June 2, 2013 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: We Need to Support Walmart Workers’ #Ride4Respect by JayRaye



Right now as you read this, Walmart Workers are on buses and they are caravanning from various cities to Bentonville, Arkansas where Walmart will be holding its annual shareholders meeting on June 7th. They plan to make their presence known by urging Walmart to stop its retaliation against associates who dare to speak out about working conditions. The #Ride4Respect uses the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement for inspiration. Completely appropriate, in my book. The fight for our rights as workers is a struggle for civil and human rights. Workers are American Citizens, and we are human beings. We don’t stop being Human Beings and Citizens when we pass through the doors of our place of employment.

One of the rights guaranteed to working people by U.S. Labor Law, is the right to speak out about the conditions of labor, and to do so without retaliation from our employer. That retaliation is illegal! Walmart’s retaliation has not ceased, in spite of denial that it exists, and in spite of promises to stop this retaliation (which they deny exists!) This is where the Unfair Labor Practice Strike comes into the picture. Striking Walmart Workers are a big part of the #Ride4Respect. This strike is historic as it will be the first prolonged ULP strike made by Walmart Workers. They are taking OUR Walmart’s fight for respect to another level.

Lisa Lopez walks and gives notice of ULP strike.

A Woman of Courage has put on her fighting clothes!

Mother Jones would be proud!

Best Wishes, Stirling

Ian Welsh reports that Stirling Newberry had a serious stroke.  His cultivated and polymathic mind is utterly unique and irreplaceable, and will be sorely missed during a long and difficult rehabilitation.  We wish him the best.

 photo flyingmachine_zps99b6c7f7.jpg

Sophia’s Tears

Walking down the old dusty two lane, faded yellow lines, melting hot tar crack sealer and a gravel edge.  The side falls off fast, covered in brambles, weeds and accumulated crud and drops into one of the prettiest creeks I know. I wonder as I stroll along, worn comfortable shoes crunching out a leisurely beat, what is the story of here?

Slumbering patch towns, Roscoe, Livingston Manor, Ferndale, Harris.  The occasional car or pick up pointing out from even narrower tracks, cut stone on tar or plane old rutted hard pack.  Phaboom phaboom, phaboom.. Phaboom, phaboom, phaboom.  Eighteen wheelers blast by off to the other side, drivers trying to make time, separate, insulated on the new expressway.

Duality, you and I, us and them, here and there, now and then.  Deep contemplation for a quiet walk on a sun dappled morning.  This is a place where at least for me duality dims.  Gnostics and Buddhists have stories key to their beliefs regarding duality.  Both in different ways look at duality as illusion all or wrong and here on this road I want to believe.

Once their was then was became conscious of itself and duality began for too be conscious of oneself one is then separate.  Monkey realized he was monkey one day.  He saw fields and sky and thought I need shelter and he moved into the shelter he then thought he might Ned to defend his shelte and put bars on his window and a door on the font and voila he had built his own prison. Out their became other and fear ruled his life

I wonder when and to whom that happens here in these idillic low nils.  This area had been the fruitful domain of native Americans for countless years before the Dutch and English  came these hills and creeks are among the oldest on earth, once tall and proud peaks eroded by millennium after millennium of wind, snow, ice ages and finally man.

The Gnostic gospels of the Nag Hammadi discovery tell of Sophia. One of the last aeons created by Bythos.  Bythos is the entire thing as in Alpha Omega, begging and end, the whole enchilada the Pleroma.  Sophia and the other archetypes are or I should say we’re not separate from Bythos but aspects of Bythos, like the white, green, blue and red Tara’s are to the Buddha.

So one day Sophia becomes self aware and creates her own reality, a flawed reality, she promptly falls from grace.  In fear and longing to return to to the Pleroma she accidentally creates the reality we know and the Demiurge Yaldaboath who forgets Sophia and declaims himself the one and only God.  Anyway, Bythos sends Jesus to convince Sophia to return.  

The miles slip by, the clouds run like prancing horses, the creek gurgles and flows, the sun dips closer to the mountain ridges to the west and I want to be one with it all.

On This Day In History June 2

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on image to enlarge

June 2 is the 153rd day of the year (154th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 212 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1962, Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts.

