Guardian: Photo of the Day–Sheroes Of Bahrain
I have been feeling guilty all week. I am a filmmaker and now that the Tribeca Film Festival had apparently outgrown Tribeca, it has been playing on my block. The neighborhood is jammed with festival goers sporting plastic ID placards with their photos on them, a status symbol and sign that they can afford the pricey tix. People were lining up when I left in the morning and returned at night. I didn’t have the energy to line up on RUSH ticket lines for hours.
But last night, the Festival’s wrap-up, I broke down and went to see the Online Favorite, a film called On The Mat about a high school wrestling team in the state of Washington, no doubt MTV’s reality style filmmaking to emulate the football doc that won the Oscars.
It was well made but hardly a timely subject or an indy production since it was sponsored by and had all the earmarks of the MTV production it was. Train hard and you can win was the message, teamwork counts, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat etc etc…
What else were these kids thinking about? We never learned as we watched them torturing their bodies to “cut weight.” (Two grads went directly into the military after graduation.)
The best wrestler who won the championship and landed the prettiest cheerleader was, we were told at the very end, was thrown out of school for offenses we weren’t told about. His girlfriend had said earlier, she likes “bad boys.”
They never explained the online voting that made this film an award-winner. Who voted and how many, and what did MTV have to with that? It was more sportstainment.
What I could not get over was how this festival has been so commercialized with tons of swag on sale. Worse, I went into the theater just in time to see a promotional commercial by one of the sponsors. Brookfield Properties. the owners of Zuccotti Park who conspired with the police to evict and trash Occupy Wall Street. When I booed the screen, people there thought I was nuts. Their advertisement for themselves was followed by up market plugs for Caesars Palace (gambling), Heineken (beer), Stoli (vodka), Caddilac (luxury cars), and American Express (credit cards and bank.)
Tribeca has now been fully captured by the hipoisie and the corporate state. It is also muy expensive!
Now, I feel guilty that I went at all!
Hard Rain Gonna Fall? The Big Question: Will It Rain on Tuesday??
•Wall Street Journal: City Braces For New Protests
•Gothamist: Occupy Activist On “Why We Break The Law”
SING OUT FOR MAY DAY
Tomorrow is May Day, The First of May, Occupy’s Big Day
One Appeal: ALL OUT FOR MAY DAY 2012 Tuesday • MAY 1st @ Union Square
Brant Part: 8 AM onward
►LEGALIZE ►ORGANIZE ►UNIONIZE STOP THE DEPORTATIONS JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN– END RACISM TELL THE SUPREME COURT: STOP ARIZONA’S SB1070
MAY 1st Coalition Rally ► 12 noon
OWS, Labor & Immigrant Solidarity Rally ► 4 pm
•March to Wall Street @ 5:30 pm
•Ending Rally in front of MTA w/ TWU President
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine to perform at 4 pm Rally Danza Azteca to perform at 12 noon Rally
Occupy Wall Street.Org; NYC MAY DAY 2012 ACTIONS
•99 Picket Lines Midtown Manhattan Community groups, unions, affinity groups and
•Pop-up Occupation with Mutual Aid (unpermitted) 8am–2pm, Bryant Park,
•May Day Morning Commute from Brooklyn
8:00am, Maria Hernandez Park, Brooklyn
Free Coffee + Breakfast! MARCH from Knickerbocker to Flushing to Broadway to Continental Army Plaza
Occupy Williamsburg, Occupy Bushwick
Sitting Meditation 8–11am, Bryant Park (southwest corner), Manhattan OWS Meditation working group
•Bike Bloc 9am, Union Square, Manhattan Strike Everywhere more info
•The Free University: Lectures, Workshops, Skill-Shares and Discussions 10am–3pm, Madison Square Park, Manhattan more info
•Occupy Brooklyn March over the Williamsburg Bridge and into Wall Street
10:30am, Continental Army Plaza, Brooklyn
Occupy Williamsburg, Occupy Bushwick
Building Community Alternatives to Capitalism Day 11am–10pm, LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Ave., Brooklyn Brooklyn Skillshare more info
•Teach-in: How to Keep Your Cool and Occupy…Understanding Aggression
11am, Bryant Park (southwest corner), Manhattan OWS Meditation working group
•High School Student Walkout Convergence 12pm, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn more info
•Guitarmy: Guitar Workshop and Rehearsal with Tom Morello
Permitted Gathering Space for May Day Festivities
12pm, Bryant Park, Gertrude Stein Statue (east side), Manhattan
OWS Music working group
Call2Create art events all day throughout NYC more info
•Wildcat March (unpermitted) 1pm, Sara D. Roosevelt Park (East Houston St. & 2nd Ave.), Manhattan Strike Everywhere more info
•OWS Mutual Aid cluster 1pm-4pm, Union Square OWS Mutual Aid cluster is hosting a free store, skill shares and workshops on a variety of subjects related to life outside the dominant capitalist paradigm.
•3pm May Pole Dance with Movement for Change and the Puppet Guild.
Meditation Flash Mob followed by Kirtan 1pm, Bryant Park (southwest corner),
Manhattan OWS Meditation working group
•Day Without Workers/Día sin los Trabajadores: May Day March and Speakout
2pm, 5th Ave. at 54th St. in Brooklyn, marching to 36th St & 4th Ave. to take subway at 3:30pm to Union Square rally in Manhattan
Occupy/Ocupemos Sunset Park
MayDay on D-Block!! 2pm, Houston & Ave D, Manhattan LES public housing residents & tenants take their struggle to the street! All invited! Occupy Avenue D
•Occupy Wall Street & Guitarmy March (unpermitted) 2pm, Bryant Park to Union Square, Manhattan
•Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Contingent! 3pm at Regal Movie Theatre, 50 Broadway (at 13th St.) – joining rally at Union Square after Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, Streetwise and Safe and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project more info
•Solidarity Rally with Tom Morello, Dan Deacon, Immortal Technique, Das Racist, Bobby Sanabria and special guests (permitted) 4–5:30pm, Union Square, Manhattan May First Coalition, Labor Unions and OWS more info
•May Day Choir Convergence 5:15pm, Madison Square Park (in front of the fountain), Manhattan more info
•Occupy the Rent Guidelines Board: A Tenants’ General Assembly 5:30pm, 7 East 7th St. (outside Cooper Union), Manhattan Real Rent Reform Campaign
•Solidarity March (permitted)
5:30pm, Union Square to Wall Street, Manhattan
•First Coalition, Labor Unions and OWS more info
JD Samson & MEN Perform 7pm, 2 Broadway After the march concludes, more performances and speakers will start the after-party!
•Occupy Wall Street Afterparty 8pm, Wall Street area details forthcoming…
The May Day 2012 Solidarity Rally and March is being organized by an historic coalition, including:
• Alliance for Labor Rights, Immigrant Rights, Jobs for All
• May 1st Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights
• Immigrant & Community Organizations
• Occupy Wall Street
Bloomberg News (another Tribeca sponsor): Banks Call For More Spying
The world’s biggest banks are working with one another and police to gather intelligence as protesters try to rejuvenate the Occupy Wall Street movement with May demonstrations, industry security consultants said.
Among 99 protest targets in midtown Manhattan on May 1 are JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) offices, said Marisa Holmes, a member of Occupy’s May Day planning committee.
Events are scheduled for more than 115 cities, including an effort to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) investors relied on police to get past protests at their annual meeting this week.
Free University Emerging
The Free University is a collective educational experiment that will be held on May 1, 2012, from 10am-3pm. In solidarity with the general strike, the Free University offers a public space for the 99% to disengage from an unequal system and imagine a model for alternative education. Those gathered in Madison Square Park, and those meeting in other spaces in solidarity, will create a university that is open to all, without debt or tuition for students, without pre-requisites, age limits or any other disqualifying requirements. Learning can only happen through interaction, exchange, and dialogue. To create a living future together, all must be included and welcome.
The Free University is an open invitation to educators around New York City to participate in May Day 2012. During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions will be held — all open to the public. If you are in solidarity with the general strike but cannot cancel your class, bring it here! We also invite all educators interested in volunteering special sessions and classes for the day. We will have designated spaces for the quieter and more intimate classes.
No single day, park, or effort can contain our vision; instead, we propose and will struggle to make all our universities places of free education, inquiry, and access to knowledge for all. We demand that our society put forward the necessary resources to provide such an education for all.
Free U is a project made in partnership with educators and students from Brooklyn College/CUNY Grad Center/Eugene Lang College/New School for Social Research/Hunter College/ /Pratt Institute/New York University/Queensborough Community College/ Rutgers/Columbia University/Princeton.
Follow on Twitter: @FreeUnivNYC
TomDispatch tonight: A president with next to no power domestically and unconstrained power abroad, that’s the eerie conundrum of the Obama years —
In my latest post, I highlight a seldom-discussed conundrum of the Obama presidency: At home, on issues of domestic importance, Obama is a hamstrung, hogtied president, strikingly checked and balanced. In fact, since the passage of his embattled healthcare bill, he has, in a sense, been in chains, able to accomplish next to nothing of his domestic program.
On the other hand, his power as commander-in-chief has never been greater. If Obama is the president of next to nothing on the domestic policy front, he has the powers previously associated with the gods when it comes to war-making abroad. There, he is the purveyor of life and death. There, he is — to use a term that has largely disappeared since the 1970s — the most imperial of our recent presidents.
One or the other aspect of this contradiction is often discussed in the media, but seldom are the two put together and even less often are the roots of this strange reality sought in the dreams of the Bush administration in its brief time of triumph. In this piece, I explore this strange phenomenon, especially the growth of the president’s private military (special ops forces) and private air force (drones), and of a commander-in-chief presidency that is a 24/7 operation and in which the president’s word is potentially death just about anywhere on the planet.
This is a dangerous development in Washington no matter who wins the White House in November.
• Another Bin Laden Wipe Out Coming? U.S. special forces help in hunt for warlord Kony
Three international armies have zeroed in on Joseph Kony, one of the world’s most wanted warlords.
RFK assassination witness tells CNN: There was a second shooter
Author: By Michael Martinez and Brad Johnson CNN
As a federal court prepares to rule on a challenge to Sirhan Sirhan’s conviction in the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, a long overlooked witness to the murder is telling her story: She heard two guns firing during the 1968 shooting and authorities altered her account of the crime.
Nina Rhodes-Hughes wants the world to know that, despite what history says, Sirhan was not the only gunman firing shots when Senator Kennedy was murdered a few feet away from her at a Los Angeles hotel.
“What has to come out is that there was another shooter to my right,” Rhodes-Hughes said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “The truth has got to be told. No more cover-ups.”
Her voice at times becoming emotional, Rhodes-Hughes described for CNN various details of the assassination, her long frustration with the official reporting of her account and her reasons for speaking out: “I think to assist me in healing — although you’re never 100% healed from that. But more important to bring justice.”
“For me it’s hopeful and sad that it’s only coming out now instead of before — but at least now instead of never,” Rhodes-Hughes told CNN by phone from her home near Vancouver, Canada.
Sirhan, the only person arrested, tried and convicted in the shooting of Kennedy and five other people, is serving a life sentence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California.
•FT: Big banks seek to put pressure on small rivals
The biggest global investment banks are examining ways to block rivals from using powers given them under the Jobs Act, potentially obstructing the goals of what is a rare US bipartisan agreement.
•Boston Globe: Scott Brown And Elizabeth Warren Release Taxes. Both Are in The 1%
•Reader Supported News: We Are Rid Of Murdoch. (DS: Are We?)
Industry Gloats: Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon: ‘I Think We’ve Won’ Fracking Debate
BBC: ** Libya ex-minister ‘dead in river‘ **
The body of former Libyan Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem is found in the Danube River near the Austrian capital, Vienna, police say.
Fluent: ‘Wisconsin Democrats divided over who to best oust Walker in recall election’
Say Goodbye to April. Visit Mediachannel1.org. Comments to email@example.com
Today, I will be joining Reverend Jesse Jackson on his weekly show at http://keephopealiveradio.com at 9PM, EST. Special Guest at 9:30: Rodney King.
My latest– Robots R Us: Drones Reported on 63 Bases in the US of A.
Daily Beast: Occupy Has Seized Control of The Political Debate
CLG: Milwaukee Red Cross Told to Prep For Chicago Evacuation During NATO Summit –
‘Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service.’ 25 Apr 2012 Is there a secret plan to evacuate some residents of Chicago in the event of major trouble a false flag during the NATO summit next month? CBS 2 has uncovered some evidence that there is — from the Milwaukee area branch of the American Red Cross. CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of a Red Cross e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area. It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”
US police state gone wild: Federal agents to begin ‘Operation Red Zone’ in Chicago 26 Apr 2012 Starting next week, expect to see a showing of federal law enforcement in “battle” gear, weapons slung, in a highly visible effort to protect a perimeter that encompasses the federally operated buildings in the Loop intimidate protesters. Law enforcement has dubbed their efforts “Operation Red Zone.” It’s headed by the Federal Protective Service, which is working with state, federal and local law enforcement in anticipation of the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20 and 21. The Federal Protective Service will deploy
President Obama Tries To Outflank Romney On The Right
His TV ad suggesting that Mitt Romney lacks the guts or the capacity to do what he did in authorizing the murder of Osama Bin Laden is part of a strategy to use the war on terror and his role as Commander in Chief as a campaign issue. In its Sunday Review, the New York Times calls Obama the “Warrior in Chief,” and asks why many on the right and left still consider him a peace-nik. The Nobel Prize committee may have hoped that by giving him their Peace Prize, he would be encouraged to become one. They must be disappointed, as are many of those who supported him because of his stance towards the Iraq War.
