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Sony Cyberattack: Hackers Win

 

 

But We’ll Show You the Film Trailers Anyway !

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

U.S. officials are treating a cyberattack on Sony Pictures as a “serious national security matter,” with the National Security Council considering a proportionate response, the White House said.

Evidence shows the attack against Sony was carried out by a “sophisticated actor,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.  But he declined to blame North Korea, saying the investigation is still progressing.

That country is suspected of orchestrating the hack in retaliation for the Sony film The Interview, about a fictional plot to assassinate Pyongyang’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

The film portrays Seth Rogen and James Franco as frustrated television journalists who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader. 

Wanna go kill Kim Jong-un?” Franco’s character asks in the movie.

“Totally.  I’d love to assassinate Kim Jong-un – it’s a date,” Rogen’s character replies.

In the film’s climactic scene, Kim Jong Un’s head is seen exploding when his helicopter is hit by a missile.

The company on Wednesday cancelled the film’s scheduled December 25 release after the four largest U.S. theater chains said they would not show it.  A spokesman said Sony “has no further release plans” for the $44 million comedy, The New York Times reported.

According to media reports, U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said investigators have connected North Korea to the cyberattack.  North Korea denies involvement and wants to join the US probe into the matter, saying they can prove they’re not behind the security breach.

The massive breach resulted in the leak of tens of thousands of documents of confidential Sony data, including the private details of thousands of company employees, former employees and freelancers, as well as several Hollywood stars and their squabbles.  The leaks also include financial data and high-quality copies of films yet to be released.

The leak has also escalated to threats of terrorist attacks over the film.  A hacker group calling itself Guardians of Peace promised a “bitter fate” to those who attend The Interview showings.  

The group– invoking the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States– warned people to stay away from theaters where the film is playing.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says “there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters.” 

President Barack Obama also downplayed the threat, calling Sony’s quick cancellation “a mistake” and saying his “recommendation would be that people go to the movies.”

Nonetheless, Sony raised the white flag and surrendered, even though, surprisingly enough, its economy is larger than that of North Korea’s. 

Yes, that’s true.

 

Sony’s Response

Sony was preparing for a Christmas Day release of the comedy about two journalists recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate North Korea’s leader.

But not anymore.  They’re backing down altogether.

In a statement about its cancellation, Sony said it was “deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie and, in the process, do damage to our company, our employees and the American public.  We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

In an interview late Wednesday with ABC News, Obama called the cyberattack on Sony Pictures “very serious.”

 ”We’re investigating it.  We’re taking it seriously.  We’ll be vigilant,” Obama said.  ”If we see something that we think is serious and credible, we’ll alert the public.  But, for now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies.”

 

Pyongyang Condemns Movie

While Americans might be used to such irreverent humor, Pyongyang isn’t laughing.

In fact, they’re pissed.  Crazy-pissed.

Pyongyang has strongly denounced the comedy as an act of terrorism and had called for Sony to cancel the film.  It has praised the hacking as a “righteous deed,” while insisting it is not involved in the intrusion.

“The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays the attack on our top leadership… is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable,” a Foreign Ministry statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency on Wednesday read.

The ministry called on Washington to ban the film from being screened, warning that failure to do so would trigger a “resolute and merciless counter-measure response.”

It is not clear whether the Guardians of Peace group is linked to Pyongyang, which is known to have a capable group of Internet hackers at its disposal.  Some suspect the hackers may have been aided by an insider at Sony.

Pyongyang was angered by the film and in June promised “merciless retaliation.”  But it has denied involvement in the attack.  A North Korean diplomat said earlier this month the accusation was a “fabrication.”

Eriq Gardner, senior editor of The Hollywood Reporter, said the scale of the Sony hacking is unprecedented.

“There have been things that have made Hollywood studios change distribution of movies, but nothing like an attack from a nation-state forcing its hands on a movie that is really just a comedy,” Gardner said.

“… There have been some people who have speculated, maybe jokingly, that this was all just a publicity stunt,” he added.  

“But really, no matter how much money the film makes from here on out, it will not have been worth it to Sony.  This is absolutely terrible for them.”

 

Financial Loss

Doug Stone of the film industry newsletter Box Office Analyst believes Sony is set to lose up to $55 million and could opt to release the film at a later date or offer it as a video on demand.

Bruce Bennett, a North Korea analyst for the think tank RAND Corp., said Sony’s decision to cancel the film’s release sets a bad precedent.

“Foreigners who want to stop the release of a film can now follow the example of these hackers.  That’s dangerous for the United States,” said Bennett.

And, he added, it is good news for North Korea’s leaders.

“They don’t want this film to get out.  They particularly don’t want it to get on DVD and get circulated into North Korea, which a lot of outside DVDs do because it depicts Kim Jong Un accurately as being ruthless and deceptive, and in ways that don’t coincide with the regime’s propaganda,” Bennett said.

 

Hollywood Reacts

Many in Hollywood spoke out against Sony’s decision to scrap the movie’s release.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel called the move “an un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist’s actions and sets a terrifying precedent.”

George Clooney said “Hollywood hung Sony out to dry.”

Actor Rob Lowe declared it an “utter victory” for the hackers.  “Wow.  Everyone caved.  The hackers won.  An utter and complete victory for them.  Wow,” Lowe tweeted.

Steve Carell, whose own film set in North Korea has been canceled, said it was a “sad day for creative expression.”

This isn’t the first time North Korea’s leadership has been on the receiving end of Hollywood’s particular brand of parody.

In 2004, the South Park creators portrayed Kim’s late-father Kim Jong-il as a speech-impaired, mass-murdering alien despot in Team America: World Police

While Kim Jong-il, a noted film buff, never publicly commented on the film, North Korea’s embassy in Prague demanded that the film be banned in the Czech Republic.

“It harms the image of our country,” a North Korean diplomat said at the time.  A Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman rebuffed Pyongyang, saying “it’s absurd to demand that in a democratic country.”

Kim Myong-chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace and an unofficial spokesman for the Pyongyang regime, strangely enough said North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, in fact, plans to see The Interview.

~Via BBC, VOA, Google News, RT, Sony Pictures, YouTube

 

 

* * * * * * * *

Regardless of the threats and hacks and attacks, we’ll show you the film trailers anyway– while they’re still up and running.

If North Korea and Kim Jong Un don’t like it, oh well, that’s too bad.   Cry us a river.  What would America think if Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 ‘The Great Dictator’ was cancelled because Der Führer didn’t like it?

The movie may be in poor taste but that’s how politcal satire goes.  The Sony story is downright bizarre — and we don’t just mean the hacking.  We mean the decision to make the stupid movie in the first place.

Nevertheless, we believe in free and independent media and we’ll stand up for it– even if Sony won’t. 

We may be small, but we’re still Humboldt.  So come and get us.  We’re waiting.  And we’ll leave the light on for you.

 

 

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Stephen Colbert Bids The Nation Adieu

 

The Colbert Report Calling It Quits:

‘We’ll Meet Again Some Sunny Day’

 

**Viral VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Colbert Nation.  It’s all over except for the applause.

After nine years on the air as host of the The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert is calling it quits and throwing in the sarcastic towel.  Feared by many, hated by some, watched by all, Colbert is heading to CBS to take David Letterman’s Late Show spot in September.

He leaves an uncertain legacy for the media he revolutionized and the culture he altered.  Without him on TV four nights a week, there is a truthiness-shaped hole in our national political discourse.

He promised his audience a revolution, and, said Colbert, “One revolution is 360 degrees right back to where we were.”

“Anyone can read the news to you,” he announced when The Colbert Report debuted in 2005. “I promise to feel the news for you.”

He kept that promise, which is how he came to define our era.  For so many of us, Colbert sums up the absurdity of the Bush years, along with his hero and mentor Bill O’Reilly, whom he called Papa Bear.  ”I emulate you,” he once told O’Reilly in a poignant appearance on Fox News.  ”I want to bring your message of love and peace to a younger audience.  People in their sixties, people in their fifties – people who don’t watch your show.”

His rise in the media world was swift and ruthless. Soon after joining The Daily Show in 1997, Colbert attracted national attention for his uncompromising passion for the witty truth. 

He was able to remarkably reduce complex issues to common-sense tidbits of comedy and satire, uninhibited by facts.  He introduced America to the twin principles of “Truthiness” and “Wikiality,” where anything is true if it feels true, or if someone claims it is, correctly predicting, “The revolution will not be verified.”

And on his last night he signed off in his typical bombastic, authentic fashion.

“I know this is an emotional night for a lot of you,” he said during his opening.  “If this is your first time tuning in to ‘The Colbert Report,’ I have some terrible news.  This in fact is your last time tuning in to ‘The Colbert Report.”

The show went on as normal and ended with the sweet, emotional finale.

Colbert performed the 1939 tune We’ll Meet Again with a slew of famous friends he’s had on the show over the years: singers, actors, authors, politicians, rock stars, filmmakers, and news anchors alike.  They included Jon Stewart, Willie Nelson, Tom Brokaw, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Cranston, Big Bird, Jeff Daniels, Katie Couric, Ken Burns, Charlie Rose, Arianna Huffington, James Franco, Michael Stipe, Barry Manilow, Christiane Amanpour, Andy Cohen, and George Lucas, among others.

“All those incredible things that people say I did– none of that was really me,” Colbert said during his goodbye.  ”You, the Nation, did all of that.  I just got paid for it.”

And then, Colbert rode away as quickly as he came into the pop culture media world.  In a sleigh with Santa and Abraham Lincoln and Alex Trebek, adorned by his Captain America shield.

Colbert will be remembered for truth.  Nobody summed up the current state of the American mind as brilliantly, as honestly, as terrifyingly as Stephen Colbert.

It’s somehow fitting that he left us so prematurely and under such mysterious circumstances.  He will be missed – even if someone very much like him returns to the airwaves in the coming
months.

Night, night, nation.

 

 

 

 

 

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US To Restore Relations With Cuba

 

After 50 Years, Obama and Castro Talk;

Republicans Furious

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Merry Christmas, Cuba.  Our Cold War relationship is thawing.

President Obama yesterday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century as he vowed to “cut loose the shackles of the past” and sweep aside one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

The surprise announcement came at the end of 18 months of secret talks that produced a prisoner swap negotiated with the help of Pope Francis and concluded by a telephone call between Obama and President Raúl Castro.

The historic deal broke an enduring stalemate between two countries divided by just 90 miles of water but oceans of mistrust and hostility dating from the days of Theodore Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill, the nuclear brinkmanship of the Cuban missile crisis, and a 50-year trade embargo.

“We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” President Obama said in a nationally televised statement from the White House.  The deal, he added, will “begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas” and move beyond a “rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”

 

The GOP Response

In doing so, Mr. Obama ventured into diplomatic territory where the last 10 presidents refused to go, and Republicans, along with a senior Democrat, quickly characterized the rapprochement with the Castro family as appeasement of the hemisphere’s leading dictatorship.

Republican lawmakers who will take control of the Senate as well as the House next month made clear they would resist lifting the 54-year-old trade embargo.

“This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, on a lie, the lie and the illusion that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and son of Cuban immigrants.  “All this is going to do is give the Castro regime, which controls every aspect of Cuban life, the opportunity to manipulate these changes to perpetuate itself in power.”

For good or ill, the move represented a dramatic turning point in relations with an island that for generations has captivated and vexed its giant northern neighbor.  From the 18th century, when successive presidents coveted it, Cuba loomed large in the American imagination long before Fidel Castro stormed from the mountains and seized power in 1959.

 

The Telephone Call

President Obama has long expressed hope of transforming relations with Cuba and relaxed some travel restrictions in 2011.  But further moves remained untenable as long as Cuba held Alan P. Gross, an American government contractor arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison for trying to deliver satellite telephone equipment capable of cloaking connections to the Internet.

After winning re-election, Mr. Obama resolved to make Cuba a priority.

Pope Francis encouraged the talks with letters to President Obama and Mr. Castro and had the Vatican host a meeting in October to finalize the terms of the deal.  Obama spoke with Castro by telephone on Tuesday to seal the agreement in a call that lasted more than 45 minutes, the first direct substantive contact between the leaders of the two countries in more than 50 years.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Gross walked out of a Cuban prison and boarded an American military plane that flew him to Washington, accompanied by his wife, Judy.  While eating a corned beef sandwich on rye bread with mustard during the flight, Mr. Gross received a call from Mr. Obama.  “He’s back where he belongs, in America with his family, home for Hanukkah,” the President said later.

For its part, the United States sent back three imprisoned Cuban spies who were caught in 1998.

 

Easing Restrictions, Yes; –But Embargo Still in Place

The United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking, while Cuba will allow more Internet access and release 53 Cubans identified as political prisoners by the United States.  Although the embargo will remain in place, the president called for an “honest and serious debate about lifting” it, which would require an act of Congress.

Mr. Castro spoke simultaneously on Cuban television, taking to the airwaves with no introduction and announcing that he had spoken by telephone with Mr. Obama on Tuesday.

“We have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations,” he declared, emphasizing the release of the three Cubans.  “President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgment of our people.”

Only afterward did Mr. Castro mention the reopening of diplomatic relations.  “This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been resolved,” he said.  “The economic, commercial and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must cease.”  But, he added, “the progress made in our exchanges proves that it is possible to find solutions to many problems.”

 

The New Generation

Obama is gambling that restoring ties with Cuba may no longer be politically unthinkable with the generational shift among Cuban-Americans, where many younger children of exiles are open to change.  Nearly six in 10 Americans support re-establishing relations with Cuba, according to a New York Times poll conducted in October.  Obama’s move had the support of the Catholic Church, the US Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch and major agricultural interests.

“Five and a half decades of history show us that such belligerence inhibits better judgment,” he said.  “Two wrongs never make a right.  This is a game-changer, which I fully support.”

But leading Republicans, including Speaker John A. Boehner and the incoming Senate majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, did not.  In addition to Mr. Rubio, two other Republican potential candidates for president joined in the criticism.  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas called it a “very, very bad deal,” while former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said it “undermines the quest for a free and democratic Cuba.”

Obama has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to begin the process of removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, and the president announced that he would attend a regional Summit of the Americas next spring that Mr. Castro will also attend.

President Obama’s decision will ease travel restrictions for family visits, public performances, and professional, educational and religious activities, among other things, but ordinary tourism will still be banned under the law.  It will also allow greater banking ties, making it possible to use credit and debit cards in Cuba, and American travelers will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba, including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol products.

“These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” President Obama said.  “It’s time for a new approach.”

He added that he shared the commitment to freedom for Cuba.  “The question is how we uphold that commitment,” he said. “I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result.”

 

~Via Google News, NYT, 5mars and Vimeo

 

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Happy Xmas

 

(War is Over)

 

John Lennon’s VIDEO

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

In the 1960s The Beatles delighted their fan club members by sending them
a specially recorded 45rpm single every Christmas filled with comedy, music
and festive fun.

The following decade the Christmas single as we know it– a one-time seasonally themed hit—had arrived.

Fittingly though, it was ex-Beatle John Lennon who changed the whole Christmas game.

Lennon was born October 9, 1940, at a time when World War II was raging across Europe.  Liverpool was under attack, bombed by Nazi Germany when John was born.  The rest, as you know, is history.

Sung by John and Yoko Ono and accompanied by the Harlem Community Choir, Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was released in the States on December 6 of 1971.  It was released in Britain the following year, and again following Lennon’s death after being violently gunned down outside of his New York City apartment on December 8, 1980.

The Vietnam-inspired sing-along was the culmination of more than two years of peace activism undertaken by the couple that began with the bed-ins they convened in 1969, the first of which took place during their honeymoon. 

President Nixon had said at the time that the Vietnam War would soon be ending “as a result of the plan that we have instituted.”  In April 1970, however, he had expanded the war by ordering US and South Vietnamese troops to attack communist sanctuaries in Cambodia and Northern Vietnam.  The resulting outcry across the United States led to a number of antiwar demonstrations– and during one of these demonstrations the National Guard shot four protesters at Kent State.

The couple had launched an international multimedia campaign preceding the song in December of 1969 – at the height of the counterculture movement and the massive protests against America’s involvement in the war– by renting billboard spaces in 12 major cities around the world for the display of black-and-white posters declaring, “WAR IS OVER!  –If You Want It– Happy Christmas from John & Yoko.”

Lennon said he conceived the antiwar campaign to promote social unity, peaceful change, personal accountability and empowerment, and writing the happy holiday tune to convey a sense of optimism but without the glowing sentimentality typically associated with the holiday music season.

“I was sick of White Christmas,” he said, and “I wanted to pen the peaceful anthem using the lyrical lesson I learned while recording Imagine.  I understood what you have to do:  Put your political message across with a little honey.’”

