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By Dave Lindorff
There are calls in this election season for establishing a moratorium of some sort on home foreclosures, and a number of large banks have even voluntarily stopped, at least until after Election Day, on foreclosing on houses. That’s fine as far as it goes, but what about the millions of homes that have already been lost or stolen over the past several years?
By Charles M. Young
#1: I don’t know why the Left is so so jazzed about FBI raids on the anti-war movement. Shouldn’t we be thanking them for finding it? I mean, that was some serious investigative work. I’m 59 years old. I’ve been going to anti-war demonstrations most of my life. Since a few a biggies in the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the peace demonstrations I’ve attended have repeatedly attracted the same 34 people, all of whom hate each other because of differing interpretations of Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach, and they’re surrounded in a “free speech zone” by barricades and police on horses, and they always have a terrible sound system, so that pedestrians wince and go to the other side of the street.
The FBI thinks the Freedom Road Socialist Organization is a threat to the corporate state? Where do I join?
PROTEST John Yoo Outrageous UC Berkeley Event
09.09.2010 - 09.09.2010 12.30 - 13.45
Boalt Hall - Berkeley
Meet up 12:30 PM outside Room 110, Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley campus. Demonstrate your right to speak out against the University of California's promotion of state torture policies.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
By Dave Lindorff
The Obama administration and BP have clearly been conspiring to hide the magnitude of the Gulf oil catastrophe from the public. One way they're doing this is by threatening jail terms and $40,000 fines against those who go to document the fiasco.
That is ridiculous. There is not a conceivable justification for banning the media from fully covering this environmental disaster.
Declare Your Independence! Americans Need Independent Media, Independent Movements and Independent Electoral Politics
If I had to pick one word for Americans who want real change, it would be independence.
Not only because the United States was founded on the idea of independence but because those of us who work to try and change the country for the better and have studied American history have learned this has always been the critical ingredient for real change.
First, we need independent media. Web based outlets like this one are a critical ingredient to the success of advocacy efforts. Like so many businesses in the United States, the media is controlled by concentrated group of corporations. A handful of companies own all the hundreds of television stations on your cable TV. The same is true of radio stations. More and more newspapers are part of syndicates. These conglomerates has resulted in homogenized that only reports a concentrated corporate perspective.
by Linda Milazzo
Photo by Venice Paparazzi
There are some things we humans have just one of. We have one heart, one liver, one tongue, one nose... Of course, there are probable anomalies to even these similarities. I'm sure in the annals of medicine there are cases of individuals with multiples of even these, although physiologically, we humans need just one.
by Linda Milazzo
Sometimes you just know when something's not right. You see it, or hear it, and you know instinctively there's something missing. You sense a faint beat where there should be a strong heart. You see a short phrase where there should be a full story. That happened to me just over a year ago in the early afternoon of April 24, 2009, when I saw the Los Angeles screening of THE SOLOIST, helmed by British director Joe Wright. The film just wasn't right.
Yoo and Card will be appearing in a Panel Discussion at 5pm, June 15 about Shakespeaer's Henry V in a free event at Boston's Cutler Majestic Theater.The panel will be preceded by a reading of excerpts from Henry V by numerous Republican figures.
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We're going to make sure there are no backroom deals that effectively gut the best reforms currently in the bill -- we've launched "Call-in Days for the Big 3 No Bailouts Reforms" (over at anwf.org) to put every decision maker in the spotlight for gutting or keeping the Big 3. We have 14 days until June 24 to influence the financial reform bill to be something worth passing. So, on Tuesday (6/15), Wednesday (6/16), and Thursday (6/17), please help us get enough people so it's like we're walking right into the backroom with them and slapping their hands if they do something bad. We'll update our list on the slimiest and worst on financial reform. See the list below.
Sign up for a day that works for you -- you just need a 5 minute chunk of time free -- and we'll make your call effortless. If you've already signed up, thank you. You've come to the right place. Add what you find out on your calls in the comments here, as soon as we hear back from you, we'll update who is acting the sleaziest (you can also report back at #finreg #save716 on twitter).
We need to call as much as each of us can to stop government support and incentives for banks to become bigger and riskier - this is structural reform.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE LAST LEG OF FINANCIAL REFORM?
