You are browsing the archive for 2018 January 23.

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Uncovering the Secret Identity of Rosie the Riveter

January 23, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

J. Howard Miller's 'We Can Do It!' poster for Westinghouse Electric, aimed at boosting morale among the company’s workers in the war effort later associated with 'Rosie the Riveter', the wartime personification of a strong female war production worker. (Credit: MPI/Getty Images)

In 1942, 20-year-old Naomi Parker was working in a machine shop at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, when a photographer snapped a shot of her on the job. In the photo, released through the Acme photo agency, she’s bent over an industrial machine, wearing a jumpsuit and sensible heels, with her hair tied back in a polka-dot bandana for safety.

On January 20, 2017, less than two years after finally getting recognition as the woman in the photograph—thought to be the inspiration for the World War II-era poster girl “Rosie the Riveter”—Naomi Parker Fraley died at the age of 96.

Fraley’s late-in-life fame came as the result of the dedicated efforts made by one scholar, James J. Kimble, to explore the history behind this American and feminist icon and to untangle the legends surrounding the famous poster. “There are so many incredible myths about it, very few of them based even remotely in fact,” Kimble says.

The poster in question was originally produced in 1943 by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and displayed in its factories to encourage more women to join the wartime labor force. Created by the artist J. Howard Miller, it featured a woman in a red-and-white polka-dot headscarf and blue shirt, flexing her bicep beneath the phrase “We Can Do It!”

Although it’s ubiquitous now, the poster was only displayed by Westinghouse for a period of two weeks in February 1943, and then replaced by another one in a series of at least 40 other promotional images, few of which included women. “The idea that we have now that she was famous and everywhere during the war—not even close to true,” says Kimble.

J. Howard Miller’s ‘We Can Do It!’ poster for Westinghouse Electric, aimed at boosting morale among the company’s workers in the war effort later associated with ‘Rosie the Riveter’, the wartime personification of a strong female war production worker. (Credit: MPI/Getty Images)

 Kimble, an associate professor of communication at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, began studying the “We Can Do It” poster due to his interest in the propaganda that was used on the homefront during World War II.

During the war, Miller’s poster was far less well known than the image of a female worker created by a much more famous artist: Norman Rockwell. Published on the cover …read more


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This Isn't Over: Expect Another Racist Trump/GOP Shutdown in the Coming Weeks

January 23, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

This whole DACA fight has always been about race.

Time, on its own, doesn’t assuage racism. White power concedes nothing without a vigorous fight, and the fantasy that racism is a problem that can just be waited out is an absolute delusion. That’s part of America’s problem: it continually asks black and brown people to sit tight, stand down, never gripe or protest, and naively hope that a country that has repeatedly betrayed and abused them will miraculously do the right thing. That’s what’s happening with DACA right now, and the frustration of watching this familiar scene play out is maddening.

The DACA fight, including the 60-hour recent government shutdown, has been about racism from day one. Donald Trump’s well-documented white supremacist bonafides dating back to his discriminatory real estate practices in the 1970s are legion, and the evidence has come fast and furious over the last two years. There was the launch of his presidential bid with a speech that cast all Mexicans as criminals, the judge he insulted based solely on his Mexican heritage, his promise to his supporters to enact policies specifically designed to hurt people of color, and his sympathizing with the “very fine [group of] people” who murdered an anti-racism protester. By the time word leaked that Trump had moaned about immigrants from “shithole countries,” the statement only confirmed what was obvious. Trump believes DACA allows shithole-caliber black and brown people to live in this country at a moment he is desperately trying to Make America Aryan Again, apparently with a huge influx of Norwegians.

Trump isn’t alone in this effort, he's backed by a White House full of racist xenophobes. Senior Trump staffer Stephen Miller has a record of anti-immigrant racism that dates back to junior high school, when he reportedly unfriended a schoolmate for being Latino, and his undergrad days at Duke University, where he railed against “multiculturalism” and hung out with notoriously punchable Nazi Richard Spencer. The first hint that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly might be a racist was his willingness work for Trump. Since taking the job, he has solidified …read more


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Fed Nominee Marvin Goodfriend Lied to the Senate on Taxing Cash

January 23, 2018 in Economics

By Tho Bishop


By: Tho Bishop

The government shutdown wasn’t long enough to delay the nomination hearing for an economist who could be considered to be one of the “worst Fed nominees of all time.” While most of the headlines generated from Marvin Goodfriend’s testimony before the Senate today focused on the grilling he received from Senate Dems, there is one curious part of his testimony that has been largely overlooked: he flat out lied about his past support for taxing cash.

Unfortunately this issue that would directly impact every single American wasn’t brought up until well over an hour into this testimony. It was then that Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto asked Mr. Goodfriend about his past advocacy on “taxing currency” and whether he would support such a policy today.