By the time Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was released, Lennon’s antiwar activism had brought him under the scrutiny and ire of the Nixon administration and the FBI.  Lennon had already returned his “Member British Empire” medal back to Queen Elizabeth, citing Britain’s support of US troops in Vietnam and its own involvement in Biafra.  He was involved in so much radical activity in the US that the FBI had 216 pounds worth of files about him. 

In 1972 he received his ignoble payback– a deportation order to leave the United States.  It was later stayed due to his broad popular support and the issuance of a green card for US residency. 

By 1973, the Vietnam War was grossly unpopular.  After extensive negotiations and the bombing of North Vietnam in December 1972, the Paris Peace Accords were signed in January of 1973.  The war was finally over– after nearly 20 years of US involvement.

Yoko Ono later wrote:

“Never in a million years, did we think that promoting world peace could be dangerous.  Were we naive?  Yes, on that account, we were.  

John said:  ‘Nobody told me there’d be days like these.’  That was his true confession.  These songs have become relevant all over again.  It’s almost as if John wrote these songs for what we are going through now.”

Among the many items Yoko donated for an exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame following his death were the bloodstained glasses he was wearing when he was shot.   Lennon was legally blind without them.

Yoko refused to hold a funeral for Lennon.  By not doing so, she said, ”his spirit would live forever.”

 

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Helping Rich Lenders Rip-Off the Poor

 

 

State Legislatures Lift Interest Rate Caps

 

**John Oliver VIDEO**

 

 

Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower.org

 

 

Loan sharks, banks, and their lobbyists really know how to put the “ick” in eth-icks.

Though they’ve tried to buff-up their public image by calling themselves “consumer lenders,” their game remains the same ethical mess it’s always been.

They target poor and financially struggling people, entice them to borrow with come-ons touting “quick & easy” money, and then hook them to installment loans with interest rates up to 36 percent.  At such rates, it’s hard for these hard-hit people to repay the bank on time, so most are forced to keep borrowing more money just to pay down the previous loans.

To make this even ickier, the sharks are especially fond of setting up their loan offices around Army bases so they can prey on America’s low-paid, financially-stressed soldiers.

The good news is that several state legislatures are taking action to provide relief.  The bad news is that their relief is not for the borrowers, but the banks!

With an army of lobbyists and a multimillion-dollar arsenal of campaign cash, the industry has already induced legislators to lift interest rate caps in eight states – most of which have a large number of military bases.

The cynical claim of the loan sharks (believe it or not) is that they are suffering financial hardships.

These poormouthing bankers say that to make “an acceptable profit,” they must be allowed to charge borrowers more than 36 percent interest.

Acceptable to whom? One of the largest purveyors of these loans, a subsidiary of Wall Street megabank Citigroup, reported a hefty 31-percent profit increase last year – under the old rate structure.

What we have here is a brazen purchase of legislative favoritism by some of the richest financial interests in America – allowing them to increase their exploitation of some of America’s poorest people.

What’s “acceptable” about that? The whole scheme is a shameful hustle.

 

States Ease Laws That Protected Poor Borrowers,” The New York Times, October 22, 2014.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

Jim Hightower is a Texan, columnist, and populist who believes that to move America from greed to greatness, we must fuel the power and the passion of our nation’s workaday majority.

A national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author, he frequently appears on television and radio programs bringing a hard-hitting populist viewpoint that rarely gets into the mass media.

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried on more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International. A popular public speaker who is fiery and funny, he is a populist road warrior who delivers more than 100 speeches a year to all kinds of groups.

He has written seven books and is a New York Times bestselling author.

As political columnist Molly Ivins said, “If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell and with a sense of humor.”

You can listen to more of Jim Hightower’s commentaries here.

 

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America’s Explosive Oil Problem

 

The Disaster of Shipping Crude by Rail

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

On July 6, 2013, a train hauling two million gallons of crude oil from North Dakota exploded in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people.

It took two days to put out the fire and the disaster devastated the small community.

Regulators in the United States knew they had to act fast.  They had to assure Americans a similar disaster wouldn’t happen south of the border, where the U.S. oil boom is sending highly volatile crude oil every day over aging and defective rails in vulnerable
railcars.

That catastrophe had its origin in America.  For five years, a boom in oil production has been taking place in the Bakkan Shale region of North Dakota.  Oil from the Bakkan is transported across the U.S. and Canada by rail to refineries on the coasts and it was one of these trains that derailed in Lac-Megantic.

The sharp increase in domestic oil production has created jobs, decreased economic vulnerability to turmoil in the Middle East, and lowered prices of gasoline and home heating oil.

But there’s another side to this story:  Boom is a joint investigation film by The Weather Channel and InsideClimate News exploring how the boom in oil has resulted in highly volatile crude oil being sent over aging rails in vulnerable railcars and the resulting disasters that follow in their wake.

Rail accidents involving oil trains have been widely on the rise– yet industry and regulators have been slow react.

Will it take another Lac-Megantic to make America’s towns and cities safer?

You can read the full story accompanying the above video here: stories.weather.com/boom

 

 

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The CIA Psychologist Who Made $81 Million Teaching Torture

 

 

Cashing in on Conscience and Country

 

**VICE VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Working for the CIA has its perks.

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a blistering, 500-page report on the CIA’s controversial detention and interrogation program, a document that committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said represents the most significant oversight effort in the history of the US Senate.

The $40 million, five-year study concluded that CIA officials exaggerated the value of the intelligence they gleaned from dozens of “high-value detainees” held at secret ‘black site’ prisons, where they were subjected to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Two U.S. psychologists were paid about $81-million each to consult with the CIA on its ineffective brutal interrogation program – criticized as amounting to torture — the U.S. Senate’s damning report said.

The two psychologists, whom the report said had no prior experience with Al Qaida, counterterrorism or interrogation techniques, were working with the Air Force on its “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” (SERE) program before the 9/11 attacks.  That program was reported to have evolved into the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” — which included sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The committee reviewed more than 6 million pages of top-secret CIA documents and found that the architect of the interrogation program was a retired Air Force psychologist named James Mitchell, an agency contractor who — according to news reports — personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  

The Senate report confirms that two psychologists’ firm was outsourced the contract for most of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program from 2005 to 2008.

The firm and each psychologist were paid $81-million of the $181-million consulting contract before it was terminated in 2009.

One of the psychologists, now retired to a life of leisure in Florida, sat down for a lengthy interview with Vice News on his role in the program. 

Mitchell has a signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA and was unable to discuss his alleged role in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program, but VICE News met up with him in suburban Florida to discuss the Senate’s report and one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.

This is the first time Mitchell has ever appeared on camera.

 

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Torture Perfectly Acceptable for America

 

 

Torture Defenders Double Down and Dig In

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

The defenders of torture are doubling down and defending it. 

And in some instances, they also cashed in:  two U.S. psychologists with no experience were paid about $81-million to consult with the CIA on the brutal interrogation program.

Key figures in the George W. Bush administration and an architect of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program are defending the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation’ tactics in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bombshell report.

The 500-page report summary released Tuesday sheds light on gruesome tactics used by CIA interrogators on terror suspects who were captured and brought to secret locations outside U.S. jurisdiction.

Some detainees were subject to a practice known as “rectal feeding,” in which food is pumped into an individual through the anus.  Others were waterboarded until they were close to drowning.  Interrogators deprived detainees sleep, forced them to maintain “stress positions” and in one instance, reportedly played Russian roulette with a detainee, according to the summary.

The report also deflates the argument that torture helped find Osama bin Laden and led to the capture of other terror suspects.  At times, the report found, interrogation prompted detainees to give fabricated or inaccurate information.

Shortly before the report’s release, The New York Times’ Peter Baker reported that former Bush officials had decided to “link arms” against the report and its findings.  They appear to have maintained that strategy since the report’s release, in spite of its grisly findings.

“The report’s full of crap, excuse me,” former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News’ Brett Baier in a Wednesday interview.

“What happened here was that we asked the agency to go take steps and put in place programs that were designed to catch the bastards that killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 and make sure that didn’t happen again.  And that’s exactly what they did and they deserve a lot of credit, not the condemnation that they’re receiving from the Senate Democrats,” Cheney said.

Cheney specifically disputed the claim that Bush was kept in the dark about interrogation practices.

“I think he knew certainly the techniques, we did discuss the techniques, there was no effort on our part to keep him from that,” Cheney said.  ”That the president wasn’t being told is just a flat-out lie.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who helmed the agency at the end of Bush’s second term, maintained that he “didn’t mislead Congress” about the brutal tactics used by interrogators.

“I don’t know that the report that was released yesterday is that historically accurate,” Hayden said in an interview with NBC.  ”It reads like a prosecutorial screed rather than a historical document.”

Later, appearing on CNN, Hayden sought to explain the practice
of rectal rehydration.

“It’s a medical procedure is what it is,” Hayden told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  “I’m learning about this somewhat too, because as you know, almost all of this took place before I became director.  But I have learned that in some instances, one way that you can get nourishment into a person is through this procedure as opposed to intravenous feeding, which of course involves needles and a whole bunch of other dangerous things.”

Hayden compared the practice to force-feeding detainees at Guantanamo — which he acknowledged is not performed rectally.

In a Wednesday Wall Street Journal op-ed, Hayden joined fellow former CIA directors George Tenet and Porter Goss (in addition to other former agency officials) in defense of the program, crediting the “aggressive” policies with saving American lives.

“The al Qaeda leadership has not managed another attack on the homeland in the 13 years since, despite a strong desire to do so,” they wrote.  ”The CIA’s aggressive counterterrorism policies and programs are responsible for that success.”

John Yoo, who served as a senior Justice Department attorney after 9/11 and gave legal justification for the interrogation program, also stepped up to defend the efficacy of torture in obtaining information — a talking point disputed in the Senate torture report and elsewhere.

“A President charged with this responsibility cannot wait weeks, months, or never; he must obtain intelligence as soon as possible to stop the next attack.  Under these emergency conditions, a chief executive would reasonably give the green light to limited, but aggressive interrogation methods that did not cause any long-term or permanent injury,” Yoo wrote in Time.

The Senate report directly contradicts that statement, noting that one detainee died of hypothermia after being chained to a concrete floor.

“The Feinstein report cannot deny that most Americans agree President Bush acted reasonably under these emergency conditions,” Yoo continued. “And the Senate report cannot deny the record of success.”

Also coming to the CIA’s defense is James E. Mitchell, one of two psychologists with no experience who were paid $81 million by the agency to advise and help implement the interrogation practices.  Now retired and living a life of leisure in Florida, Mitchell accused the Senate committee of cherry-picking evidence to make its case against torture.

“It’s flat wrong,” he told The Associated Press of the report’s claim that he had no special knowledge of al Qaeda and no experience in interrogation.

“I completely understand why the human rights organizations in the United States are upset by the Senate report,” Mitchell said.  “I would be upset by it too, if it were true.”

Others took a different view. 

The Senate Committee report “couldn’t be any worse for the CIA,” international lawyer Barry Grossman told Press TV on Saturday.  “What this report says is that the CIA lied, broke the law, and interfered with investigations.”

“The conclusions that are already public now are really mind boggling,” Grossman said.  “The program itself was deeply flawed and the program damaged the United States global reputation and will come with heavy losses, both monetary and
non-monetary.”

~Via The New York Times, UK Guardian, Huffington Post,
   YouTube/Fox News, and the Washington Post

 

 

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Senate Panel Releases Scathing Report on CIA Interrogations

 

 

Torture Tantamount To CIA’s Operations

  –And They Lied To Justify Using It

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Torture, brutality, lying and deceit reigned supreme.

The result of a five-year Senate investigation into the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects following the 9/11 attacks has revealed a staggering level of brutality and violence carried out by members of the US intelligence community.

The scathing summary reveals details of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program” instituted during the George W. Bush administration, which involved shipping terrorism suspects to secret overseas prisons where they were subjected to torture, including waterboarding which re-
sulted in “a series of near drownings.”

Detainees were also subjected to threats of sexual violence using a broomstick and the use of “rectal hydration,” with interrogations lasting days– or even weeks.

The interrogation program was far more brutal than the CIA represented to policymakers and the American public.  One detainee died from apparent hypothermia after being chained naked on a cold cement floor.  Another nearly drowned during waterboarding. 

At other times, naked prisoners were hooded and dragged up and down corridors while being slapped and punched.

Multiple CIA detainees subjected to the techniques suffered from hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia and tried to mutilate themselves, the report says.

Contrary to previous CIA disclosures, the study reveals that waterboarding was likely used on more than three detainees, with materials used for the torture technique found at secret ‘black sites’ the agency had previously said were not used for waterboarding.

Detainees were also subjected to mock executions, prolonged sleep deprivation, stress positions and other forms of torture, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

“In many cases, the most aggressive techniques were used immediately, in combination and nonstop,” the report says.  “Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”

The report also alleges that CIA officials deceived the White House and members of Congress into the details of the interrogation program, disclosing that of 119 prisoners held by the CIA as terror suspects, 26 were wrongfully held due to bad intelligence or a mistaken identity.

The investigation concludes that the torture program did not yield results, and that “enhanced interrogation techniques” produced no breakthroughs in intelligence.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the intelligence panel, said in a statement on Tuesday:  ”The committee reviewed 20 of the most frequent and prominent examples of purported counterterrorism ‘successes’ that the CIA has attributed to the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques.  Each of those examples was found to be wrong in fundamental respects.”

The study adds that as the techniques were ineffective, the CIA routinely lied to Congress and the White House in presentations that claimed the use of torture had contributed to intelligence victories.  

The study also refutes the CIA assertion that torture provided the key information for bringing about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Following publication of the summary, the CIA moved to refute Feinstein’s conclusions, publishing a 100-page rebuttal that argued for the effectiveness of ‘enhanced interrogation’.

“The sum total of information provided from detainees in CIA custody substantially advanced the Agency’s strategic and tactical understanding of the enemy in ways that continue to inform counterterrorism efforts to this day,” said the agency.

“It is impossible to imagine how the CIA could have achieved the same results in terms of disrupting plots, capturing other terrorists, and degrading al Qaida without any information from detainees, but it is unknowable whether, without enhanced interrogation techniques, the CIA or non-CIA interrogators could have acquired the same information from those detainees.”

The report also revealed how the CIA falsely claimed it had thwarted a terror plot in Britain.  The summary said the capture of al Qaida’s UK operational manager Dhiren Barot is one of the CIA’s eight most frequently cited examples of how using interrogation methods can “save lives.”

However, a review of CIA operational cables and other documents found that the Agency’s interrogation techniques did not lead to the intelligence that it claimed led to the arrest of Barot or the thwarting of his plotting.  Instead, the report said, the disruption of the plot and the identification and arrest of Barot was “attributable to the efforts of UK law enforcement.”

Barot was sentenced in England to life for planning to plant radioactive, chemical or toxic gas bombs and pack limousines with nails and explosives in Britain and America.

The summary was released on Tuesday, despite appeals from within the Obama administration and from members of the Republican Party to delay the publication over fears it would incite violence around the world.

The spokesman said that US embassies around the globe had been put on high alert in anticipation of the report’s publication, with “some indications” that there would be a blowback, particularly in countries where CIA torture was carried out.

The committee voted in April to make details of the report public, sparking an eight-month political battle between the CIA, the White House and members of the Senate panel as to how much information should be declassified.  An agreement was finally reached last week.

The CIA said that it had made preparations for the report’s publication by issuing warnings to personnel overseas, as well as aiding current and former staff should they be identified in the report.

~Via Google News, New York Times, the Huffington Post,
   CNN, ABC News and YouTube

 

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Bodies in the Street

 

 

Protesting the Nation’s Killings by Cops

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

The fallout is tremendous.

For the third night in a row, demonstrators spilled into the streets in cities across the country to protest police officers killing black men.

In New York, where a grand jury declined to bring charges against New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner on Wednesday, several hundred protesters staged a “die in” Friday night in an Apple store on Fifth Avenue and in Macy’s at Herald Square, according to the Associated Press.  

Several hours later, protesters blocked FDR Drive, a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare that traces the eastern edge of Manhattan, according to Reuters.

At each location, protesters carried signs and filled the streets with chants of “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe.”

Though the protests were largely peaceful, authorities said, there were 20 arrests between 9 p.m. and midnight, according to Newsday.  That number was a sharp decrease from a night earlier, when more than 200 protesters were arrested after they brought traffic on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges to a standstill, according to the New York Daily News.

“This is the largest store in America, and it’s the perfect place to drive home the message:  Black lives matter,” Harris Agbor, a 25-year-old Harlem resident protesting in the Apple store, told the paper.  “Everyone is energized.  It’s electric.”

Similar protests took place in cities around the country, including Denver, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington.

Among the most vigorous demonstrations were those that unfolded in Oakland on Friday night, where a crowd of protesters blocked Interstate 880.  Demonstrators also shut down a BART  station, staged a “die-in” that shut down surface transit and “roughed up a store owner,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I was just trying to protect my business and they tried to beat the shit out of me,” Edwin Cabrillo, a downtown worker who tried to stop protesters from smashing several storefront windows, told the paper.  “We put all our money, all our lives into these businesses.  I understand what you are protesting — what happened to those people was wrong — but what’s happening to us, that’s fucked up. … And you wonder why Oakland doesn’t prosper.”

