You are browsing the archive for 2015 April.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Racism Is Real: The Real Reason Behind Baltimore Uprising

April 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Robert Greenwald, AlterNet

The truth is, Jim Crow grew up, cleaned up, and started writing laws


The death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police sparked outrage and protests by thousands of Baltimore residents and people of color around the world. It seems that almost daily, the headline “Unarmed Black Man Killed By Police” has pulled back the veil on what many white Americans, liberal and conservative alike, have been blinded to by privilege: racism is real in American society. Our new film, which we have shared here, highlights it.

With the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the success of entrepreneurs like Oprah and Tyler Perry, and the increase in African Americans attendance in college, about half of white American's have wrongly concluded that the US has entered a “post-racial” phase, where race is no longer the determining factor in inequality.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

The crux of much debate surrounding the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent civil unrest by both moderate and conservative media and pundits lay the blame squarely on the backs of the protestors and victims of such assaults. They contend that these deaths and protests are a result of those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. That criminal activity and arrests are a result of poor choices and poor moral character. That, in this post racial society, everyone has equal ability to change their circumstances if only they try hard enough.

What happens when we try to qualify those beliefs?

Well, we find that blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, but blacks are four times more likely to get arrested for itand six times more likely to go to prison. This certainly proves that arrest has a whole lot more to do with what you look like than the actual crime.

Or what about when we compare resumes, and find that identical resumes sent to the same employer have a 50 percent less chance of being called if they have a “black sounding” name. This certainly demonstrates unequal ability to change your circumstances.

Want to complain about all of this to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Internet Racists Pose as Looting Black Protesters on Twitter to Smear the Baltimore Uprising

April 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

Faked pictures of stolen goods are getting exactly the kind of racist response the trolls want and the Internet is known for.


The Internet is full of terrible people behaving terribly at every opportunity, so it was only a matter of time until they turned their attention to the Freddie Gray tragedy. As protests rage around the country, Internet trolls are making use of the grief and outrage surrounding Gray’s death to pose as Baltimore “looters”—and, let’s be honest, to help bolster racist stereotypes. Using the hashtag #BaltimoreLootCrew on Twitter, these despicable people are posting pictures of purportedly shoplifted items along with boastful messages to piss people off. And it’s working like a charm.

Vice’s Motherboard blog first reported on the tweets, calling attention to the fact that the users behind them seem like obvious trolls. The site notes that all of the tweets “contain numerous references to the Ayy Team, a group of online trolls, 8chan, an anonymous online message board similar to 4chan, and Gamergate.” Still, they’ve successfully managed to rack up both concerned and racist responses, proving that the Internet is exactly the place we all know it to be.

Motherboard cites the example of a Twitter user named “Juice” who tweeted a picture of a random assortment of pharmaceutical drugs, including what several respondents identified as insulin. “DON’T EVEN NOW (sic) WHAT I TOOK #BaltimoreLootCrew #BaltimoreRiots,” the post reads. As Vice points out, there’s “the obvious tip-off that Juice has an anime avatar and most of the posts on his account appear to be 4chan screenshots.” What follows is a bunch of tweets from taken-in users worried that someone won’t have access to their meds. (And a few very recent tweets calling out the original poster as a troll.)

Another tweet of a “stolen” laptop earned a response from Darlene Jones ‏@PropertyQuick stating, “I've reported this to the Baltimore Police. I hope that each one of you dirty little niglets will get raped in prison.” Other tweet threads —knock yourself out by doing a Twitter search for #BaltimoreLootCrew—are a mixed bag of annoyed responses and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Protests Erupt Around the Country in Solidarity with Baltimore

April 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

These photos show the outpouring of outrage over Freddie Gray's death on NYC's streets.


Around the country, protesters took to the streets Wednesday night in solidarity with those who have done the same in Baltimore in response to the unexplained death of Freddie Gray, an unarmed 25-year-old black man who died in police custody. Sizeable demonstrations took place in New York City, Boston, Minneapolis and Washington, DC. The were also protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in many ways the catalyst for the most visible anti-police brutality activism over the last several months.

There were reports of police in riot gear in New York City, where one of the largest rallies was held. (AlterNet’s images from the NYC rally can be found throughout this article.) The New York Times reports that more than 100 people were arrested and that those detained “were seen being thrown roughly to the ground and handcuffed by the police.”

