Truthout Stories Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:42:01 -0500 en-gb Have You Told Your Colleagues You Are Not a Terrorist Today?

Cross-posted on Defense One.

Mary Ellen Callahan is not a terrorist. But her intelligence community colleagues routinely called her one because she tried to do her job as the chief privacy officer at the Department of Homeland Security. In a recent interview, Callahan gives a personal account of the challenges she faced when trying to apply privacy protections to intelligence collection programs:

Intelligence officials have gone to great lengths to avoid public accountability. Under Director John Brennan, the CIA stonewalled and spied on congressional investigators examining its torture program, then threatened them with criminal prosecution. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper falsely denied that the NSA collects data on millions of Americans during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. These are just two of many examples of deceptive behavior designed to resist democratic oversight of intelligence activities. Clapper has argued that his “least untruthful” response was necessitated by his obligation to protect the secrecy of the critical national security programs he was responsible for managing. The public needn’t worry about the lack of sunlight on intelligence activities, officials , because vigorous internal oversight mechanisms ensure that intelligence agencies do not abuse their authority.

So it is more than disheartening to hear that members of the intelligence community would act in such a childish and unprofessional manner toward a fellow government official assigned to conduct this difficult but critical duty of internal oversight. Callahan served as the chief privacy officer and chief freedom of information officer at DHS from March 2009 to August 2012, and held some of the highest security clearances our government offers. Her job was to examine DHS policies and review its performance to ensure that as DHS officials pursued their important missions, complied with their legal obligations to protect the privacy of those they interacted with, and provide public accountability. Fulfilling these requirements is not optional in a democratic society; it is an essential part of good governance for any agency. Yet for performing her duties, her colleagues regularly called her an agent of the enemy. This experience revealed troubling attitudes within the intelligence community regarding their attitudes toward the laws governing the behavior of its agents.

It should be no surprise that people working in national security have a tendency toward overzealousness. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned in 1928 that “the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” The more crucial the mission and the greater secrecy in which it is carried out the greater the potential for abuse, even among the most well-intentioned workforce. This is the reason we have internal oversight mechanisms like privacy officers embedded within these intelligence and security agencies.

The DHS privacy office was created by statute, making it one of the most powerful in government. Callahan describes the scope of her work:

Yet even with the advantages her office held, her concerns for the proper resolution of privacy issues were met with disdain by officials so singularly focused on their anti-terrorism duties that they lost sight of other essential values they are bound to protect. It is one thing to vigorously pursue an important national security mission, but quite another to view constitutional limitations on government as a scheme of the enemy.

An example of an inter-agency struggle Callahan valiantly fought but lost was her attempt to resist amendments to the National Counterterrorism Center’s guidelines proposed by the attorney general and director of national intelligence. These new guidelines, which were implemented in 2012 despite Callahan’s protest, authorized the National Counterterrorism Center to ingest any federal government database wholesale, despite containing personal information of millions of people not suspected of any wrongdoing, if its director determined it might also contain some terrorism-related information. Callahan describes the problem with the intelligence community’s excessive information sharing practices.

Unfortunately, the unreasonable resistance Callahan faced performing internal oversight was not unique.

Clark Kent Ervin served as the first inspector general at DHS, from January 2003 until December 2004, when his recess appointment expired after the Senate Homeland Security Committee failed to schedule a confirmation hearing. Ervin had been the State Department inspector general the previous year, so he brought that experience plus a firm belief that independent oversight is essential to ensuring the success of Homeland Security’s mission. Ervin talks about the role of oversight in ensure intelligence programs are run within the law and in a way that protects our civil rights and liberties.

As he wrote in his book, Open Target: Where America is Vulnerable to Attack, Ervin recognized the difficult challenge DHS Secretary Tom Ridge faced in leading a new department cobbled together from existing parts. But he felt his responsibility as inspector general was to assist the DHS mission by ensuring that its programs and operations ran as effectively and efficiently as possible. His audits discovered serious deficiencies in port and aviation security, as well as waste, fraud and abuse in many other DHS programs. Rather than appreciate his identification of these security gaps, Ervin discovered that DHS management saw him as “a traitor and turncoat.”

In their interviews, Callahan and Ervin are both quite gracious in laying the blame on human nature, rather than the government officials who disparaged them. They point out that no one likes being criticized or having someone looking over their shoulder, so while the resistance they met was unfortunate, it was understandable. Instead, their frustration was one of principle — that their colleagues did not recognize the value that oversight measures add to their shared mission of providing the best and most cost effective security possible, while still complying with their legal obligations to protect privacy and civil liberties.

But identifiable weaknesses in human nature can, and should, be addressed through effective leadership. Ervin’s experience at the State Department, where Secretary Colin Powell embraced the inspector general’s role in securing public trust in foreign policy, stood in marked contrast to his experiences at DHS. Similarly, Callahan reported receiving strong support from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, which helped her win four of five internal battles she brought to Napolitano for resolution.

The open disdain that Clapper and Brennan display to their congressional overseers sets a poor example for the intelligence workforce. Their contempt for constitutional restraints ensures another generation of internal watchdogs will be maligned, rather than embraced as a necessary corrective to waste, error, and abuse.

For edited transcripts of the interviews of Mary Ellen Callahan and Clark Kent Ervin, click here.

News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:11:59 -0500
Noam Chomsky: Opposing Iran Nuclear Deal, Israel's Goal Isn't Survival - It's Regional Dominance

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in the United States as part of his bid to stop a nuclear deal with Iran during a controversial speech before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. Dozens of Democrats are threatening to boycott the address, which was arranged by House Speaker John Boehner without consulting the White House. Netanyahu’s visit comes just as Iran and six world powers, including the United States, are set to resume talks in a bid to meet a March 31 deadline. "For both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran," says Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "They have a common interest in ensuring there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region." Chomsky also responds to recent revelations that in 2012 the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, contradicted Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb, concluding that Iran was "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons."


AARON MATÉ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Washington as part of his bid to stop a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu will address the lobby group AIPAC today, followed by a controversial speech before Congress on Tuesday. The visit comes just as Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., are set to resume talks in a bid to meet a March 31st deadline. At the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Netanyahu’s trip won’t threaten the outcome.

PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: I think the short answer to that is: I don’t think so. And the reason is simply that there is a real opportunity for us here. And the president is hopeful that we are going to have an opportunity to do what is clearly in the best interests of the United States and Israel, which is to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program at the negotiating table.

AARON MATÉ: The trip has sparked the worst public rift between the U.S. and Israel in over two decades. Dozens of Democrats could boycott Netanyahu’s address to Congress, which was arranged by House Speaker John Boehner without consulting the White House. The Obama administration will send two officials, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, to address the AIPAC summit today. This comes just days after Rice called Netanyahu’s visit, quote, "destructive."

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also facing domestic criticism for his unconventional Washington visit, which comes just two weeks before an election in which he seeks a third term in Israel. On Sunday, a group representing nearly 200 of Israel’s top retired military and intelligence officials accused Netanyahu of assaulting the U.S.-Israel alliance.

But despite talk of a U.S. and Israeli dispute, the Obama administration has taken pains to display its staunch support for the Israeli government. Speaking just today in Geneva, Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the U.N. Human Rights Council for what he called an "obsession" and "bias" against Israel. The council is expected to release a report in the coming weeks on potential war crimes in Israel’s U.S.-backed Gaza assault last summer.

For more, we spend the hour today with world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, Noam Chomsky. He has written over a hundred books, most recently On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare. His forthcoming book, co-authored with Ilan Pappé, is titled On Palestine and will be out next month. Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.

Noam Chomsky, it’s great to have you back here at Democracy Now!, and particularly in our very snowy outside, but warm inside, New York studio.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Delighted to be here again.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Noam, let’s start with Netanyahu’s visit. He is set to make this unprecedented joint address to Congress, unprecedented because of the kind of rift it has demonstrated between the Republicans and the Democratic president, President Obama. Can you talk about its significance?

NOAM CHOMSKY: For both president—Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran. They have a common interest in ensuring that there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region. And it is—if we believe U.S. intelligence—don’t see any reason not to—their analysis is that if Iran is developing nuclear weapons, which they don’t know, it would be part of their deterrent strategy. Now, their general strategic posture is one of deterrence. They have low military expenditures. According to U.S. intelligence, their strategic doctrine is to try to prevent an attack, up to the point where diplomacy can set in. I don’t think anyone with a grey cell functioning thinks that they would ever conceivably use a nuclear weapon, or even try to. The country would be obliterated in 15 seconds. But they might provide a deterrent of sorts. And the U.S. and Israel certainly don’t want to tolerate that. They are the forces that carry out regular violence and aggression in the region and don’t want any impediment to that.

And for the Republicans in Congress, there’s another interest—namely, to undermine anything that Obama, you know, the entity Christ, might try to do. So that’s a separate issue there. The Republicans stopped being an ordinary parliamentary party some years ago. They were described, I think accurately, by Norman Ornstein, the very respected conservative political analyst, American Enterprise Institute; he said the party has become a radical insurgency which has abandoned any commitment to parliamentary democracy. And their goal for the last years has simply been to undermine anything that Obama might do, in an effort to regain power and serve their primary constituency, which is the very wealthy and the corporate sector. They try to conceal this with all sorts of other means. In doing so, they’ve had to—you can’t get votes that way, so they’ve had to mobilize sectors of the population which have always been there but were never mobilized into an organized political force: evangelical Christians, extreme nationalists, terrified people who have to carry guns into Starbucks because somebody might be after them, and so on and so forth. That’s a big force. And inspiring fear is not very difficult in the United States. It’s a long history, back to colonial times, of—as an extremely frightened society, which is an interesting story in itself. And mobilizing people in fear of them, whoever "them" happens to be, is an effective technique used over and over again. And right now, the Republicans have—their nonpolicy has succeeded in putting them back in a position of at least congressional power. So, the attack on—this is a personal attack on Obama, and intended that way, is simply part of that general effort. But there is a common strategic concern underlying it, I think, and that is pretty much what U.S. intelligence analyzes: preventing any deterrent in the region to U.S. and Israeli actions.

AARON MATÉ: You say that nobody with a grey cell thinks that Iran would launch a strike, were it to have nuclear weapons, but yet Netanyahu repeatedly accuses Iran of planning a new genocide against the Jewish people. He said this most recently on Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, saying that the ayatollahs are planning a new holocaust against us. And that’s an argument that’s taken seriously here.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s taken seriously by people who don’t stop to think for a minute. But again, Iran is under extremely close surveillance. U.S. satellite surveillance knows everything that’s going on in Iran. If Iran even began to load a missile—that is, to bring a missile near a weapon—the country would probably be wiped out. And whatever you think about the clerics, the Guardian Council and so on, there’s no indication that they’re suicidal.

AARON MATÉ: The premise of these talks—Iran gets to enrich uranium in return for lifting of U.S. sanctions—do you see that as a fair parameter? Does the U.S. have the right, to begin with, to be imposing sanctions on Iran?

NOAM CHOMSKY: No, it doesn’t. What are the right to impose sanctions? Iran should be imposing sanctions on us. I mean, it’s worth remembering—when you hear the White House spokesman talk about the international community, it wants Iran to do this and that, it’s important to remember that the phrase "international community" in U.S. discourse refers to the United States and anybody who may be happening to go along with it. That’s the international community. If the international community is the world, it’s quite a different story. So, two years ago, the Non-Aligned—former Non-Aligned Movement—it’s a large majority of the population of the world—had their regular conference in Iran in Tehran. And they, once again, vigorously supported Iran’s right to develop nuclear power as a signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That’s the international community. The United States and its allies are outliers, as is usually the case.