Protests have escalated in the days following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision on Wednesday not to indict New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner.  

That decision came after a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.  Both decisions sparked calls of injustice and stirred emotions over other officer-involved deaths around the country.

In Florida, demonstrators blocked a bridge connecting Miami to Miami Beach, and in the Denver suburb of Aurora, middle school students staged a walk-out, according to the AP.

“It makes us kids feel unsafe, that we’re outsiders, enemies of society,” Bennie Mahonda, an eighth-grader who is black, told the AP.

“They are completely glossing over the fact that these people are criminals,” Ed Queens said in disbelief. 

“If they had complied with the law, they wouldn’t be dead.  They never, ever talk about all the white cops that are shooting white kids,” Queens said.  Have you even heard of Christopher Roupe?”

Roupe, 17, was fatally shot by a female officer after she mistook the Wii remote in his hand for a firearm.  A grand jury later determined that the officer did not use authorized force when she shot the teen.

“Nobody’s willing to say it yet.  But after Ferguson, and especially after the Eric Garner case that exploded in New York after yet another non-indictment following a minority death-in-custody, the police suddenly have a legitimacy problem in this country,” Rolling Stone declared after reporting eleven racially-oriented killings by law enforcement.

“Law-enforcement resources are now distributed so unevenly, and justice is being administered with such brazen inconsistency, that people everywhere are going to start questioning the basic political authority of law enforcement. And when they do, it’s going to create problems that will make the post-Ferguson unrest seem minor.”

~Via Google News, PBS, Washington Post, Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, and Rolling Stone

 

 

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Americans Should Care About Sierra Pacific’s Fire Case

 

 

A Prosecutorial Abuse of Justice

 

**VIDEO**

 

Sidney Powell
Former Federal Prosecutor

 

 

Question:  What happens when lawyers uncover what could be explosive evidence of misconduct in a $122 million case by attorneys in the Department of Justice? 

Answer:  the Department of Justice tries to have all defense lawyers who have even read about the alleged government misconduct removed from the case and gagged from discussing what they know.

What’s at stake here?  In a word, justice, including the ability of many lawyers to continue to represent their clients.   

And it is ultimately about our justice system– about the very rule of law.

This is not a hypothetical issue.  It happened last month in a California federal court, where a local timber company is trying to pursue charges of fraud against federal prosecutors and investigators as well as win back millions in imposed penalties.  The company has already won a major victory in California’s state court– which may be why the Department of Justice is trying so hard to make this case of allegedly profound prosecutorial abuse vanish.

The story starts on Labor Day weekend 2007, near Westwood, California, where a wildfire destroyed 65,000 acres of countryside.  Some 45,000 of those acres were national forest, and it cost millions for state and federal governments to extinguish the blaze.  State and federal investigators and prosecutors set about to identify the cause and find someone to blame.

They quickly focused on a “deep pocket”– Sierra Pacific, a family-owned company that is the country’s second largest timber supplier and a huge local land-owner

The government agencies decided that a bulldozer used by Sierra Pacific created a spark that started the blaze, and a massive litigation assault forced Sierra Pacific to sign a settlement of cash and land valued at $122 million to end the federal litigation alone against it. 

Sierra Pacific already paid millions toward the settlement and transferred 1,500 acres of its valuable land to the feds but has always maintained the fire started elsewhere and that the state and federal investigators and Department attorneys lied.

But when push came to shove on a parallel state court case brought against Sierra Pacific by Cal Fire, the California investigative authority, it was the civil prosecution that went up in smoke.   A state audit lead to the discovery of piles of evidence that Cal Fire had hidden concerning the case– including an unauthorized, off-the-books “slush fund” that Cal Fire maintained for the profits of such actions.

California Judge Leslie C. Nichols found that Cal Fire “had engaged in the pervasive and systematic abuse of the California discovery rules” and “egregious” conduct affecting the integrity of the court itself.

He assessed $32 million in fees and court expenses against the state.  Although the U.S. government was not a party to the state case, the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and their attorneys had all worked together on the investigation and litigation under a joint prosecution agreement.

More was soon to come.  Former Assistant U.S, Attorney E. Robert Wright read the widely publicized orders of Judge Nichols, and on June 12, 2014 gave Sierra Pacific’s defense a 15-page sworn statement for use in the federal case against the timber firm.  In it, he raised serious questions about the possible suppression of evidence that would clear the company…

Shockingly, the Department of Justice moved to disqualify all of the defense attorneys who had even read Robert Wright’s sworn declaration.  The government asked the court to remove the entire defense team because Wright’s declaration contained confidential and privileged information belonging to the government.

The Department also claims that former Assistant United States Attorney Wright breached his duties of loyalty and confidentiality to his former client, the United States, by disclosing that the government may have been hiding evidence that undermined its case.   Calling Wright’s duty of loyalty to his client “absolute,” and his breach “inexcusable,” they claim that he should have brought any concern to the attention of his superiors.

Unfortunately for the government counsel, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Shelledy, Sierra Pacific’s motion to set aside the judgment states that it did bring the entire problem to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility– only to have the evidence of misconduct smothered as effectively as the evidence that someone less wealthy than Sierra Pacific had caused the original fire.

Sierra Pacific has now asked a federal court to set aside its $122 million settlement agreement because of fraud on the court– by the federal prosecutors and agents. 

A federal judge has the case, and held his first hearing on its status on November 24.  California Senior Federal District Judge William Shubb, himself a former U.S. Attorney, is reputedly a no-nonsense jurist who expects the government to follow the law– a novel and welcome application of Article III of our Constitution.

…Fraud on the court infects our entire judicial system and renders public confidence impossible.  What happens in Judge Shubb’s Sacramento federal courtroom will matter to all Americans.

 

An excerpt, you can read Sidney Powell’s full article here: Why Every American Should Care about the Moonlight Fire.

Sidney Powell is a former federal prosecutor who served in three districts under nine United States Attorneys from both political parties. 

She is the author ofLicensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.”

 * * * * * * * * *

 

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The Dumbing Down of Democrats

 

 

Zombie Capitulation and Party Cowardice

 

**VIDEO**

 

Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

 

The internal sniping and bickering has already begun among Democratic ranks but it’s their own damn fault.

The internal debates following the 2014 midterm elections highlight the ideological schizophrenia that continues to plague the Democratic Party.

Is the Democratic Party the party of labor unions or the party of trade deals that outsource American jobs?  Is it the party of the environment or a water carrier for fossil fuel corporations?  Is it the party of public education or the party of busting teachers’ unions and privatizing schools?  

Does it favor a single-payer health care system or the predations of the for-profit model?  Is it the party of peace or for endless wars?  Is it the party of civil liberties or for government surveillance?  Is it the party for economic justice or for catering to the rich?

Over the course of the next 18 months, these types of questions are going to have to be answered (and answered acceptably for the grassroots stakeholders involved) or the 2016 elections are going to look a lot like the midterms of 2014.

Even in the best of times the Democratic establishment in Washington treats its base like a pariah.  With the historic losses of 2014, the Democratic leadership appears to be slipping back to its familiar “scared of its own shadow” stance.  Right now we are facing one of the worst configurations of unchecked corporate power, militarism, market fundamentalism, and environmental crisis than at any time in our history, and the messaging coming from congressional Democrats right now appears to be that becoming ‘Republican-Lite’ is the smart path forward.

Facing Republican control of both chambers of Congress, Washington Democrats (even in the lame duck session) are already vying for the coveted spot as the corporate oligarchy’s second choice.  Senate Democrats like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia couldn’t wait until the new Congress is sworn in this January to begin capitulating.  The lame duck vote on the Keystone XL pipeline witnessed the spectacle of a bloc of Democratic Senators tripping over themselves to renounce environmentalism.

It might be a preview of coming attractions.

Come January, you can bet that every single “bipartisan” bill that makes it to the president’s desk will be in servitude of the interests of the giant corporations, big banks, and the wealthiest 1 percent.  President Obama’s recent executive orders on immigration promise to make life a little more bearable for nearly five million people was a smart move politically — except for the fact that he didn’t do it in October when it might have had an impact on the midterms.

The Republican-controlled 114th Congress will attempt to privatize everything from the U.S. Postal Service to Social Security.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his associates will try to gut every social program that benefits working people from Food Stamps to Medicaid.  

They’ll snuff out sustainable energy investments and plow ahead with expanding fossil fuels.  They’ll figure out new ways to sell old wars.  They’ll push austerity for anyone who can’t afford to attend a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser.  They’ll push “free trade” deals that outsource jobs while leaving American workers holding the bag.  They’ll slash unemployment insurance and other “entitlements.”  

And they’ll ensure that our economy continues to work for the benefit of the richest 1 percent.

The mainstream corporate media — from MSNBC to Fox News, CNN to NPR — will serve as enablers for the whole shitty process pretending to be journalists but asking all the wrong questions and offering all of the wrong political advice.

And don’t forget this fact:  Everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — the Republicans do in Congress over the next two years will be done in the service of positioning the party to take the White House in 2016.

Unlike the Republicans, Democratic politicians seem to always neglect the care and feeding of their own base.  They’re quick to turn against any organized movement from the Left — be it Occupy Wall Street, the World Climate Movement, teachers’ unions, students’ organizations, environmentalists, or the protesters acting in solidarity with the African-American community in Ferguson, Missouri — yet all the while they expect to win their votes.

In the 2000s, the Democrats in Congress rolled over for George W. Bush giving him everything he wanted, voting for his disastrous war in Iraq, and going along with his domestic agenda all the way up to the brink of agreeing to partially privatizing Social Security, (which was on the table at the time Hurricane Katrina tanked Bush’s
approval rating).

The Obama years saw many capitulations like cutting deals with Big Pharma in shaping the Affordable Care Act (while excluding single-payer advocates), bashing public school teachers and their unions, escalating the drone wars, jailing whistleblowers, institutionalizing the Bush-era NSA abuses, pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and so on.

And today, if the lame duck vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline is any indicator, Washington Democrats are poised to interpret the meaning of the 2014 midterms as a “mandate” that the American people want them to renounce everything for which their party supposedly stands.

The Republicans’ cynical structural advantages they’ve institutionalized in recent years — infinite access to dark money, gerrymandered districts, voter suppression of minorities and young people– will stand rewarded and putting the brakes on the incessant move toward corporate oligarchy in this country will be even harder to fight back against.

Every time the Democratic leadership in Washington screws its base it has moved one step closer to irrelevancy. 

Now is not the time for the Democratic Party to “move to the center” but to fight for its heart and soul.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Joseph Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.

His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy. Dr. Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon.

Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties. He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Ideals.

Part of the Iona Brotherhood, we thank Dr. Palermo for sharing his work with our readers here.

 

 

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Musical Chairs

 

 

Musicians Who Died Too Young

 

Viral **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one.

We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up.  And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know.

It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”

~Lemony Snicket

 

Some of the most promising people throughout music history checked out long before their time.

A depressing number of them were brilliant, troubled musicians who defined an era.  Too many bright lights died too young, leaving behind legacies having an extraordinary influence in the music world.

Stars who were taken too soon include rock’n'roll front men, pop icons and some of the best soul singers. Some encountered huge commercial success in their lifetime; others only achieved it after their death.

An astounding majority in the above video were young and incredibly talented artists who experienced difficulties coping with the fame and lifestyle that came with their musical success.

They experienced careers sometimes leading to self destructive habits, addiction, and notoriety, all of which inevitably culminated in tragic deaths– cutting short the success of their musical prime.

Young, famous, and dead.  For them, perhaps passing over was the next great adventure left to experience.

“I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”

~Jimi Hendrix

 

 

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Grand Jury Returns ‘No Indictment’ Decision in Ferguson

 

 

Thousands Rally and Protest;
  No Violence Reported at Onset

 

UPDATED:  Looting, Arson Erupts
  Overnight in Ferguson

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

After weeks of rising tension in Ferguson and the broader St. Louis region, the St. Louis County grand jury reviewing the death of Michael Brown has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on August 9.

As the world discussed the implications of Michael Brown’s death, his mother sat alone in a plush hotel room full of people, silent, stoic and staring at her phone as she awaited word from the grand jury.

When the word came, attorney Benjamin Crump fielded the phone call.  “The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” he said.  Brown’s mother screamed and sobbed loudly in disbelief and grief.

Thousands of people rallied late Monday in U.S. cities including Los Angeles and New York to passionately protest the grand jury’s decision not to indict.

They led marches, waved signs and shouted chants of “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot,” the slogan that has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the country.

The racially charged case in Ferguson has inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations even in cities hundreds of miles from the predominantly black St. Louis suburb.  For many staging protests Monday, the shooting was personal, calling to mind other galvanizing encounters with local law enforcement.

Police departments in several major cities said they were bracing for large demonstrations with the potential for the kind of violence that marred nightly protests in Ferguson after Brown’s killing.  Demonstrators there vandalized police cars, hugged barricades and taunted officers with expletives Monday night while police fired smoke canisters and pepper spray.  Gunshots were heard on the streets.

But police elsewhere reported that gatherings were mostly peaceful immediately following Monday night’s announcement.

President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding, pleading with both residents and police to show restraint.

About 100 people holding signs that read “The People Say Guilty!” blocked an intersection in downtown Oakland, California, after a line of police officers blocked them from getting on a highway on-ramp.  Minutes earlier, some of the protesters lay on the ground while others outlined their bodies in chalk.

In San Francisco, a few dozen people gathered in the Mission District chanting “No justice, no peace!”

Several hundred protesters marched through downtown Philadelphia, yelling “No justice, no peace, no racist police!”  A similar protest of about 50 people in Pittsburgh was short-lived, with activists saying they plan to regroup Tuesday at the federal courthouse.

At Cleveland’s Public Square, at least a dozen protesters held signs Monday afternoon and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which has become a rallying cry since the Ferguson shooting.  Their signs references police shootings that have shaken the community there, including Saturday’s fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a fake gun at a Cleveland playground when officers confronted him.

Several hundred people who had gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square to watch the announcement marched peacefully to Times Square after the family of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man killed by a police chokehold earlier this year, joined the Rev. Al Sharpton at a speech lamenting the grand jury’s decision.

In Los Angeles, which was rocked by riots in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, police officers were told to remain on duty until released by their supervisors.  About 100 people gathered in Leimert Park while others held a small news conference demanding changes in police policies.

Dozens of people marched from Chicago police headquarters after hearing the Ferguson decision, using profanity but causing no damage to any of the businesses along their route.

Few police officers who shoot and kill citizens in St. Louis have been investigated by a grand jury, let alone charged by one, according to data from city and county prosecutors.

Between 2004 and 2014, there have been 14 fatal officer-involved shootings committed by St. Louis County PD officers alone, according to police data collected by David Klinger, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  That does not include fatal shootings by Ferguson police or by officers from various other law enforcement agencies within the county.

Since 2000, only four cases in all of St. Louis County, including Wilson’s, have been investigated by a grand jury.

 

UPDATE:

The peaceful protests in Ferguson were short-lived.

Violence erupted in the St. Louis area overnight, leading to more than 80 arrests, as protesters fired more than 100 gunshots and burned and looted as many as 25 buildings and vandalized police cars in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury did not indict the white police officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old black man.

St. Louis County police released records early Tuesday showing 61 people were arrested in Ferguson on charges including burglary and trespassing.  And St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said 21 people were arrested in the city.

Heavily armed police fired pepper spray and smoke canisters to disperse the crowds of protesters.  Police seized a .45-mm. automatic handgun as well.  Firefighters are battling blazes throughout Ferguson as broken glass from looted buildings lay scattered everywhere on the asphalt. 

No one is under the belief that the tensions, or the threats of more unrest, is gone from Ferguson.

 

~Via Reuters/ABC News/Mother Jones/USA Today/CNN

 

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Thank You For Vaping

 

The E-Cigarette Debate

 

New Yorker **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

In 1963, a patent was filed for a “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette,” but the invention never took off.

Forty years later, in 2003, Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist whose father had died of smoking-induced lung cancer, patented a similar device—this time, reimagined with nicotine.

Fast-forward ten more years, to 2013, and electronic cigarettes—or e-cigs, as they’re often called— had mushroomed into a billion-dollar industry.  Last year also marked the moment when a leading manufacturer of the device, NJOY, aired an ad during the Super Bowl, to the tune of Avicii’s popular Hey Brother.  The ad reaches a crescendo with this line:  “Friends don’t let friends smoke.  Give them the only electronic cigarette worth switching to.”

E-cigarettes are not cigarettes.  As the name suggests, they simulate smoking and, via an inner heating element, deliver nicotine through the vapor of liquid nicotine instead of the combustion of tobacco leaves.  That’s why e-cigarettes are often promoted as a safer alternative to smoking.

