Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A 70% tax on income over $10m is designed to correct inequality, not raise revenue

Just as the purpose of a tobacco tax is not to pay for cancer treatment, the purpose of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's wildly popular proposal to tax income over $10m at 70% is to correct inequality and reduce the corrosive power of extreme wealth to distort political decisionmaking, not to fund programs.

As Vanessa Williamson writes on Common Dreams, a 70% wealth tax "blunt[s] the incentives for wealthy people to overpay one another and exploit the less privileged."
A hypothetical example explains the mechanism. Imagine if you are a CEO, already making enough to be in the top income tax bracket. If the marginal tax rate in that bracket is 70 percent, any increase you get in pay is going to cost your company a little over three times what you’ll actually take home. The rest will go to Uncle Sam. No wonder company boards become more discerning in approving executive pay increases. High tax rates make it a lot more costly for wealthy people to fling money at one another for no reason.

This has an implication for public budgets; to the extent that individuals’ fortunes are reduced from the obscene to the merely very large, top marginal tax rates collect less revenue.

It would be an error, then, to use revenue as the sole justification for progressive taxation. This is not to say that Democrats are making a strategic mistake in pairing, rhetorically or even legislatively, big spending programs with progressive taxes. Both proposals are popular, after all.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 70 Percent Tax on the Rich Isn't About Revenue, It's About Decreasing Inequality [Vanessa Williamson/Common Dreams]

Thanks, Boing Boing

(via Late Stage Capitalism)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Sermon:

The Myth of Capitalism:
an ardent capitalist decries monopoly

From Boing Boing:

Naked Capitalism's John Siman reviews Joanthan Tepper and Denise Hearn's The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, in which Tepper (who does research that is sold to asset managers) condemns capitalism's current state while rejecting Thomas Piketty (who says that capitalism inevitably elevates the already-rich, not the people who create wealth by doing useful things) and Karl Marx.

Like Piketty, though, Tepper seeks to rescue capitalism, rather than jettison it. Piketty prescribes a global wealth tax to erode inequality and make it possible for governments to create evidence-based, pluralistic policies that benefit the many, not the few, while Tepper jumps straight to those policies: specifically, Tepper wants to reinvigorate antitrust and break up monopolies and oligopolies, and ban anti-competitive behavior.

This is an increasingly mainstream position, but, based on Siman's review, it's safe to say that Tepper makes it very well: from his vantage-point as a researcher serving the highest fliers of the finance industry, he is well-positioned to document the sleazy deals that monopolists make to carve up markets rather than compete in them, and the way that we all suffer as a result.

Tepper catalogs the 29 worst rigged markets (while noting that there are many others), from ISPs to online services to milk to funeral homes to dialysis to eyeglasses to airlines to tax-prep to health insurance to agriculture to the media.

And, contra Peter Thiel and the Chicago School, Tepper explains in fine detail how monopolies create disefficiencies of scale, performing worse than smaller companies, and retaining their position not by doing best in the market, but by rigging the market to crush new entrants.

Tepper takes particular aim at California: simultaneously rich in GDP, but with worse poverty than Mississippi, and also a state dominated by monopolies who make the rich richer and everyone else poorer, and who control the state's politics.
Tepper uses an analogy to “Lucky” Luciano’s Mafia Commission of the 1930s to explain how contemporary American corporations divide up the turf in order to rid themselves of any real business competition (pp. 21-22). He uses an analogy to a brain-eating tapeworm to illustrate how the extreme concentration of industry has a literally parasiticeffect on our economy: “Monopolies and oligopolies won’t kill the economy, but they can cripple it” (p. 36). Tepper sarcastically notes that when Walgreen’s tried to buy up all of RiteAid’s stores, the Department of Justice, being “unusually bold,” allowed Walgreen’s to acquire only half of RiteAid: “The appropriate analogy here is of disapproving parents who dislike their son’s coke habit and tell him to settle for half a line” (p. 116). The title of Tepper’s chapter seven is “What Trusts and Nazis Had in Common.” He mentions in passing that “workers at the Securities and Exchange Commission spent their time watching porn while the economy crashed during the Financial Crisis” (p. 116).

The sensitive reader will feel morally obligated bear some of Tepper’s burden of exhaustively-researched outrage, but will also fear being, as I was, overwhelmed by it. My recommendation is to begin with Tepper’s chapter six, felicitously entitled “Toll Roads and Robber Barons.” Study chapter six. Digest chapter six. In it Tepper presents a catalog of the extent of — the ubiquity of — the hypertrophic concentration of industry in neoliberal America. “If you’re not outraged by the time you get to the end of the chapter,” Tepper writes, “you weren’t reading carefully. Most industries have carved up the United States with the sole purpose of screwing the consumer” (p. 116).
Seeking a Cure for Our New Gilded Age — For the Total Corporate Domination of Everything [John Siman/Naked Capitalism]

Thursday, January 24, 2019

New Diet Guidelines to Benefit People and the Planet: More Greens for All, Less Meat for Some

from The New York Times
What should we eat?

Depends on who is eating.

That’s one of the principal conclusions of a comprehensive report that sets out targets on how to feed the world in a way that’s good for human health and the health of the planet. Its lightning-rod recommendation is around beef and lamb, the two forms of livestock that require enormous amounts of land and water and produce heaps of methane.

The report suggests a dramatic reduction in red meat consumption for people who eat a lot of it, like Americans and Canadians, but not the world’s poor, who need more animal protein for better health — like children in South Asia.

Written by 37 scientists from 16 countries and published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet, in conjunction with an advocacy group called the EAT Forum, the report was funded by the Wellcome Trust and Stordalen Foundation. In addition to the recommendations on meat, it calls for curbing food waste, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and overhauling agriculture so it doesn’t worsen deforestation and the depletion of scarce water.

“It’s not a blanket approach, but when you look at the data there are certain individuals or populations that don’t need that much red meat for their own health,” said Jessica Fanzo, a professor of food policy at Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of the report. “There’s a real inequity. Some people get too much. Some people get too little.”

People in North America eat more than 6 times the recommended amount of red meat, the report said, while countries in South Asia eat half of what’s recommended.

Agriculture accounts for roughly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, much of them produced by the raising of cattle and lamb. With the world’s population projected to rise to 10 billion by 2050 and prosperity allowing many more people to afford meat and dairy, scientists and policymakers are paying more attention to the question of feeding the planet without destroying it.

One recent study by the World Resources Institute recommended that people in Europe and the United States reduce their meat consumption. But like the Lancet report, it, too, suggested that reducing the carbon footprint of food would also require rapid changes in farming methods to allow farmers and ranchers to grow far more food on existing agricultural lands while cutting emissions.

The Lancet report pointed to a broader problem of disparity: More than 800 million people don’t get enough to eat worldwide, the report noted, and many more “consume low-quality diets that cause micronutrient deficiencies and contribute to a substantial rise in the incidence of diet-related obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases.”

The report took pains to say that it wasn’t trying to prescribe to people what to eat or how to eat. It laid out global targets for what constitutes a healthy diet, based on an average intake of 2,500 calories a day. That includes 14 grams, or about half an ounce, of beef or lamb a day. That’s roughly the equivalent of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder every eight days.

The report said the largest share of daily calories, 35 percent, should come from whole grains, including rice, wheat and corn, and starchy tubers like potatoes and cassava. The recommendations included unsaturated fats, milk, cheese and nuts, and lots of green vegetables. Overall, the guidelines called for a doubling of global consumption of fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes, and cutting the consumption of red meat in half.

The meat reduction recommendation received immediate pushback. Even before the release of the Lancet report, the Animal Agriculture Alliance, an industry group, issued a statement extolling the benefits of meat and dairy. It said cutting animal protein could “risk worsening malnutrition, increasing food waste, and distracting from the highest priorities for addressing greenhouse gas emissions.” The group echoed the Lancet report’s recommendation to reduce food waste.

Likewise, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, in a statement, called beef “nourishing and sustainable.”

The Lancet report also made clear that individual consumer choices would not be enough to avert what the authors called “catastrophic damage to the planet.” It urged governments to encourage healthy food choices and ensure access to nutritious food. It also suggested that global agriculture policy emphasize not just producing more food, but more “nutritious plant-based foods,” though it acknowledged that, in some places, animal farming can be good for the ecosystem.

It recommended policies to curb deforestation and to protect at least 10 percent of marine areas from fishing. To tackle food waste, it suggested help for farmers in poor- and middle-income countries to better store their crops and get them to market while still fresh. In rich countries, it encouraged better shopping habits and improved “use by” labels.

