TNHP Feb 15 2013


In the Name of Humanity, tip your server, then save the world

By William Rivers Pitt
United States of America
07 February 2013 — It's your fourth shift in a row at the restaurant, all doubles because you only make $2.65 an hour and need to pay for rent and heat and electricity, and your section is a set of booths and tables - six four-tops, four two-tops, one eight-top - that seat forty-four customers total, and it's been packed from start to finish across your whole rip with couples and clusters of workers from the accounting firm next door and families with children and foreigners who can't read the menu and have never heard of tipping, and twenty different people in your last two shifts have sent their meal back because the cook is new and in the weeds and can't handle the volume and keeps screwing up the orders, and that's not your fault, but the customers take it out on you because you're there.
And your feet are throbbing and your back is a bag of iron rods and your arm is knotted with aching muscles from carrying huge trays of food and drinks as you weave around and through the small sliver of space available after table three joined with table four and their chairs are sprayed out into the lane, and you move through them like smoke balancing six dinners and seven drinks on one hand without spilling a drop or disturbing a soul. (More)
Many religious people believe giving to the church is the be-all and end-all of generosity
By Valerie Tarico
05 February 2013 The story has gone viral: A group got together at Applebees. When the tab came the minister wrote on the ticket, “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?” She scratched through the automatic large-group tip and substituted a fat zero and signed it with the word “Pastor” in front of her name. The waitress posted an image on Reddit. The pastor called to complain. The waitress got fired. The internet went wild. Last I saw, one story had 80,000 comments and counting.

In reality, the pastor simply exposed something that is all too common to Christian thinking: the sense that giving to the church and to religious charities is the be-all and end-all of generosity. As indignant reactions to the Applebee’s incident show, service workers sometimes pay the price:

“I worked at the Outback Steakhouse for 3 years and we ALL dreaded Sundays.” (More)

Groucho Gave Secretary High Marx

Author Steve Stoliar recalls his days as Groucho Marx’s secretary

By Steve Karras
Staff Writer

Steve Stoller: 'I'm very happy to meet you, after all this.'

Groucho Marx: 'Well, you should be.'

29 January 2013 — In January 1974, an articulate and seemingly harmless 19-year-old college student named Steve Stoliar strolled through the office doors of the Dean of Student Affairs at UCLA and politely asked permission to use one of the 20 or so tables on Bruin Walk so that his organization could start a petition drive.

To the Dean’s relief, Stoliar had no plans to take on the system—at least not UCLA’s system. And, erring on the side of democracy, the university granted him the permission he was seeking.

That winter quarter in the student commons, seated somewhere between Stop the War, Gay Rights activists and the Hare Krishnas, were Stoliar and friends, or CRAC as they called themselves -- The Committee for the Rerelease of Animal Crackers -- out to collect enough signatures so that Universal Studios would release the 1930 black-and-white film starring the Four Marx Brothers. (More)


When God Is Not Enough

Religious states have highest rates of anti-depressant use

They say that religion is the opiate of the masses, but it seems that the opiates of the religious are antidepressants

By Laura Gottesdiener
14 February 2013 – They say that religion is the opiate of the masses, but it seems that the opiates of the religious are antidepressants.

A study released Wednesday 13 February, confirmed that Mississippi remains the most religious state in the Union, followed by a handful of its southern belt brothers: Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, as well as the Mormon stronghold of Utah.

The Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of all Mississippians identify as “very religious.” The least religious states in the U.S. are the former stomping grounds of the very, very religious Puritans: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.
But life in these highly faithful states doesn’t seem to be all its cracked up to be. The most religious states in the U.S. share another trait: the highest use of anti-depressants. (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Rebecca Tarbotton, 39, leading environmentalist, drowns

By Lisa Hymas

The green movement has too few visionary leaders and too few women leaders and too few leaders under the age of 40. Tragically, this week it lost one leader who stood out in all three categories.

(Don't miss the video)

28 December 2012 — On December 26, Rebecca Tarbotton, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), died while vacationing along the west coast of Mexico, north of Puerto Vallarta. In a freak accident at the beach, she got tossed around in rough surf, took too much water into her lungs, and asphyxiated. She was 39 years old.

Tarbotton had been at the helm of RAN since August 2010, and had worked with the organization for almost six years. Under her leadership, RAN has focused on the intersections between forests, fossil fuels, and climate change, and run aggressive campaigns pushing corporations to change the way they do business. Most recently, Tarbotton helped convince entertainment giant Disney to adopt a major new policy that will eliminate the use of paper connected to the destruction of endangered forests. (More)


When it comes to Israel the distinction between

right and left among American Jews fades to zero

Progressive Congressman Jerry Nadler would block free speech at Brooklyn College

By M.J. Rosenberg
Tikkun Daily
03 February 2013 — I have long maintained that when it comes to Israel, the distinction between right and left disappears in this country.

Check out this letter from Congressman Jerry Nadler, a West Side Manhattan Democrat, demanding that Brooklyn College not permit a campus group to discuss strategies for boycotting Israel to meet on campus. Nadler is joined by virtually every major “progressive” New York politician. Nadler and his cohorts make the case that they don’t mind the boycott group meeting but object to the political science department sponsoring an event that presents “only one side.” Of course, anyone who attended college knows that academic departments do that all the time because sponsoring a discussion does not mean the department is endorsing it, only that it favors airing of all sides.

Nadler himself was a major anti-Vietnam war activist during his years at Columbia, rightly opposing U.S. policy and participating in campus “teach-ins,” no different than the boycott session at Brooklyn. But Nadler was young then and, besides, he is a strong advocate of dissent against U.S. policies. He draws the line however when it comes to Israel. The same can be said of all the other “progressives” who signed his letter. Nadler, however, is a true believer; he is utterly devoted to supporting the Israeli government in all situations. The others are just courting support from donors or potential donors. (More)

House of Cards
By M.J. Rosenberg
Tikkun Daily

03 February 2013 — You have to check out this new film, House of Cards.

It is big. It stars Kevin Spacey who also directed it. Additionally, it is the first film produced by Netflix, which is itself a huge deal, and is available instantly at its site for free streaming.

Here is the amazing part. I don’t think I’m revealing any spoilers because this is only a small part of the plot but, if you are sensitive about such things, stop reading.

So…Kevin Spacey plays the Democratic whip of the House of Representatives. A new president has just been elected, who has promised to appoint Spacey’s character Secretary of State. However, he reneges and gives the job to someone else. The guy who gets the job is fine, even from Spacey’s viewpoint, but Spacey is mad and has to block him to hurt the president.

But the guy is clean. What to do?

Spacey’s staffer comes up with a Williams College editorial on Israel, published when the Secretary of State nominee was editor-in-chief of the college paper. The editorial calls the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza illegal.

Spacey figures that should be enough to destroy the would-be secretary’s chances EXCEPT it turns out that he did not write the editorial, another student did. Spacey dispatches a corrupt, drug addicted Congressman (really) to visit the guy who wrote the article and convince him to say that it was, in fact, the Secretary of State nominee who was responsible. (More)

By Tom Engelhardt
05 February 2013 — Consider Inauguration Day, more than two weeks gone and already part of our distant past. In its wake, President Obama was hailed (or reviled) for his "liberal" second inaugural address. On that day everything from his invocation of women's rights ("Seneca Falls"), the civil rights movement ("Selma"), and the gay rights movement ("Stonewall") to his wife's new bangs and Beyoncé's lip-syncing was fodder for the media extravaganza. The president was even praised (or reviled) for what he took pains not to bring up: the budget deficit. Was anything, in fact, not grist for the media mill, the hordes of talking heads, and the chattering classes?

One subject, at least, got remarkably little attention during the inaugural blitz and, when mentioned, certainly struck few as odd or worth dwelling on. Yet nothing better caught our changing American world. Washington, after all, was in a lockdown mode unmatched by any inauguration from another era - not even Lincoln's second inaugural in the midst of the Civil War, or Franklin Roosevelt's during World War II, or John F. Kennedy's at the height of the Cold War.

Here's how NBC Nightly News described some of the security arrangements as the day approached: (More)


'Pregnant, Chained to Wall, Starved'

One of 136 US 'War on Terror' Stories

From the Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave
By George Gao
Inter Press Sevice
6 February 2013 NEW YORK — Shedding new light on a chapter of the U.S. “war on terror” that has largely remained shrouded in secrecy, the Open Society Justice Initiative released a report Tuesday detailing the cases of 136 individuals who were extraordinarily rendered or secretly detained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Entitled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition”, the report confirms that the CIA held suspected terrorists in undisclosed prisons, known as “black sites”. The agency also carried out “extraordinary renditions” – defined by the report as the illegal transfer of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for detention or interrogation.