You will note that the US just signed a long time friendship pact with Hamid Karzai’s coruppt regime–a sign that the US is staying in Afghanistan. Why? Daya Thusu studies South Asia, and is a South Asian at Westminister University in London. He recently convened a conference there on Media and Terrorism that I spoke at. My speech and the key essays from the conference are available in a new book, MEDIA & TERRORISM (Sage). Daya gave me permission to quote from his brilliant chapter:
“The dramatic assassination of Osama Bin Laden by US ‘Navy Seals’ has brought the global media spotlight on Pakistan as the main theater of terrorism. International as well as the regional media have been focusing on the success of the US-led operation to decapitate Al-Qaeda and get rid of the world’s most wanted terrorist. As Americans celebrate, the fallout is likely to affect the country which hosted Bin Laden. Ten times more people have died in terrorist-related violence in Pakistan than in the US – 30,000 since 9/11.
Such disparities rarely get noticed in the mainstream international media. Away from the world’s television cameras, South Asia has been on the receiving end of the global war on terror. In 2009, of the nearly 11,000 terrorism-related reported attacks worldwide, about 4,850, or 44 per cent, occurred in South Asia, accounting for approximately 6,270 fatalities, or 42 per cent of the worldwide total for that year. The country with highest number of suicide bombings was Afghanistan with 99, followed by Pakistan with 84. Of the top ten countries afflicted by suicide attacks between 1991-2008, four were in South Asia
…. Although rarely discussed in mainstream media, which portrays Afghanistan as terrorism-infested lawless land, in geo-political terms the country has, as throughout history, great importance, located as it is, at the intersection of Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. In addition to its strategic location, Afghanistan is believed to have substantial deposits of untapped oil and natural gas and is a potential energy corridor for Central Asia producers. The country also has huge mineral potential. Quoting senior US government sources, The New York Times reported in June 2010 that the US had discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including vast quantities of lithium, a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for computers and mobile devices. The newspaper quoted an internal Pentagon memo, saying that Afghanistan could become the ‘Saudi Arabia of lithium’ (Risen, 2010).Quoting senior US officials, the newspaper reported that the biggest mineral deposits discovered were of iron and copper. The report added that a Pentagon task force had already set up a system to deal with mineral development, including employing accounting firms to draw up contracts with multinational mining companies and other potential foreign investors (Risen, 2010).
Of course the US is not the only country eying these potential trophies from the ‘war on terror’. In 2009, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by US officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mines (Risen, 2010). Iran and India too have investments in the region – with India committing $1.5 billion in aid spread over several sectors.
It is no coincidence that NATO’s first ‘out of area’ war has taken place in this strategically important area. Its Strategic Concept adopted at the 2010 Lisbon summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization envisages its role as a global cop: ‘Where conflict prevention proves unsuccessful, NATO will be prepared and capable to manage ongoing hostilities. NATO has unique conflict-management capacities, including the unparalleled capability to deploy and sustain robust military forces in the field’ (NATO, 2010). Though it arrived in Afghanistan as part of the UN-mandated ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), with a limited mandate, by 2011, it was in control of all military operations. The declaration the alliance signed with Afghanistan at the Lisbon summit spoke of ‘a robust, enduring partnership which complements the ISAF security mission and continues beyond it.’ Even after 2014, the supposed date of Western withdrawal from Afghanistan, NATO will maintain its counterterrorism capability in that country ‘until we have the confidence that the Al-Qaeda is no longer operative and is no longer a threat.’ The existence of an elusive enemy could ensure a long established presence in an area which is coveted by others and thus to check emerging powers such as China, Russia and India. It may be relevant to mention here that in 2011, NATO also was bombing Libya – first such incursion in an (oil-rich) Arab country – ostensibly as an act of humanitarianism.”
For more, please get a copy of Media & Terrorism (Sage). I am proud to be part of this collection.
Discussion Documemt: The Debate Within Occupy As May Day Approaches
“So are we in solidarity with each other, or are we united?”
This question came up yet again on Monday night, at the final coalition meeting for May Day that included people from organized labor, immigrants’ groups and Occupy Wall Street. It came in the midst of a debate about whether or not we should designate separate zones for various coalition partners during our joint evening march. Trying to mash everyone into one giant group might create a sense of unity, but then the groups’ individual needs might not be met. Occupiers whispered to each other about how the lack of a defined OWS zone would mean the unions would end up marshalling our contingent. In the end, everyone agreed that separate zones were most appropriate; true solidarity with one another meant recognizing our diverse methods of organizing and tactics for resistance.
Achieving apparent unity is easy; whoever shouts the loudest or lobbies the hardest typically wins over the group. It is solidarity — respecting each other’s particular methods and skill sets — that is truly revolutionary. Trying to impose unity over the entire action would leave no one satisfied, and it would actually serve to divide us. This solidarity-versus-unity struggle has been playing out inside OWS as a whole for a while now, as well as in our May Day planning meetings. After months of trying to impose decisions upon each other, which was serving only to divide us, the May Day planning committee has quietly moved away from unity and towards solidarity. It’s about time.
The call to help organize a national general strike on May Day had no lack of interested parties in New York City from a diverse cross-section of activists. The first call to meet as an “exploratory committee” brought together around 75 people back in January, including radicals from Occupy Wall Street and across New York City, alongside seasoned labor organizers and others. This diversity has persisted throughout the planning process, resulting in some incredible breakthroughs and synergy, as well as deep reflection and sometimes painful challenges.
Anarchists like myself are accustomed to striving to create “safer spaces” where we do our best to check our privileges of every kind at the door. This compels us to develop particular strategies to raise up marginalized voices by adhering to consensus process and respecting each other’s autonomy to make our own tactical and strategic choices. Becoming accustomed to these ways of interacting with one another can make it difficult for anti-authoritarians to organize in other types of spaces, where people are more used to organizing hierarchically. The first few OWS May Day meetings were well-populated with radical feminists, queer anarchists, insurrectionists and others from the New York anarchist community. As has been happening in OWS as a whole, many of these people began feeling uncomfortable and marginalized in those meetings and, by and large, stopped attending. But many of us did remain in the project and continued working with an ever-growing coalition of OWS folks, labor and immigrant worker justice groups. This coalition, in itself, is historic.
Our coalition partners wanted to set up a “4×4” steering committee with four representatives from each of the four groups: organized labor, the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, community-based organizations and Occupy Wall Street. But since the Occupy movement tends to operate on the core anarchist principles of horizontality and consensus, having formal representatives of any kind at the 4×4 wouldn’t work for us. We informed our partners that we would feel more comfortable using a spokescouncil at these meetings. This would mean that as many OWS folks as wished to attend would be welcome, and the four people empowered to speak at a given time would act as non-autonomous spokes, reflecting to our partners the will of the group seated behind them. For large decisions, we would need to take a brief break and come to consensus as a group before reporting back to the coalition.
Our partners were very receptive to us operating in this manner, and it even seemed like a bit of our horizontally rubbed off on them. When it was time to open up the process and call large meetings to plan the details of the solidarity march, they at first suggested that each group should get only one vote — total. OWS balked at this, and an agreement was reached to use a two-thirds-majority, modified-consensus system. This means that, first, we check for full consensus from the group, and if there are people opposed, we hear them voice their concerns before moving to a vote. Whether these processes will have a long-term effect on our partners remains to be seen, but it is something of which I am very excited and proud to have been a part.
Many of the radicals who stopped attending the early meetings moved on to work with Strike Everywhere, an autonomous group of anti-authoritarians who were agitating for a general strike in New York, outside of OWS.
This model of working with exclusively like-minded folks was appealing to many of the anarchists in the OWS group, many of whom had started to feel similarly disenfranchised. A lot of the remaining anarchist organizers began working almost exclusively in clusters that featured a distinctly anti-authoritarian bent, with names like Action, Mutual Aid or Strike. Over time, as the character of each became more well-defined, all the various clusters in the project began to respect each other’s autonomy, unique skills and interests. Once we stopped constantly trying to make decisions for each other, our meetings became much more cohesive, and coordination went much more smoothly.
Meanwhile, both of the main decision-making bodies in OWS — the Spokes Council and the General Assembly — gradually became non-functional and were disbanded. Movement-wide projects are now being organized in more decentralized ways, with various groups simply coordinating with one another rather than trying to make decisions together. While some see this as a failure of process, I think it’s really one more stop in the movement’s ongoing experimentation toward a directly-democratic society. Trying to impose “unity” over the movement with the GA and Spokes led to infighting and marginalization. Being in solidarity with one another allows different groups with different backgrounds to work together effectively without trying to control one another.
Despite the struggles and the experimentation, the successes of the May Day planning group and the larger coalition are undeniable. A broad coalition of labor, immigrant worker justice groups, community organizations, Occupy assemblies and students has been forged. Through a decentralized action model, there will be dozens of simultaneous direct actions across the city, creating time and space between ones that are family-friendly and others that are more aggressive. Thousands of people will be sharing resources and skills, practicing and learning about mutual aid in Bryant Park and Union Square. Students will be walking out of their schools and opening a free university. Workers will be occupying their workplaces, kicking out exploitative bosses and managing the businesses for themselves. A call for a general strike was made, and endorsed by the largest labor organization in New Jersey, the Industrial Labor Council. Ways have been found for other labor groups to participate without breaking laws against striking, by calling for a “99 Pickets” action that will aim to shut down the flow of finance capital in Midtown on the morning of May Day.
I’m proud to have worked beside hundreds of others on this project, and I am confident that the effects of May Day will bellow out across the globe. But I can’t help but wonder how much more we could have accomplished if it hadn’t taken us three long months to realize that we needed to act in solidarity with each other, not in some kind of unity. Regardless, I count this gradual discovery among the many successes of anarchist organizing models in the brief history of this movement.
Business Insider: How Apple Dodges Billions In Taxes
News Republic: Israeli ex-intel chief slams PM’s Iran stance
News Republic: Pakistan wants apology for US border killings
AlJazeera: Gareth Porter, Behind Iran’s Nuclear Strategy
Iran has been developing nuclear capacities in order to obtain leverage in diplomatic talks with the United States.
Yahoo: White House Correspondents Dinner: Romney, Secret Service, GOP: Obama mocks them all
This year’s primaries, the 2008 primaries, the General Services Administration scandal, even the Secret Service and Donald Trump were targets for President Barack Obama’s scattershot humor at Saturday night’s celebrity studded White House Correspondents Dinner.
The Living Theater Lives At Tribeca
This Sunday at 4:00PM Judith Malina founded The Living Theater in 1947 together with her first husband Julian Beck. When Julian died in 1985 Judith married their mutual friend and lover Hanon Reznikov. With Hanon’s unexpected death in 2008, Judith was left to continue The Living Theater on her own. On the verge of her 85th birthday, she begins rehearsals on her new play with her Living Theater cast, but deteriorating health and a slew of financial problems are obstacles to her realizing her dream of a beautiful non-violent anarchist revolution. Tickets on sale through Tribeca.
Comments Welcome: Write firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to the podcast of this week’s News Dissector Radio Hour with Chris Smith of USC and the “Tax Dodgers”
Last night i went to an annual celebration marking South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, the 18th anniversary of the 1994 election that elected Nelson Mandela and put the ANC in power. I covered the event in a film, Countdown To Freedom, that captured the excitement and the hopes of that day. It was a rare moment of a people’s triumph after a long struggle that went back to l912. There was some speecifying at the party at a Times Square hotel along with South African food and wine. I saw many old comrades, all older like myself. There still was a sense of astonishment among many that it happened at all after the years of resistance and government imposed tragedies and violence.
And yet, it must be said, there was anxiety alongside the nostalgia and sense of achievement although it was not expressed in the hotel ball room. This revolution came and went, and to quote Marat Sade, “unrest was replaced by discontent.” There is a democratic government but lots of dissatisfaction and anger at corruption and deep inequalities. Is it better than before of course. There has progress on many fronts but many battles are underway for the soul and the future of the country,
There is a new struggle going on there. There are more protests in South African every day than ever with new Democratic Left Movement sending out statements like this:
“April 27th is not a day of celebration but of mourning for the theft of South African democracy. South Africa has endured 18 years of market friendly policies that have produced the illusion of a people centred democracy and which has not met the needs of workers and the poor.
Grinding unemployment and inequality caused by the choices made by the ANC government are made worse as it increases living costs – water, electricity, petrol – and now e-tolls in Gauteng. Freedom has become freedom for an elite minority!
Top down governance and corruption are made worse by an ANC government that deems it necessary to start limiting our hard won freedoms through undermining the Constitutional Court, imposing the infamous Information Bill, the new Intelligence Act, the Traditional Court Bill and staffing the police force leadership with ZUMA cronies. Freedom has become freedom for an elite minority!
Everyday struggles by the people for accountability, for service delivery, against labour brokers, for better working conditions in urban and rural areas, to prevent land dispossession, for justice against xenophobia, homophobia, sexism and rape are met with disregard and brute force by the ANC government. The murder of Andries Tatane teaches us that: Freedom has become freedom for an elite minority!
The promise of transformation and a better life for all wrings hollow in South Africa today. On Freedom Day and May Day we say to all South Africans including COSATU, the time has come to take a stand.”
Reuters: Economic Growth Stalls
U.S. economic growth slowed in the first quarter on the heels of Ben Bernanke’s announcement Thursday. The latest GDP report revealed that The GDP expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate, according to the Commerce Department, disappointing economists’ expectations for a 2.5 percent rate. Though the economy has been growing at a snail’s pace since the second half of 2009, the report sent mixed signals: businesses cut back on investments and unemployment rates are soaring, but a surge in consumer spending softened those blow. Stocks saw their best day in 2012 Thursday, and the Fed decided not to continue efforts to spur growth for now.
The Games Congress Plays
The Hill: House takes swing at healthcare law, extends student loan rates
The House on Friday approved a controversial bill that extends low interest rates on subsidized student loans for another year, but pays for that extension by killing a piece of the 2010 healthcare law, which prompted a veto threat from President Obama Friday morning.
Members approved the Interest Rate Reduction act in a 215-195 vote, with about 30 Republicans voting against the bill, while at least a dozen Democrats supported it. The end of the vote was confusing, with a few members appearing to switch their votes before the final tally.
Supreme Court: Another One As As Bad Citizen United Says Public Citizen
The worst U.S. Supreme Court ruling in recent memory, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has had a devastating impact on the U.S. political system.
One year ago today, the court handed down another ruling, one that’s had a similarly devastating impact on our civil justice system: AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.
Both decisions have emboldened corporate lobbyists and corporate law firms in their quest to increase profits by rigging the system against consumers.
The court ruled in Concepcion that corporations can unilaterally cut off people’s right to band together in class actions against illegal and unfair corporate practices.
So you are not only denied your right to take the company to court. You are forced to go it alone, even if millions of people like you were discriminated against, ripped off or hurt by the corporation’s actions. Most times, it won’t be worth pursuing the case as an individual — that is, if you’re even aware of the wrongful conduct in the first place — and the company will face little or no accountability.
In the words of one judge who was frustrated by the ruling, “There is no doubt that Concepcion was a serious blow to consumer class actions and likely foreclosed the possibility of any recovery for many wronged individuals.”
In Other Legal News:
•Major Occupy Court Victory– 31 Occupy Philly Protesters Acquitted on All Charges
• NYC: Stop And Frisk On Trial This Monday 9:30 AM
Where: Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, 100 Centre Street, on street, trial Room 506
What: Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix, leaders of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and 18 others to be tried for disorderly conduct arrests protesting NYPD “Stop and Frisk”
New York NY – On Monday, April 30, 20 protesters will stand trial on disorderly conduct charges in the first mass trial of Occupy Wall Street-related arrests stemming from an October 21, 2011 non-violent civil disobedience protest of “stop and frisk” policy at the NYPD 28th Precinct in Harlem. Defendants include Dr. Cornel West, Princeton University Professor of African Studies; Carl Dix, Co-Founder of the Revolutionary Community Party; Randy Credico, social comedian and former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice; Rev. Stephen Phelps, Senior Minister of The Riverside Church; Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem; Prof. Jim Vrettos of John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; Nellie Hester Bailey of Occupy Harlem and activists from Occupy Wall Street.
“Stop & Frisk,” a policy heavily promoted by Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is also being challenged in court by the NYCLU and Center for Constitutional Rights. In 2011, the NYPD stopped almost 700,000 people, or more than 1,900 people each day. More than 85 percent of those stopped and frisked are Black or Latino, and more than 90 percent of them were doing nothing wrong when the police stopped them. “Stop and Frisk” is the first step in a pipeline that has ultimately placed 2.4 million in prison.
In a statement Cornel West said: “We are here – even willing to go to jail – because we love young brothers and sisters of all colors unjustly treated by the NYPD.”
Carl Dix, states: On October 21, we set out to take the resistance to the way the criminal injustice system abuses millions of people to a higher level by putting our bodies on the line to Stop “Stop & Frisk.” On Monday, April 30, we will carry this fight into the courtroom and put Stop & Frisk on trial.”
The defendants are represented by attorneys associated with the National Lawyers Guild Martin Stolar, Meghan Maurus, Paul Mills, and Ari Brochin.
New Poll On Energy
Conducted March 22-25, 2012, the new ORC International survey of 1,019 Americans shows that:
• More than eight out of 10 Americans (83%)–including 69% of Republicans, 84% of Independents, and 95% of Democrats–agree with the following statement: “The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future. Congress is debating large public investments in energy and we need to take action to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support renewable energy– one that protects public health, promotes energy independence and the economic well being of all Americans.”
• Even with high gasoline prices today, 85 percent of Americans – including 76 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents, and 91 percent of Democrats–agree with the statement “(e) nergy development should be balanced with health and environmental concerns” versus just 13 percent who think “health and environmental concerns should not block energy development.”
• More than two out of three (68%) think it is “a bad idea for the nation to ‘put on hold’ progress towards cleaner energy sources during the current economic difficulty.”
• Eight out of 10 Americans agree that “water shortages and the availability of clean drinking water are real concerns. America should put the emphasis on first developing new energy sources that require less water and result in lower water pollution. Only 15% of Americans think that “America should proceed first with developing energy sources even if they may have significant water pollution and water shortage downsides.”
• Two thirds of Americans (67%) think that “political leaders should help to steer the U.S. to greater use of cleaner energy sources–such as increased efficiency, wind and solar–that result in fewer environmental and health damages.” Under a third of Americans (30%) think that “political leaders should stay out of the energy markets and let private enterprise have a free hand in picking energy sources and setting prices.”
“Days before the final round of France’s presidential election, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has told The Guardian that the downfall of his reputation following his encounter with a New York City hotel maid was “shaped by those with a political agenda.” While he didn’t say the incident with Nafissatou Diallo was a setup, he believes that “more was involved here than mere coincidence.” He suggested that his internationally publicized criminal investigation and subsequent imprisonment were orchestrated by political enemies intent on sabotaging his chance of getting a presidential bid. Furthermore, he thinks the instigators had ties with current President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Perhaps I was politically naive, but I simply did not believe they would go that far … I didn’t think they could find anything that could stop me,” he said.
LBN: Judge Says Zimmerman Can Keep $200,000
A Florida judge ruled Friday that George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, could keep his $200,000 raised by supportersdespite having not disclosed it previously. Zimmermans attorney, Mark OMara said that Zimmerman had experienced issues with his online Twitter and Facebook accounts, and may shut down his donation set-up for fear of copycats making money off of his cause. Prosecutors had asked that Zimmermans $150,000 bond be increased, but Judge Kenneth Lester said he is worried about revealing the names of the donorsand is not sure he has the authority to increase the bond.
Deception In Media: Annenberg Public Policy Center calculates dollars spent by four highest spending third party groups on deceptive TV ads attacking or supporting Republican presidential contenders
Drawing on spending estimates from Kantar Media CMAG and the fact checking of FactCheck.org, the Annenberg Public Policy Center has created a dollars in deception measure (DDs) calculating dollars spent on televised presidential third party ads by the groups calling themselves “The Red White and Blue Fund,” “Winning Our Future,” “Restore Our Future,” and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
From Iowa through Wisconsin, 23.3 million (56.7%) of the 41.1 million dollars were spent on 19 ads containing deceptive or misleading claims
Most of the dollars in deception (an estimated $20.8 million) were aired by the pro-Romney super PAC “Restore Our Future” (estimated 8.8 million DDs–dollars in deception–attacking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an estimated 9.4 million DDs attacking former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and an estimated 2.6 million in DDs making the case for the election of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney).
TV Today: FCC Rules Stations Must Put Political Ad Information Online
Under a proposal voted on by the FCC on Friday, TV stations affiliated with the four top TV networks in the nation’s 50 largest markets will be required to file political information online first. All other TV stations will be exempt from the new requirements until July 1, 2014, to give the FCC the opportunity to see how the changes work.
Why This Matters: Supporters of the proposal said it will give the public more information about the millions of dollars that are spent during election campaigns. But opponents, including some owners of TV and radio stations, maintain the information is already available in public files at each station and putting them online is not only redundant, but will be expensive. Moreover, as noted by commissioner Robert McDowell, the proposal
Media Tenor: Coverage of the Oil Industry, January 2010 – March 2012
Zurich, April 27, 2012. Two years after the spectacular explosion and oil leak at BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the reputation of the British oil titan remains in ruin, according to a long-term analysis by the Media Tenor Institute. At the beginning of 2012 the overall image of the oil industry is even worse than in 2010.
“The history of BP is a classic example of the long-range impact of accidents and scandals on the public image of business,” says Roland Schatz, founder and CEO of Media Tenor. While BP failed to project a positive media image in line with its “Beyond Petrol” PR campaign for a long time before the accident, the media continues to focus on the causes of the catastrophe. Legal procedures keep BP in the news with negative messages, as does the financial impact of the event. Two years after Deepwate r Horizon the overall evaluation of BP in leading British, US and German TV news is desperate, with a surplus of negative news at 59%. This is only marginally better than the 66% negativity surplus in 2010.
The oil industry has fared even worse in 2012. On one hand, rising gas prices all over the world are contrasted with the record profits in the industry. “Contrary to the opinion of The Economist, a bad image matters,” explains Dr. Christian Kolmer, Head of Political Analysis at Media Tenor. “Public pressure on politicians, fuelled by media stories blaming the ‘Oil Multis’ for rising energy prices has already lead to strong reactions in many countries.” Even in market-oriented Germany, the Department of Economy is planning to force the big oil groups to publish their planned prices for the next day on a public website. Left-wing politicians are already contemplating much stronger measures.
The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe has continued to affect the percepti on of the oil sector. When a gas leak on Total’s Elgin platform in the North Sea threatened another big explosion, TV news reported for days about the evolving story, even when nothing dangerous was visible on the footage. “The ongoing flow of bad news makes life much harder for oil groups. Opposition to new projects is rising all over the world. And this will continue as long as the industry is unable to regain trust.”
Thinking about May Day: Several Comments from Institute for Public Accuracy
NOAM CHOMSKY, From his May Day Pamphlet “People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called, ‘Law Day’ — a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement. Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.”
Marina Sitrin is co-author of the forthcoming “May Day: The Secret Rendezvous,” which is part of the same “Occupied Media” pamphlet series, “The Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and elsewhere are gearing up for May Day. One of the most significant things about these protests is their ‘horizonalnzess’ — that is the lack of hierarchical structure. This is remarkably similar to how protests in Greece, Spain, Egypt and elsewhere are developing.” See for NYC: http://maydaynyc.org and nationwide: http://www.occupytogether.org
Staughton Lynd, Historian
“There is a general impression in the U.S. that May Day is a communist holiday since communists did latch on to it eventually, but it’s a wrong impression. May Day originated in 1886 in the U.S. There was a large nationwide general strike that day, the purpose of which was to obtain an eight-hour day. There were radicals involved, but they were anarchists, not communists. On May 4 of that year, at a plant in Chicago that was locking out its workers, the authorities opened fire. So a meeting was called at the hay market and it was peaceful. Then a junior officer riled up the crowd and someone threw a bomb. The government went after the leaders of the popular movement in Chicago, who were not associated with the bomb-throwing, leading to the trial and execution of ‘the Haymarket martyrs.’
David Combs writes:
ALEC — for how many years (decades?) was it big and powerful, with all
these huge corporations as members, writing legislation etc, BEFORE it got
outed and then talked about in the “alternative” news?
If it was years and years, why so long (for this elephant in the living
room) to get discovered?
Sorry the the blog is up late today. Technical difficulties. Nuff said. You comments welcome to
Today is South African Freedom Day, the anniversary of the “Beloved Country’s” country’s turn from apartheid to democracy. I will talk about it tomorrow at 1-2 PM on News Dissector Radio on Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm) Guests Chris Smith, finance expert at USC; Joburg-based AlJazeera Producer Ben Cashdan and Occupy’s “Tax Dodgers” With Cat Watters
Charles Taylor guilty of arming and abetting RUF rebels
Ex-Liberian president Charles Taylor has been found guilty of terrorism, murder and rape committed by rebels during Liberia’s 11-year civil war.
•Helene Cooper, New York Times, Recalling the Horror
New Essay: Drones R’US: Military-style Drones Reported On 63 Bases In The USA
By Danny Schechter
New York, New York: It’s easy to understand why Presidents, politicians and the military loves robots. They don’t talk back. They follow orders. You press a button and they kill, kill, kill. They are considered so efficient, so surgical and so deadly.
Its all science fiction turned science ‘faction.’
Robots and drones don’t burn Korans or pose with the heads of their captives. There’s no drama, only total destruction.
And that’s why drone warfare has become such a weapon of choice. You have video game jockeys sitting on their asses in front of consoles of digital displays at an Air Force base outside Las Vegas, targeting houses in Afghanistan. After a couple of quick kills, they take the rest of the day off.
These new lethal toys are used both for surveillance and targeted assassinations.
In Congress, according to Code Pink’s Media Benjamin, there’s even a bi-partisan caucus to encourage more use of drone to the cheers of the military industrial complex. She has just written a book about it. She told me: “instead of having a caucus to feed preschool children, they decided it was more important to have a Drone Caucus and that’s because all the manufacturers in their districts are funding them.”
I asked Media if this is more evidence that President Eisenhower was right when he warned of the growing military-industrial complex?
Her response: “Eisenhower was so right and he was so right when he said it steals money, it robs us of food for our children, of healthcare for our parents, he was so right. And it’s just worse and worse. And you get the little puppets in Congress, and I’m in Washington now so I see these little puppets, and wish that they were like the NASCAR drivers that got to have their corporations on their suits, but they don’t rule America. The corporations obviously rule America. And when it comes to war and peace, those corporations are so powerful that they’ve kept us for the last decade and more and if we don’t do something about it, they will keep us more for the next decade.’