And as far as sanctions are concerned, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s now 60 years since—during the past 60 years, not a day has passed without the U.S. torturing the people of Iran. It began with overthrowing the parliamentary regime and installing a tyrant, the shah, supporting the shah through very serious human rights abuses and terror and violence. As soon as he was overthrown, almost instantly the United States turned to supporting Iraq’s attack against Iran, which was a brutal and violent attack. U.S. provided critical support for it, pretty much won the war for Iraq by entering directly at the end. After the war was over, the U.S. instantly supported the sanctions against Iran. And though this is kind of suppressed, it’s important. This is George H.W. Bush now. He was in love with Saddam Hussein. He authorized further aid to Saddam in opposition to the Treasury and others. He sent a presidential delegation—a congressional delegation to Iran. It was April 1990—1989, headed by Bob Dole, the congressional—

AMY GOODMAN: To Iraq? Sent to Iraq?

NOAM CHOMSKY: To Iraq. To Iraq, sorry, yeah—to offer his greetings to Saddam, his friend, to assure him that he should disregard critical comment that he hears in the American media: We have this free press thing here, and we can’t shut them up. But they said they would take off from Voice of America, take off critics of their friend Saddam. That was—he invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to the United States for advanced training in weapons production. This is right after the Iraq-Iran War, along with sanctions against Iran. And then it continues without a break up to the present.

There have been repeated opportunities for a settlement of whatever the issues are. And so, for example, in, I guess it was, 2010, an agreement was reached between Brazil, Turkey and Iran for Iran to ship out its low-enriched uranium for storage elsewhere—Turkey—and in return, the West would provide the isotopes that Iran needs for its medical reactors. When that agreement was reached, it was bitterly condemned in the United States by the president, by Congress, by the media. Brazil was attacked for breaking ranks and so on. The Brazilian foreign minister was sufficiently annoyed so that he released a letter from Obama to Brazil proposing exactly that agreement, presumably on the assumption that Iran wouldn’t accept it. When they did accept it, they had to be attacked for daring to accept it.

And 2012, 2012, you know, there was to be a meeting in Finland, December, to take steps towards establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region. This is an old request, pushed initially by Egypt and the other Arab states back in the early '90s. There's so much support for it that the U.S. formally agrees, but not in fact, and has repeatedly tried to undermine it. This is under the U.N. auspices, and the meeting was supposed to take place in December. Israel announced that they would not attend. The question on everyone’s mind is: How will Iran react? They said that they would attend unconditionally. A couple of days later, Obama canceled the meeting, claiming the situation is not right for it and so on. But that would be—even steps in that direction would be an important move towards eliminating whatever issue there might be. Of course, the stumbling block is that there is one major nuclear state: Israel. And if there’s a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone, there would be inspections, and neither Israel nor the United States will tolerate that.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to ask you about major revelations that have been described as the biggest leak since Edward Snowden. Last week, Al Jazeera started publishing a series of spy cables from the world’s top intelligence agencies. In one cable, the Israeli spy agency Mossad contradicts Prime Minister Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb within a year. In a report to South African counterparts in October 2012, the Israeli Mossad concluded Iran is "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons." The assessment was sent just weeks after Netanyahu went before the U.N. General Assembly with a far different message. Netanyahu held up a cartoonish diagram of a bomb with a fuse to illustrate what he called Iran’s alleged progress on a nuclear weapon.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: This is a bomb. This is a fuse. In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages. By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb. A red line should be drawn right here, before—before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2012. The Mossad assessment contradicting Netanyahu was sent just weeks after, but it was likely written earlier. It said Iran, quote, "does not appear to be ready," unquote, to enrich uranium to the highest levels needed for a nuclear weapon. A bomb would require 90 percent enrichment, but Mossad found Iran had only enriched to 20 percent. That number was later reduced under an interim nuclear deal the following year. The significance of this, Noam Chomsky, as Prime Minister Netanyahu prepares for this joint address before Congress to undermine a U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the striking aspect of this is the chutzpah involved. I mean, Israel has had nuclear weapons for probably 50 years or 40 years. They have, estimates are, maybe 100, 200 nuclear weapons. And they are an aggressive state. Israel has invaded Lebanon five times. It’s carrying out an illegal occupation that carries out brutal attacks like Gaza last summer. And they have nuclear weapons. But the main story is that if—incidentally, the Mossad analysis corresponds to U.S. intelligence analysis. They don’t know if Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But I think the crucial fact is that even if they were, what would it mean? It would be just as U.S. intelligence analyzes it: It would be part of a deterrent strategy. They couldn’t use a nuclear weapon. They couldn’t even threaten to use it. Israel, on the other hand, can; has, in fact, threatened the use of nuclear weapons a number of times.

AMY GOODMAN: So why is Netanyahu doing this?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Because he doesn’t want to have a deterrent in the region. That’s simple enough. If you’re an aggressive, violent state, you want to be able to use force freely. You don’t want anything that might impede it.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think this in any way has undercut the U.S. relationship with Israel, the Netanyahu-Obama conflict that, what, Susan Rice has called destructive?

NOAM CHOMSKY: There is undoubtedly a personal relationship which is hostile, but that’s happened before. Back in around 1990 under first President Bush, James Baker went as far as—the secretary of state—telling Israel, "We’re not going to talk to you anymore. If you want to contact me, here’s my phone number." And, in fact, the U.S. imposed mild sanctions on Israel, enough to compel the prime minister to resign and be replaced by someone else. But that didn’t change the relationship, which is based on deeper issues than personal antagonisms.

News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:05:22 -0500
Noam Chomsky: Despite Iran Spat, US Support for Israeli Occupation Continues Without Pause

Six months after the end of a devastating Israeli assault on Gaza, aid agencies have condemned the lack of progress in rebuilding Gaza, saying reconstruction of tens of thousands of destroyed homes, schools and hospitals has been "woefully slow," with 100,000 Palestinians still displaced. Our guest, Noam Chomsky, notes it was the Pentagon that supplied many of the weapons used in the massive destruction. "The arms were taken from arms the U.S. stores in Israel. They are pre-positioned in Israel for eventual use by U.S. forces," Chomsky says. "Israel is regarded essentially as an offshore military base."


AARON MATÉ: And meanwhile, support for the occupation continues, so much so that during the Gaza assault the U.S. rearmed Israel.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It was kind of interesting how the U.S. rearmed Israel. The arms—it’s true that the Pentagon sent more arms to Israel. They were actually running out of arms in this vicious assault against a totally defenseless population. The arms were taken from arms that the U.S. stores in Israel; they’re pre-positioned in Israel for eventual use by U.S. forces. That’s one part of the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance. That’s one small part of it, is that Israel is regarded as essentially an offshore military base. So we store, pre-position arms there, and some of those arms were transferred to Israeli control so that they could complete—continue the massive destruction of Gaza, which is horrific and one of many indications of the nature of the alliance.

It’s a very close alliance, and deep enough—so, for example, one of the interesting leaks from WikiLeaks was a U.S. government study of—a Pentagon study of sites in the world that are of such high significance that we must protect them at all costs. One of them was right near Haifa. It was the Rafael military industries. It’s one of the main producers of drones and other high-tech military equipment. And the relation—and that’s one of the highest—strategic sites of highest importance. And, in fact, the relationship is so close that Rafael actually transferred its management offices to Washington, where the money is and the contacts are. It’s essentially an offshore military base, in many ways, also a major source for U.S. investment, high-tech investment. So, Intel, for example, is setting up its major new facility for next-generation chips in Israel. Warren Buffett just bought a big Israeli company. There are many very close relationships, and they’re not going to be affected by a personal conflict between Baker and Shamir or Obama and Netanyahu.

AMY GOODMAN: And the Obama administration has taken great pains, even as this division has taken place, to show its support for Israel. On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. has intervened on Israel’s behalf hundreds of times in the international arena.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Prime minister of Israel is welcome to speak in the United States, obviously, and we have a closer relationship with Israel right now in terms of security than at any time in history. I was reviewing the record the other day. We have intervened on Israel’s behalf in the last two years more than several hundred—a couple of hundred times in over 75 different fora in order to protect Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: That was U.S. secretary of state on ABC’s This Week. Noam Chomsky?

NOAM CHOMSKY: And it’s interesting to look at the cases. The most—one of them actually received a fair amount of publicity, because it was so remarkable. That was, I suppose, February 2011, roughly, at the U.N. Security Council. There was a resolution proposed at the Security Council calling on Israel to abide by official U.S. policy. The official U.S. policy is objection to settlement expansion. It’s a pretty minor issue, incidentally. That’s what’s talked about. But the issue is the settlements, not the expansion. They’re all illegal. They’re criminal activities. They undermine any hope for any peaceful settlement. But U.S. policy is that settlement expansion is, as they put it, not helpful to peace. The Security Council proposed a resolution asking Israel to abide by official U.S. policy. Obama vetoed it. You know, that’s real support for Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to our discussion with the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Noam Chomsky. Stay with us.

News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:59:40 -0500
Activist Ai-jen Poo: "We Owe It to Ourselves to Support People's Living"

In her book, The Age of Dignity, Ai-jen Poo advances the idea that we can create good jobs for caregivers and allow elders and the disabled to remain in their homes rather than be placed in more costly institutions for custodial care. The current elder boom will give US society an opportunity to create a more caring economy.

Ai-Jen Poo. (Photo: Michele Asselin)Ai-Jen Poo. (Photo: Michele Asselin)As the average age of the US population continues to rise, the nation will need to improve and transform what is currently an inadequately developed and funded system of care. In The Age of Dignity, Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, provides a blueprint for building a culture that supports and values the care of our elders. Order the book from Truthout now by clicking here!

It's a bitterly cold early February afternoon and Ai-jen Poo - a 2014 MacArthur "genius" award winner, author of a just-released book called The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America, co-founder of the 15-year-old New York City-based Domestic Workers United, and the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance - is sipping tea in a bustling café in downtown Brooklyn. I'm five minutes early for our prearranged meeting, but it's clear that Poo has been nestled in a corner table, writing and preparing a presentation, for a while. Waving hello, she motions for me to sit while she finishes a call. Her focus then shifts and she graciously prepares to be interviewed. She smiles widely, warmly. And while I suspect she's answered each of my questions many times before, she evinces neither boredom nor annoyance. Instead, she gives me her wholehearted attention and appears to think deeply about everything I ask.

Now 41, Poo is on a Caring Across America tour to promote The Age of Dignity. But this is far more than a simple book tour. Poo's agenda is enormous and will potentially transform US social arrangements. The goal? To make caregiving a national priority and improve the salaries and benefits of the nearly 2 million workers who currently provide in-home assistance to the elderly and disabled.

There's not a moment to waste, Poo notes, since every eight seconds another American turns 65 and more likely than not, would prefer to age in place, that is, remain at home, with help, for as long as possible. "We know that people can work and play longer if they have the right support," Poo says. "Home care can be cost saving and prevent hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations, but we have to empower home health aides and pay them well. It's not a question of whether we'll live or die. We'll all die. But we owe it to ourselves to support people's living."

Part of what's needed, she continues, is increased respect for intergenerational relationships, something her parents and grandparents hammered home throughout her childhood. They taught her numerous lessons that she carries with her into organizing projects, she reports, among them the importance of storytelling to transmit history, ethics and values from one generation to the next. Furthermore, Poo credits the power of personal example - her dad's pro-democracy activism while a student in Taiwan and the compassionate care her mother provides as an oncologist - for her own humanism.

There were additional lessons, too. Although her grandfather died a number of years back, she says that he received excellent care from a worker who now assists her 87-year-old grandmother, enabling her to stay in her Southern California apartment and participate in a host of community activities. Her family is lucky, she adds, because they have the economic resources to pay for the care that's necessary.

How about those who are less well-heeled? I ask. "We need a whole new program for long-term care," Poo says, "Germany and Japan are models we can look toward since neither country separates long-term care from other health services. Long-term care is simply part of government-supported comprehensive coverage. Working-age adults contribute through a salary deduction and are ultimately able to get the supports they need when they age or become infirm."