Ray Charles was one of the founding fathers of soul music-a style he helped create and popularize with a string of early 1950s hits on Atlantic Records like “I Got A Woman” and “What’d I Say.” This fact is well known to almost anyone who has ever heard of the man they called “the Genius,” but what is less well known-to younger fans especially-is the pivotal role that Charles played in shaping the course of a seemingly very different genre of popular music. In the words of his good friend and sometime collaborator, Willie Nelson, speaking before Charles’ death in 2004, Ray Charles the R&B legend “did more for country music than any other living human being.” The landmark album that earned Ray Charles that praise was Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, which gave him his third #1 hit in “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” which topped the U.S. pop charts on this day in 1962

Executives at ABC Records-the label that wooed Ray Charles from Atlantic with one of the richest deals of the era-were adamantly opposed to the idea that Charles brought to them in 1962: to re-record some of the best country songs of the previous 20 years in new arrangements that suited his style. As Charles told Rolling Stone magazine a decade later, ABC executives said, “You can’t do no country-western things….You’re gonna lose all your fans!” But Charles recognized the quality of songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Don Gibson and “You Don’t Know Me,” by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker, and the fact that his version of both of those country songs landed in the Top 5 on both the pop and R&B charts was vindication of Charles’s long-held belief that “There’s only two kinds of music as far as I’m concerned: good and bad.”

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra called Charles “the only true genius in show business.”

Rolling Stone ranked Charles number 10 on their list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2004, and number two on their November 2008 list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. In honoring Charles, Billy Joel noted: “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley. I don’t know if Ray was the architect of rock & roll, but he was certainly the first guy to do a lot of things . . . Who the hell ever put so many styles together and made it work?”

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Syria conflict: Red Cross ‘alarmed’ over Qusair

2 June 2013 Last updated at 06:50 GMT


The Red Cross has expressed alarm over the situation in the besieged Syrian town of Qusair, and has appealed for immediate access to deliver aid.

Thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped in the town, which lies close to the border with Lebanon.

The battle for control between pro-government forces and rebel fighters has made medical supplies, food and water scarce, the Red Cross says.

Russia has also reportedly blocked a UN “declaration of alarm” on Qusair.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Frightened to return: A Fukushima father’s story

Malaysia’s election reform a ‘band-aid’ remedy: Bersih

Government crackdown on Turkey protests draws condemnation

Suspected Islamist militants attack Niger prison

Car sharing: The next big thing in traffic-clogged Mexico City?


One in Six Americans Are Hungry

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

As more and more Americans fall into or near poverty income level, congress is debating a new Farm Bill which will impact on the ability of people to feed themselves and their families:

While the legislation will set farm policy and impact food prices for the next five years, many forget that roughly 80 percent of the funding in the bill goes to providing food for the country’s less fortunate. At the end of 2012, according to the USDA, there were nearly 48 million people on food stamps.

In the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday, lawmakers passed its version of the bill, while the House Agriculture Committee will begin marking up its bill Wednesday. The versions of the key legislation remain vastly different in how they handle the country’s food assistance program, and will need to be reconciled before current regulations expire in September.

The Senate’s legislation would make about $4 billion in reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, during the next decade. The House version would cut five times as much – $20 billion through the same time period.

According to a new report from the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, one in six Americans are facing food insecurity (pdf):

The united states is facing a food security crisis:

One in six Americans lives in a household that cannot afford adequate food. Of these 50 million individuals, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. For these individuals, being food insecure means living with trade-offs that no one should have to face,  like choosing between buying food and receiving medical care or paying the bills. Many food insecure people also face tough choices about the quality of food they eat, since low-quality processed foods are often more affordable and accessible than fresh and nutritious foods. Food insecurity takes a serious toll on individuals, families, and communities and has significant consequences for health and educational outcomes, especially for children. Food insecurity is also enormously expensive for society. According to one estimate, the cost of hunger and food insecurity in the United States amounted to $167.5 billion in 2010.

Additionally, the report shows that the existing program a fail. as Aviv Shen notes in her article at Think Progress:

(T)he four biggest food assistance programs fall short for as many as 50 million food insecure households. Eligibility requirements are already so strict that one in four households classified as food insecure were still considered too high-income to receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Even families considered poor enough for food aid only get a pittance that runs out quickly; for instance, the maximum benefit for a family of four is $668 a month, or a little under $2 per meal for each family member.

