Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mormons, Muslims and Free Speech - Choose Liberty - Robert Gibson Articles: Daily Roundup
What lessons can we learn from Mormons, and what can Mormons teach Muslims about Free Speech?


They Turned College Into McDonald’s: Adjunct Professors, Fast-Food Wages and How Colleges Screw More Than Just Students Main RSS Feed
Education certainly doesn't guarantee a job nowadays.

The fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 has already had an enormous impact on American politics. It hasn’t been reflected in national legislation, of course. With Congress in the hands of flat-earthers, the federal minimum wage is still stuck at less than half that—$7.25, the level it reached in 2009, as a result of legislation passed in 2007.

But what first registered as a surprising anomaly—one-day strike in New York City involving just over 100 workers on Black Friday, Nov. 29, 2012—has come to serve as a focal point for articulating demands for a dignified living wage, not just for fast-food workers, but for everyone who works for a living. What began as a movement of those holding “McJobs” is now brimming over with new participants making the point that virtually all jobs nowadays are, or at least can be, McJobs—even the latest to join in with demonstrations held on April 15: adjunct college professors.

The build-up to this point has been remarkably swift, even as the rest of the political system seems paralyzed. After a brief lull to lay further groundwork, NYC fast-food workers held a second strike on April 4, 2013, the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, while supporting the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike. Covering the strike for Salon, Josh Eidelson made a number of key points. First, that far from being peripheral, fast food jobs represent a de facto employment paradigm for today’s America:

Fast food is becoming an ever-larger and more representative sector of the U.S. economy. “We should think of these jobs as the norm,” said Columbia University political scientist Dorian Warren, “because even when you look at the high-skilled, high-paying jobs, they’re even adopting the low-wage model” of management. That means erratic schedules, paltry benefits, and – so far – almost no unions. “These are the quintessential example of the kinds of jobs that we have now,” said Warren, “and of the kind of job that we can expect in the future for the next few decades.”

Eidelson also discussed how the changing nature of work required changing labor strategies as well, and gave a hint of what was to come in the way of further actions:

A parallel effort is underway in Chicago, where workers are also demanding $15 an hour and unionization without intimidation, but so far haven’t gone on strike. While New York’s and Chicago’s are the only ones to go public so far, similar organizing efforts are underway elsewhere as well.

Finally, he quoted a prescient message of support from then-mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio,“Fast Food Forward is fighting for solutions for working people right here and now, and it deserves the support of all New Yorkers.”

From there, movement spread rapidly through a series of widening one-day strikes in 2013—Chicago on April 23, then St. Louis on May 8, followed swiftly by Detroit on May 10, then Milwaukee on May 15, and Seattle on May 30, culminating in a seven-city strike on July 29,  after which organizers gave Salon a heads-up on the massive expansion to come, which was quickly fulfilled by a 58-city strike on Aug. 29, and has continued spreading ever since. It’s certainly no accident that a growing list of cities have either approved or are considering local minimum wage laws at or even beyond the $15 level. The idea of what a minimum wage can and should be has been radically transformed in a remarkably short period of time.

There are, of course, counter-arguments. But in a way, that’s the point: The “Fight for 15” has set the agenda, put forth the argument for others to respond to. One such response has been to renew old attacks on the very idea of a minimum wage. The minimum wage is for losers, the argument goes. It’s intended for teenagers just getting their start in the job market, but anyone who’s been working a year or two and is still making minimum wage is only getting what they deserve.

There are plenty of counter-arguments to this line of thinking, and anyone seriously tempted by it should definitely read “No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City,” Harvard anthropologist Katherine Newman’s intensive study of young fast-food workers (my review here). But perhaps the simplest, most powerful counter-argument is the mere presence of a new contingent in the most recent wave of “Fight for 15” strikes—adjunct college professors. If you really think people are stuck in low-wage jobs because something is wrong with them—not the economic system—then how do you explain this latest addition to the fight for a humane living wage?

These aren’t just college-educated workers we’re talking about, they’re college professors, yet many of them live just as precariously as fast-food workers do. An online survey by House Democrats last year (more on this below) found that 55 percent of responding adjuncts had PhDs, another 7 percent were PhD candidates and 35% had masters degrees. Yet, many are on some form of public assistance—earned income tax credits, food stamps, etc. Some are even homeless. “In short,” the report stated, “adjuncts and other contingent faculty likely make up the most highly educated and experienced workers on food stamps and other public assistance in the country.”

SEIU, the same union that’s been the major backer of the fast-food strikes, has also been involved in faculty organizing as well. It has launched the Faculty Forward campaign with a three-part platform:

  • Demand $15,000 per course in total compensation;
  • Target bad actors in for-profit higher education;
  • Make quality higher education affordable and accessible for all students.

The call for $15,000 per course may seem a long way from $15/hour—and it is. But adjunct professors generally carry massive amounts of student debt, and have invested years, even decades, developing the skills they’re being paid a pittance for. Add to that the rates of poverty and economic hardship they endure, and you begin to see much more in common than what divides these workers from each other.

Adjuncts are officially, but usually not really, “part-time” instructors, paid by the class, but not for the full range of work that entails, nor do they usually get office space, staff support or other work necessities. In her doctoral dissertation, Donna Mae Bergmann explained, “Most of the faculty classified as part-time actually teach a full load. A college may limit the number of courses an adjunct can teach, but they often teach at multiple colleges.” This often adds long, costly commutes to the unpaid burdens they bear.

Adjunct faculty have long been a part of college life—just not such a dominant part. As Bergmann explains, “The movement to employ adjunct faculty began in the 1960’s on community college campuses. The demand for evening classes was so great that administrators had to find a quick and viable solution, and they hired from the professional community.” At the same time, there was a significant growth in the use of graduate students to teach course sections at large universities. As a result, by 1975/76, 45.6 percent of faculty was either tenured or tenure-track, compared to 55.4 percent classified as “contingent”—full-time non-tenure-track or part-time faculty or graduate student employees. By 2011, the most recent figures available, the percentage of tenured or tenure-track instructors had fallen almost by half to 23.6 percent, compared to 76.4 percent contingent.