After assuring Senator Cortez Masto that he wouldn’t, he went on to say:

I wrote a paper in 1999 for a Federal Reserve System conference which asked what would happen if interest rates went to zero, and what could the Federal Reserve do. I didn't propose that, that was an academic paper showing what could be done….It was not a proposal. It was an emergency matter we considered as a matter of thinking about these things before anyone ever imagined anything could happen like that.

This is simply false.

While it is true that that Mr. Goodfriend authored a paper for the Federal Reserve in 1999 titled, “Overcoming the Zero Bound on Interest Rate Policy”, this was not the last time he has written on the subject. In 2016, he spoke at the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference at a symposium on “Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future.”

In that paper, he describes the global low interest rate environment and argues that it is important for central banks to be able to be “unencumbered” in a pursuit for negative interest rates – should they be necessary in the face of another financial crisis. He goes on to state:

The zero interest bound is an encumbrance on monetary policy to be removed, much as the gold standard and the fixed foreign exchange rate encumbrances were removed in the 20th century.

After arguing the absolute necessity of enabling central banks to pursue negative interest rates – which are themselves a form of taxing bank accounts – he goes on to make policy recommendations that would empower them to do so. Since we’ve repeatedly seen …read more


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How Classic Hollywood’s Party Culture Turned Women Into Prey

January 23, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Article clippings of Patricia Douglas, featured in 'Girl 27'. (Credit: Girl 27/Everett)

MGM’s 1937 sales convention was an affair to remember. There were celebrity meet-and-greets, marching bands, an escort of motorcycle cops. There was a private rail car and plenty of booze and conversation. And, on the night of May 5, 1937, there was a big party, complete with appearances by Laurel and Hardy, the Dandridge Sisters and an open bar.

But for Patricia Douglas, a dancer and movie extra, the party was one she wished she could forget. The dancer was one of 120 young women who were told they’d be filming on location that night. Once at the event, they were trapped—and Douglas was stalked by a drunken salesman who forced her to drink alcohol, then raped her.

The party was just one facet of a pervasive culture of sexual exploitation that was aided and abetted by the most storied studios of Hollywood’s Golden Age. “Stag parties” like this one—put on by and for Hollywood men—were both common and notoriously dangerous for young women. “I’m going to give you some advice: Don’t go to any parties,” director Sam Wood warned Pauline Wagner, a starlet who was Fay Wray’s stunt double for the 1933 movie King Kong.

When a woman was selected to attend a stag party put on by a director or star, she might view it as a compliment. She might also see it as a meal ticket—often, studios and others would pay women to attend parties. When they arrived, they sometimes found they were expected to do more than be a pretty face.

Article clippings of Patricia Douglas, featured in ‘Girl 27′. (Credit: Girl 27/Everett)

Women extras were at particular risk. Without a contract to protect them, they were viewed as expendable and were often recruited as “party favors” by men on set. “A few of them effectively functioned as pimps,” says filmmaker and Hollywood biographer David Stenn, whose documentary, Girl 27, tracks the story of Douglas’ abuse and its aftermath.

Dancers, extras and starlets were regulars at these male-centered affairs. “If you had a stag event, you’d have entertainment, and that would have meant women,” says Stenn. The excesses of the convention party where Douglas was raped, says Stenn, were egged on by the expectations that, while attending conventions away from home, men could—and would—act as they pleased without suffering any consequences.

At the …read more


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It's Boom Times for Billionaires

January 23, 2018 in Blogs

By Benjamin Dangl, AlterNet

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Around the world, the labor of poor people fuels the rising concentration of wealth.

Forida is a 22-year-old sewing machine operator in a clothing factory in Dahka, Bangladesh. She often works 12-hour days producing clothing for brands such as H&M and Target. Sometimes, during busy production cycles, the hours are even longer.

“Last year, I worked until midnight for a full month,” Forida said. “I used to feel sick all the time. I was stressed about my son and then after I got home from work, I had to clean the house and cook and then go back to work again the next morning. I would go to bed at 2am and get up at 5.30am each day.”

Even with the combined income from her husband, Forida’s family barely has enough food to eat.

Meanwhile, a CEO from a top clothing brand would earn in four days what a garment worker in Bangladesh earns in a lifetime.

Forida’s story is included in a report released this week by the anti-poverty organization Oxfam. The report, Reward Work, Not Wealth, reveals how the global economy empowers the richest 1 percent while hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive.

Oxfam found that 82 percent of the global wealth produced last year went to the richest 1 percent of the world’s population. In other words, four out of every five dollars of wealth created in 2017 went into the pockets of the 1 percent.

