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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat

Like everyone else, I got it wrong. I was expecting a Tory minority government propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) if needed to get legislation passed.

It was also clear that the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) had been courting the Tories hoping for another small shot at power; their slogan that “they would give the Tories a heart and Labour a brain” really made me think that they had never understood the Wizard of Oz; if they had, they would have realised that the Wizard was a fraud who only granted what the Tin man (heart) and Straw man (a brain) already had; provision of a testimonial and a diploma do not change reality, only perceptions of reality. I wondered who wrote their script; revealing that you are frauds is never a good idea for a political party.

I was at a friend’s house planning to watch the beginning of the election results there and then I saw the exit polls. I gasped and my stomach screamed! I thought surely this was wrong. I grasped at straws: it didn’t include postal votes, people do not always tell the truth (in the US people deny that they wouldn’t vote for a person of colour as they do not openly want to admit their racism) … I went home to watch a national nightmare unfold (one does not put a fist through your friends’ only telly, it is certainly not good guest behaviour).  

The exit polls (316 Conservatives/Tories, 239 Labour, 58 SNP, 10 Liberal Democrats, 2 UKIP, 2 Greens, 4 Plaid Cymru) actually underestimated the extent of the damage. The Tories were predicted to be heading towards a minority government; I thought that was bad enough, but it was nothing compared to the final result.

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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat

The Greeks have said enough! Hope has defeated fear and SYRIZA has won the election and have beaten New Democracy and the fear-mongers, as expected.  This is a major victory for anti-austerity forces which could change the economic and political landscapes.

However, they did not win an outright majority (they were short 2 seats) and were forced into coalition with a right-wing, nationalist (pro-Greek Orthodox) anti-austerity party, the Independent Greeks (referred to as ANEL from now on).  

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Irrespective of this, we do have quite a lot to celebrate! The election of SYRIZA is a shot directly across the bow of neoliberalism and its flagship of ideas, aka as the austerity project. The European ruling class (which includes mainstream political leaders) are a wee bit shaken especially Germany.  Whether or not the Troika is forced to negotiate the debt successfully, this is a victory and it is forcing the ruling class in Europe to take stock over whether austerity (and destroying the working class) is more important than the EU project. The stakes are literally that high!
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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat
I was thinking of writing about the Charlie Hebdo massacre which culminated in an anti-Semitic attack in a Kosher Supermarket leading to the deaths of Jewish shoppers.  I was considering addressing the issue of why we should have solidarity with the victims even though I found their articles racist and the errors of secular extremism adopted by the French left, done so well here; really, does anyone really think that deserves execution? I was going to talk about my deep fears and worries for French Muslims and the inevitable security measures that will be introduced that will affect the freedoms of French citizens and how those would be used against ethnic and religious minorities and possibly against French political dissidents. I also was considering discussing my anger at Hollande’s keeping Netanyahu updated on the situation in the supermarket.
This is the same Netanyahu whom is urging French Jews to emigrate to Israel and who was part of those leading a “national unity” march today in Paris and that Netanyahu represents no one but those that voted for him, much less the Jews living outside of Israel that he is encouraging to move to Israel which is engaged in a constant state of war. What is this saying to French Jews, and for that matter, all Jews living outside of Israel?

Are they actually implying that Netanyahu in some way represents all Jews?!  Sorry, this man does not and will never speak for me … putting my anger at this aside for the moment, we actually have something positive to discuss!

I decided to go for a story that actually could shift Europe in a positive direction and that is the upcoming Greek elections on January 25th.  Following the failure to elect a President in Greece, Samaras was forced into snap elections (

According to all polls (and these, alas, are notoriously unreliable in Greece as they are often commissioned by the political parties themselves) it looks as though SYRIZA will come in first.

This means that they will be granted 50 seats to help them make a government.  However, the issue does not appear to be whether they will win, but whether they will win with 151 seats to ensure a majority in Parliament. If they do not win that majority, things are up in the air as an understatement.

Thanks to Stephen Wolf and Athenian! I misheard the threshold at a meeting. I have changed the piece to reflect that it is 3%, not 5%, which I had wrote initially.

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Reposted from Democrats Ramshield by Democrats Ramshield

(Written by a Caucasian, American expat living in Germany).

                                    THE AMERICAN 200 YEAR RACE WAR!!
The German magazine Der Spiegel's English language edition is the equivalent of TIME magazine. As I'm a professional librarian and an American expat living in Germany, I've been asked by librarians often to review articles and I am pleased to do so, as what emerges out of this Spiegel magazine series is the ugly history of Ferguson, Missouri  and indeed America's past of chattel slavery and sanctioned militarized police state violence against African American males under color of law.

Spiegel quote: In Ferguson: "IF WE DON'T DESTROY......THEY WON'T PAY ATTENTION".


Spiegel quotes Ferguson whites: They need to finally learn how to behave,""They are crazy". one woman shrieks, "LIKE ANIMALS"
Spiegel quote: Chicago pastor and friend Jeremiah Wright, who had accused the US government of crimes against blacks. "GOD DAMN AMERICA......FOR KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE" he intoned from the pulpit in a sermon that threatened to derail Obama's candidacy.
Is Pastor Jeremiah Wright correct? Does America have a long history which in fact dates back to hundreds of years of killing innocent people?
Update - "Here is the photograph. Take a good look at Jesse Washington’s stiffened body tied to the tree. He had been sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman. No witnesses saw the crime; he allegedly confessed but the truth of the allegations would never be tested. The grand jury took just four minutes to return a guilty verdict, but there was no appeal, no review, no prison time. Instead, a courtroom mob dragged him outside, pinned him to the ground, and cut off his testicles. A bonfire was quickly built and lit. For two hours, Jesse Washington — alive — was raised and lowered over the flames. Again and again and again. City officials and police stood by, approvingly. According to some estimates, the crowd grew to as many as 15,000. There were taunts, cheers and laughter. Reporters described hearing “shouts of delight.”

"Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads. Between 1882 and 1968 — 1968! — there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the US. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks.

So the Spiegel provides an international perspective which is missing in the for-profit American plutocrat owned media in a clear case where there's no publicly owned media on America's publicly owned airwaves. Therefore I invite you to give a careful reading to this groundbreaking Spiegel magazine article series on racism in America, emanating from a history of chattel slavery that Americans live in denial of and will not address through reparations or any sensible redress, as the country is addicted to the economic benefits provided to those who hold white privilege and profit daily from the racist American militarized police state's actions, acting under color of law. Educated Europeans have come to see America as a country of angry white conservative haters in a nation under the heel of a racist American militarized police force which is dominated by the death penalty and three strikes law (even in Blue states) which primarily target poor people and people of color. The country courtesy of Tea Party headlines is full of intolerance, bigotry and open hatred in an out of control gun culture, wherein 11,000 firearm deaths annually are considered the norm and acceptable collateral damage. In a nation where the psychiatric state of fear has become the norm that allows 40 million of its citizens that inhumanely don't have access to medical insurance; while the US spends more money on the military than the rest of the world combined in a neo-feudalist 2014 America. In a clear case wherein a Princeton University study concluded that the United States is no longer a functioning democracy but functions as an Oligarchy.
ByBrendan JamesPublishedApril 18, 2014,
 "A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely,
 that it no longer exists".
Spiegel quote: Indeed, the kinds of deadly events that took place in Ferguson and Cleveland have now convinced many blacks that it wasn't Obama who was right back in the spring of 2008. Rather, it was his angry pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
Spiegel gives us insights that are both revealing and shocking to members of the white privileged class who profit on a daily basis from institutionalized state racism of the type that has turned America into a militarized police racist pariah state. This is turning America into an international laughing stock, as a cauldron of hatred, political division and the world's leading racist militarized police state, though it has only 5% of the world's population has 25% of the world's inmates, the majority of whom are persons of color, most particularly African American males. Though they're only 6% of America's population. In many states African American males comprise the majority of prison inmates, people on probation and parole, wherein a public de facto type of lynching through the use of firearms has become the norm, to the point where white America is becoming more desensitized to racial violence perpetrated by the state, because they're profiting from it at the expense of African Americans.
Spiegel quote: Six years after Obama's race speech, more than a quarter of blacks in American live below the poverty line. Among whites, that figure is 12.8 percent. According to the Pew Research Center, the median annual income of a white household was about $27,000 higher than that of a black household in 2011, with the difference having grown over the course of the last several decades. The black "island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity," which Martin Luther King complained about 50 years ago, still exists in 2014. Every third African-American child born between 1985 and 2000 grew up in a neighborhood marked by extreme poverty.
Huffington Post Headline: Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings
We must understand that Europeans in their history are taught that one of the reasons the American Revolution was fought was because Britain was in the process of abolishing slavery in America. This was one of the substantial causes of the American Revolutionary War by the American monied class, who were primarily slave owners, (who were also engaged in exterminating indigenous people) which unfortunately included the ranks of some of America's founding fathers.
For the Americans the American Revolutionary War was essentially two parallel wars: while the war in the east was a struggle against British rule, the war in the west was an "Indian War". The newly proclaimed United States competed with the British for control of the territory of Native American nations east of the Mississippi River. The colonial interest in westward colonization, as opposed to the British policy of maintaining peace by designating areas reserved to Native Americans west of the Appalachians following the end of the Seven Years' War, was one cause of the revolution. Most Native Americans who joined the struggle sided with the British, as they hoped to win the opportunity to reduce settlement and expansion onto their land.  

When the Americans won the Revolutionary War, it proved to be the harbinger of death for the Native American peoples because under the Westphalia system of international law, this left the new American government free without international interference to embark on a campaign of genocide against Native American peoples. In America today it is only so called political dissidents such as MIT professor Noam Chomsky who speak out on this tragic point of American history. It should be noted that a perfidious United States government who broke every treaty they ever made to Native American peoples reaching into modern day which is highlighted by Native American peoples from the Plains, having received by treaty lands in the Black Hills in perpetuity which lasted only until gold was found there. Then that land was stolen by the US government. This created a state of war between the US army and Native American peoples wherein the US Army was defeated at the battle of Little Big Horn. This caused a false history to be taught in American schools of a heroic last stand by General George Armstrong Custer and his men, when in fact battlefield archeology has proven there was no heroic last stand and the US Army suffered it's most humiliating defeat by a superior force of American warriors on American soil during that battle, which by revenge led to the battle of Wounded Knee which battlefield archeology reveals wasn't a battle at all, but rather a Holocaust-type extermination campaign against Native peoples to include large numbers of women and children by the glorious US cavalry. If our American readers are going to understand this Spiegel article, we have to make an effort to understand what educated Europeans have and are being taught about the United States. Otherwise we will lack the background to properly put the Spiegel's article into a substantial perspective leading to an understanding and sensitivity, where we must try to in the spirit of intellectual freedom have tolerance, so as to allow ourselves to understand their perspective on our country and its history. A history as it turns out that we ourselves may want to turn away from, as it is in its plain unvarnished truth most certainly ugly, oppressive and bloody. Of course the educated Europeans haven't forgotten the tragedy, courtesy of the US Army that was perpetrated during the Trail of Tears.

