Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dave Lindorff: 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS ON THE JOB? FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON THE GRIDIRON AND EVERY WORKPLACE @ This Can't Be Happening!



Football players are a special class of workers. Even the lowliest of them make six-figure salaries, at least for the short time they stay healthy enough to play, but they are, nonetheless, workers, and unionized workers at that.

And what is happening right now -- with NFL players, black and in some cases white, and now professional basketball and baseball players too, acting in solidarity to protest racist policing and other issues of equality denied in America by not standing for the traditional performance of the Star-Spangled Banner, and with the subsequent incendiary calls by President Trump for the firing of these protesters by team management -- is shining a light not just on the racist politics of the president, but on the wholesale lack of First Amendment freedom on the job for most American workers.

The reality is that workers in the US, unless they are represented by a labor union -- and even then only a powerful and assertive union -- speak their minds at the risk of being fired, and have no recourse if they are fired for the opinions they express if those opinions aren't shared by the boss.

Freedom of speech, that hallowed and much touted supposed birthright of all Americans, actually only applies during the hours that that we are sleeping, traveling to and from work, on our days off, or at home. And even then, as people are discovering with employers monitoring their personal blogs, Facebook pages and Tweets, and firing them for things they may have said or written, we're not so free.

Hooray for the professional ball players who, following the lead of the heroic former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, are engaging their public protests before the fans and asserting their right to speak their minds about racism and the national epidemic of police brutality against and murders of African Americans.

Now this burgeoning struggle for the freedom to speak out has to move out of the sports stadiums and into the workplaces of America.

You can tell such a movement is badly needed when the self-styled "patriotic" yahoos in the stands boo and shout "stand up!" at kneeling athletes speaking their mind on the job and don't get upset when millionaire Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin scolds the protesters, telling them to do their free speech thing "on their own time" and not on the bosses’. These white "NASCAR dudes" don't even realize that everyone -- including they themselves -- should be demanding First Amendment rights on the job, and that the ball players they are condemning and jeering at are making that case for everyone's benefit.

What this football protest has demonstrated is that when one person takes a stand on the job and makes a statement as Kaepernick did last year, it may cost that person her or his job. But when lots of people take the stand together, the boss can't retaliate so easily. In fact, the boss may even join them…

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3651

Hey readers! We know there are some 1500 of you who come to our site every day, even when we don't post a new article. You come because you value what we're doing, but only a few hundred of you, at most, contribute to helping fund our work. We're all volunteers in this collective, but if you give us support, we can take more time away from our "day jobs" so we can do more for this site -- especially like the kind of nuts and bolts investigative reporting that the corporate media basically have given up on. So those of you who are making donations, thank you! This not is not addressed to you. It is addressed to the rest of you who clearly value us because you're regular readers, but who can't seem to even come up with one $5 or $10 donation in a year. If you were to do that, we'd have $10-15,000 to support our work (like covering the coming Democratic convention protests), and we know that's what you want us to do. So please, send us some money, anything really. A little will go a long way.


Thanks! The TCBH! Collective

Jimmy Dore: HOW DO CRAZY RIGHT-WING GOVERNMENTS BECOME TOTALITARIAN? @ The Jimmy Dore Sh

NFL WEEKEND STRIKE ACTIONS DISCUSSED @ CSPAN

Viewers comment during 1st hour on CSpan's "Washington Journal" Sept. 25, 2017 on NFL protests of Trump's Huntsville, AL speech demanding players be fired or suspended.





Viewers and social media comments 2nd hour on news of the day.

POST-SCREENING: "THE SPIDER'S WEB: BRITAIN's 2ND EMPIRE" @ Tax Justice Network

Monday, September 04, 2017

Paul Street: IF HILLARY HAD WON @ Counterpunch



[Excerpt]  ... Indeed. Impeachment would have been a strong likelihood given the partisan balance in the House, though conviction and removal (requiring two-thirds of the Senate) would likely have been avoided.

Meanwhile, the right-wing militias (at least 500 strong near the end of Obama’s reign) would be on the murderous march. Who knows what their homeland body count would be by now with Trump, Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh et al. egging them on to new levels of frothing white-nationalist and hyper-masculinist paranoia and violence?

“Crooked Hillary” has long been the gun-toting hard-right’s top bete noire – a bigger enemy for them than even the dastardly “Kenyan Marxist-Lenninist and Reparations Advocate Barack Obama”? A Clinton45 presidency would have pushed the looney-tunes, paranoid-style right into new heights of apocalyptic brutality. ...   [End of Excerpt]

Read more at Counterpunch.

Various Contributors: A LEAK OR A HACK? A FORUM ON THE VIPS MEMO @ The Nation



[Excerpt of The Nation's Editor Katrina vanden Hueval introduction]


Editor’s note, 9/1/2017: For more than 150 years, The Nation has been committed to fearless, independent journalism. We have a long history of seeking alternative views and taking unpopular stances. We believe it is important to challenge questionable conventional wisdom and to foster debate—not police it. Focusing on unreported or inadequately reported issues of major importance and raising questions that are not being asked have always been a central part of our work.

This journalistic mission led The Nation to be troubled by the paucity of serious public scrutiny of the January 2017 intelligence-community assessment (ICA) on purported Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election, which reflects the judgment of the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA. That report concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the hacking of the DNC and the dissemination of e-mails from key staffers via WikiLeaks, in order to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. This official intelligence assessment has since led to what some call “Russiagate,” with charges and investigations of alleged collusion with the Kremlin, and, in turn, to what is now a major American domestic political crisis and an increasingly perilous state of US-Russia relations. To this day, however, the intelligence agencies that released this assessment have failed to provide the American people with any actual evidence substantiating their claims about how the DNC material was obtained or by whom. Astonishingly and often overlooked, the authors of the declassified ICA themselves admit that their “judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

That is why The Nation published Patrick Lawrence’s article “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.” The article largely reported on a recently published memo prepared by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which argued, based on their own investigation, that the theft of the DNC e-mails was not a hack, but some kind of inside leak that did not involve Russia.

VIPS, formed in 2003 by a group of former US intelligence officers with decades of experience working within the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and other agencies, previously produced some of the most credible—and critical—analyses of the Bush administration’s mishandling of intelligence data in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The most recent VIPS memo, released on July 24, whatever its technical merits, contributes to a much-needed critical discussion. Despite all the media coverage taking the veracity of the ICA assessment for granted, even now we have only the uncorroborated assertion of intelligence officials to go on. Indeed, this was noticed by The New York Times’s Scott Shane, who wrote the day the report appeared: “What is missing from the public report is…hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack…. Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’”

As editor of The Nation, my purpose in publishing Patrick Lawrence’s article was to make more widely known the VIPS critique of the January ICA assertions, the questions VIPS raised, and their counter-thesis that the disseminated DNC e-mails resulted from a leak, not a hack. Those questions remain vital. 


Read the complete forum at The Nation. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dave Lindorff: SOP TO THE GUN NUTS: TRUMP 'ARMS FOR COPS' PROGRAM, MILITARIZES PEACE OFFICERS @ This Can't Be Happening!


President Trump’s pandering executive order reversing an Obama decision to scale back the dumping of surplus military equipment on the nation’s already over-armed police departments includes word that his new “toys (arms)-for-cops” benefit program will include Army and Marine surplus bayonets.

Let’s ponder that for a moment.

The Army gave up bayonets for combat use after the Korean War (the last recorded US bayonet charge was in 1951 in that war). Now, while the Marines still train in bayonet use in boot camp in a bow to tradition, the reality is that nobody actually uses them in combat.

So you have to ask: If the military doesn’t think that bayonets are needed or useful in actual combat, why would police in the US need them?”

It’s a good question and gets to the larger question of why American cops need any of the gear that they’re being offered — once again — by the US military: everything from MRAP “tanks” so heavy that if called out for a SWAT raid, a route has to first be carefully plotted and followed that doesn’t cross over any of this country’s worn-out and and crumbling bridges and culverts (an MRAP weighs 14-18 tons, while local street viaducts in many communities frequently have tonnage limits in the single digits).

Before he retired, I had a conversation with the chief of police of my community of Upper Dublin, a quiet middle-class suburb of Philadelphia, about militaried policing. A thoughtful veteran of the Vietnam War himself, he disabused me of an automatic and commonly shared assumption I had made that local police SWAT teams were probably populated by combat veterans looking for more adrenalin-pumping action. Actually, he told me, combat vets who go into police work — and there are many who do, thanks to the extra points awarded to veterans by most communities in their hiring — don’t want to be playing soldier when they become police officers. “They’ve had enough of war and killing,” he told me. “It’s the ones who have never been in the military who volunteer for SWAT teams.” He explained that such officers are “wannabe soldiers.”

Maybe if police and sheriff’s departments get old Korean War-era bayonets from the Pentagon to put on their semi-automatic rifles, they’ll try launching bayonet charges next time they bust into a house to deliver a bench warrant for a bald tire or missed family court appearance or to look for pot plants, instead of just walking up to the front door in the early morning and bashing it in with a battering ram, as my son witnessed the Savannah Police SWAT unit do trying to arrest a pot dealer who lived next door to him and his schoolmates (the suspect wasn’t home, but his little kids were)…

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3623






Hey readers! We know there are some 1500 of you who come to our site every day, even when we don't post a new article. You come because you value what we're doing, but only a few hundred of you, at most, contribute to helping fund our work. We're all volunteers in this collective, but if you give us support, we can take more time away from our "day jobs" so we can do more for this site -- especially like the kind of nuts and bolts investigative reporting that the corporate media basically have given up on. So those of you who are making donations, thank you! This not is not addressed to you. It is addressed to the rest of you who clearly value us because you're regular readers, but who can't seem to even come up with one $5 or $10 donation in a year. If you were to do that, we'd have $10-15,000 to support our work (like covering the coming Democratic convention protests), and we know that's what you want us to do. So please, send us some money, anything really. A little will go a long way.

Thanks! The TCBH! Collective

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Paul Jay: TRUMP AND THE DYSFUNCTIONAL AMERICAN STATE WITH ROBERT SHEER @ The Real News Network







And watch University of Missouri - Kansas City's Bill Black analyze the "strong money interests" of plutocrats like Carl Icahn are seldom held accountable among other billionaires.