Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Sedition Act of 1918 rises like a zombie from the grave

by decora

In the Espionage Act case against Dr. Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, judge Colleen Kottar-Kotelly has cited two cases from the World War I Red Scare era that she claims involved the Espionage Act of 1917: Frohwerk v United States and Wimmer v United States. She was attempting to show that some of Mr Kim's arguments in favor of Free Speech, and against the Espionage Act, have already been rejected by the court, 90 years ago, and so, today, should also be rejected.

The problem is that neither Frohwerk's nor Wimmer's cases involved the Espionage Act of 1917. They actually involved the Sedition Act of 1918, which was an amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, which was repealed in 1921 because it was too draconian. The 1918 act actually made it illegal to criticize the government and it's war effort during World War I. Socialist Eugene Debs was thrown in prison under this act for criticizing the war in a speech; he later ran for president from inside his prison cell. Thousands and thousands of other people were arrested in the same period during the Palmer Raids, and several hundred, including Emma Goldman, were deported by a brand new FBI manager named J. Edgar Hoover. [20]

And yet. Here in 2011, our federal judge, Colleen Kottar-Kotelly, doesn't appear to realize this. Now, I am not a lawyer. I'm not even what you would call smart. But it seems like common sense to me that judges should not cite laws that were repealed. Especially not if the case involves sending someone to federal prison for 10 years. Especially especially not if it involves the fundamental principles of civilization, like the freedom of speech and the constitutional safeguards against tyrrany.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We Shall Not Be Moved: Police Repression, Official Mendacity and Why OWS Has Already Overcome

by Phil Rockstroh

Until recent events proved otherwise, the hyper-commercialized surface of the corporate state gave the appearance of being too diffuse--too devoid of a center to pose a threat of totalitarian excess. Accordingly, as of late, due to the violent response to OWS protesters by local police departments in Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago, and in other U.S. cities, the repressive nature of the faux republic is beginning to be revealed.

Behind the bland face of the political establishment (purchased by the bloated profits of the plundering class) are riot cops, outfitted and armed with the accoutrements of oppression, who are ready and willing to enforce the dictates of the elitist beneficiaries of the degraded status quo. In deed and action, as of late, the police state embedded within neo-liberal economic oligarchy is showing its hyper-authoritarian proclivities to the world.

In general, existence within the present societal structure inflicts on the individual a sense of atomization and its concomitant feelings of alienation, vague unease, free floating anxiety and anomie. The coercion is implicit and internalized.

Because of its mundane, ubiquitous nature, the system is reliant on an individual's sense of isolation (even ignorance of the existence of the structure itself) to remain in place. In short, the exploitive system continues to exist because its denizens are bereft of other models of comparison.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Leonard Peltier; Native American Movement

From Wikipedia...Modern social statistics of Native Americans serve as defining characteristics of Native American life, and can be compared to the average United States citizens’ social statistics. Areas from their demographics and economy to health standards, drug and alcohol use, and land use and ownership all lead to a better understanding of Native American life. Health standards for Native Americans have notable disparities from that of all United States racial and ethnic groups. They have higher rates of disease, higher death rates, and a lack of medical coverage.[1] These health issues are matched by illegal drug abuse; abuse levels are higher than any other demographic group in the United States. Methamphetamine abuse on reservations is a particular area of concern for tribal and federal governments.[2] Concerning their land, Native Americans lost more than 97.7 percent of their land over the course of the American conquest. The signing of treaties, relocation, and, epidemics accelerated the decrease of Native American population as well as land.[3]

And the "leaders" of this nation pretend to care about human rights as a pretense to invade nations abroad while indiscriminately despairing its own...Welcome to the Land of Hypocrisy.

Rick Scott's Pee Test Fails a Court Test

by Adam Weinstein

Two months ago, we told you how Florida Gov. Rick Scott's plan to drug-test the state's welfare recipients—at their expense—turned out to be a very costly waste of time. Now the effort has been ruled unconstitutional, too.

