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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Feb 9, 2017, 01:31 PM
Number of posts: 8,361

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Why Smedley Butler left the imperialist front despising 'Gangsters of Capitalism'

New book shows how the American general’s contempt for ‘the racket’ was born during his service in the 20th century ‘small wars.’

January 28, 2022

Written by
Daniel Larison

Smedley Butler was one of the most decorated Marines in U.S. history, and by the end of his life he was also one of the most outspoken critics of the U.S. imperialism that he had spent most of his life enforcing. That contradiction between Butler the antiwar critic and Butler the builder of empire is at the heart of an important new book by Jonathan Katz, Gangsters of Capitalism: Smedley Butler, the Marines, and the Making and Breaking of America’s Empire. Katz’s book is an essential reminder of what the U.S. did during those decades and of the lasting effects that those interventions had on the countries where Butler went.

Butler took part in America’s so-called “small wars” in Asia, the Caribbean, and Central America in the early twentieth century. Like those wars, his military career has mostly been forgotten by the American public. That career was defined by aggressive military interventions on behalf of corporate interests, and by the end he was disgusted by it. As the author of War Is a Racket, Butler has been an inspiration to many antiwar and anti-imperialist Americans over the years, but he was also one of the military officers responsible for implementing destructive American colonialist designs at the expense of other nations. Twice awarded the Medal of Honor, he never believed he had done anything to deserve it, and the massacre that he took part in at Fort Rivière in Haiti haunted him.

In his later life, Butler came to see much of his career as a disreputable series of actions in the service of wealthy American interests, and he called himself a “racketeer for capitalism.” The racket he denounced was one that benefited a very few at the expense of the many. That core problem with our foreign policy that Butler identified almost ninety years ago is still very much with us. The U.S. still wages unnecessary wars based on flimsy pretexts against countries that cannot possibly threaten us, and today it also enables other wars with its weapons sales. The military budget grows every year despite the extraordinary physical security that the United States enjoys, and the hunt for new monsters to slay is unending. The racket is bigger and more destructive than ever.


Scott Hechinger@ScottHech:*Hundreds* of NYPD steal subway fare & walk through exit gate.


( Fine upstanding folks. )

New York Police Department Overview
This report presents a review of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Fiscal 2022 Executive
Budget. The City’s budget for Fiscal 2022 is $98.56 billion. The proposed NYPD expense budget
for Fiscal 2022 is $5.44 billion, representing 5.5 percent of the City’s total. The NYPD budget is
funded primarily through City tax-levy funding - for Fiscal 2022 City funds account for $5.12
billion, or 94 percent, of the total budget.

The Personal Services (PS) budget for Fiscal 2022 is approximately $5 billion, representing 92
percent of NYPD’s budget allocated to salaries, wages, and overtime for its workforce. The total
budgeted headcount for Fiscal 2022 is 52,482 which consists of 35,030 uniform members of
service, 15,646 civilian personnel, and 1,806 full-time equivalents.

Education Secretary Calls For Increased Funding For IDEA

by Michelle Diament | January 31, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks about his priorities for American education. (U.S. Department of Education/Flickr)

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is pushing for more funding to meet the needs of students with disabilities and to support special education teachers.

In a major speech late last week, Cardona said that it’s not enough for students to be back in school after classrooms across the country went virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation needs to do more to ensure that children, including those with disabilities, are successful, he said.

“We can’t lose this moment — this chance for a reset in education — by going back to the same pre-pandemic strategies that did not address inequities for Latino, Black and Native students, students from low-income backgrounds, students from rural communities, students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness and English learners,” Cardona said in the speech outlining his vision for the nation’s education system. “Instead, let’s do what America does best — turn crisis into opportunity.”

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption ( Watch video. )

A powerful true story about the Equal Justice Initiative, the people we represent, and the importance of confronting injustice, Just Mercy is a bestselling book by Bryan Stevenson that has been adapted into a feature film.


In 2021, 72% of UnitedHealth's $222.9 billion health plan revenue came from taxpayers.

94% of its total U.S. membership growth over the past 10 years was in government programs.

Wendell Potter

Jan 27 2022

As I noted in my last post, UnitedHealth Group made more profits last year than any health insurer has ever made for its shareholders–and considerably more than Wall Street financial analysts had expected. Investors were so impressed they rushed to buy shares of the company’s stock.

That might not have surprised you. United and other big insurers have reported record profits every year over the past decade. What might surprise you, though, is that even if you are not enrolled in a United health plan, some of your money likely wound up in the pockets of United’s already rich shareholders. That’s because you and America’s other taxpayers increasingly are fueling United’s profits.

In its press release last week, United bragged about the growing number of people it “serves,” including the number of people in its health plans. The release said the company had 10.5 million more “members” in its health plans in 2021 than in 2011. But when you look more closely at the numbers and do some math, you’ll see that very little of that growth has been in the private sector.


A U.S. Foreign Policy Fit for the 21st Century

By Pramila Jayapal, the U.S. representative for Washington’s 7th Congressional District and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Barbara Lee, the U.S. representative for California’s 13th Congressional District and chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

January 24, 2022


Across the country, Americans are mourning the losses of their loved ones to a pandemic that has taken more lives than the Civil War. Millions are struggling to make ends meet as they are burdened with debt, skyrocketing housing costs, and exploitative jobs. Others are enjoying a short reprieve between the hurricane and wildfire seasons that annually turn everyday life into a fight for survival.

