Ferguson’s Hard Truth: Obama Hasn’t Ended America’s Racial Divide

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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America’s racial divide not only remains but has deepened in some ways over the last six years, despite hopes President Obama’s election would usher in a “post-racial” America.



‘Making a natural disaster into a man-made tragedy’

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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ADBC (Agriculture Development Bank of China) branch in Bei Chuan after earthquake

Following Sunday night’s 6.1 earthquake in Northern California, there have been widespread reports of damage, most notably in the wine region of Napa Valley:

No one was killed in the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that jostled residents awake early Sunday.

The Queen of the Valley Medical Center said it has treated “approximately 208” patients since the earthquake struck. Of those, 17 were admitted to the hospital, and one is still in critical condition.

The majority of patients sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.

Emphasis on the no one was killed part. In early August 2014, a 6.1 earthquake in Southwestern China killed nearly 600 and injured close to 2,500 more.

Why the difference? Government regulation and stricter building codes throughout the U.S., particularly in Northern California.

From the U.S. Geological Survey:

The majority of deaths and injuries from earthquakes are caused by the damage or collapse of buildings and other structures. These losses can be reduced through documenting and understanding how structures respond to earthquakes. Gaining such knowledge requires a long-term commitment because large devastating earthquakes occur at irregular and often long intervals. Recording instruments must be in place and waiting, ready to capture the response to the next temblor whenever it occurs. The new information acquired by these instruments can then be used to better design earthquake-resistant structures. In this way, earth scientists and engineers help reduce loss of life and property in future earthquakes.

For as much as Republicans clamor for fewer regulations and less government oversight, I think we can all agree this is one area where the government absolutely does it right.

Vox put together a fantastically informative video outlining just how different the regulations affect the outcome of a major earthquake. Jump below the fold to see the video.

Corporate interests put full-court press on Michigan teacher union-busting effort

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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Teacher oversees students taking a test.

Across America, it is back-to-school time for students … and teachers.

Within the next week or so, virtually all of the elementary and secondary schools on traditional schedules will be back into the classroom, and summer vacation gives way to a new school year for students and teachers around the nation.

In Michigan, teacher unions are confronting a perilous new reality, as a recently passed “right to work” law now gives individual teachers the ability to opt out of their unions. Predictably, a coalition of right-wing ideological and business groups have put maximum effort into their drive to crush the teachers unions:

With the teachers given a 31-day window in August to decide, representatives for the state’s largest public-sector union are imploring them to stay or risk losing their clout in how schools are operated.

“If I don’t stand up and stay in my union, then we don’t have a voice,” said Chandra Madafferi, a high school health teacher and president of a 400-member local in the Detroit suburb of Novi.

Meanwhile, conservative groups are running ads and publicizing the chance for teachers to “grow your paycheck and workplace freedom.”

Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing front group bankrolled by the Koch brothers, are among the most active architects in driving the opt-out effort. They paid for a full page ad in the Detroit Free Press with a preprinted form for opting out of their local union. Other groups are running ads trying to goad teachers into leaving their unions.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

Can you still doubt plight of black men with police irrespective of socio-economic circumstances?

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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I am a father, a son, a husband, a brother, an engineer, a software developer, a host of several radio shows, an author, a blogger, a vlogger, a political activist, a business owner, an entrepreneur, a musician, and a black man. That last adjective to a large percentage of the police makes me a suspect. Sadly, I am a member of the #FitTheDescription hashtag/meme. I understand and feel Charles Belk’s pain. I expressed some of it in my piece “I was Trayvon Martin the day I came to America.”

But I digress. A copy of Charles Belk’s story is at the end of this post. In short, Charles Belk is a graduate of Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina, who completed his BS degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California and received an MBA from Indiana University and a Executive Management Certificate from Harvard University School of Business.

On his way to put money in his parking meter he was arrested by several police officers. He was handcuffed tightly. He spent north of 6 hours in the Beverly Hills jail. Why? Because he fit the description of a tall, bald black male who was possibly involved in a bank robbery.

He was not told why he was arrested. He was treated with disrespect as his pleas went ignored and unanswered. You see, to the cops, he was not a person. He was a black man.

Think about it. Would cops arrest the first blue-eyed blond white man that fit a description and was not acting suspiciously? Even if they did, would they be more careful and listen to his pleas to be sure they had the right person? How many stories have been heard of white criminals released just because the cops were not sure? The Beverly Hills cops did not even have the decency to validate his picture with available videos in the six hours he was held.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

U.S. urges Israel to reverse planned West Bank land appropriation

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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The United States sees Israel’s announcement on Sunday of a land appropriation for possible settlement construction in the occupied West Bank as “counterproductive” to peace efforts and urges the Israeli government to reverse the decision, a State Department official said. Israel laid claim to nearly a thousand acres (400 hectares) in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem, a move which an anti-settlement group termed the biggest appropriation in 30 years and a Palestinian official said would cause only more friction after the Gaza war. “We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” the U.S. “ This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians.” “We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” the official said in Washington.

