Friday
May062016

REDEYE 5/18/16

KKKourts just as blatantly racist as kkkops
NYT, 4/15 — …a report by a panel commissioned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago found racism in the city’s Police Department is rampant: Blacks are disproportionately subject to traffic stops, Tasers and street stops…account for an appalling 74 percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police between 2008 and 2015.
What the report does not say…is that the rottenness is not confined to the Police Department. Racist practices extend far into the criminal courts. Indeed they are the very foundation of the cases that enter into the court system. The hands of …judges and prosecutors are just as dirty as the bigots in blue….
…police officers who were scheduled to testify….would sit in the jury box, next to the judge…and would dutifully teach…how black men really were “dogs”….
Prosecutors and judges often participated in this culture. They spoke in overtly racist ways in court….In their eyes, defendants were to blame for their poverty, an ideology that justified a host of abuses of defendants, victims, witnesses or anyone with black or brown skin who found themselves in court….
…Attorneys….knew that to blow the whistle or in any way resist this culture could cost you your reputation, your job or even your safety….
The judge laughed at the fabrication of police reports, as if it were a novelty, rather than an abuse of power….
…Judges and prosecutors…willingly admitted that police perjury was part of the culture of the court system in Cook County….
…The police have a hand in controlling the types of prosecutors who get promoted, and the types of justice defendants receive in our courts.
U.S. guilty for Mid-East chaos
GW, 4/15 [letter] — …Much of the chaos and anger in the Middle East arose from U.S. intervention in the region.
To mention just a few: the CIA-backed overthrow of the elected leader Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and U.S. support of the Shah; support for Israel and its annexation of Palestinian territory; support for the military coup in Egypt…; U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and its bombing in Yemen; and most egregiously, the invasion of Iraq that led to the emergence of Isis….
…The flood of refugees from the Middle East and the recent terrorist attacks…are in large part the result of…U.S. intervention.
It is the height of arrogance for Obama to suggest that it is now a European obligation to sort out the chaos that the U.S. has created.
Slaves built Georgetown University
NYT, 4/23 — Bankers, merchants and manufacturers all profited from the slave trade, as did companies that insured slaving ships and their cargo. And more than a dozen universities have acknowledged ties to slavery. Even so, some…paper over the role that slavery played in their founding and early history.
Such denials are impossible in the harrowing history of slavery at Georgetown University….In 1838, the Jesuits running the college…sold 272 African-American men, women and children into a hellish life on sugar plantations in the South to finance the college’s continued operation….
The sale…stands out for its sheer size and the directness of its relationship to the existence and fortunes of one of the country’s top Catholic universities….one of history’s worst crimes against humanity….
…The Jesuits were among the largest slaveholders in the nation….Historian Craig Wilder notes…the Catholic Church was fully involved in with slavery in the colonial period….Income from slave plantations….allowed the church to survive…and underwrote the church’s expansion….
…Wilder writes, “Rather than retreating from slaveholding, the bishops built their church by tracking the westward expansion of plantation slavery”….
At Georgetown, slavery and scholarship were inextricably linked. The college relied on its plantation to help pay for its operations….The sale of the African-American men, women and children staved off its ruin.
No overtime pay, profits double
NYT, 4/21 — Half a century ago, overtime pay was the norm, with more than 60 percent of salaried employees qualifying….Only about 8 percent qualify today. If you feel…you’re working longer hours for less money than your parents did, it’s…because you are.
Today, if you…earn more than $23,600…a year, you don’t automatically qualify for overtime: That means every extra hour you work, you work free….
Everybody knows Americans are overworked….Americans now report working an average of 47 hours a week — not the supposed standard 40 — while 18 percent report working more than 60 hours….
…The longer and harder we work for the same wage, the fewer jobs there are for others, the higher unemployment goes….That helps explain why over the last 30 years, corporate profits have doubled from about 6 percent of gross domestic product to about 12 percent, while wages have fallen by almost the exact same amount. The erosion of overtime…is one of the main factors leading to worsening inequality.
U.S. corporations hide trillions in tax havens
GW, 4/22 — U.S. corporate giants such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric have stashed $1.4 trillion in tax havens, despite receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer support….
The sum, larger than the economic output of Russia, South Korea and Spain, is held in an “opaque and secret network” of 1,608 subsidiaries based offshore, said Oxfam. The charities analysis of the financial affairs of the 50 biggest U.S. corporations comes amid scrutiny of tax havens following the Panama Papers leak….
Apple… [has] some $181 billion held offshore in three subsidiaries. Boston-based conglomerate General Electric, which…has had $28 billion in taxpayer backing… [has] $119 billion stored in 118 tax haven subsidiaries. Microsoft was third with $108 billion….