As the protests were unfolding, more than 100 protesters in Baltimore who had been arrested and held since Monday were finally being released. They represent less than half of the 235 detained, 34 of whom are juveniles. Following legal wrangling throughout the day, the protesters were freed around 7pm. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times,detainees were reportedly “held in cramped and dangerous conditions,” with cells designed to hold eight people stuffed with up to 15. Those released hadn’t had charges filed against them.

Deputy public defender Natalie Finegar, speaking to the Times said, “It looks like a lot of folks were just flat-out illegally detained, from our perspective.” In another interview with the Guardian, Finegar said the way the cases were handled threatened to “further shake the confidence in the criminal justice system for those arrested.”

Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose approval ratings recently hit their lowest since his time in office, sent state troopers to Baltimore to back up the massive number of law enforcement already on the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Truth About Advertising: Selling the White Woman™

April 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

Artist Hank Willis Thomas’s latest show in New York strips the copy from advertisements to expose what the images are actually selling – a very white, highly controlled ideal of femininity


Pinterest

White women: friend-free since 1915

A lot of the ads in the exhibition show women with their husbands, or their daughters, or their lovers. But there isn’t a single ad that shows female friends together, enjoying each other’s company while fully clothed. When groups of women are pictured together, they tend to be in bikinis and looking at the imaginary man behind the camera, not at each other. Indeed, women are often seen as a source of competition, not companionship. This is communicated with no great subtlety in an ad from 1960, which shows a coven of crouching, conservatively-dressed women, literally green with envy, pointing a cannon at a woman who is posing for the camera in her underwear.

Come out of the Bone Age, darling ..., 1955/2015. Photograph courtesy Hank Willis Thomas and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Pinterest

 

100% less black than black women

Many of the earlier ads show white women attended by black servants; a large part of whiteness, these images imply, is being in a position of power over black people. As blatant racism gets less socially acceptable, the message becomes coded. An ad from 1974 shows a spectrum of female faces going from black at the bottom to white at the top: a hierarchy in which blacker is definitely not meant to be better. Female beauty …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Media’s Baltimore ‘Teen Purge’ Narrative is Falling Apart

April 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, FAIR

Turns out the teen social media “purge” may have been more a police and media creation than an actual threat.


Early Monday afternoon, the Baltimore Sun (

As for the evidence of this “purge” spreading on social media? It’s murky at best. After getting vague responses from the Baltimore Sunreporters in question as to the actual, linked evidence that the flier had gone viral, I took to Twitter asking for evidence that evidence that the flier was spread by high school students before theSun tweeted it out.

After a few hours and a lot of searching, all that came back were two tweets (one of which is now deleted)—neither of which were from high schoolers, and both of which were upset by the idea of a “purge,” not promoting it. Even if one assumes that the flier actually did go viral on other social media (which it may well have–it’s more difficult to search Instagram andFacebook), the social media activity we could observe was sharing the flier in disgust—not to promote the “purge” at all.

The sharing of content is not, in itself, an indication of intent or support. (Indeed, if it were, we could assume CNN and other outlets that splash ISIS propaganda on their Twitter timelines are ISIS’s No. 1 fans.) So when theBaltimore Sun breathlessly observes that “the incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a ‘purge’ to take place at 3 p.m.,” it’s important to know whether the flier was being “circulated widely” by supporters or opponents. This is why, when reporting on social media trends, providing actual social media screengrabs and links is entirely helpful.

It’s unclear, though, whether the Baltimore Sun had any links to the original social media activity that its report centered on. Sun reporter Carrie Wells, who seems to be the first from the paper to tweet the photo after the Sun‘s story went live, told me she heard about the “purge” image because “a friend onFacebook said it was circulating around Instagram.”

 

“It’s been widely circulating”…“got word of it”…“other reports”: The murkiness and lack of identified primary source strips the story of context and, in doing so, creates a perception …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Manufacturers

April 30, 2015 in Economics

By Daniel R. Pearson

Daniel R. Pearson

The Senate Finance Committee added Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) poorly named “Leveling the Playing Field Act” to the customs reauthorization bill it passed on April 22. The stated purpose of Brown’s provisions is to “restore strength to antidumping and countervailing duty laws” via a “crack down on unfair foreign competition.” Among other things, Brown’s proposal seeks to change procedures used by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in deciding whether domestic industries have been “materially injured” by imports. The intent of this legislation is to take a playing field that already is slanted in favor of domestic firms and tilt it even further toward protectionism. It should be rejected.