“The evidence says we can do it,” said Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at the City University of London and a co-author of the report. “There’s an immense diversity of what people can eat. It’s not prescriptive.”

read the original article HERE for more links to sources of information mentioned.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

"Capitalism has outlived its usefulness"
-Martin Luther King, Jr

"I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems, it falls victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes."
"As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. …"
“I started thinking about the fact that right here in our country we spend millions of dollars every day to store surplus food. And I said to myself: ‘I know where we can store that food free of charge — in the wrinkled stomachs of the millions of God’s children in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and even in our own nation, who go to bed hungry at night.’"
Dr King: "... the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government" [Jim P/Daily Kos]

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations Overlook His Critiques of Capitalism and Militarism [Zaid Jilani/The Intercept]

Thanks, Boing Boing

Monday, January 21, 2019

School of Life Monday:
Why Humanity Destroyed Itself

“One day, if human civilisation ever wipes itself out, aliens or one of our successors will cast an eye on our ruined planet and ask themselves what ever happened to homo sapiens. Their answer might look a little like this.
The root cause won’t be the specific catastrophe, conflict or devastation that eradicates us; the problem will begin with the architecture of the human brain....”

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Dick Clark Interviews Run DMC - American Bandstand 1985

This is the day I met Rick and Russell for the first time in person...

Saturday, January 19, 2019

US TV networks put ratings over principle
by airing Trump speech

from The Guardian by Emily Bell
Broadcasters criticised for giving president access, as fact checking becomes a media event
[DUMP] Donald Trump’s speech on the Mexican “border crisis”, delivered live from the Oval Office last week, marked a milestone in his brief but historically chaotic presidency; it revealed serious errors of judgment that weren’t simply down to him. Unfortunately for commercial media outlets, it was their shortcomings that attracted almost as much attention and criticism as the scaremongering speech itself.

It is the hallmark of many non-Democratic countries that tinpot dictators appear, at the drop of a hat, on national broadcast outlets. Even in functioning democracies you can measure the importance of a national moment by whether the head of state or government pops up in prime time. For this reason appearances by US presidents on all TV networks were traditionally a relatively rare occurrence. When they do happen, the decision to run them is made on an ad hoc basis by the heads of those networks.

Until Trump, the establishment organisations of US public life – which include the president and the major television stations – were so closely aligned on the circumstances for accessing the airwaves that clear rules seemed unnecessary, at least in the age of media deference to the presidency; Richard Nixon managed nine live addresses to the nation.

The last time an American president requested airtime and was refused was when Barack Obama wanted to address the nation on immigration policy in 2014. The networks’ reasoning included the fact that Obama had been allowed Oval Office addresses before, and this seemed to not be as big a deal.

This time, the danger that Trump would use the platform to spread nonsense and untruth in a thinly veiled campaign for a personal policy was weighed carefully against the fact that Trump had not yet had an Oval Office address and that it would be “newsworthy”, on account of the ongoing impasse over funding the government.

In fact, Trump has already made 17 presidential addresses, but only the latest was given seated behind his desk in the White House. Obama only gave 20 such speeches in the whole of his eight-year tenure.

The policy background is the punishing government shutdown that threatens the wages of 800,000 workers over the insistence by Trump that Congress give him $5.7bn (£4.5bn) to build a border wall with Mexico. The centrepiece of his xenophobic campaign platform, his dream of building the wall, has been stymied by both cost concerns and the laws of physics (large stretches of the US-Mexican border are not wall friendly). His request that public funds be made available to erect a fence – a cheaper, if no less ridiculous, option – has met with Democratic opposition, and ultimately a failure to fund many government activities.

The inability of 11 separate network heads to say “no” to Trump caused frustration on a number of levels. It was yet another sign, said some commentators, of the networks not “getting it”, following the normal rules of engagement with a presidency that is abnormal to the point of dysfunction.

A more nuanced point is that journalists employed by the same networks are often subject to abuse and even physical danger because of Trump’s hostility to the press: CNN correspondent Jim Acosta had his press credentials withdrawn for upsetting the president, and Katy Tur of NBC had to be given secret service protection at Trump rallies during his campaign.

Allowing a president noted for his untruthfulness access to their networks arguably put protocol above national interest, or perhaps, more honestly, prioritised ratings over principle.

