You are browsing the archive for 2018 March 08.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Student Activists Are Fighting Back Against the Spread of Cops on Campus

March 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Mehreen Kasana, AlterNet

Click here for reuse options!


The students are drawing attention to another important school safety issue: cops on campus.


As student activists lead an anti-gun violence movement throughout the United States, a small but discernible voice among the youths is calling for removing police officers from campuses. This tense moment in America's political climate has inspired some student activists to make a radically progressive demand, calling for strengthening mental health programs in schools, among other views, instead of flooding school premises with potentially aggressive police officers.

One of those young people, Kaila Scaffey of Philadelphia's Central High School, told Splinter News that the gun legislation movement is also about “a call for divestment in police officers and an investment in counselors and mental health services.”

Scaffey said of the officers—who are also known as school resource officers, or SROs—”The ultimate goal is to have officers removed from schools completely. But if they’re going to be there, we want them to be doing their job, which is to protect students, not committing acts of violence against them.”

The role of SROs on school premises came under question after the fatal shooting in Parkland left 17 people dead on Valentine’s Day. The school's SRO, Deputy Scot Peterson, came under heavy criticism from both Sheriff Scott Israel as well as President Donald Trump for not entering the school after learning that shots were fired. Soon after Trump called Peterson a “coward,” the disgraced SRO stepped down from his position—while continuing to defend his actions—but the debate on whether or not an SRO could have stopped the massacre remained heated.

As Splinter News reported, the Florida House Appropriations Committee went ahead and signed a bill that involved, among other things, guaranteeing that every school in the state would …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Is Donald Trump Fueling a Mass Extinction of Democracy Across the Planet?

March 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Jacob Sugarman, AlterNet

Click here for reuse options!


The warning signs are there, cautions “How Democracies Die” co-author Steven Levitsky.


Earlier this week, during a freewheeling speech to Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump cracked the following joke about Chinese leader Xi Jinping: “He's now president for life. President for life. No, he's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday.”

If he was doing his best Don Rickles impression, only the most febrile members of his base seemed amused. Since Trump abruptly removed James Comey as FBI director last May, the United States has been slowly lurching toward a constitutional crisis. In January, we learned the president had ordered the firing of special prosecutor Robert Mueller last June, only to back off after White House attorney Don McGahn threatened to resign. (A New York Times report published Wednesday revealed that Trump has contacted several key witnesses in the collusion probe, directly disobeying his legal counsel). The following month, Trump lobbied the Justice Department to open investigations of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Meanwhile, his administration continues to stack the courts at a breakneck pace, trampling norms and procedures to accelerate the appointment of right-wing judges in a host of blue and purple states.

For Steven Levitsky, co-author of How Democracies Die, these are but two telltale signs of creeping authoritarianism. While violent coups have largely become a thing of the past, elected officials can dismantle a republic just as effectively as a military junta. Examples abound, from Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary) to Latin America (Venezuela and Nicaragua) and Asia (Turkey, the Philippines and Singapore). As he writes in the book's introduction, “Democracy's erosion is, for many, almost imperceptible.”

Nearly a week before the far-right Lega …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

7 of the Gutsiest Women on the American Frontier

March 8, 2018 in History

By Brynn Holland

Families of settlers resting as they migrate across the plains of the American Frontier. (Credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images)

History and lore of the American frontier has long been dominated by an iconic figure: the grizzled, gunslinging man, going it alone, leaving behind his home and family to brave the rugged, undiscovered wilderness.

But as scholars of the American West continue to explore the complex realities of the frontier, two facts become increasingly clear: It was anything but empty when white men from the east went to “discover” it; and few frontiersmen succeeded alone. Women were in the picture much more than traditional histories have told.

The frontier was occupied not only by indigenous people, but also by African Americans, Spanish colonialists and others of European descent, offering skeletal social networks for white explorers and settlers from the east. By tapping into these networks, they learned survival skills (like how to find food) and made alliances, often through marriage. White frontiersmen often wed Native American women who could act as intermediaries, helping navigate the political, cultural and linguistic gulf between tribal ways and those of the white men.

In fact, says Virginia Scharff, distinguished professor of history at the University of New Mexico, men could not have likely succeeded in these unknown lands without connections to indigenous communities—or without women, who provided networks, labor and children. Placing frontiersmen in context of these networks doesn’t diminish their individuality, she says, but adds much needed dimension to their stories.

Families of settlers resting as they migrate across the plains of the American Frontier. (Credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Case in point: Daniel Boone, one of the most celebrated folk heroes of the American frontier, renowned as a woodsman, trapper and a trailblazer. Twice captured by native warriors, he earned the respect of the Shawnee for his backwoods knowledge, and was even adopted by the tribe’s Chief Blackfish while being held captive. In several encounters, the tribal connections he had forged helped him save the lives of white cohorts the Indians wanted to kill. And with Boone traveling frequently, surveying land and blazing trails, his wife Rebecca provided much-needed stability and labor: bearing him 10 children, while keeping homefires burning as they moved from Virginia to ever more rugged settlements in North Carolina, Kentucky and Spanish-controlled Missouri.

“If we start to think of these individual heroic men as participants in really rich sets of social relations, it makes them come to life in ways that are more than …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why Trump Is So Clumsy About Fighting 'Free Trade'

March 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Marshall Auerback, AlterNet

Click here for reuse options!


There are better ways than simply slapping tariffs on imported goods.


President Trump announced last week that he plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. It’s important to note that any policy pronouncement from this president is done within the paradigm of a real estate wheeler-dealer who sees deals of any kind as a zero-sum game. I win, and you lose; there is no such thing as a good trade deal that works as a win-win for both sides.

Expressing the opposite view is Paul Krugman, who writes, “Trade isn’t a zero-sum game: it raises the productivity and wealth of the world economy.” And the corollary also applies as well: any action taken to disrupt the free flow of goods between countries is likely to provoke a counter-reaction, the result being a trade war in which every country loses out (there are already early indications of the latter, as seen in a tweeted headline from a UK paper, “Hit the Chevy with a Levy, Tax your Whiskey and Rye”).

Given that Krugman won a Nobel Prize for his work on international trade, it is unsurprising that he gives a full-throated endorsement of free trade:

“If there were an Economist’s Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations ‘I understand the principle of Comparative Advantage’ and ‘I advocate Free Trade.’ For one hundred seventy years, the appreciation that international trade benefits a country whether it is ‘fair’ or not has been one of the touchstones of professionalism in economics. Comparative advantage is not just an idea both simple and profound; it is an idea that conflicts directly with both stubborn popular prejudices and powerful interests. This combination makes the defense of free trade is close …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

How Freedom Rider Diane Nash Risked Her Life to Desegregate the South

March 8, 2018 in History

By Thad Morgan

Charles H. Percy, right, chairman of the platform committee of the Republican Party, speaking with Walter Bradford, Diane Nash, and Bernard Lee on July 20, 1960. (Credit: AP Photo)

“Diane, you’ve gotten in with the wrong bunch.”

Those were the words that civil rights activist Diane Nash heard when her grandmother found out she was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in 1960. Imagine her grandmother’s surprise when she found out that Nash wasn’t just involved, but was leading the charge of the Nashville student sit-ins. Later, in fact, she would go on to help coordinate the Freedom Rides.

The response of Nash’s family was one that many others would express throughout her journey: fear. And with the violence and discrimination that was rampant throughout the country in the 1950s and ‘60s, it’s easy to see why.

Nash was born in 1938 and raised in Chicago, away from the strong racial divisions that saw African Americans treated as second-class citizens under Jim Crow laws in the South. It wasn’t until she enrolled at the historically black Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1959 that she came face-to-face with overt discrimination.

“There were signs that said white, white-only, colored. [The] library was segregated, the public library. Parks, swimming pools, hotels, motels,” she recalls. “I was at a period where I was interested in expanding: going new places, seeing new things, meeting new people. So that felt very confined and uncomfortable.”

Among the many facilities that weren’t available to Nash and her peers were restaurants that served black customers only on a “takeout basis,” which meant they weren’t allowed to sit and eat inside. Instead, black patrons were forced to eat along the curbs and alleys of Nashville during the lunch hour.