As Americans, we must understand this is the history that Europeans and people from other highly developed countries have been taught about America in our history of slavery and the American history of wars of extermination against Native American peoples. Is it any wonder why their press and their media see us so differently than we in self-congratulatory terms see ourselves? And why the Plutocrat owned corporatist media has wrapped the American people in a red-white-and-blue brainwashed media circus cocoon, so we're never allowed to understand that the rest of the educated world has come to see America as a pariah nation given it's history of slavery, campaigns of extermination and violence against Native American peoples and African American slavery.  

Native American Reservation Poverty is shocking and is kept hidden away, out of sight and out of mind in geographically often remotely located rural reservations which have sadly become islands of poverty to essentially half or more its proud Native American residents.

They've been taught that the US government has tried to subjugate and exterminate Native American culture from the face of the earth for all time and eternity. This has led to various situations to include the fact that US government has admitted to the theft of native lands and offered to pay compensation of 10,000 dollars per tribal member in the area of Monuments Park. Though these proud Native American peoples of the Plains are among the most severely economically disadvantaged people on the planet in any highly industrialized country, they have turned down this money because their sacred ancestral lands were never for sale to the US government or anyone else at any price. Though this seems strange to Americans, Native American peoples never consider their ancestors to be for sale at any price. The US government simply put refuses to accept this reality in its wholesale theft of Native lands to include the Black Hills of the Dakotas which includes the area of Mount Rushmore.

The sad fact is everything in America is always for sale and nothing is scared. Not even ones' ancestors. Ergo the fact that Native peoples in the matter of their ancestral scared lands do not subscribe to the American notion of commerce uber alles is foreign to Americans but is well understood by the peoples of Europe, especially the Germans.

(This understanding has arrived at in part through German literature of Native American culture by famous German writers such as Karl May who though he wrote fictionalized tales of the old American West where until near the end of his life he had never even been (in his book Winnetou which sold 200 million copies worldwide)and in doing so positively portrayed the honor of the proud Native American peoples in a way that has for over 100 years relentlessly captured the imaginations of Europeans. (Imagine if in literature, that is books and movies the Indians were always portrayed as positively as being the good guys and the cowboys were always portrayed as being the bad boys, what effect would that have on our culture? Well guess what, you don't have to imagine. All you have to do is look to Germany because that exactly is what's happened here, in no small part due to the writings of authors like Karl May.)

Especially the Germans who have become completely infatuated to the point of a positive obsession of everything related to Native American history and culture wherein throughout the last century when German children play Cowboys and Indians, everyone always wants to be the Native Americans because Karl May always portrayed Native Americans as being the good guys and the cavalry were always portrayed as the bad guys. So it is even in writings of fiction, the hearts of the German people always go on the side of the Native American people as opposed to the dominate contemporary American culture. In doing so the German people who have their own history as a very tribal nation, hold as a nation Native Americans in the highest regard and as such see with great condemnation the fact that the US government has perfidiously broken every treaty ever signed with the Native American peoples).

Therefore the Germans understand this very well. The fact that Native Americans continue to resist the fraud perpetrated against them by the United States government to this very day, and the people of the European Union (which has a population greater than that of the US and whose currency the Euro rivals the power of the US dollar) has an entirely different perspective on human rights, not shared by the dominant American culture on issues of racism, and even the death penalty. It should be noted, the death penalty in the European Union has been completely outlawed for decades and they will not even export drugs to the United States that may be used to inflict a death penalty.

We must accept that educated Europeans are taught that
during the Revolutionary War, the ranks of the British Army were full of soldiers of African descent fighting for what they believed was to end American slavery, a fact that would be echoed later in America's own Civil War. Yet the history of the struggle of American civil rights went on long after the Civil War to the Voting Rights Act to Dr. Martin Luther King. So it is in a continuation of the civil rights' struggle we find ourselves as guests of the Spiegel staff, in a ride along with Jurmael in Ferguson, Missouri, the 2014 America. Here is what we see and unless we avert our eyes, some of this seen through the perspective of European eyes will be ugly in reviewing the true face of bigotry, racism and the ugly American in the year 2014.

This is what the European media tells Europeans everyday... but we in America never hear about that through the US plutocrat owned corporatist media. Why is that?

Spiegel quote form part one of Spiegel series:
The car is now driving past large, old wooden homes with fresh-painted verandas and well-groomed front yards, small oases of order. "Look right up there," Jurmael says as he points to the front door of a house. There's a bronze plaque on the door, as there are at many homes in the area. It notes that a slave owner once lived in the home.........The plaques are not intended as memorials. Instead they appear to reflect the pride some of these homeowners have in their house's history. The neighborhood is the city's Historic District and is a tourist attraction. Even today, though, the district is inhabited exclusively by white people........

In the days leading up to Brown's funeral on Monday, white signs bearing the slogan of a new movement had been posted in the front yards of the former slave-owners' district. They read, "I love Ferguson." On this particular morning, the organizers of the initiative have gathered at the Corner Coffee House. A long line formed at one table with people waiting to buy signs and t-shirts. There's not a single African American in the cafe -- not among the guests or among the service personnel. Only the guy in the kitchen is black. The people gathering here are part of what could be described as the white countermovement.

Ferguson is a divided town like too many towns in America today. Maybe it's a bit like your town and maybe you're one of the people who like it or not profit from white privilege which has it roots in America's slave history.
Quote from part 2 of Spiegel series:
Marley's Bar & Grill, the only restaurant in the area that has remained open despite the protests, is just 500 meters away from the police station, but it is a totally different world. All 15 people sitting at the counter are white. Three of the televisions inside are showing ice hockey, while just one is tuned to CNN. Suddenly, "Breaking News" begins flashing on the screen: "Police car attacked in Ferguson."

Voices become raised at the counter. "They are crazy. They need to finally learn how to behave," one woman shrieks. "Like animals," her partner adds.

In the history of America, violence has occasionally paved the way for political improvements for the country's black population. When the escaped slave Shadrach Minkins was captured in Boston in 1851 under the Fugitive Slave Act, for example, slavery opponents stormed the courthouse, assaulted the court marshals and freed Minkins. The incident marked the beginning of a shift in attitudes

Please let's understand as the African American population stands at about 12.6% in America today wherein approximately 50% of that population is male, this would by way of basic arithmetic mean that the male African American population is, on or about 6%. These are the people who make up essentially 40% of the nation's inmates in accordance with the quote below. We can see this isn't a case of something being rotten in Denmark whose prison population is per capita ten times lower, but rather a case of something being rotten in the American racist militarized police state and the prison industrial complex. "In comparison with the US, Denmark has 73 prisoners for every 100,000 residents, while the US has 730."
Spiegel quote: Almost half of all murder victims and about 40 percent of the US prison population are black, even though the African-American share of the population is just 12.6 percent. And in many states, those with a criminal record forfeit many rights, such as access to welfare, for example. In 10 states, those who have been convicted of a criminal offense lose their right to vote for life.
America when it comes to social welfare is one of the least generous countries, so single people in America unlike essentially all countries in Western Europe, already can't get cash benefit to do things like pay rent, because the plutocrat owned American state wants to press these people into forced low wage slave work poverty to keep from being homeless. But now in 10 states anyone who has been convicted of a serious crime can't get any meager assistance to include medical and food stamps, therein ensuring they continue to be trapped in a cycle of criminal recidivism in order to survive at great cost to the society. A society which has become an international pariah state in the eyes of most educated people in Western Europe especially in view of the history of slavery and wars of extermination against Native and African American people on the territory of the United States. Also in terms of social welfare and human rights, where America is the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn't have universal medical coverage; doesn't have job protected paid maternity leave by right of law. So it is no accident that America given its history of chattel slavery in the king of the low or no benefit wage slave economy,and concurrently a cauldron of racist militarized police state racism, viewed as an international badge of shame and pariah state across Western Europe.  

There are no official govt statistics as to how many American citizens police kill annually, that is comprehensive. Though to be clear the exact number is well known to government, to police and the police unions, especially as a matter of accountancy every time a member of the police causes the death of an American, the police union will spend between 25 to $35,000 in legal fees on behalf of the member of the police involved in the killing. So as a matter of straightforward responsible accountancy and bookkeeping the number of persons killed by police in America is very well known by everyone except the American public. Why is that? Who benefits from that? Why as members of the public and voters do we tolerate this lack of accountability from our public servants, who work for us? Please let me invite to read. "No comprehensive, reliable database of police shootings exists" February 19, 2013  By Pat Schneider

CNN - August 19th 2014
Erin Burnett of CNN speaks with Michael Bell.

"Erin says: There is still no national set of statistics for how many people are killed by police officers."  
While it is clear that every police death denotes the tragic loss of life of a human being, shouldn't we ask ourselves why the govt given the statistics cited below turns each and every one of those tragic deaths into a media event. Concurrently the same govt will not in any one comprehensive source provide the statistics for the number of people killed in America annually by police. Why is it that in the United States we are not allowed in a so called free press to know what that statistic is? Who benefits from this? Who profits from that status quo and dearth of information? Most importantly why do we tolerate this? Last but not least, in view of the fact that crime has been going down since the '90's, given the statistics below of in line of duty police deaths, is the militarization of America's police warranted, and is the police participation in the Pentagon's 1044 program providing military grade equipment justified, and indeed reasonable.
American Line of Duty Police Deaths for 2014: 67
Assault: 1

Automobile accident: 15
Fire: 1

Gunfire: 27

Gunfire (Accidental): 1
Heart attack: 8
Motorcycle accident: 2
Struck by vehicle: 3
Vehicle pursuit: 2
Vehicular assault: 7


The propaganda put out by the racist American militarized police state on the neo-fedualist American airways plutocrat owned media telling us TALL tales of woe of the mean streets of America, where gang members roam the streets with Uzi's and Tech9's and monster built AK47 rifles who often have police out gunned and applying for the Pentagon's 1044 program for more tanks, heavy body armor, Kevlar helmets and helicopters but wait! Hold on to your hats sport fans! The crime rate in America according to federal statistics from the FBI has been falling since the early part of the 1990s all over America and the number of police deaths annually due to gun fire nationwide is a few dozen.