The story, in short, is one of decades-long erosion of secure employment, essentially the exact same story affecting workers in traditional core industries like manufacturing, as well as those in the growing service sector—such as fast-food workers. What’s key is that the stories are virtually identical, regardless of the work being done. What’s shared is the context, not the content—the economic system, the cultural values and power relations, which combine to make it seem “only natural” that individual workers shoulder the blame for an ever more dysfunctional system. Adjunct professors have been grumbling about their lot for decades, and for decades it’s been getting worse. But now that they’re joining into a broader living-wage movement, their attitudes and expectations are starting to change, even as their involvement promises to help change the broader movement.

As one article in the Chronicle of Higher Education put it:

The plight of adjuncting in the U.S. has been well documented within the claustrophobic, hermetically sealed circles of academe, but the public at large is mostly unaware of it. Part of the reason is that the rest of middle-class America is mired in its own deep economic struggles, which virtually consume their every waking moment, and the perception still persists that academics, including adjuncts, have a cushy work life. Until the rest of America learns of the dirty large secret of adjuncting, its deplorable conditions will continue.

Now, it seems, that all may be starting to change.

In its story about adjuncts involved in the strike, the Chicago Tribune focused attention on  Wanda Evans-Brewer, who has PhD in education and “earned so little last year as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in River Forest — $27,000 — that she qualified for food stamps,” specifically, “$390 a month in food stamps for her and her three children,” as well as “a $40-a-month Medicaid family plan and subsidized day care for her 4-year-old daughter.” It was not the sort of life she had planned: “In my wildest dreams, I would never think I would be a Ph.D. On welfare,” she told the Tribune.

They also cited Matt Hoffmann, currently teaching one class at Loyola University Chicago and another at the Illinois Institute of Technology. His position is precarious, at best:

Hoffmann calculates he works about 30 hours a week, which translates to a pay of about $21 per hour. For that pay he said he invested eight years completing a master’s degree in environmental studies and a doctorate in sociology.

He has about $10,000 in credit card debt and receives an average of $200 to $300 a month from his parents to help him and his wife make ends meet and support their 16-month-old son.

“I’m 35 years old and still need some support from my parents,” Hoffmann said.

It’s disturbingly commonplace for adjunct professors to rely on support from their families. In some cases, it’s just a matter of the other spouse being the breadwinner—regardless of who’s got more education. But often parents or siblings help out—with cash, free or cheap rent, etc. It’s common enough, but not well quantified.

There’s a much clearer picture of government aid, however, which is where the story of adjunct professors once again resembles that of fast-food workers and employees at Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers, who’ve also been targeted in the Fight for 15. In all these different cases, low-wage work is partially subsidized by government assistance. According to a recent report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, poverty-level wages cost taxpayers $152.8 billion per year in public support. The cost for adjunct professors—$468 million–was a relatively small part of the whole. Nonetheless, it still meant that 100,00 faculty members, roughly one in four such families, received some form of public assistance. A state-by-state breakdown found poverty rates among part-time faculty ranged from a low of 9 percent in Nevada up to a high of 43 percent in Maine, for a national average of 22 percent. This is roughly 50 percent higher than the poverty rate for Americans as a whole (14.5% in 2013).

“I never considered myself a laborer or someone who would be part of a labor union because I always thought that those were for working-class people in industries that required manual labor,” Hoffmann told the Tribune. “It took me a long time to realize that I was actually part of the working class,” adding, “I am not looking to be rich but just middle class.” Obviously, that’s still going to be quite a struggle.  But it’s hardly an isolated one, and that’s the point of building a movement.

An illustrative example of the broader picture was provided by Arik Greenberg, an adjunct professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University, in testimony provided at a congressional briefing in January 2014, and adapted by PBS. Greenberg’s testimony touched many key themes and obscure, but highly important topics—such as how legal principles conceived to protect the rights of non-tenured faculty in an earlier era now only serve to make life worse for them. As he explained:

Almost immediately after I first began teaching at my school, they hired me for a short-term “visiting” position, which was full-time, non-tenure track. But after two years of this full-time position, they deliberately let my contract lapse so that they would not be in danger of my suing them for tenure — a risk that universities face when employing a short-term contract employee for several consecutive years in a full-time position. This is common practice at our school and elsewhere.

The fact that legal principles that once protected non-tenured faculty now contribute to making their lives hellish is a perfect encapsulation of how the larger social context has changed dramatically, standing old truths on their heads.

But perhaps what was most wrenching about Greenberg’s story was what he had to say about family, and in turn, what his family story has to say about the death of the American Dream. First, there was the impact of crushing student loan debt, which may well have prevented him from ever having children:

After taking out nearly $140,000 in student loans to pay for grad school, and after years of financial hardship deferments, accrued interest has brought these loans to over $190,000. And on an adjunct lecturer’s salary, even augmented with other side jobs, I can neither support my family nor pay my student loans. My wife and I cannot afford to raise a child on our combined income, so we have waited to raise a family. Now at the age of 43, it may be too late.

Then, there was the inability to care for his aging parents as he felt called to do:

And when my parents became ill, I couldn’t afford to move them in with me, arrange proper medical care or take enough family leave to be at my father’s side when he died.

Finally, almost as an afterthought, he let slip perhaps the most devastating comment on his family’s history:

With the massive debts that my parents have left me, I risk losing the family home that I grew up in — that my grandfather built for us with his own hands — all because I am living on part-time wages.

The American Dream comes in various different guises, but one of them certainly involves a working-class parent building the material foundations for his children and grandchildren to enter the middle class, with each generation’s life experience made up of the stuff of their parents’ dreams.

That is precisely what Greenberg’s grandfather set in motion. His father was a grade school teacher, and he is a professor. By all the traditional markers of status and accomplishment this is a multi-generational success story, the very embodiment of the American Dream. Yet, the lived experience has turned that dream into a nightmare, and that has implications for all Americans, no matter what our stations in life—fast-food worker, college professor, it makes no difference in the end. Because if that’s what happens to a hard-working three-generation family that lives out all the responsibilities and hits all the markers that supposedly lead to success, then something is profoundly wrong with society itself. Blaming individuals as “losers,” as “takers,” whatever derisive term you choose, simply doesn’t fly in a world where the story of Greenberg’s family is not just possible, but increasingly representative.

And representative it most certainly is. The congressional testimony Greenberg gave was taken in conjunction with the release of a report on contingent faculty in higher education, “The Just-In-Time Professor,” summarizing results of an e-forum by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., which collected stories from 845 adjunct faculty in 41 states.

“In 2009, CNN Money ranked college professor as the third best job in America, citing increasing job growth prospects,” the report notes in its introduction, “But, as will be seen in this report, many often live on the edge of poverty,” and the report itself is filled with their testimony, providing glimpses into lives with similar stories. For example, one participant explained:

Growing up in a poor neighborhood … I believed earning several college degrees would be my path out of poverty—but that is no longer the case.

Even though I’m a first-generation college graduate, and I teach at an institution of higher learning, I can’t afford to help pay tuition for family members who are currently enrolled toward degree programs: college tuition costs more than I earn in a semester.

Another participant, who works for an online for-profit university, provided more detail on the mismatch between student costs and teacher pay:

Considering that students pay $565 per course, and that there are approximately 20 students per class, adjuncts are paid approximately 4% of what the university takes in even though we execute the core requirements of the university. As an open enrollment university with 86% Title IV students, dedicated adjuncts must provide extensive, time-consuming feedback frequently up to 20 hours per week, which averages a wage of less than $10 per hour.

At that pay, a call for $15/hour would mean a dramatic increase. But it would still fall far, far below what tenured faculty are paid. Instead, as already mentioned, the Forward Faculty call is for $15,000 a course—a dramatic increase over current levels, which usually run around $2,000 to $3,000 per course. But, after all, these are the ones who are supposed to be models for the rest of us. And even that pay rate would still leave them well within the middle class, as realistic models of good citizenship and hard work paying off.

What’s more, the experience of joining together in struggle is starting to reignite a genuine spirit of cross-occupational solidarity—a spirit that ought to be nurtured as a foundation for future activism and policymaking as well. At the end of its story about adjunct professors joining the Fight for 15, In These Times gives the last word to Alyson Paige Warren, described earlier as “an adjunct who has worked at Loyola University Chicago and other Chicago-area schools for 12 years, sometimes making as little as $100 per weekly class.” The story concludes:

Paige Warren believes that it’s also a basis for solidarity with other workers, something that adjuncts are increasingly attuned to. “If someone who serves my coffee before I go to teach my students is struggling to make ends meet,” she said, “it’s my job to be concerned about his plight, just as he should be about mine.”

That sense of mutual concern should not sound strange or unusual to us—although it certainly might sound that way today. But it goes to the very heart of what American education has been all about for most of our history. It’s why parents, teachers and students all have a powerful sense of shared mission which can enable them to do miraculous things—such as turning the children of illiterate immigrants into eminent, gifted scholars. Even today, we’re still doing that. Not often enough, surely. But we’re still doing it, sometimes. What we’re not doing is paying them—or anyone, really—what their blood, sweat and tears are really worth.

And that’s what’s up for being changed. That’s what the Fight for 15 is ultimately all about.



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Once upon a time, the famous criminal Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, and his response was simple, eloquent, and humorous: “Because that’s where the money is.” Well, soon that adage may be proven untrue. What exactly is the meaning of legal tender? In order to place money in its proper perspective, examine what the U.S. Treasury says.

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Australia PM’s Adviser: Climate Change is UN Hoax to Create New World Order

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Maurice Newman is going to get kicked out of Canberra before you can say “G’day” if he carries on exposing UN conspiracies to create the New World Order. His op-ed piece in the Australian [paywall] has gone viral, picked up here by the Guardian:

The Australian prime minister’schief business adviser has accused the United Nations of using debunked climate change science to lead a new world order – provocative claims made to coincide with a visit from the top UN climate negotiator.

Christiana Figueres, who heads the UN framework convention on climate change, touring Australia this week, urged the country to move away from heavily polluting coal production.

Under Tony Abbott’s leadership, Australia has been reluctant to engage in global climate change politics, unsuccessfully attempting to keep the issue off the agenda of the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane last year.

Maurice Newman, the chairman of Abbott’s business advisory council and a climate change sceptic with a history of making provocative statements, said the UN was using false models showing sustained temperature increases to end democracy and impose authoritarian rule.

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Are We A Nation Of Wimps?

Text here.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Shock Report About Secret Obama Treaty: “Unlimited Migration From Mexico… Gun Import Bans… Ammunition Bans”

Call us fringe conspiracy theory lunatics, but given the secrecy surrounding the treaty one can only assume the worst.

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Robert Reich: Why on Earth Is Obama Promoting TPP with Global Exploiter Nike?

The President pandering to corporations is not what liberals want to see right now.

Today President Obama is giving a speech promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Paradoxically, he’s chosen to give it at Nike headquarters in Oregon.

Nike isn’t the solution to the problem of stagnant wages in America. Nike is the problem.

It’s true that over the past two years Nike has added 2,000 good-paying professional jobs at its Oregon headquarters, fulfilling the requirements of a controversial tax break it wrangled from the state legislature. That’s good for Nike’s new design, research and marketing employees.

But Nike’s U.S. workers make only a tiny percent of Nike’s products.

In fact, Americans made only 1 percent of the products that generated Nike’s $27.8 billion revenue last year. And Nike is moving ever more of its production abroad. Last year, a third of Nike’s remaining 13,922 American production workers were laid off.

Most of Nike’s products are made by 990,000 workers in low-wage countries whose abysmal working conditions have made Nike a symbol of global sweatshop labor.

As wages have risen in China, Nike has switched most of its production to Vietnam where wages are less than 60 cents are hour. Almost 340,000 workers cut and assemble Nike products there.

In other words, Nike is a global corporation with no particular loyalty or connection to the United States. Its loyalty is to its global shareholders.

I’m not faulting Nike. Nike is only playing by the rules. I’m faulting the rules.

Trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership protect corporate investors but lead to even more off-shoring of American jobs.

They make it safer for firms to relocate abroad – the Cato Institute describes such investor protections as “lowering the risk premium” on offshoring – thereby reducing corporate incentives to keep jobs in America and upgrade the skills of Americans.

If the Trans Pacific Partnership goes into effect American wages will be dragged down by further losses of manufacturing jobs.

All workers with similar skill levels face downward wage pressure when Americans displaced from better-paying manufacturing jobs join the glut of workers competing for non-offshorable jobs.

Jobs being lost to imports pay Americans higher wages than the jobs left behind. Government data show wages in import-competing industries (e.g. manufacturing jobs) beat those in exporting industries overall.

We can’t educate our way out of this. American workers with a four-year college degree are also highly vulnerable to job offshoring, according to a study by Princeton economist Alan Blinder.

He found that the one out of every four American jobs in finance, information technology and professional services could be offshored in the foreseeable future.

Bottom line: we need new rules for the global economy that allow Americans to win.