Anti-war activist and author David Swanson has been tracking this phenomenon too, telling me, “members of congress have created a caucus for drones, where they openly promote the use and sale of drones at home and abroad. They have now authorized the flight of up to 30,000 drones in US skies for whatever purpose–this is in contrast to the lack of any caucus for senior citizens, for children, for health coverage, for green energy, for human beings—there’s a caucus for robots.”
Soon we will have an arms race in drones of all kinds. The crash of a US drone in Iran has allowed that country to reverse-engineer one, probably leading to making their own,
The Russians and Chinese, even the North Koreans, can’t be far behind.
More worrying to Americans should be a report saying that there are already 63 drone bases inside the United States.
The Washington Post reports, “Big things can happen in Congress — as long as no one is watching.
“Lobbying records released last week show that there wasn’t much opposition this winter when Congress quietly opened up U.S. airspace to aerial drones, which some advocates for civil liberties say raise a host of concerns about privacy.
Drone technology, advanced by the military for surveillance and elimination of terrorists in war zones, is set to come back to the home front in a big way in coming years, with possible uses for law enforcement, first responders, and agriculture and environmental monitoring.
Select companies and local governments around the country already have permission to test drones, which can sometimes stay aloft for days at a time at a fraction of the cost of helicopters and airplanes.”
What enabled all of this drone fever?
Remember the NDAA bill passed last year, and quickly signed ever so quietly into law on New Year’s eve by President Obama? The Administration assured one and all that it would not apply to military operations on U.S. soil or against American Citizens.
It now turns out that the NDAA is being interpreted as authorization to deploy military drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs) into domestic airspace. A major overhaul of the Federal Aviation Administrations control system is permitting the deployment of drones
Recently, Alexander Higgins.com reported:
“The US has been forced to reveal the location of 63 secret bases used to conduct aerial drone flights for domestic spying operations.
A lawsuit has forced the FAA to reveal the location of 63 Secret Drone bases located inside the United States some of which will be the starting point for more drone warfare.
While the information released shows an alarming number of bases being used for military and local law enforcement drones, perhaps the most startling revelation is that the United States is allowing Canadian Border Patrol Drones to operate across the Canadian border.
Odds are that the are many more drone bases inside the United States whose locations have been kept secret for various national security reasons and the lawsuit only forced the government to release the names and locations of permitted US drone operators.
That means that the type of drones – be they for targeted killing, guiding missiles, or general surveillance – and the number of drones at each location still remains a secret although the FAA says they plan on releasing such information at a later date.”
England’s Daily Mail has more:
“Most of the active drones are deployed from military installations, enforcement agencies and border patrol teams, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.
But, astonishingly, 19 universities and colleges are also registered as owners of what are officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles
It is thought that many of institutions, which include Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, are developing drone technology.
There are also 21 mainstream manufacturers, such as General Atomics, who are registered to use drones domestically.
As well as active locations, the FAA also revealed 16 sites where licences to use spy planes have expired and four where authorizations have been disapproved, such as Otter Tail County, Minnesota.
However, the FAA is yet to reveal what kinds of drones might be based at any of these locations.
The agency says it will release this data later.”
Robot technology has other uses too, says financial journalist Max Keiser, who told me in a recent appearance on my Progressive Radio Network that algorithm based technology is now actually writing stories, perhaps even like this one.
He explained. “Forbes magazine wrote a story a couple of weeks ago about computers that are able with narrative software to take prices from the exchange and create stories in any of the ways that they want in their magazine. So it can be like, okay write a story about the prices that- the closing prices in the technology sector in the voice of Danny Schechter. And they’ll create a story and it’ll appear in the magazine. So it’s a computer that’s writing the stories, but the computers are also reading the stories.”
Oops, Ouch! Delete!
News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at NewsDissector.net. His recent books are Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street and Blogothon (Cosimo Books) He hosts News Dissector Radio on PRN.fm. His latest film is Plunder The Crime of Our Time (Plunderthecrimeorourtime.com) Comments to email@example.com
•Via Jackie Newberry: Are robots and content farms the future of the news?
MayDay, MayDay, Mayday: Adbusters Now Calling Mayday protests an “Insurrection.” They make it sound like a big game. Hahaha.
TACTICAL BRIEFING #30 – The May 2012 Insurrection
“Hey you dreamers, strikers and new left redeemers out there,
For thirty-one magical days beginning this Tuesday, May 1, we take the plunge and Strike! We block the Golden Gate Bridge; occupy a Manhattan-bound tunnel; seize the ports. In 115 cities, we march into banks, erect tents and refuse to leave. We disrupt financial institutions forcing thousands to preemptively close. Five thousand of us pray, dance, sleep on Wall Street and in front of the Fed and if the Bloombergs of the world bring out paramilitary police to intimidate us, we use our social media fire to call out 50,000 more occupiers and intimidate them right back.
In the week before the G8 and NATO summits, we light the spark globally. We occupy hundreds of squares in cities on every continent – from Paris to Berlin, Toronto toAthens, São Paulo to Bucharest and beyond – we up the ante with direct actions that paralyze capitalism. For a few days, maybe for a full month, we act as if we already live a world run by people, not corporations.
Our movement goes geopolitical later in May. We swarm Chicago and confront NATO. We tell the military elites there to stop their saber rattling against Iran, halt the global arms race and get behind what the majority of the people on Earth want: a nuclear-free world starting with a nuclear-free Middle East that includes both Iran and Israel.
And then when the G8 leaders meet in Camp David, we create a global spectacle the likes of which the world has never seen before … millions of us … individually, in flash groups and en masse, we burst out laughing at the lunacy of the eight most powerful political leaders on the planet thinking they can dictate the people’s business from behind closed doors and barbed wire fences. For one day, we take over the global mindspace with a whirlwind of #LAUGHRIOT jokes. (Like: Why did the G8 chickens cross to Camp David? / Cuz they’re on the other side. haha!) We laugh our heads off on every news broadcast in the world.
May 1968 was the first wildcat general strike in history … it spawn hundreds of occupations, campus uprisings and workplace disruptions globally … but then it fizzled. Maybe this May 2012 we won’t?
Did The Uprising of May-June 1968 In Paris Just “Fizzle? As Adbusters So Simplistically Suggests? WHat Really Happened?
Here’s Wikipedia’s account:
The May 1968 protest refers to a particular period in French history. It was historically significant for being the first wildcat general strike ever, and for being the largest general strike ever, bringing the economy of an advanced industrial country to a virtual standstill. It commenced with a series of student occupation protests. The strike involved 11,000,000 workers, over 22% of the total population of France at the time, for a continuous two weeks, and its impact was such that it almost caused the collapse of President Charles de Gaulle’s government. In staging wildcat strikes, the movement contrasted with the trade unions and the French Communist Party (then “Parti Communiste”, and since rebranded “Parti Communiste Français”, or PCF), which began to side with the de Gaulle government.
It began as a long series of student strikes that broke out at a number of universities and lycées in Paris, following confrontations with university administrators and the police. The de Gaulle administration’s attempts to quell those strikes by police action only inflamed the situation further, leading to street battles with the police in the Latin Quarter, followed by a general strike by students and strikes throughout France by eleven million French workers, roughly two-thirds of the French workforce. The protests reached such a point that government leaders feared civil war or revolution. De Gaulle fled to a French military base in Germany, where he created a military operations headquarters to deal with the unrest, dissolved the National Assembly, and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. Violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, after a series of deceptions by the Confédération Générale du Travail (the leftist union federation) and the PCF. When the elections were finally held in June, the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before.
On 30 May 400,000 to 500,000 protesters (many more than the 50,000 the police were expecting) led by the CGT marched through Paris, chanting, “Adieu, de Gaulle!” (“Farewell, de Gaulle!”) Maurice Grimaud, head of the Paris police, played a key role in avoiding revolution by both speaking to and spying on the revolutionaries, and by carefully avoiding the use of force. While Communist leaders later denied that they had planned an armed uprising, and extreme militants only comprised 2% of the populace, they had overestimated de Gaulle’s strength as shown by his escape to Germany. (One scholar, otherwise skeptical of the French Communists’ willingness to maintain democracy after forming a government, has claimed that the “moderate, nonviolent and essentially antirevolutionary” Communists opposed revolution because they sincerely believed that the party must come to power through legal elections, not armed conflict that might provoke harsh repression from political opponents.)
The movement was largely centered around the Paris metropolitan area, and not elsewhere. Had the rebellion occupied key public buildings in Paris, the government would have had to use force to retake them. The resulting casualties could have incited a revolution, with the military moving from the provinces to retake Paris as in 1871. Minister of Defence Pierre Messmer and Chief of the Defense Staff Michel Fourquet prepared for such an action, and Pompidou had ordered tanks to Issy-les-Moulineaux.
While the military was free of revolutionary sentiment, using an army mostly of conscripts the same age as the revolutionaries would have been very dangerous for the government.:198-199 A survey taken immediately after the crisis found that 20% of Frenchmen would have supported a revolution, 23% would have opposed it, and 57% would have avoided physical participation in the conflict. 33% would have fought a military intervention, while only 5% would have supported it and a majority of the country would have avoided any action.
At 2:30 pm on 30 May Pompidou persuaded de Gaulle to dissolve the National Assembly and call a new election by threatening to resign. At 4:30 pm de Gaulle broadcast his own refusal to resign. He announced an election, scheduled for 23 June, and ordered workers to return to work, threatening to institute a state of emergency if they did not. The government had leaked to the media that the army was outside Paris. Immediately after the speech, about 800,000 supporters marched through the Champs-Elysées waving the national flag; the Gaullists had planned the rally for several days, which attracted a crowd of diverse ages, occupations, and politics. The Communists agreed to the election, and the threat of revolution was over.:200-201
Events of June and July
From that point, the revolutionary feeling of the students and workers faded away. Workers gradually returned to work or were ousted from their plants by the police. The national student union called off street demonstrations. The government banned a number of leftist organizations. The police retook the Sorbonne on 16 June. Contrary to de Gaulle’s fears, his party won the greatest victory in French parliamentary history in the legislative election held in June, taking 353 of 486 seats versus the Communists’ 34 and the Socialists’ 57. The February Declaration and its promise to include Communists in government likely hurt the Socialists in the election. Their opponents cited the example of the Czech National Front government of 1945, which led to a Communist takeover of the country in 1948. Socialist voters were divided; in a February 1968 survey a majority had favored allying with the Communists, but 44% believed that Communists would attempt to seize power once in government. (30% of Communist voters agreed.)
Cynthia McKinney To Run Again
Daily Kos: Cynthia McKinney To Run Again … primaried out on two separate occasions by two separate Dems, is going to make another try at getting back her old seat in the Atlanta suburbs. Interestingly, though, she’s sticking with her Green Party moniker (she was the Green presidential nominee in 2008), rather than taking on Rep. Hank Johnson in the Dem primary, where one would expect her to have a better chance. If you’re suddenly having visions of a Republican exploiting the Dem/Green split to ride to unexpected victory, well, don’t; it’s a 73% Obama district. Not only would the Republican be hard-pressed to finish anything but third, but also don’t forget that Georgia uses general election runoffs if nobody clears 50%, so a GOPer would badly lose a head-to-head against either Johnson or McKinney. First, though, she has until Aug. 4 to round up 18,860 signatures to get on the ballot.
Daily Mail: Another Day, Another Prostitute Scandal
EJC: American University launches history project retracing 60 years of investigative journalism
American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop is launching a visual history project online to retrace some of the most significant moments in the history of investigative reporting. The website, “Investigating Power,” was launched Wednesday night at the National Press Club. Professor Charles Lewis, a former producer for CBS’s “60 Minutes” and for ABC News, is leading the project. Contributors include Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, Post reporter Dana Priest and Seymour Hersh. Lewis also interviewed journalists Mike Wallace and Daniel Schorr before they died about how they did their work. Organizers say the project examines six areas where journalism brought “truth to power.” They include the McCarthy era, Civil Rights, the Vietnam war, the Watergate scandal, post-9/11 America and corporate power. (Washington Post)
Fox: Lawyer Says Zimmerman Raised $200,000 From Web Donations
Your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Wednesday Night, Traveling Thursday Morning
t/h Aaron Krowne: Abbie Hoffman’s Levitating the Pentagon Finally A Reality—sort of
The Hill: White House threatens to veto House’s CISPA cybersecurity bill
The White House threatened to veto a controversial House cybersecurity bill on Wednesday, saying the measure would fail to protect critical infrastructure systems and would undermine Internet privacy.
The House is expected to approve the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on Friday.
“Legislation should address core critical infrastructure vulnerabilities without sacrificing the fundamental values of privacy and civil liberties for our citizens, especially at a time our Nation is facing challenges to our economic well-being and national security,” the White House said
The Hill: Rubio auditions for VP slot with call for hawkish foreign policy
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a rising conservative star, delivered a major foreign policy speech Tuesday in what may serve as an audition to become Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Rubio used the address to revive former President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy legacy in the Republican Party. He outlined a hawkish view of America’s role in world affairs and chided some Republicans for adopting a softer approach.
LBN: OVER AND OUT: Newt Gingrich plans to formally leave the Republican presidential race next Tuesday, senior campaign aides told Fox News, after struggling for months to turn around his sagging bid for the White House. The former House speaker will more than likely endorse Mitt Romney when he makes his announcement to either suspend or end the campaign, a source said.