So you see in just the same way the American people have been lied into wars, we're being lied into the militarization of the police. Indeed it maybe said by some that though it may not violate the letter, it certainly violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus actwhich states the military isn't supposed to be used to police America.

Only when a person can't tell the difference between the military and the police by looking at them anymore, what good is having the Posse Comitatus act, when the Pentagon has militarized the police substantially through its 1044 program. We in America have since become a laughing stock in the international legal scholarly community. It was bad enough that state governors could use the National Guard when wearing their state hat to conduct law enforcement to dance around the Posse Comitatus act to commit tragedies which has a history with the shooting of unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State.  
For anyone too young to remember or know the reason why Kent State is important is because in America militarized police state violence has a history of repeating itself. Therefore it is important for people to remember our fallen brothers and sisters now, always and forever, because they laid down their lives for us, for our democracy. This is the legacy of the progressive hippie movement.

Why do National Guard soldiers have US Army printed on their uniforms?
 Though the National Guard even when I was serving it in, it was always concurrently deemed to be a reserve of the United States Army. So it was that my military ID card said "Armed Forces of the United States". Also under the Insurrection act the U.S. military may be used to act as Police force on American streets.  

The law changed the name of the chapter from "Insurrection" to "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order."

 Is it any wonder that the international legal community looks at these laws as an international laughing stock of a racist militarized police state, wherein to quote Morgan Freeman who once played God in a movie  told the German magazine Stern that "the color of the law in America is WHITE". That really says it all, doesn't it?

Ask yourself why is America putting out a militarized police response in the face of a low police death rate and falling crime statistics that have been dropping off for the better part of 2 decades. Why is it that America has the highest incarceration rate of any major industrialized country in the world per 100,000? Who profits from that and why?? Wherein the majority of the inmates, particularly in the for-profit prisons are members of the minority community, particularly African American males.

Racial Disparities in Incarceration
* African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
* African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
Faced with this reality, it's difficult not to agree with the Spiegel's conclusion which is that African American males in the United States are being openly hunted by an increasingly militarized (primarily) white police force, where white men in the service of the state are killing young black men with regular de facto summary executions taking place on American streets even in broad daylight of African American males,  even if they are unarmed as was the case with 18 year old Michael Brown in America's racist militarized police state, which acts and looks more like an army of occupation in terrorist style terrorizing the African American community.
Spiegel quote: Making matters worse is the discrimination practiced by state institutions such as law enforcement. The chances that a young black man will be shot dead by the police, for example, is 21 times greater than it is for young white males. The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown is far from abnormal. Just 10 days ago, a 12-year-old boy was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland because he was playing with a toy pistol at a playground.
Spiegel quote: Their expressions reveal hate and the word "fuck" is everywhere, in combination with words such as police, system, judiciary, government and power.  
'If We Don't Destroy ... They Won't Pay Attention'
Spiegel quote: Yet peaceful movements, and the courts, have also played a role. Rosa Parks' refusal to move to the back of a public bus on Dec. 1, 1955 -- which led to a Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public transport was unconstitutional -- is just one example. But it was the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. that achieved perhaps the greatest victory for racial equality in the form of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, using peaceful protests and civil disobedience. Even so, there was a threat of violence in the background, in the form of Malcolm X and his followers.
"The U.S. militarization of police displayed in Ferguson has been going on across America for decades" by Meteor Blades

"When cops treat people the way an occupying army would, the consequences for citizens, for constitutional protections, for the police themselves are exactly the opposite of what is needed in a civilized society. "Serve and protect" is transformed into a sick joke."

Spiegel quote: At the same time, it is also true that Obama has never really presented himself as an advocate of African-Americans during his time in office. He learned during a very early stage of his presidency the kind of fury he might unleash if he commented on conflicts with a racial element.
Here's the link the full Spiegel article for anyone that is interested, it's entitled:
"Racial Divide: The Tragedy of America's First Black President"

The Spiegel quote above correctly identifies the fact that though Pres. Obama (whom I voted for twice)  has been seen to disappoint many of those who have voted for him. Please let's understand he is the President of a country which doesn't have for the most part a national police force. This is not an accident by any stretch of the imagination, because what happened in Ferguson with Michael Brown could not have happened anywhere in America, if America had a federal nationwide police force say critics. Now whatever it is that we may like to think about that or not, the effect of that is clear, which is that police forces in America are primarily local. This system of not having a federal nationwide police force has kept the federal government to some extent dis-empowered, while concurrently empowering local racist rubes in places like Ferguson to apply their trade and to sow hatred and division, along with their contributions of a racist militarized American police force that has a history dating back to chattel slavery in places like Ferguson, Missouri.

One of the problems that the media never wants to report on is the fact that only 1% of police departments require a four year college degree. This means there are more discipline problems with American police. - Research estimated that less than 1 percent of all local law enforcement agencies require a 4-year degree. Also in 2014 why would the FBI rely on a 2006 report on it's website?

    Only two states mandate higher education for officers: Minnesota and Wisconsin both require associate’s degrees.  Other states require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED.  It’s up to the individual agency to meet or exceed that requirement – which many do.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1% of all local police departments require a 4-year college degree; 15% require a 2-year college degree or some college.

There are a number of recent studies that provide evidence in support of the fact that police officers that are college graduates tend to have fewer disciplinary problems and tend to resort to force at a lower rate than police officers who are not college graduates. Whereupon it should be noted that 17% of police agencies, particularly in rural areas don't always even require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Clearly it would help professionalism in police agencies to hire better educated police officers.

Western Europe has learned its lessons from WWII well but America hasn't.

The US government to this very day has never offered financial compensation to Japanese-Americans who they wrongly interned in World War 2 as so-called "enemy aliens" under doubtlessly racist policies of the US government. Likewise many tens of thousands of Italian-American families and German-American families were are also classified as so-called "enemy aliens" during World War 2. None of which even to this very day have received any adequate financial reparations. This is all part of the history of shameful historic racist and xenophobic practices of the US government which were never acknowledged by reparations so that history could be interminably practiced against future generations of so-called "enemy aliens" who would lose all of their constitutional protections at the hands of a historically xenophobic and racist policies of the US government.

To be clear educated people everywhere know that the German Spiegel's article series which this diary has reviewed is to be read in a context whereupon it's axiomatically clear that Germany has learned well its lessons from World War 2. This fact has become clear to educated people all over the world as peace has broken out across Western Europe. Germany has also learned the lessons of history and has now become a progressive nation and the richest country in the European Union who is the world's second leading exporting nation in the world, where its workers receive universal medical, dental and unlike in the US receive by law paid vacation, paid sick leave and also paid maternity leave. Germany has taken responsibility for her past in providing reparations to nations and people that it's wronged. We however in America have made no effort in this regard, either with Native American peoples or people of African ancestry or Japanese people and others who were wrongly imprisoned in internment camps during World War 2. To reiterate again, this includes no adequate compensation has been given to persons of Japanese ancestry wrongly put into internment camps during WWII as is presented in this video by famous actor George Takei (who starred in the original Star Trek television series). America must come to grips with its history of xenophobia, racism and oppression. Isn't it time that America take responsibility and finally provide meaningful reparations to people that it has wronged, because until that happens we will continue to see the type of tragedies that we have seen in Ferguson, Missouri.

While it is true, we can all be proud Americans this doesn't necessarily mean that we have to be proud of everything that America does or has done.
(3 minute interview from George Takei as a Japanese American interment camp victim during World War 2 classified as "an enemy non-alien")

Quote from George Takei: "You can't imprison people for their race but that's what we were imprisoned for."
Unlike Germany which has taken responsibility for its past wrongful actions during World War 2 by (among other things) paying reparations, the United States has never paid adequate reparations to any group. It is simply put nothing short of being a reparation's denier, to say yes that was wrong but it happened long ago therefore I shouldn't be held to account, in terms of my ability to continue to profit from those past wrongs, the booty of which I have inherited either individually or collectively in a case of joint and several liability. We must say that wealth extorted through slavery and lands wrongly confiscated by the US government, especially from native peoples, are still stolen property even to this very day.

This comment below is taken from a quote by Meteor Blades on a story unrelated to this article, but his post nonetheless makes interesting reading as it correctly refers to the principle of persons being in possession of stolen property and outlines further the principle of and need for reparations from those who suffered from theft and genocide.

I suspect you view the situation with...  

…American Indians similarly, adopting the view that there is no connection between today's generations and what happened oh-so-supposedly-long-ago.

Except, of course, little things like the fact most people who own property in this country today are in receipt of stolen goods. If you buy a car from somebody who stole that car, you can't say, "Well, I didn't steal it, I paid for it, so it's mine." In fact, under the law, it's not yours. But that law, of course, conveniently does not apply to land stolen from Indians. We're just supposed to "get over it" because nobody today is to blame. Certainly that's true when it comes to the outright genocide of past centuries. But the blame assigns to the unwillingness to accept that the genocide and theft has given advantages and continues to those who weren't Indians or slaves (or both).

Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 12:32:02 AM CET

Until we do take responsibility by paying adequate reparations, the tragedy of American xenophobia and bigotry will continue to remain profitable from those who shamefully profit from it and advocate from others who like themselves continue to be able to profit from it.

Below there is a comment from a reader of this diary who disagrees with this postulate to which this diary asks you to judge for yourself.
Spiegel quote: It is mostly white men who shoot young African Americans in the service of the state.

Isn't this sort of as obvious as "It was mostly Germanic Aryans who shot down Jews in the service of the Homeland (State)" years ago?......

" My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974
by gchaucer2 on Sat Dec 13, 2014 at 07:46:51 PM CET

Here is a reader who asks essentially why has the Daily Kos progressive community and self-moderation broken down to allow something that resembles a flabbergasting display of parochial and xenophobic trolling of the type we associate with wingnut sites ordinarily. To which I would add that the history of racism in America seems to have infected every corner of this nation and if we are the safe guard the gains of made by Dr King and others, we must practice eternal vigilance even in our ranks wherein we must remember the words of Dr. King.