Instead, the Trans Pacific Partnership – which includes 12 nations, including Vietnam, but would be open for every nation to join – would lock us into an expanded version of the very policies that have failed most American for the past twenty years.

The White House says the TPP includes strong labor and environmental standards. But these are the same standards included in George W. Bush’s last agreements.

No doubt Nike is supporting the TPP. The corporations would get a tax cut on its Vietnamese and Malaysian-made goods. But even with the tariffs in place, Nike’s current expense for those $100-plus shoes is less than $10 per pair. So don’t expect that tax cut to result in cheaper prices for American consumers.

Needless to say, the TPP wouldn’t require Nike to pay its Vietnamese workers more. Nikes’ workers are not paid enough to buy the shoes they make much less buy U.S. exported goods.

Nike may be the perfect example of life under TPP, but that is not a future many Americans would choose.

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“I don’t see anyone in that video saying, ‘Look, we got to ease up,’” says the veteran officer. “Where’s the human side of you in that you’ve got a guy saying, ‘I can’t breathe?’” The veteran officer goes on, “Somebody needs to say, ‘Stop it!’ That’s what’s missing here was a voice of reason. The only voice we’re hearing is of Eric Garner.” The veteran officer believes Garner might have survived had anybody heeded his pleas. “He could have had a chance,” says the officer, who is black. “But you got to believe he’s a human being first. A human being saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’”

As I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when all is said and done, the various problems we’re facing today—militarized police, police shootings of unarmed people, the electronic concentration camp being erected around us, SWAT team raids, etc.—can be attributed to the fact that our government and its agents have ceased to see us as humans first.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"

It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.

Though perhaps overused, there are few statements that so thoroughly burrow to the heart of the nation's racial condition as the following, written fifty-three years ago by James Baldwin:

...this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it...but it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime

Indeed, and in the wake of the Baltimore uprising that began last week, they are words worth remembering.

It is bad enough that much of white America sees fit to lecture black people about the proper response to police brutality, economic devastation and perpetual marginality, having ourselves rarely been the targets of any of these. It is bad enough that we deign to instruct black people whose lives we have not lived, whose terrors we have not faced, and whose gauntlets we have not run, about violence; this, even as we enjoy the national bounty over which we currently claim possession solely as a result of violence. I beg to remind you, George Washington was not a practitioner of passive resistance. Neither the early colonists nor the nation's founders fit within the Gandhian tradition. There were no sit-ins at King George's palace, no horseback freedom rides to affect change. There were just guns, lots and lots of guns.

We are here because of blood, and mostly that of others; here because of our insatiable and rapacious desire to take by force the land and labor of those others. We are the last people on Earth with a right to ruminate upon the superior morality of peaceful protest. We have never believed in it and rarely practiced it. Rather, we have always taken what we desire, and when denied it we have turned to means utterly genocidal to make it so.

Which is why it always strikes me as precious the way so many white Americans insist (as if preening for a morality contest of some sorts) that "we don't burn down our own neighborhoods when we get angry." This, in supposed contrast to black and brown folks who engage in such presumptively self-destructive irrationality as this. On the one hand, it simply isn't true. We do burn our own communities, we do riot, and for far less valid reasons than any for which persons of color have ever hoisted a brick, a rock, or a bottle.We do so when our teams lose the big game or win the big game; or because of something called Pumpkin Festival; or because veggie burritos cost $10 at Woodstock '99 and there weren't enough Porta-Potties by the time of the Limp Bizkit set; or because folks couldn't get enough beer at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake; or because surfers (natch); or St. Patty's Day in Albany; or because Penn State fired Joe Paterno; or because it's a Sunday afternoon in Ames, Iowa; and we do it over and over and over again. Far from mere amateur hooliganism, our riots are indeed violent affairs that have been known to endanger the safety and lives of police, as with the infamous 1998 riot at Washington State University. To wit:

The crowd then attacked the officers from all sides for two hours with rocks, beer bottles, signposts, chairs, and pieces of concrete, allegedly cheering whenever an officer was struck and injured. Twenty-three officers were injured, some suffering concussions and broken bones.

Seventeen years later, one still waits for the avalanche of conservative ruminations regarding the pathologies of whites in Pullman, whose disrespect for authority suggests a larger culture of dysfunction, no doubt taught to them by their rural, corn-fed families and symbolized by the easily recognizable gang attire of Carhartt work coats and backwards baseball caps.

On the other hand, it is undeniably true that when it comes to our political anger and frustration (as contrasted with that brought on by alcohol and athletics) we white folks are pretty good at not torching our own communities. This is mostly because we are too busy eviscerating the communities of others---those against whom our anger is aimed. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Panama, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Manila, and on down the line.

When you have the power you can take out your hatreds and frustrations directly upon the bodies of others. This is what we have done, not only in the above mentioned examples but right here at home. The so-called ghetto was created and not accidentally. It was designed as a virtual holding pen---a concentration camp were we to insist upon honest language---within which impoverished persons of color would be contained. It was created by generations of housing discrimination, which limited where its residents could live. It was created by decade after decade of white riots against black people whenever they would move into white neighborhoods. It was created by deindustrialization and the flight of good-paying manufacturing jobs overseas.

And all of that is violence too. It is the kind of violence that the powerful, and only they, can manifest. One needn't throw a Molotov cocktail through a window when one can knock down the building using a bulldozer or crane operated with public money. One need not loot a store when one can loot the residents of the community as happened in Ferguson---giving out tickets to black folks for minor infractions so as to rack up huge fines and fees, thereby funding city government on the backs of the poor. Zoning laws, eminent domain, redlining, predatory lending, stop-and-frisk: all of these are forms of violence, however much white America fails to understand that. They do violence to the opportunities and dreams of millions, living in neighborhoods most of us have never visited. Indeed, in neighborhoods we consider so God-forsaken that we even have a phone app now to help us avoid them.

As I was saying, it is bad enough that we think it appropriate to admonish persons of color about violence or to say that it "never works"---especially when in fact it does. We are, after all, here, are we not? Living proof that violence works and quite well at that, thank you very much. What is worse, as per Baldwin, is our insistence that we bear no responsibility for the conditions that have brought about the current crisis, and that indeed we need not even know about those conditions. That innocence, as Baldwin expressed it, was the crime, because it betrays a non-chalance that ensures the perpetuation of all the injustices against which those presumed to be uncivilized are rebelling.

