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Judge Lets Occupy Suit Against NYPD Proceed, University For A Night, Kitchen Cabinet, Fla Purge Koch Link

June 8th, 2012 - by:

•••Today: 1-2 PM pm News Dissector Radio, 1-2 PM on Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm) Topic: The World Of Wall Street Guests: George Martinez, Occupy activist, Professor and now a Candidate for Congress; Wall Street Insider Leo Haviland, author of Words on The Street, Language and the American Dream on Wall Street.

•••Dissecting the Dissector: New Review of Blogothon by Marta Steele, Op-Ed News.com

New Book From Your News Dissector Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

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How To Order BLOGOTHON

Amazon:

Cosimo Books

Essay: A Meet With The Elite At the “University For A Night”

By Danny Schechter

New York New York: Having just finished producing an investigative TV series on Who Rules America, inspired, in part, by the argument that sociologist C. Wright Mills made 50 years ago about how a small group of the rich and powerful run things, I was wondering how I would feel spending a night with the 1% of the 1%

An Indonesian friend had invited me to join her at an annual event called University for a Night sponsored by an NGO named Synergos (http://www.synergos.org/) created twenty five years ago by Peggy Dulaney, the daughter of David Rockefeller, the now 97 year old patriarch of what was once the richest and most powerful family in America.

This event concludes with dinner discussions that bring participants together with invited faculty - experts from around the world - for an exchange of ideas on specific topics. The organizers say they want “to provide opportunities for networking, brainstorming and inspiration.”

Rockefeller Sr., onetime head of the Chase Bank was there, in a wheel chair now, beaming as an award in his name for bridging and leadership was presented to former President Bill Clinton, who runs a foundation of his own, as well as a Global “initiative.”

Clinton was also effusive in praising Peggy and her dad for the good works they do as philanthropists and problem solvers. He singled them out for promoting partnerships through “sustainable and systems-changing collaborations to address poverty, equity and social justice.”

Unfortunately, my friend got the flu and couldn’t make it, so I was on my own. Fortunately, Occupy Wall Street was not outside protesting at the Millennium Hotel off Times Square, and I didn’t have to cross a picket line to join them.

Actually, the Occupy Movement might have appreciated Clinton’s engaging speech as he repeatedly indicted our hyper-polarized political system as dysfunctional and stalemated while calling for a new model of decision-making based on a more participatory democratic process.

He said that NGO’s are more effective than governments because they try to solve problems with representation from all the stakeholders in a more bottom-up manner. He was dismissive of the standoff in Washington and believes that innovation cannot be imposed from above.

A master story teller, Clinton explained how he got involved in trying to lower the costs of Aids medicines at the urging of Nelson Mandela and that their partnership on the issue had an impact and saved thousands of lives by trying to find common ground among AIDS advocates and pharmaceutical companies.

Clearly, Clinton works with business, not against it, and is a proud reformer as opposed to an angry revolutionary. Synergos’ strategy aims at bringing together “people and institutions in government, business, nonprofits and local communities most affected by poverty and social injustice.”

They believe in finding ways for people to act together worldwide,” Synergos works through partnerships, networks and knowledge sharing, “according to their website.

(Earlier that day, Clinton stirred a controversy when he said he favored keeping the Bush tax cuts in place.
He later reversed himeself, as Yahoo reported: "Former President Bill Clinton apologized on Thursday for making comments this week that appeared to be at odds with President Barack Obama's position on extending the Bush tax cuts.

"I'm very sorry about what happened," Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I thought something had to be done on the 'fiscal cliff' before the election. Apparently nothing has to be done until the first of the year." He said he stands with Obama on the issue.")

“Over more than 20 years, we have worked in over 30 countries and regions, including Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, including the U.S-Mexico border, the Middle East, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe,” it says.

The Rockefeller family has a long history of philanthropy and public service, although the cynics among us know that non-profit foundations can also be a way of sheltering wealth from taxation, and using PR and good deeds to blunt public criticism of the wealthy and the society that does their bidding.

In many cases, the great wealth of families like this was amassed originally in the Robber Baron era, John D Rockefeller became a very controversial and negative symbol as I discovered, when I wrote the introduction to a new edition of the History of the Standard Oil Company by the muckraker Ida M. Tarbell who exposed how his great fortune was accumulated. (Cosimo Books.)

That doesn’t mean that the “sins” of the grandfather should be passed on to other generations. I first met Peggy when she was an active supporter of the freedom movement in South Africa, I was told that her influence, together with some of her cousins, successfully pressed the Rockefeller interests, including Chase, to not rollover debts and divest from South Africa, actions that helped force the apartheid government to announce reforms, and negotiations.

Everyone agrees that this was a form of pressure that persuaded the Apartheid diehards to accept the inevitability of change. Perhaps that’s why the head of Nelson Mandela’s foundation works closely with Synergos. Peggy is an old friend and supporter of Graca Machel, the Mozambican leader who later married Mandela. She also promotes a circle of wealthy families worldwide to discuss how to use their wealth in socially responsible ways.

At my table, there was a moderated discussion about what constitutes personal leadership. There were other foundation heads there, a retired high-level UN official a real estate power broker, another TV producer and a banker at JP Morgan. All seemed supportive of the values and projects that Synergos is promoting. The broker told me that he’s never been to a meeting of that size where the word love is used so freely.

That may be a reflection of Peggy’s new focus on the importance of personal transformation and internal growth as a key to the emergence of new leadership. In a paper circulated to the dinner she offers revealing insights into her own personal journey in “Approaching the Heart of the Matter.” Her insights share honestly about the personal journey that sustains her commitment to this innovative work after a quarter of a century. It may come off as a bit earnest for some who are more comfortable with objective facts than subjective feelings but her sincerity is unmistakable.

The day after the dinner, I began reading many articles criticizing Occupy Wall Street for being stuck in a rut. Forbes said the Occupy Movement was running out of new ideas. Progressive outlets raised similar concerns. It occurred to me, then, that the activists in America pushing for economic fairness and equality could learn from the experience of the Synergos-linked global and local organizations that are struggling with many of these same issues in poorer countries the word over.

Yes, the 1% could learn a thing or two from the 99% but, vice-versa, Occupy could learn from projects that work and best practices in other countries. Occupy’s “university” may be in the parks and streets, not suites, but they have also been conducting classes and training sessions to share ideas and develop skills.

They probably would feel uncomfortable consorting with Rockefellers—that old fear of co-optation again--- but maybe there is more common ground here than meets the eye, even as activists are always more confrontational than conciliatory. They don’t do well in fancy hotels!

Both approaches have value. We need to get beyond mutual demonization. Maybe everyone can benefit from some more bridging even as politics becomes a battleground.

There’s plenty of room in the fight against global poverty and injustice for all of us.

Today's News


Partnership for Civic Justice: Judge Rules Class Action Case Can Proceed in OWS Mass Arrests On the Brooklyn Bridge

In an opinion issued late today, US District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that New York Police Department officers are not entitled to qualified immunity from the arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011 at the start of the Occupy movement. He has ordered the lawsuit to proceed.

"This is a major victory in the fight for justice and vindication for the seven hundred people falsely arrested by the NYPD," stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund which filed the class action lawsuit days after the arrests. "This is a clear message in defense of free speech. The Court's ruling means that scores of NYPD officers are potentially liable to hundreds of arrestees who were mass arrested in a peaceful protest in a blatant violation of their constitutional rights."

"From the onset, this case has involved competing narratives: the police's carefully crafted PR presentation that was spun to the press in the immediate hours after the mass false arrest, versus the truth," stated Carl Messineo, Legal Director of the PCJF. "The plaintiffs in this lawsuit sought to set the record straight in their demand for justice. The court repeatedly cited the evidence presented in the complaint, including multimedia video evidence, in its finding that NYPD officers can be held liable for conducting these false arrests. We've said all along that the police invited protestors into the bridge and then turned around and, without notice or warning, arrested them. The ruling vindicates and credits that narrative that we have said is the truth all along."

The rulings states:

"[A] reasonable officer would have understood that it was incumbent on the police to clearly warn the demonstrators that they must not proceed onto the Brooklyn Bridge’s vehicular roadway…the officers…turned and started walking away from the demonstrators and onto the road way — an implicit invitation to follow. While the demonstrators might have inferred otherwise if they had heard the bull horn message, no reasonable officer could imagine, in these circumstances, that this warning was heard by more than a small fraction of the gathered multitude…Indeed, the plaintiffs’ video shows what should have been obvious to any reasonable officer, namely, that the surrounding clamor interfered with the ability of demonstrators as few as fifteen feet away from the bull horn to understand the officer’s instructions.”

The ruling opens with the following: “What a huge debt this nation owes to its ‘troublemakers.’ From Thomas Paine to Martin Luther King, Jr., they have forced us to focus on problems we would prefer to downplay or ignore. Yet it is often only with hindsight that we can distinguish those troublemakers who brought us to our senses from those who were simply . . . troublemakers. Prudence, and respect for the constitutional rights to free speech and free association, therefore dictate that the legal system cut all non-violent protesters a fair amount of slack. These observations are prompted by the instant lawsuit, in which a putative class of some 700 or so ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters contend they were unlawfully arrested while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011.”

Nation of Change Research: “Right-wing media are arguing that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election was a victory for the grassroots over unions and progressives. But, due to Citizens United and a loophole in Wisconsin campaign finance laws, the progressive message was swamped by conservative special interest money.”

The Next Trial: The Trinity Church Cases.

Cat Watters shot the video of the Rally at Liberty Square and and writes:

“PLEASE excuse the audio,, Fr Daniel Berrigan is 91 years old. i did ask Chris Hedges to translate/mic check for him. (DS: Even if the sound sucks, Hedges’ Conversation with Berrigan is worth watching)

Called “the priest who stayed out in the cold” and “holy outlaw,” Father Daniel J. Berrigan (born 1921) never came to terms with the conservatism of the Catholic Church or with the militarism of the American nation. He lived his life as a militant servant of the Christian faith.

Daniel Berrigan was born in Virginia, Minnesota, on May 9, 1921. His father was a socialist farmer and railroad engineer who wrote poetry and raised his six sons in the brawling, argumentative atmosphere of a small farm near Syracuse, New York. Daniel was the frailest of the boys and from childhood had determined to enter the Catholic priesthood. When he was 18 he joined the Society of Jesus–the Jesuits. In 1952, after 13 years of training (“a most unfinished man”), he was ordained a priest…”

Cat may not be so skilled in the audio department, but she has a great flair for capturing visuals as she did when she joined me for appetizers at a crowded Spanish restaurant that only had one table free—in a closet!
Here is her video:

National Journal: Dems Not Panicking Yet

Democrats are having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad June. But if it’s time to start panicking, most of them haven’t gotten the memo. Naureen Khan reports, despite a spate of negative news, Democrats nationwide, both publicly and privately, seem remarkably Zen about their party’s prospects in November and unwilling to take out any frustration on their man in the Oval Office just yet.

LBN: Tsk TsK: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN MISSPELLS REAGAN:How does this stack up with misspelling America? Mitt Romneys campaign misspelled the name of one of the Republican partys most-revered figures, Ronald Reagan, in a slideshow by the campaigns pollsters to bundlers. Meant to show on Obamas approval numbers compare with recent re-election campaigns, the slideshow spells the Republican party heros name as Ronald Regan. The misspelling comes just one week after the campaign spelled America Amercia in its app.

MoveOn To Justice Department: Sue Florida, Stop Voter Purge

“Gov. Rick Scott continues to break the law in order to deny the voting rights of Floridians of color. The Department of Justice must take action to protect the rights of Floridians by suing to end the voter purge. Earlier this week, more than 1,200 MoveOn members in Florida phoned Gov. Scott to urge him to end his racially targeted voter purge. With this letter, Gov. Scott has shown, like the Jim Crow Governors of old, that he’s hell bent on discriminating against Floridians of color. That’s why today, MoveOn members are calling on the Department of Justice to sue Florida. Gov. Scott must comply with the law and end his racist purge.”

The Miami Herald, “MoveOn targets Rick Scott’s office in voter-purge controversy.”

Palm Beach Post, “Moveon.org targets Gov. Rick Scott over non-citizen voter purge.”

•Daily Kos: Koch Link To Florida Purge

If there were any lingering questions that Gov. Rick Scott’s motivation for purging voters, this should put it to rest. Former Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who worked with Scott on cooking up the purge (and is no stranger to voter suppression, having kicked minority and Democratic voters off the lists in 2008), has close ties to an astroturf group funded by, you guessed it, David and Charles Koch, the guys who have committed hundreds of millions to defeat Barack Obama in November.

As Romney Campaign Outraises Obama Campaign in May…

•Axelrod: Obama will be first president to be outspent by opponent

•AP At Net Roots Conference: PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – They are trying to be hopeful, but the Democratic Party’s most passionate voters are struggling to hide their frustration with President Barack Obama.

•BBC: US Fed ‘ready to act’ on economy

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, said he is monitoring risks to the economy and is prepared to take action if necessary. (Market Dropped When He Didn’t Announce Concrete Steps)

•The Atlantic: Who Killed US Unions

Other News of Note

CLG: Drone attacks create terrorist safe havens, warns former CIA official

A former top terrorism official at the CIA has warned that President Barack Obama’s controversial drone program is far too indiscriminate in hitting targets and could lead to such political instability that it creates terrorist safe havens. Obama’s increased use of drones to attack suspected ‘Islamic militants’ in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen has become one of the most controversial aspects of his national security policy. He has launched at least 275 strikes in Pakistan alone; a rate of attack that is far higher than his predecessor George W Bush. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 830 civilians, including many women and children, might have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan, 138 in Yemen and 57 in Somalia. Hundreds more have been injured.

Another day, another US war crime: Afghan president condemns deadly US-led operation

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned a US-led nighttime operation that killed 18 civilians in eastern Afghanistan.

• Fluent: ‘Feds Break International Child Porn Operation’

•Ann Lau writes: Li Wangyang ,Chinese dissident labor rights activist, Chairman of the Shaoyang Workers Autonomous Federation branch, was jailed on June 9th 1989 for “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement”, after China’s 1989 democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. He had been jailed for 22 years and released last year but kept under 24 hours surveillance in the hospital.
He became blind and deaf as a result of torture during his incarceration and he suffered from many ailments and disease.
On June 2, an interview of him was shown on Hong Kong television. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lClvj9J5m7E&feature=share
On June 7, he was found hanged in his hospital room.

Here’s a report from The LA Times.

Listen: Richard Wolff on Class Warfare

Blue Collar Intellectuals

Did you know: Celebrated science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who died Tuesday at the age of ninety-one, was one of the great “blue collar intellectuals”-a kind America isn’t likely to see again, says bestselling author Daniel J. Flynn.

Bradbury started off so destitute that he shared the same cot with his brother into adulthood, so awkward that even dorks brushed him off. But he became the “poet of the pulps,” selling five million copies of Fahrenheit 451, starting the Ray Bradbury Theater, and placing stories in Harper’s, Playboy, and The New Yorker.

Flynn tells Bradbury’s remarkable story in the book BLUE COLLAR INTELLECTUALS: WHEN THE ENLIGHTENED AND THE EVERYMAN ELEVATED AMERICA (ISI BOOKS).

EJC: Facebook app store launches

Facebook has launched an app store, similar to that for the Apple iPhone, in a bid to turn the social network into a key entertainment platform online. The network announced its “App Centre” in a blogpost late on Thursday, confirming its first major move into a booming market of gaming, lifestyle and productivity applications. The app store will be available only to US users from Friday, opening to each of Facebook’s 901 million users in the coming weeks.

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