While a new billionaire was created every other day, the 3.7 billion people making up the poorest half of the world’s population saw no increase in their wealth last year.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow …read more


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Trump Doesn't Want a Deal on Immigrants

January 23, 2018 in Blogs

By Heather Digby Parton, Salon

Advisers like Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton are feeding Trump’s racism, because they know what’s in his heart.

In May of last year, President Donald Trump said, “our country needs a shutdown.” Over the weekend he got his wish. After a tumultuous couple of weeks in which the president said he would agree to a clean DACA bill “of love” and then ranted about not wanting any more immigration from “shithole” countries, the Republican House majority voted for a stopgap spending measure to keep the government funded. But the Republican Senate couldn't muster more than 51 votes and it needed 60.

As I write this, all non-essential government services are closed and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising a vote on DACA if Democrats agree to a stopgap measure lasting until Feb. 8. He has scheduled a vote for noon on Monday. Of course they've been kicking this can down the road for months. McConnell promised the same thing in December and never delivered the DACA vote, but maybe he really means it this time.

The sticking points are a fix for DACA recipients, enhanced border security including the Trumpian border wall, newly introduced draconian restrictions on legal immigration and funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. The DACA issue and the CHIP program basically involve young people and sick children being held as hostages by Republicans to get their extreme immigration policies enacted.

The best description of what the negotiations have been like over the past three days came from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a speech on Saturday when he said working with Trump was “like negotiating with Jell-O.” He said Democrats had capitulated on the wall, and in return, Trump told him he would push for a measure to keep the government open for four or five days so they could hammer out the details. Then:

“Then a few hours later they called back again, ‘Well we’re going to need this, this, this in addition,’” Schumer said. “Things they knew were far, far right and off the table.”

Basically, every time the parties reach an actual agreement, the right-wingers demand more.

Sen. Lindsey …read more


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Watch: San Diego Cop Body-Slams Handcuffed 17-Year-Old Girl to Cement for Refusing to Leave High School Campus

January 23, 2018 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

A textbook case of police brutality.

La Mesa police officer  is under investigation after he was filmed body-slamming a 17-year-old student onto the cement at a local charter school in San Diego, KTLA is reporting.

According to the report, officers were called to the school to deal with the teen who had reportedly been suspended by school officials but was reluctant to leave the Helix High School campus. In video shot by another student,  the unidentified handcuffed teen is seen being escorted off the school grounds when she pulls away from the officer, who promptly picked her up and slammed her to the cement before pinning her there.

A spokesperson for the family said the teen previously said she was feeling sick and that school officials accused her of being on drugs. A search of her bag turned up a pepper spray — which the girl claimed she kept to protect herself when traveling to and from school — and she was suspended for carrying a weapon.

La Mesa police Chief Walt Vasquez has so far backed his officer, issuing a statement saying:  “As they were walking, the student became non-compliant on two separate occasions and made an attempt to free herself by pulling away from the officer. To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground.”

Speaking for the teen’s family, Aeiramique Blake said the girl felt she was being discriminated against and refused to leave,  which led to the altercation

“No matter what was done or not done, that was not the appropriate way to handle a young lady. The community is completely outraged,” Blake said in a statement.

Vasquez said the incident is being looked into and the officer will not patrol the campus while the investigation is ongoing.

You can watch the video below:

Related Stories

…read more


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Does Bitcoin Use Too Much Electricity?

January 23, 2018 in Economics

By Robert P. Murphy


By: Robert P. Murphy

An optimist says the glass is half full. A pessimist says the glass if half empty. And a Vox writer says if you drink 60 glasses of that stuff in the next hour, it’ll kill you.

A case in point is the recent Vox column by Umair Irfan, warning that the Bitcoin network has caused a huge surge in energy consumption. And yet, Irfan’s own article admits that even the largest estimate—which could be double the actual figure—suggests Bitcoin only uses about 0.14 percent of global electricity. It seems somewhat unfair to single out Bitcoin and ignore the other 99.86 percent of the activities that use electricity.

Snark aside, Bitcoin admittedly does use a surprising amount of electricity. Although the estimates are uncertain, Irfan quotes figures suggesting that (in early December) it took some 250 kilowatt-hours of energy to process a single transaction. (For a frame of reference, that’s enough energy to support a typical U.S. household for eight days.) Other statistics show that—assuming the figures on Bitcoin’s usage are correct—the network consumes more electricity than the country of Serbia, and the electricity used to run the Bitcoin network is enough to provide for almost 3 million U.S. households.

Yet how meaningful are these types of stats? Wikipedia reports that in June 2015, the website had 54 million unique visitors. If those people had spent their time volunteering, rather than reading Vox, can you imagine how much litter could have been picked up? How many trees planted? How many stories could have been read to children?