Charles H. Percy, right, chairman of the platform committee of the Republican Party, speaking with Walter Bradford, Diane Nash, and Bernard Lee on July 20, 1960. (Credit: AP Photo)

Nash couldn’t adhere to these rules. In her eyes, that would be agreeing with the unjust laws. But before she could take a stand against these restaurants—essentially protesting the government itself—she needed a plan of action. Enter Jim Lawson, an activist who had studied Gandhi’s nonviolent movement in India, and taught workshops on progress and change through nonviolence at a Methodist church near the university.

The spring after she enrolled at Fisk, just shy of 22 years old, Nash became a leader in the Nashville Student Central Committee, which organized sit-ins at discriminatory restaurants throughout the city. Faced with a fuming community that did everything in their power to …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Anti-Egalitarian, Sexist Origins of Socialism

March 8, 2018 in Economics

By Chelsea Follett

Chelsea Follett

Happy International Women’s Day! You may have heard that
today is, as The Guardian once put it, “an important day in the
socialist calendar,” its history intertwined with that of the
Soviet Union. Today, socialist feminism enjoys a surprising
popularity in many universities’ Women’s Studies
departments. Self-identifying socialist feminists hope to fight
what they call a “capitalist culture of male
supremacy.”

However, the origins of socialism are not as progressive as many
of its adherents believe, certainly not on the point of
women’s equality. In The Lost Literature of Socialism,
Cambridge University historian George Watson points out that
socialism was originally a conservative idea, and that
many prominent socialists — seldom read even by their
admirers — actually “hated progress and demanded a
return to ancient values”. That included a return to
traditional gender roles.

In practice, wherever
socialism has been enacted, women were expected both to work
outside the home and to do all the housework as well.

Socialism was arguably a reactionary response to how the
Industrial Revolution transformed society. Industrialisation
created a class of nouveau riche who gained wealth through
market transactions rather than by birthright, threatening the old
order: “enfeebling traditional authority… and weakening
hereditary influences.” Factories also brought women into the
labour force en masse, granting them economic independence
and bargaining power that altered family dynamics and disturbed
old-fashioned sensibilities.

In short, commoners and women were earning money, and
traditionalists were aghast. The prominent Victorian social thinker
John Ruskin wrote in his 1860 critique of capitalism, Unto the Last, that his aim was “to
show the superiority of some men to others” and the wisdom of
a hierarchical society that keeps “inferiors” in their
place. Socialism presented an alternative to the unprecedented
social mobility and rapid changes of the industrial age. Watson
notes that many people felt the classical liberals advocating
“free trade and the free market were rapidly destroying
traditional patterns of life, loosening family ties and threatening
morality itself”. As the socialist Bertolt Brecht once
said: “Communism is not radical. It is
capitalism that is radical.”

“It is easy to forget that conservative interests were
once fiercely critical of competitive wealth-creation and the
commercial spirit,” as Watson puts it. (Today, too,
entrenched interests often stand to gain most from regressive regulation of the economy).

Socialism historically has resulted in the installation of
hereditary systems of entrenched privilege, “since only
privilege educates for the due exercise of centralised power in a
planned economy.” Children of the bourgeoisie were relegated
to a subordinate caste in the Soviet Union. Stalin’s eldest
son, had he not died, would have been destined for high …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Vouchers Tend to Serve the Less Advantaged

March 8, 2018 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Earlier this month, Education Next hosted a forum on the research concerning private-school
choice. One of the topics discussed was the question of who
participates in these programs.

Do means-tested choice
programs serve only the most advantaged among the disadvantaged, or
do they disproportionately attract disadvantaged students even
among the eligible populations?

Patrick Wolf explained that “private-school-choice
programs disproportionately attract students from disadvantaged
backgrounds,” noting that the choice participants are
“considerably more likely to be low-income, lower-achieving,
and African American, and much less likely to be white, as compared
to the average public-school student in their area.”

By contrast, Douglas Harris claimed, “Even when limited to low-income
populations, though, vouchers tend to serve a socioeconomically
advantaged portion” of the eligible student population.

Of course, it’s possible that both of these claims are
true, but this raises a question: do means-tested choice programs
serve only the most advantaged among the disadvantaged, or do they
disproportionately attract disadvantaged students even among the
eligible populations?