In a blistering 37-page opinion (PDF) issued late Monday night, federal court Judge Mary Scriven put a halt to the tea party Republican's marquee plan, concluding that "the wholesale, suspicionless drug testing of all applicants" for Florida's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) constituted an unreasonable search in violation of the 4th Amendment. It's just the latest setback for Scott, who's recently come under fire for pooh-poohing nonbusiness majors, collecting cut-rate health insurance, cutting support to the disabled, building himself a military hall of fame, and imploding on a live cable news show.

"Though the State speaks in generalities about the 'public health risk, as well as the crime risk, associated with drugs' being 'beyond dispute,' it provides no concrete evidence that those risks are any more present in TANF applicants than in the greater population, "Scriven wrote in her ruling against Florida's government. "It is not enough to simply recite a governmental interest without any evidence of a concrete threat that would be mitigated through drug testing."

Common Dreaming

by Lihn Dihn

A protest sign in NYC, "FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I FEEL AT HOME." Home is Liberty Park, a 33,000-square-foot plot where hundreds have camped nightly for over a month. During the day, they march together, their bodies merged into a common thrust, while at night, they lie together. Some are barely covered, while others are entirely wrapped, like collateral damage of yet another stupid war. Be careful or you'll step on an arm, leg or even head.

In a country of walls and locked doors, where even infants have private domains, there are no barriers here. With everyone exposed, and no TV to distract, conversation comes more readily. Here, no canned music slops over each dialogue or interior monologue. Here, all crazy, percussive rhythms and melodies must be generated by living muscles and breaths. Here, all faces are real all the time, with none beamed from uptown or across the land mass.

Though we've been together all these decades, I don't think I ever saw you good before this goddamn protest. Beatific apes, winged baboons or renaissance orangutans, why are we so gorgeous? Sweetie, it's been so long since I had a leisurely gaze at your magnificence, fixated as I was by the holograms.

Legal Rights for Fertilized Eggs?

How a Terrifying Law Could Lead to Jail-time for Miscarriages, Birth Control Bans, and the End of Legal Abortion

Initiative 26, which would change the definition of “person” in the Mississippi state Constitution to “include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof,” is more than just an absolute ban on abortion and a barely veiled shot at Roe v. Wade — although it is both. By its own logic, the initiative would almost certainly ban common forms of birth control like the IUD and the morning-after pill, call into question the legality of the common birth-control pill, and even open the door to investigating women who have suffered miscarriages.

Personhood amendments were once considered too radical for the mainstream pro-life movement, but in the most conservative state in the country, with an energized, church-mobilized grass roots, Mississippi could well be the first state to pass one. Initiative 26 even has the state’s top Democrats behind it.

Read the article at ALTERNET

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oakland anti-Wall Street protest turns violent

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Under cover of darkness early Tuesday, hundreds of police swept into Oakland's Occupy Wall Street protest, firing tear gas and beanbag rounds before clearing out an encampment that demonstrators had hoped would stir a revolution.

In less than an hour, the two-week-old, miniature makeshift city was in ruins.

Scattered across the area were overturned tents, pillows, sleeping bags, yoga mats, tarps, backpacks, food wrappers and water bottles. Signs decrying corporations and police still hung from lampposts or lay on the ground.

Protesters had stayed awake through the night, waiting for the expected raid. Officers and sheriff's deputies from across the San Francisco Bay area surrounded the plaza in front of City Hall at around 5 a.m. and closed in. Eighty-five people were arrested, mostly on suspicion of misdemeanor unlawful assembly and illegal camping, police said.

About 170 protesters were at the site, but no one was injured, Interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said at a news conference following the raid.

"I'm very pleased with the way things went," Jordan said.

The Wars America Doesn't Talk About

by Susan Glasser

A disturbing triumphalism over the Libya intervention has emerged amid the conspiracy of silence over the bloody mess in Afghanistan.