While this seems unlikely in the United States - after all, the Republicans have already attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 56 times since it was passed in 2010 - Poo says that she is undaunted. In fact, she says that activists will have an opportunity to raise this and other care-related issues at upcoming White House Conferences on Aging that will take place in Boston, Cleveland, Washington, DC, Phoenix and Seattle before year's end. "This is going to be a big year, with the potential to elevate the issue of aging," she says, grinning.

Indeed, these once-a-decade confabs could not be better timed, she continues, since current projections estimate that 20 percent of the US population will be 65 or older by 2030. "Home care is the fastest growing employment category in the country right now," she says. "If we want seniors to be comfortable and well-cared for, if we want caretakers to be well-paid and respected, things have to change on the familial, community and societal levels."

Poo understands that she is up against formidable cultural and legal odds, from the assumption that family members will have the time and resources to provide unpaid care to family elders, to the lack of federal protections for in-home employees. "As a nation, we've yet to fully embrace aging or account for the fact that paid caregiving - work typically done by immigrant females - involves a huge, and rapidly expanding, labor force that is not yet valued for its contributions. Worse, the interests of consumers and provider are too often pitted against one another. We need to recognize that, at some point, all of us will either be providing the care or needing it."

Poo stops for a minute, seemingly intent on finishing her tea. This allows me to absorb what she's just said. I'm suddenly slightly uneasy, a bit off-kilter, which I later realize is exactly what she was going for. "I hope people reading the book, attending a reading or listening to the message through another source will be prompted to open up some space to think about death and aging. I hope they find a way to balance their very real fears about age or infirmity with the joy that comes from being interdependent. I want people to see that accepting support when it's needed can be a sign of strength, rather than weakness. None of us would ever accomplish anything without the care of others."

Absolutely, I nod. At the same time, attitude is not everything and I wonder what she sees as the government's role in promoting and compensating in-home caregiving. First and foremost, she says, is undoing the lack of legal protections afforded to nannies and aides to the elderly. When the federal Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1935, Poo explains, it exempted both groups. "It's called the companionship exemption," she says. "To its credit, last year the Department of Labor tried to deal with the exemption by narrowing the definition of companion so that approximately 2 million domestic workers would have been covered by minimum wage and overtime protections. It was to have taken effect on January 1, 2015."

It didn't happen, she adds, and for the first time since we began speaking, she sounds dejected and maybe even angry. "The home care lobby sued the Department of Labor to stay the provision and the matter is now tied up in the courts," she says, sighing.

Again, she pauses, as if to contemplate the magnitude of the resistance. "To think that there are groups in the US that publicly state that home care workers should not be covered by minimum wage laws is appalling to me, especially since the US population is aging so rapidly. We should be expanding home care options and showing that we value the relationship between caregivers and those they care for. It shocks me that in many states domestic workers are still underpaid and disrespected."

Within a few seconds, however, the look of exasperation on Poo's face completely vanishes, her tone shifts and she begins speaking about the many victories that domestic workers have exacted since the movement began 15 years ago - not the least of them being the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, a set of labor protections that have become law in New York State, California and Hawaii during the last five years. "My biggest joy is seeing workers organize, overcome adversity - and win," she says.

These victories sustain her, she continues. What's more, she credits the intrepid organizing of domestic workers across the country with inspiring the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to name her a 2014 "genius." "It took me a while to figure out what was going on when I got the call," she says, laughing. "It's not the kind of thing you ever imagine happening. I see my winning as a reflection of the MacArthur Foundation's willingness to really see the workforce that I represent and the excellent example these workers have shown the world. Often exploited domestic workers have taken what feels like an intractable issue and found a way to move forward. It's their movement that has energized people."

Poo plans to use the award - $625,000 - to establish an endowed fellowship for domestic laborers. "As soon as the book tour finishes in April, I plan to try and find donors to match the MacArthur grant so that every year, two or three workers affiliated with the National Domestic Workers Alliance can take a year off from caregiving to study community organizing, leadership development and learn about the legislative process." The soft-spoken Poo becomes increasingly animated as she describes the program she hopes to establish. "Domestic workers are incredibly tenacious and committed to organizing," she says, "which is why this fellowship is so important."

Does she ever get discouraged or overwhelmed? I ask in closing. "As long as domestic workers are willing to stand up and organize, I'm willing to do my bit, but I do get tired sometimes," Poo admits. As for the necessary recharge, the 1996 Columbia University graduate says that she relaxes by doing yoga. "I practice several times a week; it has helped me maintain focus and weather every storm." She smiles, then looks at her phone, notes the hour and begins to bundle up. It's time to head to the Brooklyn Historical Society for a panel on aging, the care crisis and the essential work of domestic labor.

Progressive Picks Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:06:52 -0500
Right to Work ]]> Art Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:54:58 -0500 The Obama Administration, Shell and the Fate of the Arctic Ocean

Here’s a Jeopardy!-style question for you: “Eight different species of whales can be seen in these two American seas.” Unless you’re an Iñupiaq, a marine biologist, or an Arctic enthusiast like me, it’s a pretty good guess that you can’t tell me what those seas are or what those whales are either. The answer: the Chukchi Sea and the adjacent Beaufort Sea, off Arctic Alaska, and you can commonly spot bowhead, beluga, and grey whales there, while fin whales, minkes, humpbacks, killer whales, and narwhals are all venturing into these seas ever more often as the Arctic and its waters continue to warm rapidly.

The problem, however, is that the major oil company Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer and that could, in the long term, spell doom for one of the last great, relatively untouched oceanic environments on the planet. Let me explain why Shell’s drilling ambitions are so dangerous. Just think of the way the blowout of one drilling platform, BP’s Deepwater Horizon, devastated the Gulf of Mexico.  Now, imagine the same thing happening without any clean-up help in sight.

You might have heard about “the sixth extinction,” the way at this moment species are blinking off at a historically unprecedented rate. The Arctic seas of Alaska, however, still are sanctuaries not only for tens of thousands of whales, but also hundreds of thousands of walruses and seals, millions of birds, thousands of polar bears, and innumerable fish from more than one hundred species, not to mention all the uncharismatic sub-sea life that eludes our eyes but makes up the food web -- phytoplankton, sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers, to name only a few. Think of the Arctic Ocean as among the last remaining marine ecological paradises on the planet.

Now for that oil. Looking for it in Arctic waters happens to be the most dangerous form of drilling imaginable, because no proven technology exists that could clean up a major oil spill in distant ice-choked seas in the cold and dark, under one of the harshest environments on Earth. Even during the brief “summer” open-water season, ice floes remain a constant threat as Shell found out in 2012 when one of its drill ships encountered a floe the size of Manhattan and was forced to disconnect from its seafloor anchor and temporarily halt its operations. Deep fog severely restricts visibility. Storms are not exceptions but the norm, and are becoming more frequent and violent in a rapidly warming region.

Beluga Whales with calves near Kasegaluk Lagoon along the Chukchi Sea coast, July 2006. About 4,000 beluga whales are known to calve along that lagoon. On this day in early July, we saw nearly 1,000 whales with newborn calves within a one-mile stretch. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)Beluga Whales with calves near Kasegaluk Lagoon along the Chukchi Sea coast, July 2006. About 4,000 beluga whales are known to calve along that lagoon. On this day in early July, we saw nearly 1,000 whales with newborn calves within a one-mile stretch. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)

I’ve spent much time in the Arctic and, believe me, it’s a forbidding environment for outsiders.  In late September, as summer gives way to autumn, ice begins to form in the seas and darkness descends. Any spill that occurs late in the brief potential drilling season would remain untouched and unattended to until the ice melted the following summer. But even if such a blowout occurred in summer, there is no infrastructure in place to respond to a disaster. The nearest Coast Guard station is more than 1,000 miles away.  And keep in mind that a disaster of this sort would not remain conveniently contained in the Arctic. As a recent U.S. National Research Council study on responding to an Arctic offshore oil spill puts it, “The risk of an oil spill in the Arctic presents hazards for the Arctic nations and their neighbors.”

Add to this potential nightmare scenario another little fact: Shell has garnered a well-deserved reputation as “the company with the spottiest Arctic record.” In September 2012, it initiated exploration drilling in U.S. Arctic waters with a conditional permit from the Obama administration, only to end a disastrous year in which one of its two drill rigs, the Kulluk, was grounded in the Gulf of Alaska on New Year’s Eve. The other ship, Noble Discoverer, suffered damage after catching fire, while both were fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act, and the contractor Noble Drilling pleaded guilty in 2014 to all eight felony charges leveled against it for environmental violations and agreed to ante up $12.2 million in fines and community service payments. Because of the damage to its rigs, Shell was forced to give up its 2013 drilling plans. A court ruling in January 2014 in favor of local Iñupiat tribes and environmentalists forced the company not to drill that summer either.

Since then, the price of oil has plunged, sending a shock wave across the oil industry and deep-sixing all sorts of prospective plans planet-wide to drill in Arctic waters: Norway’s Statoil shelved its 2015 drilling plan in the Barents Sea off that country’s northern coast and handed back the three leases it had purchased in the Baffin Bay off the west coast of Greenland. Chevron put its plan to drill in Canada’s Beaufort Sea on indefinite hold. Following the Ukraine crisis and American sanctions on Russia, ExxonMobil was prohibited from working with the oil company Rosneft on a joint plan to drill in the Kara Sea in the Russian Arctic. Even had those sanctions not been in place, the low price of oil would have made such exploration a far less appetizing prospect for the moment.

“It is up to Shell then to keep the oil industry’s Arctic dreams alive,” one journalist suggested and indeed, on January 29th, that company announced that, after a two-year hiatus, it would drill this summer in the Chukchi Sea. Two weeks later, the Obama administration issued its final supplemental environmental impact statement on the site where the drilling would take place, the controversial Chukchi Lease Sale 193, bringing Shell’s plan one step closer to reality.

But before considering the politics of oil drilling there, let’s take a little dive into the Arctic Ocean and the history of its exploitation.

Who Owns the Arctic Ocean?

For more than four centuries, western nations have regarded the Arctic Ocean as an economic treasure chest. The oil harvested from Arctic whales helped fuel the economies of countries in Europe and North America and drove the magnificent bowhead whale to near extinction.

Prayer after a whale hunt. Iñupiat Elder Isaac Akootchook and whaling captain James Lampe offer a prayer to thank the Creator and the whale for offering food for the community, Kaktovik, along the Beaufort Sea coast, September 2001. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)Prayer after a whale hunt. Iñupiat Elder Isaac Akootchook and whaling captain James Lampe offer a prayer to thank the Creator and the whale for offering food for the community, Kaktovik, along the Beaufort Sea coast, September 2001. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)

In February 1880, the future creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, then a 20-year-old medical student, interrupted his studies for a six-month voyage on the Arctic whaler, Hope, as the ship’s surgeon. From his diary we learn that the drive to profit trumped any concern about the possible extinction of the bowhead, or Greenland, whale.  “Price tends to rise steadily for the number of the creatures is diminishing,” he wrote, “probably not more than 300 of them left alive in the whole expanse of the Greenland seas.” On another day, he added that, “[T]he creatures…own those unsailed seas.” Of course, those seas were anything but “unsailed” as commercial ships were plying them to harvest whales, so consider that instead Doyle’s euphoric expression of how it felt to him to see the life in that ocean.

Today, to the extent that seas can be “owned,” governments own them and are selling pieces off to the highest bidders -- oil companies. Ownership or territorial control for commercial exploitation is, however, only one side of the story of the Arctic Ocean. The magnificent and complex ecology of the northern seas is now being altered by three human-caused phenomena: climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution.

Arctic sea ice is vanishing at an astonishing rate thanks to climate change, which is having devastating impacts on the region’s polar bears and walruses. In the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska and Arctic Canada, the polar bear population declined by 40% between 2001 and 2010. Meanwhile, in six of the last eight years, tens of thousands of Pacific walruses have hauled themselves out onto barrier islands and tundra along the Chukchi Sea because there was no sea ice left for them to rest on. Onshore, walruses are far from their food sources and young walruses are particularly susceptible to being trampled to death by the adults in the colony.