But the public-health debate is in full bloom.  Trace amounts of toxic substances have been detected in e-cigarettes, and their usage among youth doubled in 2012.  Yet many cite the devices as remedies that can stop their decades-long tobacco-smoking habits.

In New York City, in the evenings, “vapers,” as they’re called, gather around a long table in the back of the Henley Vaporium, on the border of Nolita and SoHo, to discuss liquid-nicotine flavors (“Have you tried the new custard?”) and to “rebuild” their e-cigs.

The first time I passed the Vaporium’s cloudy windows, I peered inside to see beyond the smoke.

“Welcome,” a young, bearded man offered, as I sat down next to him at the table in the back.

The video above is a glimpse into that world.

 

~Via The New Yorker/Sky Dylan-Robbins and The Lost Ogle

* * * * * * * * *

Vape devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.  The main tube that holds the battery and odorless e-liquid, or “juice,” is ususually called a mod or pen.  The battery heats the juice to create an inhalable mist.  The process is more akin to ‘steaming’ than smoking.  That’s why it’s called vaporizing.

It’s quite the fad as of late and while it’s not likely to stop your nicotine addiction, it is a suitable and relatively inexpensive alternative to smoking tobacco. 

Is it safer?  The jury is still out.  It is, after all, nicotine, a substance that’s as hard to quit as heroin.

If you’re interested in the idea of vaping, check in with John’s Myrtlewood Liquors at 1648 Myrtle Ave. in Eureka.  They have the biggest assortment of everything vape you can imagine in Humboldt County and knowledgeable friendly staff to get you easily on your way.

 

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President Offers Temporary Legal Status to Millions of Illegal Immigrants

 

 

GOP Determined to Look Foolish

 

**VIDEO**

 

Kimberly Akins
Boston Herald

 

 

President Barack Obama delivered a historic nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  

Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts on “felons, not families.”

 

Sure Republicans are angry at President Obama over immigration.  

That’s because the president has left GOP lawmakers only two options:  do something, or look ridiculous.  All indications so far suggest they are choosing the latter.

Republican leaders already have resorted to name calling, dubbing the president “Emperor Obama” and vowing to do all they can to block his actions while scaring the public.  

One lawmaker, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, suggested that Obama’s action would result in “violence” and “anarchy.”  Another, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, hinted that Obama could be prosecuted and sent to prison for aiding and abetting illegal entry into the country.  

The partisan rhetoric would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

And while all this political theater takes place, the system remains so badly broken that it discourages those coming into the country from following the rules, and encourages the millions already in the country to hide in the shadows rather than work, pay taxes and boost the economy.

The president’s plan, which is limited in scope in comparison to the massive size of the problem, will give five million of those immigrants, mostly parents of citizens or legal residents who have lived in the country more than five years, the ability to apply for a three-year deportation deferral and work permits starting in the spring.

It also will grant protective status to undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children; boost the number of available work-related visas for those in highly skilled technical fields, and ease the process for foreign entrepreneurs to gain legal status.  It also ramps up security along the southern border.

It represents neither amnesty nor a permanent solution, but at least it’s a start.

Because deporting every one of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country is neither logistically nor economically feasible, the president’s plan allows immigration officials to focus on those who commit violent crimes and other dangerous offenses to get them out of the country faster.

If GOP lawmakers don’t like the president’s approach, there is an easy solution:  pass a bill that does something different.  They don’t even have to reinvent the wheel — they can start with the Senate-passed measure that has been collecting dust and start making changes until it’s something they can live with.

Instead, they are talking about shutdowns, defunding agencies and even filing another lawsuit against the president (and in the process racking up even more taxpayer-funded legal bills on top of the millions already wasted on defending the federal same-sex marriage ban that was struck down by the Supreme Court.)

That’s an immigration reform strategy that makes Mitt Romney’s self-deportation plan look like a winner.

 

 

~Via Boston Herald

 

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The All-American Dad’s Deafening Silence

 

 

‘Shaming Bill Cosby is the Best We Can Do’

 

**VIDEO**

 

Hanna Rosin
Slate

 

 

What should happen to Bill Cosby now that more than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault?

In a better world—or a world where justice was more satisfying– these women’s stories would be investigated by the police and prosecuted in court.  In that world, the allegations, if true, would lead to convictions, and Cosby would be headed to prison on sexual assault charges.

“Actually, he’s a serial rapist,” Joan Tarshis, one of the latest victims to tell her story, said on CNN.

Tarshis’ story begins like most of the others:  “He made me a drink and very shortly afterward I passed out.  I woke up very groggily with him removing my underwear.”  

It was 1969, and she was an aspiring comedian.  Cosby told her he wanted to work on a sketch with her and invited her to his bungalow.  Then came the drink, the groggy moment, and, according to Tarshis, forced oral sex.

Tarshis, like the others, is defensive about not having spoken out for so many years.  She worried no one would believe her, because he’s the great Bill Cosby, “the all-American dad.”

But it’s hard not to believe her now, because her story sounds so similar to all the others.

Here is Barbara Bowman, another alleged victim telling almost the exact same story.  She was a 19-year-old aspiring actress when she met Cosby.  He “talked incessantly about trust issues,” she said, and made her believe she had to open up to him.  Then in an Atlantic City hotel room came the drugs, the wooziness, the “screaming, yelling, scratching.”

So why isn’t Cosby in handcuffs?  Andrea Constand was a young Temple University employee when she went to Cosby for career advice in 2004.  She tells the same story of pills and grogginess.  Unlike the others, though, she took her case to Bruce Castor, then a Pennsylvania district attorney who declined to press charges and today explained why.

“I didn’t say that he didn’t commit the crime,” Castor said.  “What I said was there was insufficient admissible and reliable evidence upon which to base a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.  That’s ‘prosecutors speak’ for ‘I think he did it but there’s just not enough here to prosecute.’”

Castor said he had every incentive to go forward–
it would have been a career-making, front-page news story for him, after all.  But after a year, “you lose the ability to test for blood or intoxicating agents.”  He says he thought Cosby probably did “something inappropriate,” but “thinking that and being able to prove it are two different things.”

These decades-old cases are virtually impossible to prosecute.  Not only does the physical evidence no longer exist, but most states have statutes of limitation on sexual assault cases.  We can debate about whether there should be statutes of limitation on sexual assault, given that women often feel too ashamed to come forward right away.  

But for the moment, that’s the law.  So where does that leave us?

In the house of public shame.

Yes, the court of public opinion is thoroughly sloppy, as Dahlia Lithwick wrote after Dylan Farrow’s New York Times essay exploded the Internet.  “There are no rules of evidence, no burdens of proof, no cross-examinations, and no standards of admissibility.” 

But in this case, unlike either the Woody Allen case or the R. Kelly case, there are now five women who have spoken to major media outlets, under their real names, telling a very similar story.

Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby, which was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2006.  In that case, her lawyer had lined up 13 supporting witnesses, all apparently with their own pills-and-grogginess stories.  At the time, Constand’s case did not make a dent in Cosby’s reputation.

But now that we know what we know, or perhaps now that we know it at a time of heightened awareness about sexual assault, a quiet settlement and a financial hit seem insufficient punishment given the scale of the crime.

So Netflix, don’t air that Cosby post-Thanksgiving special, even though you have
already paid for and shot it;  NBC, cancel that Cosby sitcom.  

And if that doesn’t happen, then shame on anyone who watches them.

~Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic.  
She is also the author of
The End of Men.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mr. Cosby has refused to respond

His attorney provided a statement posted on the actor’s website that said, in part:

“decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced.  The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true.  Mr. Cosby doesn’t not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

Another accuser came forward yesterday with new allegations: on November 18, 2014, model Janice Dickinson spoke with Entertainment Tonight and accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 1982, after giving her a glass of wine and a pill.

Mr. Cosby’s silence on the twelve women who have accused him of sexual assault thus far is deafening.

 

 

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The Costs of Being McBoss

 

 

What it Takes to Own a McDonald’s

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What’s better than having a McJob? 

Being the McBoss. Owning a McDonald’s franchise is a lucrative business. 

The McDonald’s Corporation 35,000 global outlets had combined annual revenues of $28.1 billion, and profits of $5.5 billion in 2013.  The revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as gross sales in company restaurants.  Altogether, the company packs a total of $36.6 billion in assets.

It requires a lot of startup cash to own, operate, and generate those kinds of numbers.  And it’s well worth it.  According to QSR magazine, the average McDonald’s restaurant generates $2.5 million in sales annually, making it the second highest-grossing chain in the US by sales per unit, behind upstart Chick-fil-A.    

But in order to open a single restaurant, the company requires that potential franchisees have liquid assets of at least $750,000.  And there are many more cash requirements.

Franchise startup costs, which include construction and equipment expenses, average between $955,708 and $2.3 million, according to McDonald’s.  The total amount is determined by the geography and size of the restaurant, as well as the selection of kitchen equipment, signage, style of decor and landscaping, the company says.

Franchisees must pay 40% of those startup costs with cash and other non-borrowed resources.  The rest can be financed.

In 2006, the company required redesigning and upgrading their restaurants with improved décor, newly branded signs, flat roofs and double drive-thrus, more wood fixtures, warmer lighting, and flat screen TVs and Wi-Fi, at great expense to its franchise owners.

In addition to these costs, McDonald’s charges a $45,000 franchisee fee and an ongoing monthly service fee equal to 4% of gross sales. Franchisees must also pay rent to the company, which is a percentage
of monthly sales.

Franchisees have historically paid about 8.5% of sales in rent costs, though some pay as much as 12%, according to a 2013 Bloomberg report.  In return, you get the proven research, development, and marketing of McDonald’s to stay on top of the fast food heap.

And don’t forget that new managers and owners must graduate from McDonald’s Hamburger University, a serious course of study taught by 19 full-time instructors in 28 different languages at their 80-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois.

McDonald’s prefers that it’s franchise owners know everything about the business.  That can mean working the broom to the fryer to the cash register for well over a year before you are even approved to purchase or build a restaurant.  Sorry, but oodles of cash won’t get you in the door at first glance.  But once you’re in, expect the average take home net profit per year for a franchise owner to be 10% of the sales, or approximately $200,000 or more.

McDonald’s, to note, is the single largest purchaser of beef, pork, potatoes, and apples, and curiously enough, the largest private operator of playgrounds in the US.  As a matter of policy, McDonald’s does not make direct sales of food or materials to its franchisees; instead, it requires the supply of food and materials to restaurants be bought from its approved third party operators.

McDonald’s franchisee startup costs are similar to those of KFC, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell.  However, in the UK and Ireland, fewer than 30% of the McDonald’s restaurants are franchised; the rest are under majority ownership of the parent company.

Subway startup costs, by comparison, are far less expensive, costing between $116,000 and $262,850, according to the company.   Subway also requires minimum liquid assets of only $30,000 to $90,000. 

In-N-Out restaurants are a different deal altogether.  After 65 years of business, the popular and ever-growing private chain with 290 locations and 18,000 employees is owned by the sole grandchild of the original founding couple and has resisted franchising its operations or going public.  Employee-centered in its policies and with a loyal diehard fan base, In-N-Out Burger is one of the few fast food chains in the United States that pays its employees more than the state and federal minimum wage.

It is expensive.  It takes commitment.  It also takes your time, money, hard work, and a certain degree of risk. 

But make no mistake.  They don’t call them the Golden Arches for nothing.  Being the successful Mickey D McBoss– with all the McStrings attached– is a lucrative and McHappy cash cow business.  

 

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The Columbus Example of Doing Things Right

 

A Model for Eureka and Humboldt County

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Fix the Middle East?  We can’t even fix Detroit.

Fix Eureka?  You would think we’d be able to do so.  It’s our own backyard and a much smaller place.

But not with our current money-hungry do-nothing City Council and Humboldt County leaders in charge, taxing yet again an already-taxed citizenry with little results to show for it. 

Amazingly enough, out of 492 municipalities, Eureka ranks in at an astounding #20 on the list for its risk of default.  Even the Humboldt Taxpayers League took issue with the alarming tax measures taking place on all sides, urging voters to finally say ‘No’ rather than deplete the local economy of $12 million of purchasing power.

But let’s take an example from Columbus’ playbook.  They put taxation towards some hard work and planning.   Citizens and city government performed a grassroots effort by taking things into their own hands, resuscitating and revitalizing their economy and outlook.

They were in bad shape.  Nearly a quarter of the homes in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio are vacant; it is the city’s oldest and poorest neighborhood. 

In 2011, an arts group moved into an abandoned factory in the area to create 400 West Rich Street, a community that now leases space to woodworkers, performance artists, a coffee shop, painters, sculptors, and others.  The short documentary above considers the artists who work in 400 West Rich Street, why the space attracted them, and what it means for revitalization of the neighborhood.

The revitalization is gaining successful momentum because of the coordinated efforts of the city government, private-sector organizations, and a group of citizens who, through the sustained work of the Franklinton Development Association (FDA), have been working for more than 20 years to figure out how to do it right.

The strategy that has gained real traction is an effort to “rebrand” the eastern part of the area as the “Franklinton Arts District.

The plan to make East Franklinton into a Creative Community District has been awarded the 2014 National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Economic Development & Planning by the American Planning Association, which created the overview video, below, explaining their efforts.

Eureka and Humboldt County could gain from following Columbus’ example.  That is, if they cared enough to do so by weaning themselves off of the never-ending public trough and actually getting something accomplished, rather than feeding the beast of personal salaries, burgeoning pension obligations, cronyism and lawsuits.

For more detailed information of how Columbus did it, you can catch John Tierney’s excellent Atlantic Monthly article here and here.

 

 

 

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Alive

 

Blackfeet Tribe Thought Rez Drug Abuse Story ‘Needed to Be Told’

 

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Welsh filmmaker Josh Cole’s Alive is about drug use, crime and ceremony on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

It inspired a tremendous reaction from Indian country:  some viewers praised the clip for its tale of drug abuse on the Rez and spiritual redemption; others felt it was exploitative and disrespectful of the ceremonies it depicts.

Cole filmed the video on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana, and worked with Blackfeet tribal members during the course of its creation.

A reformed drug addict himself, Cole has followed stories around the world where the worst drug abuse is common.  He feels it’s his mission through his films to try to steer people into recovery– as a thanks to those that helped him with his own addiction.

Shocked to hear stories about the reservations, he started researching and putting together a story based on the stuff he was told about.  “All my work is about the beauty that comes from hardship, and I wanted to tell the story of the spiritual awakening of a drug addict in a Native American community,” Cole says.

Several members of The Crazy Dogs Society in Browning are reformed alcoholics and they connected with Cole’s concept.   It was basically their own story, too, they said, and they regularly help those with addictions through ceremony on
the Rez.

Cole met with several community leaders of the Tribal Council and the Cultural Attaché of the Blackfeet Nation.  They gave him their blessing; he was allowed to shoot anywhere in Blackfeet territory.

The community basically backed the project, Cole says.

 “We were repeatedly told by various people how much they thought this story needed to be told.  I feel I could return there any time with my head held high,” he said.

“I’m also told the film has been very well received by people living not only on the Blackfeet Reservation but also on other reservations.   It still moves me when I think how much the people of Browning came together to help.”

Still, some scenes were controversial at first and taken into consideration.  Cole says:

“I was extremely sensitive when talking to the Crazy Dogs about the ceremonies and always said that we could shoot an alternative scene.

They spent a day or so discussing it with all members and they decided collectively they wanted the scene to be in the film.  They felt like they wanted it to be shown and I gave them many opportunities to make sure they were happy.  It meant a lot to me that they wanted to show this to the world.

They told me that they wanted to use the video to help to heal the youth of the Blackfeet Nation.  I should also say we didn’t film an actual ceremony — both the sweat lodge scene and the Sundance scene were mock ceremonies set up by the Crazy Dogs themselves to their exact specifications.

I had no control whatsoever over the look or sequence of the scene, nor did I want it.  I also had no interest in filming an actual ceremony — at every step of the process I was led by the
advice of the Crazy Dogs. 

I am ever grateful for that as I was led by a much greater knowledge than my own, as I am with most of my work.”

How does Cole respond to those critics sensitive to his portrayal?

He had this to say:

“I believe my portrayal of Browning is not negative.  It is ultimately a story of redemption and shows the elders of the community coming around the boy to heal him.

If you don’t show the darkness in a realistic way the young people I’m trying to reach will not take it seriously.  However, there is an element of drama as I want all my work to reach the masses, but it is always subverted as I believe I have done here.

You have to remember that in the States the concept of Native Americans living in severe poverty is old news, but in Europe people have no idea.  None!

I think this is something people here should know about.  So this video serves a dual purpose – to show Europeans some of the conditions on reservations and also to give a Native community an opportunity to show both its darkness and its beauty.

I want to thank again the Blackfeet Nation and the Crazy Dogs Society for all the love we were shown.”