According to the Justice Initiative’s report, CIA detainees were tortured and abused in detention sites around the world. Some were wrongfully detained, and others were never charged for a crime. (More)


US prison population has 'unprecedented' increase

System now taking aim at juveniles and the elderly

By Carey L. Biron
Inter Press Servive
04 February 2013 WASHINGTON — The research wing of the US Congress is warning that three decades of “historically unprecedented” build-up in the number of prisoners incarcerated in the United States have led to a level of overcrowding that is now “taking a toll on the infrastructure” of the federal prison system.

Over the past 30 years, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the federal prison population has jumped from 25,000 to 219,000 inmates, an increase of nearly 790 percent. Swollen by such figures, for years the United States has incarcerated far more people than any other country, today imprisoning some 716 people out of every 100,000. (Although CRS reports are not made public, a copy can be found here.)

“This is one of the major human rights problems within the United States, as many of the people caught up in the criminal justice system are low income, racial and ethnic minorities, often forgotten by society,” Maria McFarland, deputy director for the U.S. programme at Human Rights Watch, told IPS.

In recent years, as a consequence of the imposition of very harsh sentencing policies, McFarland’s office has seen new patterns emerging of juveniles and very elderly people being put in prison.

“Last year, some 95,000 juveniles under 18 years of age were put in prison, and that doesn’t count those in juvenile facilities,” she noted.

“And between 2007 and 2011, the population of those over 64 grew by 94 times the rate of the regular population. Prisons clearly aren’t equipped to take care of these aging people, and you have to question what threat they pose to society – and the justification for imprisoning them.” (More)


The dangers of Obama's Cyber War power grab

By Matthew Rothschild
The Progressive

05 February 2013 — When our founders were drafting the Constitution, they went out of their way to give warmaking powers to Congress, not the President.

They understood that if the President could make war on his own, he'd be no different than a king.

And they also understood, as James Madison said, that such power "would be too much temptation" for one man.

And so they vested that power in Congress.

But since World War II, one President after another has usurped that power.

The latest usurper is President Obama, who did so in Libya, and with drones, and now is prepared to do so in cyberspace. (More)


Hillary Clinton's legacy as Secretary of State

A reprehensible role model for young women

By Stephen Zunes
07 February 2013 — Hillary Clinton leaves her position as Secretary of State with a legacy of supporting autocratic regimes and occupation armies, opposing enforcement of international humanitarian law, undermining arms control and defending military solutions to complex political problems.
She was appointed to her position following eight years in the US Senate, during which she became an outspoken supporter of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, lied about Iraq's military capabilities to frighten the public into supporting the illegal war, unleashed repeated attacks against the United Nations, opposed restrictions on land mines and cluster bombs, defended war crimes by allied right-wing governments and largely embraced Bush's unilateralist agenda.
Despite this, Clinton is receiving largely unconditional praise from liberal pundits and others for her leadership, some even claiming that she is some kind of role model for young women!
Part of this unlikely defense of the dishonest and hawkish outgoing Secretary of State may be in reaction to the onslaught of misleading, petty, and sexist attacks from the right, such as her recent grilling on Capitol Hill about last summer's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Such spurious criticisms, particularly those motivated by sexism, certainly deserve to be challenged. However, this should not in any way be used as an excuse to fail to acknowledge the damage Clinton has done, or her embrace of much of the dangerous neo-conservative doctrines of the previous administration. (More)

The Tender Gender
A reader's comments
Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Condoleeza Rice and Susan Rice are nothing more than hand maidens to militarism.

Madeline (children are expendable) Albright was on the leading edge of the Balkans bombings, and famously described the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children as "worth the sacrifice".

Condi "Mushroom Cloud" Rice should be prosecuted for War crimes and Treason for her role in the lead up to and war in Iraq.

Susan Rice backed the bombing of Libya and has been the Empire's lead enforcer at the UN. Some have suggested she was ruled out for Secretary of State because of her abusive demeanor.

In 2003 then US Senator Clinton voted to invade Iraq when it was clear to anybody with an IQ of 90 that the Dubya Regime's justifications for invasion were 100% bogus.

Which all goes to show that in order to move up in the Imperial ranks women must be even more aggressive and despotic than men. The "liberation" of women and "advancement" of minorities in general has been a boon to the prosecution and propaganda of Empire as an equal opportunity employer.


Aaron Swartz, dead at 26
Cyberspace genius with firm grip on positive humanitarian compass
By Wesley Yang
New York Magazine
09 February 2013


The precocious coder, hacker visionary, and “pirate” was already a tech legend by the time he’d turned 17. But in the weeks since his suicide last month, at 26, his friends and comrades have tried to turn him into something else—a martyr.