Sea ice along the Beaufort Sea coast, July 2002. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)Sea ice along the Beaufort Sea coast, July 2002. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)Commercial whaling in the region, which started in 1848, ended by about 1921, when petroleum supplanted whale oil as the fuel of choice. With no industrial activity in those waters for more than half a century, the bowhead population slowly began to recover. Whales don’t depend on sea ice the way polar bears and walruses do, so in 2011 the bowhead population in the U.S. Arctic was estimated at almost 17,000 and is increasing by 3.7% per year.

The half-century of commercial calm in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas ended, however, in the late 1970s, when oil exploration began. By the early 1990s, the expensive hunt for oil in Arctic seas had largely failed and almost all leases were relinquished. The second wave of U.S. Arctic offshore oil and gas exploration only started when George W. Bush took office. Between 2003 and 2008 leases were sold on more than three million acres in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, while generating substantial controversy and court challenges from the tribal Iñupiat peoples and environmental groups. The persistence of this resistance to drilling, along with the recent price collapse, has marked the second boom-and-bust cycle in Arctic exploration.  The French company Total, for instance, simply walked away from the U.S. Arctic in 2012 pointing out that offshore drilling there could lead to a “disaster,” and other companies have put exploration on indefinite hold -- but not Shell.

Inevitability and Rush

Historically, government-sponsored research on the U.S. Arctic has been driven not by that hallmark of science, curiosity, but by the desire to drill for oil and gas -- by, that is, two impulses that are quite unscientific in nature. The first is an oil-company-inculcated urge to transform the decision to drill into a sense of inevitability and the second is an oil-company-sponsored urge to rush the process.

In fact, according to the National Research Council oil spill response study, systematic data collection in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas only began in the late 1970s -- in other words, just as the first wave of Arctic offshore oil exploration was revving up. Onshore, the situation was the same: the initial comprehensive study of the flora and fauna of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge only took place in the mid-1980s, after the Reagan administration made a push to open it up to development -- and (irony of ironies) the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was what saved the refuge from industrial exploitation.

While there have only been sporadic studies of the marine environments in question since then, no comprehensive benchmark study for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas has ever been done; nor is there any thorough understanding of how the marine food web works in those seas, or of the population sizes and distribution of any but the sentinel species (whales, polar bears, walruses, and seals). Even the data on them is considered “not reliable or precise enough to examine trends, evaluate influences from climate change, or estimate population-level damage in the event of an oil spill,” according to the National Research Council study.

The first benchmark study of the Hanna Shoal, one of the most biologically productive spots in the Chukchi Sea, only began in early August 2012. At the end of that month, the Obama administration gave Shell a conditional permit to begin drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. In other words, Arctic science hasn’t been guiding public policy, but rushing to catch up with the extractivist agenda of Big Oil.

Under the circumstances and given the perils of such extreme drilling in such an environment, what’s curious is the rush to inevitability exhibited by two successive administrations. And despite the recent collapse of oil prices, which makes such Arctic drilling prohibitively expensive and unprofitable, it hasn’t ended yet.  On January 27th, the White House noted a conservation decision it had made with this reassuring headline at its website: “President Obama Protects Untouched Marine Wilderness in Alaska.” The president had indeed withdrawn 9.8 million acres of U.S. Arctic waters, including Hanna Shoal, from future oil and gas lease sales.  Just over two weeks later, however, the administration also issued the final supplemental environmental impact statement for Chukchi Lease Sale 193, which includes blocks of Arctic waters adjacent to and upstream from Hanna Shoal. In such waters generally, “protection” is an exaggeration in any case because, as one senior scientist from the Hanna Shoal study team put it in 2012, “anything that goes in the water at the drill sites may end up in this very productive region.”

Keeping Arctic Resources Underground

The leases the Bush administration sold in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Lease Sale 193 among them, generated substantial controversy and met with legal challenges.  A coalition of native Alaskan and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the leases, the government’s inadequate gathering of baseline scientific data, and its unwillingness to appropriately assess what a potential blowout would mean to the ecology of the regions and the life of indigenous cultures there.

As it turned out, the plaintiffs won twice, first in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in 2010, and then in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2014. Following that ruling, the Department of Interior finally went back to the drawing board and, on October 31, 2014, released a new draft supplemental environmental impact statement that acknowledged some of the ecological realities of drilling in Arctic seas.  It suggested that there would be a 75% chance of one or more large oil spills (more than 1,000 barrels) if serious drilling began there and that any such spill could have catastrophic ecological consequences. The public comment period on the draft ended on December 22nd.

Nonetheless, this February, the Obama administration issued the final impact statement for Lease Sale 193 and sent the process forward. The Interior Department had by then taken less than two months, including the Christmas holiday season, to consider the more than 400,000 public comments it had received. “The analysis was rushed to cater to Shell’s desire to drill this summer,” Leah Donahey, Arctic Ocean senior campaign director with the Alaska Wilderness League, told me over the phone. Iñupiaq elder and conservationist Rosemary Ahtuangaruak emailed me this: “We are faced with a plan to drill in the Arctic Ocean -- Our Ocean, Our Garden, Our Future. With a clean ocean we have our traditions and culture, and our life, health, and safety. We risk all of it with this decision.”

The question, of course, should be: in a country that has, in recent years, opened so many new drilling vistas from the Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, creating what energy experts now call “Saudi America,” why is there still such a rush to industrialize the Arctic Ocean? Shell has a long history of trying to establish itself as a leader in Arctic exploration and drilling, and despite the inauspicious global situation for expensive forms of drilling, continues to push the process as fast as it can.

This, too, has long been the case.  In the fall of 2010, for instance, the company launched a “We have the technology, let’s go” multi-million-dollar ad campaign to pressure the Obama administration to green-light the necessary permits for exploratory drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.  In 2012, having gotten the necessary permits, it had a thoroughly disastrous drilling season, proving beyond a doubt that it did not “have the technology” to deal with the far North. Knowing that, and knowing as well that there is no proven technology for cleaning up a major oil spill in the ice-choked, forbidding, mostly dark environment of the Arctic seas, Shell is nonetheless back again.

Storm over Kasegaluk Lagoon, July 2006. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)Storm over Kasegaluk Lagoon, July 2006. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)

As part of an ongoing competition among the major oil companies, Shell is clearly trying to establish itself as quickly as possible as the dominant player in Arctic offshore drilling, just as BP did in the Gulf of Mexico -- with results that we remember well from the Deepwater Horizon blowout of 2010. Nonetheless, the Gulf looks like Club Med compared to the Arctic.  To let Shell drill in the Chukchi Sea when the price of oil is low and its profits slumping would be a rash act indeed, given that a company under pressure elsewhere has a tendency to cut costs and compromise safety. Shell has already set a precedent. In 2012, the company’s decision to avoid Alaskan taxes resulted in moving its drill ship Kulluk from Alaska to Washington, only to see it grounded along the way.

Some things can be counted on like the sun setting in the West.  In the extreme environment of the Arctic seas, a devastating oil spill is one of them if exploration is allowed to continue.  The Obama administration, having just opened the southeastern Atlantic Coast to large-scale future oil exploration and drilling, is now poised to let Shell turn America’s Arctic waters into a disaster area.  That it will happen sooner or later is a given should the company proceed.  That Washington is still considering letting Shell do it anyway should amaze us all.

The final decision about whether to “end or affirm” the Chukchi Sea oil leases will be made on March 20th. Shell still needs approval on several permits before it can head north. The Obama administration cannot approve these permits until Lease Sale 193 is finalized. This may have contributed to the administration’s rushed analysis of that impact statement.

In January, the prestigious science journal Nature published a study adding one more obvious factor to an already grim equation.  The development of oil and gas resources in the Arctic would, it wrote, be “incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 degrees centigrade.” In other words, at a moment when the planet is experiencing an oil glut, it’s possible that the Obama administration will add yet another potential source of extreme oil to the list of future sources of the greenhouse warming of this planet.

Think of drilling in the Arctic as a future catastrophe in a single enticing package.  In April, the United States takes over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council.  If it decides to let Shell proceed, how will it present itself to the rest of the Arctic nation states, the indigenous Arctic nations and organizations, and the rest of us?  Will it be as the Arctic driller-in-chief, the planet’s warmer-in-chief, or a country committed to climate change mitigation and the conservation of biotic life and indigenous cultures in the midst of the sixth great extinction event in the Earth’s history?

News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:44:24 -0500
Dishonest White House Response to Warren's Attack on Secret Panels in Trade Deals

Sen. Elizabeth Warren.Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Photo: Public Citizen)

Elizabeth Warren is clearly getting on the Administration’s nerves.

The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs.

What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.

Warren focused on the so-called investor-state dispute settlement process in a Washington Post op-ed last week. We’ve discussed these panels in gory detail in previous posts.

That article led the White House to issue a “lady doth protest too much” rebuttal that we’ll shred shortly. But let’s first review the state of play.

The Administration had no luck in the last Congress getting so-called “fast track” authorization for the TPP due to widespread opposition. It wasn’t just that Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to table it in the Senate. John Boehner made it clear that he couldn’t get the votes in Republican-controlled House to pass it either. Over 200 representatives, including some Republicans, signed letters or otherwise voiced reservations about the trade deals, and another 30 to 40 were believed to be against it. Although the Administration has tried to claim otherwise, the opposition goes well beyond the small cohort of “progressives”.

Part of the reason for the Congressional revolt is that the Administration has made it impossible for Congress to review the drafts properly. But another is that even some conservatives are willing to come out against these agreements as pork for big multinationals. For instance, the right wing think tank Cato supported the Warren op-ed:

An important pillar of trade agreements is the concept of “national treatment,” which says that imports and foreign companies will be afforded treatment no different from that afforded domestic products and companies. The principle is a commitment to nondiscrimination. But ISDS turns national treatment on its head, giving privileges to foreign companies that are not available to domestic companies. If a U.S. natural gas company believes that the value of its assets has suffered on account of a new subsidy for solar panel producers, judicial recourse is available in the U.S. court system only. But for foreign companies, ISDS provides an additional adjudicatory option.

As a practical matter, investment is a risky proposition. Foreign investment is even more so. But that doesn’t mean special institutions should be created to protect MNCs from the consequences of their business decisions. Multinational companies are savvy and sophisticated enough to evaluate risk and determine whether the expected returns cover that risk. Among the risk factors is the strength of the rule of law in the prospective investment jurisdiction. MNCs may want assurances, but why should they be entitled to them? ISDS amounts to a subsidy to mitigate the risk of outsourcing. While outsourcing shouldn’t be denigrated, punished, or taxed – companies should be free to allocate their resources as they see fit – neither should it be subsidized.

The trade deals are coming up again for a fast track vote, perhaps as soon as this week. Warren’s focus on the investor panels has the potential to raise awareness of how dangerous they are and stir more voters to press their Congressmen to nix fast track authority. Here is the guts of her case against these tribunals:

ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

If the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, big corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts.

And what was the White House’s response? It was dishonest at a high level and in detail.

On a high level, it asserts that subordinating the jurisdiction of US courts to secret, undemocratically accountable arbitration panels and given them the power to fine the US government for its laws and regulations is not a loss of sovereignity. Help me.

Last week, Lambert flagged that the Administration can’t even get its story straight. The text states:

The reality is that ISDS does not and cannot require countries to change any law or regulation.

Looking more broadly, TPP will result in higher levels of labor and environmental protections in most TPP countries than they have today.

Not only are those two statements inconsistent, but extensive work by Public Citizen demonstrates that the claims are misleading.

Narrowly speaking, suing ex post facto to make a government pay a foreign investor for his future lost profits does not “require” a country to revamp its rules. But who are you kidding? The ISDS mechanism vitiates enforcement.