Brian Stelter, CNN’s media editor, told the New Yorker he thought the decision was driven by tradition: “It is not that television networks are unaware or uninterested in the president’s mendacity,” he said. “But I think that tradition, that custom, of broadcasting the president simply outweighs the concerns.”

Given the refusal to allow Obama airtime, this argument looks a trifle disingenuous, made more so by the attendant ratings. The speech and an accompanying rebuttal by Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were seen by more than 43 million viewers. Trump remains strong box office.

The viewing figures are, however, only one aspect of a series of coordinated events. There was the prelude to the speech, in which Trump invited network bosses to lunch and told them he didn’t, in fact, want to be on TV at all, but his advisers were making him. There was the Democratic rebuttal and the subsequent memes. There was the discussion about the speech (see above) and there was the fact checking which has now become a media event in itself.

The assumption that the speech might be false and misleading opened up the opportunity for a fact-checked meta-narrative to run alongside the event. The (non-profit) Associated Press won the prize for worst use of fact checking with a tweet that read: “AP fact check: Democrats put the blame for the shutdown on Trump. But it takes two to tango. Trump’s demand for $5.7bn for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats’ refusal to approve the money is another.”

In a move that strayed beyond satire, AP then adjusted its own fact check to better conform to the facts.

The Trump Show is a live experiment in what happens when the complete fusion of politics, technology and public entertainment occurs. Journalists and politicians alike struggle to find a footing that keeps them simultaneously relevant and rational. As Trump was sniffing uncomfortably behind his desk on Tuesday, potential contenders for 2020 were popping up on Instagram using the platform’s fleeting Stories function, frolicking with their dogs or having their teeth cleaned.

Meanwhile, on the southern border, where the real policy story is playing out, there was scant coverage of fringe groups harassing asylum seekers sheltered by churches. And the wider story about the growing crisis in processing immigration cases was eclipsed.

This time next year we will be in full-on primary season as part of the run up to the 2020 election, and the era of Trump might be drawing to a close. The television networks and press corps might imagine there will then be a return to normality. But this heightened environment of mediated and unmediated communications is the new reality.

Interaction between politicians, the public and the press has been permanently altered. The fourth wall has come down far faster than the border wall could ever be constructed. As yet it is not entirely clear that the commercial media has decided what role it could – or should – play in this changed world.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech

What A Great Speech - Her First in the House - Love this Woman - A New Leader!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Germs Bassist Lorna Doom Has Died...

No details as of yet, but i did uncover this great photograph of her and Darby from the last show, December 3rd 1980.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

How do we get people to care about climate and energy?

from Treehugger

We can't. We have to paint a bigger picture. And we can learn from what the Well people are doing.

The Passivhaus Institut promotes "a building standard that is truly energy efficient, comfortable and affordable at the same time." It has been around since 1996. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of it, but have often complained that energy efficiency isn't enough. There are now over 3,000 Passivhaus certified designers and consultants, and there are 4547 buildings in the Passivhaus Institute Database.

The Well Building Standard covers a bigger field of interest. It is "focused exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness."

The Well Building Standard started in 2014 and now has 6416 certified professionals and registrants. There are 220 million square feet in 1094 projects. It started with commercial space and is moving into residential real estate around the world. It does not even mention energy efficiency in the entire standard; it's all about health and wellness. Why is it growing like mad, when other building standards, like the Passivhaus, grow so much more slowly? Why, in a time when we have 12 years to cut our carbon footprints in half, do people care so much more about circadian lighting and healthy food?

We have noted many times before that it is hard to get people to deal with the serious issues of climate. I recently wrote that people don't want to talk about it, don't want to read about it, aren't going to vote to do anything about it. Paraphrasing Upton Sinclair, their lifestyle depends on them not understanding climate change. As the Shelton Group found in their survey, the biggest motivator for energy conservation was to save money, and the last was to preserve the quality of life for future generations. Given that energy prices are low, there is not a whole lot of incentive for people to spend serious money to burn less.

Dan Gartner, writing in the Globe and Mail, points out that "climate change doesn’t dominate elections. It doesn’t dominate headlines, airtime, and social media. It doesn’t dominate consumer choices." It is because of the way our minds work:
Scientists have informed me that when I drive my gasoline-powered car, the car emits carbon dioxide into the air, which makes the atmosphere an ever-so-slightly more efficient heat-trapping blanket. If I multiply my car’s emissions by one billion cars and thousands more greenhouse-gas sources and seven billion people and 150 years of industrialization, the total is big trouble. I know this. We all do.

But the last time I got in my car, drove and got out, there was no perceptible change. I suffered no harm. No one did. The same is true of the time before that. And the time before that.
He calls it the problem of “psychological distance.”

In its early days, the Well Standard had a few touches of pseudoscience, including vitamin-infused water and aromatherapy shower heads. They are gone now, but there are still many aspects of Well that are out there on the edge and are described as a bit flaky. They may be backed by real science but they are not exactly life and death issues. Or as Deepak Chopra says about Wellness Real Estate (separate from the Well Standard but based on the same principles):
So why do we separate the human organism from where we live? Pure air, pure water, acoustics, and Circadian lighting are the first steps. For years green building has focused on environmental impact. Not on the human biological impact. That is what we are doing here.
But those of us who actually care about environmental impact can learn from all this. In a presentation to Passivhaus Portugal recently, I looked at what features of the Well standard are already covered by Passivhaus and what features could be co-opted.


Passivhaus has this one nailed, with its requirement for Heat Recovery Ventilation and filtering. Air quality is becoming a serious health crisis in cities and people are finally getting seriously concerned; in London, people are apparently moving out of town. Passivhaus could own this. Chie Kawahara described living through the recent California fires in her Passivhaus Midori Haus:

The tightly sealed enclosure, about 10 times tighter than conventionally built houses, keeps random air from coming in from random places. The heat recovery ventilator provides us with continuous filtered fresh air. Only during these extended bad air quality days do we need to pay special attention to our ventilation system to keep our indoor air clean.


Comfort is complicated, but is a prime feature of Passivhaus, with its thick blanket of insulation and high-quality windows; when walls are as warm as the air then you do not feel cold. Elrond Burrell has been pitching this for years, writing in Passivhaus; Comfort, Comfort, Comfort, Energy Efficiency that the standard for airtightness (0.6 air changes per hour) makes the house completely draft-free. Since the windows are so good, designed to have interior surfaces that are within 5°F of interior temperature, there are no drafts off the glass like there are in most conventional houses. More: The three most important things about passive houses are comfort, comfort and comfort.


Again, those walls and windows significantly reduce exterior noise; Passivhaus designs are extremely quiet. As I noted after touring Jane Sanders' Passivhaus townhouse in Brooklyn,
For someone living in New York City, perhaps the biggest benefit of building to Passive House standards is that it is incredibly quiet inside. Bergen is a busy street, with buses and trucks going by at all hours. However the high-quality triple glazed windows plus the thick blanket of insulation really cut the noise; you could see buses go by and really could not hear a thing.


Windows are a source of both heat loss and heat gain that have to be taken into account, so they are very carefully designed and placed in Passivhaus buildings. The important thing about Passivhaus quality windows is that you or your dog can sit right beside them and not feel cold. Juraj Mikurcik describes "the luxury of being able to sit next to the large glazed window without feeling uncomfortable."

But wait, there's more!

These are four very important issues that Passivhaus designers can pitch to clients, as well as energy savings. But Well looks at other categories that Passivhaus designers have to think about too. Water is obviously important. Fitness, Nutrition and even Mind, which covers things like beauty and biophilia.

The real lesson from Well is that people care more, as Chopra notes, about their own biological human impact than they do about environmental impact. Otherwise Well wouldn't be growing like mad and Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn't be a multimillionaire.

The Passivhaus Institute may base all their decisions on rigorous science, but people want more than just energy efficiency, and they don't actually understand comfort, and Passivhaus designers don't do a great job of explaining it. So while Passivhaus addresses serious issues, they are psychologically distant. Health and wellness, on the other hand, are very close.

Le Corbusier famously said that good architects borrow, and great architects steal. (He stole the phrase from Picasso). I believe that we have to do some serious stealing learning from the Well people, who recognize that people care a lot more about what is going on inside their homes and their bodies than they do about what is going outside. I used to say it was because we are selfish and self-centred, but Dan Gartner says otherwise;
So why is our concern about climate change so small relative to the threat? The problem is not that we are ignorant or selfish. The problem is how we think.
Gartner says that "learning to accept that may help save us." Perhaps it is time for those who care about climate and energy to recognize this, learn from it, and deliver more. To paint a bigger picture. There is a lot to learn from what the Well people are doing, they know their audience. I have been trying to get a handle on this since I started on TreeHugger and focused on promoting green building, but I am not sure we know ours.

go to original article to see more source information and a few more images.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

the end of Maximum Rocknroll as a monthly print fanzine.