To demonstrate the impossibility of surviving on food stamps, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) recently spent a week eating on $4.80 a day, mainly consuming ramen noodles, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a banana. “I’m hungry for five days…I lost six pounds in four days,” Murphy said upon concluding the experiment. He also realized that nutritious food and produce was far, far out of reach for people living on SNAP benefits. Indeed, obesity and related diseases are common among SNAP recipients who simply can’t afford nutritious food.

Co-author and faculty director of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, Smita Narula was a guest on Democracy Now with hosts Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.

Transcript can be read here

Civility is just another club…

To beat those you disagree with.

I am not responsible for your perceptions.

You are!

Fair Warning

Posted by John Cole

12:49 am 5/31/13

I fucking give up. If you want to be offended by everything I write and police my language, please fuck off and go somewhere else.

I try to be as minimally offensive as possible, but you know what, you motherfuckers keep shifting the rules. I’m to the point that I have no idea what is going to upset the delicate flowers any more.

At some point, you language police have got to come up with a coherent dictionary for all of us to use, or just shut the fuck up. And then, maybe you should look into intent, take the message for what it was, because if I am public enemy number one, then you losers are going to shit the bed if you ever bust out of your bubble and watch or hear anything outside your little world you have constructed. My goodness, the Marcellus Wallace scenes in Pulp Fiction would probably stroke you out.

So put up or shut up. Give me your PC dictionary so I can be cool and sensitive, or just eat a bag of salted dicks and recognize that not everything said is out of bigotry or malice. Or at least fucking cut me some slack and recognize that should I offend your delicate sensibilities, it was not out of malice. Kapiche?

My god, rap and hip-hop must put you all in the fetal position.

And I don’t even like this dog.

If you post here get used to it.  I don’t care about your pwecious fee fees.  Grow up.

ps. Obama has no balls is just another way of saying he’s a gutless wonder.  I don’t believe it for a minute.  He’s a Neoliberal Republican who gets exactly what he wants.

Late Night Karaoke

What We Now Know

In this week’s segment of “What We Know Now,” Up host Steve Kornacki discussed what they have learned this week with panel guests: Blake Zeff, columnist & politics editor, Salon.com; Errol Louis, host “Inside City Hall” or “Road to City Hall”, NY1 News; Howard Wolfson, Deputy Mayor, NYC; and L. Joy Williams, political strategist & founder, LJW Community Strategies.

Moktar Belmoktar, Terrorist, Clashed With Al Qaeda Leaders Over Expense Reports

by Rukmini Callimachi, Huffington Post

DAKAR, Senegal – After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaida’s North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. In page after scathing page, they described how he didn’t answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings and refused time and again to carry out orders.

Most of all, they claimed he had failed to carry out a single spectacular operation, despite the resources at his disposal.

The employee, international terrorist Moktar Belmoktar, responded the way talented employees with bruised egos have in corporations the world over: He quit and formed his own competing group. And within months, he carried out two lethal operations that killed 101 people in all: one of the largest hostage-takings in history at a BP-operated gas plant in Algeria in January, and simultaneous bombings at a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger just last week.

David Petraeus To Head Private Equity Firm KKR’s New Global Institute

by Tom Murphy, Huffington Post

Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus will take a new job with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. as he attempts to rebuild his reputation after an extramarital affair with a biographer triggered his resignation as CIA director last fall.

Petraeus, 60, will serve as chairman of the New York firm’s newly created KKR Global Institute. He was CIA director from September 2011 until last November. Before that, Petraeus served more than 37 years in the U.S. Army, where he rose to the rank of four-star general. [..]

KKR said Thursday that Petraeus will support its investment teams and portfolio companies when studying new investments, especially in new locations. The company did not detail terms of its agreement with Petraeus, but a spokeswoman said he will serve in a consultant’s role.

This is almost as good as Gomert’s “You’re casting aspersions on my asparagus.” I love the GOP. They’re at lest good for a laugh.

One giant leap for reptiles: Have alien-hunters found a lizard on Mars?

by Samuel Muston, The Independent

While studying pictures of Mars sent back to Earth by the Curiosity rover, a Japanese alien-enthusiast spotted something between the endless plain of rocks spread out on the screen in front of him. Could it really be? Is that a… lizard?

The answer is almost definitely no, the surface of Mars being on the toxic side to most fauna (decide for yourself – it’s the first image, above). But that undoubted fact hasn’t stopped there being a slew of other “sightings”.

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