In addition, the claim that the TPP will strengthen environmental protection is spurious. Wikileaks published a draft of the environment chapter. From Professor Jane Kelsey of New Zealand’s analysis:

The most egregious threat to the environment is the investment chapter, in particular the prior consent by all countries except Australia to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The vast majority of investment arbitrations under similar agreements involve natural resources, especially mining, and have resulted in billions of dollars of damages against governments for measures designed to protect the environment from harm caused by foreign corporations. The US is also demanding that contracts between investors and states that involve natural resources also have access to ISDS.

Moreover, notice how the White House claims is “ISDS does not and cannot require countries to change any law or regulation. ” as opposed to “the TPP does not and cannot”? That word choice was deliberate. Other provisions in the agreement explicitly require all signatories to conform their laws to the TPP. From Public Citizen’s analysis:

What is different with TAFTA [pending Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement] (and TPP) is the extent of “behind the border” agenda

• Typical boilerplate: “Each Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements.” …

• These rules are enforced by binding dispute resolution via foreign tribunals with ruling enforced by trade indefinite sanctions; No due process; No outside appeal. Countries must gut laws ruled against. Trade sanctions imposed…U.S. taxpayers must compensate foreign corporations.

• Permanence – no changes w/o consensus of all signatory countries. So, no room for progress, responses to emerging problems

• Starkly different from past of international trade between countries. This is diplomatic legislating of behind the border policies – but with trade negotiators not legislators or those who will live with results making the decisions.

• 3 private sector attorneys, unaccountable to any electorate, many of whom rotate between being “judges” & bringing cases for corps. against govts…Creates inherent conflicts of interest….

• Tribunals operate behind closed doors – lack basic due process

• Absolute tribunal discretion to set damages, compound interest, allocate costs

• No limit to amount of money tribunals can order govts to pay corps/investors
• Compound interest starting date if violation new norm ( compound interest ordered by tribunal doubles Occidental v. Ecuador $1.7B award to $3B plus

• Rulings not bound by precedent. No outside appeal. Annulment for limited errors.

In detail, the White House arguments were just as disingenuous. The text starts out by saying that arbitration is widely used and therefore the public should see it as safe and uncontroversial. Bollocks. Arbitration in the US is most often used in take-it-or-leave it contracts like brokerage and credit card agreements and cell phone contracts. And arbitration is hardly squeaky-clean even in the US; see the lawsuits and controversies faced by the National Arbitration Forum, for instance.

Moreover, the rebuttal attempts to depict these corporate star chambers as consistent with constitutional Fifth Amendment protections:

But when government takes its citizen’s property from them – be it a person’s home or their business – the government is required to provide compensation. This is a core principle reflected in the U.S. Constitution and recognized under international law and the legal systems of many countries.

So since this premise is so well accepted (and Warren reminds us that the TPP signatories all have grown-up legal systems), pray tell why do we need a special system of de facto above the legal system panels for the biggest, richest companies who are in a better position than just about anyone to press for their legal rights? The idea that a special legal venue that is for well-heeled multinationals has anything to do with the rights of ordinary citizens is an insult to the reader’s intelligence.

It’s ludicrous to compare run-of-the-mill US arbitration panels to ISDS forums. For example, in the US, arbitration clauses can be circumvented for reasons including failure of contract formation, unconscionability, and public policy. There’s no way out of ISDS. And recall Warren’s mention of conflicts of interest? It’s even worse than she intimated. Public Citizen examined how go between working for the companies and serving on the panels. A small and tight-knit group has disproportionate influence:

2015 0303ezw 1

Consider the implications of the fact that the 15, and the larger community of panel “regulars,” work both sides of the street. They draw cases that go before the trade panel, as well as hear them. Thus it’s in their interest to issue aggressive rulings in order to facilitate more cases being filed. Yet the White House has the temerity to describe repeatedly ISDS as “neutral arbitration”!

Voters are also supposed to take comfort from the fact that only 50 ISDS cases have been filed against the US and the US has won them all. That figure is meaningless without knowing the total filed, and irrelevant given, as Public Citizen stresses, investor rights are believed to be greatly strengthened in the TPP and TTIP, thus greatly increasing the role of these panels. Look at how this self-reinforcing system has been producing more case even before its gets its hoped-for turbo-charging through the pending trade deals:

2015 0303ezw 2

And these cases are typically high stakes for the targeted country. Naked Capitalism readers have often referred to the Philip Morris suit against Australia for its requirement of plain packaging for cigarettes with prominent health warnings. The Administration statement also tries hair-splitting over another case that galvanized opinion in Germany against these trade forums, also described briefly in Elizabeth Warren’s Washington Post article, that of Swedish power company Vattenfal suing the German government over lost potential future profits due to the phase-out of nuclear power in Germany. Vattenfal is a serial trade pact litigant against Germany. In 2011, it sued for expected €1 billion plus losses in the case mentioned by Warren. In 2009, Vattenfall sued the German federal government over stricter environmental regulations on its coal-fired power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg, seeking €1.4 billion plus interest in damages. The parties settled out of court in August 2010.

So how did the Administration try to brush that off? By saying basically that the case didn’t require Germany to change the law, just to pay investors “for abrogating existing commitments”. Since when do companies have a right to a stable business environment? Written law, case law, the competitive environment, consumer appetites, and input prices change all the time. The Administration is, with a straight face, trying to defend the notion that running a business should be made free of risk. And it brushes aside the point we raised earlier, that vitiating enforcement is tantamount to vitiating regulation.

The Administration also tries to minimize the area where the regulatory race to the bottom created by the pending trade deals is almost certain to work against the US: in the financial regulatory realm. As weak as US reforms have been, the US is nevertheless generally seen as having done more to re-regulate than European countries. Moreover, even to the extent UK and European regulators have strengthened their rules, they’ve taken approaches that differ somewhat from those of the US, such as using contingent capital (aka “bail ins”) while we have had stronger requirements for higher capital levels.

Now the White House missive does point out that “prudential measures” for financial firms are exempted from the ISDS process. But that notion is vague and untested. And some areas where the US has been very aggressive in taking action against foreign firms, such as money laundering, are clearly not about the safety of the financial system.

And finally, for the Administration to insinuate that the TPP will result in greater transparency is dubious, given that it’s made it well-nigh impossible for anyone in Congress to do a proper review of the text. While the US Trade Representative technically allows access, in practice, that right is empty. The Congressman himself must read the text; no sending staffers or bringing experts allowed, and only staffers from the committees with direct oversight of trade bills (the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee) are allowed to join their bosses. The USTR insists that the Congressman specify what chapter he wants to review in advance. The USTR then insists that the negotiator of those chapters be present. Since those negotiators travel, it usually takes three or four weeks to find a convenient time.

No note-taking is allowed. The text is full of bracketed sections where if language is disputed, the revisions suggested by other countries are in the brackets, with the country initials listed but then redacted, making it difficult to read (as in you can’t even read this dense text straight through; the flow of the document is interrupted by the various suggested changes). Having people from the USTR staring over your shoulder is distracting. And it’s an open question as to whether asking them questions is prudent, since it gives the USTR insight into what the Congressman is concerned about.

Perhaps these Congressmen have exceptional powers of concentration. But I read cases and legally dense material with some regularity, and I find my concentration starts going after an hour to an hour and a half. And I also find it is well nigh impossible to get much more than a general sense of a contract of any length in one pass. You need to go over it again and again to see how the various sections tie together to even have an approximate grasp of what it means. There’s simply no way that any Congressman has anything more than a very fuzzy idea of what is in the TPP and the TTIP.

They very fact that the Administration is going to such absurd lengths to prevent informed Congressional review should be sufficient reason in and of itself to turn down the Administration’s request for fast-track authority.

Call your Senators and Representative (find phone numbers here and here) and tell them to vote against fast track authority. If they are Democrats, stress that Elizabeth Warren is right, that the investor panels are a danger to America’s legal protections, and the Administration’s rebuttal is contradictory and belied by information already in the public domain. If they are Republicans, refer to the Cato analysis, that this is an unjustified de facto subsidy to multinational corporations that are better able to watch out for themselves than any other type of business. Encourage friends and family members to do the same. And tweet and circulate this post to help get the word out.

News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:07:53 -0500
Greece Gets Some Breathing Room, but a Fight Looms

2015.3.2.Krugman.main(Image: AMMER; Austria / CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate) Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can look calmly at the Greece deal. It's increasingly clear that the country came out in significantly better shape, at least for now.

The main action, as always, involves Greece's primary surplus - how much more will the country need to raise in revenue than it can spend on things other than interest? The question these past few days was whether the Greeks would be forced into agreeing to aim for very high primary surpluses under the threat of being pushed into immediate crisis. And they weren't.

One useful way to understand this is through careful parsing of the agreement's language, as done here by the economist Norbert Häring.

But I'd argue that in an important sense we're past that kind of word-chopping. Instead, we need to think about what happens substantively from here on out.

Right now, Greece has avoided a credit cutoff, and worse yet a move by the European Central Bank to pull the plug on the country's banks. And Greece has done so while getting its 2015 primary surplus target effectively waived.

The next step will come four months from now, when Greece makes its serious pitch for lower surpluses in future years. We don't know how that will go. But nothing that has happened so far is likely to weaken the Greek position in that future round. Suppose that the Germans claim that some ambiguously worded clause should be interpreted to mean that Greece must achieve a surplus of 4.5 percent of gross domestic product. Greece will say no, it doesn't - and then what? A couple of years ago, when all the Very Serious People of Europe believed utterly in austerity, Greece might have faced retaliation thanks to wording issues; not now.

So Greece has won relaxed conditions for this year, and breathing room in the run-up to the bigger fight ahead. It could be worse.

Phantom Fiscal Crises

Matthew Klein at the Financial Times recently took on a subject that is dear to my heart - the mysterious, persistent fear that Japan and other countries that borrow in their own currencies could suddenly face a Greek-style fiscal crisis if bond investors lose confidence, and that this is a reason to raise taxes or cut benefits even in a depressed economy.

I devoted my Mundell-Fleming lecture at the International Monetary Fund to this topic in 2013, where I had this to say: "Remarkably, nobody seems to have laid out exactly how a Greek-style crisis is supposed to happen in a country like Britain, the United States or Japan - and I don't believe that there is any plausible mechanism for such a crisis."

That's still true - but fear of such a crisis persists. It's true even though the apparent relationship between debt levels and borrowing costs has vanished now that the E.C.B. is doing its job as lender of last resort.

So what is the basis for this fear?

The answer I seem to get is fear of a dramatic flip in circumstances - that Japan, say, could engage in a sort of macroeconomic quantum tunneling, suddenly transitioning from deflation to runaway inflation and a crashing currency. That's not impossible. But it does seem an odd thing to be worrying about right now.

Opinion Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500
Would You Like Some Crushing Debt With That Degree?

Wall Street-style predatory capitalism has taken over our education system, and it's absolutely devastating a whole generation of young people.

When Latonya Suggs enrolled at Everest College, a branch of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges system, she thought she was taking the first step towards realizing her "American Dream."

But tens of thousands of dollars later, she realized that Everest wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

As Suggs told Democracy Now! recently, Everest didn't do anything to help her find a job after she graduated and was more interested in making money off her student loans than it was in making sure her degree was put to good use.

Latonya Suggs now has around $63,000 in student loan debt to her name, which is why last week she joined fourteen other former Corinthian Colleges students in refusing to pay back her student loans.

This is the nation's very first student loan strike, and it comes just as the government takes action against Corinthian Colleges for running what it calls "an illegal predatory lending scheme."

According to the government, "Corinthian lured tens of thousands of students to take out private loans to cover expensive tuition costs by advertising bogus job prospects and career services. [It] then used illegal debt collection tactics to strong-arm students into paying back those loans while still in school."

In other words, Corinthian Colleges isn't an education company as much as it's a blood-sucking debt collection agency.

That, in a nutshell, is everything that's wrong with the higher education system in this country.

