Interview/Conversation (audio) with reader Alex Hass: now posted on You Tube New Book Now From Cosimo Books
How To Order BLOGOTHON
Interview/Conversation (audio) with reader Alex Hass: now posted on You Tube
New Book Now From Cosimo Books[/caption
Protesters and Police Clash at NATO Meeting; 2 Held on Terrorism Charges
Not mentioned in NY Times Front Page Photo Caption, Not Even A Story
CHICAGO — Protesters at the NATO summit clashed with the Chicago police late Sunday as officers tried to disperse thousands of people who had gathered several blocks from the site of the meeting and refused demands to leave.
The standoff, which lasted several hours, grew intense as police officers, some in riot gear and gas masks, and protesters, some wearing all black, confronted one another, and shoving and scuffles broke out.
Some among the hundreds of police officers waved night sticks, and some protesters threw red paint, a bucket, sticks and more. By late afternoon, some protesters could be seen being carried away by officers, who tried to disperse the crowd with messages over loudspeakers, then seemed to push them back in waves with the sheer numbers of officers.
As the clash went on, mounted police officers could be seen equipping their horses with protective masks. At one point, an officer emerged from a scrum of people with his arm firmly around the neck of a protester, who appeared to be in distress. At another point, a demonstrator shoved an officer to the ground, before another officer pulled him to safety.
The confrontations came after a march through the streets downtown. Led by a small group of men and women in American military uniforms who said they wished to return their medals as a symbol, thousands of protesters opposed to war and to NATO or motivated by other issues marched down Michigan Avenue, winding their way as close as they could get to McCormick Place, where world leaders were holding a summit.
Common Dreams: Thousands of protesters marched in a sweltering Chicago
The Coalition Against NATO-G8, which has spearheaded the
march and protests, calls for an end to NATO’s war
agenda. The group expected at least 10,000 to join the
The final number in the march may well double that, and
some protesters report that the police numbers seem to
equal the number of protesters.
Veterans have returned their medals at the end of the
march, throwing them to the ground, and giving powerful
reasons, as @OccupyChicago is documenting:
AP – President Barack Obama and NATO allies declared Sunday that the end of the long and unpopular Afghanistan war is in sight even as they struggled to hold their fighting force together in the face of dwindling patience and shaky unity
President Obama tells a Nato summit there are “hard days ahead” in Afghanistan as the alliance prepares to withdraw troops at the end of 2014.
What Obama Accomplished, Selling, Not Telling
NYT reports that President convinced NATO to buy five expensive top of the line US made drones.
Dissector Essay: Not Letting The Facts Get In The Way of A Vicious Attack
By Danny Schechter
Increasingly, politics is a game driven by often-invented beliefs and myths that are firmly detached from facts and their interpretation.
The parties and their factions live not only in parallel universes but worlds of information that are driven mostly but what they think will work in pandering to their bases and the public.
Even as progressives complain that Barack Obama has moved right even if he occasionally talks left, the hard-core right-wing see him a black revolutionary shaped by Reverend Wright’s black liberation theology allusions to Malcolm X and Kenyan communists thrown into the mix
Never mind that Obama threw Wright under the bus in 2008, or that his policies rarely speak of the needs of a black community suffering under the burden of high joblessness, foreclosures and growing poverty.
In fact, real black revolutionaries like Cornell West and so many others find the President a sell-out and embarrassment even if their community embraces him more as an identity issue or on the basis of shared pigmentation,
The recent plan by Wall Street trader Ed Ricketts to recycle the alleged Obama-Wright conspiracy spoke more to his ignorance and fears than any truth based assessment. Had the New York Times not exposed it, this $10 million dollar race-based smear campaign would have moved forward.
Because it was exposed, even Mitt Romney who hasn’t met a right wing talking point he won’t embrace, had to distance himself from it,
As Charles Blow wrote in the Times, “It called for using Wright to “increase the unease” and “inflame the questions” among independents using the episode “that’s never been properly exploited.” How I love the use of sinister verbs.
There was one description of the president that truly seized me:
“The metrosexual black Abe Lincoln has emerged as a hyper-partisan, hyper-liberal, elitist politician with more than a bit of the trimmer in him.”
This sentence is just so deliciously ridiculous, insulting and incendiary — perfect Republican fodder.
Let’s dissect it, shall we? Scalpel!”
How proud this news dissector was to find a mainstream media maven finally resorting to dissection. (Hopefully it will prompt AdBusters to issue a new warning about cooptation. Blow blew the “logic” behind his crusade away.