 ~Via Josh Cole, Indian Country Today,
Vimeo, Evan Zimmer/Calvert Hall

 

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The Story of Reckless

 

 

The War Hero You Never Knew Of–

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

You’ve heard of the famous racing ones: Seabiscuit, Secretariat, War Admiral.
But there’s one horse– a decorated military hero– you haven’t heard of.
It’s the story of Sgt. Reckless, the little chestnut Mongolian mare.

 

Reckless was a pack horse during the Korean War and she carried recoilless rifles, ammunition and supplies to Marines.  This by itself wasn’t too unusual; lots of animals were pressed into service doing pack chores in many wars before Korea.

But Reckless did something more.

During the battle for a location called Outpost Vegas in 1953, this mare made 51 trips up and down the hill.  On the way up, she carried ammunition.  On the way down, she carried wounded soldiers.

What was so amazing about that?

She made every one of those trips without anyone leading her.  Relentless artillery rounds fell around at her at the rate of 500 per minute.  The fighting was so intense that only two men made it out alive without wounds.

We can imagine a horse carrying a wounded soldier, being smacked on the rump at the top of the hill, and heading back to the “safety” of the rear.

It’s harder, though, to imagine the same horse loaded down with ammunition trudging back to the chaotic battlefield under
enemy fire and exploding heavy artillery.

Making 51 of those trips in the blazing battle is unheard of.  How many horses would even make it back once, let alone return to the soldiers in the field?  Reckless did it without fail, every single time, on her own.

Reckless walked 35 miles and carried 9,000 pounds of equipment that day, and while exhausted and wounded twice, she kept her duty transporting the wounded faithfully throughout.  Many men survived because of her fearless actions.

Marine Sgt. Harold Wadley remembered seeing the small horse stagger up a hill loaded with heavy 75mm recoilless rifle ammunition.  It was an amazing sight.  The air was thick with smoke, tracer rounds were streaking in both directions and the dead and injured were piling up.  “I didn’t think she’d live five seconds,” Wadley said.

When the Chinese had first attacked, lighting up the sky with tons of incoming fire, Reckless was frightened.  She ran to a bunker, where the Marines found her covered with sweat.  But the Marines calmed her and sent her on her mission.  She performed faithfully and fearelssly after that.

“Her gun crew kept firing,” Wadley said.  “Reckless was the only Marine with four legs.”

Outpost Vegas was retaken after a five-day battle.

She became a national hero and was covered by Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post.  She was promoted by the Marines to the rank of Sergeant, and later Staff Sergeant in her career.

Reckless bonded quickly with the Marines, Wadley recalled.  “She’d stick her nose in the tent where Marines were living and she’d just lumber in.  She’d eat almost anything,” Wadley
said. “She loved Tootsie Rolls.”

The Marines also gave her some of their monthly beer allotment.

Wadley said she would lurk around the Marines when they played poker, allegedly eating some of the poker chips.  At night she would nestle with the Marines by a smoky oil stove to ward off the bitter cold.

After the Korean War, Reckless was brought back to the United States in 1954.  She retired at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in 1960 where her commanding General issued the following order: “She was never to carry any more weight on her back except her own blankets.”

Reckless died in 1968 at the age of 20 as a full-fledged Marine with full military honors.

Reckless’ decorations included two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she proudly wore on her scarlet and
gold blanket.

She was quite a courageous and hardworking gal, fondly looked after and loved by her unit.
Lieutenant General Randolph M. Pate reminisced later:

“I first saw this little lady when the First Marine Division was in reserve for a brief period.

I was surprised at her beauty and intelligence, and believe it or not, her esprit de corps.  Like any other Marine, she was enjoying a bottle of beer with her comrades.

She was constantly the center of attraction and was fully aware of her importance.  If she failed to receive the attention she felt her due, she would deliberately walk into a group of Marines and, in effect, enter the conversation.  It was obvious the Marines loved her.”

 

There’s a great deal more to the story of Reckless.  If you’d like to read more of her amazing and forgotten story here’s the best and detailed article that we could find, located in the Marines Leatherneck magazine archives of 1992.

It’s a very good read.

Please feel free to pass this story onto others– fellow Vets, friends, and equestrians.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

Thank you for your service, Veterans.

 

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Struggling to Get By In a Cold, Cold World

 

Empathy Deficit Disorder

 

**VIDEO**

 

Robert Reich
Robert Reich.org

 

 

Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska’s Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn’t exist in Alaska before “government largesse” gave residents an entitlement mentality.

“When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn’t have the suicide problem,” he said.  Government handouts tell people “you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing.”

Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in America – almost twice the national average, and a leading cause of death in Alaska for young people ages 15 to 24 — but I doubt it’s because Alaskans lead excessively easy lives.

Every time I visit Alaska I’m struck by how hard people there have to work to make ends meet.  The state is the last American frontier, where people seem more self-reliant than anywhere in the lower forty eight.  

It’s true that every Alaskan receives an annual dividend from a portion of state oil revenues– this year it will be almost $2,000 per person– but research shows no correlation between the amount of the dividend from year to year and the suicide rate.

Suicide is a terrible tragedy for those driven to it and for their loved ones.  What possessed Congressman Young to turn it into a political football?

Young has since apologized for his remark.  Or, more accurately, his office has apologized.  “Congressman Young did not mean to upset anyone with his well-intentioned message,” says a news release from his congressional office, “and in light of the tragic events affecting the Wasilla High School community, he should have taken a much more sensitive approach.”

Well-intentioned?  More sensitive approach?

Young’s comment would be offensive regardless of who uttered it.  That he’s a member of the United States Congress– Alaska’s sole representative in the House– makes it downright alarming.

You might expect someone who’s in the business of representing others to have a bit more empathy.  In fact, you’d think empathy would be the minimum qualification to hold public office in a democracy.

Sadly, Young is hardly alone.  A remarkable number of people who are supposed to be devoting their lives to representing others seem clueless about how their constituents actually live and what they need.

Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie groused to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage.”  No doubt some in the audience shared Christie’s view.  It was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after all.

But many of the Governor’s constituents are not tired of hearing about the minimum wage.  They depend on it.  New Jersey has among the largest number of working poor in America.  Some 50,000 people work for the state’s minimum wage of $8.25 an hour.

This isn’t nearly enough to lift them out of poverty.  The state’s cost of living is one of the five highest of all states.  

In any event, doesn’t hearing from constituents about what they need go with the job of representing them?

Christie went on to tell his audience “I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’  Is that what parents aspire to?”

A minimum-wage job is no one’s version of the American dream.  But Christie is wrong to suppose most minimum-wage workers are teenagers.  Most are adults who are major breadwinners for their families.

Christie seems to suffer the same ailment that afflicts Alaska’s Don Young.

Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder.  Some Democrats have it, but the disorder seems especially widespread among Republicans.  These politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through.

Most Americans aren’t suicidal, and most don’t work at the minimum wage.  But many are deeply anxious about their jobs and panicked about how they’re going to pay next month’s bills.

Almost two-thirds of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  And they’re worried sick about whether their kids will ever make it.  They need leaders who understand their plight instead of denying it.  

They deserve politicians who want to fix it rather than blame it on those who have to depend on public assistance, or who need a higher minimum wage, in order to get by.

At the very least, they need leaders who empathize with what they’re going through, not those with Empathy Deficit Disorder.

By Robert Reich, October 27, 2014.
Images and Videos by the Humboldt Sentinel
Posted by Skippy Massey

 

 

 

 

An economist, Dr. Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

He also served on President Obama’s transition advisory board. His latest book is Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. His new film Inequality for All is now available on iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.

His homepage is www.robertreich.org.

* * * * * * * * * *

 

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The Story of Place

 

 

The Greater Canyonlands

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“What is this place worth in oil?  Where do we want to steer our civilization?  What do we want left when we’re done?

~Craig Childs, The Story of Place

 

Canyonlands National Park, and the lands that border it, are part of a larger story.

It’s a complex tale of our natural environment, ancient mankind, current political horse-trading, increased pressure for resource and oil extraction, and a place of recreational and spiritual consideration.

The 1.8 million acres of public lands surrounding Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah is one of the largest remaining wild roadless areas in the lower 48 states.  

Its breathtaking beauty, spectacular geology and 12,000 year record of human history are both globally significant and irreplaceable.  These lands are under threat from oil and gas development, potash, uranium and tar sands mining, and irresponsible off-road vehicle use.

The land is the true Wild West.  It is a rugged and vastly untouched landscape, a geological wonderland of surprises found around every turn; a place of countless canyons, sandstone formations, rainwater pools, archeological ruins, mesas and buttes formed millenias ago. 

It is a place where we can find our true human spirit.

The Story of Place is a short film that takes us deep into the unprotected territory of the Greater Canyonlands region of Southern Utah and New Mexico, alongside Craig Childs, Ace Kvale and Jim Enote, who narrate the story of this grand landscape, how it has shaped each and every one of us.

This region is a veritable wellspring of human spirit, solitude, wonder and history.

“This place and its story are irreplaceable,” Childs notes.

“This land,” he concludes, “is worth protecting.”

 

 

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Way Too Many

 

 

Recycle Your Electronics the Right Way:

Here’s How

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Agbogbloshie, Ghana, is the location of one of the worst E-waste dumpsites in the world.

An electronic recycling company named Gizmogul has built their business model centered on recycling these E-wastes responsibly and easily.

Gizmogul was started in 2013 by three brothers from Boston, Mass. (Cory, 23, Barry, 29, Stephen, 32).  They wanted to create a niche electronic recycling business that spoke to their generation.  Gizmogul is a “cool” recycling company with a philanthropic attitude.  They pay people fairly for their material while making a positive impact on the community.

Gizmogul has teamed up with African Outreach to help fund a primary school in Agbogbloshie, Ghana, and provide the school with educational tools and programming, economic support for the teachers, and building a library and computer lab there.

All donated electronics will be recycled responsibly by Gizmogul.  Devices that can be refurbished will be reintroduced into the secondary market; electronics that are damaged beyond repair will be properly recycled through a certified R2 program. 

So far, they’ve properly recycled 134,200 electronic components to date, but there’s still a long way to go.

The brothers says they pay more than 2-3 times (200-300%) for recyclable consumer electronics than any of their competitors.  That is because their business has grown organically without having to spend millions of dollars in marketing and branding, allowing them to pass along savings directly to the consumer.

Electronic waste MUST be recycled, otherwise it ends up in the trash and the hazardous materials inside different components end up in the environment.  And if it is recycled, it should be done so with the utmost care and concern.

The amazing thing is, everything has value.  And Gizmogul collects it all. They not only purchase cellular phones, but computers, computer components, tablets, cables, televisions, LCD’s, gaming devices, and most everything electronic you can think of.

If you’d like to donate your electronics and ensure they are recycled properly– and not shipped overseas to a hazardous dumpsite– fill out the Gizmogul form for a free FedEx shipping label to send them your devices.

You don’t even have to leave the house:

Fill out the easy form.
Receive your free FedEx shipping label.
Drop off your package at any FedEx location.

And it’s done.

 

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Midterm Elections 2014: A Very Brief Autopsy

 

 

Democrat Death by Lethargy and Malaise

 

**VIDEO**

 

Dr. Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

With the dust still settling around the 2014 midterms and much bloviating commentary inundating us as every pundit in the land interprets the meaning of the elections, we might step back for a moment and analyze some of the reasons for this latest Republican romp.

 

Historical:

Almost any junior high school history or politics teacher can tell you that throughout American history the party in power normally loses seats in midterm elections (unless something very weird is happening).

The so-called political geniuses among President Barack Obama’s brain trust appear to have been clueless going into 2010 and again (after winning reelection) in 2014.  Midterms are base elections and rather than give the Democratic base something it could really sink its teeth into, the Obama people limped into both midterms with milquetoast accomplishments and “messaging” that couldn’t rally a wet noodle.  Sometimes losing a tough fight can energize a party’s base just as much as winning.

But the Democrats, after accommodating Wall Street and corporate education “reformers” and the military-industrial complex, seemed to have lost any real fight in them.  In 2010, the Democrats failed to stand up to the big banks like the public wanted or even give a forthright defense of the new health care law.

By 2014 the base felt so let down it didn’t even bother to show up.

 

Economic:

Most Americans feel it in their bones that none of the so-called gains of the “recovery” have trickled down to their pocket books.  There’s a widespread sense of economic malaise and stagnation.

Trumpeting statistics about how wonderful a 6 percent unemployment rate is or how terrific it is to see the stock market reach a 17,000 Dow simply doesn’t resonate.  Working people know they’re working harder and longer hours these days just to get by.  Any real economic “gains” since the worst days of the Great Recession have gone to the top 1 or 2 percent of households.  The 700,000 or so public sector jobs that Wall Street destroyed in 2008-09 have been largely replaced by McJobs.

That’s why even Republican voters in Nebraska and Arkansas and other states chose to increase the minimum wage, showing that even the Chamber of Commerce types can see that putting a little more money in the pockets of the working poor might generate a few more customers for their vaunted private sector establishments like hair salons or coffee shops.

This economy blows and presidents (and their parties) more often than not take the blame.

 

Political:

Even the most cursory glance at some of the states that Democrats had to win in order to hold the Senate majority revealed a tough road ahead. 

Blue Dog Democrats (or DINOs) like Mark Pryor in Arkansas or Kay Hagan in North Carolina or Mary Landrieu in Louisiana are not the best representatives of what constitutes the Democratic base.  

And in Iowa, South Dakota, and Montana the retirements of old-school Democrats like Tom Harkin, Tim Johnson, and Max Baucus, who even the states’ residents couldn’t remember when they were first elected, created a huge opening for Republicans in these rural states.

Outside SuperPAC money goes a long way in these states.  If the Koch Brothers drop a million or two million dollars in a state like South Dakota or Montana they get a lot of bang for their buck.  The states that were in play in 2014 due to retirements, a restless electorate, and low turnout were all states one would expect Democrats to do poorly in.

 

Sociological:

The electorate that votes in midterm elections is older and whiter and looks more like the viewership of The O’Reilly Factor than anything that accurately reflects the true racial and ethnic diversity of this country.

This trend held true in 2010 and 2014, in part, because the Democratic establishment failed to give non-white and youthful voters anything substantive that might energize them.

 

Anthropological:

Anyone who sees the recent successes in the courts and at the ballot box legalizing gay marriage or the use of marijuana as indicators that the “culture wars” of the last thirty years have receded is in store for a big surprise.

In both the 2010 and 2014 midterms where Republicans succeeded fabulously, most GOP candidates did not shy away from taking strong and open stands against abortion rights.  Brent Bozell of ForAmerica and Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots were all instrumental in getting the Christian faithful to the polls and they’re expecting congressional action on cultural issues.

It should come as no surprise that the 113th Congress spent oodles of time passing anti-abortion bills knowing they
had no chance of clearing the Senate.  

Now that they have the Senate too, we’ll see a slew of bills attacking women’s reproductive rights.

Just because they failed to get personhood laws passed in Colorado and North Dakota this time around doesn’t mean that the culture warriors won’t take them up in the 114th Congress.  These foot soldiers among social conservatives who lick the envelopes and knock on doors and give money to anti-choice Republican candidates have high expectations that their hard work will be rewarded by policy.

 

Psychological:

Some surveys indicate that as many as 37 percent of 2014 voters couldn’t tell pollsters which party controlled Congress, but they all knew President Obama was the “true source” of what’s wrong with Washington.

Congressional leadership is diffuse; few people even know who John Boehner is or anything about the Senate filibuster or Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism.  But Obama is front and center because the presidency is a highly personalized office.  Obama’s face is on the front page of the newspapers a lot.

The Republicans have even manufactured a narrative that it was Obama who shut down the government, not them.  Chief executives, especially charismatic leaders with a bit of a cult of personality surrounding them, are easily vilified and blamed for everything that’s going wrong, whereas the congressional leaders can blend into the background.

Mitch McConnell and Reince Priebus and Karl Rove understand this psychological phenomenon.  They knew they could duck responsibility for their own obstructionism.   It’s relatively easy to focus people’s wrath on one famous individual.

Toss in some visually powerful ads scaring the crap out of people with Ebola and ISIS and blaming Obama for their fears and anxieties, and the emotional equation is complete.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Posted in National, Opinion, Politics1 Comment

Share No More

 

90-Year-Old Florida Man Faces Jail
for Feeding the Homeless

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently joined more than 30 cities that have restricted or are taking steps to restrict sharing food with the homeless.  But one Good Samaritan, Arnold Abbott, says he plans to keep breaking the law by feeding the homeless.

 

Late last month, the city of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., passed a series of laws that restricted where organizations could feed the homeless.

On Sunday, when a 90-year-old man received a citation in Stranahan Park, the effects of these new laws came into full view.

Arnold Abbott, who is ordered to appear in court, says that hundreds of homeless people had gathered in the park and then police arrived.  

Police issued court orders to him and two members of the clergy, who were handing out food.  He says he faces a maximum of a $500 fine and two months in jail.

