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Thumbnail image for Time to Learn the Lessons of Failed U.S. Wars

Time to Learn the Lessons of Failed U.S. Wars

by Source 11.25.2014 Activism

By Gerry Condon, Vice President, Veterans For Peace / Veterans for Peace

As a Vietnam era veteran, I paid close attention to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s Veterans Day speech, delivered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Secretary Hagel, a Vietnam combat veteran, declared that we must learn the lessons of past wars, and not commit U.S. troops to unpopular, unwinnable conflicts. He purportedly referred to the Vietnam War, but he could just as easily have been describing the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. government and military apparently have misled themselves as they were misleading the American people, claiming that these occupations were necessary, had clear objectives and were winnable. As in Vietnam, they lied about their progress in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was light at the end of the tunnel, we were told, if only we allowed one more “surge.”

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Thumbnail image for UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

by Source 11.24.2014 Activism

Ché Café Media Advisory

On Wednesday, November 19, UCSD administrators decided to seek a writ of possession to enforce an earlier unlawful detainer judgment and evict the Ché Café Cooperative and any students from the café space it has continuously occupied for over 34 years. Despite a resolution by the UCSD Associated Students Council (AS) asking the Chancellor to not proceed with posting a 5-day notice to vacate, and 14,000-signature petitions and open letters demanding that UCSD stop the eviction actions against the Ché Café, delivered to the Chancellor earlier this month, action by the administration to evict the Ché Café continues rather than negotiations for a new lease agreement with the Co-op.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Outrageous': Ferguson Organizers say State of Emergency Violates Laws, Thwarts Civil Liberties

‘Outrageous': Ferguson Organizers say State of Emergency Violates Laws, Thwarts Civil Liberties

by Source 11.24.2014 Activism

Governor’s declaration ‘only threatens to stir up tensions and denigrate the peaceful efforts of countless non-violent activists’

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

In the wake of Governor Jay Nixon’s Monday afternoon declaration of a state of emergency in Missouri, activists and civil rights groups are speaking out against a move they say threatens the civil rights of protesters on the ground in Ferguson.

Nixon’s announcement, which came ahead of the grand jury’s decision in the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, is “both premature in its application and presumptuous in [its] intention to the hundreds of peaceful demonstrators who have embraced their Constitutional right to protest,” said NAACP president William Brooks.

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Thumbnail image for Temporary Legal Protection for Some Immigrants A Good Beginning But Not At the Expense of Border Communities 

Temporary Legal Protection for Some Immigrants A Good Beginning But Not At the Expense of Border Communities 

by Source 11.23.2014 Government

Obama’s immigration action protects some, yet promotes deeply flawed policies

By American Friends Service Committee

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is gratified by the parts of President Obama’s executive order announced today which offer welcome relief to immigrants who have suffered too long under cruel immigration enforcement practices. Yet AFSC is dismayed that the action does not account for millions of others needing relief, and keeps an emphasis on increasing border security – thus ensuring more violations of civil and human rights.

“We are deeply disappointed that President Obama’s executive action will boost so-called ‘border security.’ Granting deferred action for many parents of U.S.-born children will shield those families from the fear of inhumane detention and deportation. But millions of undocumented immigrants were left out. They will continue living in fear of being detained and deported,” said Pedro Rios of the AFSC’s US-Mexico Border Program in San Diego, CA.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

by Source 11.16.2014 Economy

It won’t tell.

By Medea Benjamin / OtherWords

President Barack Obama proudly signed the law that repealed the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, freeing lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans (although not trans people) to openly serve in the military four years ago.

But when it comes to budgeting, the concept lingers on. “Don’t ask us how we spend money,” the Pentagon basically says. “Because we can’t really tell you.”

Every taxpayer, business, and government agency in America is supposed to be able to pass a financial audit by the feds, every year. It’s the law, so we do our duty. There’s one exception: the Pentagon.

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Thumbnail image for US: ‘No Nation Is Perfect.’ ‘We Crossed the Line.’ (But Don’t Expect Accountability for Legacy of Torture)

US: ‘No Nation Is Perfect.’ ‘We Crossed the Line.’ (But Don’t Expect Accountability for Legacy of Torture)

by Source 11.16.2014 Military

Despite earlier indications, White House tells panel in Geneva that U.S.  will abide by UN Convention Against Torture… for the most part

Jon Queally, staff writer /CommonDreams

The Obama administration indicated that it will back away from a position held by the previous administration that claimed the United States is not obligated to abide by the UN Treaty Against Torture when operating on foreign soil. That’s the good news.

In comments made before the UN Committee Against Torture during hearings that began in Geneva, acting U.S. legal advisor Mary McLeod told the panel, “The US is proud of its record as a leader in respecting, promoting and defending human rights and the rule of law, both at home and around the world.”

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Thumbnail image for Baghdad Tattoo

Baghdad Tattoo

by Source 11.10.2014 Books & Poetry

By Janet Parkinson /Poems Against War

Jalal Ahmed 07901 295135
Ali Abbas 07901 567256
Atheer Mohammad 07901 469798
are incised on my thigh.

My wife sees them when we make love.
I see them when I bathe, change clothes.
They are high enough to be covered
at the beach. I do not want
the world to know my fear.

I do not want the world to know
I have reason to fear. …

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Thumbnail image for Wind and Solar Create More Jobs When They’re Locally Owned, Report Finds

Wind and Solar Create More Jobs When They’re Locally Owned, Report Finds

by Source 11.08.2014 Culture

When it comes to providing jobs and money to towns and cities, not all renewable energy is created equal.

By Kayla Schultz / Yes!

At [September’s] People’s Climate March, among the most popular signs were ones supporting renewable energy like wind and solar as the best way to avoid a climate catastrophe. And because of the urgency of the situation, it’s easy to think that we should be building up renewables as much as we can.

But, from an economic point of view, it turns out that not all renewable energy is created equal.

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Thumbnail image for Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here’s an Alternative

Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here’s an Alternative

by Source 11.07.2014 Culture

By George Lakoff / Daily Kos

It is time to shine a light on the strategies used by Democrats, and on the Democratic infrastructure that uses those strategies.

Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block. The strategists also keep suggesting a move to right. This has left no room for the Democrats to have an overriding authentic moral identity that Americans can recognize.

Those strategists form an infrastructure that all Democrats have come to depend on; not just the candidates, but also the elected officials, Democrats in government, and citizens who either do, or might, find progressive policies morally and practically right. The strategic infrastructure includes PR firms, pollsters, consultants, researchers, trainers, communication specialists, speechwriters, and their funders.

It is an important and powerful infrastructure and we all depend on it. I believe it is vital to separate this infrastructure from the strategies it has been using. I believe the strategies can be greatly improved so as to give a true, deep, and moral picture of what progressive politics is about — one whose content and authenticity will resonate with, and inspire, a majority of Americans.

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Thumbnail image for Five Reasons to Pee in Your Garden

Five Reasons to Pee in Your Garden

by Source 11.05.2014 Culture

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

I confess, my husband and I both pee in our backyard garden, waiting until nightfall so as not to surprise neighbors.

We’ve always been comfortable relieving ourselves alongside lonely highways, even in daylight when waiting for the next bathroom seems unreasonable. But peeing in our own garden started as something of a lark, a combo of enjoying feeling a little naughty while also stealing a moment to take in the stillness of the night.

However, after a little research into the contents of urine and the ecological footprint of toilet flushing, I’m approaching my nightly garden visitations with a renewed sense of purpose, armed with sound reasons to continue the habit.

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Thumbnail image for Feminism: The Men Arrive! (Hooray! Uh-Oh!)

Feminism: The Men Arrive! (Hooray! Uh-Oh!)

by Source 11.05.2014 Activism

By Rebecca Solnit / Tom Dispatch

What do the prime minister of India, retired National Football League punter Chris Kluwe, and superstar comedian Aziz Ansari have in common? It’s not that they’ve all walked into a bar, though Ansari could probably figure out the punch line to that joke. They’ve all spoken up for feminism this year, part of an unprecedented wave of men actively engaging with what’s usually called “women’s issues,” though violence and discrimination against women are only women’s issues because they’re things done to women — mostly by men, so maybe they should always have been “men’s issues.”

The arrival of the guys signifies a sea change, part of an extraordinary year for feminism, in which the conversation has been transformed, as have some crucial laws, while new voices and constituencies joined in. There have always been men who agreed on the importance of those women’s issues, and some who spoke up, but never in such numbers or with such effect. And we need them. So consider this a watershed year for feminism.

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Thumbnail image for Why It May Be Illegal to Instagram Your Ballot

Why It May Be Illegal to Instagram Your Ballot

by Source 11.04.2014 Politics

By Lois Beckett / ProPublica

Proud voters are already posting photos of their ballots on Instagram2014sometimes with the names of their chosen candidates filled in. But before you snap a shot of your vote, you might want to check your state laws. As the Citizen Media Law Project points out as part of their guide to documenting the 2012 election, showing your marked ballot to other people is actually illegal in many states.

Laws against displaying your ballot are motivated by concerns about vote buying, since voters being bribed might need to be prove they voted a certain way.

While laws vary from state to state, the penalties for showing your ballot can be stiff.