White America, as it turns out, has a long and storied tradition of not knowing, and I don't mean this in the sense of truly blameless ignorance, for this ignorance is nothing if not cultivated by the larger workings of the culture. We have come by this obliviousness honestly, but yet in a way for which we cannot escape culpability. It's not as if the truth hasn't been out there all along. It was there in 1965, for instance, when the majority of white Californians responded to the rebellion in the Watts section of Los Angeles by insisting that it was the fault of a "lack of respect for law and order" or the work of "outside agitators," while only one in five believed it was due to persistent unemployment and the economic conditions of the community. The truth was there, but apparently imperceptible to most whites when we said in the mid-1960s---within mere months of the time that formal apartheid had been lifted with the Civil Rights Act of 1964---that the present situation of black Americans was mostly their own fault, while only one in four thought white racism, past or present or some combination of the two, might be the culprit (1).

Even before the passage of national civil rights laws in the 1960s, whites were convinced there was nothing wrong. In 1962, eighty-five percent of whites said black children had just as good a chance as white children to get a good education in their communities---a claim so self-evidently absurd in retrospect that it calls into question the ability of whites to perceive even the most elemental realities of the country in which they lived. And by 1969, a mere year after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., forty-four percent of whites told a Newsweek/Gallup National Opinion Survey that blacks had a better chance than they did to get a good paying job---two times as many as said they would have a worse chance. In the same poll, eighty percent of whites said blacks had an equal or better chance for a good education than whites did, while only seventeen percent said they would have a worse opportunity (2).

The history of feigned white "innocence" actually goes back quite a ways before that of course. Even in the 1850s, during a period when black bodies were enslaved on forced labor camps known as plantations by the moral equivalent of kidnappers, respected white voices saw no issue worth addressing. Indeed, according to Dr. Samuel Cartwright, a well-respected physician of the 19th century, enslavement was such a benign institution that any black person who tried to escape its loving embrace must clearly be suffering from a mental illness. In this case, Cartwright called it "Drapetomania," a malady that could be cured by keeping the enslaved in a “child-like state,” and by regularly employing "mild whipping" (3).

In short, most white Americans are like that friend you have, or perhaps relative, who never went to medical school, but went to Google this morning and now feels certain he or she is perfectly qualified to diagnose your every pain and discomfort. As with your friend and the med school to which they never gained entry, most white folks never took classes on the history of racial domination and subordination, but are sure we know more about it than those who actually did---who more than merely taking the class actually lived the subject matter---and whose very lives have depended upon something far greater than a mere pass-fail arrangement. One wonders (or perhaps most don’t and that is the problem) how a person can attain the age of adulthood and be viewed as educated, as remotely competent to engage with their society, to vote, to participate in the lifeblood of American democracy while knowing nothing of the lived experiences of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen?

When white folks ask "why are they so angry, why do they run from police, and why do some among them loot?" we betray no real interest in knowing the answers to those questions---which answers we could have found on the same internet we so often use to bash black people on Twitter---but rather, reveal our own intellectual nakedness, our hatred for truth, our utterly ahistorical understanding of our own society. We query as if history did not happen, because for us it did not.

And so we need know nothing, apparently, about the forces that really destroyed urban America, and long before anyone in Baltimore decided to attack a CVS or a liquor store. For instance, University of Alabama History Professor Raymond Mohl has noted that by the early 1960s, nearly 40,000 housing units per year were being demolished in urban communities (mostly of color) to make way for interstate highway construction, begun under the Eisenhower Administration. Another 40,000 were being knocked down annually as part of so-called urban "renewal," which facilitated the creation of parking lots, office parks and shopping centers in working class and low-income residential spaces. By the late 1960s, the annual toll would rise to nearly 70,000 houses or apartments destroyed every year for the interstate effort alone. Three-fourths of persons displaced from their homes were black, and a disproportionate share of the rest were Latino (4). Less than ten percent of persons displaced by urban renewal and interstate construction had new single-resident or family housing to go to afterward, as cities rarely built new housing to take the place of that which had been destroyed. Instead, displaced families had to rely on crowded apartments, double up with relatives, or move into run-down public housing projects (5). In all, about one-fifth of all African American housing in the nation was destroyed by the forces of so-called economic development.

Importantly, this displacement of impoverished persons of color was no unintended consequence of the highway program. To the contrary, it was foreseen and accepted as a legitimate cost of progress. In 1965, a congressional committee acknowledged that the highway system was likely to displace a million people before it was finished. But due to racial discrimination in suburban and outlying areas, persons of color displaced had nowhere to turn for housing. Certainly the white developers weren’t thinking of challenging the blatant racism in lending or zoning that was keeping their suburban spaces all-white. In fact, at the same time black and brown housing was being destroyed, millions of white families were procuring government guaranteed loans (through the FHA and VA loan programs) that were almost entirely off-limits to people of color (6). So, ironically, the government was reducing the housing stock for people of color at the same time it was expanding it for whites. In fact, since the interstate program made “white flight” easier and cheaper than ever before, it can even be said that white middle-class housing access was made possible because of the destruction of housing for African American and Latino communities (7).

The destruction of urban residential space prompted citizen protests across the nation, including a substantial movement in Baltimore where the impacts of highway construction, urban renewal and ghettoization were among the most extreme. In fact, opposition to many of the proposed interstate routes forced the government to pass new regulation in the late '60s, ostensibly ensuring relocation assistance or new housing construction to replace units destroyed: a promise that would go largely unfulfilled in each and every community affected. Given the government’s steadfast refusal to offer relocation assistance in the face of intentional housing stock reduction---indeed the head of Eisenhower’s Office of Economic Advisors admitted relocation help was rejected for being too costly---it can be said that the interstate program operated as a mechanism of racial apartheid and oppression for millions of people

But we can know nothing about any of that and still be called educated.