The financial reform bill is going into the final stage in the legislative process this week and bought-out members of Congress are trying to stealthily remove all the provisions in it that the big banks oppose. The financial reform bill would be a pure product of lobbying and big banking if it were not for the just a handful of "No Bailout Reforms" that are still in the bill as we speak. Can you join us in making sure that conferees don't gut the strongest provisions in the financial reform bill behind closed doors?
A full whip list for derivatives reform is here. We need your help finding out where people stand.
By Charles M. Young
The Texas State Board of Education is a lot like the weather. Everyone talks about it, nobody does anything about it.
Except Judy Jennings. She’s running for the Texas State Board of Education in District 10, which stretches in vast zigzags from the ‘burbs of Austin to the ‘burbs of Houston. In area, it is bigger than 12 states. It was gerrymandered by Tom Delay to include lots of Republicans. Jennings is a Democrat. She thinks that public education is a good idea, that actual science should be taught in science classes supported by tax dollars, and that the Texas State Board of Education should not be a laughingstock in large newspapers and small blogs around the world.
Criminals Karl Rove, Andrew Card, John Yoo, George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney may be in appearing in your city soon. Check out their schedule, bring your banners and signs. Send us your commentaries, photos and videos and we will post it on our Facebook
Check out the dates, times, and cities at: http://warcriminalswatch.org/index.php/take-action/95-war-criminal-appea...
Japanese Leader Backtracks on Revising Base Agreement
By Martin Fackler and Hiroko Tabuchi | NY Times | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
Backtracking on a prominent campaign pledge, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told angry residents of Okinawa on Tuesday that it was unrealistic to expect the United States to move its entire Marine Corps air base off the island.
Mr. Hatoyama’s government could hang in the balance. He has pledged to come up with a plan by the end of this month to relocate the Marine air base and resolve a stubborn problem that has created months of discord with Washington. His delays and apparent flip-flopping on the issue have fed a growing feeling of disappointment in the prime minister’s leadership, driving his approval ratings below 30 percent.
Visiting Okinawa for the first time since becoming prime minister, Mr. Hatoyama asked residents to entertain a compromise that would keep some of the functions of the base on the island while the government explored moving some facilities elsewhere.
“Realistically speaking, it is impossible” to move the entire base, called Futenma, off the island, he said. “We’re facing a situation that is realistically difficult to move everything out of the prefecture. We must ask the people of Okinawa to share the burden.” Read more.
Good News! Due to the success of an action taken by hundreds of activists in solidarity with Richmond May Day 2010 through a 24 hour letter writing campaign, with over 350 signatures, targeting Police Chief Bryan T. Norwood (Richmond City Chief of Police) and Mayor Dwight C. Jones (Richmond City Mayor) we were granted a permit allowing the use of the street to march.
The letter was concerning their requirement that organizers be responsible for the hiring of off duty police officers, an infringement on our First Amendment Right to free speech and freedom of assembly. Without all of your diligent solidarity and action including the experience and advising efforts of the Virginia ACLU and Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, we have avoided a potentially dangerous situation. The city has granted two police vehicles at no cost to the organizers as an escort to Richmond May Day Parade 2010.
We still plan to work closely with the ACLU from this point forward to insure that anyone else who wishes to exercise their First Amendment Rights may do so without the deterrent of any government ordinance requiring payment to do so.
Richmond May Day Organizing Committee 2010
Chowchilla, California - High in the mountains overlooking Bakersfield and the south end of the San Joaquin Valley is a piece of California's past, the California Correctional Institution, or as inmates know it, Tehachapi.
It was one of the state's first big prisons, built at the height of the Great Depression in 1933 to contain the unraveling social fabric of Hoovervilles, high unemployment, a vast influx of Dust Bowl refugees, and left-wing political movements spreading like wildfire.
The penitentiary spreads across 1,650 acres of a remote desert valley. Designed for 2,785 inmates, it now holds 5,806 - 200% of an already inhumane standard. And while it was built as the original California Institute for Women, today its only inhabitants are men.
Jazzman Art Pepper, son of a Los Angeles longshoreman, lived in its cells for four and a half years in the 1950s. Like Pepper, today's prison inmates are mostly there because of drugs. Pepper would have recognized them for another reason. Tehachapi's inmates are almost all Black and Latino, like the rest of California's prisoners, and have been since the prison system began. And poor. Read more.