My Latest Essay on AlJazeera.com: The Inequality that Ate American Democracy
New York, New York: In July of 1936, Langston Hughes, the great lack American poet first published in Esquire some lines that have never been forgotten.
Among them was this: “Let America Be America Again,” a salute to the American dream that had, until then, left poorer Americans and minorities behind.
So memorable was his phrasing that, in 2004, John Kerry adopted it as a campaign slogan in his failed bid for the presidency, Not be outdone, none other than Rick Santorum used a variant on his website—”Fighting to make America America again”.
Sadly, the reality of the disappearing dream Hughes was challenging at the height of the depression is still relevant in this age of the Great Recession. According to two French economists, Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Pikettyn, who study inequality worldwide, America is back at Depression levels.
Reports the New York Times, ”their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression.”
Financial journalist Max Keiser, a former stockbroker, who now does hard-hitting financial shows on TV says deep inequality has been building for many years but has not been acted on:
“… the inequalities in the US have been building up for decades, just recently they’ve reached really outrageous proportions–but you have to understand also that theres the inequality between the 1% and the 99%, but within the 1% there’s an inequality between the top 1% of the 1% and the bottom 99% of the top 1% and they’re also at each others throats trying to change laws and pass legislation to make it easier for them to make more money.
So it’s not really–the 1%, it’s not there are a millions of people in the 1%–you only need an income of something like $500,000 or $600,000 or $800,000 dollars a year to be in the 1% That this is–there are ten or eleven millionaires in the United States, there are millions of millionaires in Europe, theres millions, the world is glutted with millionaires and billionaires, there’s fifteen-hundred billionaires in the United States, thirty years ago there was maybe 1.”
Former Wall Street executive, and, briefly, President Obama’s “Car Czar, Steven Rattner goes even further, writing “New statistics show an ever more startling divergence between the fortunes of the wealthy and everybody else and the desperate need to address this problem.”
“Desperate” is not a term that pops up in most writing about the economy.
“Still more astonishing,” he adds, “was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich…The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010 after adjusting for inflation, The top 1 percent whose average income Is $1, 018, 089 has an ll.6 percent increase in income.”
Read the rest at AlJazeera.com
Immigration: Supreme Court May Rule For Tough State Laws
Comment by Margaret Hu of the Duke Law School.
“As the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Arizona v. U.S., one of the main legal questions it considered is this: Whether Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) is preempted by federal immigration law under the Supremacy Clause. This is a statutory-driven inquiry that misses the constitutional mark. The more relevant question is this: Whether SB 1070 poses a threat to the vertical separation of powers. …
“The recent tidal wave of thousands of immigration control efforts proposed by state and local governments can best be characterized as ‘reverse-commandeering’ laws. Setting migration policy at the national level, like establishing a national currency, falls within the sole power of the federal government. Reverse-commandeering by the states is an effort to usurp the federal government’s sole prerogative. This growing movement represents an attempt to control the terms of what federal resources and officers must be appropriated to accommodate a myriad of state immigration enforcement programs. It is a deliberate attempt to skew the immigration enforcement power in favor of the states. …
“Given the impact of immigration policy on foreign and interstate commerce, international treaties, and foreign relations, the Court has concluded that controlling migration patterns is strictly the prerogative of the federal government. Consequently, the growing proliferation of thousands of proposed state and local immigration laws should be examined doctrinally within a commandeering jurisprudential frame. To fail to do so — to continue to accept mirror image theory carte blanche as a favored method of statutory interpretation under the existing preemption doctrine — threatens federal sovereignty. Put another way, it eviscerates the federal government’s ability to develop and implement a coherent, efficacious, and uniform immigration policy at the national level.” http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/sb-1070-and-reverse-commandeering-immigration-laws
ICH Global Views
•Robert Fisk, The Children of Fallujah – Sayef’s Story
The phosphorus shells that devastated this city were fired in 2004. But are the victims of America’s dirty war still being born?
•Gary D. Barnett: Thank You for Your Service? No Thanks!
It would be very difficult for me to think of any term that disgusted me more than those words uttered continuously in the presence of virtually any soldier in the United States: “Thank you for your service.”
• Bill Van Auken, Obama Invokes Holocaust to Ratchet Up War threats on Iran, Syria
President Barack Obama used a visit to Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum Monday to unveil a set of new sanctions against Iran and Syria and to promote the administration’s use of “human rights” as a pretext for aggressive war and regime change.
Holocaust Museum: Watch Obama’s Speech:
Did Repeal of Glass Steagal Cause Crisis?
News From Ml-implode.com
•Irish Bank Evicts Pensioner After $155 Billion Losses: Mortgages
T The country’s 10 largest banks, including four overseas- owned lenders, lost more than $155 billion on soured loans, mainly in commercial real-estate, in the past four years, according to Bloomberg calculations. Now lenders and the government are grappling with how to handle failing mortgages while avoiding widespread evictions amid concern that banks may need more money than they raised following a third round of stress tests last year. …
• Cost of Spain’s Housing Bust Could Force a Bailout Wed,
But since the frenzy drove Spanish home prices to a peak in 2007, they have fallen by at least one-fourth, and the bottom seems nowhere in sight. As Spain endures its second recessionin three years and unemployment nears 25 percent, an increasing number of debt-heavy Spaniards can no longer meet monthly payments on the mortgages that their banks were all too eager to give. …
• Housing Declared Bottoming in U.S. Wed,
Robert Shiller, a Yale University economics professor and co-creator of the home-price index, also said prices may be poised to fall further. …
ay. They want to monitor every transaction you make and they want to monitor you. … Click here to read more
Bernanke Successfully Re-Inflating Housing, Unbeknownst To Shiller
Testing, Testing: Foreign Policy Reports
Top story: Pakistan announced on Wednesday that it had successfully tested an intermediate-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile, less than a week after archrival India test-fired a long-range missile that can also deliver a nuclear warhead. The Pakistani military said the Shaheen-1A launched into the Indian Ocean today has a longer range than its predecessor, the Shaheen-1 (pictured above).
Pakistani defense analyst Mansoor Ahmed tells the New York Times that the test was not in response to India’s and that “Pakistan is only concerned with maintaining a minimum credible deterrent capability vis-a-vis India.” India, for its part, framed its test as an effort to counter China’s regional power.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that North Korea may carry out a third nuclear test after a failed rocket launch.
Independent: Japanese Debris From Nuclear Disaster Reaching Alaska
Julian Assange’s The World Tomorrow Featuring. Slavoj Zizek and David Horowitz
Must Watch Video Interview
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek and David Horowitz debate the left-wing influence on global politics, the Israel-Palestine question, the future of Europe and the WikiLeaks controversy.
Joshua Holland. Alternet: Noam Chomsky on America’s Declining Empire
Support the dictator and the regime as long as possible. When it becomes impossible, for example if the army turns against him which is what happened in Egypt, then send him out to pasture, issue ringing statements about your love of democracy, and then try to restore as much of the old regime as possible.
•Steven Greenhouse: NYT labor reporter’s take on Guild-Times talks
Note: This is a truncated blog posted Wednesday night for Thursday. I am traveling early on Thursday, but will be back in time for Friday’s Progressive Radio Network News Dissector Radio Hour (PRN.fm) Friday, 1-2 PM. Comments to email@example.com
USA Today: Feds File Charges in BP Oil Spill
Criminal charges have been filed against a former BP engineer who is accused of destroying evidence in the disastrous oil spill two years ago, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. They are the first criminal charges in the disaster, which claimed 11 lives in the initial explosion on the oil rig and then spewed 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Mix, 50, has been charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, with the Justice Department claiming he deleted a string of 200 text messages with a BP supervisor in October 2010 that had internal information about how effort to cap the well were failing.
LBN: Feds Investigate Walmart
The Justice Department has been conducting a criminal investigation of Walmart, several sources tell The Washington Post and Bloomberg. The probe started in December after Walmart met voluntarily with Justice officials and told them it was looking into whether its Mexico arm had paid bribes. Still, thats long after the retailer allegedly covered up the bribery, according to The New York Times. The Times says a whistleblower informed Walmart executives in 2005 that Walmart de Mexico paid more than $24 million in bribes, but the company shut down its inquiry and didnt inform law enforcement.
Murdoch in The News
James Murdoch is sticking to his story that he never saw an incriminating email regarding phone hacking at News of the World until 2010. Speaking before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, the former chairman of News Corp.s British newspaper division insisted management told him the paper had a clean bill of health. Much of the questioning Tuesday focused on the relationship between Murdoch and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who Murdoch denied acted as a cheerleader for News Corp. His father, Rupert, is scheduled to testify later Tuesday.
Scientific American: How Wealth Reduces Compassion–As riches grow, empathy for others seems to decline
Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal – the poor person
or the rich one? Its temping to think that the wealthier you
are, the more likely you are to act fairly. After all, if you
already have enough for yourself, its easier to think about
what others may need. But research suggests the opposite is
true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate
feelings towards other people decline.
Berkeley psychologists Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner ran
several studies looking at whether social class (as measured
by wealth, occupational prestige, and education) influences
how much we care about the feelings of others. In one study,
Piff and his colleagues discreetly observed the behavior of
drivers at a busy four- way intersection. They found that
luxury car drivers were more likely to cut off other
motorists instead of waiting for their turn at the
intersection. This was true for both men and women upper-
class drivers, regardless of the time of day or the amount of
traffic at the intersection. In a different study they found
that luxury car drivers were also more likely to speed past a
pedestrian trying to use a crosswalk, even after making eye
contact with the pedestrian.
The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the
world of work.
A weak labor market already has left half of young college
graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that
don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.
Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly
scraping by in lower-wage jobs – waiter or waitress,
bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example – and
that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite
higher tuition and mounting student loans.
An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated
Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of
•Occupy alert: Student Debt Day: March Planned in New York: National Day of Action Against Student Debt
On April 25th the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is due to top 1 trillion dollars. This marks a momentous victory for Wall Street, and the Occupy Student Debt Campaign has organized a national day of protest in response. Join us as we march to Wall Street to help the banksters celebrate their achievement.
National Journal: Student Loan Plan
Congressional Democrats and the White House have agreed to pay for a bill to freeze student loan interest rates for a year by raising taxes on so-called S Corporations, according to a top Senate Democrat and senior House and Senate aides, but Republicans said the tax increase may ensure the bill’s defeat in the Senate.
Boston Globe: Obama Tells Rolling Stone, Romney Stuck With Conservative Views
The Hill: Romney Wracking Up More Votes
Romney wins Connecticut, Rhode Island primaries
Mitt Romney will take home wins in the Connecticut and Rhode Island primaries on Tuesday, according to NBC News projections.
Romney is likely to win all five of Tuesday’s Northeastern contests, pushing him closer to the 1,144 delegates he need to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.
•Raw Story: Former Sen. Specter: If you fund the tea party, all hell breaks loose
Romney as ” Predatory Capitalist”
Pete Kotz, Palm Beach New Times – Mitt Romney had been running Bain Capital since 1984, minting a reputation as a prince of private investment. A future prospectus by Deutsche Bank would reveal that by the time Romney left in 1999, Bain had averaged a shimmering 88 percent annual return. Romney would use that success to launch his political career.
His specialty was flipping companies or what he often calls “creative destruction.” It’s the age-old theory that the new must constantly attack the old to bring efficiency to the economy, even if some are destroyed along the way. In other words, people like Romney are the wolves, culling the herd of the weak and infirm.
His formula was simple: Bain would purchase a firm with little money down, then begin extracting huge management fees and paying Romney and his investors enormous dividends.
…Bain would slash costs, jettison workers, reposition product lines, and merge its new companies with other firms. With luck, they’d be able to dump the firm in a few years for millions more than they’d paid for it.
But the beauty of Romney’s thesis was that it really didn’t matter if the company succeeded. Since he was yanking out cash early and often, he would profit even if his targets collapsed.
…In the midst of that 1994 campaign, one of Romney’s companies, American Pad & Paper, bought a plant in Marion, Indiana. At the time, it was prosperous enough to be running three shifts. Bain’s first move was to fire all 258 workers, then invite them to reapply for their jobs at lower wages and a 50 percent cut in health-care benefits.
“They came in and said, ‘You’re all fired,’ ” employee Randy Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. ” ‘If you want to work for us, here’s an application.’ We had insurance until the end of the week. That was it. It was brutal.”
….”Romney is not a vulture capitalist, as Rick Perry says, since vultures eat dead carcasses,” notes Josh Kosman, who’s written about the private equity business for 15 years. He’s “more of a parasitic capitalist, since he destroys profitable businesses.”
MAD COW IN CALFORNIA: Statement by Michael Hansen of Consumers Union
Consumers Union is seriously concerned by the announcement today of a new case of mad cow disease in a cow from Central California. This raises three important questions about the safety of US beef.
First, the USDA testing program for mad cow disease is way too small. USDA only tests some 40,000 cows a year of the millions slaughtered annually. So we really don’t know if this is an isolated unusual event or whether there are more cases in US beef. Our monitoring program is just too small.
Second, detection of BSE is needlessly hindered by the fact that USDA prohibits private companies from testing their own beef. Private testing could augment USDA testing and provide an extra measure of monitoring and assurance of safety to consumers. USDA only tests cattle that are sent to the renderer and doesn’t test at slaughterhouses. We find it hard to understand why USDA prohibits private companies from testing.
Third, the ruminant to ruminant feed ban in the US to prevent spread of mad cow disease is inadequate. Cows can’t be fed to other cows, which is a good thing. But remains of cows can be fed to pigs and chickens, and pig and chicken remains can be fed back to cows. We believe this could allow for the spread of mad cow disease.
Video, Ellen Brown TED: “Without interest, there might be no Federal debt”
Ellen Brown is author of Web of Debt, and serves as president of the Public Banking Institute.
WP: Three more Secret Service employees ousted amid prostitution scandal
Three more employees of the U.S. Secret Service are out of a job as part of the brewing Colombia sex scandal, according to congressional officials familiar with the investigation.
Two employees have chosen to retire, two others have been cleared of the most serious charges, but will face administrative action and be removed from their current positions; a fifth will be relieved of his security clearance, meaning he can no longer work for the Secret Service, but could be employed by other federal agencies.
The decision means the Secret Service has determined the fates of the 12 employees implicated in the scandal. Last week, six other employees either resigned, were fired, or permitted to retire. Another agent was cleared of wrongdoing but will face administrative action.
•ICH: Stephen Lendman: Media Promote War on Syria
Syria’s a battle zone. Western generated violence is to blame, not Assad. America’s media scoundrels claim otherwise. They want him ousted by any means, including war.
•Robert Fisk, ICH: Iraq’s Road Back From Oblivion
“There is no real country anymore.” – We’ve lost our sense of something that belongs to us, our homeland. We’ve lost our national identity as Iraqis.”
Lawrence Witter, World military spending reached a record $1,738 billion in 2011 - an increase of $138 billion over the previous year. The United States accounted for 41 percent of that, or $711 billion.
The US government’s suppression of all accountability and transparency in prosecuting the WikiLeaks suspect is totalitarian
Robert Alvarez: Why Fukushima Is a Greater Disaster than Chernobyl and a Warning Sign for the US
The radioactive inventory of all the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools at Fukushima is far greater and even more problematic than the molten cores.
In the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear power disaster, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world posed by the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site are far from over. After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese officials, nuclear experts, and now a U.S. Senator, it is sinking in that the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools amidst the reactor ruins may have far greater potential offsite consequences than the molten cores.
How to think past the paradox of a protest movement without a programme confronting a capitalist system that defies reform
hat to do in the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement, when the protests that started far away – in the Middle East, Greece, Spain, UK – reached the centre, and are now reinforced and rolling out all around the world?
In a San Francisco echo of the OWS movement on 16 October 2011, a guy addressed the crowd with an invitation to participate in it as if it were a happening in the hippy style of the 1960s:
“They are asking us what is our program. We have no program. We are here to have a good time.”
Such statements display one of the great dangers the protesters are facing: the danger that they will fall in love with themselves, with the nice time they are having in the “occupied” places. Carnivals come cheap – the true test of their worth is what remains the day after, how our normal daily life will be changed. The protesters should fall in love with hard and patient work – they are the beginning, not the end. Their basic message is: the taboo is broken, we do not live in the best possible world; we are allowed, obliged even, to think about alternatives.
In a kind of Hegelian triad, the western left has come full circle: after abandoning the so-called “class struggle essentialism” for the plurality of anti-racist, feminist etc struggles, “capitalism” is now clearly re-emerging as the name of the problem
More Internet Censorship in China
EJC/WSJ: China has stepped up its campaign to clamp down on the Internet, which has emerged as a virtual town square for exchanging information about the Bo Xilai scandal and the nation’s biggest political upheaval in years. The popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo on Tuesday deleted the accounts of several users, including that of Li Delin, a senior editor of the Chinese business magazine Capital Week, whose March 19 post helped fuel rumors of a coup in Beijing. The service announced the move to many of its more than 300 million user accounts, thereby turning it into a public lesson in the consequences of rumor mongering. Media insiders describe a heavy hand at the nation’s newspapers, with the government at times giving strict instructions on what stories about Mr. Bo could run. Discussion of the matter nonetheless has continued, fueled in part by social media and independent news websites outside of Beijing’s control. It is unclear whether the Sina notice was ordered by government authorities, who require Sina and other Chinese websites to police their own content, or if Sina itself issued the warning. But it is the most direct warning yet to Internet users to rein in the freewheeling discussion for which Sina Weibo is known. (Wall Street Journal)
Your Comments Welcome: Write Dissector@mediachannel.org. Visit Mediachannel1.org
Apology: Yesterday, I inadvertently posed this blog as a page, not a post, and most readers missed it.
Daily News, Judge: DA can subpoena NY Occupy protester tweets
BBC: Murdochs Stand Their Ground,James Insists He Never Saw Email On Hacking
James Murdoch James Murdoch has said he had no knowledge of the scale of hacking at the News of the World
James Murdoch “stands by” testimony he never saw an email revealing phone hacking went beyond a single reporter, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.
The ex-News International chairman said he had thought hacking a “thing in the past” when he took over his father’s UK newspaper operations in 2007.
The Atlantic: The Limits of US Power
New Neo-Con Political Pressure Used On Obama About Syria
Foreign Policy Initiative In a high-profile speech yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Obama highlighted new efforts to “prevent and respond to mass atrocities,” including a new Executive Order imposing sanctions against Syrian and Iranian officials for their use of information technologies to track and violently suppress political dissidents. But while the President’s announcement of new human rights sanctions against Syria is a welcome development, it falls far short of the decisive action that is needed to bring an end not only to the Assad regime’s escalating use of indiscriminate violence against Syrian civilians—but to the Assad regime itself.
Since the anti-regime protests in Syria began in March 2011, Syrian security forces have killed well over 10,000 civilians, and wounded and imprisoned many tens of thousands more. News outlets report that the Assad regime killed at least 18 people today in the city of Hama, in addition to the many dozens more slain since a United Nations-backed ceasefire in Syria began on April 12, 2012. Indeed, Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, pointedly asked during his introduction of President Obama: “So in this place we may ask: Have we learned anything from [the West's failure to stop the Holocaust]? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power?”
NOTE: This is one more NeoCon Lobby Group with supporters from those who promoted US intervention in Iraq: Read: “About the Foreign Policy Initiative
FPI is a non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. FPI seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness. The organization was founded in 2009 and is led by Executive Director Jamie Fly. FPI’s Board of Directors consists of Eric Edelman, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, and Dan Senor.
Via Flipboard/USA Today: Veterans’ mental health treatment not as timely as contended
Frank Rich, New York: Billionaires Against Democracy
Columbia Journalism Review: Press Distorting Social Security Status
Is the press unfairly altering perceptions about Social Security? Drawing on nearly three years of coverage for CJR, Trudy Lieberman writes that “news outlets have given the public a skewed picture of the financial health of this hugely important program.” Lieberman’s latest column suggests that, while Social Security may not be in perfect health, plenty of recent coverage has been sickly.
Campaign For America’s Future: Behind the Spin
Bernie Sanders on Strengthening Social Security: Social Security is Strong
WASHINGTON, April 23 – A new report today by Social Security trustees showed the program’s trust fund has $2.7 trillion in reserves and will grow to $3.06 trillion by 2021, enough to maintain the unbroken record of paying every nickel owed to every beneficiary in full for another two decades.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has introduced legislation to strengthen Social Security and guarantee benefits for 75 years by extending the payroll tax that most Americans already pay to those who earn above $250,000 a year.
“The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the next 75 years is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on income above $250,000. Right now, someone who earns $110,100 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as a billionaire. That makes no sense,” said Sanders, the chairman of the Defending Social Security Caucus. He also chairs the Senate aging subcommittee
AlJazeera: Egypt bars US-based civil society groups
LBN: Dutch Prime Minister Resigns
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet tendered their resignations Monday as budget talks in the Netherlands fell through. Rutte and the Dutch Parliament will meet Tuesday to schedule new elections. Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager told reporters that the government would succeed in making the necessary cuts, saying that for decades the Netherlands have shown a solid fiscal budgetary policy, and this will not change. Budget talks between the government and the right-wing party led by controversial politician Geert Wilders went on for seven weeks before falling to pieces Saturday.
Bahrain’s Media Crackdowns
A string of crackdowns on journalists accompanied Bahrains controversial Grand Prix race over the weekend. As the ruling government locked down opposition neighborhoods during the glitzy Formula One event, it also beat and deported several reporters. Among these was a crew for Britains Channel 4 News. Correspondent Jonathan Miller was arrested on Sunday, along with his crew and their driver, while reporting on a demonstration. The British team was then ejected from the country. The driver was apparently beaten badly.
Turkey bars Israel from attending NATO summit
Turkey will not allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologized for the 2010 murders of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestine, a Turkish official said on Monday.
Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara aid vessel as it headed towards Gaza in May 2010, shooting dead nine Turks.
Last September, Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and froze military cooperation after Israel again refused to apologize despite a UN report condemning the raid.
“We did not give our consent on that issue,” a Turkish official told Reuters when asked if Turkey was blocking Israel’s participation in a NATO summit in Chicago on 20-21 May.
He said Turkey was still seeking an official apology and compensation for the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid.
Pew: How the Media Covered the 2012 Primary Campaign
April 23, 2012— As the presidential campaign shifts from the Republican primary fights to a general election matchup between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that the president’s media coverage in 2012 has been consistently negative while his Republican challenger has experienced a more mixed narrative.
Obama’s negative coverage exceeded positive coverage in 14 of 15 weeks studied, while positive coverage outweighed negative for Romney in six of the 15 weeks and was fairly evenly divided in four more
The report also finds that so far this year, the media have been less focused on strategy and tactics than they were during the 2008 primary season. In the 2012 primary campaign, 64% of the coverage was framed around strategy and the horserace, compared with 80% in the 2008 GOP primary season. At the same time, there was about twice as much emphasis on personal issues, public record and policy issues in 2012 compared with 2008.
Romney emerged as the conclusive winner of the media narrative after his win in the Michigan primary on February 28, according to the report. From that point, his coverage grew more positive as the media focused more on his delegate math and inevitability while coverage of his rivals, most notably former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, began to shrink and grow more negative.
Via Kent Walton: Little Coverage For Earth Day
So I was thinking a might see something about Earth Day in the LA times, Orange County Register, Wall St Journal (or name your own lame corporate media source) about the events in our land, in D.C. and other spots. But, nada, not a thing in these papers. This gives you some idea of the mentality of the “free” corporate press about what once was, can, and will continue to be a great event on this planet. Aside from the surprising media lack of interest in the “freest country in the world,” the EarthDay.org site reports that:
1 Billion People Celebrate Earth Day in 192 Countries
“More than one billion people in 192 countries took part in the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day. From Cairo to Beijing, Melbourne to Rome, Rio to St. Louis, communities everywhere stood united in their effort to Mobilize the Earth™.
In Iraq, the Ministry of the Education sent Earth Day materials to schools around the country and engaged more than 1 million students in 3,000 schools in Earth Day activities.
In Seoul, South Korea, a local organization mobilized the community gathered to learn about environmental issues and perform acts of environmental service.
In Boujaad, Morroco, a local group of students organized a trash clean up and tree planting to help green their community.
In Salangor, Malayasia, hundreds of people removed debris and litter from a local waterfall in an effort to restore and preserve their natural environment.
In Washington, DC, thousands gathered for the flagship Earth Day event that featured prominent civic leaders, environmental activists, celebrities, and musical acts.
Globally, more than 56,000 university students rallied their campuses in honor of Earth Day to take action and call for a sustainable future. Thousands of faith leaders challenged their communities to become better stewards of the planet. Tens of thousands of schools organized educational activities for kids, and over six hundred elected officials voiced the support for the planet by attending local Earth Day events.”
So, a billion or so got into the swing of things. Very nice, encouraging. But here in the USA, while there may have been some inspiring events around the country, most of us would never know it, given the lack of importance attached to the idea and the Earth Day events in the media. And why isn’t it a holiday?
So then, many of us missed a chance to again understand and renew the ethic, the mission, and partake of an uplifting Earth Day event in our depressed and depressing lives. Even Obama’s speech was a lifeless, energy-oriented, same-same, stump speech without much inspiring vision into the natural world we inherit and inhabit.
Google Under Fire (T.h To William SHanley)
In 2010, then-CEO Eric Schmidt gave an interview to the Atlantic where he stated, “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” Exactly what that creepy line is was never precisely defined, but he did indicate that implanting people with Google microchips was probably across it. Tellingly, though, Schmidt also pointed out that given the amount of information people willingly give to the information trafficker each day, without even typing a word Google can “more or less know what you’re thinking about.” These words coming from a frequent attendee of the annual Bilderberg conference should at the very least give one pause for thought.
By: Bob Chapman, The International Forecaster
The following are some snippets from the most recent issue of the International Forecaster. For the full 23 page issue, please see subscription information below.
For a company whose corporate motto is “Don’t Be Evil,” Google Inc. certainly has found itself at the receiving end of its share of lawsuits, claims and controversies. Still, even by Google’s standards this past week has been a difficult one.
A strange press release touting a company calling itself “Planetary Resources”–which promises to combine the “space exploration and natural resource” sectors and is being backed by a who’s who of technorati and big-name investors including Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin–is providing plenty of fodder for speculation in the press (“Is asteroid mining in our near future?”). But not even an announcement that Google itself was about to go interplanetary would be enough to keep the company’s legal woes off the business pages of the newspapers (let alone its own online news service).
Dominating the attention of the tech world at the moment is Oracle’s lawsuit against Google over an alleged misuse of Oracle’s programming platform, Java. The claim: Google used some Java in Android, their mobile offering, without licensing. The stakes: Oracle is seeking $1 billion and an injunction from further Android sales until the issue is settled. The hype: Testimony by both Larry Page and Larry Ellison, the CEOs of Google and Oracle respectively, earlier this week generated plenty of buzz and press attention. The bottom line: Oracle’s original $6.1 billion claim was thrown out of court because the judge determined that they were essentially making up their calculations, and no one really expects that they will receive the $1 billion they are now asking. In fact, it’s far from clear they will be awarded damages at all, although an injunction against the use of Java in Android could be an important and precedent-setting outcome.
EJC: Google spent USD 5m on political persuasion during 1st quarter amid various government probes
Google’s U.S. lobbying bill more than tripled to USD 5m during the first three months of the year amid increased government scrutiny of the Internet search leader’s business and privacy practices. The first-quarter expenses for political persuasion are by far the highest that Google Inc. has rung up for any three-month period since the company opened a lobbying office in Washington seven years ago. At the same time last year, Google spent USD 1.48m trying to make its points with U.S. lawmakers and regulators. The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., disclosed the figures in documents filed late Friday with the U.S. Senate secretary’s office. The total for the most recent quarter is more than the combined lobbying bills among four of Google’s biggest rivals. Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Facebook Inc. spent a combined USD 3.6m in the first quarter. Microsoft, one of the technology industry’s biggest spenders for years, had been spending more on lobbying than Google until the second quarter of last year. Google’s lobbying expenses have been rising steadily against a backdrop of government inquiries triggered by complaints from some of its rivals and privacy watchdog groups. (Washington Post)
•Wired: Tech Billionaires Plan Audacious Mission to Mine Asteroids
FBI Warning: PC users infected with a strain of malware called DNS Changer will face their own personal Internet doomsday in July unless they disinfect their computers, the FBI warns.
Norman Solomon: What Makes a Healthy Progressive Ecosystem
Doc McCoy writes:
A slow journey to say the least…
Americans however are a people who are always seeking “instant gratification.” They want things NOW – regardless of the consequences. That is part of the American culture and psychic. Further compounding things is that according to some accounts, the situation is dire.
Alan McDonald writes
Hey, Danny, is the 99% Spring supporting Occupy?
I would almost be tempted to support this other “99% Spring”
movement, if their training, strategy, and ‘activism’ included the
aggressive, but non-violent, ‘calling-out’ of the
corporate/financial/militarist (and media) Empire that now occupies our
country, with signs such as “Occupy the Empire”
Guardian: Photo Of The Day From North Korea
Your comments and suggestions and help welcome. Write: firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTENTION READERS. THIS IS THE BLOG I POSTED THIS MORNING, BUT APPARENTLY IT WAS POSTED AS A PAGE, NOT A POST.
Who Knew? I didn’t. Sorry. I can’t feel more stupid. Live and Learn. Thank you Aaron for dissecting the problem.
Photo of the Day: Guardian–View From Hubble Telescope
Yahoo: George Zimmerman released from Florida jail
George Zimmerman has been released from a Florida jail after posting $150,000 bond (cost $15,000) as he awaits trial for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
AJE: Hollande wins round one in French poll
Socialist challenger sets himself up for a May 6 runoff with Sarkozy as far-right leader Marine Le Pen comes third.
Ezra Klein, WP: Hollande softened anti-finance rhetoric rhetoric in London. Sarkozy called him “‘Mitterrand in France and Thatcher in Britain’.”
NY Times: Hollande and Sarkozy Head to Runoff in French Race
PARIS — François Hollande, the Socialist challenger, eked out a victory in the first round of French presidential elections on Sunday, but his slender lead over the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, delivered no clear answer about Mr. Sarkozy’s fate or the direction of a European power in an era of debt crisis, low growth and high unemployment.
As expected, Mr. Hollande and Mr. Sarkozy finished well ahead of eight other contenders and will now face each other in a runoff on May 6. Though opinion polls show that Mr. Hollande has a double-digit lead in the race, the showing on Sunday for far-right and centrist candidates fed hopes in Mr. Sarkozy’s camp that he could fight back and avoid becoming the first French leader in 30 years to lose office after one term.
With about 33 percent of the vote counted, preliminary results released by the Interior Ministry shortly after the last poll closed at 8 p.m. showed Mr. Hollande had secured about 27.5 percent of the vote in a field of 10 candidates, while Mr. Sarkozy, of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, had 26.6 percent.
The race for third place, meanwhile, seemed to presage a second round that would be tighter than many opinion polls before the vote had suggested. Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front finished with an estimated 19.9 percent, above most recent polls and well ahead of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the candidate of the far-left Front de Gauche, who fared far worse than expected with about 11 percent.
News Dissector Essay: Are You “Spring Trained” For May Day?
Our Own Stand Your Ground Message, 1894
…Let the winds lift your banners from far lands
With a message of strife and of hope:
Raise the Maypole aloft with its garlands
That gathers your cause in its scope….
…Stand fast, then, Oh Workers, your ground,
Together pull, strong and united:
Link your hands like a chain the world round,
If you will that your hopes be requited.
When the World’s Workers, sisters and brothers,
Shall build, in the new coming years,
A lair house of life—not for others,
For the earth and its fullness is theirs.
Walter Crane, The Workers’ Maypole, 1894
New York, New York: When you hear the term “Spring Training,” most of us think baseball, but, this year, it has a different context because the Occupy Movement has appropriated the term to describe educating and preparing activists for non-violent nationwide protests and a hoped for General Strike slated for May Day 2012, this May 1.
The idea of “Spring” is more connected to the “Arab Spring,” a time of revolt than the season we’ve entered.
Can this relatively new movement pull off an ambitious General Strike to shut down a city like New York? In many ways, the success of this tactic requires alliances and coalitions that take far more time to build. Internal fears of “co-optation” may make it harder for Occupy to reach out to movements and political tendencies that are more reformist, although some labor unions are supportive.
Even if Occupy can’t fully “shut it down” this year, the actions will attract media attention and show that this movement is still going and growing. It will become one more building block for sustained direct action.
That is, if it doesn’t turn into the kind of mayhem that divided Occupy Oakland when violence followed its hoped for General Strike.
Throughout the history of Mayday, there have been tensions between anarchists and socialists. In 1886,one group issued a “Workingmen to Arms” proclamation. It said. In part, “one pound of dynamite is better than a bushel of ballots.” Today, some members of the “black block” appear to consider the trashing of a Starbucks as a revolutionary act, as if there is a link between lattes and liberation.
When you go back to the very first May Day Rally overseas, held on the 4th of May 1890, in Hyde Park in London, you can read the remarks by Eleanor Marx (yes, from that family!) reminding the huge crowd that their giant mobilization followed smaller ones in earlier years.
“I can remember,” she said. “when we came in handfuls of a few dozen to Hyde Park to demand an Eight Hours’ Bill, but the dozens have grown to hundreds, and the hundreds to thousands, until we have this magnificent demonstration that fills the park today. We are standing face to face with another demonstration, but I am glad to see that the great masses of the people are on our side.”
That protest had a specific focus in seeking the 8 hour day for workers, an economic justice issue. Specific demands are important if you want the public to understand why you are protesting, what your movement wants., and how you are not just out to promote yourselves.
Added Marx: “Those of us who have gone through all the worry of the Dock Strike, and especially the Gasworkers’ Strike, and have seen the men, women and children stand round us, have had enough of strikes, and we are determined to secure an eight hours’ day by legal enactment; unless we do so, it will be taken from us at the first opportunity. We will only have ourselves to blame if we do not achieve the victory which this great day could so easily give us.”
Again the protest was projected as part of a process—not an event in itself, or for itself, but one more action in an ongoing struggle designed not for some apocalypse but to build the movement even stronger.
She concluded, “we aim at a time when there will no longer be one class supporting two others, but the unemployed both at the top and at the bottom of society will be got rid of. This is not the end but only the beginning of the struggle; it is not enough to come here to demonstrate in favor of an eight hours’ day. We must not be like some Christians who sin for six days and go to church on the seventh, but we must speak for the cause daily, and make the men, and especially the women that we meet, come into the ranks to help us.”
When we think of that event in London, all these years, later we may not be aware of workers and working people are under attack today—not just politically but economically.
Already, the price of gas in the US is expected to go up even more this May. The British press is reporting that there will be another development there on May 1st.
“Thousands of mortgage customers will see their monthly repayments rise as lenders increase their standard variable rates, leaving many borrowers locked into expensive deals.
Halifax’s SVR rise of 0.49% to 3.99% kicks in on 1 May, as do similar increases from Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks – despite there being no change in the Bank of England base rate. In early April, the Co-operative Bank also said it would also increase its standard variable rate by 0.5% to 4.74% on 1 May.
Mortgage analysts claim at least a million borrowers will be affected by the rises, which have been blamed on changing conditions in the mortgage market and the increased cost of funding. Lending is funded from a combination of repayments from existing borrowers, savings deposits and, most importantly, buying in money from the money markets. It is the cost of the latter that ultimately determines the price of mortgages, and is leading.”
So May Day has two faces. It is a day for revolt and for repression.
In America, the powers that be neutralized the symbolic importance of May Day, by substituting Labor Day in September, an occasion for barbecues, not barricades.
This happened perhaps because of workers groups and socialist movements had been rallying on May Day since Mayday 1886. Back then “more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history.”
The IWW noted: “ In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Jack London’s The Iron Heel.
As early as the 1860′s, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 1880′s that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.”
So has been a long struggle with Occupy stepping into the breach and reviving May Day as a day of solidarity and momentum against rule by the 1%
Let us remember Eleanor Marx’s final words on that exciting May Day so long ago:
“Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you–
Ye are many–they are few.”
News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at NewsDissector.net His forthcoming new book of his essays is Blogothon from Cosimo Books. He hosts a radio show on Progressive RadioNetwork.com (PRN.fm) Comments to email@example.com
Republican legislatures have passed voting laws that are supposed to fight fraud in a handful of states, but some say President Obamas reelection bid may suffer as young and low-income voters find it more difficult to cast their ballots. Many of the laws require that voters show photo identification before voting. Bills under consideration in other states would make it more difficult for groups to register voters or make it impossible to register on
Daily Beast: Rape Lawsuit Filed at West Point
WP: Obama to target foreign nationals’ use of new technologies in human rights abuses
President Obama will issue an executive order Monday that will allow U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies — from cellphone tracking to Internet monitoring — to help carry out grave human rights abuses.
AlJazeera: Iran ‘building copy’ of captured US drone
Tehran says experts have learned how to rebuild and extract data from the unmanned spy plane it captured in December.
Fluent: ‘Chris Cillizza, Is the tea party still relevant?’
Guardian: UN To Probe Human Rights Of Native Americans For First Time
The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history.
The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday.
Many of the country’s estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally recognised tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems.
The UN mission is potentially contentious, with some US conservatives likely to object to international interference in domestic matters. Since being appointed as rapporteur in 2008, Anaya has focused on natives of Central and South America.
A UN statement said: “This will be the first mission to the US by an independent expert designated by the UN human rights council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples.”
NYT: Medicare Faud Costs Billions, G.A.O. Calls Test Project by Medicare Costly Waste
WASHINGTON Medicare is wasting more than $8 billion on an experimental program that rewards providers of mediocre health care and is unlikely to produce useful results, federal investigators say in a new report.
The report, to be issued Monday by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, urges the Obama administration to cancel the program, which pays bonuses to health insurance companies caring for millions of Medicare beneficiaries.
Administration officials, however, defended the project and said they would not cancel it because it could improve the quality of care for older Americans.
In the 2010 health care law, Congress cut Medicare payments to managed care plans, known as Medicare Advantage, and authorized bonus payments to those that provide high-quality care. Investigators found that most of the money paid under the demonstration program went to “average-performing plans” rated lower than the benchmarks set by Congress.
The report said the project would cost $8.3 billion over 10 years, with 80 percent of the cost occurring in the first three years.
Bloomberg View: Willian Cohan: “For sheer speed and chutzpah, the actions of MF Global’s management may stand alone.” Not only is $1.2 billion still missing from customer accounts, but bondholders say they were duped into investing $650 million. Will anyone on Wall Street ever be held accountable?
60 Minute: ritics Converse Max Keiser Interviews Matt Taibbi
FT: Meat prices feed thieves’ appetites
Criminal gangs are cashing in on the sharp rise in meat prices, contributing to an increase of as much as 20 per cent in the theft of meat from supermarkets, according to retail and security experts
Infographic: The Soft War
Guardian Photo: Dancing In Pyonyang, North Korea
EJC:Germany: YouTube loses court battle over music clips
YouTube could face a huge bill for royalties after it lost a court battle in Germany over music videos. A court in Hamburg ruled that YouTube is responsible for the content that users post to the video sharing site. It wants the video site to install filters that spot when users try to post music clips whose rights are held by royalty collection group, Gema. The German industry group said in court that YouTube had not done enough to stop copyrighted clips being posted.
Boing Boing: Washington Post Scapegoats Blogger
Thank your for being here. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Please visit mediachannel1.org
Listen: This Morning,8-10 EST: Jesse Jackson’s Radio Show at Keephopealiveradio.com I will be on.
Comments of the Day (RSN): Robert Reich: “President Obama’s electoral strategy can best be summed up as: ‘We’re on the right track, my economic policies are working, we still have a long way to go but stick with me and you’ll be fine.’ That’s not good enough.”
And Matt Taibbi | Free $10 Million Loans for All!
Rolling Stone Taibbi writes: “I hope everyone saw ex-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chief Sheila Bair’s editorial in the Washington Post, entitled, ‘Fix Income Inequality with $10 million Loans for Everyone!’”