The existing antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) statutes instruct the ITC to “evaluate all relevant economic factors” that relate to the effects of imports on the domestic industry under consideration. A number of those factors are specifically mentioned, including the industry’s profits. Not being satisfied with that, the Brown bill adds, “gross profits, operating profits, net profits, [and] ability to service debt.” As a practical matter, the Commission already looks in detail at an industry’s profitability and its ability to repay debts, so this additional wording contributes nothing of substance. The bill also makes other technical and arcane modifications to the statute, none of which grants the ITC authority beyond what it already has.

Although the changes proposed by Sen. Sherrod Brown seem relatively modest, they should not be adopted for a simple reason: litigation risk.”

Although the changes proposed by Brown seem relatively modest, they should not be adopted for a simple reason: litigation risk. The skilled and creative attorneys who represent domestic industries in AD/CVD cases (and who likely drafted Brown’s bill) would be only too happy to have another basis on which to appeal Commission decisions with which they disagree. A claim that the ITC had not adequately considered the newly crafted provisions would provide a wonderful justification for an appeal. Why invite such mischief?

If members of Congress actually are interested in modifying the AD/CVD statutes to make them better serve the interests of the U.S. manufacturing economy, they should propose legislation that would balance the interests of domestic producers that are petitioning for import restrictions against the interests of downstream consumers. Currently the ITC injury determination is limited to the effect of imports “on domestic producers of domestic like products.” In essence, the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Killing the Unborn Is Never a Good Option

April 30, 2015 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Even as social conservatives find themselves in retreat on many issues, such as gay marriage, public opposition to abortion remains high. Americans are conflicted, but recognize that the procedure involves more than just hurting oneself. There’s another life involved. Abortion can never be a simple case of personal “choice.”

In fact, most abortion advocates nervously proclaim themselves to be pro-choice, not pro-abortion. Leading “pro-choice” politicians even argue that the procedure should be rare. Most supporters want to focus on the mother, whether her right to make decisions about herself or the difficult circumstances facing her, while downplaying the consequence of a dead baby.

This attitude was reflected by the recent Daily Kos post by “GypsyPhoenix” which observed: “I don’t think anyone, save the sickest, most twisted and perverse among us, wants women to have abortions.” The writer added that “I don’t think that I, personally, could ever do it,” yet went on to argue that “Abortion is going to happen. So reality must be faced, and common sense and safety need to prevail.” Meaning the availability of legal abortion.

Abortion can never be a simple case of personal ‘choice.’”

It’s a powerful, though ultimately unsatisfactory, argument for allowing a procedure that results in death. Forcing a mother to carry to term is not a good option. However, abortion is not just another choice. No argument over when life begins can change the fact that there is something special, and morally important, about a potential life irrespective of its state of development. Moreover, except in the important but thankfully rare case of rape, pregnancy results from the exercise of choice, to have sex. While that liberty should be well-nigh absolute, freedom entails responsibility, including for the consequences of choosing sex—such as the arrival of a baby. We can argue over what those responsibilities should be. But responsibilities there should be.

However, the Washington Post recently wrote of some activists’ “new push to destigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically,” giving it “in some cases, even a positive spin.” In that spirit Salon’s Valeri Tarico responded to GypsyPhoenix.

Tarico cheerfully took up the challenge of endorsing abortion: “I believe that abortion care is a positive social good.” Most striking about her argument is the almost complete dismissal of the other life involved. Indeed, she began her essay with the declaration: “I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

'A Riot Is the Language of the Unheard'—9 MLK Quotes the Mainstream Media Won't Cite

April 29, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

The real MLK was far more radical than today's cherry-picked lines.

The Martin Luther King who is cynically trotted out every time racial unrest erupts in our cities is the MLK who can be conveniently used to prop up the status quo. He is the MLK of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, ignoring the core root of an urban uprising and unable to recognize the intrinsically higher value of black lives over commercial property interests. He is MLK reduced to “I Have A Dream,” used in conservative political ads to scare-monger about invading, job-stealing Mexican immigrants. He is the almost wholly fabricated MLK whom the modern GOP claims would today be one of their own, presumably standing alongside them as they vote against the poor, women and people of color at every opportunity.  

Except in reality, those examples rely on half-truths and half-reveals of who MLK truly was. In real, big-picture life, MLK was far more radical than today’s cherry-picked lines from his speeches and books would suggest – a man who moved further left over the course of his long and weary fight for African-American civil rights. By 1966, MLK had become an outspoken opponent of “liberal” white complicity in white supremacy, of American imperialism and warmongering, of the Capitalist system itself. Modern right wingers’ use of quotes from MLK (here’s just a few examples) twist and misuse his words in ways that belie much of what he ultimately came to stand for.

