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When They Call You a Terrorist

February 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Patrisse Khan-Cullors, asha bandele, In These Times

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors on her path to activism and being criminalized at age 12.

The following is an excerpt from the new book

This has been an excerpt from the new book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele (St. Martin's Press, January 2018). Copyright © 2018 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press and In These Times. The book is available for purchase from Amazon and IndieBound.

This excerpt was previously published on In These Times and is reprinted with permission from In These Times magazine, © 2018, and is available at

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Central Banks Holding Steady, But Promise More Rate Hikes

February 8, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken


By: Ryan McMaken

  • On February 5, the Reserve Bank of Australia held its key rate steady at 1.5 percent. 
  • The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.25 percent in January.
  • At its February Meeting, the Federal Reserve announced it would hold the Federal Funds Rate steady at 1.5 percent.
  • The Bank of England in January warned that it plans to hike rates this year, possibly as early as May. But its policy committee unanimously voted to keep the key rate at 0.5 percent earlier this month. 
  • The Bank of Japan announced it is keeping its key rate steady at -0.1 percent. 

In all cases — The Fed, the Bank of Canada, the BofE, the BOJ, and the Bank of Australia — central bankers said they expected to raise rates more in the near future. Even at the Bank of Japan, which has been especially dovish and pro-QE in recent years, the bank scaled back QE a tiny bit

After years of blistering asset purchases, the Bank of Japan disclosed today that total assets on its balance sheet actually inched down by ¥444 billion ($3.9 billion) from the end of November to ¥521.416 trillion on December 31. While small, it was the first month-end to month-end decline since the Abenomics-designed “QQE” kicked off in late 2012.

The Bank of Canada has perhaps been the most aggressive at raising rates, with three rate hikes since July.

But, in all cases, rates remain well below where they were in 2008 before the financial crisis. We’re now entering the tenth year of low-low interest-rate policy and Quantitative Easing. And even though we’re hearing constantly about how the global economy is red hot, it appears the most central banks are still reluctant to get anywhere near what might be properly called “normalization.” 

One big exception to the claims of more rate hikes is the European Central Bank which isn’t even talking about optimism at this point. Unlike other central banks, the ECB is already saying it might have to miss its self-imposed deadlines for unwinding QE: 

The European Central Bank’s top economist has warned that its bond-buying efforts will have to continue beyond the planned deadline of September, if inflation does not pick up.

Inflation has remained well short of the central bank’s target of close to, but below, 2pc in recent years. Monthly data released at the end of January revealed that prices had risen by 1.3pc, the lowest reading since …read more


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When Deportation Is a Death Sentence: The Fatal Consequences of U.S. Immigration Policy

February 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Juan González, Democracy Now!

People have been killed in their home countries after being deported or turned away by the United States.

As the battle over the DREAMers and DACA heats up in Washington, we look at a stunning new piece in The New Yorker titled “When Deportation is a Death Sentence.” It looks at how an unknown number of men and women As the battle over the DREAMers and DACA heats up in Washington, we look at a stunning new piece in the New Yorker titled “When Deportation Is a Death Sentence.” It looks at how an unknown number of men and women have been killed in their home countries after being deported or turned away by the United States. The article focuses in part on a Mexican-born woman named Laura. Despite living her whole adult life in Texas, she was deported to Mexico after a traffic stop. She warned a U.S. Border Patrol agent, “When I am found dead, it will be on your conscience.” Within a week of her deportation, she was murdered by her ex-husband. We are joined by the award-winning journalist and New Yorker staff writer Sarah Stillman. She is also director of the Global Migration Project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Capitol Hill, Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Chris Coons have introduced a bipartisan bill aimed to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. The future of the nearly 800,000 DREAMers has been at the center of a major political battle in Washington. But on Monday, President Trump took to Twitter to criticize the bipartisan bill soon after it was introduced. Trump wrote, quote, “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!” unquote. This comes as immigrant rights activists are preparing to hold a protest in Washington Wednesday to push for a clean DREAM Act to be passed before Thursday, when the government faces another possible shutdown.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, as …read more


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The Payback: Why Aren't Black Voters Rewarded by the Party That Depends on Them to Win Elections?

February 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Ebony Slaughter-Johnson, AlterNet

Democrats need to do more to protect black Americans from institutionalized racism.

At his State of the Union address last Tuesday, President Trump sent out a clarion call that portends where he will set his legislative sights next. “We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity,” Trump insisted.

Translation: Expect cuts in the social safety net.

As the path of the Republican tax plan toward passage grew clearer, so did the threat to the social safety net. With major, permanent tax cuts for corporations, and by extension the wealthiest Americans, and (temporary) tax cuts to individuals that also disproportionately benefit the wealthy, experts argue this bill will contribute as much as $1.5 trillion to the deficit. House Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues have made clear that they intend to use the social safety net to finance the tax cuts. Said Republican Representative Rod Blum, “For us to achieve three percent GDP growth over the next 10 years from tax reform, we have to have welfare reform.”

Now that the bill has passed and been signed into law, the threat to the social safety net is existential. While making the rounds on the various morning talk shows boasting of the Republicans’ “accomplishment,” Speaker Ryan argued (and Trump later echoed), “People want able-bodied people who are on welfare to go to work, they want us to get people out of poverty, into the workforce.”

It’s hard to understand the logic behind undermining the funding streams for programs that keep people out of poverty in order to “get people out of poverty,” but clearly the Speaker is not the only one who subscribes to that line of thinking. Reports suggest that the White House is finalizing an executive order demanding a review of the federal programs that comprise the social safety net. One can only presume that the conclusions of this review will justify major changes to the programs conservatives have derided for years as wasteful and ineffective. On the potential chopping block …read more


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James Buchanan on Methodological Individualism and the Market Process

February 8, 2018 in Economics

By Thomas J. DiLorenzo

James Buchanan

By: Thomas J. DiLorenzo

A rigorous application of methodological individualism is perhaps what most separates the Austrian and Public Choice schools from most others. The idea that the individual should be the unit of analysis has spared public choice and Austrian economists from many of the mistakes of what might be called collectivist economics. The Austrians, for example, have exposed a great deal of macroeconomic nonsense due to the fact that Keynesian theory largely ignored aggregation problems. The Austrian conception of markets, based on the interaction among individuals and on man’s inherent “propensity to truck, barter and exchange,” is also more useful and informative, in my view, than the perfect competition model.

Buchanan and other public choice theorists have greatly improved our understanding of the political process by scrapping the “organic” view of collective action, which describes government, more or less, is a benevolent despot, making decisions that are assumed to be in the public interest.”

Not so long ago, in 1968, Buchanan remarked:

Most … economists take an approach different from my own, and one that I regard as both confused and wrong. In my vision of social order, individual persons are the basic component units, and “government” is simply that complex of institutions through which individuals make collective decisions, and through which they carry out collective as opposed to private activities. Politics is the activity of persons in the context of such institution.1

Of course, the economics profession has changed significantly since then, particularly in light of the public choice revolution. Methodological individualism has replaced more collectivist views in academic circles.

Nevertheless, it is far from clear that there has been a decisive “victory.” Social welfare functions still clutter the economics journals. Moreover, there is no shortage of recommendations for government intervention in the name of the mythical “public interest.” Proponents of methodological individualism have made great strides, but the collectivist mind set dies a slow death.

Buchanan has also long been considered a proponent of the Austrian view of the ‘market process. In this regard he is more than jus a “fellow traveler”; his work has played an important role in helping to distinguish between the theory of the market as a process and the alternative, neoclassical theory of competitive equilibrium. Thus, in addition to his seminal work …read more


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Doctors Should Support Interstate Telemedicine

February 8, 2018 in Economics

By Shirley Svorny

Shirley Svorny

Should licensed physicians be allowed to practice telemedicine
across state borders? Lawmakers in Congress have been reluctant to
move this forward. An exception is the recent VETS Act of 2017,
versions of which just passed in both houses of Congress.

Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care professionals will
be allowed to practice via telemedicine in any state, no matter
where the clinician is licensed or the patient is located. Why not
make this type of access available to everyone?

Lawmakers have introduced bills that included language to
reduced barriers to interstate telemedicine, but ultimately
pushback from state medical boards and physician groups have doomed
these efforts. Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, and Sens. Mazie Hirono,
D-Hawaii, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tried to expand cross-state
accessibility for Medicare recipients via the Telemedicine for
Medicare Act of 2015. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, addressed the
needs of TRICARE beneficiaries by including a similar provision in
an early version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. In
both cases, the provision was stripped from the final legislation.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, included a provision in the
Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 that would have allowed physicians
to practice across states on the basis of their home-state licensed
and would have applied to all Americans: “For the purposes of
[telehealth service] … providers of such services are considered to
be furnishing such services at their location and not at the
originating site.”

A greater awareness of
the benefits of telemedicine is needed to counter special interest
groups that benefit financially from the status quo.

In each case, well-respected and politically powerful groups,
including the American Medical Association, and representatives of
state medical boards opposed the language. As always, when it comes
to proposals that would inject competition into the market for
physician services, physicians raise the patient safety flag.
However, there is no evidence to support this claim.

So the existing laws stand. Physicians who want to provide
services to residents in another state must be licensed in that
state. Initial license fees (about $430 a state – double that if
the physician uses a private company to assist in the process) and
renewal fees (about $220 a year per state) limit the number of
out-of-state licenses a physician is likely to acquire and
maintain. Another complication to interstate practice under
multiple state licenses is that state requirements for medical
practice, including patient informed consent and continuing medical
education, vary. So do rules regarding such things as fee-splitting
and referrals. As health care lawyer Erika L. Adler put it, “Every
state has its own rules for just about everything.”

Setting aside costly state licensing requirements would …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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See the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929—in Color

February 8, 2018 in History

By Dan Jones and Marina Amaral


The Past in Color features the work of colorist Marina Amaral, bringing to life black and white photos with color applied digitally.

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, 1929, a group of men with tommy guns, a 12-gauge and police uniforms stepped out of a black Cadillac. Entering a garage belonging to the SMC Cartage Company at 2212 N. Clark St in Chicago, they lined up against the wall six gangsters and a gambler, blasting them to death, firing squad style.

The newspapers called it a “gang shooting.” A city detective said the men “died like dogs.” The local coroner, Herman N. Bundesen, who had done many things in his life, from educating Chicagoans about syphilis to writing a baby-rearing manual, found himself at the heart of the case.

Working with the police commissioner and state attorney, he empanelled a special jury of six leading businessmen and officials. The evidence they would sift through included bullets embedded in the wall where the men had been shot and the hats that the alleged gangsters had been wearing when they died.

Getting to the bottom of the case was a matter of extreme urgency. To the press and public, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre was a sign that gang violence in Prohibition-era (1920-33) America was spiraling out of control. Far from tempering Americans’ habits, all it had done was put cash in the pockets and blood on the hands of men like the 30-year old mob boss many suspected of having ordered the hit: Alphonse Gabriel ‘Al’ Capone.

(Credit: Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)


This picture shows Bundesen (center, with his hand in his pocket) and his jurors at the scene of the crime, watching police with shotguns re-enact the events of the previous day. It was one of the less gory photographs to appear in the local and national newspapers: frames taken by press-men in the immediate aftermath of the shooting showed corpses lying prostrate on the garage floor with pools of blood leaking around them.

The notorious nature of the crime, and its alleged connection to Capone has meant that many artefacts relating to it have been preserved. The building on N. Clark St was demolished during the 1960s, but bricks from the wall, still bearing bullet-holes, were sold off—and many of them are now kept in The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. …read more


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Venezuela Needs Monetary Freedom, and Soon

February 8, 2018 in Economics

By Luis B. Cirocco


By: Luis B. Cirocco

We’ve heard many excuses from the Venezuelan state: “private property can’t not be protected under such a system,” and “schools of economics will close because we won’t need economists to control monetary policy,” and “we tried that in the past,” and “our currency is a national symbol,” and “it destroys jobs!” Many have been the sophisms spread by Venezuelan “intellectuals” and politicians over decades to demonize what should be one of the most natural market processes of a society: monetary freedom, otherwise known as “currency competition.”

The selection of one particular medium of exchange (money) or various media of exchange as a market process, and not as a governmental imposition, is explained in a masterful way by Murray Rothbard in his essay What Has Government Done to Our Money? and by Friedrich von Hayek in his essay Denationalisation of Money, just to mention two outstanding examples. Detractors and criticisms based upon the most ridiculous and selfish fallacies are particularly abundant in Venezuela to justify the intervention of the state through “legal tender” laws and other laws designed to force citizens to use only the money approved by the Venezuelan state.

Why It’s Important

In my personal case, I first heard the concept of monetary freedom while I was studying in a master’s course in 2011. It was the first time I heard names such as Mises, Friedman, Hayek, and Rothbard, and then I became aware of the essence of their work in defense of liberty. It was in that class where Dr. Hugo J. Faría showed us that there is an efficient way to protect the fruit of people’s work that has been overlooked — on purpose — by our intellectuals and “leaders” for decades. The benefits of currency competition are ignored because it would empower individuals while curtailing the power of the state and other state-favored elites. 

Of course, in Venezuela at this point in history, denationalizing the money should also be accompanied by an effective and profound institutional reform focused on the protection of natural rights, the empowerment of citizens — and not of government, and the establishment of a free market economy.

How It Works

In the simplest form of the system, the US dollar, the euro, and the Venezuelan bolivar — for example — could coexist within the country, allowing people to have options to better protect their savings and negotiate with their employers the currency in which …read more


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Eight Unusual Good Luck Charms

February 8, 2018 in History

By Evan Andrews

Gold Buddha figures at Longhua Temple, the oldest temple in Shanghai. (Credit: In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

“Luck,” the playwright Tennessee Williams once wrote, “is believing you’re lucky.” That may be true, but people around the world have always tried to boost their good fortunes with talismans, symbols and trinkets—including a few that may seem bizarre today.

From phallic charms to chimney sweeps, discover eight of the most unusual good luck charms from history.


Gold Buddha figures at Longhua Temple, the oldest temple in Shanghai. (Credit: In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

ORIGIN: Prehistoric

The ancient swastika, which translates roughly to “wellbeing” in Sanskrit, has long been a sacred sign in Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Starting in the 19th century, new archaeological discoveries saw the bent cross emerge as a good luck symbol in the West, and by the early 20th century, it appeared on everything from Coca-Cola advertisements to Boy Scout merit badges, food packaging, airplanes and jewelry—even the uniforms of Canadian hockey teams. The swastika’s meaning began to shift in the 1920s and 1930s, when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party appropriated it as a symbol of their belief in an ancient Aryan race. The association transformed the swastika into a hated emblem of fascism following World War II—it was even banned outright in postwar Germany—but it continues to function as a religious symbol to many around the globe.


A 7th-6th century BC tintinnabulum at the Archaeological Museum in Bologna, Italy. (Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images)

ORIGIN: Ancient Rome

The ancient Romans were staunch believers in the powers of amulets, pendants and other good luck charms, but few talismans are as unusual as the tintinnabulum. Ostensibly a wind chime, the tintinnabulum typically featured a collection of bells surrounding a bronze carving of a winged phallus. When hung from a doorway or window and rustled by the breeze, the tintinnabulum would create a jingling sound that was believed to ward off bad spirits and bring good fortune to the household. The tintinnabulum wasn’t the only Roman trinket to feature a winged phallus, or “fascinus.” The design was a recurring motif in Roman art, thought to offer protection against the “evil eye.” According to the ancient writer Marcus Terentius Varro, Roman boys were even known to wear fascinus amulets around their necks to prevent harm from coming to them.

Chimney Sweeps

<img class="size-Horizontal wp-image-202107" src="" alt="Newlyweds keeping alive …read more


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What to Expect from North Korea in the Olympics

February 8, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The two Koreas are sending a united women’s hockey team to the
upcoming Olympic games. The Moon government’s invitation was
controversial in the South, where residents are not in a
particularly forgiving mood toward the North. American analysts
almost uniformly dismissed the likelihood that the maneuver will
achieve anything substantive, let alone represent serious movement
toward denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of

Which is undoubtedly true, but to be expected. The Olympics has
never been free of politics. Perhaps most infamous was the 1936
Berlin games, which highlighted Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

Also common are boycotts. In 1956 two groups of states refused
to attend the games to protest France’s, Great Britain’s, and
Israel’s invasion of the Suez and the Soviet Union’s invasion of
Hungary. Nearly thirty African nations boycotted the 1976 Montreal
games because New Zealand’s rugby team had toured South Africa,
which then imposed Apartheid. The United States and Soviet Union
traded boycotts in 1980 and 1984, triggered by the invasion of
Afghanistan. None of these efforts achieved much, other than
disappointing athletes who had trained to compete.

Those who have criticized
North Korea’s participation in the upcoming game ignore the obvious

In 1988 the Republic of Korea used the games to highlight its
arrival internationally as a prosperous and newly democratic power.
In this Seoul largely succeeded, though the DPRK sought to disrupt
the games, engaging in one of its most notorious acts of terrorism,
bringing down a Korean Airlines flight. That had no impact on the
Olympics, however.

This time Pyongyang has taken a different approach, using the
Olympics to engage the Republic of Korea and promote cheery notions
of national brotherhood and reunification. Whatever happens is
unlikely to have much impact on the current nuclear controversy,
but it will have a positive impact if it strengthens the resolve of
the Moon government to resist the Trump administration’s apparent
plans for war.

Reports that the administration decided not to nominate Victor
Cha as U.S. ambassador to South Korea because he advised against
war suggest that President Donald Trump really may be prepared to
blow up Northeast Asia. Until now, Washington sought to prevent a
recurrence of the Korean War, but the president appears to hope
that Kim Jong-un would trust the United States to leave him alone
after being disarmed. Alas, the fate of Muammar el-Qaddafi is
likely to push Pyongyang to arms. Even if the war was “over
there,” as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) so inelegantly put it,
the consequences would be horrific and global. Only resolute
opposition from South Korea might be able to block the
president’s apparent plans.

However, the inclusion of the …read more

Source: OP-EDS