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Thumbnail image for New FCC Proposal Still Leaves Net Neutrality MIA, says Rights Group

New FCC Proposal Still Leaves Net Neutrality MIA, says Rights Group

by Source 11.01.2014 Activism

‘This Frankenstein proposal is no treat for Internet users, and they shouldn’t be tricked,’ says Free Press head Craig Aaron

By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

A new plan on broadband service reportedly being crafted by the Federal Communications Commission head has been criticized by open Internet advocates who say it still fails to deliver real net neutrality.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s “hybrid approach,” which is partly based on proposals from the Mozilla Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

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Thumbnail image for 100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

by Source 10.30.2014 Activism

By Daniel Gutiérrez and Victor Herzfeld

On Saturday, October 25, union members, community leaders, and student organizers gathered at Lincoln High School to attend the San Diego Troublemakers Conference, hosted by Labor Notes and the Coalition for Labor & Community Solidarity (CLCS).

The event attracted a wide array of attendees from multiple unions, neighborhoods, and campuses to address burning questions that face labor today. Speakers included various organizers, like folks from SEIU, United Taxi Workers of San Diego, Unión del Barrio, ARE, AFT, UAW, IWW, the Seattle Education Association, and a slue of others that deserve mention. However, what made the event more remarkable than the list of invited speakers was the shear fact that it was so well attended. More than 120 people gathered on an early Saturday morning to address the future of the labor movement in San Diego, nationally, and internationally.

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Thumbnail image for Climate Change Linked to Rising Violence: Report

Climate Change Linked to Rising Violence: Report

by Source 10.29.2014 Courts, Justice

Meta-analysis of 55 separate studies finds global warming and increased conflict go hand-in-hand
By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Along with rising sea levels and global insecurity, climate change is producing yet another unforeseen consequence—rising violence, from road rage to civil war, a new report finds.

A working paper released Thursday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which conducted a meta-analysis of 55 separate reports on global warming and conflict in a variety of settings, found that “deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase the risk of conflict, often substantially, with average effects that are highly statistically significant.”

The paper looked at a vast range of violence perpetrated by both individuals and groups. The studies reviewed instances of road rage, domestic abuse, assault, rape, and murder alongside geopolitical conflicts like “riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups.”

The researchers measured the records of violence against climate variables such as rainfall, drought, and temperature increases.

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Thumbnail image for The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

by Source 10.27.2014 Business

By Peter Hart / Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

With a cover that announces “Rotten Apples: It’s Nearly Impossible to Fire a Bad Teacher” alongside an image of a judge’s gavel about to smash a fruit, you might suspect Time magazine (10/23/14) is doing some good old-fashioned teacher-bashing.

You’d be right.

There are a few problems with the story, but the biggest one is pretty familiar: It buries the lead. The Time piece, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, waits until the very end to tell readers that the teacher evaluation scheme central to argument is advancing is highly dubious.

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Thumbnail image for Cross Border Culture at The Front Art Gallery

Cross Border Culture at The Front Art Gallery

by Source 10.25.2014 Arts

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

When you live in the South Bay, the city of Tijuana appears on the horizon just about wherever you go. If you don’t cross the border daily, then most of your neighbors and friends do. South Bay residents know that Tijuana offers shopping, art, business opportunities, time with family and, of course, good food and wine.

So when a wonderful on-line newspaper like Voice of San Diego descends upon our border neighborhood of San Ysidro, bringing with them an audience of “northerners” to tell them about how they should visit Tijuana, we South Bay locals look at each other rather perplexed. Don’t they already know that?

On October 22nd Voice of San Diego’s culture report writer, Alex Zaragoza, hosted a “Meeting of the Minds” at The Front Art Gallery: a building along historic San Ysidro Boulevard designed by famed architect Louis Gill in 1929. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the many delights of Tijuana. Karl Strauss offered beer, perhaps to make the experience less frightening to the audience members who presumably trekked all the way from places like North Park to visit the depths of the border region.

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Thumbnail image for 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal

6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal

by Source 10.24.2014 Activism

by Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.

1) Failing to Understand How to Provide for Pedestrian and Other Active Transit:

Too often, cities and towns seem to think that all pedestrians need are sidewalks to walk on and greenery to look at. The same goes for bikes and bikelanes. It goes without saying that pedestrians and bikes work differently than cars, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

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Thumbnail image for Paying for Cheap Chocolate: Upgrading Halloween Treats Might Take a Bite Out of Child Labor.

Paying for Cheap Chocolate: Upgrading Halloween Treats Might Take a Bite Out of Child Labor.

by Source 10.23.2014 Culture

By  / Other Words

One Halloween, my husband persuaded our kids to give away most of the candy they’d just collected while trick-or-treating. They were preschoolers and the house we were renting then had previously drawn teens with haunted tours.

We’d run out of candy when a stream of teens showed up at our underwhelmingly spooky doorstep, shaking badly decorated pillow cases and looking disappointed.

Recycling the kids’ Halloween booty worked in that pinch. But candy consumption is sure to spike at my house this year, courtesy of the generosity the neighbors will show our pint-sized ghoul and devil. It probably will at yours too.

