10 Dec 2013
8 Dec 2013
David Cameron and Ed Miliband will face embarrassment this week when it is announced that MPs will be paid an annual salary of £74,000 from 2015 despite their calls for "cheaper politics". The independent parliamentary standards authority, Ipsa, is to reveal its decision to increase salaries by 11%. (The Observer)
The coalition of millionaires
David Cameron’s coalition Government may have adopted ‘fairness’ as one of its defining slogans, but his team of Ministers has been drawn almost exclusively from the ranks of the financial elite – leading to accusations that politics is once again becoming the preserve of the wealthy. Of the 29 Ministers entitled to attend Cabinet meetings, 23 have assets and investments estimated to be worth more than £1million. (Daily Mail - may 2010)
7 Dec 2013
5 Dec 2013
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (born 18 July 1918) is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before being elected President, Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, and the leader and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela went on to serve 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to the establishment of democracy in 1994. As President, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in South Africa.
4 Dec 2013
2 Dec 2013
Hey kids, wear electronic tattoos. Take ingestible "authentication" tokens. Isn't it cool?
The Israeli government voted on Sunday to raze a Bedouin-Palestinian village of 500 citizens to clear space for a Jewish town, prompting yet more protests against Israel’s unabated policy of settlement construction.
The government ministers moved to evict residents from the Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran in accordance with the terms of the so-called “Prawer plan," which calls for the resettlement of large numbers of Bedouin villages.
The Bedouins have been offered alternative sites to which to relocate, but they plan to hold protests against what they claim is “discriminatory treatment by the state,” as quoted by Haaretz, the Israeli daily.
Liberal Israeli publications have harshly denounced the treatment of the Bedouins, who are being displaced by the very military that some of them proudly served.
“These are Israeli citizens – citizens in a ‘democratic’ state, some of whom have even served the country militarily – who are now having their homes destroyed,” David Harris-Gershon wrote in his blog for the Tikkun Daily.
The Israeli government’s reasoning for demolishing Umm al-Hiran is that the villagers never received ‘official’ zoning rights to settle the land. However, critics say Israel refused to give a stamp of approval to the village, despite ordering villagers to settle the site in 1956.
Other commentators point to the ‘symbolic location’ of the Bedouin village, situated as it is in the Negev Desert, described by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as “Zionism’s final frontier.”
An article that recently came out in Rolling Stone, titled “Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail,” by Matt Taibbi, asserts that the government is afraid to prosecute powerful bankers, such as those running HSBC. Taibbi says that there’s “an arrestable class and an unarrestable class.” What is your view on the current state of class war in the U.S.?
Well, there’s always a class war going on. The United States, to an unusual extent, is a business-run society, more so than others. The business classes are very class-conscious—they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war to improve their power and diminish opposition. Occasionally this is recognized.
We don’t use the term “working class” here because it’s a taboo term. You’re supposed to say “middle class,” because it helps diminish the understanding that there’s a class war going on.
It’s true that there was a one-sided class war, and that’s because the other side hadn’t chosen to participate, so the union leadership had for years pursued a policy of making a compact with the corporations, in which their workers, say the autoworkers—would get certain benefits like fairly decent wages, health benefits and so on. But it wouldn’t engage the general class structure. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why Canada has a national health program and the United States doesn’t. The same unions on the other side of the border were calling for health care for everybody. Here they were calling for health care for themselves and they got it. Of course, it’s a compact with corporations that the corporations can break anytime they want, and by the 1970s they were planning to break it and we’ve seen what has happened since.
30 Nov 2013
29 Nov 2013
The powerful and hard-hitting documentary, American Holocaust, is quite possibly the only film that reveals the link between the Nazi holocaust, which claimed at least 6 million Jews, and the American Holocaust which claimed, according to conservative estimates, 19 million Indigenous People.
Boris Johnson displayed "careless elitism" when advocating that more should be done to help the intelligent wealth-creators of society, and that Johnson was being "fairly unpleasant" by talking about people as if they were a breed of dog.
What so offended Nick Clegg was Johnson's description of the innate intellectual inequality of humans, especially those "of our species" with the lowest IQ scores. When he delivered the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture on Wednesday evening, Johnson said that humans were far from being equal in "raw ability".
"Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 per cent… have an IQ above 130," Johnson told his audience.
28 Nov 2013
26 Nov 2013
Matt Damon, a lifelong friend of Howard Zinn and his family, read excerpts from a speech Howard Zinn gave in 1970 as part of a debate on civil disobedience.
This performance was part of "The People Speak, Live!" with Matt Damon and Lupe Fiasco at the Metro in Chicago, on January 31, 2012, produced by Voices of a People's History (peopleshistory.us) in collaboration with Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.
Learn more at VoicesofaPeoplesHistory
25 Nov 2013
23 Nov 2013
22 Nov 2013
20 Nov 2013
The latest friendly advice from McDonald’s to their low-wage workers includes tips on how to better handle stress--as well as how to fill yourself up better with dinner. The fast-food corporation instructs workers that breaking food “into pieces” will keep you full.
The advice was published on the “McResource” website, meant to give tips to fast-food workers. While you need to be a McDonald’s worker to log-in to the website, details of the advice have been publicized by the group Low Pay Is Not OK, a union-backed group seeking to organize low-wage workers at McDonald’s. The effort is part of the larger campaign to push for living wages, benefits and the right to organize among low-wage workers across a variety of industries.
A video published by Low Pay Is Not OK shows the website’s advice to workers. One piece of advice given is for workers to take two vacations a year--an impossible task given that many employees work two low-wage jobs. It tells workers to “sing away stress” because it “can lower your blood pressure.” And it tells McDonald’s employees to break “food into pieces,” which “results in eating less and still feeling full.”
18 Nov 2013
The week before Kennedy was assassinated the news media, national and local to Dallas, went into overdrive about two subjects:
1. How many people hated the Kennedys and wanted to do them harm
2. How "reckless" Kennedy was in not strictly following security protocols (a similar charge was made about his son's adherence to aviation safety and who died in a highly mysterious plane accident just as he was about to enter political life.)
Just hours before Kennedy was murdered in cold blood, this bizarre script was read in the two and a half minutes before Kennedy took the stage for a breakfast talk in Fort Worth. Just think of how strange this is. Who would write such a script? Who would order it to be read before a presidential appearance? Just a few hours after this live newscast Kennedy was assassinated by a "lone nut" just like the one described in the local Texas newsfeed.