2012-11-27: What I’ve Been Reading Today

 

Military Women Challenge Combat Exclusion Rule In Lawsuit Against Defense Department

imageMolly O’Toole | HuffPost: A first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, a captain in the Marine Corps Reserves, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves and a major in the U.S. Air National Guard filed suit Tuesday against the Department of Defense, challenging its rules restricting women in combat under the Fifth Amendment. The four individual plaintiffs have all served in Afghanistan or Iraq, and two are Purple Heart recipients.

Family Forced to Abandon the U.S. in Order to be Together

Beth Caldwell and Joel Medina, News Report: “The Ortega family is one of a growing number of American families who are forced to abandon their lives in the U.S. to stay together. ICE reports that 45,000 parents of American citizen children were deported in the first half of 2012. Human Rights Watch estimates that 1.6 million people in the United States were separated from a deported spouse or parent between 1997 and 2007.”

Will Tim Geithner Lead Us Over or Around the Fiscal Cliff?

Robert Reich, Op-Ed: “During his tenure as Treasury Secretary, Geithner has followed in Rubin’s path — engineering a no-strings Wall Street bailout that didn’t require the Street to help stranded homeowners, didn’t demand the Street agree to a resurrection of the Glass-Steagall Act, and didn’t seek to cap the size of the biggest bank, which in the wake of the bailout have become much bigger.”

Mississippi County Jails Kids For School Dress Code Violations, Tardiness, DOJ Alleges

Nicole Flatow , News Report: In Meridian, Miss., it is school officials – not police – who determine who should be arrested. Schools seeking to discipline students call the police, and police policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency, according to a Department of Justice lawsuit. The result is a perverse system that funnels children as young as ten who merely misbehave in class into juvenile detention centers without basic constitutional procedures. The lawsuit, which follows unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the county, challenges the constitutionality of punishing children “so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience”.

Chris Hedges | Stand Still for the Apocalypse

Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed: Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

Massive Fire Kills At Least 118 Factory Workers in Bangladesh at Wal-Mart Supplier

Amy Goodman, Video Feature: A clothing factory which has ties to Wal-Mart and IKEA suffered a fire that caused 118 deaths and injured even more. Bangladesh has notoriously poor worker conditions and denies any chance for workers to improve them. The factory made polo shirts and fleece jackets for Wal-Mart and was operated by Tarzeen Fashions, a subsidiary of the Tuba Group which supplies Wal-Mart, IKEA, and other major retailers in Europe and the U.S.

Hot and Crusty Bakery Workers Seal the Deal on Unionization

Olivia Rosane, News Report: After 55 days on the picket line, the workers of the Manhattan restaurant and bakery Hot and Crusty celebrated a precedent-making collective bargaining agreement at a rally and press conference Friday, November 16. In May the workers voted to form a union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association, after enduring years of wage theft, unsafe conditions, and verbal harassment from managers. Instead of recognizing the union, however, the restaurant’s former owners shut the store down on August 31, prompting nearly two months of protest that the current agreement brings to an end.

How to Kill Social Security, With a Smile

Froma Harrop, Op-Ed: Conservatives never much liked Social Security. It’s a wildly popular government program that’s totally solvent until 2033. It will be easily fixable and by then may not need fixing at all. Doesn’t quite fit with the government-can’t-do-anything-right talking point. Then there’s the Social Security Trust Fund, a nice hunk of change invested in Treasury securities that some conservatives don’t want to pay back. The trust fund represents payroll taxes collected from workers and employers — taxes raised a quarter century ago to provide a cushion against the predicted stresses of an aging population.

America’s Perilous Pivot

Javier Solana, Op-Ed: “The Pacific or the Middle East? For the United States, that is now the primary strategic question. The violence in Gaza, coming as President Barack Obama was meeting Asia’s leaders in Phnom Penh, perfectly encapsulates America’s dilemma. Instead of being able to focus on US foreign policy’s ‘pivot’ to Asia, Obama was forced to spend many hours in conversation with the leaders of Egypt and Israel, and to dispatch Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Asia, in order to facilitate a cease-fire in Gaza.”

Older, Wiser and Living with HIV/AIDS

Matthew Cardinale, News Analysis: When HIV/AIDS first emerged in the 1980s, the stereotypical image of a person living with the disease in the United States was a young or middle-aged white homosexual male. For decades, that stigma has persisted, although today it includes people of colour. In reality, though, a near-majority of those in the U.S. with the disease are much older, including those who have had HIV or AIDS for as long as 20 or 30 years; those who contracted the disease later in life; and those who may have had HIV for a long time but simply were not aware of it.

Whistleblower: Nuclear Regulators Suppress Facts, Break Law

William Boardman, Op-Ed: The likelihood was very low that an earthquake followed by a tsunami would destroy all four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, but in March 2011, that’s what happened, and the accident has yet to be contained. Similarly, the likelihood may be low that an upstream dam will fail, unleashing a flood that will turn any of 34 vulnerable nuclear plants into an American Fukushima. But knowing that unlikely events sometimes happen nevertheless, the nuclear industry continues to answer the question of how much safety is enough by seeking to suppress or minimize what the public knows about the danger.

Anchor Accuses Top House Progressive Of Tanking Markets By Appearing On CNBC

Evan McMorris-Santoro | TPM:  At around 3:30 PM Eastern Tuesday, CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera noted a sell-off in the stock market, an entirely unremarkable occurrence in the course of the financial network’s daily coverage. But what separated this particular sell-off from others, according to Caruso-Cabrera, was that it could be traced directly to the appearance of one of the House’s top progressives on her show.  Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) tanked the market, she said, by refusing to budge on his contention that Medicare cuts should be off the table in negotiations surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff.

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BREAKING: Romney Campaign Caves After Being Called Out For Again Disregarding the Latino Community

For Immediate Release

July 6, 2012

Romney Declined Invitation To Address The Largest Latino Civil Rights And Advocacy Group In The Country; Caves After Being Called Out Over Repeatedly Disrespecting Latinos

Las Vegas, NV – We’ll bet you $10,000 this isn’t a coincidence.  After members of the Latino community held a press conference this morning calling out corporate layoff specialist Mitt Romney for once again disrespecting Latino families by declining an invitation to address the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy group in the nation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this afternoon that Romney has caved to pressure and is now sending a surrogate to the conference.  We’re guessing Romney saying he would veto the DREAM Act – he even called it a “handout” – won’t be in the surrogate’s talking points.   

“The fact Mitt Romney caved and agreed to send a surrogate to the conference only after he was called out over again disrespecting the Latino community only further highlights how out-of-touch he is with Latino families,” said Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Zach Hudson.  “Caving to pressure will not change Mitt Romney’s record of laying off workers and shipping their jobs overseas, his plans to cut education, or his opposition to the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.  Nevada’s Latino community has a clear choice in this election between President Obama, who wants to move our country forward by creating jobs, working with Congress to pass immigration reform, and increasing funding for education, and Mitt Romney, who wants to take us back to the same failed pro-Wall Street, anti-middle class policies that have devastated Nevada families.”

President Obama’s Immigration Executive Order

Last Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy to make our immigration policy more fair and efficient.

President Obama said, “This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just, specifically for certain young people sometimes called DREAMers. Now, these are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants, and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license or a college scholarship.”

President Obama continued, “This is a temporary stop-gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people…”

“In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places. So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history — today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years. We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education. And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent. We’ve improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully. Well, today, we’re improving it again.

President Obama concluded, “This is the right thing to do.”

Read the full remarks here and watch the video here.