Bernardo Gutiérrez

News Report

If Karl Marx raised his head, he would be absolutely baffled: Revolts are shaking the world, bursting in the most unexpected places, but they rarely take power. The conditions for rebellion are as sharp today as in the nineteenth century, but few protests lead to the literal meaning of revolution, that "violent change in political, economic or social institutions of a nation."In addition, working people, whom Marx called the proletariat, seem not to have found control of the worldwide riots they are sparking – nor is class struggle the leitmotif of the wave of social unrest that has been repeating since the Arab Spring. Instead, a new political subject – more diffuse, more heterogeneous, more unclassifiable – is blurring the boundaries and formal definitions of revolution.Measuring the period between 2006 and 2013, we live in the most agitated era in modern history – more intense than 1848, 1917 or 1968 – according to the World Protests report released last fall by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in New York. We sail in an unstable political ocean, surfing bursts of protests and unexpected revolts emerging across the globe: 843 large protests in the last eight years, according to the study. British journalist Paul Mason sees a strong parallel between the current unrest and the waves of discontent stirring in 1848 and 1914. The philosopher Alain Badiou even envisions a "rebirth of the story" in a new age of "riots and uprising" after a long revolutionary interval. It may be what we are seeing now with the constant procession of protests and pop-up revolts. People take the streets. They hack codes (legal, social, urban). They build new communities. But the establishment, in most cases, barely ruffles.The increasing global revolution remixes and recombines social ties. However, when a revolt takes power, as in Ukraine, it may be ...

This Company has a Four-Day Work Week, Pays Its Workers a Full Salary and is Super Successful
Bryce Covert
News Investigation

The 70 people who work at Treehouse, an online education company that teaches people about technology, only work four days a week at the same full salary as other tech workers. Yet the company’s revenue has grown 120 percent, it generates more than $10 million a year in sales, and it responds to more than 70,000 customers, according to a post in Quartz by CEO Ryan Carson.Carson has been working four-day weeks since 2006, when he founded his first company with his wife, he told ThinkProgress. He quit his job to start it, only to find that they both put in seven days a week. “I remember distinctly my wife and I were on the couch one evening,” he recalled, “and she said something like, ‘What are we doing? I thought that starting a company means you have more time and more control, but it seems like we have less time and less control and we’re more stressed out.’” They decided to cut back by not working Fridays, and after they hired their first employee, “we decided to officially enact [a four-day week] and we never looked back.”Carson has since started three other companies at which he’s instituted this rule, Treehouse being the latest. While it’s hard to quantify, he believes his company benefits from better output and morale. “The quality of the work, I believe, is higher,” he said. “Thirty-two hours of higher quality work is better than 40 hours of lower quality work.” The impact on his employees’ outlook is also “massive,” he said. “I find I just can’t wait to get back to work” after the weekend, and he suspects the same is true for others. On Mondays, “everyone’s invigorated and excited.” He recounted a time when a developer told him that his hope was to work at the company for 20 years. In the Quartz ...

Jim Hightower
Op-Ed

Let’s review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, money laundering, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs… and so sickeningly much more.At last, though, some of the cops on the bank beat seem to be having regulatory epiphanies. The New York Times reports that some financial overseers are questioning “whether such misdeeds are not the work of a few bad actors, but rather a flaw that runs through the fabric of the banking industry…” Regulators are starting to ask: Is there something rotten in bank culture?Millions of everyday Americans sniffed out that rot back in 2007 at the start of the Wall Street collapse and nauseating bailout. Imagine how pleased they are that it took only seven years for the stench of bank rot to reach the tender nostrils of authorities. Still, even sloooww progress is progress. Really. Where’ve they been?Both the head of the New York Fed and the Comptroller of the Currency are at least grasping one basic reality, namely that the tightened regulations enacted to deal with the “too big to fail” issue do nothing about the fundamental ethical collapse among America’s big bankers. The problem is that, again and again, Wall Street’s culture of greed is rewarded — bank bosses preside over gross illegalities, are not punished, pocket multi-million-dollar bonuses despite their shoddy ethics, and blithely proceed to the next scandal.More restraint on bank processes misses a core fact: Banks don’t engage in wrongdoing, bankers do. As Comptroller Tom Curry says, the approach to this problem is not to call in more lawyers, “It is more like a priest-penitent relationship.”Public shaming can be useful, but it should include actual punishment of the top bosses – take away their bonuses, fire them, and prosecute them.

Conversation with a Police Chief
Dave Lindorff
Op-Ed

There was a time when, growing up in a suburban area around Mansfield, a university town in northeastern Connecticut, I could go days without seeing a police car. These days, though, when I go back there to visit my old hometown, I see them everywhere. Where once there was one resident State Trooper for the township of Mansfield, today there’s a fleet of Troopers in squad cars, called “Interceptors.” The university too, which in my youth had a couple of university cops whose only real job was breaking up the occasional dormitory panty raid, now has a full-fledged police department, staffed with beefy cops who would be hard to distinguish from the troopers -- or from recently furloughed military vets (which many of them probably are).In communities and cities across the country, the number of police has soared, rising, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 603,000 in 1992 to 794,000 in 2010. This even as crime has been falling fairly steadily for over 30 years, even in cities that have had to cut back on their police staffing for budget reasons.But it’s not just a matter of numbers. Police are also much more aggressive in their behavior towards the public. Where “no-knock” forced entries into people’s homes were a rarity 30 years ago, such so-called “breaches” are increasingly the norm in many jurisdictions -- they reached over 80,000 last year by one calculation -- as police departments adopt an approach that elevates “officer safety” over concerns about the safety of the public, including innocent bystanders. (Consider two recent incidents in New York where bystanders were shot by police who were firing at suspects -- in one case an unarmed mentally ill man standing in traffic in midtown Manhattan.)The same can be said about the use of supposedly “non-lethal” tasers, which have morphed from being alternatives to shooting and killing suspects to tools to enforce docility, or even to punish people who verbally contest the actions of a police officer. A recent report in the New York Times showed that as part of a growing trend to place police officers in public schools, students, including even in elementary schools, are being tasered for what used to be ...

Amy Goodman
Op-Ed

Another U.S. shooting spree has left bullet-riddled bodies in its wake, and refocused attention on violent, right-wing extremists. Frazier Glenn Miller, a former leader of a wing of the Ku Klux Klan, is accused of killing three people outside two Jewish community centers outside Kansas City, Kan. As he was hauled away in a police car, he shouted “Heil Hitler!” Unlike Islamic groups that U.S. agencies spend tens of billions of dollars targeting, domestic white supremacist groups enjoy relative freedom to spew their hatred and promote racist ideology. Too often, their murderous rampages are viewed as acts of deranged “lone wolf” attackers. These seemingly fringe groups are actually well-organized, interconnected and are enjoying renewed popularity.In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a study on right-wing extremists in the United States. The 10-page report included findings like “The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” It controversially suggested military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could potentially be recruited to join hate groups. The report provoked a firestorm of criticism, especially from veterans groups. The Obama administration was just months old, and newly appointed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano withdrew the report, apologizing for it during a congressional budget hearing.Mark Potok is a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking right-wing hate groups and Frazier Glenn Miller for years. Potok said, about that report, “a real problem with the Department of Homeland Security ... ever since a particular report on the right wing was leaked to the press in April of 2009, DHS has sort of cowered. They essentially gutted their non-Islamic domestic terrorism unit.”The SPLC was co-founded in 1971 by civil-rights lawyer Morris Dees. It began suing white supremacist groups in the 1980s, representing clients that the groups threatened, beat and harassed. Potok described Frazier Glenn Miller as “one of the best-known white supremacist activists in the country for a very long time ... active for more than 40 years in the movement. He joined, as a very young teenager, things like the National States’ Rights Party, a descendent of the American Nazi Party.” Miller formed his own wing of the Klan, which marched publicly in military fatigues. He had dealings with another supremacist group, The Order, that gave him $200,000 from the more than $4 million stolen through bank robberies and armored-car holdups.After being sued by the SPLC, Frazier Glenn Miller agreed to a settlement in one case, but violated the terms of the agreement and was found guilty of criminal contempt. While out on bond, he disappeared, issuing a crudely typed “Declaration of War,” specifically targeting Morris Dees for murder. He was eventually arrested. Potok told me, “He was initially charged with conspiracy, very serious charges, in 1987 that could have sent him to prison for 20 or 30 years. But he cut a deal with the federal government and agreed to testify ... against his comrades. That wound up meaning a mere five-year sentence for him, and he served only three years.” Miller cooperated with federal prosecutors, testifying against 13 white supremacist leaders. He was released from prison and was assisted, it is believed, by the Federal Witness Protection Program as he relocated to Nebraska and changed his last name to “Cross.” Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, lost credibility with other white supremacists and faded into relative obscurity. He occasionally ran for office in Missouri, after running virulently racist campaign ads on radio.  Then he went on his murderous rampage this week. “Perhaps if he had been in prison all those years rather than a witness in this trial,” Potok reflected, “we wouldn’t have experienced what we saw in Kansas City the other day.”Potok and the SPLC track the recent rise of right-wing hate groups. When I asked him about the FBI’s focus on animal rights and environmental groups, he replied, “The idea that eco-terrorists, so-called, are the major domestic terror threat, which was in fact said to Congress a couple of times by FBI leaders during the Bush years, I think is just patently ludicrous ... no one has been killed by anyone in the radical animal-rights movement or the radical environmentalist movement.” The SPLC will soon release a report that links registered members of two prominent white supremacist online forums to more than 100 murders in the United States—in just the past five years.While law-abiding Muslims are forced to hide in their homes, and animal-rights activists are labeled as terrorists for undercover filming of abusive treatment at factory farms, right-wing hate groups are free to organize, parade, arm themselves to the hilt and murder with chilling regularity. It’s time for our society to confront this very real threat.Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

VOICES FOR CHANGE

Congratulations! A New Conspiracy is Born
Joe Conason
"

With the happy news that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky expect their first child later this year, the Clinton family can anticipate warm good wishes from most Americans — and a less uplifting response from all of the usual suspects.

" ::
Wall Street’s MIA Ethics
Jim Hightower
"

Let’s review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, money laundering, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs… and so sickeningly much more.

" ::
The Grand American Tradition of Violent White Supremacy
Amy Goodman
"

Another U.S. shooting spree has left bullet-riddled bodies in its wake, and refocused attention on violent, right-wing extremists. Frazier Glenn Miller, a former leader of a wing of the Ku Klux Klan, is accused of killing three people outside two Jewish community centers outside Kansas City, Kan. As he was hauled away in a police car, he shouted “Heil ...

" ::
Will Government Use Its New Leverage Over the Financial Industry?
David Sirota
"

If you read one business book this year, make it "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis. The journalist famous for "Moneyball" and "The Big Short" takes readers inside the parasitic world of high-frequency trading that is harming the broader economy.

" ::
Antitrust in the New Gilded Age
Robert Reich
"

We’re in a new gilded age of wealth and power similar to the first gilded age when the nation’s antitrust laws were enacted. Those laws should prevent or bust up concentrations of economic power that not only harm consumers but also undermine our democracy — such as the pending Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner. In 1890, when Republican Senator John Sherman of Ohio urged his congressional colleagues to act against the centralized ...

" ::
Top 6 Pulitzer Prize ‘Traitors’ in American Journalism
Juan Cole
"

The Pulitzer Prize committee’s opinion that Edward Snowden is a public servant rather than a traitor or criminal, as evidenced in its award to The Guardian and The Washington Post for their reporting from his trove of government documents, is a scandal on the American Right.  But it is not a new scandal.  Journalism is about the public’s right to know what our government is up to.  The National Security State is about preventing us from knowing what ...

" ::
Ryan’s Joke Is on Us
Jim Hightower
"

My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s highly touted budget guru, doesn’t have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.Otherwise, why would he choose April Fools’ Day to release the latest version of what the GOP intends to do to federal programs (and to the people who count on them) if it takes total control of Congress? But there he was on April 1, declaring with a straight face that, “We [Republicans] believe that ...

" ::
Ask Not What Your Cat Can Do for You
Froma Harrop
"

A big-selling book, "Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet," helps cat lovers understand what is going on in the hearts and brains of their kitties. Sadly, not nearly so much as they thought and hoped.

" ::
NSA Spying is Here to Stay
Jim Hightower
"

On Monday, April 14, the the Washington Post and the Guardian US newspapers received the Pulitzer for Journalism Public Service for their reports on NSA spying. In light of their hard work, let's recap events of the last year.

" ::
Lessons Not Learned in Boston Bombing
Froma Harrop
"

Airport gift shops throughout New England are piling "Boston Strong" T-shirts in vivid colors. "Boston Strong" became a rallying cry of solidarity after the terrorist bombing last year at the Boston Marathon.

" ::
Obamacare Enrollment Hits 8 Million
Tara Culp- Ressler
News Investigation

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