From the MRR Board of Directors:

It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing the end of Maximum Rocknroll as a monthly print fanzine. There will be three more issues of the fanzine in its current format; late in 2019 we will begin publishing record reviews online alongside our weekly radio show. Readers can look forward to more online content, updates regarding the archive project initiated in 2016, and other yet-to-be-announced MRR projects, as well as new ways for punks around the world to get involved.

Maximum Rocknroll began as a radio show in 1977. For the founders of Maximum Rocknroll, the driving impulse behind the radio show was simple: an unabashed, uncompromising love of punk rock. In 1982, buoyed by burgeoning DIY punk and hardcore scenes all over the world, the founders of the show — Tim Yohannan & the gang — launched Maximum Rocknroll as a print fanzine. That first issue drew a line in the sand between the so-called punks who mimicked society’s worst attributes — the “apolitical, anti-historical, and anti-intellectual,” the ignorant, racist, and violent — and MRR’s principled dedication to promoting a true alternative to the doldrums of the mainstream. That dedication included anti-corporate ideals, avowedly leftist politics, and relentless enthusiasm for DIY punk and hardcore bands and scenes from every inhabited continent of the globe. Over the next several decades, what started as a do-it-yourself labor of love among a handful of friends and fellow travelers has extended to include literally thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of readers. Today, forty-two years after that first radio show, there have been well over 1600 episodes of MRR radio and 400 issues of Maximum Rocknroll fanzine — not to mention some show spaces, record stores, and distros started along the way — all capturing the mood and sound of international DIY punk rock: wild, ebullient, irreverent, and oppositional.

Needless to say, the landscape of the punk underground has shifted over the years, as has the world of print media. Many of the names and faces behind Maximum Rocknroll have changed too. Yet with every such shift, MRR has continued to remind readers that punk rock isn’t any one person, one band, or even one fanzine. It is an idea, an ethos, a fuck you to the status quo, a belief that a different kind of world and a different kind of sound is ours for the making.

These changes do not mean that Maximum Rocknroll is coming to an end. We are still the place to turn if you care about Swedish girl bands or Brazilian thrash or Italian anarchist publications or Filipino teenagers making anti-state pogo punk, if you are interested in media made by punks for punks, if you still believe in the power and potential of autonomously produced and underground culture. We certainly still do, and look forward to the surprises, challenges, and joys that this next chapter will bring. Long live Maximum Rocknroll.

A very frank discussion with the community I was happy to participate in at the time...

I was a contributor for a while back in the early 80's and was introduced to some great people who I met through that community, some that are no longer living and some that remain friends to this day.

Nice run MRR!


p.s. one of my photos on this old cover :

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Border Patrol union deletes 2012 anti-border wall web page that argued walls waste taxpayer money

From BoingBoing:
A union that represents agents for the U.S. Border Patrol deleted a 2012 page from their website that said building walls or fences along the U.S./Mexico border to stop desperate migrants would be “wasting taxpayer money.”

VICE's Motherboard reports that the deleted web page was originally posted in 2012. It carried an argument against walls like the one Trump's pushing today, and said border barriers don’t tackle migration's root causes, and may encourage more migrants to enter the U.S. through visa overstay.

The Wayback Machine archives at show the page was deleted after the union's president supported building a border wall with Donald Trump in the White House Briefing Room on January 3, 2019.

Video of that stunt above.

From Motherboard:

That statement came from the official website of the NBPC’s “Media FAQ” page which argued at length against the policy of building border walls. The page, originally published in October 2012, was deleted on or after January 4, according to archives obtained through the Wayback Machine. This was the day after the press briefing, and four days before President Trump gave a prime-time television address arguing for Congress to spend $5.7 billion in order to build a larger wall along the US-Mexico border.

“Walls and fences are temporary solutions that focus on the symptom (illegal immigration) rather than the problem (employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens),” the now-deleted page says.