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Thumbnail image for Panic Over Ebola Echoes the 19th-century Fear of Cholera

Panic Over Ebola Echoes the 19th-century Fear of Cholera

by Source 10.22.2014 Culture

By Sally Sheard, University of Liverpool / The Conversation

On October 19 an inspector sent north from London to Sunderland reported a long-awaited arrival: the first British case of cholera. It was 1831 and as part of a second pandemic cholera had again progressed from its Bengal heartland through Europe, before reaching the Baltic ports. It was only a matter of time.

The British public, informed by newspaper reports, were acquainted with the symptoms: profuse watery diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and often death within a matter of hours. In advance of its arrival in Russia thousands fled from the cities. In Poland it was killing one in two victims. And unlike today, where oral rehydration solution can prevent dehydration and shock, there was no effective treatment.

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Thumbnail image for The Pernicious ‘War on Drugs’ Is Behind America’s Staggeringly High Female Prison Population

The Pernicious ‘War on Drugs’ Is Behind America’s Staggeringly High Female Prison Population

by Source 10.21.2014 Courts, Justice

U.S. prisons incarcerate more than a third of all female inmates worldwide, many of them for drug offenses.

By Cliff Weathers / Alternet

Women make up nearly 9% of the U.S. prison population and about a third of them are serving time for drug offenses, according to two recent studies. Moreover, with just over 200,000 women behind bars, U.S. prisons incarcerate a third of all female prisoners worldwide.

According to the latest report on women detainees by the International Center for Prison Studies, some 625,000 women and girls are held in penal institutions throughout the world. This includes remanded (pre-trial) detainees and those who have been sentenced. China, with 84,600 female women in detention (and 5.1 percent of its prison population), is a distant second to the U.S, followed by Russia (59,200), Brazil (35,596) and Thailand (29,175).

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Help Stop Ebola by Telling Congress and the White House to Order Hospitals to Put Safety Standards First

by Source 10.21.2014 Government

Simply put, the status quo is indefensible if it puts nurses, other frontline healthcare workers, and patients’ lives in jeopardy.

nurses_ebolaBy Rose Ann DeMoro / Common Dreams

Now that nurses, who have been sounding the alarm about Ebola for more than two months, finally have the attention of policy makers and many others, let’s have no more excuses and take the steps needed to contain and eradicate this virulent disease in the U.S. and globally.

You can help by signing our online petition to Congress and President Obama here.

In the U.S., long experience with the privately-run corporate hospital chains that dominate care delivery have made the sober reality abundantly clear – unless the healthcare industry is mandated to put the safety of patients, nurses, and other caregivers above their profit motive, the Ebola threat will only get worse.

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Thumbnail image for Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

by Source 10.18.2014 Activism

Lies distort every critical issue the U.S. faces.

By Harriett Levin Balkind / Alternet.org

A record $3.7+ billion is pouring into the 2014 midterms. The monetary floodgates are wide open, thanks to recent Supreme Court election decisions. Most of that money is spent on advertising, much of which misleads, distorts and downright lies. The donors for more than half of TV ads are not fully disclosed. Someone is profiting, but it sure isn’t you. And it’s definitely not the country.

It is legal to lie in national political advertising. Federal candidates can say just about anything they want, protected by the Court’s interpretation of free speech. The stand-by-your-ad statement: “I approve this message,” doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does get candidates the cheapest TV and radio ad rates, in compliance with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. If a federal candidate’s ad is deceptive, broadcasters have to run it, as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

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Thumbnail image for Let Them Eat Tips

Let Them Eat Tips

by Source 10.18.2014 Business

Marriott’s push to get guests to subsidize its crummy pay for the people who clean hotel rooms is a disgrace.
By Jim Hightower / Other Words

Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America’s exploitative, low-wage economy couldn’t get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy — along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: “Let them eat tips.”

Marriott International supports the political notion that America is divided between a few noble “makers” (like them) and a mass of “takers” (you, me, and the rest of us). Its approximately 4,000 hotels in 78 countries and territories have more than 690,000 rooms and operate under 18 different brand names that range from plebeian chains like Fairfield Inn & Suites to the luxury Ritz-Carlton properties.

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Thumbnail image for Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

by Source 10.13.2014 Activism

‘The killing of innocent black youth is systemic… It has to stop — everywhere.’

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Several thousand community members marched alongside activists from around the country in downtown St. Louis on Saturday as they demanded attention be paid to a national trend of police violence and called for justice in the case of Michael Brown, a local unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the suburb of Ferguson on August 9th.

Though more than two months have now gone by, local citizens and their allies from across the country expressed anger, frustration, and sadness that so far no charges have been brought against Officer Wilson. “Arrest him now! Arrest him now!” was both a stated demand and a chanted refrain during the march.

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