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My seven years as a junior Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State left me with a profound admiration for the ability of the Department to ignore reality at the behest of its political, military, economic - and in particular - immediate superior in the career pecking order - overlords. This ability to manufacture whole-cloth cover for manifest stupidity truly is a thing of rare beauty that serves our nation well. As the new Secretary of State recently put it, "Americans have a right to be stupid," and so does the nation as a whole in some of its policies, and the Department of State must of course loyally find a way of presenting the various 'shit accompli' in socially presentable ways. It is, alas, some of what they have to do.
The American labor movement is once again facing a most controversial issue — the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While the KXL debate has largely centered around the environmental risks, from labor's perspective opening up the Canadian Tar Sands is often seen as an economic, not an environmental, issue. And it's no wonder: Construction unemployment is double the national average and, from a worker's perspective, Keystone jobs will be good-paying union jobs in an economy that increasingly offers up only minimum-wage service work.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka explained last year, "mass unemployment makes everything harder and feeds fear. . . opponents of the pipeline [need to] recognize that construction jobs are real jobs, good jobs." KXL advocates have worked hard to capitalize on this fear by arguing that labor must choose between creating jobs and protecting the planet.
If being armed made you safe, no law enforcement officer would ever get killed. President Reagan would not have been shot and Chris Kyle, arguably the best shot in America, would have not been killed.
Rather than a High Noon, duel like scenario in which the armed opponent approaches from two blocks away, the violence that befalls law enforcement officers and befell Kyle and President Reagan is unexpected and cannot be defended against.
“Ninety-three years old. The last leg of my journey. The end is in sight. I am lucky to be able to seize the time I have left to reflect on my lifelong commitment to politics: the Resistance and the program designed sixty-six years ago by the National Council of the Resistance.”
These are the opening lines from “A Time for Outrage!”(“Indignez-vous!”) a 35 page book written by Stephane Hessel in 2010 which sold 3 million copies in 30 languages and inspired protests like “Occupy” in the United States and The Indignados in Spain. Hassel died this week at the age of 95.
Each week we see reasons for outrage and, thankfully, more and more people are joining the culture of resistance.
Jim Crow is alive and well — and he has mounted a new attack on the law Martin Luther King dreamed of: the Voting Rights Act.
On February 27, the Supreme Court will hear a suit brought by Shelby County, Alabama, which challenges the right of the Department of Justice to review changes in voting procedure. Example: Attempts to cut the number of early voting days, to expunge "illegal alien" voters without any evidence, refusing Spanish-language ballots, have been blocked by the Department of Justice and Courts because they have stopped Black and Hispanic citizens casting ballots.
The Deadly Misconception of Long Term Isolation of Liquid Toxic Wastes: Deep Underground Injection Wells Don't WorkBy Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
In 2011, a Democratic Congressional Investigating Committee determined that 14 leading oil companies used 2500 different toxic fracking liquids. The liquids contained 750 different chemicals, including 270 undisclosed ingredients protected by industry trade secret laws which the oil and gas service companies themselves were unable to identify. Prior to the onset of fracking, and in total disregard of a vast literature of previous work on water ingress, retention and release in deep geological formations, oil and gas industry scientists and environmental officials argued that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the liquid waste for millennia. They were dead wrong and should have known it.
11th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Fourth Amendment Challenge to Florida’s Suspicionless Drug Testing ProgramBy Staff, Drug Policy Alliance | Press Release
Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Lebron v. Secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families, upheld a preliminary injunction that halted Florida's law requiring drug testing of public assistance applicants as a condition of receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF").
Florida's drug testing law was challenged by Navy veteran, single father and University of Central Florida student Luis LeBron who applied for TANF but refused to be drug tested. His challenge led to a federal trial court order halting the law from taking effect on the grounds that it likely violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
A careful study of the FBI's own data on terrorism in the United States, reported in Trevor Aaronson's book The Terror Factory, finds one organization leading all others in creating terrorist plots in the United States: the FBI.
Imagine an incompetent bureaucrat. Now imagine a corrupt one. Now imagine both combined. You're starting to get at the image I take away of some of the FBI agents' actions recounted in this book.
As part of a larger documentary project about the influence of Money and politics in the post Citizens United era, Dennis Trainor, Jr sat down with Rep. James McGovern and talked about money in politics, Citizens United, Civil Disobedience, Money as Free Speech, Corporate Personhood and a potential Constitutional Amendment.