The Media FAQ page has not been replaced, and a link to the Media FAQ page has also been removed from the NBPC website. The NBPC did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment. Though the FAQ argues at length against building a wall, it does note that “as long as we continue to operate under the current [National Border Patrol Strategy] and ignore the problem that is causing illegal immigration, we realize fences and walls are essential.”

The deletion of pages on federally-funded, .gov websites—such as the Environmental Protection Agency pages relating to climate change—can be caused by top-down mandates from the Trump administration. But the NBPC website exists at a .org rather than a .gov web address, and it is unclear what specifically spurred the deletion of the Media FAQ page. The White House did not immediately return Motherboard’s request for comment.
Here's a screengrab, via VICE.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Terrorists and the Southern Border: Myth and Reality

from Just Security:

Taken at face value, rhetoric from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would lead Americans to believe that the United States is facing a terrorism crisis at our southern border. The picture being painted is one in which thousands of terrorists have been stopped crossing our southern border to infiltrate the Homeland. If that were true, that would indeed be a crisis.

In reality, no such crisis exists.

Our federal courthouses and prisons are not filled with terrorists we’ve captured at the border. There is no wave of terrorist operatives waiting to cross overland into the United States. It simply isn’t true. Anyone in authority using this argument to bolster support for building the wall or any other physical barrier along the southern border is most likely guilty of fear mongering and willfully misleading the American people.

Why do I know this? As Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) from December 2014 until December 2017, it was my job to lead the government’s efforts to collect and analyze all available information about terrorist threats to the Homeland. It was my responsibility on behalf of the Intelligence Community to synthesize and present that terrorism picture to our most senior decision makers – up to and including the President of the United States — so that sound decisions could be made about how to protect the Homeland from terrorist attack.

Here is ground truth on this issue. Terrorist groups like al-Qa’ida and ISIS spend time talking about, brainstorming and even fantasizing about ways in which they can do harm to the United State. At times, those conversations have certainly included discussion of ways in which terrorist operatives might be inserted into the Homeland. But we also knew from intelligence reporting that terrorist groups have very high regard for our Homeland Security capabilities, including our border security. They know we had become a much “harder” target than at the time of 9/11 and that getting their operatives into the United States is an extremely challenging proposition.

In part, that’s why terrorist groups pivoted in recent years to a different business model. Rather than focusing on trying to insert a terrorist operative from abroad, it has proven to be far easier for an organization like ISIS or al-Qa’ida to inspire or motivate an individual already inside the United States to act on their behalf. That change has left us with the threat condition that prevails today, in which the greatest terrorism threat we face is from what we call Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) – in most cases individuals who were either born here or have lived here for most of their adult lives.

The most recent public testimony of our intelligence community professionals – to include the Acting Director of NCTC and the FBI Director – makes that focus on homegrown extremists abundantly clear. What’s more, recent testimony by these officials has not highlighted serious terrorism related concerns about the southern border. It remains a theoretical vulnerability but not one that terrorists have been able to exploit.

So, what to make of these thousands of so-called terrorists prevented from entering the country across our southern border? Where do these numbers come from? What seems true is that our system of terrorist watch listing is in fact working. Though DHS has not provided data to support its claims, I suspect that on many occasions in recent years, perhaps adding up to thousands, individuals who live abroad and want to travel to the United States have been denied the opportunity to do so because of a concern about a potential nexus to terrorism. Such an individual would have their visa or ESTA application denied and no travel would occur. In other cases, so-called Special Interest Aliens (SIA) from countries of terrorism concern have likely been stopped at the border.

But each of those visa denials or SIA encounters hardly equates to disruption of a terrorist plot or the “capture” of a known terrorist. Our watchlisting system is predicated on a carefully calibrated risk management approach. When the intelligence community acquires information that points to a potential link to terrorist activity, individuals are not permitted to travel to the United States. But it should not be assumed that every individual who was denied the opportunity to enter the U.S. because of a potential terrorism link was in fact a would-be terrorist intent on doing us harm. We are certainly not facing a “crisis” of thousands of terrorists trying to cross our southern border.