Friday
Mar252016

REDEYE 4/6/16

U.S.  Ignored Argentine Junta
El Pais (Spain) 3/22—“I believe we will see much repression, and probably a lot of bloodshed, very soon in Argentina.  I believe they will not only harshly punish terrorists but, also any opposition in unions or politics”, warned an aide to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on March 26, 1976, a few days after the military coup in Argentina.
…(Kissinger) didn’t pay heed to the warning…(responding)… “They will need a little encouragement, I want to encourage them.  I don’t want to give them the impression that the US is harassing them.”  
The conversation above is found among the more than 4700 documents from the US Department of State that were declassified in 2002…
The following day the IMF extended a $127 million credit to the argentine military junta of Jorge Rafael Videla.  
…Months before the coup…Kissinger requested a credit increase for the purchase of arms from 34 to 50 million dollars for the argentines for the year 1977 with the objective of: “ adapting a modernization plan for the armed forces and maintaining relations with a country where the military is playing an ever greater role in government”.  
China’s Workers: “We who refuse to be slaves!”
NYT, 3/15 — GUANGZHOU, China — For nearly seven years Li Wei rise before dawn seven days a week fir his 10-hour shift at the steel plant, returning home each night soaked in sweat, the clank of heavy machinery still ringing in his ears. But last month the 31-year-old welder stood outside the plant with hundreds of co-workers, picketing against pay cuts….
…The authorities declared their strike illegal, threatening fines and imprisonment. The police descended on the plant…tearing down signs and ordering the protesters…back to work….
…Strikes and labor protests have erupted across the country. Factories, mines and other businesses are withholding wages and benefits, laying off…or shutting down altogether….Workers are fighting back with unusual ferocity….
…Thousands of angry employees of the state-owned Longmay Mining Group…staged one of the most politically daring protests over unpaid salaries…,denouncing the provincial governor….
China Labor Bulletin…recorded more than 2,700 strikes and protests last year, more than double…in 2014. The strife…[has] intensified,…with more than 500 in January alone.
Most demonstrations have…focused on…wage arrears, unpaid benefits like pension contributions and unsafe working conditions.
President Xi Jinping…has responded with a methodical crackdown, quashing protests, dismantling labor rights organizations and imprisoning activists….
The [“]Communist [”] Party…has continued to portray itself as a socialist guardian of worker’s rights even as it has embraced capitalism and welcomed tycoons into its ranks….More than three million workers could lose their jobs in the next two years….
China trimmed the state sector of more than 30 million workers during a wave of privatization….
Here in…Guangdong Province…several hundred workers at the state-owned…steel plant went on strike…in response to a…decrease in wages by as much as half and extend[ing] the workday to 12 hours…
“Toward the sun, toward freedom!” the workers chanted…reciting a World War II-era army song….
…The authorities…tried to stop them from playing the…anthem…[whose] first line is, “Rise, we who refuse to be slaves!”
…Last year the province averaged more one labor dispute a day….Most…protests…were against private employers….But…the unrest could spread to government-owned businesses.
Obama continues sexist deportations
NYT, 3/10 — The Obama administration is moving ahead with deportations of migrants fleeing from…violence-racked countries in Central America….120 migrants were arrested…in a round-up in early January….
Since Oct. 1,…28,808 people…have been sent back to Central America….
Most…arrested…were women and children. Fewer than half of the, including young children, have been represented by lawyers in their asylum cases.
Beyond Flint: lead poisoning a racist attack on kids
NYT, 3/4 — CLEVELAND — …The residents of Flint, Mich., are still reeling from the drinking water debacle that more than doubled the share of children with elevated levels of lead in their blood…7 percent of all children tested.
Clevelanders’…comparable number…is 14.2 percent.…Too much lead in children’s blood has long been an everyday fact in Cleveland and scores of other cities ….
“…This problem [is] going to persist for years to come,” said…a…professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine….
…Even vanishingly small amounts of it have a pernicious impact on young brains, stunting intellectual growth and affecting cardiovascular, immune and hormone systems….
By the most recent estimate, about 37 million homes and apartments still have some lead paint on walls and woodwork, 23 million with potentially hazardous levels in soil, paint chips or household dust….
…Four million of those most dangerous households have children….But in most cities, the lead threat is confined largely to poor neighborhoods….There is little official urgency — and increasingly little money — to address it….
A 2005 study of Chicago elementary school students concluded that blood lead concentrations…explained up to 15 percent of failing grades in reading and math….The C.D.C. [Center for Disease Control] has cut state grants for lead poisoning prevention by more than half since 2009, and the share of children younger than 6 who are tested has fallen by more than 40 percent….
In 2012, federal officials withdrew Cleveland’s multimillion-dollar grant for addressing lead in homes because the city’s track record was so poor….
…The city has found…$30 million for a 2013 renovation of its National Football League stadium — while lead abatement languished.
“A lot of folks failed,” said…the director of Environmental Health Watch….You have a lot of folks affected who are people of color or low-income people. And honestly, people are not as concerned about them.”

