Cards Against Humanity: Stopping the Wall

According to the November 19  New Zealand Herald, Cards Against Humanity is a politically incorrect party game in which players complete fill-in-the-blank statements with offensive, risqué or politically incorrect statements (see their website).

In 2018, they launched a Kickstarter campaign which enabled donors to purchase tiny parcels of vacant land on the US-Mexican border for $15 each. More than 150,000 people who bought parcels now collectively own thousands acres of land on which Trump plans to build his wall.

Cards Against Humanity has also hired a prominent eminent domain law firm to protect the new owners’ property rights. Their hope is to make construction of the border wall prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

They explain their campaign in this holiday video:

For more information about the organization and their border wall campaign, go to Cards Against Humanity Stops the Wall

Millions of Indian workers hold two-day general strike against Modi government

Workers from key economic sectors—banks, insurance, transport, postal, anganwadi (child care centres), mines and various government offices—joined yesterday’s strike.

Journal of People

Countercurrents.org| January 09, 2019

Over 180 million workers began a two-day general strike across India yesterday in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big business assault on the working class. Tens of thousands of workers defied threats of sacking and pay cut by state governments to join the national walkout.

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Why Water Fluoridation Is A Forced Experiment That Needs To Stop

During World War II, fluoride (a compound formed from the chemical element fluorine) came into large-scale production and use as part of the Manhattan Project. According to declassified government documents summarized by Project Censored, Manhattan Project scientists discovered early on that fluoride was a “leading health hazard to bomb program workers and surrounding communities.” In order to stave off lawsuits, government scientists “embarked on a campaign to calm the social panic about fluoride…by promoting its usefulness in preventing tooth decay.”

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The United States stands almost entirely alone among developed nations in adding industrial silicofluorides to its drinking water—imposing the community-wide measure without informed consent. Globally, roughly 5% of the population consumes chemically fluoridated water, but more people in the U.S. drink fluoride-adulterated water than in all other countries combined. Within the U.S., just under a third (30%) of local water supplies are not fluoridated; these municipalities have either held the practice at bay since fluoridation’s inception or have won hard-fought battles to halt water fluoridation.

Dozens of studies and reviews—including in top-tier journals such as The Lancet—have shown that fluoride is neurotoxic and lowers children’s IQ.

The fluoride chemicals added to drinking water are unprocessed toxic wasteproducts—captured pollutants from Florida’s phosphate fertilizer industry or unregulated chemical imports from China. The chemicals undergo no purification before being dumped into drinking water and often harbor significant levels of…

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Sen. Sanders, Rep. Cummings introduce bill to lower U.S. drug prices

The Sanders and Cummings bill would peg U.S. prescription drug prices to the median price from five countries – Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Japan – where drug costs are typically far lower because of government price controls.

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January 10, 2019

By Yasmeen Abutaleb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) ? U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings introduced legislation on Thursday aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs for American consumers, critiquing President Donald Trump administration?s efforts to curb medicine prices.

Democrats have been critical of efforts by the Trump administration to bring down drug prices after Trump, a Republican, promised to do so during his 2016 campaign and since being elected. They have said administration proposals let big drugmakers off the hook and did not do enough to help Americans.

?I say to the president: No more talk, no more tweet. No more commotion, emotion and motion and no results,? Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings said at a news conference on Thursday. Cummings became chairman of the House Oversight Committee after Democrats regained control of the chamber this month.

?Americans want government to help them. And this is…

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The Pentagon Report and “Off-the-Books” Bases

Quote

Bases, Bases, Everywhere…
Except in the Pentagon’s Report

Nick Turse

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015 and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”

Such off-the-books bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense Department’s many mystery bases [. . .]

 

via The Pentagon Report and “Off-the-Books” Bases

South Park episodes dramatize plight of Amazon workers, ridicule Jeff Bezos

By Ed Hightower


Events, including reports of brutal, dangerous working conditions and dire poverty faced by Amazon workers, have apparently not passed unnoticed by the creators of the popular cartoon comedy South Park on the US television cable channel Comedy Central. Two related episodes of South Park (which has been on the air since 1997), Unfulfilled and Bike Parade, aired in December, sympathize with Amazon workers while depicting billionaire owner Jeff Bezos as a villainous and murderous alien (from Star Trek) bent on the enslavement of humanity.


South Park

Unfulfilled and Bike Parade have definite appeal. One of the first scenes is a montage of Amazon Fulfillment Center workers drudging through their repetitive work day: filling orders, taking lunch, filling more orders, going home and carpooling back the next day to fill more orders. Over these images, we hear the Merle Travis classic Sixteen Tons, about a coal miner’s life, with the unforgettable lines, “You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt,” and perhaps more importantly, “I can’t afford to die. I owe my soul to the company store.”

The scene is sincere, effective and well-crafted.

The Fulfillment Center has wiped out other businesses in the small fictional town of South Park, Colorado, driving their former owners to find work with Amazon. The recently revitalized downtown area is blighted; the mall is filled with zombies—grim shades of the retail industry—now starved of all human contact.

A Fulfillment Center section manager named Josh is run over and mangled by sorting machines, ending up plastic-wrapped and crammed into a small cardboard shipping container. A statement from Amazon blaming “human error” for the mishap enrages local bar patrons, including Amazon workers, who angrily declare a strike. Battles on the picket-line ensue.

One of the sharpest and most amusing scenes in Unfulfilled features a corporate news program interview with Josh, who speaks from inside his cardboard box [. . .]

Source: South Park episodes dramatize plight of Amazon workers, ridicule Jeff Bezos

Joe Hill: True Working Class Hero

IWW: Joe Hill’s Story

Directed by Ken Verdoia (1998)

Film Review

This documentary is about the alleged framing of International Workers of the World songwriter Joe Hill for a 1914  murder he didn’t commit. There were major protests around the world to win Hill a new trial and stop his execution.

The beginning of the film describes the massive waves of immigration the US experienced in the early 1900s (roughly a million immigrants a year), in part due to open recruiting by corporate bosses in poverty stricken Eastern Europe. Employers deliberately sought out illiterate Eastern European immigrants as strike breakers and for the most dangerous  and degrading work.

Founded in 1905, the International Workers of the World (IWW) were the first to offer union membership to immigrant, black and women workers. Unlike the fledgling American Federation of Labor (AFL), the IWW sought to form a single union representing all trades – with an ultimate goal of dismantling capitalism.

At the time, the US government viewed all union agitation for better pay and working conditions as treasonous. Thus it was common to deploy federal troops and National Guard to violently suppress strikes.

Joe Hill, who was 21 when he immigrated from Sweden, had to continuously travel to remain in paid work. To avoid being blacklisted for his union activity he changed his birth name from Joel Haagland to Joe Linstrom and finally, after becoming widely known for his protest songs, to Joe Hill.

He was arrested in Utah in 1914 for killing a grocer and his son during an attempted robbery. The prosecution case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence – a gunshot wound Hill allegedly received in a fight over a woman. Although ballistic evidence suggested otherwise, the prosecution claimed the grocer shot him before being fatally wounded.*

Most historians believe he was convicted because of his membership in IWW.

Hill was memorialized in the protest song “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” recorded by Paul Robeson.

The film itself can’t be embedded but can be seen free at the following link: IWW: Joe Hill’s Story


*Although Hill steadfastly refused to identify the the woman at trial, William M Adler would validate the alibi in his 2011 biography The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon.