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As the Occupy Wall Street movement pushes forward, evolving daily in mission and meaning, its cinematic companion has arrived on the scene. Heist: Who Stole The American Dream? is the latest socially and politically relevant documentary executive produced by Earl Katz, President of Public Interest Pictures. Heist will soon premiere as the fundamental primer on the historical and present-day inequities which gave rise to the Occupy Movement. From its 1930s depiction of Depression Era breadlines to Wisconsin Governor Walker's current assault on Collective Bargaining, Heist tells the story of America in decline due to the excessive greed of corporate executives and politicians bent on destroying the middle class.
By John Grant
The people, unfortunately, are still very ignorant, and are kept in ignorance by the systematic efforts of all the governments, who consider this ignorance, not without good reason, as one of the essential conditions of their own power.
It was 10:30 pm on Dilworth Plaza, the concrete apron around Philadelphia City Hall that’s home for over 100 tents in the Occupy Philadelphia movement. The air was clear and the temperature was pleasant.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
They worked many late night hours since this past spring creating a unique vehicle – part grassroots initiative and part cutting-edge technology – for countering the most corrupting force in American politics today: corporate dominance now controlling too many elected leaders on Capitol Hill.
Months before the Occupy Wall Street movement captured attention, inspiring millions across America while alarming this nation’s political/corporate class, they began fashioning plans to enable honest people to run for elected office.
By Charles M. Young
Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter, spreading the lies of the extreme right wing, called the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “tattooed, body-pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun.” She claimed the protestors, now in the thousands in New York, are “directionless losers [who] pose for cameras while uttering random liberal clichés lacking any reason or coherence.” (Several hundred thousand of these “directionless losers” are expected to attend rallies in more than 650 cities, Oct. 15.)
By Charles M. Young
1) I had brunch on Sunday in Chinatown with a friend who works in local television news. He complained that the Occupy Wall Street people had sent over video that they said showed demonstrators getting maced. It didn’t show any such thing, my friend insisted. After brunch I walked over to occupied Zuccotti Park (two blocks north of Wall Street) and told somebody at the Media table that they had to be careful about claiming more for their video than it actually showed. Then I went home and looked at the video, and it clearly showed several young women, who presented no physical threat, getting wrapped up by police in a plastic net and pepper sprayed in the face.
Shahid Buttar is the executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Reflections on the 9/11 attacks are important and moving. But most overlook the enduring legacy of the attacks, in the form of the vastly greater damage done to American principles over the past decade. Whether in the context of surveillance, torture, or the congressional cowardice that has enabled them, our leaders have sullied the legacy of an America that once inspired the world.
By John Grant
It’s a sad reality of our day that denial and bullshit seem the most useful talents to getting elected and to govern in America.
Bullshit is meant in the sense used by Harvard philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his popular book titled On Bullshit. He defines bullshit as language with no basis in truth or fact focused on obtaining power. A liar knows the truth and tries to sell falsehoods; bullshitters simply don’t care what the truth is.
Some of the most popular candidates for the Republican Party (think Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman) are classic bullshitters who completely disdain rational analysis. For them it’s OK to say anything, like Perry and others' denial of evolution and global warming. Reason and responsible history are for the weak.
by Ron Ridenour
Leading black-skinned representatives of the “hegemon”, as Cynthia McKinney calls President Barack Obama and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, could hardly expect to win any votes from the standing-room-only crowd at her anti-war tour Friday night at Calvary Church in Philadelphia.
Speaking before nearly 300 people--two-thirds of them black, the remainder white and hispanic--in her T-shirt proclaiming that “war kills”, the former U.S. congresswoman said:
“We need someone in the White House who thinks like us and not just one who looks like us. We have to act like we’re free if we want to be free. We have to liberate ourselves from war-mongering political parties.”
Check out U.S. War Criminals appearances this month to see if any will be in your area. Help organize a demonstration if there's not one planned. Contact us and we will give you a hand. We have leaflets and other material you can download from our website www.warcriminalswatch.org
For information about Who, Where and When:
By Dave Lindorff
Federal Judge Filipe Restrepo, a man with a solid history as a defender of civil liberties and civil rights, and a defense attorney by training and private practice experience, seems sadly to have gotten a bit thin-skinned after donning the robes of a federal judge.
As my colleague Linn Washington wrote earlier this week, the judge lost it when Hampton Coleman had the effrontery to write a 28-word letter to Restrepo questioning the judge’s integrity and his commitment to “blind justice,” and warning that “we the people” would be “watching and listening very carefully” to the judge.
The big banks have sold us out.
Democrats and Republicans have sold us out.
No one is defending our interests.
Our future is going up in flames.
It’s time for us to stand up and defend ourselves.
Trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity by the big banks on Wall Street caused our current economic crisis. Paid off politicians from both parties, along with secret deals made by the Federal Reserve, gave trillions of taxpayer dollars and subsidies to the very people who caused our crisis. After taking our tax dollars, they had the audacity to give themselves all-time recording-breaking bonuses and consolidate wealth in unprecedented fashion within the economic top 0.01% of the population.
I left the Wisconsin Capitol today (May 25, 2011) with a heavy heart after Walker signed into law one of the most oppressive voting rights laws in the country.
However, it lifts my spirits to see that the people of Wisconsin are continuing to act in resistance and we are not going to roll over and take whatever Walker wants to give us.
By John Grant
Some men rob you with a six gun.
Some do it with a fountain pen.
“Pretty Boy Floyd”
We hear a lot about what democracy is about in America. Some of it is true and some of it is the usual boilerplate crap. Whatever you hear about the Cheri Honkala Green Party campaign for Sheriff of Philadelphia – and of course there’s a lot of crap going around -- one thing is true, it’s real democracy in action.
Striking miners and their families being evicted from company houses
April 18 1912 - Members of the United Mine Workers of America on Paint Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia, demanded wages equal to those of other area mines. The operators rejected the wage increase and miners walked off the job. Miners along nearby Cabin Creek, having previously lost their union, joined the Paint Creek strikers and demanded:
• the right to organize
• recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly
• an end to blacklisting union organizers
• alternatives to company stores
• an end to the practice of using mine guards
• prohibition of cribbing
• installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal
• unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies' checkweighmen were not cheating the miners.
By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report - Contrary to rumors being spread around, I do not know what our friends at Anonymous have planned for Operation Empire State Rebellion (OpESR). However, I wholeheartedly agree with the goals they presented in their "Communication #1" video. They are very similar to reports I have been writing and the movement we have been calling for on our social network.
Americans Across the Country are Joining the Culture of Resistance – You Are Needed!
By Kevin Zeese
Are you tired of big banks making record profits, paying giant executive salaries and bonuses and then cooking the books so they avoid paying taxes? We are. And, we are responding. Join us.
On April 15 in Union Square Park in New York City at 11:00 AM we are holding a “Sounds of Resistance Concert” and protest against the big corporate banks that have undermined the U.S. economy and displaced families from their homes. Big Finance has taken more than a trillion from the Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve to pay for their casino gambling on Wall Street but they are still forcing people out of their homes, not lending to small businesses and choking the economy.
We may have fallen rapidly behind many as to our once vibrant and envied economy, workforce, innovations, advancing forward and much more, we were envied for, but we still are leading or on par for much of the ideologies an ACORN and NGO type communities bring forth and spread to the World Communities. These are now probably the only really important thing's many don't now either hate us for or are turning their backs on us for the many other issues and policies!
To rise once more, hopefully bigger and better, here in the once known as United States of America, gone starting soon after 9/11!
John McCusker, The Times-Picayune archiveWade Rathke
My father was a hard working postal worker, then called a postal clerk who sorted the mail. Up till this strike he was making less take home than I started making working construction till I went into the service. He did have some benefits and a pension plan, I didn't. After the strike they started making a more comfortable wage as well as the postal service started automating, as they advanced they gave schooling in the newer technologies. He retired some years later and they lived comfortably on a decent pension for his hard work of many years, a pension he contributed to. Also around this time companies, turning into corporations, were axing older workers as they were approaching retirement age, this continued as the safety nets for dedicated hard working folks were marginalized. leaving them out of any and all pensions they had already contributed into and living off lower waged jobs then Social Security.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Philadelphia--Charlene Scott cheered and chanted with the hundreds thronging Philadelphia’s Love Park during Saturday's protest against conservative Republican onslaughts seeking to slaughter what remains of the living-standard comforts enjoyed by middle and working-class Americans.
But Scott had a different perspective than most attending that demonstration, which had been organized largely to voice solidarity with public workers in Wisconsin now confronting calculated attacks against their collective bargaining rights from that state’s Tea Party-aligned Republican governor.
Scott said she had seen this onslaught coming ten years ago.
“When I saw jobs moving off-shore, banks lowering interest rates on personal accounts and governments passing more charges onto taxpayers I knew this was coming,” Scott said.
(Reuters) - A crowd estimated at more than 70,000 people on Saturday waved American flags, sang the national anthem and called for the defeat of a Wisconsin plan to curb public sector unions that has galvanized opposition from the American labor movement.
In one of the biggest rallies at the state Capitol since the Vietnam War, union members and their supporters braved frigid temperatures and a light snowfall to show their displeasure.
EXHIBIT: Urban Design & Civil Protest
ARTICLE: Designing a City for Safe Protests
ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2011) — Civil protests, from peaceful sit-ins at the Pentagon to violent riots in Cairo, nonetheless share some common characteristics. To study how protests evolve in public spaces, Dr. Tali Hatuka, an architect and head of Tel Aviv University's Laboratory of Contemporary Urban Design, has dissected some of the world's most publicized protests -- those in Washington, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Beijing, and Leipzig.
George W. Bush once delivered a speech to a gathering of wealthy Republicans and said: "This is an impressive crowd—the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base.”
Barack Obama could stand at a podium and just as smugly say the same words to wealthy Democrats.
Most of us can’t identify with these “elites”.
Nor can we comprehend our country’s debt. I had motion sickness when I checked the National Debt Clock website (http://www.usdebtclock.org/). We can say trillions. But the number is too huge to grasp.
Have you ever counted and rolled coins into those brown-paper cylinders? Takes awhile. After you’re finished, you do the math. Hmmm, thirty-friggin’-five dollars. Yet, in your palm, it feels heavy.
My blog entry for 26 November 2006 was entitled Hate Mail, Vandalism and Other Matches and advised readers to complain loudly and officially if they became the victims of hate mail, vandalism and threats. I’m not sure how convincing I was. The recent shootings in Tucson, the Pentagon, the Holocaust Museum, in Wichita, Knoxville, Pittsburgh, Brockton, and Okaloosa County, Florida show an escalation in the seriousness and magnitude of the problems.
One remedy might be recourse to the Law. In Minnesota making a Terroristic Threat is a misdemeanor and is punishable by ”imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.” Similar laws may exist in other states. Offenses to civil discourse may have to be taken up in the criminal courts as well as in civil courts. The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to have success using lawsuits against hate groups of all sorts.
Just a suggestion. Here are some links that cover the statute and how it is used.
By Charles M. Young
The Anti-American Manifesto
(Seven Stories Press)
by Ted Rall
Lots of books collect all the low-hanging fruit in the abundant orchard of corporate state crime and arrange it into a more or less digestible feast, and then they all conclude with a ringing exhortation to elect more Democrats to Congress, or build a third party, or challenge the legality of war through the courts, or write well-reasoned letters of protest to The New York Times, or impeach whoever is president, or go to more demonstrations, or drip more snark on the ruling class.
The reader sits alone at night with the question, “Is that all there is?”
Ted Rall seeks to answer that question in The Anti-American Manifesto. At the beginning of chapter one (“Kill the Zombie Empire”), he quotes the U.S Criminal Code that advocating the overthrow of the government by violence is unlawful, and then he advocates the overthrow of the government by violence.