Town Hall Meeting

24 Mar 2011

The Future of Newspapers

Filed under: — Al @ 6:39 pm

Check out this excellent testimony and discussion about the future of newspapers held in Congress May 6, 2009. Arianna Huffington made some terrible statements in this panel, including something to the effect of “Rupert Murdoch has some great ideas about the future of newspapers.” Sigh. It sheds some light on her recent decision to put the liar/distorter/race baiter Andrew Breitbart on the front page of her famous aggregator of news, the Huffington Post. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, at least watch David Simon’s initial remarks which occurs between minutes 38 and 48. Simon is the creator of the all time great show “The Wire.”

14 Mar 2011

#Jan25 Egypt

Filed under: — Al @ 11:09 am

A song and video was made in honor of the rebellion in Egypt which officially started January 25, 2011. The hash “#” is a shout out to Twitter*. It starts with a quote from Gandhi.

*Speaking of Twitter, one interesting thought I have heard is that when Mubarak literally turned off the internet about 4 days into the protests, he essentially took people away from their homes and computers and out onto the streets. He grew the protests by doing that. It’s a very interesting point, and also shows how the internet, while helpful, can also make people passive and stay home.

08 Mar 2011

Parental Leave in the United States

Filed under: — Al @ 3:38 pm

“The report, “Failing its Families,” says at least 178 countries have national laws guaranteeing paid leave for new mothers, while the handful of exceptions include the U.S., Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. More than 50 nations, including most Western countries, also guarantee paid leave for new fathers.”

“Past efforts in Congress to enact a paid family leave law have floundered, drawing opposition from business lobbyists who say it would be a burden on employers. Instead, there is the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which enables workers with new children or seriously ill family members to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. By excluding companies with fewer than 50 employees, it covers only about half the work force, and many who are covered cannot afford to take unpaid leave.

“In the European Union, paid parental leave varies from 14 weeks in Malta to 16 months in Sweden, which reserves at least two months of its leave exclusively for fathers. Most EU countries have maintained the provisions of their programs despite the recession….the bid to expand paid leave in the U.S. was hampered by the clout of corporate lobbyists and the relatively weak status of the labor movement. ”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110223/ap_on_re_us/us_paid_parental_leave

Unbelievable stuff…California and New Jersey are the ONLY states with paid leave programs, and its a meager 6 weeks. And before I hear the inevitable “well then move somewhere else,” remember that demanding more rights is how communities improve.

04 Mar 2011

Deification of Leaders Only in Totalitarian States?

Filed under: — Al @ 3:28 pm

I thought you might like this discussion of Reagan after all the propaganda we get about him on a regular basis, including from Democrats….

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Chomsky, I want to ask you about former President Ronald Reagan. A very big deal is made of him now on the hundredth anniversary of his birth. Last year President Obama signed legislation establishing a commission to mark the centennial.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: President Reagan helped, as much as any president, to restore a sense of optimism in our country, a spirit that transcended politics, that transcended even the most heated arguments of the day.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam Chomsky, your response?

NOAM CHOMSKY: This deification of Reagan is extremely interesting and a very—it’s scandalous, but it tells a lot about the country. I mean, when Reagan left office, he was the most unpopular living president, apart from Nixon, even below Carter. If you look at his years in office, he was not particularly popular. He was more or less average. He severely harmed the American economy. When he came into office, the United States was the world’s leading creditor. By the time he left, it was the world’s leading debtor. He was fiscally totally irresponsible—wild spending, no fiscal responsibility. Government actually grew during the Reagan years.

He was also a passionate opponent of the free market. I mean, the way he’s being presented is astonishing. He was the most protectionist president in post-war American history. He essentially virtually doubled protective barriers to try to preserve incompetent U.S. management, which was being driven out by superior Japanese production.

During his years, we had the first major fiscal crises. During the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, the New Deal regulations were still in effect, and that prevented financial crises. The financialization of the economy began to take off in the ’70s, but with the deregulation, of course you start getting crises. Reagan left office with the biggest financial crisis since the Depression: the home savings and loan.

I won’t even talk about his international behavior. I mean, it was just abominable. I mean, if we gained our optimism by killing hundreds of thousands of people in Central America and destroying any hope for democracy and freedom and supporting South Africa while it killed about a million-and-a-half people in neighboring countries, and on and on, if that’s the way we get back our optimism, we’re in bad trouble.

Well, what happened after Reagan left office is that there was the beginnings of an effort to carry out a kind of—this Reagan legacy, you know, to try to create from this really quite miserable creature some kind of deity. And amazingly, it succeeded. I mean, Kim Il-sung would have been impressed. The events that took place when Reagan died, you know, the Reagan legacy, this Obama business, you don’t get that in free societies. It would be ridiculed. What you get it is in totalitarian states. And I’m waiting to see what comes next. This morning, North Korea announced that on the birthday of the current god, a halo appeared over his birthplace. That will probably happen tomorrow over Reagan’s birthplace. But when we go in—I mean, this is connected with what we were talking about before. If you want to control a population, keep them passive, keep beating them over the head and let them look somewhere else, one way to do it is to give them a god to worship.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/17/democracy_uprising_in_the_usa_noam

Another thought on American democracy I heard from Richard Wolff: if there isn’t democracy in your workplace, and Americans spend most of their time there, how much democracy is in America?

Headlines
Democracy Now!
October 16, 2017

Powered by WordPress