Meanwhile, our fellow members of Congress finished the year by authorizing the largest war-making budget in U.S. history since World War II—and they did so in the name of security.

Excerpt: The greatest threats to America’s security—pandemics, climate change, economic inequality, authoritarianism—cannot be defeated at the barrel of a gun. It’s time to stop relying on the same old playbook and instead forge a foreign policy that works for everyday people. (That’s why we have introduced the Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution.)

The resolution sets out a new vision for the United States’ role in the world. It takes as its starting point a few simple truths. Today’s greatest security challenges cannot be solved through military adventurism. International cooperation, diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding—not bombs—must be the foreign-policy tools the country reaches for first. Global problems require global solutions. Justice and security go hand in hand. The United States cannot play by a different set of rules than it expects of the rest of the world. Foreign policy must be made not for the self-interest of the few but by and for the people, centering the working class and impacted and marginalized communities at home and abroad.

( Long overdue. )

Schools Use Off-Book Suspensions To Push Out Students In Special Ed, Report Finds

by Michelle Diament | January 27, 2022

In a new report, the National Disability Rights Network says that schools are using a wide range of tactics to keep children with disabilities out of classes. (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

Hundreds of students with disabilities across the country, if not more, are illegally being kept out of school without access to special education services due to their behaviors, advocates say.

A report out this week from the National Disability Rights Network highlights several kids who have experienced what the group is calling “informal removal.”

The off-the-books suspensions come in many forms, according to the network, an umbrella group for the federally mandated protection and advocacy organizations in each state. Some students are repeatedly sent home from school while others are limited to shorter school days, assigned to homebound placement with minimal education or remote learning, the report says. In other cases, school districts transfer students involuntarily to programs that do not exist, have no openings or ones which the child does not qualify for.

Excerpt: The report tells of a 6-year-old with complex medical needs who was only allowed to go to school one day a week. Another child with autism was placed in homebound services in second grade because of his behaviors and did not have a seat in a classroom for at least three years. And, at one school district, three kids with autism were routinely sent home because there were too few paraprofessionals and the children were deemed “too hard to handle.” One of the students was kept out of school for nearly a year.


( This is what we're about now? The Pentagon received $24 billion more than they even asked for, but schools are conniving kids out of services...ugh )

Gun-Maker Slammed for 'Children's Assault Rifles' Based on AR-15

"At first glance, this comes across as a grotesque joke," said one gun control advocate. "On second look, it's just grotesque."

Jessica Corbett
January 26, 2022

Gun control advocates on Wednesday sharply condemned an Illinois-based company for recently unveiling the JR-15, a long rifle inspired by the AR-15 but marketed for children.

Although it is under 2.5 pounds and 20% smaller than the standard version, the JR-15 "operates just like Mom and Dad's gun," WEE1 Tactical said in a statement. The weapon "functions like a modern sporting rifle," but its "lightweight and rugged polymer construction and ergonomics are geared towards children."

WEE1 Tactical launched the JR-15 earlier this month at an annual trade show sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is based in Newtown, Connecticut—where a gunman with an AR-15 murdered 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

"The callousness of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote a children's version of the same type of assault rifle that was used in a horrific mass shooting of 20 first graders and six educators in our shared community is just the latest proof that the organization, and the gun manufacturers it represents, will do anything in pursuit of continued profits," Po Murray, chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, said Wednesday.


( Murika Proud. )

Want to Solve Wildfires and Drought? Leave it to BEAVERS!


Beavers offer lessons about managing water in a changing climate, whether the challenge is drought or floods

January 20, 2022

It’s no accident that both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology claim the beaver (Castor canadensis) as their mascots. Renowned engineers, beavers seem able to dam any stream, building structures with logs and mud that can flood large areas.

As climate change causes extreme storms in some areas and intense drought in others, scientists are finding that beavers’ small-scale natural interventions are valuable. In dry areas, beaver ponds restore moisture to the soil; in wet zones, their dams and ponds can help to slow floodwaters. These ecological services are so useful that land managers are translocating beavers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom to help restore ecosystems and make them more resilient to climate change.

Scientists estimate that hundreds of millions of beavers once dammed waterways across the Northern Hemisphere. They were hunted nearly to extinction for their fur in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and North America but are making comebacks today in many areas. As a geoscientist specializing in water resources, I think it’s important to understand how helpful beavers can be in the right places and to find ways for humans to coexist with them in developed areas.


( I mean come on, they're so cute too. )

Trauma Lingers For Students Who Experienced Repeated Seclusion And Restraint

by Jillian Atelsek, The Frederick News-Post/TNS | January 25, 2022

FREDERICK, Md. — It was the first day of third grade, and James had been in school for 19 minutes.

By 9:20 a.m., the 8-year-old was locked in a padded, closet-sized room. He’d remain there, alone, for nearly three hours.

Though Maryland law is clear that no child may be kept in seclusion for more than 30 minutes, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) seemed to have found a loophole. In their logbook, staff recorded James’ seclusion time that day in half-hour chunks, according to discipline records provided by his mother and examined by The Frederick News-Post: 9:20 to 9:50. Then 9:51 to 10:21. Then 10:22 to 10:52. On and on until 12:08 p.m.

“From what he explained, sometimes they would pull him out and then shove him back in,” said James’ mom, Beth. “Sometimes they would open the door and then just close it again.”

( I can't begin to put in words how distressing this is to me. They don't know what they're doing and their response should be seen as criminal, IMO.)
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