Richard Isacoff 
Member since Aug 12, 2011


I started my working life at my dad’s auto salvage yard and became proficient at cutting cars with an oxy/acetylene torch. The work was strenuous… More »

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Recent Comments

Re: “Fair Trade USA's Coffee Policy Comes Under Fire

I am an East Coast consumer of coffee (along with food). I look for the "Fair Trade" label on anything I purchase; food, coffee, clothes, etc. If we are going to have "partial Fair Trade" that's like being part pregnant (please excuse the metaphor but it is apt): You are or you're not - it is Fair Trade or it's not.

I pay a premium willingly "knowing" that farmers and other goods producers are benefitting from my selection. I understand that plantations have workers too, but will any of the premium get passed down? Or, is it a way for owners to pay essentially the same to workers, increase revenue from the label premium and claim that the purchase of new equipment is benefitting the workers because the machinery will allow them to work faster. The "free" capital influx would be appealing to any business.

I am old enough to remember the first grape boycott "organized" by Caesar Chavez's group, not yet a union. In a sense that was the first time the fair trade issue surfaced even though it had a different name. The growers wanted to maximize profits not pay higher wages or make the workers' lives any better. Why will watering down the essential elements of the labeling requirements result in any good for the workers?

I may as well just buy coffee and bananas from the cheapest or least expensive source if it won't matter anymore

Richard Isacoff

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Richard Isacoff on 04/26/2012 at 5:03 AM

Re: “Prop 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

As for Prop 8's "demise", being an attorney who follows Con Law and occasionally deals with 1st Amendment cases, I was thrilled to read the Circuit's decision. I believe they wisely limited the scope so as not to fail the citizens of CA. That includes those who voted for Prop 8. The system has to work. There must be safeguards against prohibited laws, regs, such as any that constitute discrimination against ANY class of citizens.

However, as a resident an attorney in MASSACHUSETTS I am chagrined we had a big campaign aimed at getting Californians to move here because anyone can marry anyone (except siblings, and 1st cousins of course). We could have had a huge influx of people which would have given us back a seat in Congress, new people to tax, and probably some of the so-called best and brightest.

Forget the "Imported from Detroit" and start with "Exported to Massachusetts"

Richard Isacoff

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Richard Isacoff on 02/11/2012 at 8:23 AM

Re: “It's Time for the Black Bloc to Go Away

(It's only 5 paragraphs so bear with me here - PLEASE!)

In the 1970s the Boston public schools remained de facto segregated. Federal Court Judge Arthur Garrity, in 1974, ordered a comprehensive plan to bus public school students from minority neighborhood schools to predominantly "white" schools and visa versa (silly expression).

Chaos erupted to the point that the Governor mobilized the National Guard to bolster the BPD and MSP in maintaining some order. What had been a political matter, with the Federal Court tired of Boston stalling, became a violent riot. So intent were the anti-busing folks that instead of using the system that at one point they were trying to tip over buses filled with kids to stop the movement. It became "THEY aren't going to come to OUR schools" etc.

It became apparent to street observers, of which I was one on assignment for the MA Nat'l Guard, that most of the violence came from those wanting violence. The Busing issue got pushed to the background. The haters, cop baiters (steel tipped darts being fired at BPD Tactical Force), and hooligans (South Bostonese at the time) made certain that there would be violent confrontations every day. Thankfully, with few exceptions, the BPD did not over-react. The protesters did, as evidenced by a Pulitzer Prize winning photo (seen in this link ). At one point about 10 "protesters" beat a man senseless with paving stones and chanted, when help arrived "Let him die" - he did later. ( )

Occupy Oakland had laudable goals, as did the nascent OWS movement. Unlike OWS but very much like the hooligans in Boston, it seems that the 99% v 1% has disappeared. If OPD is so bad, bring a suit in Federal Court demonstrating that OPD is violating the Civil Rights of minorities and the poor - that they over-react at the least provocation, that peaceful demonstrators are being tear-gassed and beaten.

NOTHING will be accomplished by taunting the OPD until they react. It's great for the HLN folks and the "Special News Bulletin" stuff on broadcast TV, but the movement isn't about theater - it's about the basic inequality of the financial system, the economy, which has a disparate impact on the poor, the minorities, and the remnants of the middle-class. Get back to the mission of the movement. If "peaceful" confrontation, and "diversity of tactics" is the goal at least have the decency to disavow any connection with the "Occupy" movements. Better yet, if members of the movement want to be hooligans, go to the Galaxy games - then you can really shine.

Richard Isacoff

18 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Richard Isacoff on 02/02/2012 at 5:28 AM

Re: “The Air Jordan Frenzy

Herbert Marshall McLuhan, a name from the past, but was prescient - he anticipated exactly the point of the story. The phrase "The medium is the message" was one of Dr./Prof. McLuhan's lasting contribution to society. As an explanation for the Nike debacle it is "spot on" and it's applicable to Dr. McLuhan's native England and the riots there.

We have become a society, we being the G20 countries, where "things" are more important than ideas and ideals. Corporations, on behalf of their stockholders, many of whom we are, try to sell whatever it is they make; shoes, handbags, fighter jets et al. They way they sell is to create "buzz", make people into BUYERS - "have to have its" might be more appropriate here. In and of itself this is no evil in anyplace but a true communal environment, and we, the G20 and specifically the U.S. and the EU are not communal. The way the crimes, and yes looting is a crime, as is rioting. The fact that " We live in a sea of seductive corporate messages" and that "We have no choice but to swim in this sea of advertising images" does not create an imperative.. it does not MAKE us do anything. We CHOOSE to give in to the desire for the products - Nikes, Guccis, Chrysler 300s (thank you Eminen). If the author's position is that we have lost free will then his plea is wasted as we cannot break loose of the medium. If he still believes in free will, then the Medium is JUST a messenger, not the message. In a sense, the article reinforces another McLuhanism "When a thing is current, it creates currency". THAT IS REALLY THE MESSAGE OF THE RIOTS.

The looting in the UK, or the clamor for the newest Air Jordans is more a reflection of the 99% concept. It is human to aspire to some station in life better than that in which we are located. It is the societal acceptance of the lack of morality that leads to such events over a pair of sneakers. The author wants us to blame the business sector: "The corporate pushers have made us addicts". How many people become alcoholics because of advertising or product placement? How many people become drug addicts due to the ads on TV (except maybe the Cialis crowd)? We should refuse to deny our own personal responsibility for incivility.

Last, the author is right to point out hypocrisy, but he aims his weapon at the wrong target. The article touches on the keystone of the matter - "Yet this same judiciary has ignored the significant financial crimes committed in that country. Sound familiar?" The government in every branch has allowed the white collar crimes to be taken for granted; they only prosecute the most public figures or those involved in the most public matters. The reform of hypocrisy in the judicial systems and in enforcement of laws, should be our goal. That is where the 1% (maybe 5%-10% in reality) wields its power, so that is where the battle must be waged. As McLuhan also said "Whereas convictions depend on speed-ups, justice requires delay". We must begin the fight for justice, not pick a fight with merchandisers.

Richard Isacoff

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Richard Isacoff on 01/05/2012 at 6:48 AM

Re: “Damned if She Does, Damned if She Doesn't

Occupy has accomplished what it set out to do - make the Country aware of the plight of the unemployed, the pay inequality, the taxation of the "middle-class" to the benefit of the wealthiest and that there is still a spirit in the U.S. that people will allow themselves to be pushed only so far (Also that folks still enjoy camping out).

The Mayor walked the line as best anyone could. Mr Gammon's comment that Quan should have embraced the movement IMHO is off-base. The Mayor should take a position on the issues of the movement perhaps, but to embrace the movement's actions would have been inappropriate. That would have put her in the Newt Gingrich camp who said on Face the Nation, last week, that he would have the Supreme Court Justice(s) arrested if he became President and he felt that the Court's decisions were impinging on his authority as Commander-in-Chief. Oh, and also if the Court continues to secularize the country.

The answer, I think, is that there was not one answer that would have mollified everyone. Quan could not make the "right decision". The Occupy Movement itself deserves credit for putting her re-election/recall/impeachment at issue. Anti-Vietnam activism (yes, there are parallels) taught me that moderation and working from within the system is often the best course of action.

Richard Isacoff

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Richard Isacoff on 12/22/2011 at 6:08 AM

Re: “The One Percent Solution

I sit across the country, watching th OWS movement in NY group and re-group. The Court says they can stay BUT no camping on private property or property that is mandated to have full public access.

More to the point: What is the message? That "things", or somewhat more specific, the economy has to change? Or that the 1% must play nice and share? or that none of the current economic policy-makers should remain? or...

With no clear message the "movement will go nowhere. At least the student protests during Vietnam had a message - "Stop the War"! What is the OWS message, what is its goal(s). It might be a better use of time to find a candidate for the House or the Senate or even CEO of the USA to back in 2012.

If the OWS is strong enough and can get organized enough, it could change the outcome of the primaries and the general election. At this point however, it's getting tiring hearing "We are the 99%", or "Stick it to the Man" (no offense to your advertiser) or "Main Street not Wall Street" or whatever.

The words have been spoken, the photo ops are over - what is next? It is up to OWS if it becomes a force for positive change or just a snapshot in Time and a commemorative issue of Life.

Richard Isacoff

6 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Richard Isacoff on 11/17/2011 at 6:00 AM

Re: “The Whole World Is Watching

The raid in Oakland may have been great for getting attention turned to Occupy Oakland but it was the worst example to show the world. Up to that point, protests against the economic & monetary disparity between the so-called 99% and the so-called 1%, demonstrated to the world that protests in this country, even on a large scale, were dealt with as an exercise of our freedom of speech. In the snap of a finger, that image was shattered.

Whether there was a risk to those assembled or not, the use of the police, for that short period of time put us visually in the category of the Arab Spring. Both sides should have stopped and thought about the issues involved and the impact of their actions.

I am old enough (sadly) to have been around for the Vietnam protests - first gathering signatures on Oct 15, 1968 - Moratorium Day, then as a photographer for SDS (short-lived assignment), followed by getting married 2 days before Kent State, and then as a member of the Army Nat'l Guard as a photographer. The point is - been there!.

On the flip side, as a member of the Guard I was detailed to Boston to help protect school children during the Boston School Busing Crisis when some of our less tolerant 99%ers decided that tipping over school buses with kids in them would be a way to stop integration in the Boston schools. The State and Federal governments moved quickly to truly "Serve and Protect". Despite the super-heated environment there were no riots, no mass arrests, and no use of force, except when some of the 99%ers used hunting slingshots w/ steel-tipped darts to "annoy" the Boston Tactical Police squad, which was just patrolling. That I know, because that I saw.

Sure, there was no internet (sorry Al) nor any Twitter, but there was a lot of broadcast TV, newspaper, and radio coverage. Anyone who wanted to know, could; and, this was post-Kent State.

Whether the protests are justified or not is not the issue. Why would the Oakland Police be sent to disperse a relatively peaceful "crowd"? It's history is storied as is the Oakland area in days gone-by. The Mayor used extremely bad judgement, in my opinion, especially when the rationale was that the police where sent out of a concern for the well-fare of the protesters. It had to be anticipated that there would be a less than peaceful engagement because, unfortunately, not all of the protesters were there to express free speech. They probably migrated from the 99%ers in South Boston of the 70's.

How do we redeem our world image once again? How do we redeem our souls once again? There will be no massive monetary policy changes, nor will there be any quick fix to the economic problems which are now a pandemic. The EU is falling apart because of social policies which have led to money issues, the old Soviet Union is being re-kindled by President to be Putin (ask Belarus), China has a big stake in Africa now and I bet they don't pay very well, and there are the worst famines in recent history in several parts of the world.

It's time that we, as a Nation, stop the bickering and partisanship, and got to work fixing our broken systems. is IDEOLOGY the new TRUE RELIGION?? After September 11, 2011 we did it, why not now???

Richard Isacoff

Posted by riisacoff on 11/03/2011 at 7:41 AM

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