In FEMEN ( I trust

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Free Education is a Primary Engine of Economic Revitalization

My com­men­tary: A pri­mary engine for eco­nomic and social revi­tal­iza­tion proves to be free edu­ca­tion. Kala­ma­zoo, Michi­gan is one of many cities that have their own unique sto­ries to tell at: Why not we?

“The Kala­ma­zoo Promise”

The city where stu­dents go to col­lege for free

…Known as the Kala­ma­zoo Promise, this one-of-a-kind pro­gram cov­ers 100 per­cent of in-state tuition for stu­dents who attend Kala­ma­zoo Pub­lic Schools from kinder­garten to 12th grade; 65 per­cent for stu­dents who attend grades 9 to 12. The only require­ments of the schol­ar­ship are that stu­dents live within the bound­aries of the Kala­ma­zoo School Dis­trict and that they attend KPS con­tin­u­ously.  Stu­dents can use the funds for up to 10 years after grad­u­a­tion from high school.…”

Why These Kids Get a Free Ride to College
”..Eberts, [Ran­dall Eberts, an econ­o­mist who heads the W. E. Upjohn Insti­tute for Employ­ment Research] for one, argues that if Kala­ma­zoo pre­pares its stu­dents for col­lege, the long-term return to the com­mu­nity will be an edu­cated, inno­v­a­tive work force, a higher tax base and a more attrac­tive busi­ness envi­ron­ment. Enrico Moretti, an econ­o­mist at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, notes that well-educated peo­ple not only make more money indi­vid­u­ally; their inter­ac­tions with every­one around them also amplify a community’s wealth. The biggest dif­fer­ence in salaries between highly and lesser-educated regions is not found in the salaries of the elite but in those earned by lower-skilled work­ers. The spillover effects ener­gize the econ­omy at every level.

One of Brown’s [Jan­ice M. Brown, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Kala­ma­zoo Promise] roles is to enlist as much of the com­mu­nity as pos­si­ble — busi­nesses, gov­ern­ment, neigh­bor­hood orga­ni­za­tions, churches, health care providers, you name it — in pro­vid­ing what­ever kids need to get through school and into col­lege. This means more than bet­ter schools; it includes bet­ter nutri­tion for chil­dren, bet­ter hous­ing, med­ical care and, most urgently, uni­ver­sal prekinder­garten pro­grams. But Brown’s is a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act: busi­nesses will not par­tic­i­pate in any­thing that looks like an antipoverty program…”



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Senator Bernie Sander’s: An Economic Agenda for America: 12 Steps Forward

Bernie Buzz Update

As Vermont’s sen­a­tor, here are 12 ini­tia­tives that I will be fight­ing for which can restore America’s mid­dle class.

1. Rebuild­ing Our Roads

We need a major invest­ment to rebuild our crum­bling infra­struc­ture: roads, bridges, water sys­tems, waste water plants, air­ports, rail­roads and schools. It has been esti­mated that the cost of the Bush-Cheney Iraq War, a war we should never have waged, will total $3 tril­lion by the time the last vet­eran receives needed care. A $1 tril­lion invest­ment in infra­struc­ture could cre­ate 13 mil­lion decent pay­ing jobs and make this coun­try more effi­cient and pro­duc­tive. We need to invest in infra­struc­ture, not more war.

2. Revers­ing Cli­mate Change

The United States must lead the world in revers­ing cli­mate change and make cer­tain that this planet is hab­it­able for our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. We must trans­form our energy sys­tem away from fos­sil fuels and into energy effi­ciency and sus­tain­able ener­gies. Mil­lions of homes and build­ings need to be weath­er­ized, our trans­porta­tion sys­tem needs to be energy effi­cient and we need to greatly accel­er­ate the progress we are already see­ing in wind, solar, geot­her­mal, bio­mass and other forms of sus­tain­able energy. Trans­form­ing our energy sys­tem will not only pro­tect the envi­ron­ment, it will cre­ate good pay­ing jobs.

3. Cre­at­ing Jobs

We need to develop new eco­nomic mod­els to increase job cre­ation and pro­duc­tiv­ity. Instead of giv­ing huge tax breaks to cor­po­ra­tions which ship our jobs to China and other low-wage coun­tries, we need to pro­vide assis­tance to work­ers who want to pur­chase their own busi­nesses by estab­lish­ing worker-owned coop­er­a­tives. Study after study shows that when work­ers have an own­er­ship stake in the busi­nesses they work for, pro­duc­tiv­ity goes up, absen­teeism goes down and employ­ees are much more sat­is­fied with their jobs.

4. Pro­tect­ing Unions

Union work­ers who are able to col­lec­tively bar­gain for higher wages and ben­e­fits earn sub­stan­tially more than non-union work­ers. Today, cor­po­rate oppo­si­tion to union orga­niz­ing makes it extremely dif­fi­cult for work­ers to join a union. We need leg­is­la­tion which makes it clear that when a major­ity of work­ers sign cards in sup­port of a union, they can form a union.

5. Rais­ing the Wage

The cur­rent fed­eral min­i­mum wage of $7.25 an hour is a star­va­tion wage. We need to raise the min­i­mum wage to a liv­ing wage. No one in this coun­try who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty.

6. Pay Equity

Women work­ers today earn 78 per­cent of what their male coun­ter­parts make. We need pay equity in our coun­try — equal pay for equal work.