The next time Wolf Blitzer or some other conservative commentator – or horribly misguided person in your Facebook feed – tosses MLK into a conversation about what’s currently happening in Baltimore, recall that MLK also said that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” (Yes, you can be anti-violence and understand the roots of it.) Here are several more examples of MLK’s most radical statements:

1. “Why is equality so assiduously avoided? Why does white America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains?

The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Gay Marriage: a Victory for 'Radical' Libertarians

April 29, 2015 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. The challenge will almost certainly succeed, and, by late June, same-sex couples will likely be able to marry everywhere in the country.

Gay rights have seen incredible expansion in the 46 years since the Stonewall riots. Until 1973, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and only 12 years ago the Supreme Court ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct were unconstitutional.

Libertarians, however, have been there all along. In 1972, while homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder, the first Libertarian party platform advocated the “repeal of all criminal laws in which there is no victim.” This view, simultaneously radical and commonsensical, is a cornerstone of libertarian beliefs. Private sexual conduct between consenting adults should never be criminalized. But libertarians went even further, advocating for allowing homosexuals in the military and for repealing bans on gay marriage.

Libertarians were not just at the forefront of the gay liberation movement, they were also at the forefront of the abolitionism and the struggle for women’s rights.”

How did those “radical” libertarians get it right 40 years ago? Is there something about libertarianism that puts it in the vanguard of important civil rights movements?

The “simple system of natural liberty,” to use Adam Smith’s phrase, is a powerful tool. Governments, when they’re doing it right, are supposed to facilitate the interactions of free people by respecting and protecting the rights of each and every person regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. It is a cornerstone principle of our nation, yet it has been more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Unfortunately, too often government is taken over by those who want to construct society in a certain way, and who are willing to use force to try to mold people to fit their ideals. For those who are against drug use, it is not enough that they themselves avoid drugs and counsel others to do likewise — no, they want to use force on those with a different lifestyle choice. Similarly, for those who oppose homosexuality.

For over a thousand years, most governments in the Western world oppressed and marginalized homosexuals. Shortly after Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, the Church and the state struck a deal: the Church would glorify the state and the state would use …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Vietnam: 40 Years On

April 29, 2015 in History

April 29, 2015 11:55 a.m.

Forty years after the fall of Saigon, debate continues concerning the reality on the ground in Vietnam in 1975. Below are two varying accounts written by Jim Laurie and Stuart Herrington, both of whom were in Saigon in April 1975. At the time, Laurie was a reporter for NBC News, and Herrington was a captain in the U.S. Army. Both men were interviewed for and appear in the film Last Days in Vietnam, which played in theaters nationwide in 2014 before premiering on PBS April 28, 2015.

Vietnam: 40 Years On
By Jim Laurie

Forty years after the end of what the Vietnamese call “The American War,” discussion of the conflict remains as divisive and emotionally charged as it was all those years ago.

The Vietnamese victors celebrate on April 30th what they call their day of “Giải Phóng” – liberation. Many of the Vietnamese who supported the American side and fled their homeland describe that day as “Ngày Quốc Nhục” — a National Day of Shame.

Rory Kennedy’s film “Last Days in Vietnam” portrays powerfully the human drama played out in the final 48 hours of the war. But it raises questions about the history leading up to those compelling hours.

In January 1973 the Paris Peace Accords were signed. The Peace Accords called for a “ceasefire” in place with each side holding positions as they were at 8 am on January 28, 1973.

Very few observers at the time, however, saw the agreement as anything but a fig leaf behind which to bring home American prisoners of war in North Vietnam and to extricate remaining U.S. troops in South Vietnam.

In Henry Kissinger’s interview in “Last Days in Vietnam,” he says, “We thought it would be the beginning not of peace in the American sense but the beginning of a period of co-existence.” Kissinger, who was then serving as National Security Officer and Secretary of State under President Gerald Ford, goes on to say of the tenuous relations between North and South Vietnam, “It might evolve as it did in Korea into two states.”

There were, however, dramatic differences between Vietnam and Korea. For starters, the United States has stationed more than 30,000 troops in Korea for more than 60 years to guarantee a two-state situation on the peninsula. In Vietnam no such role for the U.S. was ever envisioned; was ever possible.

Another stark contrast between the peace forged …read more

Source: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE