February 28, 2014

Proof that Comedians are Today's Philosophers

Neuroscience, democracy, human nature, linguistics, science, theology, evolutionary biology, are just a few of the topics discussed in this show.

"I'm going to dedicate my life to fighting the right-wing. I cannot let the fascists win." - Eddie Izzard

February 25, 2014

A Robin Hood Tax To Take Back Our Economy

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

The Robin Hood tax, a small tax of less than ½ of 1% on Wall Street transactions can generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the US alone. It is an idea whose impact can be felt globally as well.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Fran├žois Hollande reiterated their support for the tax, announcing that they’d like to see the tax implemented before European Parliament elections in late May. And it is not just Germany and France. Nine other countries are also on board. Notably absent from supporting the Robin Hood Tax are the United States and the UK.

A star-studded video produced by the RobinHoodTax.org, imagines a future 10 years after the passage of the Robin Hood Tax.  Robinhoodtax.org is made up of :

“A Nobel Prize-winning economists, former US Vice Presidents and founders of Microsoft.

We are Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director, the UN’s Secretary General and the Archbishop of Capetown.

We are union members, nurses, small business owners, community organizers, faith leaders, AIDS activists, environmentalists, movie stars and musicians, and we are part of a global movement of more than 220 million people in 25 countries who are fighting for a Robin Hood Tax – a small tax on Wall Street trades.

We are a force to be reckoned with, and we are demanding justice.”

Robin Hood Tax, Wall Street Tax, Financial transaction tax, Tax Wall Street, Robin Hood, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Popular Resistance, Dennis Trainor Jr, atv, tyt

February 19, 2014

Ukraine Clashes Fueled By U.S. Meddling as Manifest Destiny’s Child Strikes Again

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

The violent clashes unfolding in Kiev are directly linked to policy decisions and money flow from Washington DC. Just as the genocide of Native Americans to make way for the U.S. colonies and our expansion westward were justified by the concept of Manifest Destiny, the fires of the tinderbox that is Kiev right now are being fanned by a subtler if just as dangerous iteration of Manifest Destiny, our blowback inducing homicidal bull in a geopolitical, cultural, and religious china shop - Manifest Destiny’s Child: Neoliberalism’s front line warrior.

As Paul Craig Roberts writes in an article published on his website and PopularResistance.org:

“There is a lack of awareness on the part of the protesters that by permitting themselves to be manipulated by Washington, they are pushing the world toward a dangerous war.

A number of confirmations have come in from readers that Washington is fueling the violent protests in Ukraine with our taxpayer dollars. Washington has no money for food stamps or to prevent home foreclosures, but it has plenty of money with which to subvert Ukraine.”

The fact that we are meddling in the affairs of the Ukraine, spending money and influence that are resulting in violence and death should not read as tin foil hat conspiracy theory. These actions, and financial priorities have been US foreign policy dating back to at least the end of World War 2. Whether it is the 1953 CIA lead coup in Iran, or Ollie North funneling funny money to train freedom fighters in Afghanistan that would yield a young leader named Osama Bin Laden, the United States has been attempting to shape the geopolitical landscape and global economy loosing military conflicts ad wars for sixty years.

But don’t take my word for it. Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State, old the National Press Club last December that the US has “invested” $5 billion in organizing a network to achieve US goals in Ukraine in order to give “Ukraine the future it deserves.” As Paul Craig Robert reports,

“Nuland is the Obama regime official who was caught red-handed naming the members of the Ukrainian government Washington intends to impose on the Ukrainian people once the paid protesters have unseated the current elected and independent government.

What Nuland means by Ukraine’s future under EU overlordship is for Ukraine to be looted like Latvia and Greece and to be used by Washington as a staging ground for US missile bases against Russia.”

As you watch the unfolding story coming out of Kiev, keep in mind that after 60 years (give or take) of behaving like the evil villain on the world’s stage, there was a moment- around September 11, 2001 (for a day or two) when the empathy of most of the world was squarely with the United States.

Spending this political capital like the trust fund, evangelical, village idiot that he is, George Bush took the advice of a cadre a Straussian, homicidal maniacs and soon began substituting Saddam Husain for Osama Bin Laden and before you could say “wham bam thank you mam can I have another?” a newly articulated foreign policy of prevention and pre-emption to wage a war with a border less enemy meant a fete accomplie for the military industrial complex: endless, perpetual war. As Uncle Sam set about illegally invading and occupying foreign lands, engaging in overt and covert blowback inducing foreign policy, one million innocent Iraqis were killed in an illegal and immoral war. Afghanistan is the new Vietnam, and Al Quad, wounded though they might be, simply fled to Pakistan, Somalia, or just as likely, to North Brunswick, New Jersey.

The Obama Administration’s version of the Bush Doctrine lacks the theatrics of the shock and awe campaign of Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld. However, the Obama administration is still generating an army of chickens, be they in the form of future military of terror attacks or in the form of the neoliberal house of cards set to crumble, that will certainly come home to roost.

Kiev Violence, Euroamaidan, Violent Protests Ukraine, Ukraine Protests, Maidan Ukraine, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Dennis Trainor Jr, Paul Craig Roberts, Manifest Destiny, Manifest Destiny’s Child, Obama,

February 18, 2014

How Wolves Change Rivers - Sustainable Man

Tim DeChristopher Interview - Climate Change is The Context of Our Times

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

An Interview with Tim DeChristopher, the founder of Peaceful Uprising who is widely known known for one of the more creative acts of non violent insurrection and civil disobedience in recent memory when he disrupted a government oil and gas lease auction in order to protect fragile land in southern Utah from long term damage. That story became the subject of the documentary Bidder 70, and that act resulted in DeChrispher spending 21 months in federal custody.

Tim is among the organizers calling for a Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet and Peace over Profit, whose mission is

“an education and direct action campaign beginning this spring, with “10 days to change course,” running from Earth Day to May Day. It provides coordinated action and collaboration across fronts of struggle and national borders to harness the transformative power we already possess as a thousand separate movements. These grassroots justice movements are sweeping the globe, rising up against the global assault on our shared economy, ecology, peace and democracy. The accelerating climate disaster, which threatens to unravel civilization as soon as 2050, intensifies all of these struggles and creates new urgency for collaboration and unified action.

The Convergence creates a unifying call for a solution as big as the crisis barreling down on us – an emergency Green Economic Transformation through a Global Green New Deal including universal jobs, health care, education, food and housing security, economic and political democracy, demilitarization, an end to deportations, and 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.”


Climate crisis, Climate change, Tim DeChristopher, Earth Day, May Day, Global uprising, Global green new deal, Resistance Report,

Hipster infestation

The following is a bit of fun with doing a "find and replace" on a stupid article in the conservative rag NYPOST:

Looking for a meal in the city? Prepare to fight hipsters for reservations — and feel free to blame the MTA.

A startling one-half of the eateries — 77 out of 154 — were cited for signs of gentrification, according to a Harvard grad’s study of 2013 city Health Department restaurant ratings across the five boroughs.

“Ugh!” said Clemencia Guillem, 42, after being told about her neighborhood’s hipster stats. “That’s so nasty. hipsters are, like, my worst nightmare.”

At least the neighborhood has an excuse: the ongoing construction of the massive Second Avenue Subway project.

“I know I’m taking a risk anytime I eat,” said graphic designer Adam Li, 29, as he sipped coffee in the heart of the occupied territories in Williamsburg. “It’s sort of like, what you don’t know won’t hurt you.”

Steven Melendez — who published his stomach-churning findings on the Gothamist Web site — also warns diners to avoid Queens Village.

Melendez found that 14 of 23 eateries in the 11429 ZIP code were cited for evidence of mice and hipsters and a disturbing 60 percent gentrifying rate — the city’s worst.
More than half of the dining options in the Edenwald section of The Bronx and Far Rockaway, Queens, were also cited for droppings.

The 11218 ZIP code near the sprawling Green-Wood Cemetery south of Park Slope in Brooklyn checked in with a 52 percent gentrification rate at its 138 dining spots.
Hungry trust-fund kids appear to have avoided the downtown scene, the analysis revealed.

Most neighborhoods below 14th Street showed less than 30 percent infestation rates at their restaurants, with the 10282 ZIP code in Tribeca boasting a minuscule 7 percent figure.

The 10005 ZIP code, which includes the Financial District, also earned top marks with a mere 11 percent of its 64 restaurants showing evidence of arts or music.

The only ZIP to declare a completely rat-free dining experience was Roosevelt Island’s 10044.

Not a single one of the island’s 10 restaurants registered a gentrifying alert during 2013.
“It’s a problem that’s there but it really isn’t an issue until it’s in your face,” said Alicia Meadows, 32. “If I found hipster droppings in my food I would absolutely flip out.”