(August) was the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan in the ten years of the war there, with 67 killed, nearly half of them Navy SEALs in the downing of a Chinook helicopter -- the deadliest single incident in this, the longest war in American history. More promisingly, it was also the first month since the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 that not a single U.S. soldier was killed there.  

And yet these startling facts received almost no notice: the president never mentioned them, Congress was silent. When it comes to these drawn-out conflicts, both American political parties are increasingly determined to say nothing at all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We the People Support Occupy Wall Street; Why Doesn’t Congress?

by S. Paul Forrest

For too long, We the People have sat back while the governmental representatives of our nation have initiated fiscal policies to appease the donors of their campaign drives while taking away from our social services.  It is not difficult in this money driven world we live in to understand how indifferent the rich persons who occupy Washington are to the “little people” who are occupying Wall Street.  After all, it is We who they have profited from and We who seem to never have stood up for ourselves or even considered the possibility that we were being lied to by these candidate clowns we are suckered into voting for each election.  With this in mind, perhaps it is We then who should take a careful look at the corporate backings of candidates before we charge down to our respective voting districts and cast a vote for more of this sort of politician.

The aforementioned course of action is what most politicians have embarked upon (or inaction as we have seen for the past three years) which would explain why they not only don’t care abut Occupy Wall Street, they want to block it from the Nation’s view. The only “Occupying” they want is that of the Senate for political and financial control of this country to the end of only filling the wallets of their corporate contributors (and their own) while at the same time, emptying ours.  Is this the representation our Founding Fathers envisioned? I think not. We the People are tired of this continued self-representation exhibited by these affectations of capitalism run wild.  We want real HOPE; real CHANGE.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The 99% Seek a Just Economy, Not Just an Economy

by Leo Gerard

Republicans jammed together a mess of old, failed and vague schemes and called it a jobs bill. Sen. John McCain conceded the reason for the rehash: “Part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal.”

They still don’t. This despite the fact that they promised voters during their campaign to take control of the U.S. House one year ago that they’d create jobs. That they’d focus on jobs. That nothing was more important to them than jobs.

Now, what they’ve offered instead of actual jobs is a polyglot of GOP talking points. It’s certainly no vision to move the country forward. It’s a plot to set the country back – to repeal the health care law that will soon help provide coverage for the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance, to rescind the Wall Street reform law designed to prevent another financial sector-caused meltdown, and to thwart regulations, like those that stopped distribution of listeria-infected cantaloupe that killed 25.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio called the Republican polyglot a “pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs.” It is, in fact, a pro-business proposal to permit corporations to destroy the environment for humans.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Democracy Is Comin' To The USA

Fight The System!

Why Are Police Attacking Peaceful Protesters?

How OWS Has Exposed the Militarization of US Law Enforcement
by Rania Khalek

As the number of Occupy Wall Street arrests nears 1,000, instances of police brutality continue to pile up. Felix Rivera-Pitre was punched in the face in New York during a march through the city’s financial district; Ryan Hadar was dragged out of the street by his thumbs at Occupy San Francisco; and at Occupy Boston, members of Veterans for Peace were shoved to the ground and dragged away for chanting and peacefully occupying a local park. 

These efforts to intimidate the protesters are symptoms of three decades of policies that have militarized civilian law enforcement. Sgt. Shamar Thomas, a U.S. marine at the Occupy Wall Street protests, was so appalled by the behavior of the NYPD that he loudly confronted a group of 30 officers, shouting at them:

"This is not a war zone. These are unarmed people. It does not make you tough to hurt these people. If you want to go fight, go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Stop hurting these people, man, why y’all doing this to our people? Why are y’all gearing up like this is war? There are no bullets flying out here."

Police repression in America is hardly new. Low-income neighborhoods, communities of color and political activists have always had to deal with unneccassary shows of force by some police officers. Thanks to a populist uprising threatening a status quo that benefits the top tier of American society to the detriment of the bottom 99 percent, many Americans for the first time are witnessing the U.S. police state in action. 

The End Of History

by Paul Craig Roberts

Now that the CIA's proxy army has murdered Gaddafi, what next for Libya?

If Washington's plans succeed, Libya will become another American puppet state. Most of the cities, towns, and infrastructure have been destroyed by air strikes by the air forces of the US and Washington's NATO puppets. US and European firms will now get juicy contracts, financed by US taxpayers, to rebuild Libya. The new real estate will be carefully allocated to lubricate a new ruling class picked by Washington. This will put Libya firmly under Washington's thumb.

With Libya conquered, AFRICOM will start on the other African countries where China has energy and mineral investments. Obama has already sent US troops to Central Africa under the guise of defeating the Lord's Resistance Army, a small insurgency against the ruling dictator-for-life. The Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, welcomed the prospect of yet another war by declaring that sending US troops into Central Africa "furthers US national security interests and foreign policy." Republican Senator James Inhofe added a gallon of moral verbiage about saving "Ugandan children," a concern the senator did not have for Libya's children or Palestine's, Iraq's, Afghanistan's and Pakistan's.  

Washington has revived the Great Power Game and is vying with China. Whereas China brings Africa investment and gifts of infrastructure, Washington sends troops, bombs and military bases. Sooner or later, Washington's aggressiveness toward China and Russia is going to explode in our faces. 

What the NYPD Really Thinks of Occupy Wall Street

by Josh Harkinson
As midnight approached in New York City's Washington Square Park on Saturday, 14 occupiers sat in the center of an empty fountain playing Woody Guthrie songs. "If you would like to remain in the park past midnight, you will be subject to arrest," a policeman had just broadcast through a bullhorn, sending thousands who'd come for a political rally fleeing. Backed by some 100 riot cops in face shields, an exhausted-looking community affairs officer moved in to try to talk reason. "We marched with you guys; we treated you with respect," he said, pointing out that some officers had been on duty since 3 a.m. "We understand your cause. We understand your voice. We understand what you are saying. But all we want is for you to vacate the park."
"This is political," said a man in black glasses, between drags on a cigarette. 
"C'mon guys," the officer pleaded. "Why get arrested?"
The New York City Police Department has dealt with a heavy dose of criticism for the way that it has handled the Occupy Wall Street protests, with an unprovoked pepper spraying, questionably legal arrests, and a dressing down by a US Marine at Times Square all caught on videotape. But in the interactions with police that I have witnessed and the conversations I've had with officers, a more nuanced picture has emerged: one of overworked rank-and-file cops torn between following orders and sympathizing with the movement and its goals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupying America: Sowing the Seeds of a Second American Revolution

by Lori Spencer

"There are combustibles in every state which a spark might set fire to." -- George Washington's letter to General Henry Knox concerning the Shay's Rebellion, 1786

One month ago, a group of some 1000 demonstrators gathered in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to protest the pillaging of the nation's economy by powerful corporations and international houses of high finance. While these young activists were entirely peaceful, they also made it clear that this would be no hippie-dippy flower-twirling love-in, sit-in, teach-in, or even a camp-in; this was an occupation. The demonstrators announced that they intended to Occupy Wall Street 24/7, staying until hell freezes over if need be.

The New York City police welcomed them warmly with pepper spray and more than a few violent smack-downs, even going so far as to arrest some 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge who were lured into a position where they could be charged with blocking traffic.

After video of these outrages went viral on the Internet, a wave of righteous indignation swept the land. Hastily-formed Occupy groups proclaiming themselves in solidarity with the NYC protesters began to spring up in big cities and small towns across America. At first it was just a handful: 20-30 groups in the first week, growing to a few hundred in the second week, then rapidly mushrooming to today's current total of 1,947 cities around the globe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why the Occupy Movement is Critical for America

by Dave Lefcourt

The occupy movement is critical for America's future.

The path we are on is disastrous; endless wars, torture, targeted killings (even of Americans), severe unemployment, loss of jobs, home foreclosures, bankruptcies, homelessness, wide disparity of income between the rich 1% and the 99%, no health insurance for 50 million, severe college debt and diminished job prospects for graduates, teacher lay-offs, union busting through the curtailment of collective bargaining, severe environmental degradation, infrastructure deterioration along with austerity measures and the cutting back of the safety net being placed on the backs of the most vulnerable by the mania of deficit hawks in the House of Representatives and some state houses (both underwritten and funded by ultra right moneyed special interest PACS) not to mention the dysfunctional political theatre and corrupted machinations in Washington that is incapable of any real problem solving as it serves the plutocracy of oligarchs that reign supreme for their benefit only while destroying the middle class and making for a society increasingly becoming one of masters and serfs.

That system must be uprooted and discarded. That won't happen in some violent overthrow or coup. That would be tantamount to disaster. No it has to be non-violent and bloodless while at the same time be unrelenting in demanding because the current system is so flawed, dysfunctional and incapable of being of, by and for the people.

King George III before our revolution had greater support of the people than our Congress has (11%) today.

Our current president, who initially held such great promise, has become no better than his predecessor in fact as well as deed. Brilliance and eloquence can not replace an innate connection to the plight of the people who are (and have been) at the mercy of the plutocratic forces that have usurped our representative democracy to use for their sole benefit.

So what is the occupy movement really all about? It is restoring the voice of the people, removing the chains of powerlessness, inertia and passivity to ultimately challenge and peacefully demand our current dysfunctional non representative leaders accede to its legitimate demands.

There are times in history that movements emerge when conditions are such that nothing less than a complete overhaul of the existing system is justified and necessary.

Of course that can happen in a violent revolution and civil war or as we have seen recently with the demise of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe; regime change was essentially bloodless. Even the Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt were essentially bloodless and instructive even though the aim for each country was the removal of a repressive dictator and his regime.            

In the U.S. we do not have a dictatorship despite the recently assumed powers of the executive (under at best, questionable Constitutional legality underpinning executive authority i.e. torture, targeted assassinations of Americans, indefinite detention, warrantless wire tapping et al) that could be interpreted as dictatorial rule. Even the Congress, though hardly representative of the peoples interests could be functioning in that capacity as the peoples real representatives if they were selected to run and were elected in a fair, publicly financed electoral process where private money was removed from the process that now thoroughly corrupts that process.

We are passed the point where minor reform, tinkering and tweaking of the current electoral system in America will suffice. The corporate, oligarchic plutocracy that has resulted must not be allowed stand.

The occupy movement is the catalyst that can make that happen. It must continue to persevere until its demands are met.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Movement Too Big to Fail

by Chris Hedges

There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking. So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi. So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to “clean” the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do—fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”

U.S. Can Demand Arbitration Over Alleged Iranian Plot

Contributed by Sherwood Ross

“If  the Obama administration truly believes it has credible evidence that Iran was behind this alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi diplomat on the streets of Washington D.C., then it must invoke the Protection of Diplomats Convention(PDC) and demand arbitration of this claim with Iran,” a distinguished American authority on international law says. The diplomat Iran is accused of plotting to kill is the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

“In the event Iran were to reject such arbitration, then the Obama administration could sue Iran at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the so-called World Court of the United Nations System,” says Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Boyle recalled that during the Iranian Hostages Crisis, “the International Court of Justice rendered an overwhelming victory on behalf of the United States against Iran that played an important role in the successful resolution of that crisis. So the World Court is an eminently fair institution to resolve this latest  international dispute between Iran and the United States.”

Washington and Iran: The Reckless Policy of Provocation

by Bill Van Auken

At a White House press conference Thursday, President Barack Obama said his administration would make Iran "pay a price" for an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. He described it as "part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government." In the same remarks, Obama stressed that his administration will not "take any options off the table in terms of how we operate with Iran," a phrase that is universally understood as a threat of US military aggression.

The remarks signaled Washington's decision to utilize this bizarre incident, about which there are far more questions than answers, as a pretext for escalating tension with Iran to the point of saber-rattling threats of war.

The more that emerges about the purported Iranian "terrorist plot" to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, the more it appears to be a crude concoction by elements of the American state apparatus to blackguard Iran and create the pretext for an escalation of US aggression.

The Beginning Is Near

by Linh Dinh

The anti-Wall Street protest has often resembled a street party. In occupied Liberty Park, people banged on drums, danced, performed mime, even dangled donuts to bait cops. Their mood has been merry, which is remarkable considering that they've been sleeping out in the open, on hard ground, in a compact park, without even tents over them. Food and money have been limited, and sanitation a logistical nuisance, yet even a cloudburst in the middle of the night, drenching everyone, was greeted with cheers. A sign, "THE REVOLUTION WILL BE PLAYFUL."

Critics have slandered these protesters as idle and frivolous, as muddled crybabies who would flee from any job application, not that anyone's hiring, by the way. This rally, then, is just a noisy blight on America's crooked economic engine. With a first dusting of snow, these anarchists, hippies, art students, bums and trust fund kids would all go home to mommy. Third-term billionaire mayor Bloomberg--who says money can't prolong life?--even moaned that this protest was targeting people just "struggling to make ends meet," and he was sorta right, of course, because there's no way Wall Street's end can meet any of our ends.

The 99 Percent Declaration

A Declaration, Petition for the Redress of Grievances and Action Plan- An OWS Working Group


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia.

FOX Judge Accuses FBI & Our Goverment Of Being The Real Terrorist

I have to admit;  I am very confused why FOX "news" would ever support a stand against the same policies they so adamantly propagated for so long...It is very informative and revealing, none-the-less.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Corporate-Fascists Clamor for Iran War

by Tony Cartalucci
While US politicians grapple over the credibility of using the US DEA’s bomb plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador as a pretext to escalate tensions with Iran, America’s unelected, corporate-funded policy makers have already announced their long, foregone conclusion. The DEA’s entrapment case is decidedly to be used as a pretext for war with Iran.

The Foreign Policy Institute (FPI), just one such unelected, corporate-funded think tank, has released two statements calling on President Obama to use force against IranFPI director William Kristol states:
“It’s long since been time for the United States to speak to this regime in the language it understands—force.

And now we have an engraved invitation to do so. The plot to kill the Saudi ambassador was a lemon. Statesmanship involves turning lemons into lemonade.

So we can stop talking. Instead, we can follow the rat lines in Iraq and Afghanistan back to their sources, and destroy them. We can strike at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and weaken them. And we can hit the regime’s nuclear weapons program, and set it back.”

Missing from Occupy Wall Street: Barack Obama

by Andy Kroll

At Zuccotti Park, the shoebox-shaped spit of land in lower Manhattan that for three weeksOccupy Wall Street has called home, there are signs everywhere—strewn on the ground, taped to trees, thrusted skyward, hand-painted on the bulging belly of a pregnant mom. Their messages run the gamut: "We Are the 99%," "Jesus Is With The 99%," "Get Wall St. Off Welfare," "Corporations Are Not People," "Eat the Rich," "End the Fed," "Marx Was Right." A flattened pizza box became a peace offering: "Why can't the Ron Paul People and the Karl Marx People Get Along?" You get the picture.

One name, however, is nearly absent: Barack Obama.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

How Christian Fundamentalism Helped Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

by Frank Schaeffer

As the Occupy Wall street movement spreads across the country and the world, we must bring attention to the enablers of the top 1 percent exploiting the 99. Fundamentalist religion made this exploitation possible.

Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent. Note I didn't say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism.

Why? Because without the fundamentalists and their "values" issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires.

Wall Street is a great target for long-overdue protest, but so are the centers of religious power that are the gatekeepers of Republican Party "values" voters that make the continuing economic exploitation possible.

Fundamentalist religion -- evangelical and Roman Catholic alike -- has delegitimized the US government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate.

The fundamentalists have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) "morality" litmus tests of spurious red herring "issues" from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle-class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.

Little Insurrections of Hope

by Frida Berrigan

As I mentioned in this space earlier, I was recently in Barcelona at the War Resisters International’s seminar on War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses. It was a really interesting time to be a Yankee abroad. The streets in the city center filled up with protests against budget cuts each evening, and everyone at the meetings was talking about OccupyWallStreet in slightly awed and disbelieving tones—as though to say “even the U.S. of A. is getting with the program.”

I was repeatedly asked where I thought the Occupy Movement was headed, a question I cleverly avoided—“look, is that a tapas bar over there? How do you say, ‘more wine, please’ in Spanish?” It is a good question, but as Donald Rumsfeld used to say: “that’s above my pay grade.” The 792nd consecutive weekly vigil outside of Alliant Techsystems in Minneapolis in August.

At the end of each long day participating in different seminar tracks (war and exploitation of natural resources, exposing the bad guys, new trends in war profiteering) and workshops on how to research the arms trade, use social media and campaign against drone warfare, we gathered in the city center for the Trobada, convened by the Center for Study of Justice and Peace (Centre d’Estudis per a la Pau JM Delàs). Lots of people turned out for these nightly events, the one at which I presented drew more than one hundred people on a Friday night (but no one in Barcelona eats dinner before 10 pm anyway).

The Death of Nations

Maureen O'Sullivan 

We won’t see it reported in the corporate media, but nations as sovereign states with the right to chart their own course no longer exist.

An autopsy would reveal the cause of death to be the inexorable, incremental and insidious cancerous metastasis of the small global power elite that was decades, if not centuries in the making.

But while globalization’s vulture capitalists pick over the unburied remains of formerly sovereign nations at State liquidation sales and continue to go about the business of cannibalizing the planet, we are left to wonder... what’s next?

Actually, the death of nations is good and bad news.  

I’m not suggesting we overthrow or otherwise dismantle the increasingly archaic geo-political infrastructure of nations we now have. Let them continue to deliver our mail, clean our sidewalks, maintain a less than perfect but necessary criminal ‘justice’ system. 

What is required now is that we begin to restrain them from doing greater harm before their reckless greed kills us all. This can be accomplished by our withdrawing our collective energies of support from them.

An Insidious Threat to the Occupy Movement

by Ismael Hossein-zadeh

The threat I am referring to is not that of being pepper-sprayed, arrested, beaten or imprisoned. It is a different type of threat: a stealthy challenger that while pretending to advance the goals of the Occupy Movement tends to undermine it from within--more or less like the proverbial elephant in the room. I am referring to the threat of preemption, or cooptation, posed by the Democratic Party and union officials. In light of their unsavory record of undermining the revolutionary energy of social movements, projections of sympathy for the anti-Wall Street protesters by the White House, the Democratic Party officials and union leaders can be viewed only with suspicion.

Expressing sympathy for the protester, President Obama recently stated: "I think people are frustrated, and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works." At the same time he also defended the decision to bail out banks and other Wall Street speculators, arguing that the decision was necessitated by the need to salvage our financial system. It is obvious that, as usual, the president is talking from both side of his mouth.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Who Cares About Foreclosure?

by Mark Adams

If you are wondering why so many Americans are taking to the streets, the first grievance listed by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street is the illegal theft of homes. If you want to know more about illegal foreclosures, check out the Mortgage Justice Seminar in Sarasota, Florida on Saturday, October 15. If you cannot make it to Sarasota, then at least, find out more about this major cause of our economic crisis below.

This free seminar will feature several nationally known legal experts including ones who are speaking out against illegal foreclosures without any financial incentive to do so. Yes, some attorneys do take a stand for justice without pay and in spite of the threats from the Bar regulators who cannot find anything wrong with any bank attorney.

Perhaps the most famous expert and certainly the most cited one speaking at the seminar is Henry P. Trawick, Jr., Esquire. Mr. Trawick has practiced law since 1950 and has authored the most widely cited guide to civil procedure in Florida, Florida Practice and Procedure, published by Westlaw. Mr. Trawick has been repeatedly cited as a legal expert by Florida’s appellate courts and the Florida Supreme Court.

Will Our Nation Experience Another Kent State?

by S. Paul Forrest

On May 4, 1970, four members of a group of anti-Vietnam War protestors were shot dead and nine others seriously wounded one of which was permanently paralyzed.  The shots that were fired came from the National Guard which was called in to quell a series of protests aimed against the government's decision to invade Cambodia.  When a shot was heard in front of the troops, some of the troops began to fire into a crowd of students.  Soldiers who were interviewed later stated that the tension was high and nerves were unsteady.  What had led up to this tension was unceasing vitriolic condemnation of the protestors from many including President Nixon who was reported to have called the protestors "Bums… blowing up campuses" and the knowledge than a few nights before, the ROTC building on campus had been burned to the ground. (Source: Department of Education: Kent State.)

The historical context of this tragedy involved a deeply divided society separated by a figurative line in the sand between those who condemned the war and those who believed it was necessary to combat communism.  The divide between these groups was largely based upon age demographics but deeper down within the crevices of this national dissent was a social inequality centered on a system which only drafted the poor and those members of racial minorities to fight what many viewed as an immoral war.  Words to condemn the beliefs of these protestors ranged from calling them radical hippies to unpatriotic rebels both said to be supportive of communism. The vitriolic hatred was enough to convince many in America that the police brutality seen against the protestors and eventually used in the killing of those at Kent State, was somehow justified.

Occupy Wall Street: People Power vs. the Police State

by Nick Turse

The NYPD has erected a ring of steel around Liberty Plaza, but Occupy Wall Street vows to resist.

"The more, the merrier,” was how the white-shirted police inspector put it as he stood on the periphery of Liberty Plaza while activist and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello played for Occupy Wall Street protesters on Thursday afternoon.

“More” was the operative word. While the NYPD commander was glad-handing a elderly protester who was asking about his thoughts on all the people in the jam-packed park, it could have been a commentary on his department’s presence. The periphery of Liberty Plaza, formally known as Zuccotti Park, resembles an armed camp with surveillance equipment, police vehicles, armed officers, and metal barricades ringing a city square filled with unarmed activists, who openly advocate non-violence. The response is as disproportionate as it is superfluous, a point driven home by the utter apathy displayed by many of the security forces on the scene…today. Tomorrow, the occupiers face the real possibility that the overwhelming police presence will spring to life in order to evict them, end the four-week people’s occupation and snuff out the new society they’re building.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Class Warfare The Rich Don't Understand

by Heather Digby Parton

There have been rumblings in the corners of the Tea party movement for some time, but the minute president Obama announced that he was going to ask wealthy Americans to kick in a small bit more in taxes to help pay for some infrastructure improvements in his jobs proposal, the Republicans have been clutching their pearls and gasping for breath like Aunt Pittypat awaiting the arrival of the marauding Yankees.

GOP leader Rush Limbaugh called for the smelling salts, saying "If [Obama] would get all of this actually passed, it would represent perhaps a fatal blow to the US private sector ... I don't know how anyone could even argue about the fact that this is on purpose anymore. To boldly lie that it's not class warfare? It is class warfare. Specifically and purposefully class warfare."

Republican economic guru Paul Ryan dolefully declared, "Class warfare may make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don't need a system that seeks to divide people. We don't need a system that seeks to prey on people's fear, envy, and anxiety." Indeed. What could be more destructive to the average American than to ask the upper one per cent to kick in what amounts to tip money? The guilt they will feel at such unfairness is bound to create a profound spiritual crisis throughout the land.