Stealth Bananas!!!

…“There were people in smaller communities who, in many cases, were the only person they knew who opposed the war,” says Noah T. Winer, who previously served as a campaign director at MoveOn and now consults with social change groups about online activism. “The only way they found people they could organize with was that they signed a petition online and then were invited to attend an event that someone in their town was actually organizing. They would find someone who might live two blocks from them and who felt the same way about the war, and they’d say, ‘I had no idea you were here.’”

“It’s funny when people characterize online organizing as armchair activism for couch potatoes,” Winer adds. “Because there are so many people who would have just been sitting in their living rooms yelling at their TVs about the war. Instead, they found places to go and take action.”…

Growth of real hourly compensation (inclusive of benefits) for production / nonsupervisory workers and productivity, 1948-2011.

Growth of real hourly compensation (inclusive of benefits) for production / nonsupervisory workers and productivity, 1948-2011.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. My old colleague Ted Rall recently wrote a column proposing that we divorce income from work and give each citizen a guaranteed paycheck, which sounds like the kind of lunatic notion that’ll be considered a basic human right in about a century, like abolition, universal suffrage and eight-hour workdays.

…this story, of one of the richest countries in minerals and natural resources (Democratic Republic of Congo) who has seen up to ten million of its people killed while Western companies and foreign governments help themselves to Congo’s treasures, is unworthy of even the faintest of mention. Coupled with a 2010 UN report that found Rwanda guilty of serious war crimes, resource exploitation, and even went so far as to suggest that what Rwanda did in Congo was genocide, Simons’ silence is even more troubling.

In Simons’ defense, she is not alone. The New York Times — as a whole — has provided very poor coverage of the recent UN report. They have only published one article—”Congo: Rwanda Tied to Rebels“—consisting of 90 words, where they describe rebels as being “aided by neighboring Rwanda.” There is no mention of the extent of the “aid,” or how the U.S. used its power in the Security Council to try and derail the release of the 2012 UN report.

How this squares with the Times’ slogan of “all the news fit to print” is a mystery. Elsewhere it can be noted that it is Rwanda who is fuelling the conflict in Congo, not Joseph Kony, or Thomas Lubanga, or Bosco Ntaganda, but the U.S-backed Rwanda. But the New York Times finds such an important story unworthy of attention, cropping it to less than one hundred words, and burying it in the back of its paper.

The New York Times pattern of focusing on real, imagined, or inflated crimes of “enemies” while ignoring the U.S. and its allies raises serious questions about the Times as a media institution. Is it an impartial news source informing the general public with journalistic integrity, or is it a public relations firm manipulating the opinions of the general public in service of the prevailing economic and political power systems?

…Now 84, the American academic has dedicated most of his life to the study of the bold, some might say reckless, idea that nonviolence — rather than violence — is the most effective way of overthrowing corrupt, repressive regimes….

…His practical manual on how to overthrow dictatorships, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” has spread like a virus since he wrote it 20 years ago and has been translated by activists into more than 30 languages.

He has also listed “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action” — powerful, sometimes surprising, ways to tear power from the hands of regimes. Examples of their use by demonstrators and revolutionaries pop up over and over again….

As Mohandas Gandhi said, “”Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.”


We haven’t even begun to explore a world without war. for instance, tho’ it’s visibly more achievable ever sooner . .. :)


…Where did the productivity go? 
The answer is, it’s two-thirds the inequality, stupid. One third of the difference is due to a technical issue involving price indexes. The rest, however, reflects a shift of income from labor to capital and, within that, a shift of labor income to the top and away from the middle.
What this says is that widening inequality makes a huge difference. Income stagnation does not reflect overall economic stagnation; the incomes of typical workers would be 30 or 40 percent higher than they are if inequality hadn’t soared.

…Where did the productivity go?

The answer is, it’s two-thirds the inequality, stupid. One third of the difference is due to a technical issue involving price indexes. The rest, however, reflects a shift of income from labor to capital and, within that, a shift of labor income to the top and away from the middle.

