Privatization: Profits Over People

Posted in Curated Links on March 25th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Paul Buchheit at Common Dreams takes a look at The Project on Government Oversight’s latest report on privatization. They found that in 33 of 35 cases the federal government spent more on private contractors than on public employees for the same services. The authors of the report said “Our findings were shocking.”

For the U.S. Postal Service, for instance, it costs less than 50 cents to send a letter to any remote location in the United States. For an envelope with a two-day guarantee, FedEx and UPS charge about four to five times as much.

USPS is so inexpensive, in fact, that Fedex actually uses the U.S. Post Office for about 30 percent of its ground shipments. As Ralph Nader notes, the USPS has not taken any taxpayer money since 1971, and if it weren’t required by an inexplicable requirement to pre-fund employee benefits for 75 years, it would be making a profit. Instead, this national institution has been forced to cut jobs and routes and mailing centers.

In other words, privatization places profits over people.

Read the entire article: How Privatization Degrades Our Daily Lives | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Capital Punishment and the Brutality of U.S. Class Rule

Posted in Curated Links on March 20th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The latest abomination in a US death chamber took place on Tuesday night in Missouri when Cecil Clayton, 74, was injected and killed with a single dose of pentobarbital. The condemned inmate was executed despite overwhelming evidence of his intellectual disability.

Read More: Capital punishment and the brutality of class rule in America – World Socialist Web Site.

The Amazing Mister Boots

Posted in Curated Links on March 12th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Joseph Bien-Kahn interviews Boots Riley.

When I say, “We have hella people, they have helicopters,” I’m trying to point out that they can have this technology, but we’re the ones that have to operate it. They’ve got our eyes on the details of technology, but the truth is, this whole world is run through the power of the working class. We’re who creates the profit and we can reorganize it. Helicopters won’t matter.

Read the full interview: Boots Riley on the State of Oakland, the Power of the Working Class, and His New Screenplay | VICE | United States.

Rolling Firebombs

Posted in Curated Links on March 12th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Environmentalists around the country have been protesting the “bomb trains” for several years now, but the 100 car unit trains are continuing to roll through hill and dale, towns and cities. This, despite the fact that we now know that fracked Bakken crude is more explosive than gasoline. The fireballs that have erupted lately dramatically illustrate this point.

Read More: Exploding Trains and Crude Oil » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

U.S. Backed Warlords Terrorize Afghanistan

Posted in Curated Links on March 4th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Afghan government troops and civilian paramilitary units, trained and sanctioned by the United States, are routinely terrorizing the Afghan people, according to a Human Rights Watch report. The report indicated that the government in Kabul rules over a network of criminals on a spree of plunder, not subject to legal accountability.

…forces under the command of Hakim Shujoyi have killed dozens of civilians in Uruzgan province, yet despite a warrant for his arrest he remains at large and evidence suggests he has enjoyed the support of US forces. In Paktika province, Afghan Local Police forces under the command of Azizullah,an ethnic Tajik who, as of June 2014, was a commander of the local ALP in Urgun district, have committed multiple kidnappings and killings. Azizullah has worked closely with US Special Forces despite their awareness of his reputation for unlawful brutality.

Read the press release: Afghanistan: Abusive Strongmen Escape Justice | Human Rights Watch.

Download the report in PDF.

On Alienation

Posted in Video on February 25th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

From the BBC’s History of Ideas, here’s an animated clip on Marx’s ideas about alienation that is well worth the two minutes it will take you to watch.

Welcome to Chicago

Posted in Learnist Embeds on February 24th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment


BREAKING: Chicago Police “Black Site” Revealed

Remembering Du Bois

Posted in Quotes on February 23rd, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Let us remember the great W.E.B. Du Bois on this anniversary of his birth.

Du Bois, who said ”One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

Solidarity with our ILWU Brothers and Sisters

Posted in Commentary, News on February 20th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

A dispute between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association has drawn the attention of President Obama, who has now sent Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to meet with the sides. It is not yet known what specific message was conveyed to the negotiators. Some have speculated that the Obama Administration is threatening to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act to reopen the ports in the event of either a strike or a lockout.

A Department of Labor press release on the matter stated the following. “On behalf of President Obama, Secretary Perez made clear that the dispute has led to a very negative impact on the U.S. economy, and further delay risks tens of thousands of jobs and will cost American businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.” It also said that the two sides must come to “immediate agreement to prevent further damage to our economy and further pain for American workers and their employers.”

This sort of talk seems a far cry from Obama’s campaign rhetoric, where he pledged to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” himself and “walk on that picket line with you, as President of the United States of America.”

The PMA, an association of the owners of the 29 ports on the West Coast, has stepped up a media campaign to draw attention to the harm that the dispute may be doing to the larger U.S. economy. The President of the ILWU, Robert McEllrath, fired back two weeks ago, accusing the PMA of distorting the facts, threatening to close the ports and bargaining in the media instead of at the table.

“What the ILWU heard yesterday is a man who makes about one million dollars a year telling the working class that we have more than our share,” said McEllrath. “Intensifying the rhetoric at this stage of bargaining, when we are just a few issues from reaching an agreement, is totally unnecessary and counterproductive.”

The PMA on Wednesday distributed letters directly to workers at major ports from Los Angeles to Washington state that detailed what they called their last, best and final contract offer, apparently in hopes that the rank-and-file will pressure union negotiators to make concessions.

As the situation unfolds, we may get an opportunity to see whether or not the Obama Administration truly stands with the workers.

For nearly a century, the West Coast longshore and warehouse workers have stood, time and again, on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice. They deserve our attention, our respect and our support.

Pentagon Research: Scarcity and Unrest

Posted in Curated Links on February 19th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Nafeez Ahmed writes on Motherboard about the current research priorities of the U.S. Department of Defense.

A major factor for study is how “resource scarcity or imbalance, including food and water insecurity” can lead to state instability. This could cover availability of resources, who owns them, and who can access them; the way in which energy consumption is rising worldwide and how it relates to health and wealth in different countries.

The Pentagon also wants to see modeling of the interplay between demographic trends and population growth, as well as wider economic issues like “wealth distribution.” This raises questions about whether the US military anticipates a risk of civil unrest at home or in other Western countries allied to the US, where some economists are predicting another economic crash.

Read more: The Bleak Science Bankrolled by the Pentagon | Motherboard.