….And judge says toddlers can represent themselves in court
NYT, 3/8 — …A federal immigration judge insists that toddlers can represent themselves in immigration court.
The judge, Jack Weil,…told a lawyer…“I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds….
…Thousands of Central American children…have been detained…in recent years….
…The Obama administration…has been rushing their cases through the clogged immigration courts…and has recently been conducting raids to round up immigrants who have not responded to deportation orders….
…The administration…refuses to acknowledge the injustice of having children too young to understand the legal process fending for themselves in deportation hearings….
…These children face…violent death in being returned to their home countries.

Thursday
Mar102016

REDEYE 3/23/16

Concentration camps profit off refugees
NYT, 2/26 — Immigration and Customs Enforcement calls the detention center in Dilley, Tex., a “family residential center.” But to the 2,000 migrant children and mothers…there, it’s something else: “People who say this is not a prison are lying,”…a detainee…told Fusion last year. “It’s a prison for us and a prison for our children, but none of us are criminals.”
…The Corrections Corporation of America [CCA], America’s largest private prison…company….is part of a…global…warehousing [of] immigrants and asylum-seekers at remote sites maintained by for-profit corporations. The United Nations estimates that one in every 122 people on the planet is displaced….
It has become a multimillion-dollar industry….Hero Norway runs 90 refugee centers in Norway and 10 in Sweden….Australia’s government has contracted…Broadspectrum to manage…detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea for asylum seekers. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron’s government awarded…Serco a seven-year contract…worth over $100 million for running the Yarl’s Wood immigrant detention center….
…The [CCA] has a long history of ignoring detainee safety….Serco has been…overcharging…for substandard work. One doctor who worked at a site run by Broadspectrum in Nauru told The Guardian that the detention center was “reminiscent of Guantánamo Bay”….
…The [CCA]…lobbied politicians to keep more people behind bars….Congress requires that at least 34,000 people be housed daily in detention centers — a so-called detention bed mandate….
…These corporations look likely to get richer and richer as more people around the world flee their homes, desperately seeking safety.
S.A. protesters force university closing
NYT, 2/26 — Students…[left] behind smoldering buildings….burn[ing] an administration building and science center at a campus…in Mafikeng….Student protesters across South Africa are calling for lower tuition, more student housing and efforts to erase…South Africa’s racist past.
Clinton backed racist 1994 mass incarceration law
NYT, 2/29 — Days before Hillary Clinton’s…overwhelming [primary] victory over rival Bernie Sanders in South Carolina…a young…black activist, Ashley Williams…in Charlotte, N.C…..was planning to confront the candidate about her support of policies — specifically the 1994 crime bill — that contributed to the explosion of racially tilted mass incarceration in this country….
