Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Philosophy 2245: General Ethics


PHIL 2245-N: General Ethics (Seminar)                                                   
Instructor:  Glen Brown  E-mail: gbrown@ben.edu

Required Text:
DeNicola, Daniel R. Moral Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction. Ontario, Canada: Broadview Press, 2019. ISBN: 978-1-55481-354-4

Course Description: "General Ethics" investigates normative theories of human action. It looks critically at what philosophers say that human beings should do.  Unlike "Business Ethics" and "Biomedical Ethics," which seek to provide a moral guidance in respect of certain discrete domains of human action (viz., "business" and "medicine" respectively), “General Ethics” seeks to provide moral guidance applicable to all domains of human action.

General Education Goals:  The General Education Curriculum Committee has designated PHIL 2245 to count in fulfillment of Benedictine University’s requirement of one course in the “Philosophical Mode of Inquiry” as a condition for completion of a baccalaureate degree.  Here is a general description of courses in the Philosophical mode:

Philosophy, meaning “love of wisdom,” endeavors to address the deepest and most enduring human questions and to do so on the basis of reason alone.  Philosophical inquiry trains the mind to think clearly and moves students to love learning and the “examined life.”  Philosophical inquiry generally interrogates the assumptions and presuppositions that other academic disciplines take as axiomatic or “given.” Philosophical inquiry at Benedictine engages the Catholic philosophical tradition in a substantial way but in a way that draws upon wider historical, general, and global philosophical trends.  While philosophical inquiry helps to prepare students for professional careers and for graduate study, it tends to be centered not on vocational ends, but rather on the enrichment of the student’s intellect through both the engagement with core texts and the cultivation of critical thinking and analysis.

Modes of inquiry courses align with the General Education Essential Student Learning Goals identified for that mode.  For courses in the Philosophical Mode, these Goals are as follows:

1a – Critical Thinking + Analysis 
2a – Oral & Written Communication
6a – Intellectual Curiosity
7a – Humanistic knowledge, theories, and methods
8a – Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Philosophy Program Outcomes: Through coursework in Benedictine University's Philosophy Program, students develop proficiency in respect of three key Learning Outcomes:
1. Produce a plausibly cogent line of philosophical argument (logically speaking) with a significant (non-trivial) conclusion.
                    2. Show comprehension and critical engagement of key ideas and arguments within classic philosophical theories.
             3. Demonstrate knowledge of key doctrines of distinguished philosophers.

IDEA Outcomes:
8.  Developing skill in expressing oneself orally or in writing (Important)
10.  Developing ethical reasoning and/or ethical decision-making (Essential)
11.  Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view (Important)

Other Student Outcomes:                                           
1)     Understand theoretical knowledge of general ethics as a foundation for “practical knowledge about how we ought to live”
2)     Determine the objective grounds of general ethics and show the ability to justify moral beliefs
3)     Make informed ethical decisions that promote personal integrity, the respect for legitimate rights, the aspirations of individuals and groups, and the common good
4)     Develop a vocabulary used in the philosophy of ethics and morality
5)     Analyze, synthesize, and argue effectively through use of deductive and inductive reasoning
6)     Distinguish between facts and opinions and between relevant and irrelevant claims; determine the factual accuracy of statements and beliefs; detect bias and fallacious reasoning often found in argumentation
7)     Apply rhetorical strategies to appeal to a specific audience: ethos—an appeal to credibility; logos—an appeal to reason; and pathos—an appeal to one’s beliefs, values, and assumptions
8)     Demonstrate an understanding of the writing process by proofreading each essay for errors and omissions of both form and substance; by revising and restructuring where ideas are poorly organized or where evidence is lacking; and by correcting for errors in syntax, usage, punctuation, spelling, and style
9)     Synthesize ideas skillfully through effective organization and emphasis of ideas
10)   Connect ideas logically and clearly through a variety of sentence structures
11)   Develop complex theses with thoughtfulness and clarity, using Chicago, MLA, or APA documentation 
12)   Demonstrate grammatical, syntactical, and stylistic mastery

Classroom Etiquette: As we work together to create a classroom environment that is both conducive to learning and welcoming of all members of the class, students are expected to adhere to appropriate standards of behavior for an academic environment. 

Guidelines for respectful, constructive and inclusive philosophical discussion: The guidelines below are intended primarily for oral philosophical discussion in formal settings: colloquia, conferences, seminars, classes, and so on… The specific norms are intended as means of facilitating more general norms of being respectful, constructive, and inclusive.

Norms of respect: 1. Please be courteous. 2. Do not interrupt. 3. Do not present objections as flat dismissals (leave open the possibility that there's other responses). 4. Do not be incredulous. 5. Do not roll your eyes, make faces, laugh at a participant. 6. Do not start side conversations parallel to the main discussion. 7. Acknowledge your interlocutor's insights. 8. Object to theses, do not object to people.

Norms of inclusiveness: 1. Please do not dominate the discussion. 2. Raise one question per question (follow-ups are okay, but questions on different topics go to the back of the queue). 3. Try not to let your question (or your answer) run on forever. 4. Acknowledge points made by previous questioners. 5. It is okay to ask a question that you think may be unsophisticated or uninformed. 6. Do not use unnecessarily offensive examples. 7. Do not try to impress others. (http://consc.net/norms.html).

Attendance and Participation: Because I believe everyone has something to contribute to our class, I also believe that we are all responsible for attending college classes, which are forums for the exchange of varying beliefs, values, and assumptions. A student’s education is not an isolated and anti-social event. It is a reciprocation of mutual interests and goals. Please take responsibility for your education and learning.  It is a profound opportunity and privilege that many people do not have, and it should never be squandered. Although I believe that not everything valuable in a class can be assessed through tests, quizzes and essays, or should be, I am emphasizing the values of commitment and the responsibility to that obligation as part of a classroom community of teachers and learners. Therefore, attend our class!

Our discussions are dependent upon the contributions of each individual. In any class, a participating audience is indispensable for its success. In this way, we are all participants in one another’s education and opportunity for learning. Thus, partake fully in our philosophical discussions. Take notes during discussions and lectures for metacognition and for your final exam. Note: your ability to articulate your opinions in each class will also determine the difference between borderline grades. Participation in class is an essential requirement for earning an “A” or “B.”  Please understand that if you come to class without your materials and/or reveal that you did not read the assignment, you will be recorded absent.  If you are working on an assignment for another class or surfing the internet on your iPhone or laptop during our class, you will be recorded absent.

It is imperative that you use your absences legitimately and wisely!  Please note that more than two absences (or four semester classes) will affect your final grade. Each subsequent absence will lower your final grade one full grade.  Note: three late arrivals (more than five minutes each time) will also equal one absence. If you are seriously ill and a contagion (e.g. you have the flu) or have an emergency, please notify me by e-mail (gbrown@ben.edu) that you will be late or absent. Note: if you are absent the day an essay is due, or class is canceled due to weather (or for any other reasons), send your essay to me via e-mail by 9:20 pm.

Technology Requirement: While a laptop can be a useful aide for your education, it can also be a hindrance to discussion.  If you bring a laptop or smart phone to class, please keep them closed.

Academic Honesty:  The search for truth and the dissemination of knowledge are the central missions of a university.  Benedictine University pursues these missions in an environment guided by the Roman Catholic tradition and Benedictine heritage.  Integrity and honesty are, therefore, expected of all members of the University community, including students, faculty members, administration, and staff.  Actions such as cheating, plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, forgery, falsification, destruction, multiple submission, solicitation, and misrepresentation are violations of these expectations and constitute unacceptable behavior in the University community.  The penalties for such actions can range from a private verbal warning to expulsion from the University.  Violations will be reported to the Provost, and a permanent record of this infraction will be noted.  The University’s Academic Honesty Policy is available at http:/www.ben.edu/AHP, and all students are expected to read and understand it.

Plagiarism is defined as the act of stealing ideas and/or the expressions from another person or source and representing them as your own work.  This includes quotations, paraphrasing, and the summarizing of another person’s ideas without proper documentation.  Furthermore, unless you have the explicit permission of the instructor, reusing your own work from other courses is considered self-plagiarism.  Plagiarism is a form of cheating and academic misconduct that can jeopardize your course grade and college career.  Remember to clearly distinguish between your own ideas and those you have read or heard elsewhere.  Be sure to include a works cited page with any paper in which you consult outside sources.  All typed assignments submitted for evaluation will be graded with the assumption that the student has read and understands the plagiarism statements and guidelines. Committing any form of plagiarism will result in a grade of “0” on the assignment in question and is grounds for failure of the course or further action by the University.  If there are any questions or concerns regarding plagiarism and the documentation of sources, it is your responsibility to consult the instructor. 