During his arrest, onlookers were outraged and shouted ‘shame on you!’ to Fort Lauderdale officers.  At one point an officer yelled at Abbott to ‘drop that plate right now!’ as if it were a dangerous weapon.

Abbott put up his food-gloved hands to calm and quiet the crowd as he was quietly led away by the officers.

“These are the poorest of the poor, they have nothing, they don’t have a roof over their heads.  How do you turn them away?”Abbott told NBC News.  “I don’t do things to purposefully aggravate the situation.  I’m trying to work with the city.  Any human has the right to help his fellow man.”

Also cited were two Christian ministers — Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

In 1999, Mr. Abbott sued the City of Fort Lauderdale after he was banned from feeding the homeless on the beach.  A court ruled that such a law was against the Constitution. 

The new regulations require groups to be at least 500 feet away from residential properties and food sites are
restricted to one per city block, but various charities have
criticized the rules as forms of social cleansing.

Mr. Abbott is a longtime advocate of the downtrodden.  He says he has been feeding the homeless at a local beach for more than 20 years, and founded his organization, Love Thy Neighbor, in 1991.  He says he will return to that beach tonight– and expects a repeat of Sunday’s interaction with police.

“After I was cited, I took everybody over to a church parking lot,” he says in a phone interview.  “We did feed everybody.  It wasn’t a complete waste.”

Mayor Jack Seiler, who was unavailable for an interview by press time, told the Sun Sentinel that providing homeless people with a meal perpetuates a “cycle of homeless” in Fort Lauderdale.

“Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive,” Seiler said.

David Raymond, who served for nine years as executive director of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, said last month that limiting outdoor food service could make sense.  Food, he said, should connect homeless people with other services.  And he noted the tensions that can occur when those providing food bring homeless people periodically to the same place, which can hurt area businesses.

One of the recent laws passed in Fort Lauderdale, aiming to mitigate this tension, will require volunteers to bring portable toilets to all food distribution events.

These rules, Abbott says, are “ridiculous.”

“They’re doing everything in the world,” he says, “to rid the area of homeless persons.”

The National Coalition for the Homeless released a report last month called “Share No More,” listing more than 30 cities that have restricted or are taking steps to restrict food-sharing programs.  The report also aims to correct assumptions about food sharing.  To the coalition, a lack of affordable housing, few job opportunities and disability perpetuate homelessness more than food-sharing programs do.

Other cities that have attempted to restrict, ban, or relocate food-sharing programs are Denver, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Phoenix, according to the report.

Rules that restrict organizations from feeding the homeless, Abbott says, show a lack of common sense among legislators.  Without outdoor feedings, homeless people would need to resort to digging through dumpsters or similar drastic measures, he says.

“This I don’t want to happen,” he says.

“I will continue fighting, I will promise you that. I will not let up.”

  ~Via Christian Science Monitor, Broward-Palm Beach New Times,
    Sun Sentinel, UK Daily Mail, and YouTube

 

 

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Pour Some Sugar On Me

 
 

HBO’s John Oliver

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Tomorrow, America’s children will collectively binge on the sugary sweetness of Halloween candy.

John Oliver used his platform on Last Week Tonight to marvel at our country’s sugar consumption and the politics behind it.

Sugar.  It’s in everything.  Is it good for you?  Well, the sugar industry thinks so.

How much sugar are you eating?  Odds are you don’t know, and as John Oliver pointed out, “it’s because food makers are doing their best to make sure you never find out.”

Oliver could have gone the route of mocking American consumers for their eating habits of a whopping 75 pounds of sugar annually and likening it to cocaine, but instead criticizes the denial of food industry representatives, who insist, against all evidence, that sugar does not cause obesity and diabetes.

“Asking what causes obesity is a bit like asking who killed a first-grade class’s hamster,” says Oliver. “Sure, they all killed it in a way, but I think we all know one of them killed it the most.”

Most food and beverage makers are fighting the proposed inclusion of an added sugars label on food packages.  And, if there is a label, they don’t want sugars listed in teaspoons.  They want it in grams, which Oliver says is because no one knows what a gram is.

Some of Oliver’s points about added sugars are slightly befuddled– for instance, he calls out Clamato (that’s the concoction of clam and tomato juice, if you’re unfamiliar with the stuff) as having 11 grams of sugar per serving– although part of those 11 grams is naturally occurring sugar from tomato concentrate, not ‘added’ sugar.

But the gist of Oliver’s argument is spot on.  And he’s at his entertaining best when he’s colorfully insulting the flavor of various foods:  Necco Wafers are “coagulated dust,” and cranberries “taste like cherries who hate you.”

As for Circus Peanuts—well, let’s not spoil Oliver’s description of Circus Peanuts.  See it for yourself, above.

Pour Some Sugar On Me.  Happy Halloween, all.  Be safe and healthy.

 

 

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Solving the Mystery of Amelia Earhart

 

Metal Fragment of Amelia’s Plane Found

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What happened to Amelia is an unsolved mystery that has captivated
the world’s attention after she disappeared 77 years ago.

A fragment of Amelia Earhart’s lost aircraft has been identified to a high degree of certainty for the first time ever since her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

Researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) announced that a piece of famous flyer Amelia Earhart’s missing plane was found in Nikumaroro, a tiny uninhabited island along the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, midway between Hawaii and Australia.

This fragment of Earhart’s vanished aircraft is the first piece of information about how she crashed while on a fateful expedition to circumnavigate the Earth.  She never accomplished the goal and her disappearance has been a mystery ever since.

TIGHAR posted a photo of the 19-inch-wide by 23-inch-long piece of a metal portion patch installed near the window of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra during the aviator’s eight-day stay in Miami in 1937, the fourth stop on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

The aluminum patch had replaced a navigational window.  A Miami Herald photo shows the Electra departing for San Juan, Puerto Rico on the morning of Tuesday, June 1, 1937 with a shiny patch of metal where the window had been.

Researchers found the piece in 1991, but had not identified the piece to the plane until comparing it to a Lockheed Electra aircraft in Wichita Air Services in Newtown, Kansas.  The rivet pattern and other features on the Nikumaroro artifact, labeled Artifact 2-2-V-1, matched the patch and lined up with the structural components of the Lockheed Electra, TIGHAR said on its website.

The patch found in the Pacific was a “complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual,” according to TIGHAR.

After the pilot and plane disappeared on July 2, 1937, a wide array of conspiracy theories sprouted.  This new discovery debunks any theory that Earhart and Fred Noonan, her navigator, made it across the Pacific Ocean.

TIGHAR hypothesized that the duo made a forced emergency landing along the smooth flat coral reef of Nikumaroro after their fuel supply ran out 350 miles before
their next pit stop on Howland Island.  

The two likely died as castaways with limited resources.  Other evidence also supports this account of what happened.

The breakthrough would prove that, contrary to what was generally believed, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, did not crash in the Pacific Ocean or were taken prisoner by Japanese military forces as spies.

In 10 archaeological expeditions to Nikumaroro, Gillespie and his team uncovered a number of artifacts which, combined with archival research, provide strong circumstantial evidence for a castaway presence.

“Earhart sent radio distress calls for at least five nights before the Electra was washed into the ocean by rising tides and surf,” Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, said

“This is the first time an artifact found on Nikumaroro has been shown to have a direct link to Amelia Earhart,” Gillespie said. 

“The many fractures, tears, dents and gouges found on this battered sheet of aluminum may be important clues to the fate and resting place of the Electra.”

Previous research on a photograph of Nikumaroro’s western shoreline taken three months after Earhart’s disappearance also revealed an unexplained object protruding from the water on the fringing reef.

Forensic imaging analyses of the photo suggested that the shape and dimension of the object are consistent with the landing gear of a Lockheed Electra.

Moreover, an “anomaly” that might possibly be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s aircraft emerged from analysis of the sonar imagery captured off Nikumaroro during TIGHAR’s last expedition.

The object rests at a depth of 600 feet at the base of a cliff just offshore where, according to TIGHAR, the Electra was washed into the ocean. An analysis of the anomaly by Ocean Imaging Consultants, Inc. of Honolulu, experts in post-processing sonar data, revealed the anomaly to be the right size and shape to be the fuselage of Earhart’s aircraft.

The organization will now travel to Nikumaroro in 2015 to conduct further exploration in the area searching for other pieces of Earhart’s wreckage.  TIGHAR believes that partial remains of the Electra are likely buried deep off the west end of the island and will investigate the anomaly with Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology.

During the 24-day expedition, divers will search for other wreckage at shallower depths and an onshore search team will seek to identify objects detected in historical photographs that may be relics of an initial survival camp.

“Funding is being sought, in part, from individuals who will make a substantial contribution in return for a place on the expedition team,” Gillespie said.

The mystery as to what happened to Amelia may soon be at hand.

~Via LA Post, My Way, Fox News, Vimeo, TIGHAR

 

 

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The Value of Work

 

The Minimum Wage Debate

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Why is the minimum wage important?

In 2013, Seattle became ground zero for the heated national debate about increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Director Steve James’ The Value of Work gives a fair voice to supporters and the opponents, including the mayor, an activist city councilwoman, small business owners, and workers affected by the unprecedented minimum wage legislation.

James had this to say about making his film:

“Not everyone working in minimum wage is embarrassed by the work.  But many these days are embarrassed that they can’t make ends meet — even with full-time jobs.  Because so much of our self-worth as Americans is wrapped up in our work and ability to pull our own weight, it’s particularly tough to be a minimum-wage worker these days.

Looking up from the bottom of the workforce, it seems the harder one works, the less one gets paid.  American society is rigged for the wealthier among us — tax breaks on our mortgage, company-provided health care, paid vacations, and regular raises or incentives.

For so many of us who once worked minimum-wage jobs, this phase of our life was temporary.  We knew we’d move on to more prosperous careers.  When looking at the minimum-wage debate today, too many of us think that workers want security from jobs that were designed to be stepping-stones to “real jobs.”

I was struck in so many ways by the minimum-wage workers we interviewed for the film.  I was amazed at their work ethic despite low wages.  I was saddened by the stories of older workers like Ernie and William who never thought they’d be cleaning houses and hauling furniture at their age, struggling to get by.  And I was moved by the resiliency of workers like Elizabeth and Keila who still dare to dream of a better life for themselves and their children.

I think we owe them the opportunity to try to make those dreams happen.  Not a free ride, but a real fighting chance.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Steve James, best known as the Oscar-nominated director of Hoop Dreams, has become one of the most acclaimed documentary makers of his generation with many films to his credit.  He’s currently working on Generation Food, a film about solutions to fixing the broken global food system.

 

 

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Monopolizing Beer

 

 

Big Box Beer Dresses Up in Crafty Clothing

 

** Local Brew VIDEOS**

 

Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower.com

 

 

It’s bad enough that the goliaths of Big Beer are consuming each other in a new round of mega-mergers, meaning fewer choices and higher prices for consumers.

But the really bad news is that they’re also going after the one bright spot on tap in bars all across the country:  Craft beers.

These are not merely beers, but jewels of the brewers art – yeasty, hoppy, and malty local delights with unique, deep flavors that put the “fizzy yellow” suds of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors to shame.  And, not surprisingly, while the sales of Big Beer’s fizz are declining, the craft brewers are up by 17 percent last year alone.  And the number of craft brewers has nearly doubled since 2010.

The giants have noticed… and are responding.  By making better beer? 

Don’t be silly.

Instead, they’re trying to co-opt the good name of local beer makers and dupe consumers by pretending that the likes of Bud and Miller are “craft” brewers, too.  How?

Two ways.

First, they’ve created false fronts like Blue Moon Brewing Company, Tenth & Blake, and Green Valley Brewery, pretending to be upstart independents.  You won’t see the name of Miller, Coors, or Anheuser-Busch on the labels – but those are the macro-brewers that own and make such ersatz micro-brews as Blue Moon, Killian’s, and Shock Top.

Second, the deep-pocketed beer behemoths are simply buying up small craft brewers, including Goose Island (Anheuser-Busch) and Leinenkugel (MillerCoors).  Again, they’re co-opting the imagery of cool independents, but – shhhh – it’s the same old Big Beer hiding behind the small guy labels.

When all else fails, the giants get thuggish, using their marketing muscle and political punch to knock the craft beers out of bars and off the shelves.  But the independents are scrappy – and it’s up to us quaffers of real beer to stand (and drink) with them.

Cheers!

Monopolizing Beer,” The New York Times, October 8, 2014.

“Pay-to-play infects Chicago beer market, Crain’s investigation find,” www.chicagobusiness.com, November 22, 2010.

“Big Beer dresses up in craft brewer’s clothing,” www.fortune.com, November 15, 2012.

“Bud and Miller Are Trying to Hijack Craft Beer – an It’s Totally Backfiring,” www.motherjones.com, July 30, 2014.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

Egads.  We were shocked when Pabst Blue Ribbon—the iconic American label simply known as PBR—was bought by the… Russians?!  As were Milwaukee, Schlitz, Lone Star, Colt 45 and Ranier. 

And now Big Box beer wants to thrust their quick-brew crappiness onto us and our communities further by disguising themselves in crafty sheep’s clothing.  Is there no shame in their game?

Well, we have a solution.  Don’t piss away your money.  Buy local.

The good news is that our local Humboldt breweries, such as the Lost Coast Brewery above, and Mad River Brewing Company below, are in good health and standing strong.  Good, delicious, healthy American craft beer made the right and wholesome way like it always has been.  These companies are outstanding in their own right, and Humboldt brewers Barbara Groom and Dylan Schatz won’t let you down.

 

 

 

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The Gilded Age

 

And the Gilded Cage:

Americans Poorer Today than Past 27 Years

 

**ZZ Top & Jeff Beck VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.

Once upon a time, the American economy worked for everybody, and even the middle class got richer.

But this story has only been a fairy tale for almost 30 years now.  The new, harsh reality is that the bottom 90 percent of households are poorer today than they were in 1987.

This is actually a much more dramatic statement than it sounds. While the Federal Reserve has already told us that the median households are worth less now than in 1989 — that’s the household right in the middle — it turns out that everybody but the richest 10 percent of Americans are worst off.  

That includes the poor, the entire middle class, and even what we would consider much of the upper class.

The days of shared prosperity have come to an end, gradually and then suddenly.  It started in the 1980s when the top 1 percent awoke from their long postwar slumber, thanks to the combination of lower taxes, financial deregulation, and new technology.  

It wasn’t a total disaster for the bottom 90 percent.  Even as most Americans saved much less and accumulated far less wealth, stock markets and housing prices continued to rise.  Until they didn’t: crashing down in 2007 and 2008.

The problem was that middle class doesn’t own that much in stocks, but went into debt to buy lots of housing.  So the housing crash turned their biggest financial asset into an albatross, wiping out their equity but not their debt.

Here’s a bit of historical perspective:

The top 1 percent now own over 41 percent of all the wealth in the country.  That’s the most since 1939.  Although it’s still well below the all-time high of 51 percent set in 1928.

In other words:  this new Gilded Age might get even more Gilded.

~Via The Washington Post/YouTube

* * * * * * * *

In the early 1950s, Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded his classic country song Sixteen Tons

The song went to #1, and refers to a man working in a mining town where the company owned most everything in town– including the company store.  A laborer working hard all day long loading his sixteen tons of coal could only expect to get “another day older and deeper in debt.”

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck, above, put their own riff on Ford’s tune.

 

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Turning Public Education Into Private Profit

 

One Businessman is Cashing In

 

**Viral VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

This post first appeared at ProPublica and versions of this story were co-published with Bill Moyers, The Daily Beast, the Raleigh News & Observer, and a host of others.

…The epic rap battle between Sir Issac Newton vs. Bill Nye ‘the Science Guy’ doesn’t necessarily apply.  Please forgive us here.  It was just a fun thing to toss into the mix and we couldn’t resist doing it.

 

In late February, the North Carolina chapter of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation — a group co-founded by the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers — embarked on what it billed as a statewide tour of charter schools, a cornerstone of the group’s education agenda.  The first — and it turns out, only — stop was Douglass Academy, a new charter school in downtown Wilmington.

Douglass Academy was an unusual choice.  A few weeks before, the school had been warned by the state about low enrollment.  It had just 35 students, roughly half the state’s minimum.  And a month earlier, a local newspaper had reported that federal regulators were investigating the school’s operations.

But the school has other attributes that may have appealed to the Koch group.  

The school’s founder, a politically active North Carolina businessman named Baker Mitchell, shares the Kochs’ free-market ideals.  His model for success embraces decreased government regulation, increased privatization and, if all goes well, very healthy corporate profits.

In that regard, Mitchell, 74, appears to be thriving.  Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell’s chain of four nonprofit charter schools to the  for-profit companies he controls.

The schools buy or lease nearly everything from companies owned by Mitchell.  Their desks.  Their computers.  The training they provide to teachers.  Most of the land and buildings.  Supplies.  Unlike traditional school districts, at Mitchell’s charter schools there is no competitive bidding.  And no haggling over rent or contracts.