To the ASUC Senate,
We the undersigned Nobel Women Peace Laureates support your courage and call on you to reaffirm the ASUC Bill in Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes. We stand united in our belief that divesting from companies that provide significant support for the Israeli military provides moral and strategic stewardship of tuition and taxpayer-funded public education money. We are all peace makers, and we believe that no amount of dialogue without economic pressure can motivate Israel to change its policy of using overwhelming force against Palestinian civilians. Last year’s nearly 400 women and children casualties in Gaza, and thousands more injured and killed, were all victims of a well armed military machine allowed to operate unchecked. A delegation of us went to Gaza and saw firsthand the evidence of wholesale killing and destruction. Our hearts grieve for Gaza and we demand that there be no more Gazas. We urge the UC system to take the lead in this direction as has been its tradition, and commend the students who are working to achieve this goal. We reject the portrayals of this action as anti-Semitic, and maintain that it does not make a choice between Palestinians and Israelis, but between universal freedom and oppression.
Shirin Ebadi, Iran, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
Mairead Maguire (Corrigan), Ireland, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemala, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate
Jody Williams, USA, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate
THE GREENING OF THE GRAY PANTHERS
By Joan Wile
One had always thought of the Gray Panthers as an admirable organization advocating for the dignity and rights of older people, as so brilliantly represented by its founder, the magnetic Maggie Kuhn.
But, one would have been not fully informed. On Saturday, April 17, the Panthers celebrated their 40 years of existence, and held two actions in Washington DC which made it clear that they are a multi-issue group on behalf of persons of all ages. Their struggle against ageism is still a very important part of their agenda, but they vest other causes with as much weight.
The first of their actions on Saturday was a mixed-generation rally at the White House with unique features exemplifying the theme of environmental protection. They carried three faux open coffins with fabric effigies of a man, woman and child. Rally attendees wore white protective masks to symbolize the dangers of global warming on the air we breathe. Other colorful touches were the repeated throwing of many facsimiles of Earth globes made of cotton into the air, another symbol of how we are all affected by the dangers of global warming. Two people wore hazmat suits while pushing two wheelchaired participants. A Hazmat suit is a garment worn as protection from hazardous materials or substances and is generally combined with a breathing apparatus.
Book Talk with Kari Lydersen: “Revolt on Goose Island”
On Friday evening, April 9, 2010, author/journalist Kari Lydersen discussed her latest book, “Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Factory Takeover, and What It Says about the Economic Crisis.” The event was sponsored by and held at Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse, in Baltimore, MD. Ms. Lydersen is an award-winning staff reporter for the Washington Post; and a co-author, with Wafaa Bilal, of “Shoot an Iraqi,” which Booklist labeled the “Best book of 2008.”
From TomDispatch tonight: How the mayor of one hard-hit, rust-belt city is confronting the American urban financial squeeze, the lack of funds for social services, and the outsized sums we're spending on our wars; a powerful piece as April 15th, tax day, approaches -- Jo Comerford, "Tax Day and America's Wars" (Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview in which Comerford discusses military spending and the federal budget can be found here.)
Here's how Jo Comerford, executive director of the National Priorities Project and TomDispatch regular, begins her remarkable new post on an American mayor who is taking a groundbreaking step that should be in the news: "Matt Ryan, the mayor of Binghamton, New York, is sick and tired of watching people in local communities 'squabble over crumbs,' as he puts it, while so much local money pours into the Pentagon’s coffers and into America’s wars. He’s so sick and tired of it, in fact, that, urged on by local residents, he’s decided to do something about it. He’s planning to be the first mayor in the United States to decorate the façade of City Hall with a large, digital 'cost of war' counter, funded entirely by private contributions."
This will be an American urban first for a mayor facing what he calls our "skewed national priorities." In her piece, Comerford carefully breaks down just what the $138.6 million that Binghamton’s taxpayers are out of pocket since 2001 for the Iraq and Afghan wars would mean to a city with a yearly budget of only $81 million, a city where taxes are going up and jobs are being cut:
"For the same amount of money, Ryan could fund the Binghamton city library for the next 60 years, or pay for a four-year education for 95% of the incoming freshman class at the State University of New York at Binghamton, or offer four years of quality health coverage for everyone in Binghamton 19 or younger, or secure renewable electricity for every home in the city for the next 11 years. If he was feeling really flush, he could fully fund one-third of New York State's Head Start slots for one year. For the same sum, Ryan could also authorize a $2,900 tax refund for every woman, man, and child in Binghamton or pay the salaries of all of Binghamton's hard-hit public school teachers and staff for about two years."