Education is supposed to be part of the commons, something we all invest in as a society to make sure that everyone has a fair shot at achieving their intellectual potential - and to keep moving innovation, invention and the arts ahead in our country.

But since the introduction of Reaganomics, we've outsourced huge chunks of our education system to private for-profit corporations like Corinthian Colleges. And those private corporations have, in turn, morphed the education system into yet another arm of Wall Street-style predatory capitalism.

The dirty little secret, of course, is that the for-profit college industry is less about teaching anybody anything than it is about creating debt - debt that then be very profitably sold off in tranches - and even aggregated into derivatives - to banksters and wealthy investors.

Like every other part of our economy these days, the education system has become financialized, and for-profit colleges like Corinthian are really just phony shells for the latest bankster get-rich-quick scheme.

This is insane.

In no other country in the developed world are financiers and scam artists entrusted with managing the education commons.

Most developed nations actually make going to college free for all their citizens, so when it comes to how screwed up our higher education system is, the US really is exceptional.

This needs to change, and it needs to change now.

A college education is more than just the ticket to finding a good job - it's the foundation of our intellectual infrastructure. And if we continue to outsource that foundation to greedy private corporations who then provide our students with a crappy education and a lifetime of debt, our entire society suffers.

Not only will eager students lose out on a chance to actually improve their lives, but the rest of us also lose out on the all the long-term national benefits that come with having a truly informed and educated society.

Higher education is a fundamental part of the commons. Let's start acting like it and kick the banksters out of the classroom once and for all.

Opinion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:26:13 -0500
Higher Education and the Promise of Insurgent Public Memory

Higher education and the promise of insurgent memory(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Under the reign of neoliberalism, higher education appears to be increasingly decoupling itself from its historical legacy as a crucial public sphere, responsible for both educating students for the workplace and providing them with the modes of critical discourse, interpretation and experiences that deepen and expand democracy.

Higher education and the promise of insurgent memory(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

"What happens to the memory of history when it ceases to be testimony?" - James Young (1)

At a time when both political parties, anti-public intellectual pundits and mainstream news sources view the purpose of higher education almost exclusively as a workstation for training a global workforce, generating capital for the financial elite, and as a significant threat to the power of the military, corporate and financial elite, it becomes more difficult to reclaim a history in which the culture of business is not the culture of higher education. This is certainly not meant to suggest that higher education once existed in an ideal past in which it only functioned as a public good and provided a public service in the interest of developing a democratic polity.

Higher education has always been fraught with notable inequities and anti-democratic tendencies, but it also once functioned as a crucial reminder of both its own limitations and the potential role it might play in attacking social problems and deepening the promise of a democracy to come. As difficult as it may seem to believe, John Dewey's insistence that "democracy needs to be reborn in each generation, and education is its midwife" was once taken seriously by many academic leaders. (2) Today, it is fair to see that Dewey's once vaunted claim has been willfully ignored, forgotten or made an object of scorn. (3)

Throughout the 20th century, there have been flashpoints in which the struggle to shape the university in the interest of a more substantive democracy was highly visible. Those of us who lived through the 1960s remember a different image of the university. Rather than attempt to train MBAs, define education through the lens of mathematical utility, indoctrinate young people into the culture of capitalism, decimate the power of faculty and turn students into mindless consumers, the university presented itself as a site of struggle. That is, it served, in part, as a crucial public sphere that held power accountable, produced a vast array of critical intellectuals, joined hands with the antiwar and civil rights movements and robustly challenged what Mario Savio once called "the machine" - an operating structure infused by the rising strength of the financial elite that posed a threat to the principles of critique, dissent, critical exchange and a never-ending struggle for inclusivity. The once vibrant spirit of resistance that refused to turn the university over to corporate and military interests is captured in Savio's moving and impassioned speech on December 2, 1964, on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley:

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even tacitly take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears, upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all. (4)

The 1960s may have been the high point of that period in US education in which the merging of politics, justice, civil rights and the search for truth made clear what it meant to consider higher education as a democratic public sphere. Not everyone was pleased or supported this explosion of dissent, resistance to the Vietnam War and struggle to make campuses across the United States more inclusive and emancipatory. Conservatives were deeply disturbed by the campus revolts and viewed them as a threat to their dream worlds of privatization, deregulation, militarization, capital accumulation and commodification. What soon emerged was an intense struggle for the soul of higher education.

Read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project.

For instance, the Powell Memo was released on August 23, 1971, and authored for the Chamber of Commerce by Lewis F. Powell Jr., who would later be appointed as a member of the US Supreme Court. (5) Powell identified the US college campus "as the single most dynamic source" for producing and housing intellectuals "who are unsympathetic to the [free] enterprise system." (6) He recognized that one crucial strategy in changing the political composition of higher education was to convince university administrators and boards of trustees that the most fundamental problem facing universities was the lack of conservative educators, or what he labeled the "imbalance of many faculties." (7)

Conservatives have a long history of viewing higher education as a cradle of left-wing thought and radicalism.

The Powell Memo was designed to develop a broad-based strategy, not only to counter dissent but also to develop a material and ideological infrastructure with the capability to transform the US public consciousness through a conservative pedagogical commitment to reproduce the knowledge, values, ideology and social relations of the corporate state. Not only did the Powell Memo understand and take seriously the educative nature of politics, it also realized that if a crisis of economics was not matched by a crisis of ideas, it was easier to reproduce a society in which conformity could be bought off through the swindle of a neoliberal mantra that used the discourse of freedom, individuality, mobility and security to serve the interests of the rich and powerful. The Powell Memo was the most influential of one of a number of ideological interventions in the 1970s that developed political roadmaps to crush dissent, eliminate tenure and transform the university into an adjunct of free-market fundamentalism. But it certainly was not the first shot fired as part of a larger conservative struggle to shape US higher education. (8)

Conservatives have a long history of viewing higher education as a cradle of left-wing thought and radicalism. As early as the 1920s, conservatives were waging an ideological war against liberal education and the intellectuals who viewed higher education as a site of critical dialogue and a public sphere engaged in both the pursuit of truth and in developing a space where students learned to read both the word and world critically. Conservatives were horrified by the growing popularity of critical views of education and modes of pedagogy that connected what students were taught to both their own development as critical agents and to the need to address important social problems. During the McCarthy era, criticism of the university and its dissenting intellectuals cast a dark cloud over the exercise of academic freedom, and many academics were either fired or harassed out of their jobs because of their political activities outside the classroom or their alleged communist fervor or left-wing affiliations.

In 1953, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) was founded by Frank Chodorov in order to assert right-wing influence and control over universities. ISI was but a precursor to the present era of politicized and paranoid academic assaults. In fact, William F. Buckley, who catapulted to fame among conservatives in the early 1950s with the publication of God and Man at Yale, in which he railed against secularism at Yale University and called for the firing of socialist professors, was named as the first president of ISI. The former president of ISI, T. Kenneth Cribb Jr., delivered the following speech to the Heritage Foundation in 1989, a speech that perfectly captures the elitist and ruling-class ideological spirit and project behind ISI's view of higher education:

We must ... provide resources and guidance to an elite which can take up anew the task of enculturation. Through its journals, lectures, seminars, books and fellowships, this is what ISI has done successfully for 36 years. The coming of age of such elites has provided the current leadership of the conservative revival. But we should add a major new component to our strategy: the conservative movement is now mature enough to sustain a counteroffensive on that last Leftist redoubt, the college campus.... We are now strong enough to establish a contemporary presence for conservatism on campus, and contest the Left on its own turf. We plan to do this greatly by expanding the ISI field effort, its network of campus-based programming. (9)

ISI was an early effort on the part of conservatives to "'take back' the universities from scholars and academic programs regarded either as too hostile to free markets or too critical of the values and history of Western civilization." (10) As part of an effort to influence future generations to adopt a conservative ideology and leadership roles in "battling the radicals and PC types on campus," the Institute was just one of many right-wing foundations and institutes to have emerged since the 1980s, in particular, to provide numerous scholarships, summer programs and fellowships. (11)

In the 1980s, the idea of higher education becoming a space in which a new multiethnic middle-class generation of students might be educated was viewed as a dire threat to many conservatives. The most famous advocate of this position was Allan Bloom. (12) He responded to this alleged threat with a discourse that was as hysterical as it was racist. In his book, The Closing of the American Mind, Bloom was quite clear in his claim that admitting people of color to Ivy League schools was an insult to white elites whom he considered the only constituents qualified to manage and lead US society. The hidden structure of politics was quite visible in Bloom's work and revealed unapologetically his deeply held belief that the commanding institutions of the economy, culture and politics could only be led by mostly white, ruling-class males who were privileged and eager to do their best to maintain the class and racist structure that defined the United States at that particular historical moment. This was an era in which left academics and critical academic fields were under siege, particularly under the political and academic leadership of right-wing reactionaries such as Gov. Ronald Reagan, who began his career by attacking leftists such as Angela Davis at the University of California, Berkeley, and John Silber who as the president of Boston University prided himself on firing and denying tenure to numerous left educators, including myself. (13)

Throwaway academics are the new invisible poor fighting for better wages, job security, benefits and full-time positions.

The culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s gave way to the new McCarthyism of the post-9/11 era, which took a dangerous turn that far exceeded the attacks marked by the culture wars. In the aftermath of 9/11, the university was once again under attack by a number of right-wing organizations emboldened by a growing culture of fear and unflinching display of jingoistic patriotism. This was particularly exemplified by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which issued a report shortly after the attacks accusing an allegedly unpatriotic academy of being the "weak link in America's response to the attack." (14) The legacy of a full-fledged new style McCarthyism was resuscitated as academics and others who looked critically at the imperialistic registers of US foreign policy were routinely dismissed from their jobs or made the object of public shaming. Some universities in Ohio, California and other states started requiring job applicants to sign statements confirming they did not belong to any terrorist groups. Academics who criticized the war in Iraq or questioned the Bush administration's use of torture often found their names on blacklists posted on the internet by right-wing groups such as Campus Watch and Target of Opportunity.

The culture wars and the post-9/11 attacks on higher education under the reign of the new McCarthyism were followed by the hollowing out of the social state and the defunding of higher education. The more overt political attacks gave way to the economic wars waged against higher education, one current example being the attempt by billionaires such as the Koch brothers to turn higher education into nothing more than an ideological factory for neoliberal capitalism. In desperate need of money, more and more universities are selling off naming rights to their buildings, accepting gifts from hedge fund managers, and caving in to the demands of big donors to influence what is taught, what programs deserve to be sustained and what faculty should be rewarded. Moreover, as tuition skyrockets, poor people and people of color are being locked out of higher education so as to reinforce the two-tier system that Bloom and others once celebrated. At the same time as higher education is being defunded, corporatized and managed by an expanding class of administrators wedded to a neoliberal model of leadership, faculty has been downsized, creating an exploited and invisible class of underpaid, part-time workers.

Many faculty members are now consigned to the service of Walmart workers, stripped of full-time positions, relegated to the status of "stoop laborers," (15) lacking power, security and a living wage, and largely devoid of any hope for a full-time position in the academy in the near future. According to the American Association of University Professors, at the present moment more than 50 percent of faculty are adjuncts barely able to pay their rents, conduct research and exercise any influence over the increasing corporatization and militarization of higher education. Many part-time faculty members make less than $21,000 annually, and as Colman McCarthy points out "slog like migrant workers from campus to campus." (16) A record number of adjuncts are now on food stamps and receive some form of public assistance. Given how little they are paid this should not come as a surprise, though that does not make it any less shameful. (17)

These throwaway academics are the new invisible poor fighting for better wages, job security, benefits and full-time positions. The status and exploitation of the labor of part-time workers is shameful and is indicative of the degree to which neoliberalism's culture of cruelty, brutality and iniquitous power now shapes higher education. And while there are a number of serious movements among adjuncts and others to fight against this new form of exploited labor, it is fair to say that such resistance will face an uphill battle. The corporatized university will not only fight such efforts in the courts with their bands of lawyers and anti-union thugs; they will also use, as we have seen recently on a number of campuses, the police and other state repressive apparatuses to impose their will on dissenting students and faculty. But if this growing group of what Kate Jenkins calls the "hyper-educated poor" (18) joins with other social movements fighting against militarization, and the war on public goods, public servants and workers, there is a chance for the emergence of a new political formation that may succeed in turning the momentum around in this ongoing battle over academic labor and the fate of higher education in the future.