But it almost doesn’t mater. This proposed campaign—and there will be other—was not offered up as part of any real debate or perspective but as a political weapon of denigration. It was a lie but its promoter knew that many, out of prejudice or ignorance would believe is true.
These campaigns are a tools of mass distraction to fog understanding, not advance it. They play to already dumbed down base instincts. Unfortunately, as a tactic it is not ljust embraced by wack jobs.
A whole industry of campaign political consultants immersed in negative research and manipulative advertising has mainstreamed it.
Willy Horton, meet Ed Ricketts.
This same smarmy approach is often increasingly used in the courts where well-heeled
companies DELIBERATELY file gratuitous and flawed law suits against adversaries including journalists who are exposing their practices, or alerting the public to their scams and schemes.
This has been happening to a colleague of mine> Aaron Krowne created the ML-Implode websites to offer evidence of financial fraud while documenting how it brings down companies that “implode” after using sleazy techniques to enrich themselves often with government support through agencies like HUD that also victimize borrowers seeking home loans.
When writers posted whistle blowing articles on his site showing how millions were being ripped off—even as the FHA and other agencies insured the loans thus minimizing any all risks for the scammers—he was sued and forced into court to defend his site and work as a journalist at considerable expense
The charges were bogus but it didn’t matter, Defending malicious lawsuits costs as much as filing them, and its hard for a small independent website to finance that even when they are 100% right.
As Krowe explained about the companies with llawyers for hire trying to shut him down, “They get an effectively 100% loan without FHA knowing it, so there are no proper risk controls for this type of financing. The home price may also be inflated without limit (beyond the 3% downpayment amount). And of course, neither the seller or lender ever face any risk, which falls on FHA (and implicitly, the taxpayers).”
Wouldn’t you think the FBI or the Justice Department would rush to his side? Forget it. They had enabled these practices in the first place and have bee lax in enforcing what laws there are.
Whst happened next is too detailed for this column—I will write others—but when a blogger exposed an unethical business practice used against homeowners as a “scam”—a word the IRS had itself used —a rich principal in the company accused of misconduct, filed a so-called SLAPP suit in a Maryland court against ML-Implodef or libel and damages.
And not just against the blogger but the website that carries articles by knowledgeable journalists!
They even got—bought, it seems—an Indian tribe to join their suit to make it appear more credible.
They first tried to get an injunction against him—in effect, a prior restraint of free speech. It cost Aaron’s company $50,000 to stop it.
At the same time, the big bucks operator behind the suit, was boasting privately in emails, that he wanted to “bankrupt” ML-Implode, while admitting that he knew the injunction attempt had virtually no chance of passing (10% was his exact number). Of course this is all de facto bad faith. (The irony: The company Aaron exposed later imploded in part because they couldn’t meet government regulations.)
But that, too, didn’t matter because ML-Implode ran out of money. The firm was forced to withdraw, and then the court declared ML-Implode in default.
Says Krowne who is still fighting a legal battle that has become increasingly technical, as many fights like this tend to become, “If this result stands, it will probably be the first time in history a media outlet of any kind has been penalized for speaking out against a “business” that itself acknowledged it had already been outlawed by the US Congress at the time it filed suit for libel.”
Hello Charles Blow at the NY Times, any interest in dissecting this one?
The attempt to smear Obama was so blatant and racist that it could easily be exposed, But legal battles like this one go on every day in the obscure language of law suits filed to silence free speech.
They often work because the legal system—like the society we live in—is so unbalanced with wealth in so few hands, that truth is smothered in obscure legal rulings that the press doesn’t cover and the public can’t possibly understand.
You can find out more from this ML-implode resource page.
•Politico: DNC outraises RNC in April
Naked Capitaism, Tom Ferguson: Senate Banking Chair Calls Jamie Dimon to Testify -– But JP Morgan Chase is His
Holding your breath about the fallout from J. P. Morgan Chase’s derivatives losses? Yesterday, if you believed Politico, you could exhale. Senate Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson of South Dakota announced his panel would call JP Morgan Chase Chair Jamie Dimon to testify.
It’s good that the watchdog is barking, but we’d all better watch closely to see if it will bite. Here’s what Politico didn’t tell you. Political Money Line’s tabulations of PAC contributions show that securities and financial firms have given more money to Johnson than any other sector in the last three election cycles. In the current cycle, for example, almost two thirds of his $361, 582 in PAC money comes from such firms. In 2008, when he collected over $2 million in PAC contributions, the swag from that quarter amounted to over half a million dollars – and neither figure takes account of numerous individual contributions. Johnson calls his leadership PAC “South Dakota First,” but, not surprisingly, contributions to his campaign committee from New York and other states often run far ahead of receipts from his own state.
Alas, it gets worse. Here’s the real punch line. Which firm is Johnson’s single largest contributor? You guessed it: The Center for Responsive Politics’ count shows that in both the current election cycle and the cycles between 2005-2010, it is JP Morgan Chase.
LBN: Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, died in Libya on Sunday at age 59, according to his brother. Two hundred seventy people were killed in the attack, and in 2001 Megrahi was convicted by a court in the Netherlands. In 2009 he was released from Scottish prison after a cancer diagnosis gave the bomber months to live. Upon returning to his home country of Libya, Megrahi was welcomed by then-ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Despite calls for the bomber to be extradited to the United States or the United Kingdom, leaders refused after toppling the dictator.
Nationalist Tomislav Nikolic is elected president of Serbia beating incumbent Boris Tadic in a run-off vote, and vowing to stay on the EU path.
Died: Robin Gibbs of the BeeGees
Rumor of the Week: Kenneth Vogel: Marco Rubio as vice president: the Bilderberg conspiracy
process. But according to a dedicated band of conspiracy theorists, the pick is all but a lock:
That’s the current thinking among a worldwide collection of activists who are obsessed with the secretive Bilderberg Group, an alternating roster of global power players who loom as large — if not larger — in the online fever swamps of the fringe as the Trilateral Commission or the Council on Foreign Relations.
The Bilderberg Group, which takes its name from the Dutch hotel where it first gathered in 1954, exists solely to bring together between 100 and 150 titans of politics, finance, military, industry, academia and media mostly from North America and Western Europe once a year to discuss world affairs.
Yet in the netherworld of conspiracy theory, the group is part of an insidious corporate-globalist scheme. And this year, the speculation holds, the Bilderberg Group is set to hold its annual meeting in the coming weeks at a Northern Virginia hotel where, among other things, they likely will select Rubio as Romney’s running mate.
But like any good conspiracy theory, there’s just enough there to stoke questions. John Edwards’s speech to the Bilderberg Group’s 2004 meeting in Stresa, Italy, reportedly helped clinch his selection as that year’s Democratic vice presidential candidate. And Jim Johnson, the man who chaired that vice presidential selection process and initially was tasked with spearheading Barack Obama’s 2008 search for a running mate, is a leading Bilderberg member, while prominent Romney advisers including Robert Kagan and Vin Weber have attended past meetings, as have Bill Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld and top finance, media and tech executives.
“These are influential folks — and they’ve all got friends in American politics — so if they see somebody that impresses them or doesn’t, I expect that they would pass that view on,” said Weber, a former Minnesota congressman who has attended two Bilderberg meetings. “But I would tell all of those bloggers and protestors to save their outrage for a real conspiracy, because this is just a conference.”
That assessment is rejected as pure spin by the international community of Bilderberg obsessives. They’re convinced that the meeting is ground zero in an worldwide plot by big banks, mainstream media, defense contractors and governments to suppress working people around the world.
This year, anti-Bilderberg activists are planning an “Occupy Bilderberg” protest outside the Westfield Marriott in Chantilly, Va., where they believe the group will hold its conference May 31-June 3.
•EJC: Facebook faces USD 15bn suit over privacy violations
Facebook was hit with a USD 15bn privacy lawsuit hours before its initial public offering (IPO), which valued the firm at more than USD 100bn. The suit, filed in the Northern California District Court, alleged that the company knowingly infringed on user privacy when it used browser cookies to track activity. The suit included more than 20 complainants.
FT: Nasdaq ‘embarrassed’ over Facebook IPO
Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq OMX chief executive, says he is “humbly embarrassed” by the delay in the opening of Facebook’s initial public offering for trading…
Wall Street Journal: Nasqag Admits Tech “Glitches” During Facebook IPO
New York Times: Nazdaq said “technical problems that marred the debut of Facebook did not affect the permormance of its shares
News Corp. Acquires Stake in Chinese Movie Company – NYTimes
AMC Said to Be Talking to Chinese Buyer – The New York Times
Borowitz: Chen Puzzled
Andy Borowitz: NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – In his first interview since arriving in America, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng told reporters today that he is grateful to be in the United States but is already “sick of these Kardashians.”
“Who are they, and what do they do?” Chen asked. “I have asked these questions of many people, and no one will answer me. It seems to be some kind of state secret.”
After being monitored for years by Chinese authorities, Chen said he finds the omnipresence of the Kardashians “troubling.”
•Via Flipboard/LA Times: Solar eclipse creates eerie shadows and sunset
Letter from A Reader:
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