Restoring Localism

by Joel Kotkin : newgeography – excerpt

Americans are increasingly prisoners of ideology, and our society is paying the price. We are divided along partisan lines to an extent that some are calling it a “soft civil war.” In the end, this benefits only ideological warriors and their funders.

One key source of this deepening division is the relentless centralization that has overtaken both our economy and our politics. Leaders of both parties have sat by while the forces of capital and government have centralized power and authority in ever fewer hands. When the federal executive branch changes hands, it’s not a political shift in the constitutional order but something closer to the kind of regime change associated with unstable countries. Increasingly, progressives favor ever more government control over people’s lives while conservatives see no limits to the power of the market.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this dilemma: a shift to local control. In a country that is ever more diverse culturally, racially, and economically, the best option is, within limits, to allow localities to determine their own fate, congruent with their own values and aspirations… (more)

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The Next Harmful Move Against H-1B Visas

By Stuart Anderson : forbes – excerpt

Left to their own preferences, it seems Trump Administration officials would not allow any H-1B visa holders to work in the United States. For the past two years, every administration measure on high-skilled immigration has made life more difficult for high-skilled foreign nationals and their employers – and there is more to come.

As part of its regulatory agenda, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pledged to enact a new rule that has gone largely unnoticed. The rule would limit who would qualify for an H-1B visa and also restrict which companies would be eligible for an H-1B based on the “employer-employee relationship.” This matters because an H-1B visa is typically the only practical way for an international student or a high-skilled foreign national to work long-term in the United States.

While the regulation has not been issued yet by DHS, it has been given a title: “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program.”… (more)

Jeremy Corbyn with Yanis Varoufakis (TWO of TWO)

By Maria : tucradio – excerpt (includes audio track)

Rescuing Democracy by Reviving Socialism

A Conversation at the Edinburgh Book Festival, August 20, 2018
Rescuing democracy from autocracy has become an world-wide challenge: how to curb the power of corporations and banks; and the parallel fights for education, housing and health, and the resistance against privatization across Europe and the Americas. And how to stem the tide of right wing movements be they in the US, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Greece, Hungary and too many other places.

Familiar names show up in an effort to create a cross border countervailing movement to support democracy and rescue the values and traditions of socialism as countervailing force to capitalism.

Yanis Varoufakis is a Greek economist, academic and politician. He was a Syriza member of the Hellenic Parliament and served as the Greek Minister of Finance from January to July 2015. In February 2016, he co-founded the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), and subsequently backed a Remain in the European Union vote in the UK’s Brexit referendum of 2016.

Jeremy Corbyn is a leader of the British Labour Party and of the Opposition in Parliament since 2015. He identifies as a democratic socialist. Corbyn advocates reversing austerity cuts to public services and welfare funding made since 2010; and proposes to undo the privatization of public utilities and the railways. He supports non-interventionism and unilateral nuclear disarmament.

In the snap 2017 general election, Labour (under Corbyn) again finished as the second largest party in parliament, and increased their share of the popular vote to 40%. That increase in vote share was the largest in a single general election since 1945… (more)

Love Gov 2 Episode 1: A Room Without a View

Bound by a restraining order, Scott “Gov” Govinski has an epiphany: Why focus on just one person if you can “help” far more? He buys a house after imposing sweeping city housing controls, puts up a “For Lease” sign, and declares: “It’s time to help people!” But what exactly is his definition of “help”? #LoveGov #LoveGov2

Homeless Artist Ronnie Goodman Arrested After DPW Sweep

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

The artist and runner has exhibited work in now-Mayor London Breed’s office, and raised tens of thousands for local charities.

Google Ronnie Goodman, and you’ll find articles in SFGateRunners World, and Huffington PostThe unhoused San Francisco artist has received his fair share of press over the years, and he’s a familiar face around town. A native of the city, he attended George Washington High School before serving time in San Quentin Prison. Upon his release he became homeless on the streets of San Francisco — but not having a roof over his head didn’t prevent him from pursuing his two passions: art and running… (more)

San Francisco is growing too big too fast to manage for the confused, understaffed departments tasked with keeping a lid on the many behavioral problems stemming from the smoldering anger of the dispossessed who have nothing left to lose. When fame and connections does not protect you, and you are caught up in the net, where do you go? Tom faced this problem and lost the fight.

 

Congress Passes Measure to Protect Board that Monitors Nuclear Safety

by Rebecca Moss of Santa Fe New Mexican : propublica – excerpt

The Energy Department had taken steps to curtail the reach and authority of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. New Mexico’s senators are fighting back.

This article was produced in partnership with The Santa Fe New Mexican, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

Congress has moved to block an effort to weaken a federal board that oversees worker and public safety at nuclear facilities, adding language to an appropriations bill to prevent the agency from altering the board’s structure.

The bill also requires the Energy Department to answer questions from Congress about its recent attempts to limit the board’s access to information and change how the panel conducts its work…(more)

What a crazy world we live in. Today we get news of this move by the Energy Department to curtail the reach and authority of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board by cutting back on their budget, and news of a North South Korean agreement to move away from nuclear development.

United Methodist Church, Financially Troubled, Attempts Hostile Takeover of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco

By: Zennie Abraham : oaklandnewsnow – excerpt

Glide Memorial Church (best known by the work of now former pastor Cecil Williams and recently used as a “demonstration safe injection site for drugusers”) prides itself in continually striving to meet the challenge set by Lizzie Glide in 1930 to welcome all. Glide was established by Lizzie Glide to honor her late husband as well as a means to share her spirituality and commitment to those in need.

In a San Francisco that has changed dramatically over the past decades and veered into a Manhattan-like gluttony for monetary gain and social status, Glide has remained the heart and soul of the city, serving as the last refuge of the downtrodden, the poor, the disenfranchised, and a place where anyone can say “I am somebody” and find some hope.

Now Glide Memorial Church Faces The Greatest Threat To Its Existence In Its History

Ironically, the threat comes from Glide’s partner, the United Methodist Church itself, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., which is financially crumbling and looking for every penny, nickel and dime to save itself–no matter the impact on the Glide and the thousands of needy it serves every day with food and social services and prayer.

The dispute has been portrayed primarily by the United Methodist Church as a fight over theology. The United Methodist Church has accused Glide of not following the denomination’s rules and regulations. Glide says it’s being asked to conform to a new bishop’s “personal idea of Methodism and Christianity,” according to news reports… (more)

What are we coming to when religious institutions are turning into cut throat capitalist land grabbing carpetbaggers, intent on  staying alive instead of helping people live in dignity? Is this the 2018 remake of Sodom and Gomorrah story? Is it time for the church to fall upon the sword and give up all its earthly goods to benefit mankind?