Tuesday, 21 April 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • On Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray and the Cost of Police Impunity

    While the corporate media report on killings of Black civilians by police, they fail to cover the actual mechanics underpinning the cycle of violence.

  • We Call It "Mud Season"

    William Rivers Pitt describes the atmosphere of New Hampshire as the GOP clown car rolls in for the primary: "The Iowa caucus is one thing ... but the New Hampshire primary is an entirely different ball of wax."

Speakout

SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

This is no conspiracy theory. This is a well-known fact by those inside the beltway. While the American people are told about the endless "gridlock" within our government, many aspects of the "Deep State" run completely smoothly no matter what the American people think. Wars do not stop, Wall Street does not slow, and NSA surveillance keeps going at a breakneck speed. "The Deep State" is how the US Government ACTUALLY runs.

Hate to be the econ nerd here, but this is the sort of thing that folks writing on economics should get straight. (The failure by econ writers to get such things right is one reason that Jonathan Gruber thinks the public is "stupid.") Anyhow, Catherine Rampell messes this one up in an otherwise reasonable piece discussing differences in saving rates by age.

The piece notes the negative saving rate reported for people under age 34 and then comments:

"These numbers have inspired various condemnatory headlines and think pieces about my generation’s irresponsible savings deficit. The more sympathetic coverage has at least acknowledged the effects of student loan debt and high youth unemployment, but even those articles came loaded with judgment."

November 20 is Universal Children’s Day, a day devoted to observing the welfare of the world’s children. Unfortunately, in the U.S and elsewhere, children are still denied fundamental human rights. Children worldwide suffer from corporal punishment in homes and schools, are denied access to schooling, are forced to join violent militias, and a endure a host of other atrocities that clearly violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international human rights treaties. One issue that has received attention in the past few months is that of child labor.

According to the International Labor Office, there are about 168 million child laborers globally, which accounts for approximately one in 10 of the world’s children. Albeit a one-third reduction since 2000, the problem remains acute. An estimated 13 million children work in India alone, despite laws prohibiting child labor and mandating school attendance.  About four percent of child laborers are in forced or bonded labor, prostitution, or fighting in armed conflict. The remainder of the world’s child laborers work in family businesses or on family farms, where they often toil as much as 27 hours per week and are, like the child tobacco laborers, exposed to a variety of dangerous chemicals and pesticides.

Standing there on November 19, 1863, in front of those who had come to sanctify yet another bloody battlefield, President Abraham Lincoln should have spoken the truth. He should have ended his dedication, the Gettysburg Address, by declaring “that government of a few people, by a few people, and at the expense of certain people, shall not perish from the earth.” But like many others who carried out the policies of Manifest Destiny, mythical ideologies are easier to believe than the harsh realities of conquest and genocide. They also help justify glaring social inequalities and economic disparities for those already governing through powerful political, economic, and military institutions.

Just before traveling to Gettysburg by railroad to deliver his well-planned words, Lincoln had randomly selected thirty-eight Dakota Sioux leaders to die in the largest mass public hanging in US history.[1] Lincoln, always the politician, had promised their lands to constituents that raised him to the presidency, wealthy monopolists and free-soil settlers. At Lincoln’s request, Congress passed the 1862 Homestead Act, transferring two hundred million acres of Indigenous lands to states, settlers, and railroad and mining and cattle industrialists.[2] Before long, they were slaughtering Indigenous peoples while also ravaging their resources and food supplies.

You might not know this from reading most media coverage of 2014 midterm elections, but the world's two wealthiest men just bought US Congress. Oligarchy is now official, with a nefarious new force behind much of the Republicans' madness in Washington. Amazingly, leading Democrats are advancing the same agenda by pushing a pipeline that could double the fortunes of America's two top plutocrats.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today called on (PDF) the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) to close a loophole of its own making in the federal “pay-to-play” law against campaign contributions from businesses that land lucrative government contracts.

In response to a complaint filed last year by Public Citizen against Chevron – a major government contractor – the FEC ruled that a separately incorporated member of a corporate family may dip into corporate coffers to make campaign contributions if it holds no government contracts, while another separately incorporated subsidiary or affiliate solicits and receives lucrative government contracts. Chevron and a handful of other government contractors relied on this ruling to make campaign contributions in the 2014 elections to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with US House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dedicated to electing Republican candidates to Congress.

Payette, Idaho — “I’ll do whatever I want” and “fuck you” were the responses from one of the nation’s top oil and gas industry attorneys when asked not to touch a news camera.

The incident occurred in the hallway of the Payette County Courthouse in Payette, Idaho, following a meeting of the county commissioners on November 17, 2014.

Maya Schenwar is the author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better.She discusses the book, what to do about prison, and her own family's experience. She is also the editor-in-chief of TruthoutShe mentions this article during the show.

Nov 18

Not So Paranoid

By Nathan Fuller, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Your conspiracy theorist friend isn't looking so paranoid anymore. The New York Times reports on the continuing surge in the US government's use of undercover agents:

"The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show."

I see Kevin Drum is unhappy about my endorsement of postal banking as a way to address the Postal Services financial problems. Kevin correctly points out that the Inspector General's (IG) argument for postal banking didn't involve conventional savings and checking accounts, but rather more narrow financial services:

"1) payment mechanisms (i.e., electronic money orders), (2) products to encourage savings, and (3) reloadable prepaid cards. The first is fine, but not really 'postal banking.' The second is problematic since even the IG concedes that the reason poor people tend not to save is 'largely due to a lack of disposable income among the underserved.' That's quite an understatement, and it's not clear what unique incentives the postal service can offer to encourage savings among people who have no money to save. That leaves prepaid cards—and maybe a good, basic prepaid card sponsored by the federal government is a worthwhile idea. But that's really all we have here."