The schools have all hired the same for-profit management company to run their day-to-day operations.  The company, Roger Bacon Academy, is owned by Mitchell.  It functions as the schools’ administrative arm, taking the lead in hiring and firing school staff.  It handles most of the bookkeeping.  The treasurer of the nonprofit that controls the four schools is also the chief financial officer of Mitchell’s management company.  The two organizations even share a bank account.

Mitchell’s management company was chosen by the schools’ nonprofit board, which Mitchell was on at the time — an arrangement that is illegal in many other states.

Charter schools are privately run government-funded schools that are supposed to be open to all.  Policymakers and many parents have embraced charters as an alternative to poorly performing and underfunded traditional public schools.  As charters have grown in popularity, an industry of management companies like Mitchell’s has sprung up to assist them.

Many of these companies are becoming political players in their states, working to shape the still-emerging set of rules charters must play by.  A few, including Mitchell’s company, have aligned themselves with influential conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Koch-supported American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

This new reality — in which businesses can run chains of public schools — has spurred questions about the role of profit in public education and whether more safeguards are needed to prevent corruption.  The U.S. Department of Education has declared the relationships between charter schools and their management companies, both for-profit and nonprofit, a “current and emerging risk” for misuse of federal dollars.

The Department of Education is conducting a wide-ranging look at such relationships.  In the last year alone, the FBI sent out subpoenas as part of an investigation into a Connecticut-based charter-management company and raided schools that are part of a New Mexico chain and a large network of charter schools spanning Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Two of Mitchell’s former employees told ProPublica they have been interviewed by federal investigators.  Mitchell says he does not know if his schools are part of any inquiry and has not been contacted by any investigators.

To Mitchell, his schools are simply an example of the triumph of the free market.  “People here think it’s unholy if you make a profit” from schools, he said in July, while attending a country-club luncheon to celebrate the legacy of free-market sage Milton Friedman.

It’s impossible to know how much Mitchell is taking home in profits from his companies.  He’s fought to keep most of the financial details secret.  Still, audited financial statements show that over six years, companies owned by Mitchell took in close to $20 million in revenue from his first two schools.  Those records go through the middle of 2013.  Mitchell has since opened two more schools.

Many in the charter-school industry say that charter schools are more accountable than traditional public schools because, as Mitchell is fond of saying, “parents can shut us down overnight.  They stop bringing their kids here?  We don’t get any money.”

Moreover, Mitchell said, students at his two more established schools have produced higher test scores at lower costs than those in traditional public schools: “Maybe Baker Mitchell gets a huge profit.  Maybe he doesn’t get any profit.  Who cares?”

But many charter supporters question that perspective.  

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, a group that promotes best practices for overseeing charter schools, says schools should be independent from their contractors.  Mitchell’s dual roles as both a charter-school board member and a vendor, for instance, are a blatant violation of those standards.

“This kind of conflict of interest is what I would consider shocking,” said Parker Baxter, a program director for the group.

“This isn’t as if one of the board members happens to own a chalk company where they buy chalk from, and he recused himself from buying chalk,” he said.  “This is the entire management and operation of the school.”

Mitchell was pushed by North Carolina regulators to step down from his schools’ board last fall, a move he derides as unnecessary.  

“It’s so silly,” Mitchell told ProPublica.  “Undue influence, blah blah blah.”

But concerns about his influence continued even after he stepped down.

One board member resigned in frustration over the role of Mitchell’s company.  Two others also quit around the same time.  Mitchell still serves as secretary for the board, taking notes and doing the meeting minutes.  

Asked about frustrations among board members over his involvement, Mitchell simply said, “Everybody’s free to their own opinion.”

An excerpt, you can read Bill Moyer’s full article here.

~Via Bill Moyers

 

 

 

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Major Breakthrough Announced in Nuclear Fusion

 

Back to the Nuclear Future:

One Mighty (and small) Reactor in the Mix

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

They’re restarting the Atomic Age with a big bang.

The largest military contractor in the United States is developing a nuclear fusion reactor that is small enough to fit on the back of a truck– but has the ability to produce enough energy to power a warship.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement released today that its secretive Skunk Works division — the unit responsible for the U-2 spy plane and F-117 stealth jet — has applied for several patents related to the high-tech reactor it has in the works, and expects it to be deployed during the next decade if interested industry and government partners sign on soon.

It is a revolutionary breakthrough for nuclear fusion.

“Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts,” said Tom McGuire, the compact fusion lead for the Skunk Works’ Revolutionary Technology Programs.  “The smaller size will allow us to design, build and test the Compact Fusion Reactor (CFR) in less than a year.”

According to an article published by Reuters today, McGuire told reporters that the Skunk Works has already successfully shown the company can build a 100-megawatt reactor that measures seven by 10 feet, or around 10 times smaller than what is currently available.

Next, the Lockheed division wants to have a prototype ready within five years; and then, within ten years, have the unit ready to be deployed.

“A small reactor could power a US Navy warship,” Andrea Shalal wrote for Reuters, “and eliminate the need for other fuel sources that pose logistical challenges.”

The energy created through nuclear fusion can be up to four-times more powerful that the energy released by fission, Lockheed claims on its website, and a small-enough reactor like the one being developed by Skunk Works could provide enough power for a town of 100,000 people, according to the contractor.

“To mimic the energy created by the sun and control it here on earth, we’re creating a concept that can be contained using a magnetic bottle.  The bottle is able to handle extremely hot temperatures, reaching hundreds of millions of degrees.  By containing this reaction, we can then release it in a controlled
fashion to create energy we can use,” Lockheed explained on its
site.

“The heat energy created using this compact fusion reactor will drive turbine generators by replacing the combustion chambers with simple heat exchangers.  In turn, the turbines will then generate electricity or the propulsive power for a number of applications,” Lockheed said.

If successful, Lockheed’s latest effort “could change civilization as we know it,” Gizmodo predicted on Wednesday, by giving the world a portable power source unlike anything now available.

“It’s one of the reasons we think it is feasible for development and future economics,” Skunk Work’s McGuire told Aviation Week recently with regards to the reactor’s size.

“Ten times smaller is the key.  But on the physics side, it still has to work, and one of the reasons we think our physics will work is that we’ve been able to make an inherently stable configuration,” McGuire said.

~Via RT, Lockheed Martin, YouTube

 

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Texas Nurse with Protective Gear Gets Ebola

 

First Person to Contract Deadly Disease Within US

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humbodt Sentinel

 

 

The government is telling the nation’s hospitals to ‘‘think Ebola’’ after a Texas nurse became the first person to contract Ebola within the United States yesterday.

“Stopping Ebola is hard.  Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case,” Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said Monday.

Many local, state and federal officials want to find out how the nurse became infected. 

The CDC is scrambling to interview all staff of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who could have been exposed to the original patient, a Liberian man who became sick after traveling to the United States and died at the hospital.  Anyone at risk will be monitored, Friedan said.

The new Ebola patient has been identified as critical care nurse Nina Pham.  Hospitals officials said that she helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who died less than a week ago in Dallas.  

Officials believe she may have violated safety protocols and became infected with the deadly virus, although they don’t know and can’t explain how that may have happened.

Prior to Pham becoming infected, she was not among the other 48 health care workers, relatives of Duncan, and others whom the hospital was evaluating daily.

This is the first confirmed case of Ebola transmitted in the U.S.  The mode of transmission has not been identified, and Duncan, the original case, was in quarantined isolation at the time.

According to The New York Times, Pham always wore her protective gear.  She monitored additional places and people at risk of contracting the disease. 

The details as to how she contracted the disease is important, reported The Daily Beast.  The news of Ebola being contracted in the U.S. raises fears of health care workers across the country who have become increasingly nervous. 

Many physicians, nurses and health care workers have become anxious about possibly handling Ebola cases. The confirmation of the second Ebola case in Dallas opened more doubts in the minds of health care workers. 

The CDC said it would conduct a nationwide training conference call on Tuesday to prepare thousands of health care workers for treating patients with Ebola. 

“The care of Ebola patients can be done safely, but it’s hard to do it safely,” Frieden said.  ”Even a single, inadvertent innocent slip can result in contamination.”

“A lot of us are starting to get worried,” said Debra Buccellato, an emergency room nurse in Santa Rosa, California.

Buccellato said she has not received any training, nor has she seen anyone else being trained on how to treat an Ebola patient.

The latest Ebola case, the unknown way it spread, and Friedan’s comments raises questions about the assurances given by health officials in the United States that the disease will be contained, and that any American hospital should be able to treat it.

Ebola patients aren’t contagious until they begin experiencing symptoms.  As they get sicker, they become more infectious and the amount of virus in their bodily fluids increases — putting those caring for them at greater
risk. 

Nonetheless, a top federal health official said earlier in the day authorities should consider requiring Ebola patients be moved to specialized ‘‘containment’’ hospitals.

Patients with Ebola often die before they can infect others, so past outbreaks of Ebola haven’t spread very far.  This time, however, is markedly different.  Already, 3,400 people have died, more than in all previous Ebola outbreaks combined.  And the numbers are expected to keep climbing.

“We’ve stopped every Ebola outbreak from Africa– except this one,” Friedan said.

With Ebola infections increasing, and the death toll rising, the World Health Organization is now calling Ebola “the most severe acute public health emergency we’ve seen in modern times.”

 

 

 

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The Government War on the Garden of Eden

 

 

An Eco-Community Under Assault

 

**VIDEO** by We Are Change

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Paradise Lost.

Dedicated to living sustainably by raising fresh food, utilizing earthen materials for building projects, and facilitating “a human’s highest potential,” the Garden of Eden is an alternative community– providing food, shelter and sustainability education classes and workshops freely to the public since 2009.

Their 3.5 acres of land contains chickens, bees, composting stations, a large vegetable garden and many wildcrafted trees and plants that are used for foods, medicines, and household and beauty products.  Their vision is to be a fully self-sustaining center for education on sustainable living.

We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski traveled to Dallas, Texas, to meet with Quinn Eaker of the Garden of Eden community.  In the video above, Eaker relates the Garden of Eden’s mission and how recent actions from the city and state has harassed, intimidated, fined, and threatened the very existence of their small community.

Here’s what happened.

In August of 2013, Arlington police raided a sustainable farm called the Garden of Eden looking for an extensive marijuana enterprise.

They didn’t find any weed.  Or a cannabis enterprise of any sort.  And the city still won’t release documents explaining why it erroneously believed the property was a drug empire.

In a warrant to search the premises, Arlington police cited a host of tips that the small farm was harvesting marijuana.  

That intelligence was unreliable, however, and Arlington police aren’t disclosing the reports that led to the warrant and August 2, 2013 raid at the little eco-community on Mansfield-Cardinal Rd.

The city claims those documents are privileged and not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request.  Quinn is awaiting a ruling from the Texas Attorney General to obtain those documents.

In the meantime, the city did provide 68 pages of correspondence and citations with the Garden of Eden dating back to February 2013.  Inexplicably, the city also handed over an audio recording of a public hearing on code violations at the garden titled, “Lady VIP:  Dare to be Rich.”

Property owner Shellie Smith vigorously denied many of the minor code violations, saying what she did on her property was none of the city’s business– provided no one was harmed by her actions.  No one was.

On August 5, code compliance officers took matters into their own hands, aggressively remedying high weeds and grass, improper outside storage of materials, hazardous wiring, improperly stacked firewood and “the misuse of an extension cord.”

Smith was also cited for running a home business without a permit.

It’s a laundry list of minor violations to be sure.  And it hardly calls for a tactical SWAT team and narcotics detectives to be on the scene as Eaker described.       

In the process of hauling away scrap wood, furniture and other items, Eaker, a Garden of Eden founder, said authorities destroyed 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants, and numerous native grasses and sunflowers.

“The primary inhabitants at the Garden of Eden have spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours of attention to the matters brought upon them by the City of Arlington, none of which have been honorable in any way,” Eaker said.

“It has been a very heavy burden, and has slowed down the progress of community and sustainable growth in many ways,” he added.

For now, the issue appears to be at a bit of a standstill.  Months after the failed ‘drug raid’, the Garden of Eden has yet to get any answers from authorities.

Perhaps the officials-that-be didn’t like the eco-groovy, alternative laid back lifestyle, the lack of structured discipline, naked kids, beautiful sunflowers, and the ukulele-strumming going on.  That may fit fine into the Humboldt lifestyle, but remember this is Texas, after all. 

Eaker says the city is attempting to recoup around $20,000 in fines, but the garden has no plans to pay up.  In fact, Eaker has submitted his own bill to the city in the form of an affidavit of damages.

“They have no idea what they are getting into,” Eaker says.  “They think I’m a lazy dope-smoking hippie, and they are completely wrong.  We will destroy them in court.  Everything is on our side.”

Eaker says he’s spent thousands of hours studying the law since the ordeal began, and he’s prepared to defend the rights of himself and his family, who also live on the farm.

“The issue is that we have been following due process of law since February,” Eaker says.  “We have established that they have no jurisdiction.  They have no authority to tell us what we can and can’t
do with our land.”

 

~Via We Are Change, Culture Map, Quinn Eaker,
the Garden of Eden, and YouTube

* * * * * * * * * *

Currently Quinn Eaker is looking for legal representation to keep the Garden of Eden going.

They ask that if you could help, please contact http://www.intothegardenofeden.com or gardenofedenvortex@gmail.com.

 

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Police Turning Schools Into War Zones

 

Teddy Bears, Machine Guns, and MRAPs for Kids

 

**Colbert Report VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Schools need military-grade equipment and weapons?

School police departments across the US have taken advantage of free military surplus gear, stocking up on mine-resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of machine guns, as Stephen Colbert reports above.

The Los Angeles Unified School District and other school districts around the country have been receiving military-grade weapons through the federal Department of Defense’s 1033 program, reported Rolling Stone magazine.

The program, which authorizes the transfer of excess Defense materials to federal, state and local agencies for law enforcement purposes, gained notoriety after protests in Ferguson, Missouri were met with a hyper-militarized response by the police.

According to the Washington Post, several groups including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to the Department of Defense asking them to stop distributing weapons to school law enforcement agencies.

Compiling data from the Defense Logistics Agency and a number of media reports, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Texas Appleseed paints a disturbing picture of the program’s reach into K-12 schools.

At least five school districts in Texas have been outfitted with materials through the program, including one with a SWAT team; at least five districts in California, with both San Diego and Los Angeles receiving Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs); as well as a number of other states including Utah, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Michigan and Nevada that received materials ranging from blankets and laptops to assault rifles.

For example, Pinellas County School police is the only K-12 district in Florida to receive surplus military tactical equipment.  It received two armored
trucks, two MRAPs and 22 M16 automatic rifles. 

Why?  No one knows for sure.

It also goes beyond the K-12 level at schools.  Colleges are also recipients of surplus weapons. 

Florida International University received an MRAP and 49 M16 rifles.  The University of North Florida got eleven M16s.  The University of Central Florida also received eleven M16s and a grenade launcher that was converted to fire tear gas.  A UCF spokesman said the guns were used in an incident last year when school police officers had to confront a heavily armed student.

“In terms of a clear national picture of what kind of military equipment is going to K-12 schools through the 1033 program, we don’t have a 100 percent transparent picture,” says Janel George, education policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  That lack of transparency is one reason the Legal Defense Fund and Texas Appleseed are asking the DLA to end the 1033 program’s relationship with school districts and school police departments.

George also emphasizes that excessive force against students by school police is already far too common, with many school officers armed with weapons like tasers and pepper-spray.

“The concern is not only the potential harm when you add in military-grade weaponry – we’re talking about M16s, AR 15s and grenade launchers.  It’s also, how does this exacerbate existing school climates that are already tense?  And how does that contribute to the criminalization of youth of color in particular?” George said.

It’s a new arms race in America.  Pogo was right:  we have met the enemy– and it is us.

* * * * * * * * *

How did we go from Mayberry to martial law so fast– with the transfer of military surplus equipment to America’s communities?   This educational poster explains how it happened in a quick nutshell.

 

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Huge Protests Expected Following Deaths of Two Teens

 

All Eyes are on St. Louis This Weekend

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It could be a powder keg ready to blow under the right conditions.

The St. Louis area on Thursday was bracing for more racial unrest over the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a police officer, and another police killing of a black teenager Wednesday expected to add fuel to the fire.

Several civil rights organizations and protest groups, including Hands Up United, planned to mark the weekend with marches and rallies in St. Louis and the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown was killed two months ago.

The groups are demanding the arrest of the white officer who killed Brown, and want to draw attention to police treatment of black Americans.  Protest organizers said they are planning only peaceful activities, but fear Wednesday’s killing of the black teen in the south St. Louis neighborhood of Shaw might trigger violent outbursts.

“We never advocate violence … But I do know that people were angry last night and they will be out this weekend,” said Tory Russell, a leader of Hands Up United.  “I don’t know what they are going to do.”