So I ask that our readers support the issues raised in my article please.

flabbergasted by the parochialism and xenophobia in the comments to this diary. Wtf. Since when do Kossacks not welcome with open arms and ears critical insights into American's challenges, as seen through foreigners' eyes? Reading the comments here makes me feel like I've stumbled into some anti-foreigner, Know Nothing offshoot of RedState.

by BvueDem on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 03:11:27 AM PST

The criticism of the Spiegel article from another reader translatorpro below speaks for itself with the excerpt from their quote. A link to the full comment offered below.
This may not come across in the English translation, and I'm pretty sure he did not get out of the car to check himself. That means if he got it wrong, then it is more due to sloppy background research than to intentional misinformation. Der Spiegel has a large research department, but I think they dropped the ball on this one. If you have a complaint, why not write to the journalist, who is in the Washington D.C. bureau of Der Spiegel: Markus Feldenkirchen, 1202 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20 045, Tel. (001202) 3475222, Fax 3473194

„Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht
by translatorpro on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:14:15 PM CET

As citizens of a democracy we have a duty to speak out in defense of human rights and constitutional freedoms. That is exactly what this diary has attempted to do. Both from a historic and contemporary perspective in keeping with long standing democratic progressive values.
I don't understand why so many commenters think only Americans can criticize America.  Der Spiegel hasn't said anything that hasn't already been said in American media.  It is always hurtful when "outsiders" are critical:  it's ok for me to criticize my mom, for example.  But if anyone outside my immediate family dares to criticize her, they have earned my wrath. Weird how that works.

by Emmy on Sat Dec 13, 2014 at 10:15:10 PM PST

To be clear we in America have made real progress in many areas. However before we get too self-congratulatory shouldn't we ask can we do better? While it is true, we can all be proud Americans this doesn't necessarily mean that we have to be proud of everything that America does or has done.

Dr King has shown us the way when he reminded us that those who have gone before us in facing the forces of xenophobia, racism and bigotry of all sorts have said "enough".
All Rights Reserved. ©

PS: Please note, this diary is being heavily trolled. Your support is much appreciated! Thank you.

Reposted from Democrats Ramshield by Democrats Ramshield

(By popular request of readers this diary has been updated and republished at the following link where under Daily Kos rules, reader participation through comments may now be accepted whereas the original publication of the diary below no longer allows for new comments)

Written by an American MBA expat living in Germany.

Germany has just joined other nations of the Continental European Union to eliminate all university tuition, as a human right. So it is that we find ourself as part of the neo
feudalist American state that has left Americans mired by contrast in $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, in what must be described as state supported student loan slavery. It should further be noted that the modus operandi of student loan enslavement is consistent with the anti-democratic model of what may only be described as the United States of oligarchy. A recent Princeton university study, that has since gone viral from Princeton, has declared the United States is no longer a democracy, and has in fact become an oligarchy. To which this article notes it is an oligarchy that has mired the American people in $1.2 trillion of student loan debt. This has become so onerous for the American economy to bear that it is now become a threat to the US economy itself.    

ByBrendan JamesPublishedApril 18, 2014,
 "A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely,
 that it no longer exists".
This comes in addition to the fact that all countries in the European Union as a human right have some type of medical access for all of its citizens. Yet on these benchmarks the neo feudalist  United States continues to lag far behind. In doing so creates a separate and unequal state mired in a wage slave economy emanating out of a history of chattel slavery. So the $1.2 trillion dollar student loan debt slavery economy has become an intricate mechanism to keep the American working class impoverished in neo feudalist America, along with the concurrent effects of medical bankruptcy, (which accounts for most bankruptcies) and underwater mortgages in which there is no bailout in sight, in an economy and state where only Wall Street banksters received bailouts, because as they own almost everything in the economy they are considered to be too big to fail by the best government money could buy through the power of its K Street lobbyists. Additionally it should be noted that these same K Street lobbyists did successfully lobby Congress to eliminate the ordinary bankruptcy protection, so that in the United States student loans cannot be discharged even in bankruptcy ordinarily.

Imagine as the American federal government doesn't honestly (colloquially put) give a big enough rat's ass about you or your kids to offer you a tuition free university education(in a government for and by the 1%),
but the German government does care enough about your family as a human right to give you a free university education, even if you've never been to Germany and never paid any taxes to the German government, all you got to do is come to Germany. Oh by the way, you also get access for yourself and your family members to a student health medical plan which has no deductibles, and doesn't have pre-existing conditions restrictions. That is the difference between a government working for working class people, as opposed to the best government money can buy, who works overwhelmingly for the 1%.

Quote from USA Today -
"According to the Congressional Budget Office's latest projections, the federal government projects a record $50-billion profit on student loans this year. ExxonMobil made $44.9 billion in 2012, according to published reports, making it the most profitable company in the country."
Please ask yourself, who benefits from the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt in what has been labeled by defacto by USA Today as the most profitable business in America to date. Now you may ask, how big is a trillion dollars? When asked how big a trillion was, noted mathematician John Allen Paulos told CNN...
“1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years“.

The Times (British newspaper) September 22 2014
German universities scrap all tuition fees

All German universities will be free of charge when term starts next week after fees were abandoned in Lower Saxony

Forbes: "There Is No Such Thing As A Free College Education" (Oct. 3rd 2014)
Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, states “Tuition fees are socially unjust” and that “they particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies.”
Spiegel Quote:'America Must Learn from Germany -- Before It Is Too Late'


We Need To Learn from Germany': How the German Economy Became a Model

By Thomas Schulz in New York

It wasn't so long ago that many viewed Germany's economic model as outdated and the country as the "sick man of Europe." These days, however, even the Americans have come to praise parts of it, though they still doubt whether they would be able -- or willing -- to adopt it wholesale.


 Spiegel US newsweekly Time writes that the wide range of German economic and social reforms have been "farsighted" and that German firms, together with those reforms, have forged "the most competitive industrial sector of any advanced economy." The New York Times, meanwhile, says that: "The German economy has been one of the wonders of the world over the last couple of years."
As an American expat living in the European Union the fact that all workers throughout the EU are medically insured as are their families from cradle to grave as a human right. They enjoy benefits such as a child maintenance allowance, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave and paid annual leave by right of law is something that most American workers are blissfully kept ignorant of by the American owned plutocrat media, even in an election year. Because America's top 1% wealth holders and their surrogates are getting disgustingly richer, and as such they have no desire to learn from the economic success of the European Union, and most saliently the success of the top economies in Europe of Britain, France and Germany. As such the German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel wrote a blistering article, which excoriates America's neo feudalist ruling elites unwillingness to acknowledge and learn from the recent German economic miracle, where in Germany has risen to the third largest exporting nation in the world. Germany instead of having a trade deficit as is the case in America, they have a trade surplus, wherein they grow manufacturing jobs. As such as a business librarian, this diary provides a review of the aforementioned Spiegel article.

Has the United States become an neo feudalist oligarchy?
For anyone not familiar with the English language edition of the award winning German magazine Der Spiegel, it is the equivalent of TIME magazine in the United States. The German magazine Der Spiegel is no johnny come lately in it's investigative journalism of inequality and the wholesale evisceration of the American working class by the 1%. They have been publishing about this since the 2008 crash wherein as far back as 2011, they openly asked if the United States of America has become an oligarchy. Well, Mr and Mrs Progressive America please tell us, has the United States become an oligarchy, wherein the American government works overwhelmingly along with their militarized police forces to benefit the 1% instead of the 99% of working class America?


Please give this Princeton study a close read. "Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy"

Scholar Behind Viral 'Oligarchy' Study Tells You What It MeansA new political science
study that's gone viral finds that majority-rule democracy exists only in theory in the
United States --not so much in practice.

ByBrendan JamesPublishedApril 18, 2014,
 A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely,
 that it no longer exists.

Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a DEMOCRACY INTO AN OLIGARCHY,where wealthy elites wield most power.

I'd say that contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government
Yes we've all recently heard about Germany winning the World Cup in soccer in Brazil which is arguably the heart of the world's soccer culture. Of course we've all heard about the fact that Germany has become the world's second largest exporting nation (as part of the European Union), where Germany is now rated as the richest country in the European Union. The EU's population which is greater than that of the United States and whose currency the Euro rivals the power of the US dollar. Of course we've all heard about the NSA spying scandal, wherein the NSA is alleged to have spied on the phones of millions of Germans, to include even the private cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel whom Forbes magazine has rated as being the most powerful woman in the world. On the back of that litany coming out of Germany, is that Germany has recently set a world record in solar powered green energy generation. Also Germany has just done away with all university tuition nationwide which is now taking center stage in world headlines. The question is how is a country of 83 million people with little or no natural resources continuing to lead the world and earn its way into world headlines, again and again. What can we as Americans learn from the German model, along with the other more socialized models of the great social democracies of Western Europe, because let's face it...American capitalism is failing the American working class by all international statistical modeling.

If we look at the Gini co-efficient in the map below we see that the United States in terms of income inequality has fallen behind every major industrialized country in Western Europe. As a particular badge of shame we incarcerate more people per 100,000 than anyone else in the world, wherein clearly it seems America is going backwards. The question is why and who exactly is profiting from our backwardness? So all the people after graduating who can't get a job wind up moving into their parents' basements, where fully a third of those homes are in underwater mortgages. So these people are living in the basement of their parents' underwater houses, being quietly drowned in $1.2 trillion dollars of student loan debt, as part of the corporatist student loan debt slavery economy, because clearly people who are distressed under no benefit, low wage slavery, further distressed by student loan debt can't assert themselves in the way their Western European counterparts have. This has led to the United States having a lower Gini co-efficient than essentially all of the Western European countries, as part of the European Union, as demonstrated by the map below, which has become not only an international badge of shame, but is making America an international laughing stock of inequality.

The Case of Student Loan Slavery in 2014 neo-feudalist America
What! What you say you didn't know that. You say you don't care because... you don't believe in socialism as a good Fox News watcher. Well, did you know that since 1985 college tuition in America is up 544%. Ah, so you don't care about that either because you don't think it affects you and therefore you candidly don't give a rat's ass.  Did you know that in America (as we're always proud of being number one) that with 1.2 trillion dollars outstanding in student loan debt slavery, we're number one in student loan debt slavery in the world. I am going to guess you don't care about that either because you think that's not going to affect you and you only care about what affects you and not others, because you're axiomatically speaking a capitalist pig and we all know pigs proudly have no shame, in a system designed to give more to those who already have more, at the expense of those who have less or fully in the case of over half of all Americans who have nothing at all, that is to say zero net assets. Doesn't this give new meaning to the old turn of phrase only in America. In a clear case where every country in Western Europe have universal medical access as a human right, and they usually spend about 9% of GNP, whereas we spend about 16% of GNP. They cover 100% of their population and we don't cover 40 million people and don't live as long as they do. So what kind of an outcome is that? Also did you know the United States is the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn't have job protected paid maternity leave by right of law? Why won't the plutocrat corporatist American media tell you that, whereas this blog just did, and who does that benefit? Does it benefit you? If not you, then who?