Conferences:  You have the opportunity to meet with me during my office hours and to discuss your compositions in progress, to receive help with the course material, to address questions and discussions raised in class, or to talk about any other concerns.  

Academic Accommodations for Religious Obligations (AAFRO): A student whose religious obligation conflicts with a course requirement may request an academic accommodation from the instructor.  Students must make such requests in writing by the end of the first week of the class.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): If you have a documented learning, psychological or physical disability, you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations or services.  To request accommodations or services, please contact Danielle Bank at dbank@ben.edu or Dawn Cappelli atdcappelli@ben.edu for assistance in the Academic and Career Enrichment Center, Goodwin Hall 214 at 630-829-6041. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements.  The University will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Title IX: Benedictine University prohibits sexual misconduct, consistent with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and other applicable state and federal laws.  Faculty members are considered responsible employees under these statutes and are required to report any incidents to the Title IX coordinator.  If you have any questions, contact the Title IX Coordinator.  Additional information about reporting sexual misconduct on campus please and Title IX can be found at www.ben.edu/compliance/title-ix.cfm

Writing Assistance: For help with your writing, please visit the Academic Career and Enrichment Center in Goodwin, 214.

Students are responsible for the information in this syllabus and should ask for clarification for anything they do not understand. Students are expected to be partners in their educational experience and to periodically monitor their progress in the course. Students may check grade status through D2L course site Gradebook. Student grades will be posted in D2L in a reasonable amount of time, usually within one week of turning them in. The End of Add/Drop Course Changes/Late Registration is Jan. 19th; the Last Day to Withdraw from Classes is Mar. 29th.

Course Requirements & Distribution of Earned Points:

Five Response Essays (75 pts. each):                                     375 points
Five In-Class Essay Quizzes (25 pts. each)                            125 points
Final Exam (20% of Semester Grade)                                    100 points
                                                                                                600 points

Grading Guidelines/Rubric: The following descriptions are the basis for evaluation of all student compositions:

The “A” compositions are outstanding. They are eloquent, sophisticated, insightful, and emphatic in providing a convincing, arresting argument.  Analyses are well supported by quotations and paraphrases from the textbook and usually include one or more secondary sources. The compositions are focused, organized, well-connected, critical, interesting, informative, lucid, original, and surprising. The compositions contain only minor mechanical errors, if any, and no significant lapses in diction or organization. Proper documentation and a Works Cited Page are provided.

The “B” compositions do more than fulfill the assignment, though they are not exceptional or outstanding.  The compositions go beyond a routine response and show evidence of careful thought and planning.  Like the “A” papers, these compositions are focused, effective, consistently written, tightly organized, and supported by quotations and paraphrases from the textbook.  Moreover, the compositions contain no major distracting errors in usage or mechanics and are well-developed with good supporting material and transitions.  The compositions are also clear, free of jargon, and appealing. Proper documentation and a Works Cited Page are provided.

The “C” compositions are acceptable, but they are average responses that complete the assignment in a “routine way.” In other words, they show evidence of engagement with an argument but make a minimum response to it. The compositions contain few distracting errors and few glaring platitudes or egregious mistakes in diction. The reader can follow and understand without difficulty, but the compositions are not vigorous, nor the ideas well-developed, convincing, original, and inspiring. Proper documentation and a Works Cited Page are provided.

The “D” compositions relate to the assignment but also show no evidence of any engagement with an argument. The compositions are not coherent or unified in purpose. They are also marred by enough errors in syntax and mechanics to seriously distract the reader and by vague, ambiguous diction and syntax that make it difficult to understand the content or the direction of the argument. The compositions might also be a weak because they do not complete the required length or fulfill the requirements of the assignment. 

The “F” compositions show little relation to or engagement with an argument.  They show very little thought and are so poorly constructed and carelessly written that the reader cannot follow the sequence of ideas. Moreover, the compositions are marred by so many errors in mechanics and usage that the message is extremely difficult to decipher.  It is evident these compositions do not complete the required length or fulfill the requirements of the assignment. Note: a plagiarized paper, in part or whole, receives an “F” and “0” points.  (See Academic Honesty).

All response essays are evaluated accordingly:
1.  Content or ideas: their significance, clarity, development, and relevance to purpose;
2.  Organization: structure or rhetorical methods used;
3.  Personal style: voice and tone, originality and interest;
4.  Vocabulary and diction: the choice and arrangement of words to convey meaning;
5.  Mechanics: usage, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.

A 90-100%, B 80-89%, C 70-79%, D 60-69%, F -59% 


Directions for Your Essays:

ü  The purpose of these essays is for you to come prepared and to contribute to our class discussions; moreover, our class is “writing intensive.”
ü  The essays are a minimum of 2 pages in length (2 ½ - 3 full pages are preferable); use 12-pt.; type and double-space your composition.
ü  The essay should have at least one thoughtful question you formulated after reading the assignment (your argument/thesis) and your developed and insightful response to it. You may use “Questions for Discussion” or “For Personal Reflection” as your thoughtful question or the prompt I provide.
ü  Include quotations and paraphrases from the text for substantiation of proof! This is imperative. Use proper documentation as well.
ü  If you are using secondary sources, include a works cited page.
ü  You may use 1st person point of view; do not use 2nd person point of view.
ü  Review attached document: “More Guidelines for Writing Your Essays.”

PHIL 2245-N General Ethics

Jan. 13 Welcome to Philosophy 245…

Jan. 20 No Classes (In Honor of Martin Luther King)

Jan. 27: Chaps 1 & 2 Ethical Theory & Moral Concerns/Morality & Religion
(Divine Command Theory/Moral Absolutism: Augustine and Aquinas, et al.)

*Feb. 3: Chap. 3 Relativism, Subjectivism, Pluralism, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Feb 10: Chap. 4 Moral Naturalism & Natural Rights, Humanity & Morality
(Epicurus, Aristotle, Aquinas, Wilson, et al.)

Feb 17: Chap. 5 Psychological & Ethical Egoism, Altruism (Hobbes, Smith, Rand)

*Feb.24: Chap. 6 Utilitarianism (Rule & Act), Consequentialist Ethics, Hedonism (Bentham, Mill, Sidgwick, Moore)

Mar. 2: Chap. 7 Kantianism/Deontological (Rule & Act) Ethics, Categorical Imperatives (Kant, Sidgwick, Ross)

*Mar. 9: Chap. 8 Contractarianism, Contracts & Consent, Social Contract Theory (Hobbes, Locke, Rawls)

Mar. 16: (Spring Break)

Mar. 23: Chap. 9 Virtue Ethics/Character Traits (Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hartmann) and Chap. 10 Emotive Ethics: Emotions and Moral Sentiment (Hume, Smith)

Mar. 30: Chap. 12 Particularism & Ethical Intuitionism (Nussbaum, Haidt)

Apr. 6: Chap. 13 Metaethics: Ethical Cognitivism, Ethical Non-Cognitivism, Emotivism, Prescriptivism (Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, Bradley, Sharp)

Apr. 13: (Easter Monday)

*Apr. 20: “The Moral Instinct” an essay by Steven Pinker

*Apr. 27: Evolutionary Ethics: “The Biological Basis of Morality” an essay by Edward Wilson

May 4: Final Exam

*Essay Due
Quizzes are unannounced

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Thank You for Reading My Blog: Here Are 10 "Heart and Soul" Posts

Why Donald Trump Is a Threat to Our Democracy and Unfit to be President of the United States of America (August 24, 2019)
…Because most of us live as social, rational human beings, we have implicitly consented to moral and social contracts that have been devised. It is because we understand why moral precepts are beneficial for all of us; that we have the Rule of Law, established in the U.S. Constitution; that we have a shared set of moral and legal expectations for our conduct that makes it imperative to appeal to a public sense of justice regardless of political party affiliation. It is by virtue of our moral and constitutional obligations, "and not upon the niceties of a narrow [criminal] jurisprudence but upon the enlarged and solid principles of morality," that Donald Trump must be removed from the highest and most respected office in America… For the article, click here. 

The Continuing Demoralization of University and College Adjunct Faculty (November 1, 2017)
…There are no due process protections for adjunct faculty. There is no equal pay for equal work. There is no professional advancement. There is no equity in the lack of health insurance and retirement benefits available for adjunct faculty. There is little to no inclusion in the way higher education’s formal decision-making procedures and structures are made. Indeed, adjunct faculty are simply part-time contractors, “lecturers,” or non-essential “marginalized” hires who are disenfranchised from high-level governance and required to carry out most of the responsibilities of the full-time faculty (and sometimes at multiple institutions), but for less than one-fifth of the salary of the full-time faculty and without meaningful job security from one semester to another… For the article, click here. 