So too, we need know nothing about the blatant ways in which race-based housing discrimination created the so-called ghetto, in cities like Baltimore and elsewhere. In addition to redlining---a practice that involved banks literally drawing red lines on neighborhood maps, signaling which neighborhoods would be denied mortgage loans, no matter the creditworthiness of individual residents---and discrimination in suburbs limiting where blacks could move, other more intricate methods of economic marginalization were deployed as well. One of the most pernicious was the practice of "contract" home sales, in which black homebuyers were essentially roped into buying their property "on time," the way you might a television or dishwasher: making payments (at inflated rates of interest), until the entire "loan" (far larger than the actual value of the house) had been paid off. Even one late or missed payment would typically cause the borrower to be considered in default, and the holder of the contract would then take the property back from the borrower, reselling it to some other unlucky customer. Last year in the pages of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates discussed how such practices created and sustained the ghetto in mid-century Chicago, but make no mistake, the practice was a nationwide one. And whereas whites in the cities---who were rarely conned into these kinds of loans---could leave for more pastoral settings, often using government-guaranteed FHA loans for the purpose, blacks could not. Not only were FHA loans largely off-limits to persons of color during that time, but more to the point, if they left the cities before their contracts were paid off (which could take several decades), they would lose every dollar of equity they had thus far, theoretically, accumulated. In this way, white flight and black entrapment in the poorest neighborhoods were intimately linked. Which is to say that our opportunities, our advancement, our greener pastures and what accumulated property we possess is the flipside of black and brown oppression. They are two sides of one coin, not separate and unrelated historical processes.

But we can know nothing about that and still be thought educated. We can live in the very houses obtained with those government-backed loans that were denied to others based solely on race, or inherit the proceeds from their sale, and still believe ourselves unsullied and unimplicated in the pain of the nation's black and brown communities.

And surely we need know nothing about the systematic violence experienced by thousands of Baltimore families subjected to lead poisoning in their run-down apartments, all with the approval of government-funded medical researchers.

In the 1990s, The Johns Hopkins-affiliated Kennedy Krieger Institute knowingly exposed children and families---most of them black---to potentially dangerous levels of lead, as part of a study to determine the most cost-effective methods for removing lead paint from older buildings in poor neighborhoods. Their research entailed recruiting poor families to move into apartments and houses where three different levels of lead abatement had been utilized (telling them little or nothing about the risks involved) and then observing the lead levels in the children's blood over time. Although most children saw reductions in the levels of lead in their blood, some of the kids in homes where the less expensive and thorough method of lead abatement had been used were exposed to lead levels high enough to have significant effects on brain development. Rather than simply eliminate the lead entirely, regardless of the cost, or knock down lead-infested buildings and start over again with new and non-toxic housing for Baltimore's poor, prominent and respected researchers used low-income black families as guinea pigs. That I could reference here Tuskegee and most white folks would have no idea to what I was referring speaks volumes. And no, I won't hyperlink it. If you have to look it up you have proved my point.

Others in Baltimore, not part of the Kennedy Krieger study, were similarly subjected to lead paint, often without even the pretense of attempted abatement or removal. One such family settled a lawsuit against slumlord Stanley Rochkind in 2010, he having been previously fined $90,000 by the Maryland Department of the Environment, and forced to remove lead paint in nearly 500 rental units he owned in the city. As regards that family for whom the 2010 settlement was obtained, one of the sons in that family, when tested, had levels of lead in his blood that were 2-4 times what the Centers for Disease Control considers cause for concern, and as much as twice what the state of Maryland deems official lead poisoning.

That son's name? Freddie Gray. Perhaps you've heard of him.

May his story---and not just the way he died in the custody of Baltimore police, but also the way in which his life was stolen years earlier by institutional racism, neglect and a vicious class system---never be forgotten.


(1) John David Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture and Justice in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996), 83.

(2) Newsweek/Gallup Organization, National Opinion Survey, August 19, 1969.

(3) Cartwright, Samuel. “Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race,” DeBow’s Review. (Southern and Western States: New Orleans), 1851. Volume XI.

(4) Micaela di Leonardo, “‘Why Can’t They be Like Our Grandparents?’ and Other Racial Fairytales,” in Without Justice For All, Adolph Reed Jr., ed. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1999), 42.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Rudolph Alexander, Jr. Racism, African Americans and Social Justice (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), 85.

(7) George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness. (Temple University, 1998), 6-7; Jill Quadagno, The Color of Welfare. (Oxford University Press, 1994); Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. (NY: Routledge, 1995); Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton, American Apartheid. (Harvard University Press, 1993).


from Main RSS Feed

NSA mass phone surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden ruled illegal

  • Collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is ruled unlawful
  • Landmark decision by appeals court clears way for full challenge against NSA
Continue reading...

from US news | The Guardian

Socialization as a Religious Phenomenon

Every home schooling parent has been asked the S-Question: “What about socialization?” The implications (real or imagined) of the question are less than flattering: Students who attend schools outside the home are socialized better because they spend so much time with their immature peers, whereas students who attend school within the home are poorly socialized because they spend so much time with their mature parents. Home school families do not interact with one another. Socialization that occurs on the soccer field, during debate rounds, and in church doesn’t count (or is somehow inferior). Students who attend school outside the...

from Keyword: education

Big Brother in the sky: FBI surveillance planes spied on Baltimore protests

Alex Thomas | FBI surveillance of Baltimore riots watched dozens of city blocks at once.

The post Big Brother in the sky: FBI surveillance planes spied on Baltimore protests appeared first on Intellihub Transfer.

from Intellihub Transfer

Who Has Been Saved?


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jails Are a Cash Cow for the Rich

Thanks to kickbacks from phone companies, state and local governments have every reason to keep their prison cells filled, no matter what the cost to the rest of society. (Photo: Andrew Bardwell)Thanks to kickbacks from phone companies, state and local governments have every reason to keep their prison cells filled, no matter what the cost to the rest of society. (Photo: Andrew Bardwell)

Also see: Prison Phone Company Whines, "WE MISS YOU!"

Rampant privatization is wreaking havoc on our society.

Case in point: what's happened over the past few decades with prison phone services.

It used to be that if you were incarcerated at, say, the state penitentiary or the local jail you could call your family collect for as little as $4 an hour.

But then, states began signing contracts with private phone companies like AT&T, who, in turn, began charging sky-high rates for phone calls between prisoners and their families.

A 15-minute phone call that used to cost just a few bucks soon started costing as much as $17, which is a lot to ask from people in jail and prison, who generally have little to no income or from their families, who often live in poverty.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

Of course, while prisoners struggled to find a way to talk to their loved ones without breaking the bank, the phone companies got - and have stayed - very, very rich. The prison phone service industry now rakes in around $1.2 billion every year.

And it's not just the phone companies that are getting rich off prisoners' phone calls.

Thanks to so-called "commissions" that can account for as much as 94 percent of the cost of a call, prison phone contracts have become a major source of revenue for state and local governments all across the country.

