Leftrants

All the news that doesn't fit on my other blog

19 notes

Johnson came to office in the fall of 1963. The first of the Great Society programs moved through Congress and into rapid implementation in 1964. But the ghettos began exploding in 1965, and Vietnam was heavily draining the nation’s financial resources by late 1966. The War on Poverty ground to a halt before it had begun to take off. According to historian Michael Katz, in the end the Office of Economic Opportunity (the hub of the War on Poverty) received less than 10 percent of the most conservative estimate of what it needed to reach its goals, spending about $70 per poor person per year. It never reached the takeoff point normal in most federal programs. In reality, then, the War on Poverty proved to be the briefest of skirmishes. The country gave itself no real chance to do anything about poverty. Of course, it wasn’t coincidental that once poverty was defined as an African-American phenomenon, we gave up rather quickly. Worse yet, the perceived failure of the Great Society programs now became associated with a hopelessly flawed ‘big government’ approach to poverty that, in ‘throwing money’ at problems, was believed to worsen them. The shadow of the aborted War on Poverty thus continues to hang over the discussion of poverty and its solutions. It is more than ironic- as well as further evidence of our deep-seated attitudes- that this tiny window of underfunded action that lasted barely a few years has become prima facie evidence of the government’s inability ever to do anything about poverty- as if we had ever tried throwing money at poverty, much less committed ourselves to a program that might stand some chance of working.

Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen by David Hilfiker, M.D., p. 16

(via socio-logic)

(Source: twentyfirstcenturyvagabond, via socio-logic)

15 notes

And what shall we do, we ordinary people? I pray we can listen to our hearts. My heart tells me that “never again” is not a tribal slogan, that the murder of my grandparents in Auschwitz does not justify the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians, that justice, truth, peace are not tribal prerogatives. That Israel’s “right to defend itself,” unarguable in principle, does not validate mass killing.

Gabor Maté  at The StarBeautiful dream of Israel has become a nightmare

Everyone ought to be sad at what the beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to.

Everyone ought to grieve the death of innocents.

(via protoslacker)

255 notes

america-wakiewakie:

Palestinian Protests Break Out In West Bank As Death Toll Rises | IB Times

For the first time since the start of the Israel and Gaza clashes earlier this month, the conflict has spread to the West Bank. Thousands of people marched from Ramallah to Jerusalem on Thursday night to protest Israel denying them entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque and to express their solidarity with Gaza.

When protestors reached the Qalandiyah checkpoint, a militarized checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem that passes through Israel’s separation wall, reports say they were met with live ammunition and tear gas from Israeli security forces. Protesters show no sign of backing down and solidarity demonstrations are reported to have popped up in the Al Aqsa, Nablus, Jerusalem and Al-Khalil neighborhoods. Many are saying it looks like the beginning of the Third Intifada. 

Palestinians’ first intifada, or uprising, was from 1987 to 1993, and the second raged from 2000 to around 2005.   

So far, there are two dead and at least 200 wounded in the West Bank, but those numbers are expected to rise. Nineteen-year-old Mohammad al-Araj and 27-year-old Majd Sufyan were both killed in the protest, a Palestinian news agency Ma’an reporter at the scene said. According to Haaretz, the Ramallah Government Hospital was “filled” with wounded protesters and operating rooms and waiting areas there were at capacity. Those with light injuries have been asked to leave. 

"These are scenes out of the first intifada," said Palestinians who were part of that particular uprising who came to the hospital when they heard their sons and daughters were wounded by IDF gunfire, according to Haaretz

(Read Full Text) (Additional Source

(Photo Credit Top: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem | Bottom Two: Unknown

(via cultureofresistance)

6,909 notes

letterstomycountry:

thepeoplesrecord:

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Remember that time the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over Iranian airspace, killing all 290 on board, including 66 children, and then refused to apologize for doing it?
"I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are. I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." — Vice President (and then-presidential candidate) George H.W. Bush, commenting on the downed airliner, 8/2/1988

That quote makes me sick.

LTMC: I actually did not know about this.  My only defense is that I was 4 years old at the time, and the government apparently did a great job of glossing over the history books on this one.  Also, that GHWB quote is solid gold, thought not as solid as the solid gold dancers.

letterstomycountry:

thepeoplesrecord:

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Remember that time the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over Iranian airspace, killing all 290 on board, including 66 children, and then refused to apologize for doing it?

"I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are. I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." — Vice President (and then-presidential candidate) George H.W. Bush, commenting on the downed airliner, 8/2/1988

That quote makes me sick.

LTMC: I actually did not know about this.  My only defense is that I was 4 years old at the time, and the government apparently did a great job of glossing over the history books on this one.  Also, that GHWB quote is solid gold, thought not as solid as the solid gold dancers.

(via fluidstaccato)

32 notes

In one sense, America the Homeland has become the most significant battleground in the war on terror. No, not in the numbers of those killed or maimed, but in the broad totality of what has been lost to us for no gain. It is worth remembering that, in pre-Constitutional America, a powerful executive — the king — ruled with indifference to the people. With the Constitution, we became a nation, in spirit if not always in practice, based on a common set of values, our Bill of Rights. When you take that away, we here in Post-Constitutional America are just a trailer park of strangers.