Your student loan is killing the housing market
USA TODAY:Rick Munarriz, The Motley Fool EDT October 5, 2014

Home builder adviser John Burns Consulting published details from a study earlier this
month concluding that student loan payments will cost the housing industry 414,000
transactions this year that would have totaled $83 billion in sales.
Well, here's something that will affect you. When all of these people are in student loan debt slavery to the tune of $1.2 trillion, it starts to retard the American (GDP) 17.3 trillion dollar economy as a whole. Everything, from new car sales, to new home sales, to people's ability to save for retirement by buying mutual funds through 401k's, etc. Yes, this also affects interest rates. So unless you're out living in a cave somewhere this is going to affect you. In fact it already has and if you weren't quite so ignorant and misinformed by listening to one too many infotainment programs from Fox News, you would already know that. Then again, studies have shown Fox News watchers know less than people who don't watch any news at all which begs to ask the question, what or who are the Fox News' anchors appealing to?
Quote Oct. 2014 form the: Other 98
 "The Bubble That Ate America
Student loan debt (now well over $1 TRILLION)
has increased over 500% since 1999, making it by far the fastest growing debt in the nation. Remember the housing bubble that kicked off the 2008 recession? This one is twice as big".
Christopher Denhart is a research assistant at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and he just last year completed his 4 year bachelor’s degree. As such he was able to publish an article at what is probably the flagship of the elite corporatist media over at Forbes. He entirely misstates what we MBAs call the assumption of risk as it relates to the cost issues that have hoist $1.2 trillion in student loan debt on Americans. He does so in his misplaced criticism in bashing public funding of higher education in Germany wherein he postulates that elite private higher education is more efficient because students will consume less, whereas he claims in the U.S. at so-called state funded school the advent of the 5 year (or 6 year) bachelor’s degree is in, therefore this is evidence that the German system will fail or so he postulates without providing any substantial linkage or evidence of the same (wherein he entirely fails to take into account that high school graduates in Germany are the product of a superior publicly funded high school education system which will allow them to graduate faster as they are better prepared).
Forbes: There Is No Such Thing As A Free College Education
By Christopher Denhart, October 3rd 2014
"The United States has seen the rise of the five year degree. Of the 60% of students who graduate from public schools in the U.S., over half take longer than four years to graduate. Compare that with private institutions (there are natural differences in students at each type of school that pay a role) which see 80 percent of its graduates out in four years. Their sensitivity to the marginal cost of that fifth or sixth year factors into their decision to consume."
(Please note: The misleading title of "There is no such thing as a free college education", his title if it were honest should read 'there is no such thing as a tuition free education'. Of course he would never publish such a title because many millions of the children of America's privileged have obtained a tuition free education, thanks to their families (and large annual government subsidies), to include George W. Bush).
Quote by
October 17, 2014
by Robert Reich
Why Government Spends More Per Pupil at Elite Private Universities Than at Public Universities

A few years back, Meg Whitman, now CEO of Hewlett-Packard, contributed $30 million to Princeton. In return she received a tax break estimated to be around $10 million. In effect, Princeton received $20 million from Whitman and $10 million from the U.S. Treasury – that is, from you and me and other taxpayers who made up the difference.................
Divide by the relatively small number of students attending these institutions, and the amount of subsidy per student is huge.......The annual government subsidy to Princeton University, for example, is about $54,000 per student, according to an estimate by economist Richard Vedder. Other elite privates aren’t far behind........... That means the average annual government subsidy per student at a public university comes to less than $4,000, about one-tenth the per student government subsidy at the elite privates.

Mr. Denhart not only creates a proposition wholly at tension with itself, but also in the employment of sophistry erects a straw-man argument. The simple fact of the matter is his position though widely disseminated is none the less intellectually irresponsible and laden with sophistry as an ill-formed deceptive and misleading postulate. Axiomatically speaking we know the $1.2 trillion student loan debt burden shouldered by student borrowers and often their co-signing parents is brought about by financial distressed circumstances, wherein these American families have been forced to take on this debt. It is the same distressed financial circumstances that have caused people to graduate all too often in their fifth or even sixth year as an axiomatic economic reality of students working their way through college and university and it’s taking longer to graduate as a straight forward malfunction of the American tuition paying system. For Mr. Denhart in a sophistry laden fashion to attempt to convolute this into a badge of pride for the tuition paying system is to turn reality upside down. As it’s an absolute axiomatic reality that the vast majority of students who are able to afford to attend private expensive tuition paying universities in the United States cannot be seen as being economically distressed students who have to work their way through college and university and who are forced to devout much of their time to work for money instead more exclusively to their studies. Therefore their faster graduation time axiomatically speaking is a reflection of their socially privileged status (which often includes graduating from expensive private preparatory schools that have academically given them an advantage allowing for quicker college completion) which cannot be converted into claims of greater efficiencies by elite high priced tuition paying private universities and colleges in America, who are responsible for the destruction of affordable tuition everywhere through greed and elitism. Mr. Denhart’s position must be seen as nothing more than an attempt to confuse the uninitiated in his support of a system that is designed to give more to those who already have more at the expense of those who have less in a clear posture where now the majority of Americans have nothing at all. Ergo, the $1.2 trillion student loan debt has become so onerous that it now threatens the growth of the entire $17 trillion dollar economy in the United States, which concurrently threatens now the world economy. In a clear posture where just like during the 2008 crash, the 1% and the Wall Street banksters are happy to wreck the American and global economy if only it means enriching themselves.  

"I'm 57 and owe $152,000 in student loans"
"Rosemary Anderson, 57, is on the hook for $152,000 in student loans she took out 20 years ago.

The divorced mother of two grown daughters represents a growing number of older Americans with student debt.

The 50-and-over crowd makes up 17% of $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt -- a 30% increase since 2005, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York".

Now let's be honest the German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel recently pointed out that Ferguson, MO has a history of slavery which I reviewed in a recent article, which thanks to the generosity of the Kos community was voted #1 on Jotter's list for September 17th. I would also hasten to point out that given America's history of chattel slavery as a continuing blight of our history, which we've never dealt with in the same way that Germany has dealt with its blight on history. Germany has paid reparations and is continuing to pay for reparations to this day because Germany has taken responsibility for its past actions. Therefore they are able to move on, whereas we in America to date have never confronted our history of slavery in terms of offering reparations to redress past wrongs of chattel slavery. Until we do, the mentality which allows for the low wage slave economy as an outgrowth of the history of chattel slavery of how America treats its poor and working class will never change.

Let's face it, student loan debt enslavement is an important part of the American wage slave economy in neo-feudalist America, because when you have young people and some older workers stuck hopelessly in permanent student loan debt you have a compliant wage slave work force, because they really need that job. Therefore politically they're going to be too afraid and demoralized and too atomized to push for the kind of reforms that we see in the countries of the European Union in general, (Germany in particular where there's no university tuition as education is believed to be a human right). As a person's future shouldn't depend on the family that they were by luck born into, being able to afford to pay for their education without causing that person to fall into permanent student loan debt slavery. This is the sad truth about what's happened in America in terms of its neo-feudalist student loan debt slavery market, now valued at 1.2 trillion dollars as part of the overall wage slave economy of ever lower wages and little or no benefits in pushed to the wall America, where you have people literally working themselves to death. This was recently the case with 32 year old Maria Fernandes. Maria worked 3 jobs and fell asleep in a parking lot with her car running in-between jobs and died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The only people who are really talking about this issue seriously are people like Noam Chomsky and Andrea Tosi founder of the Swiss based RePeace group, who seriously talk about to what extent our elected politicians have betrayed the American working class dream in favor of the 1% of the richest Americans.  

These types of tragedies in the American wage slave economy are the types of tragedies that are the mark of a pariah state built on slavery in a history of chattel slavery turned contemporary wage slave state. We put people on a trend mill to nowhere, because no matter how hard they run for the carrot they can never reach it and never get ahead, further exacerbated by their student loan enslavement as well. That means for most Americans today they can never afford to retire either because this is the ugly truth. When the burden in terms of the assumption of risk moved from companies that we work for, who provided a retirement and a gold watch at the end of your working life, to secure our retirement, to the individual IRA or 401k plan, the individual worker took on the assumption of risk, that we MBA's refer to it as, became staggering and indeed untenable. What that means is Corporate America just got a whole lot richer than working class America in cost shifting of your retirement burden which just got YOU a whole lot poorer. So in Germany where they have a secure state pension system funded by the tax payer, workers are protected from being ripped off by Wall Street, in the way that American workers aren't protected as in evidence by the 2008 Wall Street crash. Afterwards the Federal Government bailed out the Wall Street banksters! Well how about bailing out working class Americans by ending tuition in America today for everyone, as a human right. How about bailing out Main Street America from its 1.2 trillion dollar burden of student loan debt, (with COMPLETE student loan forgiveness), because of all this crap about lowering interest rates doesn't stop student loan debt slavery. This is untenable and has become so onerous that it has now threatened the growth of the entire economy and must be addressed with immediate student loan debt forgiveness, so as to provide substantial redress and concurrently provide (just like in Germany) free tuition for ALL current and future students.

In other words in the United States, the 1.2 trillion dollar student loan debt has become too large not to fail. But as the federal government works for the 1% of the richest Americans and not the 99% of working Americans, there is therefore no $1.2 trillion student loan bailout in the offering for working class America from the best government that money can buy. Nor is there any offering to end tuition in America anywhere on the horizon.

$1 trillion student loan debt widens US wealth gap
Zbylut, an accountant-turned-attorney in Glendale, Calif. He's been chipping away at nearly $160,000 in student debt since graduating in 2005 from law school at Loyola University in Chicago. Now 48, the tax attorney estimates he could have $150,000 to $200,000 in a 401(k) had the money he's paid toward loans gone there.

"I'm sitting here in traffic. I've got a Mercedes behind me and an Audi in front of me and I'm thinking, 'What did they do that I didn't do?'" Zbylut said by cellphone from his Chevrolet. He's been turned down twice for the type of mortgage he needs to buy a home big enough for himself, the fiancee he would have married already if not for his debts and her 10-year-old son.

"I have more education and more degrees than my father, as does she than her parents, and yet our parents are better off than we are. What's wrong with this picture?" he said.

What is wrong with this picture is he and his family have been betrayed by the best Government money can buy. You may ask is it that simple? The short answer is yes! The working class social compact has been broken in neo feudalist America.

Now you might think with all of its accomplishments that Germany would be the happiest place on earth. It would seem that the people of Denmark under the Scandinavian system have that title instead. What do you think? Are they right? Oh yes, they also have no university tuition there either. Maybe it's time that we eliminated tuition in America as a human right as well. What do you think? Please give us your comments below.