…A now infamous speech Clinton gave in 1996…said: “We need to take these people on….They are…called super-predators: no conscience, no empathy….”
…Williams…whole life has borne the bruises of what was done, largely by Democrats….
She said she has grown up knowing families and whole communities devastated by vanishing Black people, swept away into a criminal justice system that pathologized their very personage….
Williams….also said that Sanders was wrong for actually voting for the bill.
Egypt’s Arab Spring convicts 3-year-old
NYT, 2/24 — CAIRO — Your honor, my client was only a year old at the time of the crime.
But it did not stop an Egyptian military court from convicting the accused, a boy now 3½, of killing three people, carrying guns and firebombs, blocking a road with burning tires and trying to damage government buildings — and sentencing him to life in prison.
The verdict came…in a mass trial of 107 people…and the charges stemmed from the protests, street clashes and police crackdowns….
After an uproar over the conviction of the boy…the military said it was a case of mistaken identity… [They] had actually meant to try a 16-year-old student with the same name….
But that, too, may be a mistake….A police spokesman…said…the wanted culprit was the toddler’s uncle, a 51-year-old man….
Haiti: UN caused cholera epidemic
NYT, 3/2 — …United Nations peacekeepers…brought cholera to Haiti after their deployment in 2010 following a disastrous earthquake…[but] has asserted that a 1946 convention on privileges and immunities insulates it from…legal action….
“Immunity does not mean impunity,”…[said] a lawyer for…a legal advocacy group…helping represent the cholera victims….
There is little dispute that the peacekeepers were at fault, as supported by medical studies including some of the United Nations’ own findings….
The cholera epidemic has killed more than 9,000 people in Haiti and infected more than 800,000.
What recovery?
NYT, 2/25 — The gap between the richest and poorest American communities has widened since the Great Recession ended [?] and distressed areas are faring worse across much of the country….
From 2010 and 2013,…employment in the most prosperous neighborhoods…jumped by more than a fifth….But in the bottom-ranked neighborhoods…jobs fell sharply….
“It’s almost like you are looking at two different countries,” said [the]…director of…the Distressed Communities Index….
While the problems in many poorer cities predate the recession…a real recovery…has left the worst-off locations…even further behind….
In the nation’s most distressed communities….more than half of adults don’t have a job….Officially, the economy has grown every year since 2010….But a…poll last year showed that 64 percent of people still thought the economy was in a recession….
In San Antonio, ranked as the most spatially unequal city in the country….42 percent lived below the poverty line.