This is a memorable piece as we head toward tax day, April 15th. It concludes: "A construction crew will soon arrive to install Binghamton's 'cost of war' counter which will overlook the city's busiest intersection and spur conversation around tax day. During the three minutes local motorists wait at the nearby traffic light, they can join Mayor Ryan in waving good-bye to $100. And Binghamton as a whole can grapple with spending $49,650 in war costs every day of 2010." Read it now.
CA A.G. Finds "No Violation of Criminal Law" In "Severely Edited" ACORN "Pimp" Videos; Releases Raw Tapes For First Time
CA A.G. FINDS 'NO VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL LAW' IN 'SEVERELY EDITED' ACORN 'PIMP' VIDEOS; RELEASES RAW TAPES FOR FIRST TIME
Unreleased raw footage reviewed by AG Jerry Brown's investigation was obtained from Rightwing activists O'Keefe and Giles in exchange for immunity from prosecution
Contradicting MSM coverage, O'Keefe 'never claimed he was a pimp,' 'did not act as a journalist'...
By Brad Friedman | Brad Blog
Echoing the recent report of the Kings County, NY, District Attorney who completed a five-month probe finding "no criminality" seen in video tapes secretly taken of low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers last year in New York, California's Attorney General has now reached a similar conclusion regarding videos recorded in three different cities in the Golden State last Summer, according to a report released today which finds the workers "committed no violation of criminal law."
While describing "highly inappropriate behavior" by some of the workers caught on secret video tapes made by Rightwing activists, CA AG Jerry Brown's report finds that "the evidence does not show that the ACORN employees in California violated state criminal laws in connection with their conversations" with activists posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend.
In a press release announcing his 28-page report [PDF] (and accompanying 55 pages of attachments and exhibits [PDF] with it), the AG's office says the publicly released videos taken in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino were "severely edited." Read more.
Andrea March, the ex-fiance of the leader of the Hutaree militia group, spoke with Shepard Smith and said that David Brian Stone was a Ron Paul fanatic who was afraid that Obama would take away his guns. Where have we heard that one before? Oh, it reminds me of the Richard Poplawski saga. (rough transcript)
Marsh: When Obama took the presidency is when he lost it because he was a Ron Paul fanatic.
Smith: Ron Paul fanatic, what does that have to do with ?
Marsh: To tell you the truth I don't know. I never really understood why Ron Paul was so much different, but he thought he could get away with anything and he wanted more freedoms than what he had and he was trying to do it through the violence. Read more.
GUAM TAXPAYERS PAY $1,019/HR FOR PORT NEGOTIATOR!
Since former GM of the Port Authority of Guam, Ken Takagawa, became the Port’s Chief Negotiator, there has been no forward progress with the contract negotiations for our workers.
He refuses to negotiate on items that have been negotiable for Public Employees under the Public Employees Management Relations Act for 40 years. Mr. Takagawa works 6 hrs a week and receives $20,000 per month plus per diem of $215 per day which comes out to $1,019 per hour to basically delay the process of getting our Port workers a contract!
It appears that Mr. Takagawa is deliberately delaying the process to maximize his salary.
In an effort to rectify the situation, President Matt Rector sent a letter to the Office of Attorney General Chief Prosecutor, Diane Corbett, to investigate the situation and ensure protection of the people of Guam from Government corruption, theft and waste of thousands of public dollars to this private contractor. Read Letter.
To see the world through Greg Taylor's eyes, imagine being stuck in a time machine for 16 years and delivered to 2010.
Facebook, flat screens and DVDs are all new to him. Relationships that used to come with natural ease seem awkward.
Since 1993, Taylor, now 47, had been locked away in North Carolina's prison system for the murder of a prostitute. Last month, he was exonerated and freed....
Taylor is the first man to be exonerated by a state innocence commission, which makes his case stand out from those of the more than 500 people across the country who have been exonerated by the work of private attorneys, according to the Life After Exoneration program.
The group that freed Taylor, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, was created in 2006 after a succession of wrongful convictions were revealed. It's a one-of-a-kind program with a state-mandated panel that re-examines questionable cases, including those that don't involve DNA evidence like Taylor's.
Other jurisdictions are following North Carolina's lead, looking at creating government agencies to prevent and reverse wrongful convictions. Read more.