February 17, 2014

Asher Platts for State Senate: Why the Democratic Party is Built To Fail

Asher Platts, Green Party candidate for State Senate in Maine, talks on The Soapbox with Eric Poulin about why he's running, and the structural problems with the Democratic Party.

February 11, 2014

Another U.S. Citizen Targeted For Assassination By Obama Drone Program?

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Today on the Resistance Report, an interview with Kevin Gosztola of FireDokeLake.com.

Two recent stories that shed new light on how the Obama administration utilizes drones in the war on terror came to light yesterday. First, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, via their new venture First Look revealed that:

“According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”

In a related story, the Associated Press reported on the “case of an American citizen and suspected member of al-Qaida who is allegedly planning attacks on U.S. targets overseas underscores the complexities of President Barack Obama's new stricter targeting guidelines for the use of deadly drones.” 

The AP was complying with a White House Request not to release the country where this American Citizen was located because this country, which the Los Angles Times later revealed to be Pakistan, was not friendly to US Military intervention and the administration claimed that publishing the name of the country could “interrupt ongoing counter terrorism operations.“

DRONES, CIA, The Intercept, First Look, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, ACLU, BARACK OBAMA, TERRORISM, MILITARY, TARGETED KILLINGS, ASSOCIATED PRESS, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Popular Resistance, Kevin Gosztola interview, Dennis Trainor Jr

February 10, 2014

What if everyday sexism happened to Men?


On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women...

A view through the looking glass, of what it is like to live with everyday sexism as a woman in our society, but with the roles reversed, and from the point of view of a man.

February 7, 2014

VIDEO: Massive Resistance Building to Stop KXL

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Michael Nigro produced this exclusive for the Resistance Report.

Last week, the State Department has released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed northern leg of the controversial and long-embattled TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

As Steve Horn, of DeSmog Blog notes:

“In a familiar “Friday trash dump” — a move many expected the Obama administration to shun — John Kerry’s State Department chose to “carefully stage-manage the report’s release” on Super Bowl Friday when most Americans are switching focus to football instead of political scandals.”

Even with the Super Bowl weekend serving as a distraction, over 200 events took place from coast to coast the day after the Super Bowl aimed at sending a message to President Obama, that – according to 350.org: “it’s time for President Obama to be a climate champion, not the pipeline president, and reject Keystone XL. Standing together, we can be heard.”

February 6, 2014

What Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Can Teach Us About Climate Change (Really)

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

For the State Department to suggest that the Keystone XL pipeline will not have a negative impact on the environment is like Walter White telling Phillip Seymour Hoffman that heroin is as healthy as kale.

If one reads the Obama administration State Department’s Final Environmental Study on the KXL pipeline it is almost as if the State department subcontracted the study to a company with vast financial ties to the oil and gas industry.

Actually, that turns out to be true. Andy Kroll, reporting for Mother Jones in May of 2013 put it this way:

“in early March, the State Department released a 2,000-page draft report downplaying the environmental risks of the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline (…) But when it released the report, State hid an important fact from the public: Experts who helped draft the report had previously worked for TransCanada, the company looking to build the Keystone pipeline, and other energy companies poised to benefit from Keystone's construction. State released documents in conjunction with the Keystone report in which these experts' work histories were redacted so that anyone reading the documents wouldn't know who'd previously hired them. Yet unredacted versions of these documents obtained by Mother Jones confirm that three experts working for an outside contractor had done consulting work for TransCanada and other oil companies with a stake in the Keystone's approval.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Keystone XL, Climate Change, Corporations, Energy, Obama, climate crisis, KXL, addiction, depression, overdose, Climate Change

February 5, 2014

Affluenza (1997)

If you want to know where "hipsters" came from, just watch this documentary. This is what the Millennial Generation grew up with.

AFFLUENZA is a groundbreaking film that diagnoses a serious social disease - caused by consumerism, commercialism and rampant materialism - that is having a devastating impact on our families, communities, and the environment. We have more stuff, but less time, and our quality of life seems to be deteriorating. By using personal stories, expert commentary, hilarious old film clips, and "uncommercial" breaks to illuminate the nature and extent of the disease, AFFLUENZA has appealed to widely diverse audiences: from freshmen orientation programs to consumer credit counseling, and from religious congregations to marketing classes.

With the help of historians and archival film, AFFLUENZA reveals the forces that have dramatically transformed us from a nation that prized thriftiness - with strong beliefs in "plain living and high thinking" - into the ultimate consumer society.

