary people, mean not only rocketing unemployment but also the slashing of public services. And while the focus is on the estimated £200 million of destruction caused by the rioting, this pales into insignificance in comparison with the huge destruction of wealth taking place on the stock exchanges. Likewise, while the media focus has been on the hundreds of workers and small business owners who will face unemployment because of the destruction of their workplaces, the system that bred the riot has refused work to millions – around one million people between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed in the UK today.

Now, in the aftermath, it has become clear that those who made the mistake of taking what they had been told to desire are to be brutality punished, to set an example to others that the laws of property are to be respected at all costs – after all, if we could all take what we needed where would be the room for capitalism? There is no other explanation for the sentences handed down, which have included six months for taking bottled water worth £3.50!

And, of course, the bankers that triggered far more destruction and unemployment have been rewarded rather than facing similar punishment. Russell Brand asks, in a blog post on the riots, “How should we describe the actions of the city bankers that brought our economy to its knees in 2010? Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that’s why not one of them has been imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of trainers.”

What happned?

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The Salmon Deserve Better

From The New York Times:

August 11, 2011

Last week, for the third time in nearly a decade, Judge James Redden of the United States District Court in Portland, Ore., rejected as inadequate a federal plan claiming to save imperiled salmon species in the Columbia River basin. These fish have been listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act since the early 1990s, their once-remarkable annual runs reduced to a trickle by habitat destruction and by the hydroelectric dams that impede their passage to the sea.

Three different administrations have offered survival plans. All three have been found wanting. Judge Redden, who has shown a great deal of patience and sagacity on this issue, tossed out a Clinton administration plan as too vague and a plan from the administration of George W. Bush as essentially illegal. The law requires the recovery of a species; the Bush plan promised little more than allowing the fish to go extinct at a slower rate.

The Obama administration added improvements, including lofty promises to restore spawning streams and estuaries. Not enough, Judge Redden said, noting that the plans did not extend beyond 2013 and, in any case, depended on Congressional appropriations that may or may not occur. He told the government to return with a more plausible and aggressive scheme in three years. Significantly, he left all recovery options on the table, including breaching four dams on the lower Snake River, an idea we have long supported.

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Mitt Romney Touts Privatizing Unemployment Benefits Along With Reduction in Spending on Anti-Poverty Programs

From Crooks and Liars:

Go to the above link for the video:

By Heather
August 11, 2011

Mitt Romney stood up for those poor downtrodden corporate “people” that those evil liberals who crashed his event in Iowa this Thursday were asking to have their taxes raised on, but if you’re one of the long-term unemployed, well, it appears you’re on your own.

During the Republican debate in Iowa, when asked if he would extend unemployment benefits for those who are about to lose their benefits in a few months, not only did Romney say that he would not extend them, but he also touted the idea of privatizing unemployment benefits and changing our current system to one offering unemployment insurance savings accounts.

What could possibly go wrong? I haven’t read much on this, so I’m no expert and it would be nice to hear more from anyone who is in the comments section, but this just looks to this layman as another way to draw money out of another one of our social safety nets in the name of “personal responsibility.” Romney said this would “make the system work better by giving people responsibility for their own employment opportunities.” That’s rich since they don’t have much control over those “opportunities” if there are no jobs to be found in the first place. Not everyone’s got a rich family and the “opportunity” to become some multimillionaire vulture capitalist like our buddy Mittens here did. Some of us have to make money the old fashioned way, like actually working for it.

And god knows with some of the greatest income disparity since the Gilded Age, we can’t have our priorities be spending more money on anti-poverty programs, now can we? No, better to be reducing those taxes and burdensome regulations on those “job creators” because the have-mores are just struggling so badly right now in Mitt Romney and the GOP’s fantasy-land. Heaven forbid we do anything to hurt their feelings or they might go Galt on us and leave the country and take their jobs with them.

Oh wait, that ship has sailed already, hasn’t it? When I hear one of these birds start talking about fixing our trade imbalances and tying these tax cuts they love so much to job creation in the United States, I’ll believe that they actually care one iota about doing anything productive to fix our unemployment problems in America. Sadly, we’re not hearing that from any of them other than members of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives right now.

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The Ratcheting Up of Right Wing Anti-Muslim Hate

This Weekend the Ultra Right Wing Republicans kicked off their 2012 Presidential primary.

We are also rapidly approaching the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.

I really wish I didn’t feel I had to run a public service announcement admonishing people to respect the rights of others to have their own beliefs regarding religion.

I really wish I didn’t have to remind people how wrong racism is.

But I do…  I know this from the people I worked with in the Big Box Store.

I know how endemic racism is in so many cultures.

I know that the ideals this nation was founded on are way better than the general way we all too often act.

So when I was asked by the people at: to run a public service video my only thought was how to ask people to watch it.  To not give in to all the hate we so often hear in the media and from our fellow Americans.

One doesn’t have to be religious to hold dear the principle of treating others in a manner which you, yourself would wish to be treated and not doing onto others something that would be hateful if done unto you.

Take the pledge now
The climate of suspicion towards our fellow American Muslims compromises the great values that our country was founded upon.

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