Hey, LBJ!

The Article: Hey, hey LBJ – why have you come back today? by Danny Schecter in Al-Jazeera.

The Text: Back in 1964, I was a student activist, a sympathiser of Students for a Democratic Society, and a full time civil rights movement organiser. We were “movement people”, just as Occupy Wall Street is today, suspicious of, and hostile to, the Democratic Party – which was then dominated by pro-segregationist Dixiecrats from the south and the new president from Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Some of us were still mourning for JFK, but we knew in our heart of hearts that even he operated more on political calculation than conscience and compassion. He had deepened our involvement in Vietnam, although there is evidence that he was looking for a way out.

We all suspected his killing in Dallas was more than it appeared to be, and that a cover-up was assassinating the truth of what happened, just as he had been assassinated. I later directed a film, Beyond JFK, based on Oliver Stone’s movie, laying out all the conspiracy theories.

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Obamacare A Tax On The Middle Class? Not Really

The Article: Don’t Buy The GOP Narrative That Obamacare Is A Tax On The Middle Class by Rick Ungar in Forbes.

The Text: “Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time getting to the floor of the Senate to argue that today’s Supreme Court ruling clarifies that Obamacare is nothing more than a tax on the middle class which—according to McConnell—is precisely what the Administration and Congressional Democrats promised it was not.

Leader McConnell, and his fellow Republicans, should read the Majority ruling before they embarrass themselves further.

In the opening paragraphs of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion, he clarifies that the law specifically does not involve a tax. If it did, Roberts clarifies, the Court would have had no choice but to reject the case for lack of jurisdiction as a tax case cannot be brought until someone is actually forced to pay the tax. This is, as we know, not the case.

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When Can We Start Calling It Class Warfare?

The Article: Corporate Profits at an All-Time High, Wages at an All-Time Low: Can We Call It Class Warfare Yet? by Sarah Jaffe in AlterNet.

The Text: This week, David Segal at the New York Times broke the news to America that not only was Apple — the computer and gadget manufacturer formerly seen as a symbol of good old American ingenuity — making its profits on the backs of abused factory workers in China, but also on poorly paid store employees here in the US.

Apple store workers, he wrote, make up a large majority of Apple’s US workforce—30,000 out of 43,000 employees in this country—and they make about $25,000 a year, or about $12 an hour.

Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute notes that that’s just a dollar above the federal poverty level. This for a company that paid nine of its top executives a total of $441 million in 2011.

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Ending The Drug War

The Article: The Path to Decriminalization in The Economist.

The Text: ON TUESDAY, Beto O’Rourke, a former city councilman from El Paso, defeated the longtime incumbent Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary for Texas’s 16th congressional district. It was probably the biggest upset in the state, and an outcome that has attracted national attention, for a simple reason: Mr O’Rourke, who will almost certainly win the general election in November, supports legalising marijuana.

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An American Nightmare

The Article: An American Nightmare in Tremble the Devil.

The Text: Things had been looking up for black families, back in 1963 as MLK gave his “I Have A Dream” speech about 70% of black families were headed by a married couple. But that percentage steadily began to drop, between 1970 and 2001 it declined by 34%, double the white decline, and by 2002 it had bottomed out at just 48%.

But if the War on Drugs didn’t directly precipitate the destruction of the African-American family, why did the decline in married black women triple during the first decade of the War?

In fact, the impact of the War on Drugs has been so racially biased that although only 14% of all illicit drug users are black, blacks make up about half of those in prison for drug offenses. (When you adjust for the fact that the Department of Justice simply throws prisoners who identify as mixed race half-black and half-white out of their data, the proportion is well over half.) A black man is eight-times as likely as a white man to be locked up at some point in his life. And by 2006 America had, proportionally, almost six-times as many blacks locked up as South Africa did at the height of Apartheid.

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