For those not willing to take my word or others for it, there is a better indicator that the Administration’s arguments about a large-scale terrorist infiltration across our southern border are specious. If that proposition were true, there would certainly be current intelligence assessments laying out the details of this threat, even citing specific cases of imprisoned terrorists that had made their way through the criminal justice system. And if the Administration wished to provide support for its claims, I suspect it would have worked to declassify for public consumption relevant portions of those classified assessments or at the very least, highlighted past prosecutions using publicly available court documents. To my knowledge, no such effort is underway. That’s because the Intelligence Community is almost certainly not able to stand publicly behind what the White House and DHS are saying.

If the Administration and indeed the Congress were in fact looking for ways to make the American people safer from terrorist attack, there are things that should be done, apart from building walls at the border. Indeed, for every dollar spent on a $5 billion southern border wall, American public safety could benefit exponentially more from spending it on counterterrorism elsewhere.

First and foremost, we could expand our investment in prevention programs aimed at countering violent extremism here in the U.S. This prevention work involves intensive engagement with communities at the state and local level and it is difficult, often frustrating work. Success or failure is hard to measure and it has proven challenging to build trust between the government and communities where extremism can take root. But walking away from these programs, as the current Administration has done, is hardly a recipe for success in countering extremism here in the United States. Even relatively modest sums would have significant impact in this area. We are talking millions, not billions.

Secondly, the government could accelerate investments aimed at modernizing our watchlisting systems. In the period since 9/11, much has been accomplished in this area, and we are probably better than any nation in the world when it comes to identifying bad actors and keeping them from entering our country. But there is much more to be done in terms of using modern information technology to enhance our risk management approach, including stepped up collection and analysis of biometric information. Dollars spent in support of these objectives would do far more to keep us safe than dollars spent on physical barriers.

Lastly, the government can and should increase programming and resources aimed at dealing with purely domestic terrorism which seems to be of growing concern. To its credit, the Administration gave attention to this issue in its recently published Counterterrorism Strategy. But it remains to be seen if dollars and programs will follow from that strategy document.

To be sure, there are terrorists located abroad who are intent on trying to enter the United States. But the number almost certainly isn’t in the thousands as has been claimed or implied by the Administration. Making such fantastic and unsupportable claims only undermines public trust and confidence in our watchlisting system and in our counterterrorism community. In other words, the rhetorical exaggerations themselves undercut our national security. Most importantly, responding to the challenge posed by terrorist travel is well within our capabilities as a nation – wall or no wall. The intelligence and law enforcement professionals charged with preventing terrorists from entering the United States are highly capable, extremely dedicated and equipped with a wide range of tools and capabilities to keep us safe. They deserve our trust and confidence. The political manipulation of real facts does both these professionals and the American public a deep disservice.

The views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not imply endorsement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or any other U.S. government agency.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

BUZZCOCKS - - Boredom. Rare video

Kinda feeling that way about blogging these days and may stop when I hit the 10 year mark - not long from now . . .

Saturday, January 5, 2019

My First Published Photograph from the fall of 1976
as it Appeared in SkateBoarder magazine

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JAY ADAMS ... My 1st published photo. Taken in the fall of 1976, at the Tear Drop, a tiny pool with almost no shallow end shaped like a tear drop... Up in Brentwood, not far from Kenter Canyon School ... i was 14 years old. Used by the BIBLE the original SKATEBOARDER Magazine for a full page subscription ad. Zoom in and look at the details of what was going on back then... i was beyond stoked, even though at the same time i was bummed they didn’t use the photo in its original full color, cropped it crazy and that’s not to mention he’s not pulling this off! But it was the first time someone was coming out of the pool like that, it inspired legions! I had so many better photographs in color and B&W, WTF? The ace editor and photo editor/chief photographer Warren Bolster knew better than I at the time that the attitude and style in this image was all he needed with that little bit of never before seen air. It was a big deal. And my photo credit blew me away... so began the journey... today i put on the finishing touches to the EXTENDED NEW EDITION of “DOGTOWN - The Legend of the Z-BOYS” lots of extra pages and a little bigger in size too, redesigned cover, and a bunch of re found dug up photos from the era never seen before... official release is July 2nd but Amazon is taking pre-orders now. Even if you have the original one, this has improved so much you’re gonna want it too. And if you never got the original edition you will be loving this book. . #Skateboarding #inspiration #jayAdams #zboys #zephyr #inspiration #integrity #DogTown #OG #original #WLA #1976 #gnarly #air #archetype @jboy #goodtimes #BiMonthly

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