Illinois Pension Reform Is Without Legal and Moral Justification (May 29, 2012)
…What is at stake right now is not a potential adjudication of claims that public employees will have against policymakers who want changes to public employees’ benefits and rights, but to respect the public employees’ contractual and constitutional promises because they are legitimate rights and moral concerns not only for public employees, but for every citizen in Illinois: for any unwarranted act of stealing a person’s guaranteed rights and compensation will violate interests in morality and ethics and the basic principles of both the State and United States Constitutions that protect every one of us… For the article, click here. 

An Examination of the Illinois “Pension Protection Clause,” or What Part of These Words Do Some Politicians Not Understand? (July 13, 2014)
…If there is anything else we might examine regarding the Pension Protection Clause and its relationship to a reality that reveals repeated attempts by the wealthy elite, their politicians and the media to steal constitutionally-guaranteed pension benefits and rights, perhaps we should also dispute the relentless attacks on the very intelligibility of the English language by these liars and thieves. We know the Pension Protection Clause is valid because it is understood to be a contractual right and guarantee that public employees have earned… For the article, click here. 

The Pension Protection Clause and the State of Illinois’ “Reserved Sovereign Powers” (June 12, 2014)
…The Illinois General Assembly does not possess "reserved sovereign powers" to diminish a constitutionally-protected pension. The state's chronic underfunding of its public pension systems for decades cannot warrant the impairment or diminishment of public employees' and retirees' pension benefits and rights… For the article, click here.

America and Guns (February 19, 2018)
…Instead of gun control laws that will affect law-abiding responsible citizens who own reasonable self-defense weapons for protection and may conceal and carry those weapons; instead of more political party accusations and useless prayers for the victims, legislators should focus upon and address the causes of violent crimes: domestic white nationalism, racism, bigotry (power, hatred, revenge, anger, notoriety), religious fundamentalism, economic injustice, poverty, unemployment, gang activity, drug trafficking, inefficient law enforcement in high-crime areas, suicide, mental illness, media's perpetuation of fear, and Trump's demagoguery and xenophobia… For the article, click here. 

Why I Do Not Trust the Illinois Education Association’s Leadership, Especially Their Endorsement of Michael Connelly (October 28, 2018)
…Do you remember the IEA leadership had agreed to diminish and impair current teachers’ and retirees’ constitutionally-guaranteed benefits that had been protected by previous Illinois Supreme Court rulings, because the IEA leadership believed SB 2404 would thwart any further attacks on our Pension Protection Clause? Do you remember that Senate Bill 2404 in May, 2013, a unilateral reduction of pension rights, was declared unconstitutional in May 2015?... The IEA has apparently forgotten that Connelly voted to diminish and impair public employees' and retirees' constitutionally-guaranteed pension on December 2, 2013. He was one of 30 unethical Illinois senators to do so... For the article, click here. 

The So-Called Advanced Placement Student at the University or What Is the Value of AP Courses and Tests Anyway? (May 5, 2014)
Though taking a rigorous AP class can be a positive academic experience, many AP classes are not a true measure of high quality, and there is simply no way to determine the value of the high-stakes test scores.  Many students come from high schools that do not have competent and challenging programs. These students are entering colleges and universities without time management, study and note-taking skills and aptitudes for critical thinking, writing and analysis. To make matters worse, high schools across the nation are allowing more and more students - who are often apathetic and unprepared - to enroll in these AP classes for the wrong reasons as well: to assuage parental demands, to save college tuition, to avoid taking essential Freshman courses, and to impress college admissions… For the article, click here. 

To the Sponsors of House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 18: An Unconstitutional Attempt to Amend the Pension Protection Clause (March 6, 2017)
…To anyone attempting to amend the Pension Protection Clause: my response to you is to read Article XIII, Section 5: “Pension and Retirement Rights” of the Illinois Constitution. Read Article 1, Section 16: “Ex Post Facto Laws and Impairing Contracts” of the Illinois Constitution. Read Article I, Section 15: “Right of Eminent Domain” (the Takings Clause) of the Illinois Constitution.  Read Article I, Section 2: “Due Process and Equal Protection” of the Illinois Constitution. Read Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution: “No State shall… pass any… ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…” Read Amendment V, Section 1 of the United States Constitution: No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Read Amendment XIV, Section 1 of the United States ConstitutionDue Process and Equal Protection.” To ignore the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and change laws that protect one group of people is to ignore due process and equal protection of the laws that guarantee contractual agreements as well. Finally, read the Illinois Supreme Court ruling… For the article, click here. 

Illinois Pension Reform: My address to members of the State Universities Annuitants Association (April 26, 2013)
…Instead of protecting public pension rights and benefits, which have a legal basis under Illinois State Law; instead of restructuring the state’s revenue base to pay for the state’s growth in expenditures and its recklessly-accumulated debts and obligations, current policymakers have chosen to diminish the public employees’ constitutional rights and their benefits, even though revenue restructuring and pension debt re-amortization are the best legal and moral solutions... For the article, click here. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Trump Impeached

Impeach Trump Rally in Naperville, IL December 17, 2019

Donald J. Trump has committed obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress, bribery, abuse of power, a betrayal of public trust, and corruption not only of the office of presidency but of our electoral system. The evidence is overwhelming and substantiated.

It is by virtue of our moral and constitutional obligations, "and not upon the niceties of a narrow [criminal] jurisprudence but upon the enlarged and solid principles of morality," that Donald Trump must be removed from the highest and most respected office in America.

However, after today’s impeachment, the Republican Senate will continue the efforts of the Republican House by sabotaging the impeachment trial. The Republican Senate will continue their efforts to polarize politics through hyper-partisanship, unprincipled partiality, and political stagnation; they will refuse to legitimize the preponderance of evidence before them because of their confirmation bias, their unwavering allegiance to their extensive tribalism, their powerful interests, their dark money, their party caucus, and their Republican base so they are guaranteed campaign funds, special committee assignments, and reelection.

Trump will continue to be "a serial abuser of discretionary powers"; a bully who, with Mitch McConnell and his admission that "there's no chance the president will be removed from office" in the Senate impeachment trial, will create an irreparable travesty of justice and defilement of the U.S. Constitution. 

It will be up to the majority of American people to defend and preserve our slowly-dying democracy because we understand why moral and legal precepts are beneficial for all of us. It is because most Americans understand the Rule of Law, established in the U.S. Constitution; it is because most Americans share a set of moral and legal expectations for our conduct that makes it imperative to continue our appeal to a public sense of justice regardless of political party affiliation and the impeachment outcome. 

According to Prof. Laurence Tribe: "When our democracy is threatened from within, we must save it ourselves... Transcending forces of decay, disinformation, and disunion will not be easy. This is the great national calling of our time: the North Star that must guide decisions about ending or enduring disastrous presidencies. There is no quick fix for the challenges we face. They are surmountable only if each of us resolves anew that America and democracy are well worth fighting for.” 

-Glen Brown


We already have witnessed what the current Republican Party has done: the weakening of our labor unions, right-to-work laws to keep workers powerless, the shutting down of the federal government, the denial of climate change from the executive and legislative branches of government, ALEC-backed legislators who created bills to restrict minority voting, the scapegoating of teachers, the attacks on retirees’ and public employees’ pensions, the deprivation of university and college adjunct faculty, the systematic dismantling of public ownership and services, the privatized exorbitantly priced healthcare system, the rewriting of the tax code to benefit the wealthiest Americans, the victimization of immigrant children and their parents, and other forms of oligarchic oppression. 

Are we also going to allow the continuing deregulation of our environmental protections; the continuing privatization of our public schools; the eradication of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; the transformation of the U.S. courts and the privatization of the justice system; and a reinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution to successfully oppress the majority of Americans?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

France Still on Strike

PARIS (AP) — "French union activists cut electricity to nearly 100,000 homes or offices. Eiffel Tower staff walked off the job. Even Paris opera workers joined in Tuesday's nationwide protests across France, singing an aria of anger as workers rallied against the government's plan to raise the retirement age to 64.
"Despite 13 days of crippling train and subway strikes, French President Emmanuel Macron and his government stayed firm. The prime minister declared his “total" determination to reshape a pension system that unions celebrate as a model for the rest of the world but that he calls unfair and destined to collapse into debt.
"Lighting red flares and marching beneath a blanket of multi-colored union flags, thousands of workers snaked through French cities from Brittany on the Atlantic to the Pyrenees in the south..." (France on Strike: Power Cuts, Schools Shut, No Eiffel Tower).