What this says is that widening inequality makes a huge difference. Income stagnation does not reflect overall economic stagnation; the incomes of typical workers would be 30 or 40 percent higher than they are if inequality hadn’t soared.

Found in comments on Gawker article ‘Rich Person or Troll?’

Found in comments on Gawker article ‘Rich Person or Troll?’

Legalize cannabis. It’s way past time. What a waste of law enforcement resources.

…On the morning of November 19th, a 68-year-old former marine named Kenneth Chamberlain with a heart condition accidentally pressed the button on his medical alert system while sleeping. Responding to the alert, police officers from the city of White Plains, New York, arrived at Chamberlain’s apartment in a public housing complex shortly after 5 a.m. By the time the police left the apartment, Kenneth Chamberlain was dead, shot twice in the chest by a police officer inside his home. Police gained entry to Chamberlain’s apartment only after they took his front door off its hinges. Officers first shot him with a taser, then a beanbag shotgun, and then with live ammunition….

…Kenneth Chamberlain can be heard on an audio recording of his call to the medical alert system operator saying, quote, “Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?” Officers allegedly responded by calling Chamberlain a racial slur while urging him to open the door….

…my father accidentally pushed his medical pendant around his neck. He could have possibly turned over on it. We don’t know. We can only speculate about that.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did he wear it?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: He has a heart condition, and he also suffered from COPD. And when he—the pendant was triggered—…

…It was triggered, and the medical company—there’s a box inside his home. The medical company asked him if he was all right. They didn’t get a response. So, automatically, if you don’t get a response, they send medical services to your house. They informed the police that they are responding to a medical emergency, not a crime. And once they arrived at my father’s home, my father did tell them that he was OK. But for some reason, they wanted to gain entry into my father’s home….

…He’s saying that he’s OK. He’s saying that he did not call for them. But they were very insistent. They were banging on the door, banging on the door, banging on the door….

…At some point, the door was cracked open, because the police officers have a taser that has a camera on it, and it also has audio. So you could see where the door was cracked open. So, once you’ve gotten a visual, and you’ve seen that my father is OK, and he’s telling you that he’s OK, why would you still insist on getting into the apartment?…

…”I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me.”…

…they say, “I don’t give a F.” And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door….

…Mr. Chamberlain didn’t have a gun. Mr. Chamberlain, when I saw the videotape, did not have a knife when he was in his apartment. You see a 68-year-old man with no shirt on and boxer shorts and his hands down at his sides. And I didn’t see any weapon in his hands there. And the other thing that’s troubling to me is the fact that a taser was used at all, because you’re there for a medical response. You’re not there investigating a criminal act. You are there with the understanding that there may be a person who needs medical assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: For a man with a heart condition, no less.

MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. And so, if you understand that, to use a taser, which is going to send significant electricity through that person’s body, would be, at best, reckless. And that alone could cause his death. And the thing that’s extremely troubling to me is that, again, the police were not there to respond to criminal activity. They went to the gentleman’s house at 5:00 in the morning to give him assistance. The only reason that he had the LifeAid pendant to begin with was so that his family and that he would be comfortable that if something was to occur, he would be able to get assistance….

…the initial news coverage around the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. The headline on the News 12 website read, quote, “Officer fatally shoots hatchet-wielding man.” TheDailyWhitePlains.com website posted an article titled “Police Fatally Shoot Disturbed Man Carrying Knife.” The story begins, quote, “White Plains police say an officer discharged two rounds, fatally shooting an emotionally disturbed White Plains man who attempted to bar officers from entering his apartment with a hatchet and then turned towards police with a butcher’s knife.”…

…Mr. Chamberlain wasn’t attacking anyone. He was in his home. This idea that they—he attacked anyone with a hatchet is, frankly, a lie. That’s what it is. It’s a cover story to cover up what they’ve done here….

…Another officer who was present had a full head-to-toe body shield that could stop bullets. And rather than secure the situation—let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that they had a right to see him to make sure he was OK. OK, so the door is open. You see him there. Why are you entering his apartment? It’s kind of like Zimmerman. You provoke a situation, then you respond to it, “Oh, I had to use deadly force to protect myself.” No, you provoked the situation. You had no right to cross that man’s threshold in his home. That’s what led to the problem….

…Psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and religious scholars … have long posited a link between religiosity, defined as the degree to which one is involved in religious activities (e.g., prayer, church attendance, etc.) and pro-social behavior (e.g., charitable giving, altruism, cooperation, helping, and volunteering). Consistent with this, empirical investigations have repeatedly demonstrated that religiosity is a key predictor of self-reported pro-social behavior …. However, when actual behavior (rather than self-reporting) is studied, the link between religiosity and pro-social behavior disappears, or becomes extremely tenuous …. Because self-reports are more likely than spontaneous behaviors to reflect a social desirability bias …, some have argued that religiosity is less linked to actual pro-social behaviors than it is to the desire to be seen by others (and to see oneself) as pro-social ….

…On Sundays, whereas religious bidders were 40% likely to re-bid in response to an appeal to charity, non-religious bidders were only 11.8% likely to re-bid in response to such appeals. Notably, on other days of the week, re-bidding in response to charity-appeals was almost identical among religious (25%) and non-religious bidders (27%), strongly suggesting that religious individuals are not more pro-social in general; they respond to appeals for help more so than non-religious individuals only when their religion is salient to them.

…The fact that, adjusted for inflation, wages still remain almost 14% below what they were 40 years ago, despite a doubling in productivity, is a national disgrace. It is one of the roots of the increase in multi-income households, in higher levels of indebtedness needed to maintain consumption levels, and of the sharp increase in inequality we have seen over recent decades.
…In Europe, maybe a generation ago or earlier, the debate over the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor became a moot point, and they essentially shifted away from the question of who deserves support and said instead, ‘We’re going to think pragmatically about what works and doesn’t work.’ I think we’re moving in that direction here in the U.S. much more slowly, but I think we’ll get there.
…Nationally, every dollar spent on family planning saves $3 in Medicaid costs….

…This guessing game, this internal dialogue in the face of ambiguous discrimination, is called attributional ambiguity, and it can have a profound negative effect on performance by not letting you concentrate on the task at hand. An experiment out of UC Berkeley (Mendoza-Denton, Shaw Taylor, Chen, and Chang, 2009) in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology demonstrates this well. In this study, women signed up for a study that was, purportedly, about their competence for graduate study. The study involved an interview and a test. Each of the women was invited to sit down in the office of a male evaluator; unbeknownst to them, we manipulated the decor of the room to suggest the kind of person this evaluator was. One third of the women walked into a room that strongly suggested their evaluator was chauvinist. The decor included, for example, pictures of girls in bikinis posing next to motorcyles. One third of the women walked into a room that strongly suggested their evaluator was progressive; his office had decorations like pink ribbons in support of breast cancer awareness and a picture of a little girl who might have been his daughter. Finally, one third of the women walked into an office that was ambiguous with respect to his attitudes: it was decorated with a university banner and a bottle of Snapple. By design, no interviewer ever arrived, but all the women were asked to complete a written test of verbal ability anyway….

…Many people would expect, naturally, the women’s scores to be disrupted the most in the office of the chauvinist interviewer. Yet the results showed a different pattern. Women did equally well when they took the test in the egalitarian and the chauvinist office– it was in the ambiguous office that their performance suffered. Ironically, it seems the women who were placed in the chauvinist office, by knowing who they were up against, were able to steel themselves against the impending negativity, and to prepare themselves psychologically. This was not possible in the ambiguous room, where the concern about whether the evaluator would be sexist led to performace decrements….

…Mr. Obama has not radically expanded the safety net. Rather, the dire state of the economy has reduced incomes and made more people eligible for benefits, especially unemployment benefits. Basically, the safety net is the same, but more people are falling into it….

…44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they “have not used a government program.”…

…the vast bulk of entitlement spending goes to the elderly, the disabled, and working families, so any significant cuts would have to fall largely on people who believe that they don’t use any government program….

…Yes, voters sent some severe conservatives to Washington. But those voters would be both shocked and angry if such politicians actually imposed their small-government agenda.