Photo of the Day: The Guardian–The Brave of Bahrain
News of Note:
BBC Today: France to vote in presidential election
AlJazeera: Czechs stage massive anti-government protest
New York Times: Wal-Mart sat silent about wide-scale briberies in Mexico’
Occupy Hanford Rally ~ Octogenarian Dorli Rainey ~ April 15, 2012
Zero Hedge: 700,000 Are About To Lose Their Extended Jobless Benefit Claims
Cryptogon: Food Stamp Rolls Increase 70% From 2007; Projected To Keep Increasing Until 2014
Mark Karlin: Forget the Scary Headlines: Social Security Has More Than a $2.7 Trillion Surplus
Social Security Sustainable: Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: “An advanced analysis of the report on the financial status of the program, posted on NiemanWatchdog, argues that ‘last year’s report projected that at the end of 2011, Social Security would have an accumulated surplus of around $2.7 trillion, which it now has. This year’s report will show that it will be even higher at the end of 2012.’”
MI-Imlode.com Jon Corzine Still Bundling for Obama
“Barack Obama’sreelectioncampaign has released the most recent list of names of fundraising bundlers. On that list is Jon Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey and embattled money man, the former head of MF Global… Corzine, according to the Obama campaign, has once again helped raise more than $500,000. ”
The Hill: Hatch falls just short at Utah GOP convention, will face primary; Targeted by Tea Party
Sen. Orrin Hatch fell just short of an outright victory at the Utah Republican convention, meaning he faces a primary to secure the GOP nomination for his own Senate seat.
Hatch finished the first round of balloting with 59.1 percent of the vote, tantalizingly close to the 60
percent threshold he needed to lock up his party’s nomination at the convention.
Instead, he’ll face former Utah state Sen. Dan Liljenquist in a primary, in a race where he starts off with a big edge in the polls.’
LBN: Afghans Steal Tons of Explosives
Afghan officials said Saturday that security forces have taken five militants into custody who brought explosives into the country from Pakistan and planned to use them in an attack on Kabul. Eleven tons of explosives were seized along with the alleged conspirators. The arrests come a week after a series of attack by the Taliban-centered on Kabul that was squashed by Afghan security forces.
Slate, David Weigel: How “Breaking News” Broke the News
Naked Capitalism: Prophetic Warning (George Washington Blog)
George Washington: Influential Senator Warned in 1975: “Th[e National Security Agency's] Capability At Any Time Could Be Turned Around On The American People, And No American Would Have Any Privacy Left …There Would Be No Place To Hide. [If A Dictator Ever Took Over, The N.S.A.] Could Enable It To Impose Total Tyranny, And There Would Be No Way To Fight Back”
Senator Church’s Prophetic Warning
Senator Frank Church – who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in 1975:
“Th[e National Security Agency's] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“
Now, the NSA is building a $2 billion dollar facility in Utah which will use the world’s most powerful supercomputer to monitor virtually all phone calls, emails, internet usage, purchases and rentals, break all encryption, and then store everyone’s data permanently.
Michael Choge writes
Hallo Mr. Schechter, your article was something absolutely eye-widening (the events around all of us are already eye-opening!). I wish everyone would read this and take it to heart, I personally fear to conjure the future…
Your comments are welcome. Write to email@example.com
NYTeXaminer.com: Critiquing Friday’s Coverage of the NY Times
Listen: PRN.fm News Dissector Radio on Financial Crisis with Max Keiser, Stacy Herbert and Andy Stapanian
EVENT Today: I will be on the Better World Forum at 2 PM
The World Unites for Better World Forum: First global conference and exposition of ideas with participants in six continents virtually www.betterworldforum2012.com
“Today’s problems cannot be solved with the same level of consciousness that created them.” –Albert Einstein
On April 21-22 and 28-29, the Better World Forum 2012 brings together leaders and teachers on the cutting edge of cultural, economic, environmental and political change. This online, virtual conference and exposition includes seminars, screenings, interviews, networking and panels featuring Danny Schechter, Jack Healey (Human Rights Action Center,) Howard Bloom, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill McKibben, Dot Maver, Deepak Chopra, Ms. Almas Jiwani, John Perkins, Robert Thurman, Hazel Henderson, and many others discussing the new concepts, strategies and technologies to enable a better world for the 100%.
During the sessions, people around the world can participate from their home or office by computer or phone and find out new inspirations and forward thinking ideas for a better world. They can also post questions for selected discussion forums that will be held during the conference.
Steven Zuckerman (Better World Forum Co-Producer and Producer of the Global Entertainment and Media Summit) explains: “We have many supporters and friends who are unable to attend the conference, and we want to give them a chance to get involved. By enabling a global virtual forum, people can participate without the need for long distance travel or staying in a costly hotel. With thirty six sessions on topics from enabling human and civil rights, new media engagement, new economic models and creative financing, participants can be engaged in solving many of todays problems with a new way of thinking.”
Rick Ulfik (Better World Forum Co-Producer and Founder of We, The World – www.WE.net) adds: “Our mission is to Inspire, Inform and Involve people around the world with ways that we can individually and collectively create a culture of peace, environmental stewardship, justice and prosperity for all. ”
People globally are invited to add their voices to the grassroots organizations, forward thinking business leaders, visionaries, artists and activists who are joining the Better World Forum to provide empowering solutions that create sustainable, effective, highly productive and peaceful communities. Details can be found at www.betterworldforum2012.com
Zimmerman Free To Go—for $150,000
A Florida judge on Friday set George Zimmerman’s bail at $150,000 in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and imposed restrictions on Mr. Zimmerman’s release from jail.”
NYT: SANFORD, Fla. — Speaking publicly about the case for the first time, George Zimmerman, the man accused of second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, briefly took the witness stand at his bail hearing on Friday and apologized to the teenager’s parents.
“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son,” Mr. Zimmerman, 28, said in a soft voice from the stand, dressed in a dark suit, with his hands locked in cuffs, and shackles at his feet and waist. “I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not.”
Mr. Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, sitting in the second row of the courtroom here, showed little emotion during Mr. Zimmerman’s remarks. They did not comment after the hearing ended, hurrying to a waiting car.
Peter Hart: FAIR ON NYT “COVERAGE” OF JULIAN ASSANGE SHOW
Given the history of the acrimony between the NY Times and Julan Assange/Wikileaks, the newspaper should have reclused itself in reviewing this show, if that is what they are doing. (DS)
Assange’s ‘Nut Job’ Portrayal Says More About Portrayers
New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley–whose work has been regularly featured in the paper’s Corrections box–doesn’t think much of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange’s new TV show, which debuted on the Russian-backed RT cable channel.
Stanley takes her shots–the channel has a “zesty anti-American slant,” she writes, then crudely notes: “A few correspondents can sound at times like Boris and Natasha of Rocky & Bullwinkle fame.” OK.
Stanley runs down the various controversies swirling around Assange, then presents his response: “Mr. Assange tells reporters that he is being persecuted for political reasons, which, even if true, doesn’t exactly help his case.” I’m not even sure how to make sense of that.
The part that jumped out at me, though, was this:To some he was a hero, to others a spy, but nowadays he is most often portrayed as a nut job.
I guess that’s supposed to diminish Assange. But it tells me little about Julian Assange–and plenty about the corporate media.
Guardian: Media Companies Lobby Against Transparancy
News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.
But now many of the country’s biggest media companies which own dozens of newspapers and TV news operations are flexing their muscle in Washington in a fight against a government initiative to increase transparency of political spending.
The corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and dozens of local TV news outlets are lobbying are against a Federal Communications Commission measure to require broadcasters to post political ad data on the internet.
Bill Moyers/Michael Winship Comment: Court Overturns Public Broadcast Ban on Political Ads
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about how the media giants who own your local commercial television and radio stations have been striking like startled rattlesnakes at an FCC proposal that would shed a light on who’s buying our elections. The proposed new rule would make it easier to find out who’s bankrolling political attack ads by posting the information online.
The stations already have the data and are required by law to make it public to anyone who asks. But you can get only it by going to the station and asking for the actual paper documents – what’s known as “the public file.” Stations don’t want to put it online because — you guessed it — that would make it too easy for you to find out who’s putting up the cash for all those ads polluting your hometown airwaves.
If approved, the new rule would require the ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates in the top 50 markets to make their files on political advertising available on line immediately. Other stations would have a two-year grace period.
In the meantime, the mighty giants of broadcasting have been fighting back. A number of senators serving the industry have spoken up against the proposal and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) — led by their top lobbyist and president, the frozen food millionaire and former Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith – have been meeting with commissioners urging them to scuttle its proposal or at least water it down until it means nothing.
Media Tenor Report: ABC AND CBS DROP SUPPORT FOR OBAMA
Coverage of politics in US TV news, April 1 – 16, 2012
Boston, April 20, 2012: Unable to achieve support from the major TV networks – particularly ABC and CBS – Obama is losing ground in the latest PEW poll. The opinion-leading TV networks turned increasingly negative regarding his economic policies and health care initiatives, according to analysis from Media Tenor International. Back in March, weekly Media Tenor reports already indicated a decline in President Obama’s overall approval ratings due to media tone and visibility on these two key issues.
“Media analysis is a leading indicator because voters take their cue from media sentiment,” says Casey Smith, analyst at Media Tenor. “In contrast, polls are a more lagging indicator, as they only document the public response, ultimately feeding into the media narrative and tone as networks report on polling results.”
Continuing into Apr 11, media tone on the economy is on a downward trend, affecting the Consumer Confidence Index and support for Obama.
At this point in the presidential election in 2008, Obama was framed more positively on ABC and CBS than John McCain, who was on the verge of clinching the Republican nomination. In contrast, Mitt Romney now has the support of all the major TV news networks as he locks in the Republican nomination.
“With the Republican primaries essentially over, the media narrative will focus more on the economy,” adds Smith. “Media tonality on economic issues and criticism of Obama’s performance will continue to influence expectations of a decline of his approval ratings.”
Furthermore, the international media tone on Obama is not helping him gain support.”
•At the same. there are contradictory reports on his fund raising prowess. Some reports say he has more money than Romney. Others that he has lost most big donors and is relying on small contributions.
•Politico via Flipboard: Colbert super PAC stumbles
•Washington Post: Conservative Groups Raise $49 Million
•AlJazeera: ‘French Muslims ‘likely to vote for far left’
Fluent/BBC: US Charges British Twins In Stock Market Fraud
Isaiah J. Poole, Our Future: Demand the White House Answer Us: Will You Save Underwater Homeowners?
If enough of us demand it, we can get the White House to
answer a simple question: Will you or will you not stand
with underwater homeowners and push for principal
reductions-even if it means pushing aside the agency
chief who is opposing that remedy?
We’re asking our supporters to join with Rebuild the
Dream and sign this White House petition now calling for
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to issue principal
reductions for underwater homeowners.” If 25,000 people
sign the petition by Sunday, the administration has
promised to respond. As of 3 p.m. today, the petition
was less than 4,000 short of the signatures it needed.
•M&G: Obama calls for talks between Sudan and South Sudan
US President Barack Obama has called for negotiations between the leaders of the two countries to settle their conflict and end fighting.
OpEd News: A conspiracy of Whores
Yahoo: Romney: I’ll build that pipeline even ‘if I have to do it myself’
Mitt Romney vowed Friday that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.
This week’s show focuses on the Obama Administration’s handling of the foreclosure and housing crisis, by examining the statements made during the press conference the administration held to announce the settlement between the 49 state attorneys general and the five largest mortgage servicers… and more!
IPS,Linus Atarah: U.S. Patriot Act Kept Somalia Starving
HELSINKI, Apr 2012 (IPS) – When war-torn Somalia was also ravaged by a drought-induced famine last year, which killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million people, international media was quick to blame the Islamist Al-Shabaab for blocking humanitarian assistance from reaching its zone of control in southern Somalia.
But according to Ken Menkhaus, professor of Political Science at Davidson College in North Carolina, the United States’ counter-terrorism laws played an equally central role in obstructing assistance from reaching famine victims in desperate need of aid.
Speaking here in a seminar on Wednesday, organised by the Department of the Study of Religions at Helsinki University, Menkhaus said humanitarian organisations suspended food aid delivery to drought- struck areas controlled by Al-Shabaab for fear of violating the USA Patriot Act.
Congress passed the Act in 2001 as part of its response to the Sep. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon and under it, anyone who provides material benefits, even if unwittingly, to a designated terrorist group, could face the most severe penalties.
Given that Al-Shabaab – the Somali cell of the militant Islamist Al-Qaeda, fighting the Federal Transitional Government (FTG) in Somalia and controlling vast swathes of the south except the capital Mogadishu – is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., humanitarian groups were fearful that an accusation of ‘aiding terrorists’ could damage their entire organization.
Thus many reached the conclusion that they were too vulnerable to operate in Al-Shabaab-controlled areas.
It is not just KONY: Jonathan Miller reports on Bosco Ntaganda, known as The Terminator, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for conscripting child soldiers and orchestrating mass killings in the Congo.
•Infographic: Ingeniously Charting The Horrifying Power Of Today’s Nuclear Bombs
NY: ‘Handyman in Etan Patz Probe Says He’s Innocent’ on Fluent News.
Photo Of The Day From The Guardian: Italy
That’s in from Dissector Central. Join me online at 2 PM for Better World Forum. Comments to Dissector@mediachannel.org Visit Mediachannel1.org