Years before he hanged himself in his Crown Heights apartment, the hacker, writer, and activist Aaron Swartz used to debate with his then-girlfriend Quinn Norton whether the Internet would mourn him if he died. It was Swartz's stubborn belief that no one would notice or care if he died young, as he often thought he was fated to do. Like many young men of great promise and fluctuating moods, Swartz was an unstable compound of self-effacement and self-regard-among the most empowered, well-connected young people in America, yet convinced that his very existence was a burden to others, even those who loved him. Back when Aaron was 20 and the journalist Norton was 33, before they had crossed over into a complicated romantic affair, Norton brought Swartz with her to a tech event in Berlin, where he and her ex-husband, the tech writer Danny O'Brien, played a game in which they tried to "kill" themselves on Wikipedia, seeing how long they could remain dead before some volunteer editor restored them to life. Neither could remain dead for more than ten minutes.

There is a category of young person able to do things like contribute to the building of the Internet in their teens, or sell their tech start-ups for millions of dollars when they are 19, or rally a million opponents to a major piece of legislation when they are in their twenties. Usually such people are not the same young people who write on their blogs that they are too frightened to ask for a glass of water on a plane, or that "even among my closest friends, I still feel like something of an imposition, and the slightest shock, the slightest hint that I'm correct, sends me scurrying back into my hole." Swartz was preternaturally adult when he was still a child and still a precocious child after he had grown to adulthood - "so vulnerable and fragile," his friend Ben Wikler said. "He put up shields in all the wrong places." He had done more in 26 years than most of us will do in a lifetime, but often avowed to others, and most of all himself, that he had done nothing of any worth at all. (More)


Hitler’s failed Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union

The Battle of Moscow: Turning Point of World War II

The victory of the Red Army in front of Moscow was a major break...

By Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels
Global Research

Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels, author of The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002.

04 February 2013 — World War II started, at least as far as the “European Theatre” was concerned, with the German army steamrolling over Poland in September, 1939. About six months later, even more spectacular victories followed, this time over the Benelux Countries and France. By the summer of 1940, Germany looked invincible and predestined to rule the European continent indefinitely. (Great Britain admittedly refused to throw in the towel, but could not hope to win the war on its own, and had to fear that Hitler would soon turn his attention to Gibraltar, Egypt, and/or other jewels in the crown of the British Empire.) Five years later, Germany experienced the pain and humiliation of total defeat. On April 20, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin as the Red Army bulldozed its way into the city, reduced to a heap of smoking ruins, and on May 8/9 German surrendered unconditionally.

Clearly, then, sometime between late 1940 and 1944 the tide had turned rather dramatically. But when, and where? In Normandy in 1944, according to some; at Stalingrad, during the winter of 1942-43, according to others. In reality, the tide turned in December 1941 in the Soviet Union, more specifically, in the barren plain just west of Moscow. As a German historian, an expert on the war against the Soviet Union, has put it: “That victory of the Red Army [in front of Moscow] was unquestionably the major break [Zäsur] of the entire world war.”[1]

That the Soviet Union was the scene of the battle that changed the course of World War II, should come as no surprise. War against the Soviet Union was the war Hitler had wanted from the beginning, as he had made very clear on the pages of Mein Kampf, written in the mid-1920s. (But an Ostkrieg, a war in the east, i.e. against the Soviets, was also the object of desire of the German generals, of Germany’s leading industrialists, and of other “pillars” of Germany’s establishment.)

In fact, as a German historian has just recently demonstrated,[2] it was a war against the Soviet Union, and not against Poland, France, or Britain, that Hitler had wanted to unleash in 1939. On August 11 of that year, Hitler explained to Carl J. Burckhardt, an official of the League of Nations, that “everything he undertook was directed against Russia,” and that “if the West [i.e. the French and the British] is too stupid and too blind to comprehend this, he would be forced to reach an understanding with the Russians, turn and defeat the West, and then turn back with all his strength to strike a blow against the Soviet Union.”[3]

This is in fact what happened. The West did turn out to be “too stupid and blind”, as Hitler saw it, to give him “a free hand” in the east, so he did make a deal with Moscow – the infamous “Hitler-Stalin Pact” – and then unleashed war against Poland, France and Britain. But his objective remained the same: to attack and destroy the Soviet Union as soon as possible. (More)