7. Mak­ing Trade Work for Workers

Since 2001 we have lost more than 60,000 fac­to­ries in this coun­try, and more than 4.9 mil­lion decent-paying man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs. We must end our dis­as­trous trade poli­cies (NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, etc.) which enable cor­po­rate Amer­ica to shut down plants in this coun­try and move to China and other low-wage coun­tries. We need to end the race to the bot­tom and develop trade poli­cies which demand that Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions cre­ate jobs here, and not abroad.

8. Cut­ting Col­lege Costs

In today’s highly com­pet­i­tive global econ­omy, mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are unable to afford the higher edu­ca­tion they need in order to get good-paying jobs. Fur­ther, with both par­ents now often at work, most working-class fam­i­lies can’t locate the high-quality and afford­able child care they need for their kids. Qual­ity edu­ca­tion in Amer­ica, from child care to higher edu­ca­tion, must be afford­able for all. With­out a high-quality and afford­able edu­ca­tional sys­tem, we will be unable to com­pete glob­ally and our stan­dard of liv­ing will con­tinue to decline.

9. Break­ing Up Big Banks

The func­tion of bank­ing is to facil­i­tate the flow of cap­i­tal into pro­duc­tive and job-creating activ­i­ties. Finan­cial insti­tu­tions can­not be an island unto them­selves, stand­ing as huge profit cen­ters out­side of the real econ­omy. Today, six huge Wall Street finan­cial insti­tu­tions have assets equiv­a­lent to 61 per­cent of our gross domes­tic prod­uct — over $9.8 tril­lion. These insti­tu­tions under­write more than half the mort­gages in this coun­try and more than two-thirds of the credit cards. The greed, reck­less­ness and ille­gal behav­ior of major Wall Street firms plunged this coun­try into the worst finan­cial cri­sis since the 1930s. They are too pow­er­ful to be reformed. They must be bro­ken up.

10. Bring­ing Health Care to All

The United States must join the rest of the indus­tri­al­ized world and rec­og­nize that health care is a right of all, and not a priv­i­lege. Despite the fact that more than 40 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have no health insur­ance, we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation. We need to estab­lish a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.

11. End­ing Poverty

Mil­lions of seniors live in poverty and we have the high­est rate of child­hood poverty of any major coun­try. We must strengthen the social safety net, not weaken it. Instead of cut­ting Social Secu­rity, Medicare, Med­ic­aid and nutri­tion pro­grams, we should be expand­ing these programs.

12. Stop­ping Tax Dodg­ing Corporations

At a time of mas­sive wealth and income inequal­ity, we need a pro­gres­sive tax sys­tem in this coun­try which is based on abil­ity to pay. It is not accept­able that major prof­itable cor­po­ra­tions have paid noth­ing in fed­eral income taxes, and that cor­po­rate CEOs in this coun­try often enjoy an effec­tive tax rate which is lower than their sec­re­taries. It is absurd that we lose over $100 bil­lion a year in rev­enue because cor­po­ra­tions and the wealthy stash their cash in off­shore tax havens around the world. The time is long over­due for real tax reform.

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Basic Income for All

The video:

Their link:

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Waterboarding: Then, post WWII; and today.

Execution of Tojo,

On this date [Decem­ber 23] in 1948, seven “Class A” war crim­i­nals, includ­ing Japan’s wartime Prime Min­is­ter Hideki Tojo, were hanged at Sug­amo Prison by the Amer­i­can occu­pa­tion authorities.

… As a form of tor­ture, water­board­ing became ille­gal under the law of war with the adop­tion of the third Geneva Con­ven­tion of 1929, which required that pris­on­ers of war be treated humanely, and the third and fourth Geneva Con­ven­tions of 1949, which explic­itly pro­hib­ited the tor­ture and cruel treat­ment of pris­on­ers of war and civil­ians, respec­tively. On the basis of the 1929 con­ven­tion theInter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East (IMTFE; 1946–48) con­victed 25 Japan­ese lead­ers of respon­si­bil­ity for war crimes and crimes against human­ity, specif­i­cally includ­ing tor­ture by water­board­ing (referred to by the IMTFE as the “water treatment).”

Read full arti­cle here:


* * * *

Today, we issue water­board­ers the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Freedom.

President Bush awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tenet on December 14, 2004

Pres­i­dent Bush award­ing the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom to Tenet on Decem­ber 14, 2004

 The CIA was autho­rized by Pres­i­dent Bush to use water­board­ing (a method of tor­ture) and other forms of “Enhanced Inter­ro­ga­tion Tech­niques” dur­ing inter­ro­ga­tions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubay­dah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, all sus­pected Al Qaida mem­bers, dur­ing Tenet’s directorship.”(

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Better Late Than Never: 30 Generals Want CIA Torture Report Declassified

Thirty retired gen­er­als are urg­ing Pres­i­dent Obama to declas­sify the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Committee’s report on CIA tor­ture, argu­ing that with­out account­abil­ity and trans­parency the prac­tice could be resumed.

After tak­ing office, you showed deci­sive lead­er­ship by issu­ing an exec­u­tive order ban­ning tor­ture and other forms of abu­sive inter­ro­ga­tion,” the retirees say in an open let­ter released Thursday.

But with for­mer gov­ern­ment offi­cials claim­ing that so-called “enhanced inter­ro­ga­tion” tech­niques were effec­tive, a future pres­i­dent could rescind the ban unless facts in the com­mit­tee report are known, the gen­er­als wrote. The White House did not respond for a request for comment.

To read full article:


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