When the price of Bitcoin surges—as it was doing when the Vox story ran, though as of this writing it is crashing once again—it ramps up electricity usage. By design, a new “block” (which is 1MB in size) gets added to the “blockchain”—which is the public ledger recording all Bitcoin transactions going back to the launch in 2009—every ten minutes. If the Bitcoin price is high enough to entice more people to enter the industry with their computers to “mine” bitcoins, then the protocol automatically adjusts the difficulty of the computational problems necessary in order to “solve” a new block and be rewarded bitcoins accordingly. (For more information on how Bitcoin and “mining” works, see the free guide I co-authored.)

Now if we ask: “Is it ‘worth it’ to have Bitcoin use so much electricity?” the answer is, “It …read more


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Why China's Entry into the WTO Has Been Good for the U.S.

January 23, 2018 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

Pining for the glory days of the past is a common human frailty
(“Remember how great things were back in the 1950s?”),
but it turns out that when you look closely, things weren’t
actually so great.

This is playing out right now in trade policy, with some
handwringing over the 2001 decision to admit China to the World
Trade Organization. Last week, the U.S. Trade
Representative’s office issued a report on China’s WTO
compliance, which led to a flurry of headlines such as
U.S. says China WTO membership was a

But were things really so great before China was in the WTO, and
would they be better if it wasn’t?

When China was admitted, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office explained
the significant changes
China agreed to make to its economy in
order to join the WTO. China would become more transparent, in part
by translating all laws, regulations or other measures, at all
levels of government, relating to trade in goods or services into
one or more of the official WTO languages (English, French and
Spanish). It would reduce tariffs considerably — for example,
tariffs on autos fell from 80%-100% to 25%. Finally, China would
open many of its services sectors to foreign competition for the
first time.

It is hard to see how
things would be better if China had not joined the WTO and had
maintained the substantially higher levels of protectionism it
practiced before joining

All of these changes were significant liberalization steps and
made it easier for foreign companies to sell in the Chinese

Just as importantly, in joining the WTO, China agreed to a set
of rules to settle complaints about areas in which its market
remained closed.

Over the years, the United States brought complaints on a wide
range of issues, with a fair amount of success. This is documented
in the report the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office
just issued on China’s WTO compliance
. To give several
examples, China removed export quotas and duties on several
raw-material inputs of interest to the U.S. steel, aluminum and
chemicals industries; China terminated export subsidies provided to
manufacturers and producers in seven industries; and China removed
importation and distribution restrictions applicable to
copyright-intensive products.

It is hard to see how things would be better if China had not
joined the WTO and had maintained the substantially higher levels
of protectionism it practiced before joining. Granted, there are
other ways for the United States to address trade barriers, such as
unilateral action under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974,
but those have not worked well against other countries in the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Conflicts of Interest in Government Are More Common than You Think

January 23, 2018 in Economics

By Lee Friday


By: Lee Friday

Recent allegations of improper conduct have been made against former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Both cases, which are unrelated, have raised questions about a conflict-of-interest, which arises when public office holders use their positions for personal gain. These stories about Clinton and Trudeau are nothing more than minor symptoms of a much bigger problem.

Clinton has been accused of “overseeing the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium supply to Russia” and allegations have “been made that the approval of the sale of Uranium One benefited major donors to the Clinton Foundation.” Donations totaled at least $33.6 million. Trudeau violated “the Conflict of Interest Act when he and members of his family accepted” a trip to the Aga Khan’s private Bahamian island “which left taxpayers on the hook for more than $200,000.” Furthermore, “Trudeau didn’t properly recuse himself on two occasions in May 2016 from sensitive government meetings about the Aga Khan and a $15-million grant to the endowment fund of the Global Centre for Pluralism.”

The real problem is that the government’s definition of conflict-of-interest is far too narrow, thereby ignoring the overwhelming conflict-of-interest which defines the entire relationship between the rulers and the ruled. Thus, there is no discussion about the extent to which government policies enrich special interest groups. Therefore, citizens are unaware that the hidden economic cost they absorb from these policies each year far exceeds their annual tax bill (more on this below).

Harmony of Interests in the Private Sector

Private businesses do not have legal authority to seize my money, as the government does with taxation. Therefore, these businesses must find a way to persuade me to give them money. If I don’t like the product in one store, I can visit other retailers. When I find a product that satisfies me, I voluntarily hand over my money, and the store clerk voluntarily relinquishes the product. This exchange occurs because I value the product more than the money, and the store owner values the money more than the product. We both benefit. It is a win-win situation. The exchange is an outcome of a harmony of interests, not a conflict-of-interest.

In other words, voluntary exchanges on the free market occur because each party is incentivized to satisfy the interest of the other party. The absence of coercion enables this harmony of interests.

In contrast, …read more