Category Archives: Community

Headlines of the day II: Slouching toward Bethlehem


Two headlines form the London Daily Mail, starting with this:

More than 2.5 MILLION people across the U.S. march against President Trump with millions more showing solidarity across the world

  • More than 2.5million people across the U.S. took to the streets for the Women’s March against Trump during his first full day in office with millions more around the globe demonstrating
  • One million of those alone gathered in the new president’s backyard in Washington DC on Saturday
  • The Women’s March on Washington is expected to be largest inauguration-related protest in US history
  • More people are believed to be on the National Mall for the DC march than came for Trump’s inauguration
  • In total there are 600 sister marches throughout the country and across the world

And then this, starring the Material Girl:

Secret Service WILL investigate Madonna after singer says she wants to BLOW UP the White House in expletive-filled rant at women’s march

  • The Secret Service has allegedly said it will open an investigation into Madonna after her DC speech
  • The pop icon said she’d thought a lot about ‘blowing up the White House’
  • An estimated one million people participated in the Women’s March on Washington in DC on Saturday 
  • There were also 600 sister marches throughout the country and across the world
  • Pink p***yhats – knitted beanies with cat ears – became the accessory of the march in reference to Trump’s quote ‘grab her by the p***y’ 
  • America Ferrera, Scarlett Johnasson, Michael Moore and Alicia Keys also spoke at the DC event 
  • Their speeches were a call of action to the crowd, asking them to run for office, fight for reproductive rights
  • However, Ashley Judd and Madonna raised eyebrows with their controversial contributions 
  • Judd read a poem saying Trump has ‘wet dreams  infused with his own genes’

Headline of the day: They’re voting with their feet


From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Huge turnout for women’s march dwarfs Trump inauguration crowd

  • Hundreds of thousands of people streamed into the nation’s capital Saturday to attend a massive march in support of women’s rights and civil rights, the largest of dozens of marches in the United States and around the world that signaled the rocky road ahead for President Donald Trump a day after his inauguration.
  • Washington’s public transportation system nearly ground to a halt as heavy crowds massed toward the Women’s March on Washington on the National Mall, the largest inauguration-related march in U.S. history.
  • Throngs joined marches and rallies in Boston, New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver and dozens of other U.S. cities, and women’s rallies also unfolded in global capitals like London, Paris, Sydney, Ottawa and Nairobi. Estimates of the worldwide turnout topped 2.5 million people.

Peña plunges, crime rises, woes, and a win


A summary of events south of the border. . .

Peña plunges in the polls

The digits are so low he’d envy Trump’s numbers.

From teleSUR English:

Only 12 percent of Mexicans approve of the performance of President Enrique Peña Nieto, a new poll by newspaper Reforma found Wednesday, the lowest approval rating for a Mexican president since the paper began polling in 1995. At the beginning of his term in December 2012, Peña Nieto had a 61 percent approval rating.

His approval ratings hit a record low this month following the economic crisis and accusations of corruption, human rights violations and plagiarism. Most recently, his decision to raise gas prices by 20 percent has caused deadly riots and looting across the country.

The poll also shows 27 percent of voters favor the opposition leftist Morena party of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in next year’s presidential election, compared with 24 percent for the conservative National Action Party and only 17 percent for Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The discontent with the ruling party also comes with the president’s decision to ignore public opinion claims regarding issues like the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students and the mounting human rights violations during his administration.

Peña Nieto and his political allies have been plagued by corruption allegations throughout his tenure while Mexico has endured escalating rates of violence, drug trafficking and forced disappearances.

More murders, this time in Cancun

Cartel violence is claiming bodies in a favorite venue for young U.S. tourists.

From El País:

Two shootouts in two days this week that left nine people dead and at least 15 people injured have shattered the calm of Cancún, threatening the beach resort’s position as the jewel in the crown of Mexico’s tourism industry.

On Monday, a man opened fire in the Blue Parrot nightclub in nearby Playa del Carmen, which was hosting the BPM electronic music festival. Five people died, among them a Canadian, US national and an Italian, and 15 were wounded in the attack, footage of which was posted on social networks.

The following day, armed men attacked the State Attorney General’s office in Cancún, killing a policeman. Four of the attackers were gunned down and five others arrested.

Security analyst Alejandro Hope says that the incidents were a spillover from mounting tension between criminal gangs fighting for control of the drugs trade, extortion and other illegal activities in the area.

“Things have been getting worse for several months; last summer there were attacks on massage parlors and brothels, but this has made the news because the shootout took place at an international event and there were foreign victims, while the attack on the State Attorney’s office is a direct challenge to authority,” he says.

TrumpOnomics™ worries in Mexico

And it’s not the cost of the wall that’s the biggest concern.

It’s jobs.

From teleSUR English:

Concerns about the policies to be pursued by the incoming Trump administration have caused a freeze on new investment in maquiladoras on the Mexican side of the border, where thousands of workers in that industry face an uncertain future.

Case in point is Ciudad Juarez, a city across from El Paso, Texas, where the first of the maquiladoras — plants where goods are assembled for export — was installed in 1968 and the maquila industry accounts for more than 60 percent of the local economy.

Trump, who takes office Friday, has said he will impose tariffs of up to 35 percent on U.S. companies who move operations to Mexico with the idea of selling their products back to the U.S. market.

Amid pressure by Trump, Ford made a surprise announcement early this year that it would cancel plans for a US$1.6 billion plant in Mexico and instead invest that money in Michigan.

That would mark an abrupt shift away from the current climate of virtually tariff-free U.S.-Mexico trade for qualifying goods under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the president-elect says must be renegotiated.

Mass movement halts water privatization

Delightful!

And exemplary.

From teleSUR English:

A privatizing water law in the Mexican state of Baja California was repealed Tuesday following mass demonstrations against further privatization.

The state’s Governor Francisco Vega issued the decree Tuesday but would not answer press questions, only stating that the decision will benefit the people of Baja California.

The head of Infrastructure and Urban Development Edmundo Guevara, who was the main target of protests for proposing to privatize potable water services, was also in attendance.

Meanwhile, protesters are blocking state facilities in the state capital to demand the resignation of the local president and the deputies who voted in favor of the water law.

They also demanded the state eliminate the gas tax and immediately pay salaries and benefits kept from state employees.

Chart of the Day: European celebratory isolation


blog-drinks

From Eurostat, which reports:

13.0% of the population aged 16 or over living in the European Union (EU) reported in 2014 not being able to get together with friends/family for a drink or meal at least once a month due to lack of resources, while 17.8% could not afford to regularly participate in a leisure activity.

Working age people (aged 25 to 64) were slightly more affected. The shares in this age group stood at 13.9% and 19.6% respectively, while they were 11.0% and 16.3% for young people (aged 16 to 24) and 11.2% and 13.5% for the elderly (aged 65 or over).

Around one third of the population in Hungary (36.5%), Romania (35.7%) and Bulgaria (30.0%) said they could not afford to get together with friends/family for a drink/meal at least once a month. High shares were also observed in Greece (20.7%), Malta (19.2%), Ireland (18.4%) and Lithuania (17.4%). The elderly in Romania are particularly affected: in the age group over 65, the share there reaches 43.0%. In Hungary, the share is higher among the young (40.0%).

At the opposite end the scale, the share was below 1% in all age groups in Sweden. Less than 5% of the population feel unable to get together with friends/family for a drink/meal at least once a month also in Finland (1.5%), Denmark (3.2%), the Netherlands (3.3%), the Czech Republic (3.4%) and Luxembourg (4.1%).

Army says it won’t evict Dakota pipeline protesters


Some good news, for the moment for protesters attempting to blockade the Dakota Access Pipeline [previously].

From Deutsche Welle:

The US Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday it has “no plans for forcible removal” of protesters who have been camping in North Dakota to protest the pipeline. The Corps had notified tribal leaders Friday that all federal lands north of the Cannonball River would be closed to public access December 5 out of “safety concerns.” The move sparked fears of a violent confrontation with law enforcement officials as they attempted to evict thousands of activists from the Oceti Sakowin camp erected in April.

Protesters and local law enforcement have regularly clashed over efforts by activists to disrupt final construction of the 1,172-mile (1,885-kilometer) pipeline that would move crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

But in a statement the Army Corps’ district commander in Omaha, Nebraska clarified that federal agencies aren’t planning to forcibly evict protesters.  “I am very concerned for the safety and well-being of all citizens at these encampments on Corps-managed federal land, and we want to make sure people are in a safe place for the winter,” Colonel John Henderson said.  “We fully support the rights of all Americans to exercise free speech and peacefully assemble, and we ask that they do it in a way that does not also endanger themselves or others, or infringe on others’ rights.”

The Standing Rock Sioux have challenged the project in federal court, saying the pipeline’s more than 200 water crossings, including one less than a mile upstream of the reservation, would imperil drinking water for more than 8,000 tribal members and millions downstream. Activist organizers told a news conference on Saturday at the main protest site where about 5,000 people are camped that they had no intention of moving. There are smaller camps on land not subject to the planned restrictions, including an area south of the Cannonball River where the Corps said it was establishing a so-called “free-speech zone” by authorities.

Marilyn Waring: Economics as if people mattered


Marilyn Waring is one of the world’s most remarkable economists, a former New Zealand legislator — the youngest-ever national lawmaker when elected in 1975 — who brought a government down over her opposition to nuclear weapons, then went on to earn her doctorate in political economy.

She won her degree with a revolutionary thesis on the  a thesis on the United Nations System of National Accounts, the system of valuing a national economy solely on the financial value of tangible goods produced.

That system was devised by British economist John Maynard Keynes to engineer the British Empire’s participation in World War II, and ignored, among other things, all of the household labors of women, labors which, literally “kept the home fires burning.”

Waring’s critique forced the U.N. to revise its accounting system, and as Bloomberg reported three years ago:

Waring gained international prominence with “If Women Counted,” also published as “Counting for Nothing.” Praised by the feminist Gloria Steinem and the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, the book lambasted national accounting systems as sexist for excluding unpaid women’s work. Canada’s National Film Board in 1995 made it into a documentary called “Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics.”

While Waring wasn’t the first to criticize the exclusion, her book drew attention for its thorough and persuasive analysis, said Joann Vanek, a former director of social statistics at the UN.

“She demystified the national accounts,” Vanek said. “Many feminists had taken pot shots at national accounts, but Marilyn went into the body of it and disaggregated the specific assumptions that were made and how that really shaped what ended up being a bias against women.”

Waring’s knowledge and outspokenness made the critique credible, Vanek said. “She was unafraid. These guys, these national accountants, are somewhat oracle-type figures, and she would confront them.”

In 1993, the UN revised the system of national accounts to recommend that all production of goods in households for their own consumption be included in the measurement of economic output, a definition excluding childcare, elder-care, cooking and cleaning.

But Waring’s critique is much broader, and is superbly outlined in a just-re-released 1995 documentary from the National Film Board of Canada:

Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics

Program notes:

In this feature-length documentary, Marilyn Waring demystifies the language of economics by defining it as a value system in which all goods and activities are related only to their monetary value. As a result, unpaid work (usually performed by women) is unrecognized while activities that may be environmentally and socially detrimental are deemed productive. Waring maps out an alternative vision based on the idea of time as the new currency.

Police violence leads to reluctance to call the cops


Following up on our previous post, a new study reveals that the distrust of police in America’s black community leads directly to a reluctance to call on police when violence and crimes occur in the nation’s black neighborhoods.

From the American Sociological Association:

A new study shows that publicized cases of police violence against unarmed black men have a clear and significant negative impact on citizen crime reporting, specifically 911 calls.

“This is the first study that empirically investigates what happens to crime reporting after publicized episodes of police violence against unarmed black men,” said sociologist Matthew Desmond, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and the lead author of the study. “In showing that citizen crime reporting drops precipitously after such events, this study suggests that police misconduct can actually make cities less safe by suppressing one of the most basic forms of civic engagement: calling 911 for matters of personal and public safety.”

Titled, “Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community” [$36 for 24-hour access], the study, which appears in the October issue of the American Sociological Review, investigates how publicized cases of police violence against unarmed black men — most prominently the 2004 beating of Frank Jude by white police officers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — affected 911 calls in Milwaukee. Desmond and co-authors Andrew V. Papachristos, an associate professor of sociology at Yale University, and David S. Kirk, an associate professor of sociology, at the University of Oxford, relied on data from the Milwaukee Police Department on every crime-related 911 call in Milwaukee from March 2004 through December 2010.

In the Jude case, the researchers analyzed patterns of crime-related 911 calls for roughly the same period of time before and after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story in February 2005. According to court and news reports, Milwaukee police officer Andrew Spengler and several other off-duty police officers beat Jude so badly that the admitting physician at the hospital took photographs of Jude because his injuries were too extensive to document in writing.

“We estimate that the police beating of Frank Jude resulted in a net loss of approximately 22,200 911 calls reporting crime the year after Jude’s story came to light,” Papachristos said.

More than half of the total loss in calls — 56 percent — occurred in neighborhoods where at least 65 percent of the residents were black, which according to 2000 U.S. Census data accounted for 31 percent of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. For comparison purposes, there were approximately 110,000 crime-related 911 calls from all Milwaukee neighborhoods during this time period.

“Once the story of Frank Jude’s beating appeared in the press, Milwaukee residents, especially people in black neighborhoods, were less likely to call the police, including to report violent crime,” Kirk said. “This means that publicized cases of police violence can have a communitywide impact on crime reporting that transcends individual encounters.”

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