At least 6,000 have registered on an organizing website for the “weekend of resistance” events in and around Ferguson, which kick off Friday with a “justice now” march and will be capped with actions of “civil disobedience” on Monday.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said law enforcement officers throughout the area are planning for large crowds and possible violence.  The Hands Up United web page shows posts from people looking to share rides to St. Louis from Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Dallas, Boston and New York.

“There are a lot of people coming into town,” said Knowles.  “We are going to be prepared.  There is intel out there that there are people wanting to do bad things.  And people who want to cause a problem are going to use that (the shooting Wednesday) as a rallying cry,” he said.

In the Shaw incident, a 32-year-old white St. Louis police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. after the officer, who was off duty working for a private security company, saw Myers and two friends running and pursued them, according to a statement issued by the St. Louis police department.

Myers pulled a gun and shot at the officer and then the officer fired several shots, fatally wounding Myers, police said.

The police department would not identify the officer, but said he was not hurt and has been placed on administrative leave as the shooting is investigated.

Relatives of Myers said he did not have a gun, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The shooting sparked protests that raged until dawn Thursday.  One person was arrested and three police vehicles were damaged in the unrest, police officials said.

The Myers killing comes as the St. Louis area is still struggling with unrest after the Aug. 9 killing of Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.  Brown was unarmed when he was shot at least six times.

“There is a real breakdown of trust in law enforcement,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, a national online civil rights organization helping to promote the protests.

“But people are trying to build momentum for reforms that needs to happen in communities around the country.”

 

~Via Google News, Independent News, STL Today, Hands Up United, YouTube

 

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The Republican War on the Working Poor

 

Gov. Scott Walker Leads the Way Forward

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

The Koch Brothers are pleased at his sheer audacity.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker has treated the idea of raising his state’s minimum wage with the same tact and seriousness you’d expect from a man who made his name attacking workers and facing a corruption probe.

Walker, sporting his All-American patriotic flag pin and GOP red tie, rejected the request of a group of low-wage workers to use an unusual Wisconsin law saying that the state’s minimum wage has to be a living wage.

The reasoning for refusing to raise the minimum wage? They claim $7.25 is a living wage.

“The department has determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage,” Robert Rodriguez, administrator of DWD’s Equal Rights Division, wrote in the denial letter.

$7.25 an hour is below the poverty threshold for a family of two.  A minimum wage worker would have to work 81 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Wisconsin.  And nothing else.

Here’s a few of the details submitted by workers petitioning the governor to raise the minimum wage:

Denise Merchant said she makes $7.25 an hour and often puts off buying diabetes test strips because she can’t afford them and couldn’t afford to fix her car when it broke down two months ago.

Daniel Scott makes $7.70 an hour and is homeless.  Marvin Mayes makes $7.45 an hour and sometimes has to go without buying groceries in order to make rent.

Even those with higher wages described struggling:  Carolyn Jackson makes $12 an hour but risks getting her lights and phone turned off because she has to choose between buying food and paying bills, plus she forgoes medication for her diabetes in order to get her son’s medication.

The Republican War on the working poor continues. 

Scott Walker and the others of the GOP– Greedy Old People– will advocate more tax breaks for the rich, deregulate Wall Street further, create more unpaid-for wars, and plunder the treasury for yet another trillion dollars before anything remotely good happens to the average Joe working in America.

 

 

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US Army Still ‘The Bestest in History’

 

–After 50-Year 1-1-7 Record

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

U.S. Army leaders insist their force is still “the greatest fighting force in human history” even after a woeful record exacerbated by two debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, sources confirmed today.

“Look at the Roman Legion,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin ‘McFly’ Dempsey, comparing the Romans to the modern U.S. Army which failed in Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Iraq again, Afghanistan, and barely tied in Korea.

“They never once waged a proper counterinsurgency.  They never won hearts and minds; they just went right in and nailed the insurgents to crosses along the Appian Way.  That’s not how you fight a counterinsurgency, it’s just not nice!”

… “Let me be clear here,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler explained at a press conference, “We are still the greatest, the bestest, and most strongest Army in history.  Now, I know much history, being that I got an Associates in Homeland Security, and we are the most powerful military formation ever.  Panama?  We won that, fair and square.”

As of press time, the Army’s record is still better than the West Point Football Team, which hasn’t won anything at all since 1923.

~Via the military Duffle Blog, United Artists/Aidan Carroll, and Aubrey Marcus

 

What is a Warrior? from Aubrey Marcus on Vimeo.

 

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Jefferson County’s Assault on US History

 

Keeping Politics Out of Education

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Historian Howard Zinn, late author of A People’s History of the United States,
would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what was happening in Colorado.

The school board of Jefferson County, Colorado, approved a controversial measure last week to review and whitewash the curriculum of U.S. History courses.  The proposal sparked weeks of student walk-outs and garnered national attention.

The student-led protests began when conservative school board member, Julie Williams, proposed the creation of a committee to change the Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum to emphasize patriotism, positive aspects of U.S. history, and the benefits of the free market system while downplaying or removing lessons about civil disobedience, social strife, and defiance of authority.

AP students chose to respond with civil disobedience of their own by organizing the first of several walk-outs on September 19th.  Jefferson County teachers showed their opposition by calling in sick en masse, causing several school closures over multiple days.

Gretchen Carlson of FOX News called the young students a bunch of punks.”  The president of Jefferson County’s Board of Education, Ken Witt, called them pawns in a scheme perpetrated by the teachers’ union.

Discontent between members of the community and the school board has been rising since a conservative majority took power last November.

A national, right-wing political group, Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, celebrated the conservative victory in the Jefferson County school-board elections, reported Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.  Dustin Zvonek, the Colorado state director for the group, said the election marked “an exciting and hopeful moment for the county and school district” and told the three-member majority “to strike while the iron is hot,” and that “Board members can and should begin exploring and debating such options with little fear of alienating the public at large.”

Well, the public was largely alienated.  High-school students organized and were just recently joined by local middle-school students, who also walked out.

Local college and university professors formed a solidarity group.  The national SAT testing organization commended the student’s actions.  Last Wednesday, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Civil Liberties Union and eight other national groups sent a letter to the school board condemning the proposed curriculum review. 

They said:

“It would be nearly impossible to teach U.S. history without reference to ‘civil disorder,’ which is appropriately discussed in connection with the American Revolution, the labor movement, civil rights and gay rights activism, U.S. entry into World War I, voting rights protests, public demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, opposition to abortion, government surveillance, and countless other significant events in U.S. history.  Telling schools that they cannot use materials that ‘encourage or condone civil disorder’ in addressing these and other historical events is
tantamount to telling them to abandon the teaching of history.”

High school senior Bethany Keupp says the proposal to potentially alter AP U.S. history content along ideological lines was the final straw for students, teachers and parents.  “We are very frustrated that this is being reviewed because of political issues.  We would really expect our elected officials to act in the best interests of the students, not in the interests of your political affiliation,” Keupp said.

Kerrie Dallman, president of the state’s largest teachers’ union, the Colorado Education Association, says school board member Julie Williams seems to be pushing an agenda instead of working from knowledge of the new AP U.S. History curriculum.

“When you have a school board member like Julie Williams who puts out a press release making all kinds of claims about how AP U.S. History is not covering basic historical figures like Martin Luther King and George Washington,” Dallman says, “and then somebody goes and looks at all ten of the previously approved texts for AP U.S. History in Jeffco public schools, and finds every single one of the historical figures Julie Williams said is not covered is actually in the text books, she clearly hasn’t done her homework.  She is acting on somebody else’s be-
half.  That to me is disturbing and further evidence of the
reason why politics has to get out of Jeffco public schools.”

Texas, Tennessee, Washington and Illinois have seen similar attempts by school boards to change curriculum to reflect a more conservative ideology, but no other place in the nation has experienced protests like Jefferson County, Colorado.

Last week’s school board meeting – the first since Williams made her announcement – drew hundreds of student protesters and their supporters. Despite critics who have labeled the protests unpatriotic, former Jeffco public school student Devi Yanirao says love for her country is precisely what motivated her to support current Jeffco students.

“We want to be able to show both sides of American history, both the negative aspects and the positive aspects, and we shouldn’t just focus on the positive ones,” she said.  “We’ve made good decisions and bad decisions as a country and both sides need to be shown to future students so that they can understand our history and where we are coming from and why we are here today– and the way we are today.”

At the start of the tense school board meeting last week, Julie Williams said her “proposal was aimed to increase community engagement and transparency so people do know what is being taught to their children and as a board we can review the curriculum as we are responsible to do.”

The large crowd, which overflowed into the parking lot, seemed unconvinced.

Some of the most controversial language in William’s proposal was removed, but not before opponents delivered a petition with more than 40,000 signatures asking that her proposal be killed altogether.

Despite the petition and public outcry, the conservative majority voted 3-2 to move forward with plans to create a committee to review AP U.S. History content.  As part of a compromise, students, parents, teachers and other approved citizens will be able to join the committee.

But protesters say they plan to keep up their civil disobedience campaign until they are confident that partisan politics and ideological whitewashing are kept out of their public schools.

Writing for the Huffington Post, Sacramento State University History Professor Joseph A. Palermo said this in his column:

“When high school students in Jefferson County, Colorado walked out in protest against the right-wingers on the school board who purged their history curriculum of content they deemed “unpatriotic,” they probably learned more in a week of direct action than they could learn in a year of going to class.

Not content to write a letter of complaint, or sign a petition, or tap “Like” on a Facebook page – these young people hit the streets in the grand tradition of civil disobedience in America;  the same tradition the Jefferson County school board seeks to airbrush out…

Right-wingers always overreach and try to erase or bend history to fit their pre-conceived ideological notions.  We owe the students of Jefferson County our deep gratitude and appreciation for standing up to power and reminding us about the importance of critical history being taught in our public schools.  

By engaging in civil disobedience they’ve taken it a step further.  Their actions speak louder than any words.”

~Via Google News, CBS News, FSRN, Denver Post, Colorado
Public Radio, Amy Goodman, and Dr. Joseph A. Palermo

 

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Ken Burns’ ‘The Roosevelts’

 

PBS Series Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class

 

**VIDEO**

 

Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

 

Ken Burns’ seven-part PBS series on the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, is a remarkable achievement.

Burns sheds a poignant new light on the personal and public lives of three monumental figures in 20th Century American history.  And in doing so, he illustrates the relative rottenness of the hacks, partisans, and plutocrats who make up the political class that rules America today.

By exploring the lives and times of TR, FDR, and ER Burns shows that in our not-so-distant past the governing institutions of this country were actually responsive to the needs and desires of working-class Americans.

This superb and moving portrait is a perfect fit for our times.  The utter failure of our current “leaders” is glaring by comparison.

Yes, TR was a warmonger, and FDR signed the order that imprisoned innocent Japanese Americans. There are long lists of both presidents’ failures.  But we shouldn’t let those flaws bury the fact that both TR and FDR were not afraid to stand up to big corporations and Wall Street if they viewed their actions as damaging to the country.  That alone is probably the biggest difference between those leaders of the early decades of the 20th Century and today.

After thirty years of “supply-side” economics that has left working people still waiting for better times to “trickle down”; eight years of George W. Bush’s misrule that brought us war and recession; the Far-Right ascendency in 2010 that has all but shuttered the federal government in an attempt to destroy Barack Obama; and a Supreme Court that is proudly subservient to every tenet of plutocracy — I think it’s okay to flip on PBS and feel a bit nostalgic for a time when there existed effective politicians who actually gave a damn about the quality of life of the majority of Americans.

Over the past thirty years, Presidents and Congresses have become so subservient to corporations and Wall Street that the two major political parties are all but indistinguishable.

One of the reasons why our politics have become so volatile and opinion polls show over and over again that our people have nothing but contempt for the whole political class in Washington and the widespread recognition that the plutocrats, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers have effectively seized our governing institutions.

Another subtext for our times of the Burns documentary is the reminder that people who come from the richest .01 percent of Americans don’t have to be total assholes.  Unlike the Koch Brothers, or the Waltons, or Representative Darrell Issa (the richest man in the House of Representatives) the Roosevelts didn’t feel they had a class interest in keeping their boots on the necks of America’s working people; they strived to uplift them.

And they saw the federal government not as a bazaar of accounts receivable to vacuum up precious tax dollars for the already rich but as a means to improve the lives of the 99 percent.

The Roosevelts also illustrates a time when Democrats had dirt under their fingernails.  There was no need to remind them that Democratic politicians valued labor unions or sought new protections in the workplace.  The leaders and rank-in-file were tied together.

Today, when we see Democratic politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel bludgeoning teachers’ unions while supping at the table of big campaign donors from Wall Street we’re left with the realization that working people have few reliable advocates for their class interests anymore.

Since 1984, Democratic politicians decided the party needed to “move to the center” given Ronald Reagan’s landslide.  But “moving to the center” meant moving away from serving the interests of working people and moving toward Wall Street and big corporations.

Ironically, in the 1990s, when the Democratic Party grew more diverse based on race and gender, it shifted far closer to the Republicans in terms of class.  We’ve seen one Democratic president (Bill Clinton) push NAFTA and other “free trade” deals that decimated labor unions; unravel the social safety net in the name of “welfare reform”; and deregulate Wall Street.

And we’ve seen another Democratic president (Barack Obama) refuse to send any bankers to jail for the massive fraud they committed in the mortgage markets; choose to beat up teachers’ unions with Arne Duncan’s “Race to the Top”; and accommodate the profiteers inside our health care system.

All of these policies represent a capitulation to the interests of big corporations and Wall Street on the part of Democratic administrations at the expense of their own constituencies.

Another aspect of the Burns documentary is a revealing look at the kind of patriotism that TR, FDR, and ER exhibited throughout their lives.  It was a patriotism that recognized that the country is strongest when all Americans had opportunities and the federal government not only helped to uplift them materially, but also protected them from the rapacious predators of the Wall Street ruling class.

We’ve lost that sense of patriotic duty today.  The “you’re on your own” society has won out in recent decades over the idea that “everyone does better when everyone does better.”

So if you haven’t yet seen The Roosevelts, by all means, sit back, put on PBS, and enjoy watching a time in America that predates the death of the liberal class.

* * * * * * * * * * *

 

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Joseph Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.

His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy. Dr. Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon.

Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties. He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Ideals.

Part of the Iona Brotherhood, we thank Dr. Palermo for sharing his work with our readers here.

 

 

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Into The Streets

 

The Historic March Against Climate Change

 

**Meerkat Media VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

There’s strength in numbers.  400,000 to be exact.

Over 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan to demonstrate a unified front against climate justice inaction.

Different walks of life and diverse perspectives converged together as the popular– and surprising– movement unfolded on September 21 and 22.

From Manhattan to Melbourne, people took to the streets in a move to demand ambitious commitments and change from world leaders for tackling the climate crisis.

By the end-of-day estimates, the flagship march in NYC drew approximately 400,000 people–more than quadrupling the pre-march estimates of 100,000– just two days before world leaders converged for an emergency UN Climate Summit.

By midafternoon march organizers released an initial count of 310,000 people based on the crowd density along the march route.  But as the day continued, reports came in of tens of thousands more marching outside the official route, streaming down avenues in midtown Manhattan towards Wall Street.

At 5:00pm, march organizers had to send out a text asking marchers to disperse from the march route because the crowds had swelled beyond the route’s capacity.

“We said it would take everyone to change everything– and everyone showed up,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

The New York march was led by different frontline communities who came from across the globe to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change:  from communities hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy, to people living in the shadow of coal-fired power plants and oil refineries, to those living in island nations already faced with evacuating their homes.

Once seen as an issue seen dividing environmentalists and labor, the march was also notable for the number of unions that joined the climate fight.  Nearly every single labor union in New
York helped organize turnout for the march, including the SEIU,
the largest union in the city and the second largest in the country.

“The frontlines of the climate crisis are low-income people, communities of color and indigenous communities here in the US and around the globe,” said Cindy Wiesner of The Climate Justice Alliance.    “We are the hardest hit by both climate disruption– the storms, floods and droughts– as well as by the polluting and wasteful industries causing global warming.  We are also at the forefront of innovative community-led solutions for a just transition off fossil fuels and an economy good for both people and the planet,” Wiesner said.

“Our members are marching because climate change affects all of us,” added Héctor Figueroa.  

“We live in the communities that get destroyed by storms like Sandy.  We work in the buildings that get flooded.  We get hit by health epidemics like asthma that are rampant in our communities.  And we care about the world that we will leave for our children and grandchildren,” Figueroa said.

Others, however, like the financial powerhouse Forbes magazine, believe the march was blown out of proportion for all the wrong reasons, calling it simply, Jumping the Shark.

Meerkat Media’s extraordinary video, Into the Streets, offers a glimpse of what the march was all about and the importance of everyone being on the same page for changing what we can– before it’s too late to do anything at all.

 

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