Memory is no longer insurgent; that is, it has been erased as a critical educational and political optic for moral witnessing, testimony and civic courage.

While the post-9/11 attacks have taken an even more dangerous turn, higher education is still a site of intense struggle, but it is fair to say the right wing is winning. The success of the financial elite in waging this war can be measured not only by the rise in the stranglehold of neoliberal policies over higher education, the increasing corporatization of the university, the evisceration of full-time, tenured jobs for faculty, the dumbing down of the curriculum, the view of students as customers, and the growing influence of the military-industrial-academic complex in the service of the financial elite, but also in the erasing of public memory. Memory is no longer insurgent; that is, it has been erased as a critical educational and political optic for moral witnessing, testimony and civic courage. On the contrary, it is either being cleansed or erased by the new apologists for the status quo who urge people to love the United States, which means giving up any sense of counter memory, interrogation of dominant narratives or retrieval of lost histories of struggle.

The current call to cleanse history in the name of a false patriotism that celebrates a new illiteracy as a way of loving the United States is a discourse of anti-memory, a willful attempt at forgetting the past in the manufactured fog of historical amnesia. This is particularly true when it comes to erasing the work of a number of critical intellectuals who have written about higher education as the practice of freedom, including John Dewey, George S. Counts, W.E.B. Du Bois, the Social Reconstructionists, and others, all of whom viewed higher education as integral to the development of both engaged critical citizens and the university as a democratic public sphere. (19)

Under the reign of neoliberalism, with few exceptions, higher education appears to be increasingly decoupling itself from its historical legacy as a crucial public sphere, responsible for both educating students for the workplace and providing them with the modes of critical discourse, interpretation, judgment, imagination, and experiences that deepen and expand democracy. As universities adopt the ideology of the transnational corporation and become subordinated to the needs of capital, the war industries and the Pentagon, they are less concerned about how they might educate students about the ideology and civic practices of democratic governance and the necessity of using knowledge to address the challenges of public life. (20) Instead, as part of the post-9/11 military-industrial-academic complex, higher education increasingly conjoins military interests and market values, identities and social relations while the role of the university as a public good, a site of critical dialogue and a place that calls students to think, question, learn how to take risks, and act with compassion and conviction is dismissed as impractical or subversive. (21)

The corporatization, militarization and dumbing down of rigorous scholarship, and the devaluing of the critical capacities of young people mark a sharp break from a once influential educational tradition in the United States.

The corporatization, militarization and dumbing down of rigorous scholarship, and the devaluing of the critical capacities of young people mark a sharp break from a once influential educational tradition in the United States, extending from Thomas Jefferson to John Dewey to Maxine Greene, who held that freedom flourishes in the worldly space of the public realm only through the work of educated, critical citizens. Within this democratic tradition, education was not confused with training; instead, its critical function was propelled by the need to provide students with the knowledge and skills that enable a "politically interested and mobilized citizenry, one that has certain solidarities, is capable of acting on its own behalf, and anticipates a future of ever greater social equality across lines of race, gender, and class." (22) Other prominent educators and theorists such as Hannah Arendt, James B. Conant and Cornelius Castoriadis have long believed and rightly argued that we should not allow education to be modeled after the business world. Dewey, in particular, warned about the growing influence of the "corporate mentality" and the threat that the business model posed to public spaces, higher education and democracy. He argued:

The business mind, having its own conversation and language, its own interests, its own intimate groupings in which men of this mind, in their collective capacity, determine the tone of society at large as well as the government of industrial society.... We now have, although without formal or legal status, a mental and moral corporateness for which history affords no parallel. (23)

Dewey and the other public intellectuals mentioned above shared a common vision and project of rethinking what role education might play in providing students with the habits of mind and ways of acting that would enable them to "identify and probe the most serious threats and dangers that democracy faces in a global world dominated by instrumental and technological thinking." (24) Conant, a former president of Harvard University, argued that higher education should create a class of "American radicals," who could fight for equality, favor public education, elevate human needs over property rights and challenge "groups which have attained too much power." (25) Conant's views seem so radical today that it is hard to imagine him being hired as a university president at Harvard or any other institution of higher learning.

All of these intellectuals offered a notion of the university as a bastion of democratic learning and values that provide a crucial referent in exploring the more specific question regarding what form will be taken by the relationship between corporations and higher education in the 21st century. It now seems naive to assume that corporations, left to their own devices, would view higher education as more than merely a training center for future business employees, a franchise for generating profits or a space in which corporate culture and education merge in order to produce literate consumers.

The university in the United States has become a social institution that not only fails to address inequality in society, but also contributes to a growing division between social classes.

US higher education is increasingly more divided into those institutions educating the elite to rule the world in the 21st century and second-tier and third-tier institutions that largely train students for low-paid positions in the capitalist world economy. It is increasingly apparent that the university in the United States has become a social institution that not only fails to address inequality in society, but also contributes to a growing division between social classes. At the same time, it has become a class and racial sorting machine constructing impenetrable financial and policy boundaries that serve as workstations to produce updated forms of economic and racial Darwinism. Moreover, as tuition exceeds the budgets of most Americans, quality education at public and private universities becomes primarily a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and powerful. While researchers attempt to reform a "broken" federal student financial aid system, there is "growing evidence ... that the United States is slipping (to 10th now among industrialized countries) in the proportion of young adults who attain some postsecondary education." (26)

Higher education has a responsibility not only to be available and accessible to all youth, but also to educate young people to make authority politically and morally accountable and to expand both academic freedom and the possibility and promise of the university as a bastion of democratic inquiry, values and politics, even as these are necessarily refashioned at the beginning of the new millennium. Questions regarding whether the university should serve public rather than private interests no longer carry the weight of forceful criticism as they did when raised by Thorstein Veblen, Robert Lynd and C. Wright Mills in the first part of the 20th century. Yet, such questions are still crucial in addressing the reality of higher education and what it might mean to imagine the university's full participation in public life as the protector and promoter of democratic values among the next generation. This is especially true at a time when the meaning and purpose of higher education is under assault by a phalanx of right-wing forces attempting to slander, even vilify, liberal and left-oriented professors, cut already meager federal funding for higher education, and place control of what is taught and said in classrooms under legislative oversight. (27)

While the US university faces a growing number of problems that range from the increasing loss of federal and state funding to the incursion of corporate power, a galloping commercialization and the growing influence of the national security state, it is also currently being targeted by conservative politicians that have hijacked political power and waged a focused campaign against the principles of academic freedom, sacrificing the quality of education made available to youth in the name of patriotic correctness and dismantling the university as a site of critical pedagogical practice, autonomous scholarship, independent thought and uncorrupted inquiry.

For instance, right-wing politicians, such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, unapologetically denounce the university as a threat to the success of market forces and go out of their way to defund its operating budget. In this case, Walker recently announced that he was slashing $300 million from the Wisconsin public university system's budget over a two-year period. At the same time, he announced that he is requesting $500 million to build a basketball arena. It gets worse. Walker's disempowering view of higher education was made quite clear in his attempt to sneak into his new budget an attempt to rewrite the purpose and mission of the university system, one that clearly was aimed at sabotaging the university as a public good. As Mary Bottari and Jonas Persson point out:

Buried in his proposed budget bill - on page 546 out of a whopping 1839 - Walker scratched out "the search for truth" and took an ax to Wisconsin Idea, the guiding philosophy that the university is created to solve problems and improve people's lives beyond the boundaries of the campus. Instead he wanted the university to "meet the state's workforce needs." For extra measure, he scratched out "the legislature finds it in the public interest" to provide a system of higher education; he instead made it a "constitutional obligation." (28)

Under the current regime of neoliberal savagery and its cruel austerity policies, Walker is not a political exception; he is the rule. The extremist wing of the Republican Party hates the notion that the university might function primarily to address important social issues in the name of the public good. Couple this particular fear and ideological fundamentalism with the rampant idiocy and anti-intellectualism that has become an organizing principle of the new extremists at all levels of government and it becomes clear that public and higher education are prime targets in the struggle to create a fundamentalist-driven culture that supports those identifications, desires and modes of agency receptive to the rise of an authoritarian society and police state in which criticism is viewed as a form of treason and even the mildest of liberal rhetoric is disparaged or dismissed out of hand.

For instance, in Oklahoma, the state's politicians and lawmakers have introduced a bill that eliminates the teaching of Advanced Placement US history courses in the public high schools. (29) The reason behind the bill defies logic and reflects the new stupidity and religious fundamentalism that are at the heart of the conservative assault against reason and critical thinking. According to Judd Legum, "Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher (R) has introduced 'emergency' legislation 'prohibiting the expenditure of funds on the Advanced Placement United States History course.' Fisher is part of a group called the 'Black Robe Regiment' which argues that 'the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularists.'" (30) Ben Carson, a potential GOP presidential candidate and pediatric neurosurgeon, stated that the students who finished the course would be "ready to sign up for ISIS." (31)

The essence of the push back against the AP US history course was echoed by the Republican National Committee in a resolution claiming that it was too negative, and reflected "a radically revisionist view of US history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects." (32) What at first glance appears to be a case of egregious ignorance is in reality a religious fundamentalist attack on any viable notion of historical consciousness and public memory. (33) These politicians are the ground troops for the new authoritarianism that rewards and revels in thoughtlessness and despises any criticism of US domestic and foreign policy. Truly, the brownshirts of our time, they are a new breed of ideological muggers whose minds are unburdened by a complicated thought, who choke on their own ignorance and sutured political certainties. They represent another one of the forces, in addition to the apostles of a savage neoliberalism and the hedge fund criminals, out to destroy public and higher education, in the United States, even in its weakest liberal version.

Higher education is not going to save the United States from becoming more authoritarian, but its destruction as a democratic public sphere is a crucial signpost as to how far we have tipped over into the nightmare of authoritarianism.

Another example of this type of fundamentalism, wrapped in the mantle of American exceptionalism, can be found in comments by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani criticizing President Obama's loyalty to the United States. Giuliani claimed unapologetically at a fundraiser for rich donors supporting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's bid for the presidency that Obama did not love the United States, and oddly enough that he "doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up through love of his country." (34) For Giuliani and his ilk, patriotism is the engine of conformity and any attempt to offer up constructive criticism in which US policies are interrogated is disparaged as an act of negativism, at best, and at worse, positions one as treasonous or un-American.

This poisonous ideology has a long history in the United States and is gaining ground once again with the emergence of a creeping authoritarianism. Moreover, it is an ideology that promotes a deep-seated anti-intellectualism and a climate of fear that seeps into criticisms of higher education. Giuliani's comments are not merely idiotic and stupid; they are infused with a racism and militant nationalism that resonates with the rise of totalitarian ideologies and regimes in the 1930s. (35) Moreover, they are suggestive of the degree to which all vestiges of democracy, liberty, dissent and equality have become a liability in a society that is now ruled by the financial elite and ideological barbarians who support this shameful anti-democratic rhetoric and policies that reinforce it. This is the discourse of totalitarianism and its endpoint is a recapitulation of the worst horrors that history has produced.

Higher education is not going to save the United States from becoming more authoritarian, but its destruction as a democratic public sphere is a crucial signpost as to how far we have tipped over into the nightmare of authoritarianism. The shutting down of the higher education system as a democratic public sphere is not a definitive marker of defeat. On the contrary, it suggests the need for a new understanding of politics, one in which the university has a crucial role to play in the struggle to defend radical democracy as the new commons, and education as central to a politics that takes it seriously. The winds are changing and this struggle is coming once again into view. We see it in Europe with the rise of radical political parties in Spain and Greece that connect the struggle over economic power with the struggle to create new modes of agency, culture, education and ideology, all of which now infuse the linking of politics to larger social movements.