These glorified kickbacks have also become a source of revenue for prisons themselves, and they use them to pay for the health care and food services they're already constitutionally required to provide.

In other words, like pretty much every other case of privatization over the past few decades, the rise of private prison phone contracts has nothing to do with "efficiency" or "improving services" and has everything do with making a quick buck for some crony capitalist with a bunch of Republican friends in Congress.

As Paul Wright of the Human Rights Defense Center told ThinkProgress,

"For decades, prisons and jails provided secure, cheap telephone services with no problems. They're perfectly capable of doing it. It's just that now they view prisoners as profit centers. They're monetizing human suffering and human captivity."

Luckily, though, the government is starting to take action against some of the worst excesses of the phone service-industrial complex.

In 2013, the FCC capped calls between prisoners and their out-of-state family members to no more than 25 cents per minute.

And this summer it's expected to crack down on the "commissions" system that's forcing prisoners to pay for their own imprisonment and helping state governments get rich of mass incarceration

Law enforcement, though, is having none of it.

The National Sheriffs' Association says that if the government cuts back on the kickbacks prisons get from prisoners' phone calls, they could just stop providing phone call services altogether.

This is a perfect example of everything that's wrong with privatization, especially the privatization of large public institutions. Like the powers to wage war, kill or draft, the power to imprison is among the most serious powers that our government holds.

The problem with privatization is that it creates a built-in incentive to abuse these powers, and prevents "We the People" from keeping tight control over the functions of our government.

Thanks to kickbacks from phone companies, state and local governments have every reason to keep their prison cells filled, no matter what the cost to the rest of society.

And when there's so much money to be made from exploiting prisoners, and that money then gets recycled back to the politicians as campaign contributions, it's that much harder to get our elected representatives to reform our screwed-up criminal legal system.

It's time to stop treating jails like cash cows. Call the FCC today and tell them you support their move to clamp down on the phone service-prison-industrial complex.

from Truthout Stories

We're citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear

The American public needs more access to what the government is doing in its name. That requires increasing freedom of information and transparency

When freedom of information and transparency are stifled, then bad decisions are often made and heartbreaking tragedies occur – too often on a breathtaking scale that can leave societies wondering: how did this happen? Think about the recent debates on torture, assassination by unmanned aircraft, secret warrants and detentions, intelligence and surveillance courts, military commissions, immigration detention centers and the conduct of modern warfare. These policies affect millions of people around the world every day and can affect anyone – wives, children, fathers, aunts, boyfriends, cousins, friends, employees, bosses, clergy and even career politicians – at any time. It is time that we bring a health dose of sunlight to them.

I believe that when the public lacks even the most fundamental access to what its governments and militaries are doing in their names, then they cease to be involved in the act of citizenship. There is a bright distinction between citizens, who have rights and privileges protected by the state, and subjects, who are under the complete control and authority of the state.

Continue reading...

from Network Front | The Guardian

It begins: US government issues $700,000 fine against a digital currency

It begins: US government issues $700,000 fine against a digital currency:

'via Blog this'

Flashback: State nutrition boards tried to outlaw websites discussing nutrition

(NaturalNews) The effort by governments and mega-corporations to hide valuable information from the public regarding the foods they eat is not a new development by a long shot. In fact, just a few months ago, reports surfaced that efforts to keep vital, up-to-date nutrition data out...


Vaccine industry has suppressed and intimidated all but four reporters in the entire country

(NaturalNews) Noted vaccine choice advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., gave a speech recently at the New Jersey state capitol in Trenton in which he focused primarily on the corruption, collusion and malfeasance regarding vaccine safety at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...


Vaccine agenda herd mentality is like a pack of lemmings unaware they're running over a cliff

(NaturalNews) There's a reason why the Church of Vaccines loves to throw around the concept of "herd immunity" when reprimanding parents who choose not to jab their children. The entire vaccine agenda, it turns out, is based on mindless herd mentality where people are expected to...


The New Corrupt Elite That Is Running Our Economy

Talking about old systems of power and corruption doesn't begin to capture new realities.
Social anthropologist Janine Wedel, author, most recently, of Unaccountable: How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt Our Finances, Freedom, and Security, has spent decades getting to the bottom of how powerful people wield influence. In her view, old ways of talking about formal systems of power and corruption don't begin to capture new realities. Truth and transparency, she warns, have devolved into performance art. The buck stops nowhere. Could women be particularly suited to disrupt the unaccountability structured into the DNA of many of today's financial, corporate and governmental organizations? Wedel weighs in. (Accountability is a key topic in a May 5-6 conference sponsored by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, " Finance and Society," which features Brooksley Born, Elizabeth Warren, and other influential women who have challenged corrupt systems of power.)

from Main RSS Feed

11 Signs That We Are Entering The Next Phase Of The Global Economic Crisis

Well, the Nasdaq finally did it. It has climbed all the way back to where it was at the peak of the dotcom bubble. Back in March 2000, the Nasdaq set an all-time record high of 5,048.62. On Thursday, after all these years, that all-time record was finally eclipsed.

from Before It's News | ALTERNATIVE NEWS

Whistleblowers Reveal CPS Child Kidnappings in Kentucky Adoption Business

Investigative reporter John Boel has exposed much of the corruption taking place in the "child protection" system in Kentucky. His reports were broadcast in the local media, and include some amazing interviews with former CPS whistleblowers, documenting the depth of the alleged corruption within Kentucky CPS. In a report aired originally on WLKY Target 32 News, news anchors begin the story by explaining that the station had to go to court just to get permission to air their investigative report, because the State of Kentucky attempted to censor their report from the public. Reporter John Boel states that they were "being swamped with complaints" against CPS in Kentucky. He explains that his report gives an "in-depth look" into Kentucky CPS which exemplifies what they were hearing from so many other families who were coming to them. Boel reports that children are often removed quickly with no evidence of parental wrong-doing, and that the State retaliates against those who try to fight back.

from Health Impact News

Unbelievable surveys given to children in Massachusetts -- and schools across America

Across Massachusetts – and across America – thousands of schoolchildren are given sexually graphic, psychologically intrusive surveys by the public schools without parents’ knowledge. These surveys also ask youth to reveal their criminal activity, personal family matters, and other intimate issues. This is done in the public middle schools and high schools during school hours. At best, parents are told about the surveys in vague terms, but are rarely allowed read them beforehand. The surveys are “officially” anonymous and voluntary. But they are administered by the teacher in a classroom and (according to teachers we’ve talked to) there is often...

from Keyword: education
via IFTTT Caught Sharing Customer DNA Data With Police With No Warrant

The company had promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services."

Idaho Falls, Idaho – Would you find it frightening— perhaps even downright Orwellian — to know that a DNA swab that you sent to a company for recreational purposes would surface years later in the hands of police? What if it caused your child to end up in a police interrogation room as the primary suspect in a murder investigation?

In an extremely troubling case out of Idaho Falls, that’s exactly what happened.

Police investigating the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge targeted the wrong man as the suspect, after looking to owned Sorensen Database labs for help. The labs look for familial matches between the murderers DNA and DNA submitted for genealogical testing after failing to find a match using traditional methods.

According to The Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by, which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.” Some of these volunteers were encouraged by the Mormon Church—well-known for its interest in genealogy—to provide their genetic material to the database. Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.

Its consent form states:
The only individuals who will have access to the codes and genealogy information will be the principal investigator and the others specifically authorized by the Principal Investigator, including the SMGF research staff.

Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.” failed to respond to questions about how frequently it receives court orders in criminal investigations or if the company attempts to resist law enforcement requests for peoples’ private genetic information, according to The New Orleans Advocate.

This is when things become even more convoluted. The DNA from the database linked a man, Michael Usry, to the case that didn’t fit the police profile, as he was born in 1952.

The cops then used the genetic information and traced his line of male descendants, ultimately finding his son Michael Usry Jr., born in 1979, which much more closely fit the police profile of the killer.

Once they had targeted Ursy Jr. as the suspect, they began to scour his Facebook page looking for connections to Idaho, finding a couple of Facebook friends that lived in the area of Idaho Falls.

Police then, by Google searching, realized that Usry Jr. was a filmmaker and had done some short films containing murder scenes. Law enforcement subsequently got a warrant for Usry Jr.’s DNA based upon the completely circumstantial evidence presented by Idaho investigators.

The cops then called Usry Jr. and asked him to meet them, under the guise that they were investigating a hit-and-run accident. Thinking he “had nothing to hide,” he agreed to meet with the investigators, without an attorney present. He was subsequently taken to an interrogation room where he eventually allowed them to collect his DNA.

Despite the flimsy circumstantial evidence used to get the warrant, ultimately the test showed that although there were a number of familial alleles shared with the murderers sample, Usry Jr.’s DNA did not conclusively match the killers.

This case is particularly troubling as it seems to decimate an individual’s right to privacy in the name of “public safety,” while allowing the police to run roughshod over people’s civil rights.

“It’s not very common to see this sort of thing, and I frankly hope it doesn’t become very common because an awful lot of people won’t bother testing” their DNA, Judy G. Russell, a genealogist and attorney who writes The Legal Genealogist blog, told The New Orleans Advocate.

There is one key difference between traditional DNA testing and familial testing. The traditional method consists of taking a sample and looking for a specific match with a given database, such as the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, while familial searching looks for common alleles, or gene variants.

According to Voices of Liberty:

Proponents argue familial searching is a harmless way for police to crack otherwise unsolvable cases. The closest partial matches can steer investigators toward a criminal’s family members, whose DNA profiles closely resemble those of a convicted or incarcerated relative.

Skeptics like Murphy, the NYU law professor, warn that the technique drastically expands DNA testing beyond the function envisioned by states that compel criminal defendants to submit DNA samples upon arrest. Many states lack formal legal rules governing the use of familial searching by law enforcement, while Maryland has explicitly outlawed the practice.

This case exposes the very real danger posed to privacy and civil liberties by familial DNA searches and by private, unregulated DNA databases.This case only serves as a glimpse into the dystopian reality we will soon find ourselves living in, according to The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“This risk will increase further as state and local law enforcement agencies begin to use Rapid DNA analyzers—portable machines that can process DNA in less than an hour. These machines will make it much easier for police to collect and analyze DNA on their own outside a lab. Currently, because forensic DNA analysis in a lab takes so long, we generally see its use limited to high-level felonies like rape and murder. However, Rapid DNA manufacturers are now encouraging local police agencies to analyze DNA found at the scene of low-level property crimes. This means much more DNA will be collected and stored, often in under-regulated local DNA databases. And, because most of the forensic DNA found at property crime scenes is likely to be touch DNA—this only increases the risk that people will be implicated in crimes they didn’t commit.”

Is this really the kind of future we want to create for our children? Shouldn’t we be able to research and learn about our family’s genealogical ancestry without fear that police will be reviewing our genetic information without our consent?

This case makes it clear that even when a private business states in writing that your data will be held as private and safe from prying eyes, that may very well not be what transpires.



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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Big Business Of Cancer: 100 BILLION Dollars Was Spent On Cancer Drugs Last Year Alone

If you are an American, there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will get cancer during your lifetime. If you are a man, the odds are closer to 1 in 2. And almost everyone in America either knows someone who currently has cancer or who has already died from cancer. But it wasn’t [...]

from End Of The American Dream

FDA FAIL: NEVER Take Newly Approved Prescription Drugs! · The Liberty Beacon

FDA FAIL: NEVER Take Newly Approved Prescription Drugs! · The Liberty Beacon:

'via Blog this'

Chuck Norris Writes Powerful Op-Ed on Jade Helm, Reminds Americans ‘Security Without Liberty is Called Prison’

Honorary Texas Ranger Chuck Norris has written a powerful Op-Ed against U.S. government’s plans to conduct what many are calling ‘martial law’ training in multiple states over the summer. The controversial exercise known as Jade Helm 15 is causing alarm with citizens and lawmakers alike while public view and trust of the federal government continue to […]


Robert Reich: The Real Reason Inequality Is Widening and Average Working Americans Can’t Gain Ground - Truthdig

Robert Reich: The Real Reason Inequality Is Widening and Average Working Americans Can’t Gain Ground - Truthdig:

'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pam and Russ Martens explain how the media misleads Americans about the economy

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens Why the Fed Will Crash the…

The post Pam and Russ Martens explain how the media misleads Americans about the economy appeared first on The Liberty Beacon.

from The Liberty Beacon

Is the Federal Government Ready for War Against the American People?

Prior to even the beginning of the Jade Helm provocation strategically announced months in advance for the purpose of triggering reactionary alarm amongst US citizenry fearing martial law and FEMA roundups that the feds have been planning for years (see…

from Global Research