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Speakout

SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

This is no conspiracy theory. This is a well-known fact by those inside the beltway. While the American people are told about the endless "gridlock" within our government, many aspects of the "Deep State" run completely smoothly no matter what the American people think. Wars do not stop, Wall Street does not slow, and NSA surveillance keeps going at a breakneck speed. "The Deep State" is how the US Government ACTUALLY runs.

Hate to be the econ nerd here, but this is the sort of thing that folks writing on economics should get straight. (The failure by econ writers to get such things right is one reason that Jonathan Gruber thinks the public is "stupid.") Anyhow, Catherine Rampell messes this one up in an otherwise reasonable piece discussing differences in saving rates by age.

The piece notes the negative saving rate reported for people under age 34 and then comments:

"These numbers have inspired various condemnatory headlines and think pieces about my generation’s irresponsible savings deficit. The more sympathetic coverage has at least acknowledged the effects of student loan debt and high youth unemployment, but even those articles came loaded with judgment."

November 20 is Universal Children’s Day, a day devoted to observing the welfare of the world’s children. Unfortunately, in the U.S and elsewhere, children are still denied fundamental human rights. Children worldwide suffer from corporal punishment in homes and schools, are denied access to schooling, are forced to join violent militias, and a endure a host of other atrocities that clearly violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international human rights treaties. One issue that has received attention in the past few months is that of child labor.

According to the International Labor Office, there are about 168 million child laborers globally, which accounts for approximately one in 10 of the world’s children. Albeit a one-third reduction since 2000, the problem remains acute. An estimated 13 million children work in India alone, despite laws prohibiting child labor and mandating school attendance.  About four percent of child laborers are in forced or bonded labor, prostitution, or fighting in armed conflict. The remainder of the world’s child laborers work in family businesses or on family farms, where they often toil as much as 27 hours per week and are, like the child tobacco laborers, exposed to a variety of dangerous chemicals and pesticides.

Standing there on November 19, 1863, in front of those who had come to sanctify yet another bloody battlefield, President Abraham Lincoln should have spoken the truth. He should have ended his dedication, the Gettysburg Address, by declaring “that government of a few people, by a few people, and at the expense of certain people, shall not perish from the earth.” But like many others who carried out the policies of Manifest Destiny, mythical ideologies are easier to believe than the harsh realities of conquest and genocide. They also help justify glaring social inequalities and economic disparities for those already governing through powerful political, economic, and military institutions.

Just before traveling to Gettysburg by railroad to deliver his well-planned words, Lincoln had randomly selected thirty-eight Dakota Sioux leaders to die in the largest mass public hanging in US history.[1] Lincoln, always the politician, had promised their lands to constituents that raised him to the presidency, wealthy monopolists and free-soil settlers. At Lincoln’s request, Congress passed the 1862 Homestead Act, transferring two hundred million acres of Indigenous lands to states, settlers, and railroad and mining and cattle industrialists.[2] Before long, they were slaughtering Indigenous peoples while also ravaging their resources and food supplies.

You might not know this from reading most media coverage of 2014 midterm elections, but the world's two wealthiest men just bought US Congress. Oligarchy is now official, with a nefarious new force behind much of the Republicans' madness in Washington. Amazingly, leading Democrats are advancing the same agenda by pushing a pipeline that could double the fortunes of America's two top plutocrats.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today called on (PDF) the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) to close a loophole of its own making in the federal “pay-to-play” law against campaign contributions from businesses that land lucrative government contracts.

In response to a complaint filed last year by Public Citizen against Chevron – a major government contractor – the FEC ruled that a separately incorporated member of a corporate family may dip into corporate coffers to make campaign contributions if it holds no government contracts, while another separately incorporated subsidiary or affiliate solicits and receives lucrative government contracts. Chevron and a handful of other government contractors relied on this ruling to make campaign contributions in the 2014 elections to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with US House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dedicated to electing Republican candidates to Congress.

Payette, Idaho — “I’ll do whatever I want” and “fuck you” were the responses from one of the nation’s top oil and gas industry attorneys when asked not to touch a news camera.

The incident occurred in the hallway of the Payette County Courthouse in Payette, Idaho, following a meeting of the county commissioners on November 17, 2014.

Maya Schenwar is the author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better.She discusses the book, what to do about prison, and her own family's experience. She is also the editor-in-chief of TruthoutShe mentions this article during the show.

Nov 18

Not So Paranoid

By Nathan Fuller, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Your conspiracy theorist friend isn't looking so paranoid anymore. The New York Times reports on the continuing surge in the US government's use of undercover agents:

"The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show."

I see Kevin Drum is unhappy about my endorsement of postal banking as a way to address the Postal Services financial problems. Kevin correctly points out that the Inspector General's (IG) argument for postal banking didn't involve conventional savings and checking accounts, but rather more narrow financial services:

"1) payment mechanisms (i.e., electronic money orders), (2) products to encourage savings, and (3) reloadable prepaid cards. The first is fine, but not really 'postal banking.' The second is problematic since even the IG concedes that the reason poor people tend not to save is 'largely due to a lack of disposable income among the underserved.' That's quite an understatement, and it's not clear what unique incentives the postal service can offer to encourage savings among people who have no money to save. That leaves prepaid cards—and maybe a good, basic prepaid card sponsored by the federal government is a worthwhile idea. But that's really all we have here."