Ferguson’s Hard Truth: Obama Hasn’t Ended Racial Divide

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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America’s racial divide not only remains but has deepened in some ways over the last six years, despite hopes President Obama’s election would usher in a “post-racial” America.



Libyan armed faction takes over U.S. Embassy annex in Tripoli

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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A view of an annex of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli during a media tour organised by Operation Dawn after the group took over the annexBy Mark Hosenball and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Members of a Libyan militia have taken over an abandoned annex of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli but have not broken into the main compound where the United States evacuated all of its staff last month, U.S. A YouTube video showed the breach of the diplomatic facility by what was believed to be a militia group mostly from the northwestern city of Misrata. Libya has been rocked by the worst factional violence since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi, and a Misrata-led alliance, part of it which is Islamist-leaning, now controls the capital.

Quick question for white conservatives: Is it ever NOT okay to shoot dead an unarmed black man?

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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A makeshift memorial is pictured near where black teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by police over the weekend in Ferguson, Missouri August 12, 2014. Police said Brown, 18, was shot in a struggle with a gun in a police car but have not said why Bro

Again.

Among the many profoundly disturbing aspects of the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson has been the reflexive reaction of white conservatives in the media. Whether it was the quickly debunked lie that Brown had damaged Wilson’s eye socket or the utterly irrelevant question of Brown’s use (like millions of other American teens) of marijuana, the talking points have been rolled out, rolled around, and quickly rolled away to make room for the next talking points. What must not escape notice about the talking points is the apparently desperate need of white conservatives to find such talking points. The real problem isn’t the false content of those talking points, it’s that desperate need to search for them in the first place.

A young man was shot dead. An unarmed young man was shot dead. An unarmed young man who had no criminal record was shot dead. What sort of vacuum of the soul causes a person reflexively to need to rationalize and excuse something so horribly sad? An unarmed young man who had no criminal record was shot dead. And the bottom line, among white conservatives in the media, seems to be that the shot dead unarmed young man who had no criminal record was black, and his shooter white. That white conservatives in the media reflexively demonize the black victim and defend the white shooter is not a unique event. It is part of a pattern, and in that pattern the pathology is revealed.

The talking points blur. The voices drone into a monotonous buzz. Bobble-heads babble, and very earnest acting alleged experts are plopped in front of cameras no matter how many times they have proved incompetent or dishonest. Yet another unarmed young black man who had no criminal record was shot dead by a white man, and the act must be made to be seen as okay. Those who are upset that yet another unarmed young black man who had no criminal record was shot dead by a white man must be proven wrong. Those who are upset that yet another young unarmed black man who had no criminal record was shot dead by a white man must be shown that this is simply how things work. Those who are upset that yet another young unarmed black man who had no criminal record was shot dead by a white man must come to accept that this is simply how things work so that the next time it happens, as it inevitably will happen, the peace and quiet of white conservative righteous privilege will not be disturbed. This is what must be stopped. The violence is not the white men shooting dead unarmed young black men who had no criminal records, it is the reactions of those who think something about it is wrong.

The question in the title of this essay is quite simple. It is an attempt to clarify the conservative mindset. Are there any conditions under which it is acceptable for people to be upset that a white man shot dead an unarmed young black man who had no criminal record? Are there any conditions under which a white man shooting dead an unarmed young black man who had no criminal record is itself not okay?

Obama faces bipartisan criticism over his foreign policy

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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U.S. President Obama departs the White House Press Briefing Room after addressing reporters in WashingtonBy Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama faced criticism over his foreign policy from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers on Sunday as he wrestled with crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Republican lawmakers seized on Obama's comment on Thursday when he said, "We don't have a strategy yet" for confronting the Islamic State militant group, saying it suggested indecisiveness. On Sunday, influential Democrats chimed in with their own critiques of Obama's foreign policy, chiding him for being "too cautious" on Syria, and urging him to do more to help Ukraine resist Russian advances.

U.S., foreign fighters in Syria pose ‘very serious threat’ to U.S.: lawmaker

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2014-05-2008

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Hundreds of U.S., British and Canadian citizens who have trained with Islamic State fighters trying to carve out their own state in Iraq and Syria pose a “very serious threat” to the United States, a top Republican lawmaker said Sunday. Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, urged the Obama administration to aggressively prosecute U.S. He said an attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels in May had shown a new push by extremist groups to carry out attacks on Western targets, and growing efforts to recruit backers on social media. “I’m very concerned because we don’t know every single person who has gone and trained and learned how to fight,” Rogers told “Fox News Sunday.” The United States carried out three air strikes on Saturday against Islamic State fighters near the besieged Shi’ite town of Amerli in northern Iraq and airdropped more than hundred additional bundles of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped there, the Pentagon said.