The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found: First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading ...

Social Protest Lit: Ebenezer Elliot, “The People’s Anthem”

A poem from Ebenezer Elliot entitled The People’s Anthem from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice: When wilt thou save the people? O God of mercy! when? Not kings and lords, but nations! Flowers of the heart, O God, are they! Let them not pass, like weeds, away! Their heritage a sunless day! God save the people! Shall bring crime for ever, Strength aiding still the strong? Is it thy will, O Father? That man shall toil for wrong? “No!” ...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Selective Outrage

War is hell.  All we have to do is look around the world to see its toll.  That being said, I don't understand the lack of outrage coming from this President and his administration other than that aimed at our one ally - Israel which is doing no more than trying to protect it's people from rocket fire and constant raids from Hamas. The fact that Palestinian civilians are getting killed is a tragic yet unavoidable aspect of this war.  Why ...

Why Are We So Full Of Hate?

What has happened to human kind?  No matter where you look we find ourselves surrounded by a world filled with hate. What puzzles me is how it's combined with political correctness.  Take this country where so many words are now frowned upon and even forbidden because they are hurtful to certain people.  Redskins, squaw, savage plus a whole lot applying to blacks, orientals and hispanics not to mention middle easterners.  Has it dawned on anyone banning the names has done nothing ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it. Thomas Jefferson
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Solidarity With Today’s General Strike in Spain

no cuts in spain

For live updates (mostly in Spanish and Catalan), follow #HuelgaGeneral, #toma29M, @acampadasol, @acampadabcn, and @occupybarcelona. For English, see @acampadabcn_int.

Across Spain today, the 99% are rising together in a national General Strike in opposition to the government’s pro-business labor reforms and funding cuts to education and other services. In a country where over half of young people are already unemployed, these austerity measures – created solely to appease un-elected European Union bureaucracies and used to protect the interests of powerful international banks and wealthy investors – would demolish decades of hard-won labor rights by making it easier for companies to lay off employees and unilaterally cut wages.

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But, like their counterparts in Greece, the Spanish 99% are not responsible for the financial crisis. And they refuse to see their rights stolen to line the pockets of the very banks and institutions who did cause the economic system to collapse – the people who run it: the 1%. Today, the people of Spain are fighting back: across the country, workers left factories and picketed markets, protesters blocked roads, TV stations were forced off-air, flights were cancelled, and train stations closed. The Spanish state has sent in riot police to attack protesters. Only minutes after midnight and the start of the strike, dozens of people had already been arrested.

Tomorrow, Spain’s government is expected to release a new budget that will cut billions of euros in measures supposedly designed to stim Spanish debt and ¨encourage investors.¨ This is the same rhetoric used to excuse the unfair cuts to education, infrastructure, and safety net programs here in North America. It is the same misleading language used by corrupt politicians across the world who, working for the bankers and investors who pay for their election, ram through massively unpopular bailouts and austerity measures that only hurt the 99% to benefit the 1%.

But, as we have seen from Wisconsin to Wall Street, the people are not sitting idly by to watch their rights and livelihoods be stolen by the ultra-wealthy. The Spanish Acampadas/indignados movement helped inspire us to Occupy. Today, we send them our support. And on May 1st, we will show our solidarity with Spanish protesters, and all others across the world, by taking the streets. Unfortunately, U.S. laws make it illegal for unions to endorse a General Strike like the one happening today in Spain. But we, working with our partners in labor and immigrant rights organizations, can.

This May Day: No Work, No School, No Housework, No Shopping, No Banking – TAKE THE STREETS! Here are six ways you can get ready for the May Day General Strike.

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Press Release from the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo:

Against the Labor Reform, the cuts, and the assaults on the working class. The CNT rejects any kind of negotiation over the rights conquered by the working class and demands the repeal of the Labor Reform. The CNT’s confederal committee has decided to call a 24-hour general strike for March 29, which will extend the call that has already been made for Galicia and the Basque Country. This call will be formalized in the coming days.

The CNT rejects any kind of negotiation over the rights conquered by the working class through years of struggle. We call for this strike with the primary objective of immediately repealing the the labor reform that was approved yesterday by the Parliament, which we consider a head-on assault against the working class. This reform continues the measures started by the previous government, such as the labor reform of 2010 and the cuts to public employee salaries, to pensions, and to public services, cuts which are being deepened by the current government.

The CNT demands the end of an economic policy designed to make the workers pay for the crisis of the banks and the employers. This policy has led to an unacceptable number of unemployed workers, a number which does not stop growing, as well as to an impoverishment and worsening of the working class’s living conditions.

The CNT also calls this strike against the cuts. The strike will happen the day before the setting of the General State Budget which will incorporate a brutal attack against public services and social rights.

The CNT rejects the agreement reached in February between the CCOO and UGT unions and the employers’ confederation, the CEOE, as well as the amendments that those unions have presented to the parliamentary process of the labor reform. The CNT rejects these amendments as a valid alternative, since they share the spirit of the reform and assume the logic of the employers and the government, who suppose that the only escape from their crisis must come through the workers surrendering their rights, placing the working class into a position of weakness from the start. The same logic has already led these unions to accept the raising of the retirement age to 67, even after the general strike of September 29, 2010.

For the CNT, the strike on March 29 must be only the beginning of a growing and sustained process of mobilization, one which includes the entire working class and the sectors that are most disadvantaged and affected by the capitalist crisis. This mobilization must put the brakes on the dynamic of constant assaults on our rights, while laying the bases for the recovery and conquest of new social rights with the goal of a deep social transformation.

All of these reasons have led the CNT to make this call for March 29 on its own account. With this call the CNT wants to give coverage to everyone who is taking up positions for a real and continued confrontation that will pay back the assaults on the working class with the same force with which we are receiving them, together with all workers’ organizations that share these objectives and reject the policies of agreement and social peace.

For the CNT, a confrontational rejection of the policies and the bureaucratic union model of the CCOO and the UGT, and their discredit among broad groups of workers, must not become excuses not to take action or struggle. Instead, this rejection must spur us on to reinforce our struggle through a different form of unionism – one based on direct action, on autonomy, and on mutual aid. Against assaults of the magnitude that we are facing, working-class unity is fundamental. This unity must take place in the rank-and-file, in workplace and neighborhood assemblies, in industrial actions and pickets, until the mobilization against those who are responsible for and benefit from this situation – the employers, the banks, and the government – is turned into an unstoppable dynamic that raises a barrier against the temptation to turn the rights that belong to everybody into a bargaining chip that belongs to nobody.

It’s time for all workers – unemployed or employed, retired, on the black market, students, and the precarious – to say “Enough!” We must seize the streets rather than abandon them in order to impose our strength and our demands.

March 29 – everyone in the street, everyone in the strike.

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OccupyWallSt

Author: OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

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