At least 10 studies have examined the relative advantage of
children that applied to a private-school-choice program relative
to the population of eligible students in the same location. As
shown in the second to last column in the table below, only two of
the 10 studies supported the claim that students applying to the
programs were, on average, more advantaged. Four of the remaining
studies found that applicants were less advantaged than the
eligible population.

For example, Florida State University’s 2017 study of the Florida Tax Credit
Scholarship Program found that participants were four percentage
points less likely to be white, one percentage point more likely to
qualify for free lunch, and had prior math and reading scores that
were two to four percentile points lower than eligible students
that did not participate in the choice program. Each of these
statistics suggest that the applicants were less advantaged than
the eligible population overall.

Four of the 10 studies found mixed results. For example, a
2005 study of the nationwide Children’s
Scholarship Fund program found that applicants were more likely to
come from two parent households, have parents who were involved in
their education, and have more educated mothers. However, the same
study found that applicants were more likely to be minorities, had
lower income levels, and had parents who were less satisfied with
their assigned district schools.

Table 1: Private School Choice Program Selection
(Applicants versus Eligible Students)

Study Program Applicants/Participants Result
(Overall)
Result
(SES)
Figlio, Hart, & Metzger (2009) Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship
Program
Applicants are more likely to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Trump Might Make You Pay $70 to See the Grand Canyon

March 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Daniel Ross, AlterNet

The fee hikes would pay for park infrastructure like roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines and bathrooms.


As summer approaches and millions gear up for an anticipated pilgrimage to America's national parks, many travelers are holding their breath in anticipation of a possible fee hike at 17 of the nation’s most visited and profitable parks.

Proposed last October, the fee increase would see the cost per vehicle to Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks more than double to $70 during the busiest five months of the year. As it stands, the cost per vehicle is between $25-$30, depending on the park. The proposal also includes fee hikes for individuals and motorcycles during peak season, as well as for park-specific annual passes.

“This is a very significant increase,” said Ani Kame’enui, director of legislation and policy for the National Parks Conservation Association, who added that the park service didn’t do any prior research or analysis before proposing the fee hike. “That ticket price is not something that’s terribly accessible to all of our communities, both nationally and internationally.”

What’s more, if implemented, the increase might not be so easy to later roll back. “I don’t have a lot of faith in their ability to admit mistakes,” she said of the current administration.

Under the proposal, the peak-season fee hikes will generate an added $70 million that the department said would be used for “badly needed” improvements to park infrastructure like roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines and bathrooms. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting,” said interior secretary Ryan Zinke, in a statement on the department website.

However, the maintenance backlog at the nation's parks is a staggering $11.6 billion. The estimated $70 million generated by the proposed fee hike would address only 2 percent of the deferred maintenance at the 17 parks, and an average of $47,000 would go to address deferred maintenance at …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

6 Tactics Advertisers Use to Objectify Women and Animals in Similarly Horrible Ways

March 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Rachel Krantz, AlterNet

This phenomenon is so ingrained in our culture that it often slips under the radar.


The concept of woman as property emerged around the )

Both women and animals are objectified to reinforce harmful male gender norms, such as eating meat and dominating women—and with those, patriarchy and carnism.

3. Women and animals are depicted as parts to be consumed.

“Everybody Loves Big Breasts” (Carl's Jr.)

“We've Got the Best Racks” (Bavarian Beer Cafe)

“We're About to Reveal Something You'll Drool Over” (Arby's)

“Ours Are Real” (Arby's)

It’s no surprise that a culture that so often reduces women’s value to their butts and breasts also uses women to advertise animal parts like a “rack of ribs.” Animals raised and slaughtered for food are also objectified to the point of inanimateness—one eats not a chicken but “chicken breasts”; not a cow but a “lean cut of beef.”

“A fragmented body becomes something to be used but not something that has inherent worth,” feminist theorist and vegan activist Carol J. Adams tells AlterNet. “So when an animal is killed and fragmented for consumption, everything unique about the individual animal disappears, and when a woman is shown fragmented, or it's implied that she is nothing but a piece of meat, her disempowerment is being communicated.”

4. Ads show nostalgia for the captivity of women and animals.

“Win a Russian Bride” (42 Below)

“Can She Make You Lose Control” (Lynx)

“Not Just the Where but the Who and Why” (Organic Valley)

“Nest Fresh Free-Range …read more

Source: ALTERNET