Future U.S wars in the Third World will involve massive use of drones to police the territory, employ local satrap forces (like those of Karzai’s Afghan Army) and once the territory has been pacified sufficiently, the deployment of “Government Ready-to-Rule (GRR)” kits. The drones provide the critical and the weak link: critical insofar as they represent the ultimate American-style war where only the “Others” (opponents and civilians) die but weak insofar as this type of warfare only works against an opponent without any anti-drone/aircraft capability. In other words, this type of technological warfare can only be carried out upon weak opponents lacking independent industrial capacities (not against China, Russia, and India). This approach represents the culmination of disconnecting the delivery of deadly force – the rain of Hellfire missiles - upon the Others and incurring no human (physical or psychological – PTSD) costs. Or put in other terms, it represents the quintessential American way of “solving” problems with technological short-cuts, a military effort begun in 1942 with the Allied fire-bombing of German cities. The current American war in Afghanistan is a harbinger of what is to come, America’s electronic, troop-less war.
Prophetically the first victims in 2010 of Obama in his Afghan war were a teacher in a government school, Sadiq Noor, and his nine-year old son, Wajid as well as three other persons. Both were killed on Sunday night, January 3, 2010 in a U.S. drone strike involving two missiles fired into the home of Sadiq Noor in the village of Musaki, North Waziristan in Pakistan. During January 2010, a record number of twelve deadly missile strikes were carried out on Pakistan’s tribal areas. Three Al-Qaeda leaders were killed and 123 innocent civilians. During 2009, 44 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killed 708 people but only five Al Qaeda or Taliban; that is for each enemy fighter 140 civilian Pakistanis had to die.
Those who pull the gray trigger to fire are located in Nevada, Kandahar, or Pakistan. As Philip Alston points out, “Young military personnel raised on a diet of video games now kill real people remotely using joysticks. Far removed from the human consequences of their actions, how will this generation of fighters value the right to life?” In early 2010, the U.S. Air Force had more drone operators in training than fighter and bomber pilots. Read more.
Blogging GREAT Chile Earthquake/Tsunamis; Pres. Bachelet A Steady Leader; Japan Prepares For Tsunamis
by Linda Milazzo
UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/5:40AM (local Chile time)
CNN International is now reporting 101 aftershocks have been recorded in Chile since yesterday's 8.8 earthquake with 7 at 6.0 or higher. Over 300 fatalities have been reported with 60 reported missing.
Japan is seeing tsunami flooding on its northern island of Hokkaido. The tsunami projection from NOAA reports a wave of 4 feet has just arrived. 320,000 coastal residents have been evacuated. The tsunami warning for Russia has been lifted.
UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/3:40AM (local Chile time)
The death toll in Chile is now confirmed at 300. Chile has not yet asked for help from other countries. More than one million buildings have been damaged. More than a half million houses have been completely destroyed and two million people affected. President Bachelet has been coordinating services steadily for nearly 24 hours since 5AM yesterday.
Philly Rampage Shows Social Media's Potential: Youthful Rage, Instead of Ineffectual, Could be Potent
By Dave Lindorff
City leaders and the downtown business community in Philadelphia are wringing their hands and calling for “tough action” against a horde of some 150 high school kids from eight of the city’s decrepit and failing high schools who rampaged late Tuesday afternoon through the Center City district’s shops, from the Gallery mall at 10th Street to Macy’s near City Hall, frightening tourists and suburban shoppers, and knocking over shopping displays.
By evening, police had reportedly locked up 15 kids who were charged with violent offenses, such as beating other kids or bystanders, or destroying property (Macy’s claimed damages to its flagship store totalling $700). Some of these kids were held overnight on lesser charges such as shoplifting or disturbing the peace.
I’m not going to diminish the seriousness of the incident. Nobody should be trashing stores or stealing things, and certainly nobody should be hurting other people.
Nearly a decade ago, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) stood alone as the Senate's constitutional conscience. Casting the only dissenting vote against passage of the PATRIOT Act in 2001, he was powerless to stop an opportunistic power grab by neo-conservatives who had long sought, well before the tragedy of 9-11, to expand our government's reach into the lives of law-abiding Americans.
Today, the draconian authorities foisted on an unsuspecting public by the PATRIOT Act once again place the Constitution in the cross-hairs of a complacent Congress, acquiescing to another administration whose political agenda lies at conspicuous odds with its leader's oath to defend the Constitution.