Peter Van Buren at Tom DispatchDead Is Dead 

Drone-Killing the Fifth Amendment 

(via protoslacker)

255 notes

america-wakiewakie:

Palestinian Protests Break Out In West Bank As Death Toll Rises | IB Times

For the first time since the start of the Israel and Gaza clashes earlier this month, the conflict has spread to the West Bank. Thousands of people marched from Ramallah to Jerusalem on Thursday night to protest Israel denying them entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque and to express their solidarity with Gaza.

When protestors reached the Qalandiyah checkpoint, a militarized checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem that passes through Israel’s separation wall, reports say they were met with live ammunition and tear gas from Israeli security forces. Protesters show no sign of backing down and solidarity demonstrations are reported to have popped up in the Al Aqsa, Nablus, Jerusalem and Al-Khalil neighborhoods. Many are saying it looks like the beginning of the Third Intifada. 

Palestinians’ first intifada, or uprising, was from 1987 to 1993, and the second raged from 2000 to around 2005.   

So far, there are two dead and at least 200 wounded in the West Bank, but those numbers are expected to rise. Nineteen-year-old Mohammad al-Araj and 27-year-old Majd Sufyan were both killed in the protest, a Palestinian news agency Ma’an reporter at the scene said. According to Haaretz, the Ramallah Government Hospital was “filled” with wounded protesters and operating rooms and waiting areas there were at capacity. Those with light injuries have been asked to leave. 

"These are scenes out of the first intifada," said Palestinians who were part of that particular uprising who came to the hospital when they heard their sons and daughters were wounded by IDF gunfire, according to Haaretz

(Read Full Text) (Additional Source

(Photo Credit Top: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem | Bottom Two: Unknown

(via cultureofresistance)

46 notes

Washington's Military Aid to Israel

We Americans have funny notions about foreign aid. Recent polls show that, on average, we believe 28% of the federal budget is eaten up by it, and that, in a time of austerity, this gigantic bite of the budget should be cut back to 10%. In actual fact, barely 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid of any kind.

In this case, however, truth is at least as strange as fiction. Consider that the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid over the past three decades isn’t some impoverished land filled with starving kids, but a wealthy nation with a per-head gross domestic product on par with the European Union average, and higher than that of Italy, Spain, or South Korea.

Consider also that this top recipient of such aid — nearly all of it military since 2008 — has been busily engaged in what looks like a nineteenth-century-style colonization project. In the late 1940s, our beneficiary expelled some 700,000 indigenous people from the land it was claiming. In 1967, our client seized some contiguous pieces of real estate and ever since has been colonizing these territories with nearly 650,000 of its own people. It has divided the conquered lands with myriad checkpoints and roads accessible only to the colonizers and is building a 440-mile wall around (and cutting into) the conquered territory, creating a geography of control that violates international law.

“Ethnic cleansing” is a harsh term, but apt for a situation in which people are driven out of their homes and lands because they are not of the right tribe. Though many will balk at leveling this charge against Israel — for that country is, of course, the top recipient of American aid and especially military largesse — who would hesitate to use the term if, in a mirror-image world, all of this were being inflicted on Israeli Jews?

(Source: azspot)

16 notes

afsc-org:

Putting a human face on Gaza.

(Photos from AFSC’s Palestine Youth Program in Gaza over past few years)

Join us in calling for a peace that offers equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians at bit.ly/ceasefirenow

29 notes

State’s job growth defies predictions after tax increases

Dire predictions about jobs being destroyed spread across California in 2012 as voters debated whether to enact the sales and, for those near the top of the income ladder, stiff income tax increases in Proposition 30. Million-dollar-plus earners face a 3 percentage-point increase on each additional dollar.

“It hurts small business and kills jobs,” warned the Sacramento Taxpayers Association, the National Federation of Independent Business/California, and Joel Fox, president of the Small Business Action Committee.

So what happened after voters approved the tax increases, which took effect at the start of 2013?

Last year California added 410,418 jobs, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2012, significantly better than the 1.8 percent national increase in jobs.

(Source: azspot)

46 notes

A $398 billion project for 2,443 F-35s (that’s the cost for the initial purchase; upkeep could run over a trillion dollars) that don’t actually work can be officially called a boondoggle. So why is Congress still committed to the F-35?

The answer lies with Lockheed Martin’s suave contracting strategy. What the company has done is incorporate subcontractors all over America (across forty-five states, in fact) into the process of manufacturing the F-35, keeping Congress more invested in funneling tax payer dollars to certain favored constituents than in offering said taxpayers a functioning plane. As former Pentagon acquisitions official Thomas Christie told Foreign Policy earlier this month, “An upfront question with any program is: How many congressional districts is it in?”

The F-35 is in being built in a lot of congressional districts. Which explains why the dysfunctional plane has its own caucus in Congress, creatively named the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus.

Boondoggles like these are more than just examples of Congressional incompetence, or even of corporate greed. They illustrate something very fundamental about how our government works: its primary function, at this point, is to funnel public money to corporations. As the last thirty years of America’s economic history as shown us, this grand transaction doesn’t necessarily equate to more jobs or rising salaries or a stronger middle class.

And unfortunately, in this instance, it doesn’t even mean that we get what we paid for.

When Lockheed Gives You Lemons

(via majoringindebt)

(via govtoversight)