If education does not become the center of politics, democracy as an ideal and site of struggle will fail to inspire and energize a new generation of young people.

In this struggle, there is a need to reclaim an insurgent public memory and the lost or suppressed narratives of older progressive battles in order to both learn from them and to build upon their insights. This is necessary in order for educators and others to rethink the meaning of politics, reclaim the radical imagination, launch a comprehensive education program that speaks to the concrete issues bearing down on peoples' lives, and develop new political formations capable of merging the various struggles together under the wide banner of a post-capitalist democracy "that serves people over corporations." (36) As Tariq Ali has mentioned in a different context, the history of the struggles and suppression of the US working class, Communist Party and other progressive struggles has been erased: "This is a history that is not emphasized. This wretched neoliberalism has downgraded the teaching of history. It is the one subject they really hate." If education does not become the center of politics, democracy as an ideal and site of struggle will fail to inspire and energize a new generation of young people. And a new wave of domestic terrorism will descend on the United States, already visible in the rise of the police and surveillance state. At stake here is the need to take seriously Pierre Bourdieu's insistence that too many progressives have underestimated that "the most important forms of domination are not only economic but also intellectual and pedagogical, and lie on the side of belief and persuasion." (37) It is well worth remembering that politics undermines its pedagogical functions and democratic goals when it underestimates "the symbolic and pedagogical dimensions of struggle" and fails to forge the "appropriate weapons to fight on this front." (38)

Such a failure generally produces not only the tactics of vanguardism, but also promotes strategies that underestimate the challenge of getting people to think differently and to invest something of themselves in an insurgent politics in which they can recognize their sense of agency and hope. Not only is there a need to challenge, disrupt and interrogate the market imaginaries, visions and vocabularies that undermine the great ideals that a range of social movements have fought for in the past, but also there is the need to combine the educative function of changing hearts and minds with sustained efforts to build robust, large-scale organizations and what Nancy Fraser calls "large-scale public powers." (39) The Occupy movement taught us that "emancipatory ideas not be confined to separate enclaved arenas where only those who already believe in them are exposed to arguments for them." (40) Occupy created a large umbrella under the call to eliminate inequality in a wide range of areas extending from the economic realm to a variety of spheres that included all manner of exclusions based on race, sexual orientation and the destruction of the environment. At the same time, Occupy failed to create a strong presence because it lacked the capacity for large-scale coordination and long-term organizations. That is, it failed to develop and sustain a public space in which a broad-based movement could be mobilized in the interest of creating sustainable counter publics. Tariq Ali captures this failure perfectly in his comment:

I was sympathetic to the Occupy movement, but not to the business of not having any demands.... They should have had a charter demanding a free health service, an end to the pharmaceuticals and insurance companies' control of the health service, a free education at every level for all Americans. The notion, promoted by anarchists such as John Holloway, that you can change the world without taking power is useless. I have a lot of respect for the anarchists that mobilize and fight for immigrant rights. But I am critical of those who theorize a politics that is not political. You have to have a political program. (41)

Surely, even a modest list of demands that would challenge market fundamentalism such as a call to break up big banks, a tax on trading, free education for all, free health care, reducing the military budget to create a jobs program, investing in crucial infrastructures, expanding public transportation, a high tax rate on big corporations and the salaries of the ultra-rich job destroyers such as the CEOs who run banks, hedge funds and other rouge financial institutions, would be a productive beginning to question and challenge the most basic assumptions of a normalized capitalism. The resistance to oppressive power structures demands a politics, public pedagogy and political formation that embraces struggle as part of developing a political program on a national and international scale that can inspire, energize and produce a collective show of sustained solidarity.

The current historical moment calls for a politics that is transnational in its scope, global in its sense of responsibility and capable of creating new democratic public spheres in which it becomes possible to show private troubles can be connected to larger social issues, and public connections and modes of solidarity can be sustained beyond the private sphere. Only then will the promise and possibility of creating a radical global commons in the service of a radical democracy come into view. (42)

History is open, and the times are rife with unrest accompanied by new levels of state terrorism, all of which call for new ways to subvert the theater of cruelty and class consolidation that has the globe in the stranglehold of a death wish. Neoliberalism in its many punitive forms has exhausted its credibility and now threatens the entirety of human life and the planet itself. Hope is in the air but it won't succeed in creating the promise of a new democratic future unless it first recognizes and grapples with the depth of the US nightmare. It is time for new visions, a new collective radical imagination, new tactics, new political formations and sustained, organized, international struggles. It is time to march into a future that will not mimic the dark authoritarianism haunting the present.



1. James Young, "The Holocaust as Vicarious Past: Art Spiegelman's 'Maus' and the Afterimages of History," Critical Inquiry 24 (Spring 1998), p. 667.    

2. John Dewey cited in E. L. Hollander, "The Engaged University," Academe (July/August, 2000). Online:

3. This position has been developed fully in the works of a number of educators. See especially, Kenneth Saltman, The Failure of Corporate School Reform (Boulder: Paradigm, 2012); Alexander J. Means, Schooling in the Age of Austerity: Urban Education and the Struggle for Democratic Life (New York: Palgrave, 2013); Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (New York: Vintage, 2014). See also Henry A. Giroux, Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life (Boulder: Paradigm, 2005).

4. See John Hinck, "A Half Century After Mario Savio's Berkeley Speech and Today's Warming Planet." CommonDreams (December 2, 2014). Online:

5. I am drawing here on a previous analysis of the memo, see Henry A. Giroux, "The Powell Memo and the Teaching Machines of Right-Wing Extremists," Truthout (October 2009). Online:

6. Lewis F. Powell, Jr., "The Powell Memo," (August 23, 1971). Online:

7. L.F. Powell, Jr., "The Powell Memo."

8. Many of the ideas here and in the next section are drawn from Henry A. Giroux, Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability (New York: Palgrave, 2009).

9. Editorial, "Targeting the Academy," Media Transparency (March 2003). Online:

10. Editorial, "Targeting the Academy."

11. Max Blumenthal, "How My Dispute with Joe Scarborough Sheds Light on the Civil War Within the GOP," Alternet (October 13, 2009). Online:

12. For a brilliant source on this issue, see Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).

13. Even the popular press had to acknowledge left-wing criticism of Silber, see, for example, Gail Jennes, " Colossus or Megalomaniac, Boston University's John Silber Keeps His Campus in Turmoil," People 13: 22 (June 02, 1980). Online:,,20076633,00.html. For a more serious treatment of Silber's tryanny, see Nicholas D. Kristof, "John R. Silber: War and Peace at Boston University," The Harvard Crimson (November 28, 1979). Online: For an analysis of the post-9/11 turn to the culture of fear and its repression on educators, see Susan Searls Giroux, Between Race and Reason: Violence, Intellectual Responsibility, and the University to Come (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).

14. Jerry L. Martin and Anne D. Neal, Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can be Done About It, ACTA Report (November 2001). Online: This statement was deleted from the revised February 2002 version of the report available on the ACTA website:

15. Colman McCarthy, "Adjunct Professors Fight for Crumbs on Campus," The Washington Post (August 22, 2014). Online: ttp://

16. Ibid.

17. Stacey Patton, "The Ph.D. Now Comes With Food Stamps," The Chronicle of Higher Education (May 6, 2012). Online:

18. Kate Jenkins, "The Tall Task of Unifying Part-Time Professors," The Atlantic (February 15, 2015). Online:

19. William B. Stanley, Curriculum for Utopia: Social Reconstructionism and Critical Pedagogy in the Postmodern Era (New York: SUNY Series, 1992). See also Henry A. Giroux, Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life (Boulder: Paradigm, 2005).

20. I take this issue up in great detail in Henry A. Giroux and Susan Searls Giroux, Take Back Higher Education; and Henry A. Giroux, Against the Terror of Neoliberalism (Boulder: Paradigm, 2008). Also, see, Henry A. Giroux, The University in Chains: Challenging the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2011).

21. See Henry A. Giroux, Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education (Chicago: Haymarket, 2014); Henry A. Giroux, America's Educational Deficit and the War on Youth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2013); Stanley Aronowitz, Against Schooling: For an Education that Matters (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2008).

22. Wendy Brown, Regulating Aversion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), p. 88.

23. John Dewey, Individualism: Old and New (New York: Minton, Balch, 1930), p. 41.

24. Richard J. Bernstein, The Abuse of Evil: The Corruption of Politics and Religion Since 9/11 (London: Polity, 2005), p. 45.

25. James B. Conant, "Wanted: American Radicals," The Atlantic (May 1943).

26. Doug Lederman, "Rethinking Student Aid, Radically," (September 19, 2008). Online:

27. For an excellent analysis of this attack, see Beshara Doumani, "Between Coercion and Privatization: Academic Freedom in the Twenty-First Century," in Academic Freedom After September 11, ed. Doumani (Cambridge, MA: Zone Books, 2006), pp. 11-57; and Evan Gerstmann and Matthew J. Streb, Academic Freedom at the Dawn of a New Century: How Terrorism, Governments, and Culture Wars Impact Free Speech (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006). A sustained and informative discussion of academic freedom after 9/11 can be found in Tom Abowd, Fida Adely, Lori Allen, Laura Bier, and Amahl Bishara et al., Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility After 9/11: A Handbook for Scholars and Teachers (New York: Task Force on Middle East Anthropology, 2006). Online:; Anthony J. Nocella II, Steven Best, and Peter McLaren, eds. Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex (Baltimore: AK press, 2010); Edward J. Carvalho and David Downing, eds. Academic Freedom in the Post 9/11 Era (New York: Palgrave, 2011); Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira, eds. The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

28. Mary Bottari and Jonas Persson, "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Tripped Up by Truth," CommonDreams (February 6, 2015). Online:

29. Colleen Flaherty, "Whose History?," Inside Higher Education (February 15, 2015). Online:

30. Judd Legum, "Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement US History." ThinkProgress (February 17, 2015). Online:

31. Valerie Strauss, "Ben Carson: New AP US history course will make kids want to 'sign up for ISIS," The Washington Post (September 29, 2015). Online:

32. Ibid.

33. Thom Hartmann and The Daily Take Team, "The Conservative Attempt to Rewrite the United States' Progressive History," Truthout (February 23, 2015). Online:

34. For an insightful critique of Giuliani's hypocritical appeal to love, see Wayne Barrett, "What Rudy Giuliani knows about love - a response to his 'doesn't love America' critique of Obama," New York Daily News (February 20, 2015). Online:
See also, Amy Davidson, "Rudy Giuliani and the Meaning of Love," The New Yorker (February 19, 2015). Online:

35. Giuliani's criticisms are almost always tinged with racism, see Janet Allon, "5 Absurd, Deeply Racist Things Rudy Giuliani Said this Week," AlterNet (November 27, 2014). Online:

36. Mark Karlin, "Robert McChesney: We Need to Advocate radical solutions to systemic Problems," Truthout (January 2015). Online:

37. Pierre Bourdieu and Gunter Grass, "The 'Progressive' Restoration: A Franco-German Dialogue," New Left Review 14 (March-April, 2002), P. 2.

38. Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance (New York: Free Press, 1998), p. 11.

39. Sarah Stein Lubrano and Johannes Lenhard, "Crises and Experimental Capitalism: An Interview with Nancy Fraser," King's Review Magazine (April 11, 2014). Online:

40. Ibid.

41. Chris Hedges, "Tariq Ali: The Time is Right for a Palace Revolution." Truthdig (March 1, 2015). Online:

42. See, for instance, Carlos Declós, "Radical Democracy: Reclaiming The Commons," Countercurrents (February 22, 2015). Online:

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