Thursday
Feb252016

REDEYE 3/9/16

U.S. imperialism brought Iraq ‘a thousand Saddam Husseins’
NYT, 2/17 — Baghdad — It was…a…memorial of Iraqi civilians…killed by American bombs while they slept….The destruction of the Amiriya bomb shelter…on Feb. 13, 1991, at the outset of the Persian Gulf war, killed some 408 civilians in the worst way possible: Most were burned alive….
…On the anniversary, two men from the neighborhood, now in their 60s…spoke about their memories. Each had lost several family members in the attack, and each had helped to pile the charred bodies on trucks.
One…a retired truck driver, pointed to the neglected gravestones…said: “These are just names. There are no bodies buried here. They were all burnt. You could not recognize the bodies….”
The structure remains just as the American bunker-busting bombs left it….
…Down below…photos of the victims, arranged by family, [are] fastened to poster boards….
Many of those pictured are small children….
For the two neighborhood men, [it]…was an occasion for reflection:…The gulf war began in January 1991, and so by now the United States has been using it military to shape events in Iraq for more than a quarter of a century….The next American president will almost surely be the fifth in succession to order air strikes in Iraq….
Muhammed Jamal, 60, a retired teacher,.…[said] “I am afraid for what comes next….Maybe the future will be even worse. Maybe America will create something new that will be even worse than now….”
“We had been Sunni and Shiite living together, and they divided us….They destroyed the cities….”
Taiseer Mahdi, 31…remembers the event, from when he was a young boy….
“They…[got] rid of Saddam Hussein,” he said, “but they brought us a thousand Saddam Husseins.”
U.S. bosses have the deck stacked
NYT, 2/18 — America’s political system is rigged. The deck is stacked against ordinary people….
…The 20 wealthiest Americans, a group that would fit comfortably inside a luxury private jet bound for a Caribbean island, are worth more than the poorer half of the American population….Forbes’s wealthiest 100 are worth as much as all 42 million African-Americans….
…the influence of money in politics:
The pharmaceutical industry…has used its lobbying heft — it spent $272,000 in campaign donations per member of Congress last year, and it has more lobbyists than there are members of Congress — to bar the government from bargaining for drug prices in Medicare. That amounts to a $50 billion annual gift to pharmaceutical companies.
Frame-ups on the rise in the U.S.
NYT, 2/13 — In 2015, 149 people convicted of crimes…— from capital murder to burglary — were exonerated….the highest yearly total since…record-keeping began in 1989.
In that time, there have been at least 1,733 exonerations across the country, and the pace keeps picking up. On average, about three convicted people are now exonerated of their crimes every week….
…Last year’s group spent an average of more than 14 years behind bars. Five had been sentenced to death….Half…involved cases in which no crime occurred at all — for example, a conviction of murder by arson that…turned out to be based on faulty fire science….
…27…were for convictions based on false confessions….most often in homicide cases in which the defendant was a juvenile, intellectually disabled, mentally ill or some combination of the three. In nearly half of all 2015 exonerations, the defendant pleaded guilty before trial….
…Some defendants, especially the young or mentally impaired, can be pushed to admit guilt when they are innocent. Some…may not be able to afford bail but don’t want to spend months in pretrial detention or risk much longer sentence if they choose to go to trial.
Official misconduct — including perjury, withholding of exculpatory evidence and coercive interrogation practices — occurred in three of every four exonerations involving homicide….
…These…numbers …still understate the scope of the problem, since not all cases involving misconduct come to light.
U.S. cluster bombs killing Yemen’s civilians
NYT, 2/15 — Saudi Arabia has fired American-made cluster munitions, banned by international treaty, in civilian areas of Yemen….
…Photographs from Yemen…show unexploded but potentially lethal remnants of American cluster weapons….The Americans have sold arms and furnished training and expertise to a Saudi-led coalition…for…an indiscriminate bombing campaign…. [and] “are blatantly disregarding the global standard that says cluster munitions should never be used under any circumstances,” [said]…the arms director at Human Rights Watch….
Cluster munitions contain sub-munitions, or bomblets, that disperse widely and kill indiscriminately. Many bomblets can fail to explode, posing a threat to civilians. A 2008 treaty bans the weapons, but major arms suppliers, including the United States and Russia, have not signed it.