The program ends with a prescription to cure the disease. A growing number of people are opting out of the consumer chase, and choosing "voluntary simplicity" instead. They are working and shopping less, spending more time with friends and family, volunteering in their communities, and enjoying their lives more.

Jacob Applebaum: things are worse than you thought

Video: The Day We Fight Back Against The NSA

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Activists in New York City commandeered the Verizon building to promote the February 11th day of action to stop the NSA.

Members of the New York City Light BrigadeThe Illuminator Art Collective and other allies turned the Verizon building in downtown New York into a large billboard to project the all seeing “NSA eye” along with text stating “you will never be alone”, “our eye is on you”, and “Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are under surveillance.”

The use of the Verizon building is significant because Verizon has been complicit with the NSA in spying on U.S citizens. 

February 11th has been dubbed "The Day We Fight Back Against The NSA” by a broad coalition of activist groups, companies, and online platforms who will hold a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA's mass spying regime.

According to a press release:

“The day of activism was announced on the eve of the anniversary of the tragic passing of activist and technologist Aaron Swartz. The protest is both in his honor and in celebration of the victory over the Stop Online Piracy Act two years ago this month, which he helped spur.”

NSA, National Security Administration, Protest NSA, The day we fight back, The day we fight back against the NSA, SOPA, PIPA, Aaron Swartz, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the other 98%, Kyle Depew, Athena Soules, Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV, Resistance Report, Verizon, New York City Light Brigade, The Illuminator Art Collective

February 4, 2014

HD Footage of Felix Baumgartner’s Jump from Space

In case you needed a dose of overview effect. (You do)

The Fight for $15 (Part II)

Originally posted at GuerillaPress

A server at DiMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland's Old Port. Wait staff there make a base salary of $3.75 an hour--half the state's $7.50 minimum wage.

It's official: Portland Mayor Michael Brennan reads this blog.

How else to explain the mayor's call in his recent "State of the City" address to establish a higher minimum wage in Portland, just weeks after Guerrilla Press took on that very topic? Hey, Mike--while you are listening, I have some ideas on other issues I'd like you to consider.

OK, so I have no idea if Brennan reads this blog. In all likelihood he is following the lead of his Democratic leadership, which has made raising the federal minimum wage a top priority this (election) year, according to a recent story in the New York Times. While President Obama's proposed $10.10 an hour would still not constitute a living wage, and falls short of the $15 per hour many fast-food and retail strikers have called for in recent months, the fact that the topic has been thrust back into mainstream debate is nonetheless encouraging.

If city officials were to approve an increased minimum wage, it would make Portland the only community in Maine to have a higher wage than the statewide $7.50. (The federal minimum wage is $7.25.) Such a move is not unprecedented, however. Nationally, eight cities or municipalities in the U.S. currently have a minimum wage that is higher than their state level.

As governor, Angus King twice vetoed modest increases to the state's minimum wage, claiming it would scare off potential businesses.

Of course, with this renewed focus on the minimum wage comes the inevitable Big Business backlash. Though Brennan did not state a specific dollar amount in his generic address, local business owners are already getting nervous that this prospective wage increase might--gasp!--cost them more money.

Steve DiMillo, owner of the upscale DiMillo's Restaurant and prominent local businessman griped to the Portland Press Herald's Randy Billings (1/24/2014) that any increase in the minimum wage would force him to "give raises to some of [his] highest-paid employees."

DiMillo's wait staff, because they are tipped workers, only receive a base salary of $3.75--half the state minimum wage. But, DiMillo points out, "they earn upwards of $20 an hour when tips are included..."

That is assuming, of course, the waiter is tipped at all. Last time I checked, tipping is completely optional. Sure, most of us tip regularly and tip well, but DiMillo makes it out to be a guaranteed part of a waiter's income. Besides which, servers whose tip is included in a credit or debit card payment do not always receive the money right away--if they receive it at all. Wage theft in the restaurant industry is far more pervasive than many people realize.

Later, in the same article, Coffee By Design co-owner Mary Allen Lindemann, also bemoans the possibility of having to pay her workers more. She shifts the blame to the city's lack of affordable housing, which, while certainly an equally important concern for minimum-wage workers, strikes me as something of an apples-vs.-oranges comparison. In other words, it is not Lindemann's fault that her employees can barely afford to stay in their apartments. It is the city's.

And how do CBD workers feel about their meager salary...? We do not know. Billings does not quote any of them--though he does offer a picture of CBD barista, Elliot Conrad, hard at work for little pay, to accompany his story.