Also German non university blue collar vocational apprenticeship programs are second to none in the world, where apprenticeships are virtually speaking free of charge. In fact apprentices are paid modest salaries while training.

Now that Unions in America have been eviscerated there are very few apprenticeship training programs in the U.S.

Spiegel quote:"The United States has no equivalent to the German training system or comparable programs for retraining or continuing education."
There is a lot of hidden poverty in America, but historically Americans have always been pretty innovative at looking good in terms of their personal appearance, even at the height of the Great Depression during the 1930s. So there is an appearance reality distinction that we must understand. That is to say the appearance of affluence in America may well belie the reality which is, a lot of people are struggling in hidden poverty. As a male I have personal knowledge of examples of that, wherein I have seen prominent online mens' stylists, such as Antonio Centeno (How to Look Like A Millionaire On A $100 Budget) and Aaron Marino from Alpha M in their published comments refer people to thrift stores to leverage the best value possible for their money. When prominent online stylists give you permission to shop at thrift stores you know that thrift store shopping has just gotten a whole lot cooler with cache, style and the dollar bargains that American families have to have in order to make ends meet in this pushed-to-the-wall economy. Precisely the same thing can be said of ladies and children's wear, in an economy where people are struggling to maintain their personal appearance and that of their family members. Likewise there's a lot of new cars on the road. What we don't realize is those cars a lot of times are on payments that all too often people are behind on those payments, and people even if they step out of those cars, well groomed and well dressed are clients of charity shops like the Goodwill and the Salvation Army, as well as local food banks, which report a banner business like they never had before.
USA Today: Hunger in America: 1 in 7 rely on food banks - LORTON, Va. – When Mary Smallenburg, 35, of Fort Belvoir, Va., opened a package from her mother to find cereal and ramen noodles, she burst into tears. Without it, she wouldn't be able to feed her four children. "It got to the point where I opened my pantry and there was nothing. Nothing. What was I going to feed my kids?" Smallenburg says, adjusting a bag of fresh groceries on her arm. Smallenburg's family is one of 50 military families that regularly visit the Lorton Community Action Center food bank. Volunteers wave a familiar hello as she walks in the door.
We have 45 million Americans on food stamps. 130 million who don't have access to dental care. 40 million who don't have medical insurance. A lot of Americans are in underwater mortgages to the tune of $1.2 trillion. The economic pain in America is real because unlike Germany, we in America have stopped large scale manufacturing, because WE HAVE BEEN SOLD A LIE that those manufacturing jobs have to be exported to developing economies because Americans can't compete with the wages in developing economies, yet Germany is a high wage exporting and manufacturing superpower. Within the European Union, Germany has become the second largest exporter in the world precisely because it kept a hold of its high wage manufacturing jobs, and people in Europe and in Germany in particular are dressed well. They can afford to be. They are after all the richest country in the European Union. So can we in America once we get our manufacturing sector back to support our local tax base, so as to re-build the working class American dream from the ground up. All we have to do is take charge at the ballot box and vote the people out who work for the 1% and vote people in who will work for the 99%. You might ask is it that simple, yes it really is. Because as American voters we are the owners of this country, all we have to do is simply take ownership of our futures at the ballot box.  

German society is able to produce goods that countries to include developing countries around the world want at competitive prices, while leveraging economies of scale, which the United States is not able to do, because unions which have been traditional sponsors of employee education have been routed out in America in the GOP led class warfare, which has left America's manufacturing base internationally impotent. This has led to large scale evisceration and destruction of the American working class, which is rapidly being deskilled, de-industrialized, as a product of the GOP led class warfare against the masses of the great American working class.  

Perhaps in America today there should be a new movement. Not a protest movement or a movement espousing anything at all other than the words unity for mass default on all the bankster's predatory lending in the neo-feudalist American state. In the mass default of predatory student loan debt and in the mass default of underwater mortgages the system has to breakdown, because the system relies on your compliance in rules that completely operate to your detriment. If a mass default ensued, there would have to be a market correction to the benefit of American working class borrowers because they cannot foreclose on everyone, the courts would be backed up for decades; it couldn't happen. It would be impossible to produce, the only question is could we produce the unity needed to effectuate such a mass default of predatory bankster lending. If the answer is yes, it could happen from sea to shining sea, then the American working class would be the winner and tuition free education would likely be the norm in America as well, as much of Continental Europe.


 Also for anyone who wants to move to Germany please feel free to contact me.

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Reposted from Democrats Ramshield by Democrats Ramshield

'We're Like Animals To Them': An American City's Daily Racism (Spiegel quote)

As an American expat of European ancestry living in Germany this article provides a review from my perspective of a professional librarian, as to an important article written by the mainstream German publication Der Spiegel's English language edition which is essentially on par in Europe with Time Magazine.

In this review Spiegel staff are taken for a ride along by a young African-American male native to Ferguson, Missouri by the name of Jurmael, who in the drive through points to the slave owners' history in the housing of still segregated Ferguson, Missouri. This historical fact is all but completely ignored and if covered at all is in a form of press bias, only covered in the most cursory sound bites, which is the beautiful well manicured lawns and houses in the historically white part of Ferguson. It has an ugly history in its heritage houses of being the homes of Ferguson's former slave owners, in a clear case where plaques adorning the homes seem to celebrate the homes' history with the concurrence or acquiescence of its modern day property owners. We must understand that Europeans in their history are taught that one of the reasons the American Revolution was fought was because Britain was in the process of abolishing slavery in America. This was one of the substantial causes of the American Revolutionary War by the American monied class, who were primarily slave owners, (who were also engaged in exterminating indigenous people) which unfortunately included the ranks of some of America's founding fathers, and the ranks of the British Army were full of soldiers of African descent fighting for what they believed was to end American slavery, a fact that would be echoed later in America's own civil war. Yet the history of the struggle of American civil rights went on long after the Civil War to the Voting Rights Act to Martin Luther King. So it is in a continuation of the civil rights' struggle we find ourselves as guests of the Spiegel staff, in a ride along with Jurmael in Ferguson, Missouri, the 2014 America. Here is what we see and unless we avert our eyes, some of this seen through the perspective of European eyes will be ugly in reviewing the true face of bigotry, racism and the ugly American in the year 2014.

The car is now driving past large, old wooden homes with fresh-painted verandas and well-groomed front yards, small oases of order. "Look right up there," Jurmael says as he points to the front door of a house. There's a bronze plaque on the door, as there are at many homes in the area. It notes that a slave owner once lived in the home.........The plaques are not intended as memorials. Instead they appear to reflect the pride some of these homeowners have in their house's history. The neighborhood is the city's Historic District and is a tourist attraction. Even today, though, the district is inhabited exclusively by white people........ In the days leading up to Brown's funeral on Monday, white signs bearing the slogan of a new movement had been posted in the front yards of the former slave-owners' district. They read, "I love Ferguson." On this particular morning, the organizers of the initiative have gathered at the Corner Coffee House. A long line formed at one table with people waiting to buy signs and t-shirts. There's not a single African American in the cafe -- not among the guests or among the service personnel. Only the guy in the kitchen is black. The people gathering here are part of what could be described as the white countermovement.

Again to understand this in looking at it through European eyes we must understand history, which is Europeans are taught that throughout the ongoing civil rights' struggle, laws were promulgated through various statutory provisions and other law forms, which essentially exist to allow in order to keep America's racist, social pecking order in place, that allow American police through the modus operandi of racial profiling to belittle, harass and provoke primarily American poor people, especially working class and poor African-Americans with essentially almost complete impunity, where though the police are rather fastidious at publishing the tragic line of duty deaths of police, which are usually 67 deaths a year, wherein less than half are usually due to gunfire. For example in the statistics reported for 2013 it was 27.But concurrently there is no comprehensive centralized database or statistical resource to identify how many people nationally are killed by police annually. There are no official govt statistics as to how many American citizens police kill annually, that is comprehensive. Though to be clear the exact number is well known to government, to police and the police unions, especially as a matter of accountancy every time a member of the police causes the death of an American, the police union will spend between 25 to $35,000 in legal fees on behalf of the member of the police involved in the killing. So as a matter of straightforward responsible accountancy and bookkeeping the number of persons killed by police in America is very well known by everyone except the American public. Why is that? Who benefits from that? Why as members of the public and voters do we tolerate this lack of accountability from our public servants, who work for us? Please let me invite to read. "No comprehensive, reliable database of police shootings exists" February 19, 2013  By Pat Schneider
August 19th 2014
Erin Burnett of CNN speaks with Michael Bell.

"Erin says: There is still no national set of statistics for how many people are killed by police officers."  
American Line of Duty Police Deaths for 2014: 67
Assault: 1

Automobile accident: 15
Fire: 1

Gunfire: 27

Gunfire (Accidental): 1
Heart attack: 8
Motorcycle accident: 2
Struck by vehicle: 3
Vehicle pursuit: 2
Vehicular assault: 7


Ask yourself why is America putting out a militarized police response in the face of a low police death rate and falling crime statistics that have been dropping off for the better part of 2 decades. Why is it that America has the highest incarceration rate of any major industrialized country in the world per 100,000? Wherein the majority of the inmates, particularly in the for-profit prisons are members of the minority community, particularly African American males. Faced with this reality, it's difficult not to agree with the Spiegel's conclusion which is that African American males in the United States are being openly hunted by an increasingly militarized (primarily) white police force with regular de facto summary executions taking place on American streets even in broad daylight of African American males,  even if they are unarmed as was the case with 18 year old Michael Brown in America's racist militarized police state, which acts and looks more like an army of occupation in terrorist style terrorizing the African American community.

" It took the shooting of 18-year-old Brown on August 9, a young man who was unarmed, before anyone took an interest in the everyday reality of the city's African-American population and their demoralizing harassment by the police. It also took this tragedy before people began to ask an important question: Why does a city whose population of 21,000 is two-thirds African American have a police force that is 95 percent white?
The question ought to be asked why is the choice of Jurmael's girlfriend's partner a matter for the police? How is it that this member of the police acting with impunity may be allowed to comport themselves in the way described in the quote below?
"Jurmael then points to a place where he said he recently got pulled over. He says the police immediately spoke to his girlfriend, who happens to be white, and asked, "Why are you with him?" "He's my boyfriend," she said. The officer said, "You shouldn't be with him," and then left."

Truly may it be said that Jim Crow is still alive and well in more places in America than we care to admit, where people are essentially defenseless against acts of racial terrorism by a militarized police force, where they are with some regularity publicly murdered under the color of American law in too many states, with complete impunity by police. So it is we have these murderers walking amongst us, and particularly in the African-American community spreading terror and horror in killing people, in this case on their own property during a birthday party in modern day Ferguson, which as previously described has a colorful history of racism, as colored by slave ownership followed by Jim Crow, where readers of the English version of the Spiegel magazine in the great social democracies of Western Europe recoil rightfully at such a pariah community as Ferguson being openly tolerated in the United States in the year 2014. They look at us with open disgust in the tragic shooting of an 18 year old unarmed American male shot several times which hit him in the head, leaving brain matter splattered for a substantial distance on the pavement in the area surrounding the body of Michael Brown. Therein disturbingly suggesting these headshots took place while Michael Brown was already on the ground. In a timely fashion he wasn't even given the human dignity of being covered up, and just leaving him in the street, just as they historically and quite tragically have done with complete impunity so many times for over 200 years of American history again and again.  

Back on our drive, just as we approach Tyler's house, he points to a front yard. He says his neighbor, a black man, held a party there three years ago. At some point, Tyler says, the police arrived and complained that the music was too loud. A fight ensured and the host was soon dead. He died of a heart-attack after police zapped him with a Tazer. It had been his birthday party.

'People Are Completely Powerless'
"They don't treat us like humans," Jurmael says. "We're like animals to them, ones they can shoot down like deer." The wife of the man who was Tazered still hangs her husband's photo each year on a tree in the front yard to commemorate his birthday. She never filed a complaint.

In the quote below we see but yet once again the ugly face of American bigotry and racism by de facto being tolerated openly in public for all to see. Though the piggery of racism is vile, we all know that pigs have no shame. Therefore can never be publicly shamed into changing the error of their ways. Martin Luther King reminded us that it isn't at all the horrible words of the oppressors that we will remember, it is instead the silence of our friends that will be painfully remembered. For it is likewise said that all that has to happen for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. Certainly the Spiegel in their quote got it right and we shouldn't turn away from that uncomfortable truth.


Shadows of the Past
Tyler wears a red cap with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team logo on it. Several decades ago, black fans were still required to sit in a separate seating area in the stadium with inferior views of the field. But even after segregation ended, the seating arrangement remained. People were used to it. Indeed, the shadows of the past reach right up to today.
So it is that it starts in the same way it started one day on a bus with a lady by the name of Rosa Parks, who just didn't want to move to the back of the bus anymore. In such a simple act of moral courage caught the attention of a nation and the world, and we will never forget her. We should never forget Michael Brown's sacrifice, as an unarmed 18 year old African-American who died in a largely segregated town, with a largely segregated police dept, whose job it seems to be to needlessly harass and provoke young African-American males in an uncalled for manner, in an acronym well known to Ferguson residents walking while black (WWB).
We don't like the way our city is being portrayed," says Brian Fletcher. "We're not going to allow this incident to ruin our reputation." Fletcher served as mayor of Ferguson for six years until 2011. Now he's sitting at a desk watching over petitions signed by local residents.The people here have little regard for the African-American protesters who have been marching for justice each night. "They're like COCKROACHES," one woman next to Fletcher calls out. "THEY ONLY COME OUT OF THEIR HOLES AT NIGHT"......When asked why only three of the city's 53 police are African Americans, Fletcher answers: "They just don't apply. Or they don't pass the test to get in to the police academy."
Here we have a case of a system in Ferguson, as is the case in many other states and cities, that is so broken that essentially it is able to suppress written records of voluminous deeds of racism, bigotry, racial profiling and harassment, unlawful kidnapping, assaults, because the system allows the perpetrators essentially to cover up their actions, so that civic leaders and as is the case of former Mayor Fletcher can vociferously claim that it is a lie that there is racial strife in the city of Ferguson based on the records, as there is a system of record suppression in place, pointing to so called records as evidence of a lack of racism becomes nothing short of an axiomatic self-serving lie meant specifically to mislead the uninitiated in a system of in effect Jim Crow, wherein a pecking order is kept in place. It started in Ferguson under a system of slavery leading through Jim Crow to the 2014 Ferguson tolerance for racial profiling, which is a Jim Crow type system meant to intimidate and terrorize Ferguson's African-American community in specific acts of local govt terrorism against unarmed victims like Michael Brown, whose name through the media now has national and international recognition. Far less recognizable is the name of Henry Davis, wherein 52 year old Henry Davis was pulled over and arrested in a clear case of mistaken identity after police themselves identified this mistake, they however continued to hold and beat Mr Davis so severely that it has caused what appears to be permanent memory loss and disability in Mr Davis, making it difficult for him to hold employment due to the trauma he received.

Now you might think given the matter of his wrongful arrest and injury by police that Mr Davis would have received compensation. In fact he has received no compensation whatsoever and in the matter of his wrongful arrest and resulting beating he was charged with bleeding on the members of the Ferguson police' uniforms, who couldn't charge him with resisting arrest or anything else. This often seems to happen in places like Ferguson where police arrest innocent African-American males and then in order to try to cover up their mistake, they simply do their best to provoke their victim into displaying some type of reaction, which they can then use to launch criminal charges. However the only charge they could charge Mr Davis with was bleeding on their uniforms, resulting remarkably in a $3,000 fine, as published in the Spiegel article quote below, where its readers rightfully see us as a de facto pariah Jim Crow nation full of Ferguson type communities, where such regular horror shows in a consummated system of Jim Crow type acquiescence is alive and well, leading to working class Americans being terrorized by militarized police forces all over the United States, where swat teams now serve no knock warrants, even for the seemingly smallest of infractions.

As bad as this is in America, for persons of European ancestry it is remarkably worse for persons of African-American ancestry who feel often that local police for them are de facto terrorist organizations, who under color of law are allowed to kidnap and even kill at will people even if they are unarmed, and then they feel completely defenseless at this behavior. So it is that the German magazine Spiegel has conducted through its work in good old fashioned investigative journalism published in its English language edition a remarkable piece from which as Americans we could learn a lot by seeing ourselves through the eyes of European mainstream media, without averting our eyes from the belly of the beast of racism based on a history of American slavery in Ferguson, Missouri.  It is important to remind our readers that in fact we the American voters are the true owners of this country and not the 1% with all of their bought politicians. We do have the authority and power to change all of this as the owners of the country at the ballot box. Link: "Using the ballot box to lawfully disarm the American militarized police state-Police execution video". Thanks to the generosity of people like yourself that diary (in the hypertext link above) it has already received over 3,000 Facebook shares.

** We should understand  that the long history of chattel African American slavery in terms of labor exploitation has led to an enabling mentality in the American mindset that allows for the present day modern system of low wage, no benefit wage slavery to flourish in the United States in a way that is impossible to sustain in the European Union which doesn't have the history of slavery that America does, wherein ALL working class and poor Americans are substantially oppressed. Especially members of the African American community, whereas in the European Union even low wage full time fast food workers must receive 30 days paid vacation, complete medical and dental insurance for themselves and their family, to include a paid prescription benefit and even paid maternity leave. These policies are supported by even conservative politicians (in Europe) who on many of these issues are far to the left of the Democrats in America. The simple truth is the history of chattel African American slavery today continues to injure not only the African American community in Ferguson and beyond, but that same history ALSO injures poor and working class whites in America from sea to shining sea. Racism has hurt the United States in what may only be described as a long nightmare from which our collective national conscience must awaken in the acceptance of human rights for all people, irrespective of the color of their skin - to where instead we must look to the content of their character to judge them, just like Dr King said. This is the true hope and promise of his "I have a dream" speech which we must never forget. For not to do so will continue to diminish us all.

Racist Incidents

When asked why so many blacks are stopped by the police on the streets, Fletcher replies that it is unrelated to the color of their skin... He claims the record speaks for itself. To be sure, there isn't much in the official record, but there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Take the account of Henry Davis. Five years ago, police pulled the 52-year-old African American over one night. They checked his papers and allegedly found there was an arrest warrant against him. At the Ferguson police station, one officer told them that they had picked up the wrong MAN.

Nevertheless, Davis was still forced into a cell by four white policemen. As he lay on the floor, they punched him in the back and in the head........
Henry still sounds furious and distressed when he tells his story today. "They hit us blacks and they kill us blacks," he says. "And they do everything they can to cover it up."............... In Ferguson, officials accused of excessive violence fill out the investigation reports themselves -- so it comes as little surprise that cases like the Davis beating never crossed former mayor Fletcher's desk. The police claimed that Davis had fallen against a wall. Instead of justice, Davis was charged two weeks later with counts of destruction of property, for "knowingly bleeding on their uniforms," and ordered to pay $3,000."I don't believe they would have done this kind of thing to a white man," Davis says today. He says he was incapable of working for a long time and that he still suffers from migraine headaches and memory loss. He continues to challenge the fine he was ordered to pay, but he hasn't had any success so far.

Here's a link to the full Spiegel article below:
'We're Like Animals To Them': An American City's Daily Racism
And for those of us who are inclined to blame the Spiegel's review so as to turn this into a case of shoot the messenger, please remember the English word for Spiegel is mirror.

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Reposted from rb137 by John Crapper Editor's Note: A must read! -- John Crapper

Our UN Climate Blogathon starts tomorrow -- and we have a great panel of guests, as well as some Daily Kos writers planning to post. This summit is a big deal. The US has been blocking international progress toward curbing carbon emissions in the past, and is making noises like their tune is changing a bit...

Participation in the march, in letter writing, in making as much noise as possible is really crucial today. Please visit our diaries, but if you do nothing else, please make some noise.

Tomorrow's schedule, all times Pacific:

9:00 am  Sen. Boxer and Sen. Whitehouse

10:00 am  Rep. Barbara Lee

11:00 am  Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

1:00 pm  Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara lobster boat activists

3:00 pm  Bristol County DA Sam Sutter


NYC Kossacks Meet-up Location for The People’s Climate March

The NYC Kossacks will be meeting at 69th Street and Central Park West. We will have a banner (and some will be wearing orange) so that you can identify us.  Sidnora and joanbrooker will be there at 9:30 a.m. and we encourage anyone who wants to march with us to be there by 10:30 a.m.  There are estimates of 100,000 plus marchers and if people arrive too late, it may be difficult to get through the crowds to our location. After the march, there will be an NYC meet-up at our usual haunt, Spitzer’s Corner @5 p.m. Here is a link to the diary from KathNY, who will also be updating with relevant information regarding the march.

Please check out KathNY's diary for location information.

Please see the guess list and a special thanks to Meteor Blades below the fold:

Continue Reading
Reposted from Democrats Ramshield by Democrats Ramshield Editor's Note: This diary is about worker exploitation in the U.S. vs Euro zone. -- Democrats Ramshield

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)

Maria Fernandes, (32 years old) of Newark, New Jersey died when she fell asleep in her car from carbon monoxide poisoning and gasoline fumes while traveling between her 4 jobs. (RIP Maria Fernandes tribute youtube video at end of diary).

When Four Jobs Aren't Enough: Why We Need a Living Wage
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 10:31 By Robin Marty, Care2 | Op-Ed
"No person should die because they were too exhausted to leave the car, after working multiple shifts just to make ends meet. We need to stop being a country that allows our poor to work themselves to death."
Let's understand please this type of thing happens to low wage working class and working poor Americans all over America every single day. The difference being that they don't grab national and international headlines as did this poor lady because of the fact that she was a beautiful young woman with stunning super model-like good looks whose death the American for-profit media could sensationalize to not draw attention to the problem of America's low wage, no benefit economy but rather to sell copy and make money for themselves. This point becomes axiomatic in the way that the corporatist media is providing short shrift with the most superficial coverage in what is a complex problem and an international badge of American shame of low wage worker exploitation and the American wage slave economy, where people are literally worked to death everyday.

BBC News: US fast-food protests lead to several arrests
Protestors in NYC At least 24 protesters were arrested in New York City for blocking traffic and other offenses

Hundreds of US fast food workers have been arrested at protests after staging sit-ins demanding a so-called "living wage" of $15 (£9) per hour.

Farcical American for-profit corporatist owned press outlets pretend that fact checking this through research and letter writing campaigns is necessary, when in fact not only in Denmark but throughout the European Union, this information is an open secret regarding McDonald wages and all wages for decades. The fact that the American press is just now discovering this for those Americans living in Europe is an observe disturbing joke because every school child knows this open secret over here. Finally they neglect in their fact check to add in the value of the strong European pension systems, unemployment benefit systems and full medical coverage which substantially increases the value of the Danish McDonald wage even further. (Shame on you fact checker)

Reuters: I’m making $21 an hour at McDonald’s. Why aren’t you? By Louise Marie Rantzau
May 15, 2014

To anyone who says that fast-food jobs can’t be good jobs, I would answer that mine isn’t bad. In fact, parts of it are just fine. Under our union’s agreement with McDonald’s, for example, I receive paid sick leave that workers are still fighting for in many parts of the world. We also get overtime pay, guaranteed hours and at least two days off a week, unlike workers in most countries. At least 10 percent of the staff in any given restaurant must work at least 30 hours a week.

Here is the truth, if Maria Fernandes was working in a fast food operation in Denmark (like Louise Marie Rantzau) instead of working in the United States, she likely wouldn't have needed 4 jobs to make ends meet and wouldn't have died needlessly from overwork. This ugly truth is not being reported to the extent that it should be in the plutocrat owned corporate media. Therefore for a greater in-depth understanding of this issue, we must look to alternative media sources published in America such as this diary which may only be circulated widely with the help of readers such as yourself on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to help us get the word out on this issue. Sadly we can't do anything to help Maria Fernandes but what we can do is to prevent the untimely passing of the next victim, provided you help.

Let's for a moment look at international norms in other highly industrialized countries where in the charts below it becomes plain to see that workers aren't being exploited and literally worked to death. In looking at these data sets, please ask yourself how can we as American workers profit from importing the system of worker protections that you see plainly expressed in the charts below, because America is literally dying for better worker protections of the type that we see in every other major industrialized country in the world where, yes even fast food workers get 30 days paid vacation, they get complete medical and dental for themselves and their families which includes prescription coverage and includes paid sick leave and paid maternity leave. Did you know that the United States is the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn't have paid maternity leave by right of law. If you didn't know this, ask yourself why didn't you know this? Why are you learning about this possibly for the first time ever on a Daily Kos blog? Why isn't the corporate media telling you this? Why?

Some days we can truly say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Please keep this thought in mind when reviewing the graphic below and ask yourself, is it true that what you're being asked to give up over many years of your working life time is so great that if you add compound interest to it, even if you did make it some day, you would never be able to recover the loss in a clear understanding of the fact that in the reality of the 2014 America, most people never make it big. Too many American low wage workers die building and maintaining America everyday. In 2012, 4628 workers died on the job according to US government statistics. The best way we can honor the memory of their loss is in a spirit of grateful remembrance that it is the American worker who builds America and not the 1% who build nothing but seem to own almost everything. In a system designed to give more to the those who already have more, at the expense of those who have less or who like in the case of Maria Fernandes have nothing at all except her life and now they have taken that from her as well.

RIP Maria Fernandes. We will never forget you.
Here's a tribute to her on youtube!!
Reposted from Regina in a Sears Kit House by Regina in a Sears Kit House Editor's Note: Going as fast and hard as I France. -- Regina in a Sears Kit House

I have wondered what to write about this journey I am on with DH. How have we done it? Because we had to. This is my Lyme resumé. This is more or less just the facts of my illness since 1995.

There are many more things going on in our lives than this: amazingly we travel, sometimes for access to medical help; sometimes with friends and sometimes just us. We listen to live music when we can. We eat good food, and drink good wine, when we can. We garden, we research, we fight for our elected officials. We write.
About what we have learned; about what we love.

We have lost a lot: friends, family, our livelihoods, our home. But given just a tiny chance we live well and savor the moment.

This is my story, so there is no judgement to be passed. I came from the straight and narrow engineering world and western or allopathic medicine. But I have learned some things: there is never a bottom to the humility one so sick must learn; there is no medical stone that can't be turned over, which includes Naturopaths, who look at us in the face, and feel our bodies to see where we need help. It takes a team of medical help and a variety of specialties. It takes money we don't have. It takes energy and will we oftentimes don't have.

Many doctors have saved my life over the years. It has gotten harder to say "Yes!" I'll give it a go. But DH hasn't given up, so neither may I.

Update: I know this is long , and not a particularly writerly read, but it took some courage to get this out in public and just to get out the facts of my last twenty years was a way to break the log jam I have going. Thank you so much

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. The CDC recently changed their yearly new case count from 30,000 to 300,000. Because many with symptoms like mine are diagnosed with MS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, ALS, Parkins and other "auto" immune illnesses, the diagnosis of a treatable bacterial disease complex is delayed, leading to intractable illness. As with Borrelios (Bb), the diagnosis of these is with markers and rule outs rather than tests.

Follow me below the Kos doodle to read my resumé. Open your hearts and open your minds, there is no one answer and while I welcome support, please don't pity me.

Continue Reading
Reposted from researchandanalyze by Regina in a Sears Kit House Editor's Note: Good analysis of the recent EU elections and notes on local municipal elections. -- Regina in a Sears Kit House

When the dust settles from the elections for seats in the European Parliament, the Left will emerge intact and renewed. The biggest loser is the center-right European People's Party (EPP) which includes members from the French Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. The public responded to their default public policy of fiscal austerity. The EPP lost 61 of its seats, almost a quarter of them. However, it will remain the largest single political group in the incoming Parliament.

The Parliament is organized into officially recognized groups that unite representatives from political parties in their home countries. A side-by-side comparison of the outgoing and incoming Parliaments summarizes the election. The numbers come from the Parliament's election results website. The platform descriptions come from each group's statement on the Parliament website.

Euro Parliament Political Groups Platform # of MEPs - Outgoing # of MEPs - Incoming
Euro United Left/Nordic Greens Left (GUE/NGL) economic/social justice, progressive, left 35 42
Socialists and Democrats (S&D) socialist-labor, center-left 196 190
Greens/Euro Free Alliance (Greens/EFA)
ecologists, inclusive democracy, left 57 53
Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) center 83 64
Euro People's Party (EPP) social-market, center-right
274 213
Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)
national sovereignty, social conservative, right 57 46
Freedom and Democracy (EFD) Eurosceptic, far-right 31 38
Unaffiliated/Independent (NI) non-members of any group 33 41
Others unaffiliated incoming members 0 64
The seats lost by the EPP and the two far-right groups will be taken by 64 unaffiliated incoming members. Included in this grab bag of representatives are the 20 or so Front National members elected in France. To have power and influence, they would need to form a political group that the European Parliament recognizes. It takes a minimum of 25 MEPs from 7 or more countries. It appears that there will be enough far-right MEPs to form a political group with the FN, but finding them in 6 countries outside France appears unlikely. As this article explains, the FN's leader, Marine Le Pen, was counting on the election of like-minded candidates from Sweden, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, with a possibility of Italy and Lithuania completing the required set of 7 member states. Le Pen spent 3 years trying to sanitize the FN's brand of its former association with fascist ideology. For that reason, it seemed that Le Pen ruled out members of certain parties elsewhere, as too radical.

The porridge would have to be the exact temperature Le Pen deems to be palatable. Her plan was in doubt all along. With the election returns coming in from Belgium and the Netherlands, it looks like the FN's potential partners failed to win any seats in those countries. Finding them elsewhere may be impossible.

When the European Parliament convenes, it could very well be with its representatives on the far-right disorganized and unable to form a political group.

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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat

During a rant about the latest Tory scheme of putting a price on the world and everything in it, another Kossack, James Wells, pointed me toward works by Paul Kingsnorth and, by extension, other Dark Mountain Project participants. He and his followers believe, given runaway consumerist capitalism, burgeoning population growth, and negligence by governmental authorities, that it may futile to participate in the environmental movement as it stands. On the whole, I disagree, but can understand their frustration and, having read their manifesto and the first of their published books, will continue to read subsequent volumes. The conversations between those who believe they have an existential obligation to continue the fight despite the possibility of failure, and those who feel that it is time to prepare for the worst, are conversations worth having.

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Reposted from Anti-Capitalist Meetup by NY brit expat

Most probably people have heard of the bizarre investigative journalism by The Mail on Sunday in an article which appeared on Easter Sunday (of all days in the year). The Mail on Sunday sent in a reporter, a wannabe Jimmy Olsen, to investigate provision of food by food-banks in Britain and that reporter literally took food out of the mouths of the hungry in order to prove some point. This provoked a backlash on social media that demonstrated that the neoliberal agenda seems to not have sunk too deeply in the hearts and minds of the British people. That is a relief and quite honestly more than I expected, given the constant barrage in the newspapers and on the news on telly that has never questioned the logic (forget the morality) of welfare caps and cuts to welfare benefits.

 photo 11c403ab-c379-41dc-8ad6-33e6ee1e497c_zps6bff82ce.jpg

ht: my sister Mia for comments and editing on this piece
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