Thursday
Feb252016

Redeye 2/24/16

Racist frame-ups on the rise
NYT, 2/4 — A record 149 people in the United States were found in 2015 to have been falsely convicted of a crime…nearly four in ten were exonerated of murder.
The review by the National Registry of Exonerations said the inmates had spent more than 14 years behind bars on average, with some serving more than three decades….
The annual tally of false convictions has more than doubled since 2011….recording 1,733 exonerations since 1989….
The bulk…came from…Texas, where 54 people were cleared, and New York with 17….
Official misconduct played a role in 65…and false confessions…in 27. The most common reason inmates ere cleared, in 75…cases, was that no crime had even been committed….
The registry found that more than two-thirds of those exonerated in 2015 were minorities and half were African-American. Five defendants had death sentences.
CIA backed terror in Guatemala
GW, 2/5 — First the army came for….fifteen Mayan peasant leaders…in eastern Guatemala…[who] were…killed or forcibly disappeared….
…[Then] they came for the women. Soldiers raped them in front of their children, burned down their houses and crops, stole their meager belongings and made them move into shacks outside a military base….where they were forced to cook, clean and submit to systematic rape….It was 1982…as counter-insurgency operations against ethnic Mayans intensified under the rule of the military dictator and evangelical Christian, Efrain Rios Monti….
The 1960-1996 civil war was triggered by a CIA-backed coup after an elected president promised land reform. Monti justified the violence by claiming the victims were communist guerrillas. But army actions were largely about protecting the interests of rich landowners.
Racist system’s poisons children
NYT, 2/7 — …The lead poisoning of children in Flint, Mich. [is] an outrage…called “state-sponsored child abuse.”
But lead poisoning goes far beyond Flint, and in many parts of America seems to be even worse.
“Lead in Flint is the tip of the iceberg,” notes [a]…former director at the Centers for Disease Control….
In Flint, 4.9 percent of children tested for lead…have elevated levels….In New York State outside of New York City, the figure was 6.7 percent. In Pennsylvania, 8.5 percent. On the west side of Detroit, one-fifth of the children tested in 2014 had lead poisoning. In Iowa for 2012….32 percent of children tested had elevated lead levels….
Across America, 535,000 children ages 1 through 5 suffer lead poisoning….
…A professor…at Mount Sinai [NY City said] “Lead poisoning continues to be a silent epidemic in the United States.”
…Flint…is particularly horrifying because it was delivered by the government through the municipal water system even as state officials scoffed at the local outcry….
Some 24 million homes in America have deteriorated lead paint….If a toddler regularly breathes lead-contaminated dust…that child may suffer lifelong brain damage….
Lead poisoning is an old problem…diagnosed…first…in 1994….
Yet the lead industry ferociously fought attempts at regulation….Millions of children continue to suffer brain impairment because of the greed of the lead industry….
Today the continuing poisoning of half a million American children is tolerated…because the victims often are low-income children of color.
Greece: ‘radical left’ attacks workers
GW, 1/29 — One year after taking power, Greece’s prime minister. Alexis Tsipras, has embraced wholesale the austerity measures that he once decried….
Tsipras has jettisoned his radicalism to stay in power at all costs….He has adopted a harsh policy,…raised taxes and sold off Greek banks to speculative funds, privatized airports and ports, and is about to slash pensions….
[Tispras’s party] Syriza…has not simply failed to deliver on its promises but…adopted the program of the opposition wholesale.
Israel: the fraud of ‘democracy’
GW, 2/5 — Netanyahu’s…government [is] intent upon suppressing anti-occupation views….
…Israel invented an intricate military-legal system for regulating its control over the Palestinian population living in the lands occupied in 1967 precisely in order to entrench separate systems for Israelis and Palestinians….
Breaking the Silence, an organization of former [Israeli] soldiers who…speak out about their service in the occupied West Bank, has been banned from speaking in high schools and to soldiers, and there is now a proposal to outlaw them….
Being anti-occupation is…deemed…with being anti-Israel and anti-Jewish, an enemy of the state. Working to end Israeli occupation, or even just exposing its facts, makes you a target….
For most of its existence, Israel has been providing democratic cover for an undemocratic reality….Israel…cannot be a democratic, liberal and free society while it exerts control over millions of people….
No amount of name-calling, intimidation or violence can ever change that reality.

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