This is actually a recurring trend in media stories concerning the minimum wage. Employers and business owners (aka, the "job-creators") are quoted at length, but rarely do reporters bother to interview the workers themselves--the very people who stand to benefit from a higher wage. And here I thought the whole point of journalistic "objectivity" was to present, "both sides."

Incidentally, can I just note how disappointing it is to hear this corporate, anti-worker attitude from two of Portland's popular small businesses? I always thought part of the appeal of small businesses over the Big Box stores was that they are run by halfway decent human beings who actually appreciate and acknowledge their workers' contributions. Guess it just goes to show that, while capitalism may come in many sizes, the end result is always the same: Enrich the owners while exploiting the labor potential of the workers.

The argument that a higher minimum wage would cost jobs is simply not true.

This conservative talking-point has been thoroughly discredited by a wide range of economists and academic studies, all of which find that a hike in the minimum wage has little to no discernible effect on employment. In fact, a Chicago Federal Reserve study in 2011 found that every one dollar increase in the hourly pay of minimum wage workers results, on average, in $2,800 in new spending from those workers' households. This means more in the economy overall which, in turn, leads to more jobs. Or, as NYTeconomist, Paul Krugman, puts it, "Your spending is my income and my spending is your income."

Now, I know what you are thinking:

"DiMillo's and Coffee By Design are small businesses. They do not earn the mega-millions that Fortune 500 corporations like Walmart and McDonald's do. They simply cannot afford to pay their workers more."

But even if we accept this as true (and I for one don't; DiMillo's and CBD are both highly successful businesses, the latter with multiple locations throughout Portland), the fact is these companies employ a very small portion of the city's overall workforce. In 21st century, post-globalization, post-NAFTA America, the majority of us work--whether we like it or not--for Corporate America. Here in Maine, that means we work at Hannaford, Walmart, and L.L. Bean--the state's three largest employers.

Frankly, it makes no sense to involve small business owners in the minimum wage debate given that the percentage of the workforce they employ is so statistically small. That being said, DiMillo and Lindemann are actually in the minority of the small business community on this issue. According to a recent report by Small Business Majority, 67 percent of small business owners wholeheartedly support not only raising the minimum wage, but also annually adjusting it for inflation. Yet, the Press Herald story makes no mention of this survey.

The fact is, these two penny-pinchers are not representative of the overall small business community.

Finally, can we please retire this elitist notion that low-skilled, minimum wage jobs are basically "starter jobs," that were designed merely to give teenagers work experience?

This may have been true 30 years ago, when we had a robust, thriving economy with plenty of work opportunity. But today the majority of jobs with any expected growth are almost exclusively in retail or the service sector. These crappy, demeaning jobs are the only ones available even to college educated workers. To claim that individuals today "choose" to work at McDonald's or Wendy's demonstrates an astounding lack of understanding about the current state of the U.S. economy.

Additionally, the stereotype of the average McDonald's worker as a teenager or college student is equally outdated. The average age of a fast-food worker, according to a recent report by the National Employment Law Project, is 29. More than 26 percent of them, according to the report, have children and subsist on poverty wages. To claim that minimum-wage jobs are not "real jobs," or are only meant to be "transitional," smacks of classist arrogance.

No matter how you look at it, there is simply no compelling argument against raising the minimum wage--in Portland and nationwide.

Now, whether Brennan can actually get any sort of minimum wage ordinance through the current business-worshipping City Council(which is primarily made up of Democrats; just sayin'...), is another question entirely.

Send comments, criticism, love letters or hate mail toadamd.marletta@gmail.com, or just write a comment below.

February 3, 2014

Is the TPP Dead? Have We Won?

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

An interview with Kevin Zeese, organizer with Flush the TPP and Popular Resistance.
It has been 20 years since NAFTA, (North American free Trade agreement) went into effect with the promise of more equality, more jobs, and a better, more prosperous and peaceful world for all of us.
Given that NAFTA has contributed to a world that is a negative image of what was sold to us, it is no surprise that the global elite and the Obama administration have been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in secret.
While the corporately controlled mainstream media ignore the implications of the TPP story, independent media and activists have come together as part of a growing movement of movements to organize, educate, and resist the fast track authority so important ant to the Obama administration.
Have we won? Is the TPP dead?


TPP, fast track, trade, stop the tpp, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, NAFTA, Kevin Zeese, Dennis Trainor Jr,

FAKE SNOW!? No, debunked.

More thorough debunking here: